If God is all powerful and has the capacity to destroy evil and pull down every unjust leader and government–why do they still exist? This is a question which has perplexed men for centuries. The Bible explains this paradox and the reasons why evil is allowed to continue. Even spiritual leaders in the Christian church who serve only themselves, or exist for unrighteous motives–God has permitted them, for His own purposes.
We find the answers to these questions in the words of a prophecy, which is directed at the Messiah. God allowed an evil man, Judas Iscariot, to betray and harm His Son–in order to bring about the greater purpose of allowing the whole world, a Savior.
The betrayer of the Messiah will be taken alive into Hell, as was the fate of Korah for his betrayal of Moses.
Old Testament Prediction:
Psalms 55:15 “Let death seize them; Let them go down alive into hell, For wickedness is in their dwellings and among them.”
The words to this prophecy–directed at the Messiah, are fulfilled by Jesus in the narrative of the New Testament.
Matthew 27:1-5 When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor. Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
John 17:12 (Jesus Speaking) “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”
Acts 1:23-25 And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.”
The language of this prophecy is difficult to understand, without knowledge of former events from the Old Testament. In Numbers chapter 16, Korah and a group of 250 men, challenge the leadership of Moses. In an effort to teach all of Israel a valuable lesson, Moses stands before the people and declares that he is not a leader by his own will, but one chosen by God.
To confirm the rebellion and betrayal of Korah and his men as unjust—Moses describes the death of the betrayers as an act of the Lord, not a natural event. The ground opens and takes Korah and all 250 men, alive, into Hell.
Numbers 16:28-33 And Moses said: “By this you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will. 29 If these men die naturally like all men, or if they are visited by the common fate of all men, then the LORD has not sent me. 30 But if the LORD creates a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the pit, then you will understand that these men have rejected the LORD.” 31 Now it came to pass, as he finished speaking all these words, that the ground split apart under them, 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods. 33 So they and all those with them went down alive into the pit; the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the assembly.
The words of this 111th prophecy, describe a group of individuals who had formerly betrayed Moses and later, the one who would betray the Messiah:
“Let death seize them; Let them go down alive into hell…” —Psalm 55:15
There are many places in the scriptures where Moses and the Messiah are seen as similar delivers of God’s people. It is interesting that this prophecy from Psalm 55:15, is written by David for an earlier and later fulfillment: specifically, Korah and his rebellion against Moses authority, followed later by Judas as he betrays Jesus.
Korah’s rebellion against the anointed leadership of Moses, as well as a similar rebellion by Absalom and close friend—Ahithophel, define the serious error of all those who come against the men whom God has chosen as leaders. The Lord views betrayal and rebellion towards leadership as a personal offense. He views such rebellion as insubordination against His authority—who has placed these men in positions of leadership.
The downside of this principle is observed when a man is in such a position of spiritual leadership, and he is not fully submitted himself, to the authority and will of God. In these cases, this particular type of leader can become a terrible plague to those who live under his ungodly leadership. The example of Korah, and later Judas—as betrayers, is given to us in the case of Godly leaders, chosen by the Lord—betrayed by those whom they came to serve.
What is interesting regarding this principle of rebellion against men who are in positions of administration or power, is that they exist by the will of God. Whether these men are good or evil, know God or not, all authority and all leadership exists by God’s sovereign will.
Romans 13:1-2 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
The most stunning example of this principle is observed in the Book of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar is the king of Babylon, the most powerful kingdom in the world at that time. Daniel has been taken captive from Jerusalem by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar, along with the best and brightest of Israel. God desires that this pagan king understand His sovereignty and the fact that He alone appoints men to the positions of leadership in the governments and kingdoms of the world.
Beginning in chapter 2 in the book of Daniel, we begin to see this principle established. Nebuchadnezzar has a dream that troubles him. He sees a statue with a head of Gold, chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. Then a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.
Daniel is found as one who is able to interpret the king’s dream. He informs Nebuchadnezzar that this dream has been given to the king—for the express purpose of teaching him the sovereignty of God.
Daniel 2:20 Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. 21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings.
God alone is responsible for those who rule in the kingdoms of men. He raises up and removes leaders as He determines. Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that God has chosen him as the king—over a vast empire that has great power. This is signified in the kings dream by the head of gold.
Daniel 2:37-39 You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38 and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold. 39 But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.
After a period of time, God will remove Nebuchadnezzar and place another in authority; the chest and arms of silver—Cyrus of the Medes and Persians.
It is interesting in both cases, these men are pagan kings who do not know God. It will be through the process of being raised up as kings, and later, replaced by others, that these men will come to know the One True God. After Daniel reveals the interpretation of the king’s dream, Nebuchadnezzar understands that this God is the One true God.
Daniel 2:47 The king answered Daniel, and said, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.”
Not long after the king’s expression of amazement at seeing the sovereignty of God, he reconsiders his conclusions and believes that he might be able to countermand God’s authority. Nebuchadnezzar erects an entire statue of Gold to signify that his kingdom will not end. In the dream that God had formerly given to Nebuchadnezzar, only the head of the statue was Gold. This signified that the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar had a limited period of authority—before God would raise up another to rule.
It is interesting that Nebuchadnezzar thought that he could challenge this premise and seek to extend his rule—by making an entire statue of Gold.
Daniel 3:1-6 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 4 Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, 5 that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; 6 and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”
The patience of God in trying to teach this pagan king—who is really in control over all things, is extraordinary. Even after Nebuchadnezzar exalts himself and defies God’s command—by erecting a 90 foot tall gold statue of himself, God continues to patiently instruct him. Nebuchadnezzar is given a second dream by God:
Daniel 4:4-5 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace. 5 I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.
Daniel is brought once again, back to the king, to interpret this latest dream.
Daniel 4:9-10-18 “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the Spirit of the Holy God is in you, and no secret troubles you, explain to me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation. 10 “These were the visions of my head while on my bed: I was looking, and behold, A tree in the midst of the earth, And its height was great. 11 The tree grew and became strong; Its height reached to the heavens, And it could be seen to the ends of all the earth…13 “I saw in the visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven. 14 He cried aloud and said thus: “Chop down the tree and cut off its branches, Strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts get out from under it, And the birds from its branches…16 Let his heart be changed from that of a man, Let him be given the heart of a beast, And let seven times (seven years) pass over him. 17 “This decision is by the decree of the watchers, And the sentence by the word of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.’ 18 “This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its interpretation…
Nebuchadnezzar is the tree that will be chopped down. This kings will be humbled by God, and led out into the fields—where he will lose his mental capacity for seven years. He will eat the grass of the field like a cow and remain in this helpless condition until he is ready to acknowledge that God alone is sovereign over all governments and authorities of men.
Daniel 4:20 “The tree that you saw… 22 it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong; for your greatness has grown and reaches to the heavens, and your dominion to the end of the earth….25 They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times (seven years) shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.
After seven years, Nebuchadnezzar is ready to declare that God is God and He alone rules over all the earth.
Daniel 4:34-35 And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. 35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?”
There are many examples in the Old Testament where pagan kings and ungodly men are placed into positions of leadership by God—for His own good purpose.
Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
These places in the scriptures are given to us as points for our learning. The principle that we should pay attention to is observed by the attitudes of those who come against spiritual leadership. Even under conditions where a man is not properly serving the people—to come against this leader—brings judgment upon those who commit such rebellion.
David as an example of submission
When David was in the Wilderness of En Gedi—hiding in a cave, king Saul came to relieve himself. The men who were hiding in the darkness with David, encouraged him to kill Saul and thereby eliminate the constant threats which Saul had made against David’s life. Is it particularly interesting to me that these men incorrectly saw this as an opportunity that came from God. David determined that he would not kill the king—because he viewed Saul as one who was placed into his position of authority—by God.
1 Samuel 24:6-7 And David said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the LORD’S anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.” 7 So David restrained his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up from the cave and went on his way.
For this reason, and many others, David is viewed by God as a man after His own heart. The Lord despises those who seek to come against any man whom God has placed into authority. Further, all authority comes from God. No government, king, president, spiritual leader, or power—exists apart from God’s sovereign will. This includes both good and evil leaders. We learn, by the profound lesson of Nebuchadnezzar’s rulership, that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, (and) Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.’
The Lord is able to remove those who are improperly conducting their leadership. God takes it as a great personal offense when men seek to subvert the authority of those who are in positions of spiritual authority in Jesus church. Whether they exist as good servants or bad—they all exist by the sovereign will of God.
Romans 14:4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
James 3:1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment (from God).
Sometimes, God permits ungodly leadership, or the presence of an evil ruler—because this is what the people secretly desire in their hearts. By the placement of these ungodly men, into positions of leadership, God is able to bring judgement against those who do not want God to rule over them.
This 111th prophecy speaks to this principle
By the words of Psalm 55:15: “Let death seize them; Let them go down alive into hell, For wickedness is in their dwellings and among them,” we understand that these words were applicable to David, during his personal experience of betrayal, as well as, Moses—when Korah and his men came against him, and finally, to Jesus as the Messiah, when Judas betrayed Him and led the soldiers to His arrest.
It is interesting that Psalms 55:15 states that the one who will betray the Messiah and cause His death, will be taken alive into hell. Does this mean that Judas was taken alive into hell by satan, before he died physically?
There are only two people in the Bible who are called the son of perdition: the antichrist and Judas Iscariot.
John 17:12 (Jesus speaking of His disciples) “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.
This brings us to the reasonable conclusion that Judas and the antichrist are one and the same. I believe it is possible that the antichrist, who will appear on the world scene as a great leader—shortly after the Rapture occurs, may also be Judas Iscariot. The reason this is plausible is that the betrayer is reported as not actually completing the process of death but was taken alive into hell, as told by Psalms 55:15. The one designated by this Psalm who is the traitor of the Messiah is also described by the Book of Acts 1:25, as being taken to his own place. This language indicates that there may be a special holding place for Judas from where he will remain until the time when he will be permitted to re-enter human history as the antichrist of the seven-year Tribulation.
The immediate meaning and fulfillment of Psalms 55:15 occurred when David was betrayed by Ahithophel, after realizing that his counsel against David was rejected—Ahithophel went out and hanged himself. Absalom then fled from fear of what David might do to him and in the process of fleeing was suspended by his own hair in a low-hanging branch from a tree. When David’s Captain Joab found Absalom, he killed him while hanging in the tree.
Although it is certain that there was a near fulfillment of Psalms 55 in the life of David, it is with equal confidence that this 55th Psalm is alsoa Messianic prediction. These scriptures exist to demonstrate that the betrayal of Judas against Jesus was known to God and inserted into the list of Old Testament Prophecies—which would validate and clarify the identity of the Savior of the World.
 Luke 22:48 But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
 Daniel 2:32-34
 Daniel 2:38
 1 Samuel 24:1-4 Now it happened, when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, “Take note! David is in the Wilderness of En Gedi.” 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats. 3 So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to attend to his needs. (David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.) 4 Then the men of David said to him, “This is the day of which the LORD said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’
 Acts 13:22 And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’
 Romans 13:1-2
 Daniel 4:17
 2 Samuel 18:9-14