What about the Gospel of Judas?

"I saw a history channel special that mentioned judas had a book where jeaus told him that everyone gets into heaven."

In short: Yes and No. There is a gospel of Judas.

The idea that everyone makes it to heaven is called universalism. The gospel of Judas is not a universalist book. It's a Gnostic book. They believed that some would make it to the immortal realm, but that others wouldn't.

The gospel of Judas is a text that was rediscovered in the 1970s and published in 2007.

I have a copy of the Gospel Of Judas. It's interesting to say the least. It has lots of strange gnostic ideas in it. It presents Judas as the hero... which is a little bit difficult to stomach.

There are a few reasons that the gospel of Judas was not included in the bible.

It was not universally accepted by the early churches. 

As we discussed in an earlier post Why certain books were left out of the bible, for a book or letter to be included in the bible it had to universally accepted. This book called the Gospel of Judas was not. It was, in fact accepted by a splinter group called the Gnostics. Consequently the Gospel of Judas falls into a category called the Gnostic gospels. These are a group of writings that were falsely attributed to the early apostles.

It wasn't written by Judas.

Remember when Judas Iscariot died? He committed suicide in 33 AD, a couple of days before Jesus was crucified. However, the Gospel of Judas was carbon-dated and determined to be from around AD 280. That is much later than Judas or any of the other apostles lived. So it couldn't have been written by Judas.

Even if it was written by Judas... it's Judas.

Judas the betrayer of Jesus wouldn't be a very good source of biblical teaching. What do we know about Judas? He was in charge of the money bag for Jesus' ministry, and often stole from it. He sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver, and then hung himself. Of all the people we shouldn't listen to on the nature of Jesus, Judas would be at the top of the list. This book presents Judas as a role model.

It wasn't transmitted.

Transmission is when a book is copied, and then that copy is copied, and then that copy is copied. For it to have survived at all means that it was transmitted somewhat. However, the books of the new testament that we have today survived because the early church deemed them valuable enough to have them copied. The gospel of Judas was unimportant enough to it's early readers, that they allowed it to disappear. It was in 1970, when a single copy was recovered. Compare that to the over 6000 fragments or manuscripts we have of the New Testament books.

It opposes the theology of other scripture.

In it, Judas claims to be the only one that understood what Jesus was teaching. The other apostles misunderstood. Judas is the lone carrier of the truth, so this book says. It's clearly a gnostic text in its theology. As part of it's premise it presents lower gods, the division of the physical and the spiritual, and a host of other gnostic ideas. It claims that Jesus instructed Judas to betray him.

He had a different view of Jesus' death (which the real Judas was not present for). He claimed that Jesus death was only to appease the lower gods, not the true God.

It also teaches that the other 11 apostles and those who follow them would not enter the immortal realm.

It was not confirmed by other apostles or prophets.

We have a few historical denouements by early church leaders that the gospel of Judas was bogus. An early christian theologian by the name of Irenaeus of Lyons is recorded as saying that "the gospel of Judas" was a "fictions history." We don't know for sure if this is the same as the modern "gospel of Judas" but if it is, even our ancient counterparts could see through it.

Even Modern Scholars Don't Claim it is Authentic

They claim it's ancient. However, that doesn't make it authentic. In this case I'm not even sure what authentic would mean. It clearly wasn't written by Judas, so at best it's a late century fiction drummed up by the gnostics to support their theology.


There's lot's of info online about the Gospel of Judas. Feel free to look around.