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Another Nail In Judas' Coffin?


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Hello! smile.png

 

I recently came across this article...

 

http://www.wrs.edu/M...ities_in_OT.pdf

 

...written by John A. Battle, of the Western Reformed Seminary. http://wrs.edu/

 

Now, I reckon that without even knowing it, Mr. Battle has helped us Ex-Christians out!

 

When it comes to the issue of Judas' 'ownership' of a field Christian apologists will try and reconcile Matthew 27: 1 - 10 and Acts 1: 15 - 19 in the following way.

Knowing that Matthew says that the chief priests bought the field, but Luke (the author of Acts) says that it was Judas who did the buying, apologists will resolve these mutually-exclusive accounts of the same event by asserting that Judas became the owner of the field retroactively, after he was dead. Thus, the Matthew account can be reconciled with the Acts narrative if Judas became the owner of the field in a symbolic/metaphorical sense, rather than the literal one.

 

Here are the relevant passages.

 

Matthew 27: 1 - 10 (NIV)

1 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed.

2 So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders.

4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”

5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.”

7So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners.

8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day.

9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel,

10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

 

Acts 1: 15 - 19 (NIV)

15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty)

16 and said, “Brothers and sisters,[d] the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus.

17 He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.”

18 (With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out.

19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)

 

Now, besides there being a number of logical problems with the idea that Judas could 'own' the field after his death, the WRS article makes it quite clear that ownership of land in ancient Israel carried with it certain rights and responsibilities. So, putting it simply, how could Judas fulfill any part of what was expected of him, as the owner of the field?

 

The equally simple answer to this is that he can't... because he was already dead.

 

Therefore, according to the very rulings and guidelines laid down by God, there is no legal or scriptural way in which Judas could be said to have acquired ownership of anything. Even a highly-diluted form of 'symbolic' ownership would run contrary to the nature and principle of God's laws. In other words, this is a no-brainer! Luke and Matthew cannot be force-fitted together and 'made' to agree.

 

Consequently, this issue can only be seen as a bona fide Biblical contradiction.

Contradictory scripture completely undermines any claim of Biblical innerancy, flawlessness, perfection and infallibility.

Game over!

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.

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I never even understood why Judas was such a bad guy anyway. I mean come on, without him Jesus would not have been crucified. Without Jesus being crucified Christians would not have a savior. Without a savior you'd all go to hell. Now since we understand both Jesus and Judas played an important role in prophecy, who sacrificed more, the guy who's sitting in heaven at the right hand of the father with every luxury you could imagine, or someone who's burning in hell for eternity?

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I skimmed through the PDF and I'm not seeing the connection. Why is it that Judas can't have this property?

 

mwc

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I skimmed through the PDF and I'm not seeing the connection. Why is it that Judas can't have this property?

 

mwc

 

Hi MWC!

 

According to Acts 1: 15-19, Judas could (and did) become the owner of the field. No problem there.

As the WRS article makes clear, all property transactions in ancient Israel carried with them certain rights and responsibilities - principles derived from O.T. law. If Acts had been the only part of scripture to describe Judas' demise, there wouldn't be a problem. Judas could have purchased the field quite legally and then died there, 'falling headlong, with his intestines bursting out'.

 

But Acts isn't the only account of his death and consequently, there is a problem, because Matthew tells it differently, in a way that totally contradicts Luke's narrative in Acts.

 

According to Matthew 27: 1 - 10, Judas didn't make the purchase - it was the chief priests who did that. That's the glaring contradiction that Biblical Inerrantists are trying to resolve here. Putting it simply, both accounts cannot be true. So, Christian apologists try to reconcile these two, radically different accounts, by bringing Matthew into line with Acts. That way, both scriptural accounts agree that the field was Judas' and the perfect, inerrancy of the Bible is preserved. They assert that the field (though lawfully purchased by chief priests, using money that was no longer Judas') became his retroactively, after his death. Therefore, both accounts now agree that the field was Judas' and inerrancy rules, ok!

 

The WRS article blows this kind of skullduggery out of the water because the ownership of land automatically carried with it rights and responsibilities - things that simply don't apply to the dead.

If a Jew had no means of carrying out these responsibilities there could be no sale. That would run completely counter to the letter and the spirit of O.T. property law.

 

Likewise, if a Jew had no means of claiming his legal rights (enshrined in O.T. property law) the result would be the same - no sale could have taken place.

 

Judas had the best possible way of avoiding his rights and responsibilities... he was dead. Therefore, ownership of anything by him was simply impossible.

 

Any way you cut this MWC, there's no possible case to be made for the field becoming Judas' after his death.

 

That help?

 

BAA.

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I guess I was going off what is written in G.Matthew and nowhere in there does it mention the field belonging to Judas. I didn't see a problem based on the text alone but it appears there was more I needed to take into account to fully understand what it was you were trying to get at here.

 

I suppose, if we're just sort of making things up, as seems to be the case of this apologetic argument, then we could just assume that the field was dedicated to Judas by the priests and became "his" that way. This is something that has, and still does, happen. There's zero evidence that this unknown field was ever known as "The Field of Judas" as opposed to "The Field of Blood" but it is one way I see to get around the type of land ownership issues you mention.

 

The fragments of Papias don't mention land (if they did it's lost):

III.

Judas walked about in this world a sad example of impiety; for his body having swollen to such an extent that he could not pass where a chariot could pass easily, he was crushed by the chariot, so that his bowels gushed out.

But this third death of Judas shows he seemed to be a character in development. We're looking at someone at least 5-6 feet wide (more really since he's wider than a chariot). Someone this huge isn't working any land. He's probably not walking around on his own power. The only common idea with the biblical story is his guts came out and that's not likely.

 

mwc

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I guess I was going off what is written in G.Matthew and nowhere in there does it mention the field belonging to Judas. I didn't see a problem based on the text alone but it appears there was more I needed to take into account to fully understand what it was you were trying to get at here.

 

Just so, MWC.

 

As you say, Matthew states that the field was bought by (and therefore belongs to) the chief priests, not Judas - in direct contradiction of Peter's words in Acts. That kind of contradiction is totally unacceptable to the Biblical Inerrantists. Hence their apologetic argument (a.k.a. semantic tomfoolery) to deal with this.

 

I suppose, if we're just sort of making things up, as seems to be the case of this apologetic argument, then we could just assume that the field was dedicated to Judas by the priests and became "his" that way. This is something that has, and still does, happen.

 

Point taken.

But a piece of land dedicated to a dead person (for any reason) doesn't their imply ownership of it, which is precisely what the Acts narrative says. For the apologetic argument to succeed, Matthew needs to be brought into line with Acts. However, there are other O.T. Jewish laws scriptural that prevent this.

 

Centauri's provided some help for me here.

According to his understanding of the O.T., property would automatically be transferred to the nearest relative of the deceased. Or, if there were no relatives, then it would revert to the tribe that person belonged to. (See Numbers 36.)Either way, ownership never involves Judas.

 

Then there's also this passage to take into account.

 

Lev 27:16-25 (NIV)

“‘If anyone dedicates to the LORD part of their family land, its value is to be set according to the amount of seed required for it—fifty shekels of silver to a homer of barley seed.

If they dedicate a field during the Year of Jubilee, the value that has been set remains.

But if they dedicate a field after the Jubilee, the priest will determine the value according to the number of years that remain until the next Year of Jubilee, and its set value will be reduced.

If the one who dedicates the field wishes to redeem it, they must add a fifth to its value, and the field will again become theirs.

If, however, they do not redeem the field, or if they have sold it to someone else, it can never be redeemed.

When the field is released in the Jubilee, it will become holy, like a field devoted to the LORD; it will become priestly property.

“‘If anyone dedicates to the LORD a field they have bought, which is not part of their family land,

the priest will determine its value up to the Year of Jubilee, and the owner must pay its value on that day as something holy to the LORD.

In the Year of Jubilee the field will revert to the person from whom it was bought, the one whose land it was.

Every value is to be set according to the sanctuary shekel, twenty gerahs to the shekel."

 

Centauri explains this to mean that land can become "holy" by default and then it belongs to the priesthood.

Now, given that it was the chief priests who made the land purchase with Judas' blood money, they (not he) were the legal owners. Nor could the field revert to Judas' ownership when the next Jubilee Year came around. Why? For two reasons.

 

1.

It was never Judas' in the first place, so it could not revert to him retroactively.

The money left his possession the instant he threw it into the temple. Also Judas never made any kind of transaction for the field that would be recognized by Jewish or Roman law. It was therefore the property of the chief priests by virtue of their right of purchase. Unlike the dead Judas, the living priests could fulfill all of the rights and responsibilities outlined in the WRS article. Yet another reason why it was theirs, not his.

 

2.

To whom would the field revert to, when the next Jubilee year came round?

As mentioned earlier, the deceased's relatives or his tribe - not the deceased. Once again, ownership would have skipped over Judas to someone else.

 

 

There's zero evidence that this unknown field was ever known as "The Field of Judas" as opposed to "The Field of Blood" but it is one way I see to get around the type of land ownership issues you mention.

 

The fragments of Papias don't mention land (if they did it's lost):

III.

Judas walked about in this world a sad example of impiety; for his body having swollen to such an extent that he could not pass where a chariot could pass easily, he was crushed by the chariot, so that his bowels gushed out.

But this third death of Judas shows he seemed to be a character in development. We're looking at someone at least 5-6 feet wide (more really since he's wider than a chariot). Someone this huge isn't working any land. He's probably not walking around on his own power. The only common idea with the biblical story is his guts came out and that's not likely.

 

mwc

 

In conclusion MWC, I'd say that the Inerrantist argument (to bring Matthew into line with Acts) fails on every level.

It's contrary to the O.T. law the chief priests would have been bound by, as outlined by Centuari's and Battle's work.

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.

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