For other posts dealing with Bible contradictions see our Collection of Posts Responding to Bible Contradictions.
Today’s post will tackle another question that the Skeptic Annotated Bible asked: “When did Satan enter Judas?”
Here are the two answers which the skeptic believes shows a Bible contradiction:
Before the last supper.
And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve….Then came the first day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. (Luke 22:3, 7)
After the last supper.
After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus *said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” (John 13:27)
(All Scriptural quotation comes from the New American Standard Bible)
Here’s a closer look at whether or not there is a contradiction:
- When dealing with skeptics’ claim of Bible contradictions it seems one can never be reminded enough of what exactly is a contradiction. A contradiction occurs when two or more claims conflict with one another so that they cannot simultaneously be true in the same sense and at the same time. To put it another way, the claims found in the Bible are mutually exclusive.
- Technically it is possible that the two claims, “Satan entered Judas before the last supper” and “Satan entered Judas after the last supper” are not necessarily mutually exclusive since it is possible that Satan could have entered into Judas before the last supper but left Judas only to enter into Judas again after the last supper.
- The skeptic quoted from the book of Luke to prove that Satan entered Judas before the last supper. The same book of Luke also teaches that demons and unclean spirits can go back and forth from unsaved people they possessed: “When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first” (Luke 11:24-26). Given that this teaching is within the book of Luke, we shouldn’t be surprised that Satan could come and go in regards to entering the person of Judas.
- We can harmonize Luke 22:3 and John 13:27 if we consider the entirety of Luke 22 and especially in light of Luke 22:31. We must not forget that Satan, as powerful as he is, is still finite. That is, there are limitations for him. Limitations that include not being omnipresent. In Luke 22:3 we find that Satan entered Judas before the Lord’s supper. But during the last supper Jesus revealed the following statement to Simon Peter: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat” (Luke 22:31). Obviously in order for Satan to go ask permission to sift Simon like wheat, Satan had to be away from Judas’ body at some point during the supper. Some time after that Satan reentered into Judas. Thus we don’t see a contradiction.
- We must also not forget that both Luke 22:3 and John 13:27 mentioned Satan entering Judas to lead him to do specific tasks; in Luke 22:3 it is to get Judas to negotiate with the religious leaders to betray Jesus while John 13:27 to quickly carry out the plan of betrayal. There’s different functions Satan accomplishes and so there are different senses in which Satan entered Judas. Which means there is not a contradiction