Lay it to Heart

How Did the Apostle Judas Die?

The Bible gives two accounts of how Judas died which are hard to explain but there is an answer. Matthew 27:5 says, "And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself." Acts 1:18 says, "Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out." How can the two accounts be reconciled? Some theories suggest the rope broke but it would unlikely cause this type of trauma unless Judas really did something unusual. Some have added a cliff to the theory. If the rope Judas used broke and he fell off a cliff it would cause more damage. Acts, however, says he purchased a field. The cliff theory requires Judas to have bought a field with a cliff in it. How likely is that? The Bible has more than one method of hanging.

  1. The first thing people think of is hanging with a rope around the neck.
  2. Also the Bible tells us, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:" (Galatians 3:13) see also (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). Jesus was hung with nails and not rope.
  3. Impalement, being hung on a post or stick, is also a form a hanging.

Which method of hanging best describes Judas? We can probably rest assured Judas did not hang himself on a cross. Impalement would accurately describe both accounts without conflict and should be considered. Pastors should stop avoiding the issue. The passage it not easily understood. Two things were required for me to see the explanation; consistently reading all of God's word and prayer. Some people ask the question because of curiosity, and they should ask it. Some ask the question to argue against the authority of the Bible. Are preachers hiding from this issue? Are they hiding from other topics which appear to be conflicts? It appears to be so. We need to be ready to offer an answer. Don't blindly accept weak explanations. If someone cannot answer the question, keep on looking in the Bible. Understand pastors are not perfect. Pray for them. Ask, seek and knock.


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