The context is as follows. As we can see the longer version is in John:

22 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. 21 And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people. Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd. (Luke 22:1-6, ESV)

13 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. .. 21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus[f] of whom he was speaking. 25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. (John 13:1-4 … 21-30, ESV)


Satan entered Judas twice?

The John account shows something strange. Something all but inexplicable if Satan is a literal spirit being. First the devil puts something – an idea – in Judas’ heart. And then at the right moment Satan enters Judas and Judas acts on it.  It’s an interesting account dramatising the moment when as in James 1:15 “desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin”. And we see in the consequences for Judas later as James 1:15 continues “and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” Temptation conceives in Judas and gives birth to sin, action.

If we were going to address this verse alone, we could do so along the lines suggested by Ron Abel in the book Wrested Scriptures:

  1. Which is the superhuman being, Satan, or the Devil? In John 13:2 the devil put the thought of betrayal into Judas’ heart, but after the sop, Satan entered into him. (John 13:27). Does Satan enter one who is already captured by the devil? (cf. “have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?). The distinction between “the devil” (John 13:2) and “Satan” (John 13:27) may suggest that the former was sown by some emissary of the chief priests. The latter may indicate complete abandonment to sin. (cf. John 12:6 – Judas’ problems began before the crucifixion: “he was a thief, and had the bag”.)
  2. “Satan hath desired you {plural}” (Luke 22:31) suggests that the chief priests were looking for two or more of the disciples who they could use for their own evil purposes, or it may suggest that they contemplated rounding up all the disciples.
  3. There is a parallel passage in Acts 5:3, 4: Peter said to Ananias, “Why hath Satan filled thine heart . . . ?” But the next verse explains: “Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? When an individual gives himself over to sin, it is said to be Satan (adversary) entering into his heart.


“Is Satan a spirit creature?” : Not being distracted from the forest by the trees.

Is Satan a spirit creature obviously cannot be answered from just the Judas incident above.

The problem with answering only “Satan entered Judas” with an answer like Ron’s above is that if someone comes to the Bible with the traditional Evangelical background it can easily become a chain discussion attempting to deal with all seventy verses where “Satan” or “devil” are mentioned…. except that will never happen since discussion will be fruitless, exhausting after six or a dozen examples.

Dealing with this devil verse (or any of these seventy verses in the New Testament) cannot be done without coming to grips with the primary source of the New Testament devil in the accounts of Matthew 4. and Luke 4. To have an understanding of any subject, we have to start at the beginning. Since Satan and the devil, apart from a couple of literary-poetic antecedents in Job 1 and Zechariah 3, doesn’t really exist as a major concept in the Old Testament, we need to start in the New, and where the New Testament starts. Particularly in this example the text above with Satan entering Judas in Luke 22 is clearly rooted in contrast with Jesus refusing Satan in the wilderness. “Satan entered Judas” has little independent meaning outside the overall teaching of Luke’s gospel.

So the real answer to this devil verse, like almost all of the New Testament devil verses, lies back in the earlier question: Who or what is the devil in the wilderness temptations of Christ? (Matthew 4)





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