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November 21, 2010
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March 7, 2018
Judas Iscariot Betrays Jesus For Thirty Pieces Of Silver, Matthew's Reference Regarding "Jeremy The Prophet", The Prophet Zechariah's Prophecy Regarding Judas, Aceldama: The Potter's Field, Adam Clarke's Commentary Regarding The Jeremy Discrepancy, R. A. Torrey's Treasury Of Scripture Knowledge Regarding Jeremy Problem, Definition: Polyglot Bible, Peter And The Apostles Vote For Matthias, King David's Prophecy Concerning Judas' Treachery And Fate, Jesus' Comments About Judas' Possession And Betrayal, Twelve Apostles On Twelve Thrones Judging The Twelve Tribes, Twelve Thrones Minus Judas Or Twelve Thrones With Judas?, At What Point Did Jesus Learn Of Judas' Coming Treachery?, Did Jesus Know Everything While He Occupied Human Flesh?, But My Father Only, Jesus' Prayer Time Communication With His Father, Why Did God The Father Have To Show Jesus Certain Things?, Was Jesus' Knowledge Purposely Limited By God The Father?, Jesus In The Garden Of Gethsemane, Jesus Was Obedient Unto Death, Jesus Endured All Things That We Endure In The Flesh, High Priest, A Name Above Every Name, Every Knee Shall Bow At Jesus' Name
Many people will undoubtedly find the title of this article interesting. I know that I most certainly would, if I were not its author. I will be candid with you and tell you up front that I cannot provide a definitive answer to my own questions. However, I would like to offer a possible answer, which some of you will no doubt find both intriguing, and perhaps controversial.
Undoubtedly, some readers will be prompted to automatically respond to the title of this article with something such as "Well, yes, of course He did! After all, Jesus is the Son of God, and He knows everything!". However, in light of certain Scriptural evidence that I have been pondering as of late, I am no longer certain that this is the correct answer to this intriguing question. Allow me to briefly explain to you how I arrived at this conclusion. Maybe, even to your own surprise, you will end up agreeing with me, or perhaps you won't.
Like many Bible scholars and students, for a number of years now, I have pondered and written about the actions, fate and future of Judas Iscariot, the money-hungry Jew who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, as we see by the following verses that are found in the Gospel of Matthew:
"Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him."
Matthew 26:14-16, KJV
"Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me."
Matthew 27:3-10, KJV
To be honest, for years now, I have been perplexed by the Apostle Matthew's reference to "Jeremy the prophet". To my knowledge -- and I have searched a number of times -- there is no mention of Judas' betrayal of Christ for thirty pieces of silver to be found anywhere in the Old Testament Book of the Prophet Jeremiah. On the other hand, in the Book of the Old Testament Prophet Zechariah, we do find the following reference to Jesus' betrayal by Judas Iscariot for thirty pieces of silver, and the fact that the blood money was later used to purchase the Potter's Field, where Judas is believed to have been buried:
"And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD."
Zechariah 11:12-13, KJV
So the question is this: Why does Matthew state that the prophecy is found in the Book of Jeremiah, while it is in fact found in the Book of Zechariah? Was this simply an oversight on the part of Matthew? Or is this possibly an indication that we are no longer in possession of the full Book of Jeremiah? And lastly, could it simply be the result of a copy error that occurred somewhere over the many centuries when a certain scribe wasn't particularly careful?
While researching this difficult matter further, I found the following interesting information in an electronic version of Adam Clarke's 1832 "Commentary on the Bible". Adam Clark was a British Methodist theologian and Biblical scholar, who strongly supported the teachings of Methodist founder, John Wesley. Please note that in the following excerpts, where you see what appears to be gibberish, there are actually Greek letters, but my text editor is unable to reproduce the characters here. Also, the initials "MS." represent the word "manuscript", while "MSS." is the plural form "manuscripts":
----- Begin Quote -----
Verse 9. Jeremy the prophet] The words quoted here are not found in the Prophet Jeremiah, but in Zec 11:13. But St. Jerome says that a Hebrew of the sect of the Nazarenes showed him this prophecy in a Hebrew apocryphal copy of Jeremiah; but probably they were inserted there only to countenance the quotation here.
One of Colbert's, a MS. of the eleventh century, has zaxariou, Zechariah; so has the later Syriac in the margin, and a copy of the Arabic quoted by Bengel. In a very elegant and correct MS. of the Vulgate, in my possession, written in the fourteenth century, Zachariam is in the margin, and Jeremiam in the text, but the former is written by a later hand. Jeremiah is wanting in two MSS., the Syriac, later Persic, two of the Itala, and in some other Latin copies. It is very likely that the original reading was dia toi profhtou, and the name of no prophet mentioned. This is the more likely, as Matthew often omits the name of the prophet in his quotations. See Mt 1:22; 2:5, 15; 13:35; 21:4. Bengel approves of the omission.
It was an ancient custom among the Jews, says Dr. Lightfoot, to divide the Old Testament into three parts: the first beginning with the law was called THE LAW; the second beginning with the Psalms was called THE PSALMS; the third beginning with the prophet in question was called JEREMIAH: thus, then, the writings of Zechariah and the other prophets being included in that division that began with Jeremiah, all quotations from it would go under the name of this prophet. If this be admitted, it solves the difficulty at once. Dr. Lightfoot quotes Baba Bathra, and Rabbi David Kimchi's preface to the prophet Jeremiah, as his authorities; and insists that the word Jeremiah is perfectly correct as standing at the head of that division from which the evangelist quoted, and which gave its denomination to all the rest. But Jeremiah is the reading in several MSS. of the Coptic. It is in one of the Coptic Dictionaries in the British Museum, and in a Coptic MS. of Jeremiah, in the library of St. Germain. So I am informed by the Rev. Henry Tattam, Rector of St Cuthbert's, Bedford.
----- End Quote -----
The 1836 "Treasury Of Scripture Knowledge" -- of which I also possess an electronic version -- offers similar information. The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge was developed by American evangelist and pastor Reuben Archer Torrey -- commonly known as R. A. Torrey -- from references in Reverend Thomas Scott's "Commentary" and the "Comprehensive Bible". It also includes references from the "Polyglot Bible". A Polyglot Bible is one in which the text is printed in various languages in columns side-by-side. These languages normally include Hebrew, Greek, Latin and Syriac. Being as a number of Polyglot Bibles have been published over the centuries, I am not certain which one was used for R. A. Torrey's TSK. At any rate, it states:
----- Begin Quote -----
Jeremy. The words here quoted are not found in Jeremiah, but in Zechariah; and a variety of conjectures have been formed, in order to reconcile this discrepancy. The most probable opinion seems to be, that the name of the prophet was originally omitted by the Evangelist, and that the name of Jeremiah was added by some subsequent copyist. It is omitted in two MSS. of the twelfth century, in the Syriac, later Persic, two of the Itala, and in some other Latin copies; and what renders it highly probable that the original reading was dia [G1223] tou [G5120] profhtou [G4396], by the prophet, is, that Matthew frequently omits the name of the prophet in his quotations. See ch. 1:22 2:5,15 13:35 21:4. This omission is approved of by Bengel, Dr. A. Clarke, and Horne. And they. Zec 11:12,13 thirty. 26:15 Ex 21:32 Le 27:2-7 of the children of Israel did value. or, bought of the children of Israel.
----- End Quote -----
So, as you can see, there are a diversity of opinions which attempt to explain why the Gospel of Matthew says "Jeremy" instead of Zechariah. Perhaps one of these days we will gain a more complete understanding regarding which one is correct.
As you may likewise recall, in the first chapter of the Book of Acts, the Apostle Peter also mentions Jesus' betrayal by Judas Iscariot -- and the fact that Judas hung himself in Aceldama, or the field of blood -- as the Disciples are about to take a vote in order to determine who should replace Judas as the twelfth Apostle. Consider the following verses:
"Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. 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. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take."
Acts 1:16-20, KJV
In this case, Peter hits the mark right on, because in Psalm 109, which is clearly marked in verse one as a Psalm that was written by King David, we find a prophecy which not only reveals Judas' awful fate, but which in fact curses Judas' entire family. Consider the following example verses which seem to be describing how by God's Design, a Satan-possessed Judas was placed at Jesus' right hand, in order to fulfill that which he was preordained to do:
"Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand. When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin. Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places. Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour. Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children. Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out."
Psalm 109:6-13, KJV
Now consider some of the things which Jesus said concerning Judas Iscariot, which are clearly a fulfillment of the above verses:
"Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve."
John 6:70-71, KJV
"And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me. And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I? And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish. The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born."
Mark 14:18-21, KJV
"But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!"
Luke 22:21-22, KJV
"Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean."
John 13:10-11, KJV
A little earlier in the twenty-second chapter of the Gospel of Luke, we also find the following verses which deal with Judas' betrayal, and his possession by Satan:
"Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude."
Luke 22:3-6, KJV
Now, it is at this point that our discussion is going to get interesting, and perhaps challenging for some of you. We can all plainly read in the New Testament what Jesus had to say regarding Judas Iscariot. However, that is not all that He had to say concerning Judas. In this next quote, the Lord is only referencing Judas in an indirect manner, by obviously including him amongst The Twelve. Consider the following:
"And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
Matthew 19:28, KJV
To add to our dilemma, in the very next chapter of Matthew, and only nineteen verses after stating that The Twelve will sit upon Twelve Thrones judging the Twelve Tribes of Israel, as they are making their way to Jerusalem, we find the Lord saying the following to The Twelve:
"And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,"
Matthew 20:17-18, KJV
During the Last Supper scene that takes place in Luke chapter twenty-two, and only seven verses after telling His Disciples that His betrayer is sitting at the table with them, Jesus again says:
"And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
Luke 22:29-30, KJV
There should be no doubt that in Matthew 19:28, Jesus' words are directed to all twelve of His Apostles, because He tells them that they'll sit upon Twelve Thrones, judging the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Twelve means exactly that, twelve, and not minus one, meaning Judas Iscariot. The verses from the Gospel of Luke are a bit more ambiguous, because while they mention judging the Twelve Tribes of Israel, you'll notice that there is no specific mention of Twelve Thrones. The verse only says "thrones". Perhaps this is simply because Luke left out this small detail for some reason; or perhaps it is because Jesus actually didn't include the word "twelve" in Luke, because He knew that Judas would suffer a very different fate.
In light of the previous verses where Jesus clearly states that Judas has a devil, and that it were better for him if he had never been born, how do we reconcile the verses in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus states that The Twelve will sit upon Twelve Thrones judging the Twelve Tribes of Israel? This is a diametrically opposed point of view insofar as Judas is concerned, isn't it?
Clearly, Jesus is demonstrating that He is aware of the fact that someone is going to betray Him. So the question that we need to ask ourselves is this: At the time that He made the statement regarding the Twelve Apostles sitting upon Twelve Thrones, did He already know that Judas Iscariot would be the one to betray Him? If Jesus was already aware of Judas' coming treachery, would He have made the "Twelve Thrones" comment? So the gist of it is this: Is it remotely possible that even though He is the Son of God, He didn't yet possess this vital piece of information, because His Father had not yet revealed it to Him?
Before you start criticizing me, or accusing me of being a heretic, allow me to point you to a verse which demonstrates that while He was on Earth, apparently, the Lord didn't know everything ahead of time. Many of you are probably familiar with this verse, because if you are like me, you have read Matthew chapter twenty-four many times. In the chapter, while discussing His Return and the end of the age, Jesus states the following:
"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."
Matthew 24:36, KJV
It seems to me that by saying "but my Father only", Jesus was inferring that at the time that He made that statement, even He did not yet know the date that His Father has set for His Return to the Earth. If you still doubt that this is what He meant, then consider the following verse that is found in the Gospel of Mark, chapter thirteen. This chapter is actually a parallel chapter to Matthew chapter twenty-four, and Jesus is speaking of the very same events. That is, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, His Return, etc.:
"But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father."
Mark 13:32, KJV
The previous verse clearly confirms my understanding of what Jesus was saying in Matthew 24:36. That is, that at the time that He made that statement, even He was unaware of the date that His Father had set for His Return. There is no other way to interpret those two verses, unless we purposely distort the meaning of the Greek word "oude", which is translated as "neither" sixty-nine times in the New Testament.
So again, we find clear Scriptural proof, that even though He is the Son of God, Jesus was not aware of everything at every moment during His Earthly Mission. For reasons which are only known to the Father, He chose not to reveal certain things to Jesus. It is possible then that the identity of His betrayer may have been one of such things which was not known to the Lord until some time later during His Ministry.
If there is one thing that we can learn from a close reading of the Gospels, it is that by means of private prayer time, Jesus was in constant communication with, and receiving His instructions from, His Father. Jesus was taking His lead from His Father, as seems to be hinted at in verses such as the following:
"And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed."
Mark 1:35, KJV
"Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel . . . I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."
John 5:19-20, 30, KJV
Allow me to point out something in the previous verses from the Gospel of John. Please notice that Jesus specifically says "the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth". Now, please try to look at this with an open mind. If, while on the Earth, clothed in human flesh, Jesus still retained His full heavenly memory, and knew all things, why would His Father have to show Him anything? If Jesus was still aware of everything, and had a constant link with His Father, wouldn't He already know what His Father was doing, without His Father having to tell Him or show Him? Is this possibly a small indication then that Jesus' knowledge may have purposely been limited to some degree by the Father while He completed His Mission on Earth?
Is it possible that His Father only revealed parts of His Mission to Jesus at a time, as He needed to know it? Is it possible that being as Jesus had taken on the form of weak human flesh, He wouldn't have been able to bear the burden, emotionally or mentally, if God the Father had revealed the bitter end to Him from the beginning? If Jesus knew from the very beginning that Judas Iscariot would be the cause of the agonizing death He would face in a few short years, would He have even chosen Judas as one of His Disciples? Let us not forget that in the Garden of Gethsemane, His sweat fell to the ground as if it were drops of blood. Furthermore, Jesus begged His Father to remove the cup from Him, if it were at all possible. We are even told that an Angel had to come in order to strengthen Him. Consider these verses:
"And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."
Luke 22:41-44, KJV
That is why even the writer of Hebrews tells us that while He was in human flesh, Jesus suffered the very same temptations and weaknesses as we do, which would seem to suggest that He may have been limited in some ways. That is precisely what makes Jesus our perfect High Priest. He fully understands the things that we have to go through in the flesh. His Father allowed Him to endure everything that we endure in the flesh. Consider this verse:
"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
Hebrews 4:15, KJV
Thankfully, as the Apostle Paul informs us in his Epistle to the Philippians, Jesus was willing to be obedient unto death, for our sakes; and it is for that reason that God the Father has greatly magnified Him and given Him a Name which is above every name, as we see here:
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Philippians 2:5-11, KJV
Please go to part two for the conclusion of this article.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .