15 At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said, 16 "Brethren, the Scripture had to be (a)fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 "For he was counted among us and received his (b)share in this ministry."
18 (Now (c)this man acquired a field with the (d)price of his wickedness, and (e)falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out. 19 And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 "For it is written in the book of Psalms, Ps 69:25 (f)'LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATE, AND LET NO ONE DWELL IN IT'; and, Ps 109:8 (g)'LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS OFFICE.'
Predestination or Free Will?
v.16 (a) the Scripture had to be fulfilled. It was not a mistake that Judas was picked as one of the twelve. In fact, it was according to plan; a plan that was established before the foundations of the world. This plan was set forth in Scripture because God does nothing unless He first reveals it to His prophets, Amos 3:7. God knows the end from the beginning and makes His plans accordingly, Rev 22:13, Is 46:9-10, Jer 1:12.
Judas was predestined as the betrayer and the son of perdition, Jn 6:70-71, 17:12. So does this mean that Judas never had free will? No, we all have the freedom of choice and free will and Judas too always had free will; but God, being outside of time, knew the choices Judas would make and therefore it was prophesied the things concerning Him.
Predestination does not mean we do not have free will. It is the fact that God knew every decision we will make, even before the foundation of the world, and has set up His plan in conjunction with us. So yes, we all have free will, God just knows the decisions we will make and set up His plan according to those decisions.
A question might be asked, how God, being sovereign, can be swayed by our decisions. Does this mean that we control God? No, God forbid, God is all powerful and all sovereign, and it was His choice to bind Himself and His plan to us. God loves us so much that He wanted to include us in His plan of redemption for man. He not only wants us to live with Him forever, but also now, while we are on this earth; in every decision and in all things, He wants to fulfill His plan of redemption with us.
It would have been much easier for Him to send His Son, as the Savior of mankind, to the earth, die and be resurrected and redeem mankind from sin and death without the help and involvement of man. But He didn’t want to do that. He wanted the enjoyment of spending time with us. Fulfilling the plan of redemption and including us in the process. This is His plan, established before the foundation of the world, and His plan includes us because He loves us so much.
Peter refers to three scriptures proving that Judas was not a mistake and was foretold as a necessary part of the plan that had to be fulfilled.
Not only are the three verses above a description of Judas in the Old Testament, but also the thirty pieces of silver , the betrayal and the potter’s field are all foretold in the scriptures as well, Jer 19:1-13, Zech 11:11-13
v.17 (b) share- κλῆρον , kleron- lot, portion, asset
God established twelve tribes of Israel with twelve apostles to judge them in the next dispensation, Matt 19:28, Lk 22:30. This seat is the share that was attributed to Judas, but I don’t believe he ever obtained it. Judas was never a believer and will not enter into the kingdom of God. Therefore the seat was never his to begin with.
Death had nothing to do with the empty seat that had to be filled; if that were the case, all the seats would have needed filling eventually because all the apostles eventually died. The reason they needed to find a replacement and the reason it was foretold several hundred years prior, Ps 109:8, was because that seat was never filled from the beginning.
v.18 (c) this man- the subject of this event is no doubt Judas, but the man who actually purchased the potter’s field was the high priest because Judas threw the money back at the Pharisees and was so ashamed at what he had done, went out and hung himself. Below is a compilation of that account from the gospels:
Mt 27:3 Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5 And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed Mt 27:6 But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” Ac 1:18 Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, Mt 27:7 the chief priests conferred together and with the money bought the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. Mt 27:5 and Judas went and hanged himself. Ac 1:18 And falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) Mt 27:9 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, 10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”
v.18 (d) The price of his wickedness- This is referring to the thirty pieces of silver as a payment for the betrayal of Jesus. But Judas, feeling remorse and shame at what he had done, threw the money back at the Pharisees. The Pharisees then could not use this money in the treasury because it was blood money, so they bought the potter’s field, possibly in Judas’ name, as a burial place for strangers, Matt 27:3-10.
It is unclear exactly when Judas hung himself. He could have thrown the money back at the Pharisees and that same day hanged himself; or he could have waited and hung himself on the potter’s field. I tend to lean toward the latter argument because it says this land became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem as the Field of Blood, Acts 1:19. It was known by that name because this is the same field that Judas fell headlong and his intestines gushed out.
v.18 (e) falling headlong- γενόμενος, genomenos.
Some say there is a contradiction with Judas’ death. Matthew states that Judas hung himself, while Peter states that Judas fell headlong and his intestines gushed out. I believe both statements are true. Judas hung himself from a tree and either the tree branch or the rope broke and he was hurled to his death.
Another conjecture I might add could be that the rope or the tree branch stayed in place, and something else broke. The Greek word genomenos, translated falling headlong, really means to undergo a change or development, to become something different. This might mean that he was decapitated by the rope and his body fell a long distance and burst open from the force of the impact. A gruesome thought, but that might explain the amount of blood that could warrant a name like Field of Blood.
v.20 (f) Ps 69:25- Peter cites two passages from the Old Testament, this one speaks of the removal of Judas from his place and position as apostle; the other regarding the filling of his vacant place by another.
Ps 69 is a prophetic message from the mouth of David about Jesus; verses 7-12 speak of the cloud of illegitimacy that hung over Mary and Jesus as a child born out of wed lock; verses 13-21 are a prophetic account of Jesus on the cross; verses 22-28, in which our text lies, speaks of the judgement of God on those that reject His Son Jesus. The Holy Spirit, thru Peter, tells us that this includes Judas; verse 25 was a prophetic message about the betrayer. God, in all His infinite wisdom and knowledge, explained the destruction of the betrayer, namely Judas Iscariot and all those who choose to reject the Messiah. These verses, 22-28, make it plain that Judas was not a Christian and is not recorded in the Book of Life.
v.20 (g) Ps 109:8- This Psalm is also prophetic of Jesus and the destruction of those that reject Him. Verses 6-8 specifically speak of Judas and explain that another must take his office- ἐπισκοπὴν, episkopen- position of authority and supervision.
These two prophetic Psalms, among hundreds of others, prove Amos 3:7- the Lord does nothing unless He reveals His secret council to His servants the prophets.
The Holy Spirit revealed thru Peter the destiny of the betrayer and it was revealed in such a slight way that if Peter would not have quoted these verses, we may have never known that these texts were about Judas Iscariot.
Every word and every letter in the Bible is written on purpose and is part of God’s plan. Seek His word and know Him and He will give you insight.
Those who have insight will shine brightly and understand.
Daniel 12:3a, 10b