The people who deserted the Lord weren’t real believers; they only believed because they ate the bread the Lord multiplied (6:26,66). Soldiers that desert from the army can get the death penalty, but what is the penalty for deserting the Lord Jesus Christ? Zephaniah 1:6 speaks of deserting the Lord, and says that such people will be punished with the Second Coming of Christ (v.1-7).
True believers in the kingdom program would never turn their back on the Lord, and He will never turn His back on them (Isa.49:15,16). Isn’t it interesting this Mother’s Day that the prophet claims that God’s love for Israel surpasses a mother’s love for her son (cf. Isa.66:13).
Did you notice the Lord said nothing to those who deserted Him? It broke His heart to see them go, but there are two reasons He didn’t run after them. First, the Lord will never interfere with the free will of men. Second, He didn’t have any other gospel to offer them! If they didn’t believe He came down from heaven and was the Christ of God, there was no Plan B.
The 12 apostles knew this, so when the Lord asked if they would go away also (v.67), Peter replied by asking where else they could go (v.68). To the Saducees, who denied the Word of God? To the Pharisees, who made the Word a burden it was never meant to be? Those were the only choices back then, and come to think of it, these are the only choices today! Most every church either claims the Bible is a fairy tale, just be a good person and you’ll go to heaven, or else says the Bible’s plan of salvation is to do this, that and the other thing!
Peter correctly stated that the Lord had the words of eternal life (6:68 cf. 63), just as Moses did in his day (Deut. 32:45-47). What were the words of eternal life in Moses’ day? The Law. What were the words of eternal life in the Lord’s day? That He was the Christ (John 6:69). That was enough to save you in that day, while today you must believe that Christ died for your sins.
Now that Peter had told the Lord who He was, the Lord tells the twelve who they are—at least one of them! (6:70,71). Notice the Lord “answered” Peter. Peter had said that “WE believe…thou art the Christ,” but the Lord knew that one of them didn’t believe.
But why would the Lord have chosen Judas if He knew Judas was “a devil”? Because Psalm 41:9 had to be “fulfilled” (John 13:18), the friend who would eat bread with Him—the bread of the last supper—had to betray Him. God knew Judas would betray the Lord, so He predicted it. That meant the Lord had to choose him to fulfil Scripture.
But why call him a devil? Webster’s first definition for this word is “an evil spirit or being,” and Judas was certainly an evil being. If the definition of a demon or devil was an angel that fell, what better word for an apostle that fell than devil?
It is also possible Judas will be raised from the dead to become the Antichrist. The only other person to be called “the son of perdition,” other than Judas (John 17:12), is the Antichrist (IIThes.2:3). Revelation 17:8 says that the Beast “was” on the earth at one time, but now as John was writing “is not” on the earth, but “shall ascend out of the bottomless pit.” This is the pit of hell, a pit in the heart of the earth that is round like a ball, and a ball has no bottom. Only dead people are there, and so for Antichrist to ascend out of this pit, he must be a reincarnated dead man. If Elijah and Moses will rise from the dead in the Tribulation, why not Judas?
Psalm 55:12-14 talks about Judas, but later in the same psalm it talks about the Antichrist (v.20,21). Psalm 109:8 is talking about Judas (cf. Acts 1:20), but Psalm 109:6 is talking about the Antichrist, for the devil will give him his power and authority (Rev.13:1-3). Zechariah 11:12-17 speaks about Judas, but 11:15-17 speak about Antichrist. In Acts 1:25, it says that Judas went to hell, but it calls hell “his own place.” The Antichrist will probably be Judas, who will probably go by his Hebrew name, Judah.