Better to have Never Been Born?

Choose Life! -- so the billboards and bumper stickers proclaim. "Aren't you glad she did?" Well, of course I'm glad my mother had me! Or am I? But what if I grow up unwanted and unloved? Wouldn't it be better to be aborted than raised to go to hell?

After sunset, when evening had come, Jesus was reclining at a table with His twelve disciples. It was a very special meal, but unbeknownst to them, it would be their last together. They shared sweet fellowship together, cherishing a special, intimate time of sharing and talking with one another. At a pause in the conversation, a troubled look came over the usually calm countenance of their leader. Looking around at His twelve closest friends, the Master, in a low voice broken with the extreme emotion that revealed His sadness, said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray Me."

They sat in stunned silence, reeling at the words He had just spoken. No one uttered a word for some time, each caught up in his own reflection about what their Master had just said to them. Each began searching his own heart, recognizing the potential in himself to be the one to whom He was referring. Being deeply grieved, they each began to earnestly question Him, "Is it me, Lord?"

And He answered and said, "The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had never been born." (Matthew 26:24; Mark 14:21)

One man stands in infamy, alone on the stage of history as an object of derision and contempt. His name is so colored, so tainted, that no one would ever think to name another child that same name. Judas.

His name alone brings to mind imagery of betrayal: furtive exchanges of money cloaked in the night, whispered plots of treachery, and a heart so clouded by darkness that he would go so far as to betray his closest friend with a kiss.

Generations before, the Messiah's forefather King David had written in anguish of betrayal, perhaps looking forward to that night:

And when he comes to see me, he speaks falsehood; his heart gathers wickedness to itself; When he goes outside, he tells it. All who hate me whisper together against me; Against me they devise my hurt, saying "A wicked thing is poured out upon him, that when he lies down, he will not rise up again." even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. (Psalm 41:6-9)

For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, that I could bear it; nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend; We who had sweet fellowship together walked in the house of God in the throng. Let death come deceitfully upon them; Let them go down alive to Sheol, for evil is in their dwelling, in their midst. (Psalm 55:12-15)

What kind of eternal destiny do you think awaited Judas, the betrayer of the Son of God? In the other account of His betrayal, Yahshua gave Judas the morsel of bread and then,

After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, "What you must do, do quickly." Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, "Buy the things we have need of for the feast"; or else, that he should give something to the poor. So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately and it was night. (John 13:27-30)

It was night. Literally and figuratively. Darkness filled his heart. He was completely given over to Satan -- so much so that the bible declares that at that point he was the very incarnation of Satan. The book of Job gives a picture of this kind of night, this form of darkness:

Others have been with those who rebel against the light; they do not want to know its ways nor abide in its paths. The murderer arises at dawn; he kills the poor and the needy, and at night he is a thief. The eye of the adulterer waits for the twilight, saying, "No eye will see me." And he disguises his face. In the dark they dig into houses, they shut themselves up by day; they do not know the light. For the morning is the same to him as thick darkness, for he is familiar with the terrors of thick darkness. (Job 24:13-17)

What eternal destiny do you think awaited a man for whom it was night perpetually in his heart, a man intimately acquainted with "the terrors of thick darkness"? No amount of grief could rectify the wrong he had committed. No amount of tears shed or the acknowledgment that he had betrayed innocent blood could cover his sin. He had committed a sin deserving death, and he knew it.

A man who is laden with the guilt of human blood will be a fugitive until death; let no one support him. (Proverbs 28:17)

The religious authorities could not and would not absolve him of his guilt: "What is that to us? See to it yourself," they told him. So he went out and hanged himself, the only just end for what he had done. But that was not the end. Certainly, immediately after hanging himself he was thrust alive into Sheol, or death, a place of bitter torment -- weeping and gnashing of teeth -- as each awaits the final judgment to determine his eternal destiny.

Better to Have Never Been Born

The Master had said what He said, and meant it. He never chose His words lightly. He always said what He meant and meant what He said. "Woe to that man," He had said -- and He meant "woe." Woe is a very strong word. It is no light thing at all; it is never used trivially. It means "grief or distress resulting from a serious affliction or intense misfortune; heavy calamity; A curse or malediction, a denunciation."

In fact, so terribly dire were the consequences of Judas's actions that Yahshua had gone so far as to say, "It would have been better for that man if he had not been born." Ponder that for a moment. The Son of God had said, in essence, that it would have been better for Judas's mother to have aborted[1] him rather than give birth to the one who would ultimately betray Him. It would have been better for Judas's sake, and for the sake of his eternal destiny, if she would have miscarried him and the fetus would have been spontaneously aborted.

Is that shocking? Does it offend your sensibilities?

Like it or not, that's what the Son of God said. Yahshua knew His pronouncement to be true because He knew His Father's heart. He knew the deepest truths of the Creator's heart because He intimately knew His word. He knew what His forefather in the royal line of David, King Solomon, had written so many hundreds of years before. Solomon had written in the book of Ecclesiastes as to the futility of living for this life only and of those who did not use their time on the earth for doing good:

If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things and he does not even have a proper burial, then I say, "Better the miscarriage than he, for it comes in futility and goes into obscurity; and its name is covered in obscurity. It never sees the sun and it never knows anything; it is better off than he. (Ecclesiastes 6:3-5)

In giving his denouncement, Yahshua was making an unequivocal[2] statement -- His intent was not mysterious or unclear and was not open to more than one interpretation. It was not shrouded in allusion or designed to be a parable for only the wise and discerning to understand. Rather, He said what He meant: it would have been better for Judas to have been miscarried[3] than to be the one to betray Him. For He knew the eternal destiny awaiting His betrayer.

"It would be better for that man to have never been born."

Fatherless Children

How many children are alive on the earth today for whom that is also true? How many children today are being conceived (in or out of wedlock) and then left to roam the streets like a pack of so many animals, raised by television, video games, and the public education system rather than by caring parents. How many of these children lack parents who love them and earnestly desired their very existence, finding instead that they were an unwelcome, unplanned accident? How many children internally echo the painful sentiment of Job as they cry for attention by doing deeds which will only make them worthy of eternal hell:

Why did I not die at birth, come forth from the womb and expire? Why did the knees receive me, and why the breasts, that I should suck? For now I would have lain down and been quiet; I would have slept then, I would have been at rest... Or like a miscarriage which is discarded, I would not be, as infants that never saw light. There the wicked cease from raging, and there the weary are at rest. The prisoners are at ease together; they do not hear the voice of the taskmaster. The small and the great are there, and the slave is free from his master. Why is light given to him who suffers, and life to the bitter of soul, who long for death, but there is none, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures, who rejoice greatly, and exult when they find the grave? (Job 3:11-13,16-22)

How many children today would be better off never having been brought to term? How many would be better off having been miscarried [spontaneously aborted] in the womb? How many aborted fetuses will have a better life and a better future when they are raised to life in the ages to come when evil isn't present on this planet? They will never have tasted war or pain, nor have experienced the rule of the evil prince of this world.[4] But most of all, they will never have known the painful internal sense of rejection created by parents who don't love them nor even desire their existence in the first place.

"It would have been better to have never been born..."

Think about it.

So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 4:2-3)

[1] Abortion -- the act of giving premature birth; particularly, the expulsion of the human fetus prematurely, or before it is capable of sustaining life; miscarriage.

[2] Unequivocal -- not equivocal; not doubtful; not ambiguous; evident; sincere; plain; admitting of no doubt or misunderstanding; having only one meaning or interpretation and leading to only one conclusion; clearly defined or formulated; equivocal -- Open to more than one interpretation, especially in being deliberately expressed in an ambiguous way in an attempt to mislead somebody; difficult to interpret, understand, or respond to.

[3] Miscarriage -- the act of bringing forth a child before the time it is viable; a premature birth, resulting in death of the fetus; spontaneous abortion.

[4] 1 John 5:19


The Twelve Tribes is a confederation of twelve self-governing tribes, composed of self-governing communities. We are disciples of the Son of God whose name in Hebrew is Yahshua. We follow the pattern of the early church in Acts 2:44 and 4:32, truly believing everything that is written in the Old and New Covenants of the Bible, and sharing all things in common.

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