DOES MATTHEW 19:27-28 PROVE JUDAS IS IN HEAVEN?
by Shawn Brasseaux
Honestly, this is a most thought-provoking question, one I have never heard others discuss and a view I have never before considered. This inquiry encouraged me to study the Bible for myself, and it yielded the following article. Let us look at Matthew 19:27-28 and see if we can shed some light on it. To the Scriptures!
The Bible says in Matthew 19:27-28: “ Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?  And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
If one were to argue that Judas died a saved individual, that he was someone who departed this world having a right standing before God, this would probably be the primary text that he or she would use. Jesus Christ certainly indicated that only 12 individuals would sit on 12 thrones in order to judge the 12 tribes of Israel. However, notice how Jesus Christ never actually singled out Judas Iscariot by name as one of these individuals. For example, Jesus did not say, “You twelve will sit on twelve thrones….” The Bible never says, “Jesus said unto the twelve apostles, Ye will sit on twelve thrones….” “The twelve” was frequently used in Scripture to include Judas (Matthew 26:20; Mark 4:10; Mark 6:7; Mark 9:35; Mark 10:32; Luke 18:31; John 6:67), but we do not see such language in Matthew 19:27-28; this leads us to conclude that Judas was not included in this promise. Moreover, Scriptural evidence indicates that Judas died and went to hell. (That topic, for sake of brevity, cannot be discussed in this study. For more information, see our Bible study linked at the end of this article.)
What concerns us here is the meaning of Matthew 19:27-28 with respect to Judas. Since the Bible suggests that Judas did not go to heaven, who was that twelfth individual that Jesus Christ made reference to in these verses?
Between the time period of Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven (Acts chapter 1) until the Holy Ghost came down to Earth on the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2)—a period of roughly a week—Peter knew from the Scriptures that some man had to fill Judas’ now-vacant apostleship. There had to be twelve apostles to sit on twelve thrones, and with Judas now expired, someone had to be selected. Let us read from Acts chapter 1:
“ And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)  Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.  For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.  Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.  And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.  For it is written in the book of Psalms [Psalm 69:25], Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and [Psalm 109:8] his bishoprick let another take.  Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,  Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.  And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.  And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,  That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.  And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”
In order to occupy Judas’s bishoprick, his replacement had to meet two conditions (verses 21 and 22): firstly, the man had to have been a follower of Jesus Christ from John’s water baptism (Matthew chapter 3), and secondly, he had to be a follower of Jesus all the way up to His ascension into heaven (Acts chapter 1). To wit, Judas’ replacement had to have witnessed the entire earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. This makes sense, since only one who saw Jesus’s ministry and resurrection firsthand could serve in the capacity of being God’s witness of that ministry and resurrection. Only two men met these conditions—Joseph Barsabas Justus, and Matthias. By the casting of lots, God revealed His will to the 11 apostles; it is clear that God Himself wanted Matthias to replace Judas. “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD” (Proverbs 16:33). “And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,…” (Acts 1:24). Contrary to popular belief, the Lord Himself—not Peter—selected Matthias beforehand; the method whereby the apostles discovered the Lord’s selection was by the casting of lots.
With all that said, we understand that when Jesus spoke of 12 men sitting on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel in His earthly kingdom, there were more than 12 people present in the audience of Matthew 19:27-28. In fact, we read in verse 26 that Jesus’ “disciples” are present—that would include more than just His “apostles.” Matthias would have been among the crowds when Jesus spoke of Israel’s 12 thrones and 12 princes sitting on those thrones. It is my conviction that Jesus was speaking to Matthias and Peter and the 10, not Judas, when He uttered the words of Matthew 19:27-28 and Luke 22:30.