Once the authenticity of the Bible has been widely put into question the way is opened for all sorts of heresies on God, the spirit world, creation, humanity, sin, salvation, and what the future holds. The large public acclaim enjoyed by false, apocryphal gospels such as The Gospel of Judas, and other perverted accounts on the life of Jesus, like the one contained in The Da Vinci Code, are indicative of this time of great deception prior to the dawning of the new dispensation of the Antichrist’s reign on earth.
The ‘gospel’ of Judas
Just before Easter 2006, the National Geographic Society announced that they discovered the lost Gospel of Judas which contradicts the canonical gospels about Judas and his betrayal of Jesus. There were even claims in the press that this was the greatest discovery of the century and that it would result in a re-evaluation of Christians beliefs as we know it. The front-page headline of USA Today read, “Long-lost gospel of Judas casts ‘traitor’ in new light.”
This Gnostic gospel was only known through Irenaeus’ second century condemnation thereof in his Refutation of all Heresies. But a third or fourth century copy of it, written in Coptic, was found in Egypt, bought restored and published on April 6, 2006. However, the fact that this might be an authentic Gnostic text does not mean it reflects truth. Most biblical scholars agree that it is not a true record of history – it is “authentic heresy” based upon second century Gnostic mythology.
The Gospel of Judas presents Judas in a positive light as the only disciple who truly understood Jesus and who betrayed Him only because he was asked to do so. This Gospel begins with the words, “The secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot.” Jesus allegedly tells Judas that the world was created in a manner different than the account in Genesis and that “an evil god named Nebro rules the lower world of humans.” Judas is the “thirteenth spirit” who was appointed to release Jesus from the physical body in which he was trapped. The Jesus of the Gospel of Judas laughs a lot, even laughing at the way the disciples pray and praise God. In this strange writing it is Judas rather than Jesus who is glorified by entering a “luminous cloud.”
David Cloud of the Fundamental Baptist Information Service says, “The Gnostic Jesus described in the Gospel of Judas is not almighty God or the Creator of the world, does not die for man’s sin, and does not rise bodily from the dead. It is no gospel at all. Egypt was a hotbed of heresy and fanaticism in the early centuries after Christ. Many other strange ‘gospels’ originated there, including the Gospel of Thomas that purports to give details of Christ’s childhood, such as giving life to a dried fish and causing the death of one of his playmates.”
Gnostic background of this false ‘gospel’
What is Gnosticism?
Since the time of the early Christian church theological development was strongly influenced by philosophy – thereby accounting for the concurrent development of various religious heresies. Gnosticism played a major role during the first six centuries AD. “Gnosis” refers to “intuitive religious knowledge.” They regarded knowledge as more important than faith, thus allowing man to create for himself an alternative theology and concept of God. Gnosticism originated from the mystical teachings of Plato, which gave rise to the fact that human reasoning at the time was influenced and confused by strange, mystical assumptions. The result was a distorted concept of God as the Absolute or Ultimate God.
Dr. Errol Wagner of the Baptist Church says in his article, The ‘Gospel of Judas’ – A Biblical Evaluation,, “A belief which was common to the different expressions of Gnosticism was a conviction that the material world, including the bodies of people, are evil and the creation of a lesser, inferior an evil god. This creator God, who is identified as ‘the god of Genesis’ by some Gnostic groups, is an enemy of the Highest God. The Ultimate God is unknown and exists in the Kingdom of Light. It is this unknown God that Gnostics claim to reveal. Over time, Gnostics incorporated their ideas into the Christian faith and attempted to pass it on as a true expression of Christianity. These ideas motivated the apocryphal writings… Their Jesus is a redeemer sent by the unknown God to impart special knowledge to man, to reveal to us that we are part of the Ultimate God, that we are part of the divine, and that the body is a prison of ‘the spark of divinity that is within us.’ Furthermore, because the body is evil, Jesus did not become real man – He only appeared to be human. Because they did not believe that divine revelation should be tied to historical events, they rejected the fact of Jesus’ incarnation, his life, death, resurrection and ascension. His death was not to pay for our sins. He did not rise from the dead. Obviously, this is fundamentally different from both the Old and New Testaments.”
Thus, in their own minds, the Gnostics created another god. That is not the God who revealed Himself to us through His Word, His Spirit and His Son, but a foreign god who established himself in the minds of people through human reasoning under strong mystical influencing. This “god within” is now widely propagated by the New Age Movement and its associated organisations. This “god” takes on a pantheistic nature by linking himself to people’s self-consciousness and self-image, thereby rendering fallen man a god in his own right – the so-called “Higher Self” or “Deeper Self.”
This is clearly a satanic concept of god which was devised with the clear intention to replace the Triune God with another god, thereby keeping people from understanding and accepting the saving grace of the true God’s only-begotten Son. Paul describes the reason for such people’s ignorance of the true gospel, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2Cor 4:3-4). The god of this world (Satan) works in the hearts of lost people to deceive them.
Dr. E Wagner’s concluding remarks are most relevant: “Gnosticism teaches that everyone has within himself or herself a ‘divine spark’ – we are all part of God; we are all God. All we have to do is discover this for ourselves. This discovery is usually tied to some subjective spiritual experience disconnected from any form of objective truth. We have expressions of this in many of the New Age groups. At its time, Gnosticism was an expression of the same spirituality that is popular today, which separates spirituality from objective truth. Here we have the reason why the apocryphal gospels are attractive and relevant to people today. They speak the same language, in spite of the fact that it is devoid of any truth… It coincides with a concerted effort to redefine who Jesus is to fit into this new spirituality – the spirituality that is part of the postmodern world.”
Soon, an antichristian new world order will be established on earth in which Jesus will be redefined to such an extent that deceived humanity will hail the Antichrist as the universal Christ of all faiths. The Gospel of Judas also contributes substantially to this coming deception. Efforts to further promote lies of this nature will be increased in the near future.
Judas and the Antichrist
The great international prominence afforded the false Gospel of Judas also have implications for end-time events. There are strong indications in the Bible that the same demonic spirit that possessed Judas and used him to oppose and betray Jesus, will also possess and empower the coming Antichrist to do his evil work.
Jesus said to His disciples, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve” (Joh 6:70-71). In no other passage than this is the word “devil” applied to anyone but Satan himself. Judas became devilpossessed when he yielded to temptations to sell Jesus to His enemies. In this capacity he became “the son of perdition” (Joh 17:12), i.e., “the son of Satan.” Biologically, he was the son of Simon but spiritually, he became the son of Satan. After Judas had betrayed Jesus he committed suicide and went “to his own place” (Act 1:25), which is the abode of Satan and his demons.
The only other person in Scripture called “the son of perdition” is the Antichrist, who will be revealed during the end-time day of the Lord. Paul says, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God… so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God… For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming” (2The 2:3-8; emphasis added).
The evil spirit of the Antichrist will ascend from perdition and return to the same place: “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition” (Rev 17:8; cf. 11:7). Clarence Larkin (Dispensational Truth) says, “While perdition is a place (Rev 17:8,11), it is also a condition into which men may fall (1Tim 6:9; Heb 10:39), and while men who have committed the unpardonable sin are sons of perdition because they are destined to the place of the irrevocably lost, yet Judas and the Antichrist are the sons of perdition in a special sense, for they are the sons of the author of perdition – the devil.” The devil decided to control and empower them in a special way as traitors of Christ.
The expression that the beast “was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit (abyss) is a clear indication that there were earlier manifestations of the same demonic spirit of rebellion against the Triune God. There are indeed many types of the Antichrist in the Bible. e.g. “the king of Babylon,” who was brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the pit (Isa 14:4, 15), “the king of Assyria” (Isa 10:12-14) and “the king of the North” (Dan 11:31-45). Judas was also a type of the Antichrist; that is why the demonic spirit that possessed him returned to perdition after Judas committed suicide. Of no other person it is said in the Scriptures that he went “to his own place” (Act 1:25), which is perdition.
The spirit of rebellion that empowered various evil world rulers of the ancient world, and also Judas Iscariot, was confined to the bottomless pit after the death of Judas. In that sense the beast was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit. In the time of John on the Isle of Patmos the devil that controlled Judas had returned to perdition and will again manifest in a human being when the Antichrist is revealed. Like Judas and other forerunners, the Antichrist will be a man born of a woman, but Satan will give him “his power, his throne, and great authority” (Rev 13:2).
The great deception
As for the coming of the Antichrist it should be remembered that his initial appearance will be as a universal prince of peace who will be riding a white horse (Rev 6:2). He will pretend to be the common world messiah to all faiths, thereby uniting all people into a new world order of religious, political and economic unity. He will indeed succeed in gaining international control as all the world will marvel and follow him (Rev 13:3).
He will not be revealed as “the Antichrist” but as “the cosmic Christ of all religions.” For that to happen, the image of the true Christ must be distorted and made conformable to that of the Antichrist. That is done by denying His deity, His virgin birth, the significance of His atoning death on the cross, and His resurrection from death. His unique position as the only Mediator between fallen humanity and God is also denied as that would discredit other religions and prove them false. Christianity is portrayed as one of many ways to God, thereby putting it on an equal level with the other religions.
The concept of God is also changed to render Him a pantheistic force of light, love and life which permeates the entire creation. This mystical element of spirituality is allegedly present in all human beings, who are called upon to discover and develop “the god within.” The absolute “god” is also called Yahweh, Allah, or Brahman by some people, while his enlightened servants, or masters of wisdom, are known as Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Mohammed and other spiritual leaders.
In redefining God, Christ, and the nature of true spirituality, the Bible comes under fire as a false, humanlyconceived book. God the Father and His only Son, who died as a ransom for our sins, are also rejected as false presentations of the Deity. In the process, the enemies of God and His Son are condoned and portrayed as heroes – including Judas Iscariot. It is no coincidence that the lost Gospel of Judas has been discovered now and is seriously considered by all who have been subjected to “strong delusion, that they should believe the lie” (2The 2:11).
Within the framework of these new views on God and His Word, room has been made for the revelation and global acceptance of the universal christ of all faiths. That means that the modern Judas, the Antichrist, will be accepted by the majority of humanity while the true Christ will be rejected. The Antichrist will first, like Judas, intimately associate with Christianity and all other religions. After 3½ years of being their common messiah (Rev 13:8) he will suddenly turn against them and have all of them executed in public if they refuse to worship him as God (2The 2:4; Rev 13:15; 17:16).
by: Prof. Johan Malan, University of Limpopo, South Africa (May 2006)