"Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition."—John 17:12.
"Kept" and "lost" are here employed antithetically. The eleven were "kept," by remaining true, and Judas was "lost" out of the apostleship. He was lost as all men were, for Christ came to "save that which was lost." The language has no reference to his final condition, but to his then present state.
Judas is called "the son of perdition," John 17:12; the apostle speaks of those "who draw back unto perdition," Heb. 10:39; and of "the perdition of ungodly men," 2 Pet. 3:7; and the Revelator, 17:8-11 declares that certain ones are destined to perdition. What is the meaning of this word, (apoleia)?It is the same word found in the following passages: Matt. 7:13, "broad is the way that leadeth to 'destruction';" Acts 8:20, "Thy money perish with thee;" 2 Pet.2:50, "shall bring in damnable heresies; 2, "follow their pernicious ways;" 3, "their damnation slumbereth not;" Matt. 26:8, "to what purpose this waste of the ointment? Acts 25:16, "it is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die." It is found twenty times in the New Testament, and is translated destruction, waste, perdition, die, damnable and pernicious. Its meaning is never endless torment; but it denotes loss, waste, etc.
In Heb. 10:39: "But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul;" the meaning is that the disciples would not experience the destruction about to overtake the wicked people of those times. This is the view given by orthodox commentators. Wakefield:
"But we are not they who withdraw unto destruction, but who faithfullly persevere, to the deliverance of our lives." Clarke.—"We are not cowards who slink away, and notwithstanding, meet destruction; but we are faithful, and have our souls saved alive. The words peripoiesis psuche signify the preservation of life. See the note Ephesians 1:11. He intimates that, notwithstanding the persecution was hot, yet they managed to excape with their lives." Lightfoot.—"As Christ's pouring down his vengeance. in the destruction of that city and people, is called his 'coming in his glory,' and his 'coming in judgment;' and as the destruction of that city and nation is characterized, in Scripture, as the destruction of the whole world, so there are several passages that speak of the nearness of that destruction, that are suited according to such characters. Such as that in I Cor. 10:11, 'Upon whom the ends of the world are come;' 1 Pet. 4:7, 'The end of all thigs is at hand'; Heb. 10:37, 'Yet a little while, and he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry.—Sermon on James, 5:9.
As "son of thunder" in the New Testament meant an eloquent man, and "son of peace," a peaceable man, so "son of perdition" denotes one abandoned to wickedness. Judas was lost, was a son of perdition, because of his great wickedness. He was lost out of the apostleship, but nothing indicates that his loss was final. The best critics of other churches give this view. Whitby:—
"And none of them is lost; i.e., either by temporal death (chapter xviii:9) or by falling off from me, but the son of perdition, i.e., Judas, worthy of perdition. So a son of death is worthy of it, (2 Sam. 41:5) and ethnos apoleias is a nation fit to be destroyed. (Eccl. 16:9; Matt. 23:15, and the note on Eph. 2:2) Rosenmuller—"No one is ignorant that Judas is here the intended betrayer of Christ, and who had fallen off from him. Apoleia, (perdition) therefore, as the preceding words teach, in this place, seems to indicate a defection from Jesus, the teacher; as in 2 Thess. 2:3, where the phraseho uhios amartias, (the son of transgression) and is used concerning a noted impostor, who persuaded many to a defection from the Christian religion."
There is nothing in the use of the word perdition to intimate that it means more than loss. In fact, the more utterly he was lost the more certain he is to experience the saving power of Christ, who came to "seek and save that which was lost,: Matt. 18:11, "to the lost sheep of the house of Israel," 10:6. The prodigal son, the piece of silver, and the hundredth sheep were lost, but all these were found. their being lost was the sole reason why they were sought and saved from their perilous condition. We have "all gone astray like lost sheep," but the lost shall be found, and "there shall be one fold and one shepherd."
The word apollumi is the word usually rendered lost and lose, and it is also translateddestroy, perish, and marred." Lord, save us, we 'perish'," Matt. 8:25; "Go, rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel," Matt. 10:6; "Whosoever will save his life shall lose it," Mark 8:35; "I have found my sheep, which was lost," Luke 15:6; "There shall not a hair of your head perish," Luke 21:18, are instances of the use of the word. As applied to the soul it means a condition of sinfulness. Matt. 10:6, "The lost sheep of the house of Israel;" 18:11, "The Son of Man is come to save that which was lost." But nothing is more distinctly taught than that Jesus, who came to seek and save the lost, will continue his work until he finds them. There is no final loss in the New Testament.
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