“Now will I praise the Lord; therefore she called his name Judah.”—Gen. 29:35b.
“My praise shall be of Thee in the great congregation.”—Psalm 22:25a.
“Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and’ said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver Him unto you? and they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.
And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, Master; and kissed Him.”—Matt. 26:14-16, 49.
The praises of Jehovah: the ultimate and exclusive and exhaustive purpose of the universe, of history and of the new world that is coming.
The praises of Jehovah: our ever present calling, whether we are good or evil, angel or devil, conscious or unconscious, no matter in what state or condition we may be: we always should praise the Lord!
The primitive root of the word “praise” is the throwing out of the hand!
With hands stretched out, with eyes looking upward, and singing in great jubilation and rejoicing, we should praise the Lord!
And because of His worth! He is to be praised continually, because He is worthy. It belongs to His Godhead and His Lordship that He has all the worth, all the virtue, all the majesty, honor and glory imaginable, and above our imagination.
And, finally, we should do so from out of the motive of purest love!
And that love should be absolutely exclusive. All the love of our heart should be directed in praise and adoration to the glorious Godhead, who revealed Himself as Jehovah: the covenant God.
The praise of Jehovah!
That is the meaning of the name: Judas!
The name Judas is a glorious name. I can think of no name more beautiful, more appropriate for the creature, made in the image of God.
We first hear of it in that sorrowful story of Leah and her struggles. By evil subtlety Laban had inflicted a woman upon Jacob whom he did not desire: he loved Rachel, not Leah. But Leah loved Jacob. In these few words you have the material for a struggle that is pitiful to behold. How Leah fought to obtain the love of her husband! We can tell by the names which she gives to her children: Reuben, Simeon, Levi! First, Reuben: Surely, the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me! Second, Simeon: Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated, He hath therefore given me this son also! Third, Levi (revealing the most pitiful phase of her struggles and suffering): Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons!
But it was all to no avail: Jacob loved Rachel—more than poor Leah with her tender eyes, and heart that was God-fearing, more than the heart of Rachel.
Jacob did not turn to her with the desired love.
But all things work together for good unto those that love God, that are the called according to His good-pleasure. Leah has learned her lesson. When she again becomes pregnant and bears a son, she turns away from her husband and, stretching out her hand to heaven, exclaims: Judah! Oh Judah! Now I will praise the Lord!
The Hebrew Judah, and the transliterated Judas, are the names which give us our sweetest calling.
In the deepest sense, this name should be given to God. I should say this different: the name Judah fits God in the absolute sense of the word. That is better, for it is true.
God is Judas, for He praises Himself from eternity to eternity.
Eternally God stretches forth His hand to Himself and expresses all the wonder of His glorious being: it is the song of the praise of the Covenant Jehovah.
There is no one, and there shall be no one who so perfectly knows all the beauties, the glories and the virtues of the Godhead, as God Himself. He perfectly knows with a divine knowledge just how unutterably glorious He is in power, in wisdom, in strength and in goodness.
And what would be unutterable with us, is utterable in Him.
He rejoices in them and sings His eternal covenant song in cadences and melodies that cannot be imagined by us. For God is GOD!
Again: there is no one who can learn that song and sing it to perfection for there is no one who knows His infinite worth even as He Himself.
And yet there is the possibility to sing His song. Holy Scripture has told us.
The praises of Jehovah, our sweetest calling!
First, we must point you to creation as it came from His holy hands in the morning of history.
All things declare the glory of God, especially the heavens. Psalm 19.
“The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.”
Attend also to Psalm 98 where we hear: “Let the floods clap their hands before the Lord for He cometh, for He cometh!”
And Isaiah 55 where we listen again to the song of praise: the very trees of the field shall clap their hands for they see the salvation of the Lord!
Can you not see the picture at the dawn of history?
Floods and hills and valleys and mountains; trees and herbs and grass and ‘flowers; beasts and birds and fishes; all the forms, the colors, the sounds and the odors: they all unite harmoniously to sing their songs of praise to their Maker: a very pean of happiness and rejoicing. They found their calling: JUDAH! The praise of Jehovah-God!
Oh, Judah is beautiful!
And man, created in the image of God, stood in the midst of this beauteous scene and found his calling : he had to interpret all such singing, and from the motive of purest covenant love, return to God and sing intelligently of all the wonders of His Creator.
And he did for a little while.
For a little while his name was JUDAS: he praised God in the first paradise.
But all things were perverted, horribly perverted through sin and evil, hard upon the finished picture in the garden of Eden.
Man fell. Now all is guilty and also corrupt, perverted, turned into its very opposite
Man still evaluates God, but deems Him worthy of neglect, indifference, or mockery. They curse instead of blessing Him, who is the joy of the angels.
They do not love Him anymore; they hate Him with cruel hatred.
Oh yes, they will yet praise; they will stretch out the hand in utmost adoration and worship, but the object is man, creation, the horrors of sin and evil. Sometimes their glory is in their shame!
Man cannot deny his essence, his being: he must serve, love, adore, stretch forth his hand in obeisance, yearn for the object. But he lost his God, and now he will fashion his own god: it is the idol and its worship: abominable iniquity!
No praise, but its monstrous opposite, contrast, antithesis: he adores the creature in the place of the Creator.
Anno dominus 33 we see a Judas, and we tremble.
It is the man whose fault it is that at this late date in history we would never think of baptizing our child with the name of Judas. When we call a man Judas we make his blood to boil with anger.
And yet the name is sweet, beautiful, full of the wisdom of God.
But Judas, the historical Judas, is a worthy son of his father the devil.
But let us remember that he is our representative in the drama which transpired anno dominus 33. Let us emphasize that. Do not look upon him to denounce him in self-righteous anger. He was a man with like passions as we have. He showed what we are capable of doing.
But let us see: how did he live his beautiful name?
He certainly evaluated Jesus. He knew him. For three years he walked with Him and saw His works and heard His glorious speech. He had a marvelous Man for a preacher.
And after all was said and done, he went to the chief priests and covenanted with them relative the price of His betrayal: a handful of silver. Praise is the stretching out of the hand in wonder. But he stretched out the hand to very filthy lucre.
According to his name he should praise God in Jesus Christ, the Lord. Listen to this Judas: Hail, Rabbi! Hail! what a beautiful word! Its root is to rejoice, to be glad. But in this instance his elation is caused by the knowledge of his abominable success.
The motive of his terrible action ? It is not love, but foul hatred. And yet, it seems as though he loves Him. He embraced and kissed the Son of God! What depth of infamy! We can but shudder.
And he receives his reward. After Satan has used his tool, he casts it into the remorse of despair. Judas grasps the rope and hangs himself. A fitting end of a son of the devil.
And now look upon the Lord. Look strongly on Jesus, for He is the fulfillment of the name Judas.
You may say that He is the only Judas that is left on this sorry globe. We carry with us the nature of the pseudo-Judas.
But Jesus is the true and pure praiser of God.
He evaluated the Godhead aright in order to arrive at His proper worth. Listen to Him: It is my meat and drink to do His glorious will!
And His hands are ever aloft to express the wonder of the glorious Godhead. He prophesied of this ages before He came, in His prophets: “My praise shall be of Thee in the great congregation!” Psalm 22:25a.
But, O horrors, what terrible atmosphere surrounds this Judas! What agony and suffering is His lot! All the days of His flesh He must go with strong crying and tears to His Father in heaven, for He is made to bear the sins and the guilt of all the children of God. And the load that presses sore upon Him grows ever heavier. It grows so heavy that at last it presses the very blood through the pores of His blessed head. And the thick drops stain the soil of Gethsemane.
But He is the real, the only Judas.
When all the crying and groaning are translated in heavenly language you would see that His every expression is praise of God.
You will remember that the root meaning of the word “praise” is the stretching out of the hand, upward in wonder and adoration.
Well, you will find it with Jesus of Nazareth.
Ages before, He made David sing of it: With hands stretched out throughout the night, uncomforted I sought for light!
And he sank deeper and deeper, away into the abyss.
But, oh wonder, He will continue His praise of God.
Even in the bottommost bottom of hell, Jesus praises God! It is exactly because Jesus always praised, God that you and I can be saved. It was the revelation of the love of obedience.
Adam had to praise God in the beauty of Paradise when everything was for him. But the second or last Adam stands on the nethermost bottom of hell, there to sing the praises of God. Listen to Him: My God! My God! In those few words you listen to praise of God the Father! He had never let go of God. Jesus is Judas indeed!
And this is the everlasting Gospel: Jesus is Judas for you and for me and for all those that were foreknown in the foreknowledge of the love of God.
He stood in your room, my brother, and for you and in your stead he fulfilled the injunction: You shall praise Me as the highest Good!
And He is also a Judas in you.
Through the regenerating power of His Holy Ghost, and through the wonderworking power of His Word, He teaches you to praise God.
Oh yes, I know that we stammer, that we tremble as we sing, but sing we must and sing we will. If we would be silent the very stones in the street would sing God’s praises.
From generation to generation, there are Judases in the great congregation. They sing the song of adoration of God, our loving Father in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Presently this dispensation and this world will pass away.
It will be the great catastrophe: all things must be purified in that last conflagration.
And then the setting will be recreated for the “great congregation”.
And there, in that congregation, Jesus of Nazareth, but now the glorified Lord, will lead the singing.
And He will teach you and me to sing the song of the praise of God.
That, my brother, will be heaven.
It is the singing of the song of Moses and the Lamb.
Judas, the real meaning of Judas, shall be eternally fulfilled.