About Jesus Steve
Commentary on the Letter of
17-23 Jude 24 and
commentary is based on the 1994 edition of the New International Bible.
Chapter titles in my commentary correspond to the chapter titles in
the NIV, making for easy comparison.
man named Jude wrote this letter, and he claimed to be the brother of
James. What James he is
speaking about is not exactly certain.
It could have been James, one of the leaders in the
church, who wrote the book of James. This
James was also the brother of Jesus. If
this is the case, then Jude was also the brother of Jesus.
We can’t really be certain, because nowhere in the text does the
writer make this clear, yet it is a good guess that if someone mentioned
the name of James in the first generation church, then the first thought
that might come to mind is "James of Jerusalem, the brother of
Jesus”. Most commentators
feel this Jude is the half brother of Jesus.
I say "half brother", because it is obvious that Jesus
and James or Jude had different biological fathers.
one knows the date this letter was written for sure.
If Jude really was the half brother of Jesus then it was written
somewhere between 55 and 80 AD. Some
place the date much farther into the future.
If this is the case, then this Jude was most likely not the brother
of Jesus, unless he was the youngest brother of Jesus and lived a long
time. I can't see this being
the case because it would have made Jude way too old to be a sensible
2 Peter and Jude have been well debated over.
Many feel that both letters should not be in the canon of the
Bible. One reason for this is
that, like Peter in his second letter, Jude quotes from non-canonical
books like the Assumption of Moses and the book of Enoch.
They question the validity of these letters because from their
viewpoint, Peter and Jude seem to put these extra canonical books on the
same level of inspiration as the rest of the canon of Scripture.
The problem with this is that we don't really know that to be sure.
first known list of canonical books of the Bible, including the New
Testament books, was the Marsian list in and around 145 A D.
Jude and 2 Peter were not included in this list, but to be fair,
many books that were later included in the canon of Scripture weren't in
this list either. In and
around 170 A D, the Muratorian Fragments did include it in its listing.
In 397 A D, at the Council of Carthage, along with second Peter,
the book of Jude was finally canonized into our New Testament.
theme of Jude's letter is the same as 2 Peter.
He is contending for the faith as he puts it.
He is addressing the false teaching of the Antinomian Gnostics and
reminding people of the return of Jesus.
The word "Antinomian" means "no law".
They therefore believed that no law could restrain their evil
nature, so when it comes to sexual desire, they taught that you might as
well sin sexually as much as you want. These Greek Gnostics believed that
Jesus was an angel, not the Son of God.
Jude had to confront this head on because these false teachers were
infiltrating the church.
(verses 1 verses 2)
like Paul and Peter, introduces himself as a servant of Jesus Christ.
Unlike today, the idea of being a servant of Jesus was common in
the first century church. Christians
viewed themselves as a "bond servant", that is, "a servant
by choice". The same
Greek word translated as servant in our English Bibles can easily be
translated as "slave". Being
seen as a "slave" in
today's world isn't really culturally acceptable for many reasons, but
this wasn't the case in the first generation church.
They had a completely different cultural concept of slavery than we
also says that he is a brother of James.
As I have said, what James he is speaking of is uncertain.
That being said, James, the brother of Jesus who wrote the book of
James, was well known to Christians in the early church.
It's logical to conclude, as many commentators conclude, that the
James Jude speaks of is this James. I
think that if it was a different James, Jude might have said so, or so I
1 goes on to say, “to those who have been called".
Jesus, in John 6:44 says that no man can come to Him unless the
Father calls him. The
Biblical fact is that we cannot come to Jesus in salvation any old time we
want. We must respond to the
Father when He calls us through the Holy Spirit.
Mankind is so depraved that we do not have the ability to call out
to God without God's help. I
understand that there are many Bible passages that say, "call on the
name of the Lord and you will be saved'.
Most of these passages are in the context of us going through
trials, which are often associated with God calling us.
Our call out to God is actually our response to God's call out to
Bible speaks of God's people as "the called ones". God has
called us to Himself. That is why we're called "the chosen or elect
people". When you see the
word "elect" in the New Testament you can understand
"elect" to simply mean "chosen".
that the NIV uses the phrase "kept by Jesus Christ”.
Also note that there is a sub note at the bottom of your page
suggesting that the word "by" could be translated as
"for", which gives a whole different meaning to this verse.
It is my thinking at the moment that the better translation is the
word "for". It's not
theologically wrong to say that Jesus doesn't keep us, because He does.
We cannot mature in Christ without the Spirit of Jesus keeping us,
but in this particular instance, Jesus keeps us so that we can be His.
We are kept "for" Jesus.
We've been created for Jesus.
that God is our Father. He is
our Father because He is first the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 says, “Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance”.
is the outward expression of pity. God
has pity on us because of our fallen nature, even though our fallen nature
is a result of disobedience to Him. God's
loving actions towards us fallen people is what mercy is.
it comes to peace, there are two aspects to Biblical peace.
One is peace "with" God and one is peace "in"
God. The cross of Christ has
provided reconciliation with God, so we have peace "with" God.
We're no longer enemies of God.
Peace "in" God is that inner peace we have due to our
reconciled relationship with Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit in
word "love" here in Greek is "agape", a well known
Greek word in Christian circles. This
kind of love is selfless love. When
God loves us, He is thinking solely of us and not Himself.
The word "agape" was a little used Greek word for
selfless love. Sense it wasn't
used much in Greek culture the first Christians adopted it for themselves
to mean God's kind of love.
desire is that all three; mercy, peace, and love, from God would be
experienced in the most abundant way possible by his readers.
This was a general greeting that Christians used in their writing
Sin And Doom Of Godless Men (verses 3 -16)
3 begins with the words "dear friends".
Christians not only viewed themselves as brothers in Christ but as
friends, and in this case, "dear friends.
says in verse 3 that what he really wanted to write about was the
salvation that is found in Jesus. This
would have been the topic to write about if not for the present problems
with the false teachers known as the Antinomian Gnostics who were
infiltrating the church. Again,
note the word "the" in from of salvation.
The best manuscripts use the word "our' instead of
seems much more personal than "the".
Jude could not write what he wanted to write.
It seems that the Holy Spirit impressed another topic that was more
pressing and that concerned false teaching.
Jude thus "urges them to contend for the faith that was once
and for all entrusted to the saints".
Jude urges these people to "contend" for what they
believe in, that is, their faith, their trust in Jesus.
English word "contend" is translated from the Greek word
is a military word meaning to contend, make a contest, or, to defend, as
in a fight over territory. This
is no passive sitting back. This
is active warfare to defend "the faith".
The term "the faith" here I believe means the body of
Christian doctrine that the Gnostics were challenging. Some might say this
means to "defend why you trust in Jesus".
It does mean that. I
also believe it means to defend the body of Christian doctrine we have
given ourselves to.
in Jude's day, there is a real need for us today to defend the faith
because more than in decades past, the body of Christian doctrine is being
undermined by false teaching that is not only creeping into the church but
being accepted by much of the church.
We need godly apologists today.
An apologist is one who defends something, and in this case defends
the Christian faith.
I speak of “contending for the faith”, I am speaking of the central
doctrines of salvation. I am
not speaking of secondary issues like the pre-tribulation rapture.
We have been quite good at contending over secondary issues, and
dividing the church, but we haven't been so good at contending the faith
from outside heresy. We can
vigorously debate the secondary issues with one another, but these
secondary issues shouldn't divide us, but they have.
To be honest, it's not the issues that divide Christians.
We have divided ourselves by our ungodly behaviour towards one
another. Churches have become
so dogmatic over secondary issues that one cannot teach anything in that
church which disagrees with its doctrinal position.
We need to contend with false teachers, not with our brothers and
sisters in Jesus.
the word "entrusted" in verse 3.
Jesus left this earth and as He left, He entrusted the message of
His gospel with us who have given our lives to Him.
I really don't think the average Christian understands what he has
been entrusted with. He has
been entrusted with the most important thing in human history.
If we understood this, we'd sure live much differently than we do.
Of course, we don't understand because we are Biblically illiterate.
verse 4 Jude tells his readers that these men, these false teachers, were
written about long ago and their condemnation was made known long ago as
well. Jude is not referring to
specific prophecies concerning these teachers.
What he is saying is that the Old Testament clearly points out that
those who defile the word of the Lord are condemned.
His references then should be taken in general terms and not
specific terms from specific Old Testament passages.
That being said, there are some scholars that suggest that Jude has
the extra canonical book of Enoch in mind here because he clearly quotes
from it later on.
condemnation, Jesus in John 3:17 makes it very clear that people bring
condemnation on themselves. He
says “those who believe not are condemned already”.
In one real sense of the word, we condemn ourselves.
says what Peter said in 2 Peter 2:1, and that is, these false teachers
have "secretly" infiltrated the church.
The idea is that these men, like spies, have covertly snook into
the church, and then once in, they spread their heresies.
That's how heretics work, even to this day.
verse 4 Jude says that these men "are godless and change the grace of
God into a license for immorality".
Jude is speaking specifically about the Antinomian Gnostics who
believe that man is so sinful nothing can be done about it.
No law, as the word "Antinomian" means, can stop us from
sinning. So, they sin as much
as they want, especially in terms of immoral sexual sin.
That is what Jude means when he speaks of these Gnostics turning
grace into a license to sin. You
might remember that the apostle Paul was criticized for this very thing
because of his emphases on God's grace, but of course, Paul was not
condoning sin so grace could abound.
think many Christians today, although they don't admit it, live in such a
way that they take God's grace in vane.
They devalue God's grace by the way they live.
They may not commit immoral sexual sin, but in many little ways
they think God's grace will cover the willful sins they commit.
I believe taking God's grace for granted is one very bad sin.
thing that these false teachers did was to "deny that Jesus Christ is
our only Sovereign and Lord". This
is exactly what the Antinomian Gnostics did by believing that Jesus was an
angel instead of the Sovereign and Lord, words attributed to God the
Father throughout the Bible. By
using the words 'Sovereign and Lord' Peter was stating that Jesus was God
in human flesh. This would
make the false teachers clearly non-Christians, even though they appeared
in church gatherings, like many false teachers do today.
verse 5 Jude reminds his readers that God delivered His people out of
, but ended up destroying those who didn’t believe, or trust Him.
This is meant to be a warning.
If God could destroy His people in Old Testament times, he can do
the same today. In fact it is
my opinion that He has left certain church groups fall into disrepair
because of their failure to follow Him.
They become no different than any other civic group, or
of old, or, another false religion.
idea that God could destroy His own people is interesting.
Even after He spent the time and energy to save
from the hands of the Egyptians, He destroyed them.
This might be unsettling to you.
You need to know that God is very secure in Himself.
He is not afraid to destroy something that he has made.
Unlike most of us, if we make something, we most likely won’t
want to destroy it. God is not
like us. He created the earth,
and then He flooded it. He
chose a people for Himself, helped them in many ways, and then destroyed
them because they failed to trust Him. He'll do the same with the last end
time defiant church as seen in the Laodicean
point that Jude is making in verse 5 is that the Antinomian Gnostics who
are teaching another gospel and another Jesus, are at the point of God
destroying them. Note that
Jude equates not believing in the Deity of Christ, as the Gnostics taught,
as not believing at all. The
point is simple. You cannot
properly believe in God if you believe in a Jesus who isn't God in human
next example Jude gives as a warning concerns angels.
In 2 Peter 2:4 Peter speaks about the same event as Jude.
Remember, 2 Peter 2 and Jude are very similar in nature, with some
exact quotes. There have been
many interpretations about just what Peter and Jude are talking about.
Some scholars say Jude is talking about angels descending to earth
and having sex with human women as they say took place in Genesis 6.
Others say he is talking about the expulsion of bad angels from
their heavenly home when satan fell.
says that they "did not keep their position of authority, but
abandoned their own home". The
word "abandoned" here in the Greek verb tense makes it clear
that this is a permanent abandoning.
tend to believe, like many reliable scholars believe, that the "sons
of God" seen in Genesis 6:1 through 4 are angels.
Here's a quick review of the Genesis account.
Genesis 6 tells us that after mankind grew in population, "the
sons of God" took any "daughters of men" they wanted in
marriage. It's obvious that
the "daughters of men" are daughters of men.
The term "sons of God" is not so easy to understand and
this is where the difficulty lies.
say that the "sons of men" are from the unholy lineage of Cain
and the daughters of men are from the holy lineage of Seth.
I don't really believe that.
Hebrew phrase translated here as "sons of God" in the NIV is
seen in Job 1:6, 2:1, and 38:7. In
these verses, along with illusions elsewhere, the sons of God are clearly
angels. Therefore, one could
conclude that the sons of God of Genesis 6 are angels who had sex with
human women and produced a special race of offspring, as the Genesis text
states. They were nobles, warriors, and giants. This
is what I believe Jude is speaking about here when he talks about angels
leaving their position of authority and their own homes. This is what I
also believe Peter was talking about in 2 Peter 2:4. These angels left
their angelic homes to live with human women and in the process of having
sex with them, a dynamic race of human angels beings emerged on earth.
like to suggest that Greek Mythology, as well as other philosophies and
false religions, are a distortion of the Biblical record.
What I'm saying is the Greek Mythology, like most philosophies and
false religions, have an element of Biblical truth that has been distorted
over the years. Greek Mythology might well be a distortion of angels
having sex with human women as seen in Genesis 6 because many Greek gods,
like the Titans, are half angelic or godlike and half human.
you think the idea of angels having sex with women is too weird to be
true, I suggest that there are many Biblical events that seem too weird to
be true. One example would be Balaam's donkey talking to Balaam.
Most Evangelicals have no problem with that.
The resurrection of Jesus Himself seems too weird to be true, but
we certainly don't discount the fact that Jesus rose from the dead, and,
also ascended into the clouds, that also sounds too weird to be true. .
You cannot discount the validity of a Biblical event based solely
on it being too weird to be true.
Alexandrian text of the Septuagint actually translated the "sons of
God" into Greek as "angels of God".
The Septuagint was the Greek translation of the Old Testament
Hebrew text, which by the way, was the Bible the first century church read
from. This would tell me that
the first generation Christians probably believed that the "sons of
God" were n fact angels. The
New Testament writers would have read and drawn much of their thinking
from the Septuagint.
the very famous Jewish historian, contemporary of Jesus when He was on
earth, believed the "sons of God" were "angels of
goes on to say in verse 6 that these angels have been kept and bound in
everlasting chains and darkness. Peter
uses the word "tartarus", which in Greek culture was the lowest
place under the earth where the wicked dead lived.
It was below Hades. At
the appropriate time, these angels would be judged by God on the Day of
Judgment. Note that these angels are now bound.
They're not wandering the earth as demons today.
This is a whole different type of angelic being. As a matter of
fact, the idea that the Gnostics had concerning multiple levels of
different types of angels might well have an element of truth.
I tend to believe there are all sorts of "celestial
beings", as Peter calls them in his second letter.
However, I do not believe they are meant to separate a holy God
from unholy humans as the Gnostics believed.
7 begins with the words, "in a similar way."
Jude compares the sexual sins of
and Gomorra here with the sins of these angels.
This tells us that the angels committed sexual sins as those in
committed. If you accept the
book of Jude to be canonical, then you would have to believe that angels
can indeed have sex with women. This
helps confirm my understanding of the Genesis 6 sons of God being angels.
situations that Jude speaks of all "serve as examples of those who
suffer the punishment of eternal fire", as stated in verse 7.
Jude is saying that if God punishes angels, cities, and His own
people, he can punish the immoral false teachers of his day.
Their punishment is eternal fire, which leads me to think that Jude
is thinking of the
we see at the close of the book of Revelation.
verse 8 Jude says that “these dreamers pollute their own bodies”.
The dreamers are the false teachers, the Antinomian Gnostics.
In Judaism, false prophets or false teachers were often called
dreamers. The words
"pollute their bodies", speaks of the sexual sins the Gnostics
willfully committed and taught others to do the same.
When people commit such sexual sins they are in fact polluting
their own bodies in the eyes of our Lord.
also says that these dreamers reject "authority and slander celestial
beings". This is yet
another clue that these false teachers are the Antinomian Gnostics.
Part of their teaching was a distortion of Biblical thinking
concerning "celestial beings".
I can't say for sure, but the term "celestial beings"
might well be an umbrella type of designation for all sorts of angelic
beings. Gnosticism's teaching
on angels was in fact slandering the real nature of angels.
verse 9 Jude says that “even the archangel Michael, when he was
disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a
slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke
you". Note that Michael
is called and "arch angel".
This is obviously a special designation.
The word "archangel" means "first angel or top
angel". Michael in fact
is the only angel so-called by this designation.
Michael was the guardian angel of God's people
in Old Testament days and probably still is today.
You see this in Daniel, chapters 10 and 12. In
1 Timothy 4:6 Paul speaks of the archangel blowing the trumpet at the
return of Jesus. This
archangel is probably Michael which shows you the importance of
in the last days, right up to the return of Jesus.
interesting thing to note here is that an angel would not slander the
devil. You might think,
"What is wrong with that"? We
as Christians often say slanderous things against the devil without any
hesitation. Maybe we
shouldn’t be saying such things to the devil.
Maybe we should be like Michael, and let the Lord do the rebuking
of the devil.
as Christians sometimes don't take the devil seriously enough.
I've heard people call him "old slew foot" and other such
names. To me, this isn't
taking him seriously. On the
other hand, others go overboard and make too much of him as if he is a god
himself, which he isn't. These
people see him and demons everywhere, and probably in places they aren't.
like Peter, Jude says these false teachers are like animals, because they
follow their own sinful natural instincts, and speak about things they
don’t understand. Animals
follow their instincts. People
have a mental capability to at least learn what is good from evil.
These men seemed to have lost this ability.
this fight over the body of Moses between Michael and satan, Jude speaks
as if we should know what he is talking about.
Most Christians have no clue what he is speaking of here.
If you read Deuteronomy 34 you will learn that Moses died at the
age of one hundred and twenty. He
was not sick. He was in good
health, even at that old age. God
simply took Moses, and where He buried him no one knows.
The thing about Moses' burial is that no man buried him.
No man even knew where he was buried.
The text states that God Himself buried Moses and this is where the
fight between Michael and satan must have taken place, although the
Biblical text doesn't say anything about such a fight.
question is asked, "Where does Jude get this idea of Michael and the
devil fighting over the body of Moses"?
Well, it appears that he is getting this from the non-canonical
book of the Assumption of Moses, because we see this in that book.
We don't actually have copies of this book.
We do have quotes from it by other writers.
Some say that Jude, or probably even the Assumption of Moses, got
this idea from oral tradition passed down through the generations as was
the case in Judaism.
idea that Jude would use a non-canonical book to back up his point,
especially when he is using an event that he claims to be true, makes many
wonder about the canonicity of Jude. Why
Jude drew on the Assumption of Moses, and later on the book of Enoch is
not known. The most common
answer seems to be that what Jude says here was the general understanding
of the day. He was using the
general understanding of the day to make his point.
might wonder why satan was interested in the body of Michael.
I think I might know. Elijah
did not die. He went to be
with the Lord. Moses died, but
God buried him in an unknown place. Both
men left this planet on
to be with their Lord. It is
interesting to note that Jesus was transfigured on a mountain that many
people feel is
. Jesus spoke with Moses and
Elijah. The text does not say what they talked about.
It is my thinking that they spoke about the future ministry of
these two men. I feel, at
least at this moment, that Moses and Elijah might well be the two
witnesses spoken of in the book of Revelation.
If that is true, then satan would have had reason to fight over
Moses' body, since Moses ministry was not over.
Moses didn't get to go into the promise land with the rest of
, but I don't think that was the end of his ministry.
There is more for him to do at the end of this age, and satan knew
my thinking, the reason why Moses didn't get to go into the promise land
didn't really seem warranted. Moses
got upset one time and used his special rod inappropriately by hitting a
rock with it. (Numbers 20) It
doesn't seem to me to be a big reason for killing Moses off prior to
, unless God had other plans for Moses, which I think He did.
All that being said, I'm not God, so I can't say that for sure.
verse 10 Jude says that these Gnostics speak abusively about things they
don't understand. In context,
I believe the things they don't understand are the angelic world.
goes on to say that there are things they do understand, and that is their
natural animal-like instincts destroy them.
These animal instincts are their sexual lusts that cause them to
commit every kind of sexual sin imaginable.
The very thing they have given themselves to will destroy them.
says that the "wages of sin is death".
Following one's natural sinful instincts will sooner or later cause
you to perish at the hand of the Lord.
the word "understand" in verse 10.
Understanding is extremely important when it comes to the things of
God and Biblical truth. I do
differentiate between knowledge and understanding.
Knowing about things is one thing, but understanding what you know
is another step beyond simple knowing.
Christians today have little Biblical understanding because they
have little Biblical knowledge to base their understanding on.
Without Biblical knowledge there is no Biblical understanding that
can be applied to your life. This
accounts for the present day decay of church and Christianity.
compares these men to Balaam. Jude
does the same but adds two other names to the list, Cain and Korah, in
verse 11. Cain killed his
brother. Korah rebelled
against the authority of Moses. The
Antinomian Gnostics were rebellious just like Korah.
They were murderers, just like Cain.
They were greedy false teachers like Balaam the false prophet.
the word "profit" when it comes to Balaam.
God used Balaam in a real way to help
. God actually used Balaam who
was a Gentile prophet, but eventually he became greedy, like many
Christian leaders today. Money
12 continues in the same vain as Peter in his second letter.
You might think that Jude had just read Peter’s letter or vise
versa. Of course, as I've
said, some suggest that either Peter or Jude plagiarized one another.
Jude says that these men eat at your love feasts, "eating with
you without the slightest qualm". These men have no conscience.
They can participate in sexual orgies in the town square and then
come and eat with the saints with no sense of shame.
here that Jude speaks of "love feats".
These were meals where Christians would get together for fellowship
and eat. Participating in the
Lord's Supper, or, communion as some call it, was often part of the love
feast meal. You might remember
Paul commenting on these love feasts in 1 Corinthians 11 because the
Corinthians were abusing these feasts.
Some people were getting drunk.
Others were eating too much, not leaving food for others.
It got to be a bad situation. These
loves feast grew out of practice for these and other reasons. This is what
Jude is talking about here.
course, the term "love feasts" would mean something altogether
different to the Christians than what it meant to the Gnostics.
The Gnostics had sexual immoral love in mind, not the love of
Gnostics would secretly come into these gatherings for one reason, and
that was to seduce the unstable, both in a sexual sense and in a
Biblically illiterate sense.
says that these men "are shepherds that feed only themselves".
Godly shepherds are servants of Jesus, who care for God's people.
Christian shepherds are to feed God's people, but these men were
greedy and selfish. In the
end, they were feeding themselves, like many Prosperity Gospel teachers do
today. They preach give and it
shall be given back to you. So,
in the process of people giving to the prosperity teachers, they become
in verse 12 that these false teachers are called "shepherds".
They are leaders in their own community of Gnostics.
continues by saying that "they are clouds without rain, blown about
by the wind". These words are almost the same as Peter’s words.
Peter says that these men are "springs without water". (2
Peter 2:17) This means that
these men are empty and shallow. What
they claim they have, they don’t have. Who they claim to be, they
men are also like "autumn trees without fruit, uprooted, twice
dead". Twice dead
suggests that these men are doubly dead, unable to be revived.
continues in verse 13 by calling these men "wild waves" and
"wandering stars". Again,
the picture here is instability. They
prey on the unstable, yet in fact, they are just as unstable as their
Peter, Jude says that "blackest darkness" is reserved for them
forever. It seems to me that
there are different levels to ones punishment in the next life. This
suggests to me that false teachers will be punished, not merely by
darkness as some will be punished, but by "blackest darkness".
In 1 Peter 2:4, Peter refers to this place with the Greek name of
Tartarus, the lowest place beneath the earth kept for the most wicked.
might note that all New Testament writers had a great disdain for false
teachers. They were not afraid
to speak forth their mind against these people, as Jude so clearly does.
We are much more reserved and polite in many respects today when it
comes to speaking out against false teachers. We should probably be more
forthright in our speaking against false doctrine than we are.
It's obvious to me that we tolerate false teaching way to much.
verses 14 through 16 Jude mentions a prophecy spoken by Enoch, an Old
Testament man mentioned in Genesis 5.
This prophecy is no where to be found in the Old Testament.
The quote is found in the "Book of Enoch", chapter 1
verse 9, and chapter 5, verse 4. The
book of Enoch is a non-canonical Jewish book that was written sometime in
the first or second century B.C. Most
New Testament writers knew about this book.
This book is not found in the Protestant Canon of Scripture. Protestants
call this book and others like it “the Apocrypha.
Some Catholic and Orthodox communities do include these books in
their version of the canonized Bible.
as I've said before, you might ask, "Why would the Lord inspire Jude
to quote from a book that is not found in our Bible"?
One answer might be that the content of the prophecy is authentic,
even though the book itself is questionable for canonization purposes.
Paul also quoted from secular writers to back up his points when
speaking to Gentiles.
point to the prophecy is that God will judge “ungodly men.
You can be certain of that.
ends his railing against these Antinomian Gnostics by saying "they
are grumblers and fault finders, they follow their own evil desires, they
boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage".
All these qualities should nowhere be found in the Christian, but
way too often, they are.
Call To Persevere (verses 17-23)
17 begins with the words "dear friends".
"Dear friends" is translated from a form of the word
"agape" here, meaning "most divinely loved one".
Jude is expressing God's love from him to his readers.
verse 17 Jude reminds his readers "what the apostles of our
Lord" have told them. The
way this is worded might suggest that Jude did not consider himself as an
apostle because he seems to separate himself from the apostles.
Jude recalls for the apostles is what Peter speaks about in his second
letter. He even uses the same
word that Peter uses, that is, the teaching of the scoffer, the Antinomian
Gnostics. Peter warned his
readers about scoffers coming in the last days.
Jude warns his readers of in verse 18. Scoffers
are those who make fun of something, as a child makes fun of things when
they play games. This is in
fact what the Greek word for "scoff" means.
says that these scoffers follow their own ungodly desires.
He says that these false teachers divide the church.
This is exactly what they did back in Jude's day and that is what
they do in our day. Some will
hear and believe these false teachers, separating them from those who
don’t believe the teaching of the false teachers.
the words "last days' here. The
closer we get to the end of this age, the more false teachers will come on
the scene with their false teaching. We
have many false teachers today influencing those in what we call church.
One reason for so many people following the deception of false
teaching is a disregard for the Bible.
Christians, despite all of the access to Biblical study guides
these days, are Biblically illiterate.
we see Jude saying in verse 18 that these false teachers follow their own
natural instincts. One
instinct is the sexual immorality they were addicted to.
Another is greed. These men are greedy and sexually immoral because
Jude says that they do not have the Spirit of God in their lives as Jude
says in verse 19. According to
Romans 8:9, anyone who does not have the Spirit of God does not belong to
God. He is not a real
Christian. In today's quick
and easy get saved without any cost church, this should scare many of us.
There are, or so I believe, so many men and women who call
themselves Christians that sit in church pews every Sunday without the
Holy Spirit in their lives. They
may sit in pews, listen to a sermon, give an offering, and maybe
participate in church affairs, but they do not belong to God.
They aren't Christians because they do not have the Holy Spirit.
scholars feel that the Spirit mentioned here is not the Holy Spirit.
They see that the Gnostics are not really "spiritual" as
they claim to be. They're like animals, without any capability of being
verse 20 Jude says to "build yourselves up in your most holy
faith". I think
Jude is saying not to allow these false teachers to build you up.
You do the building up yourself.
These false teachers cannot build you up in the faith.
They have no faith in Jesus to build you up in.
"In your most holy faith' should be seen as "by your most
holy faith". Our trust in
Jesus, or, the body of Christian truth" either or both definition of
faith, is the means by which we build ourselves up.
When we trust Jesus more than we once did, we build ourselves up.
When we embrace the body of Biblical truth, we build ourselves up.
speaks of praying in the Spirit. This
could mean one of two things, or both.
It could mean to pray under the influence of the Spirit, or/and, it
could mean to pray in tongues. Paul
calls praying in tongues, praying by the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 14:15.
verse 21 Jude says "to keep yourself in God’s love while you wait
for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ".
We are to keep ourselves in God’s love.
Keeping one's self in God's love is our responsibility.
We don't leave that up to the Lord.
Many of us do not take this responsibility seriously.
says that we are to keep ourselves in the love of God "as we wait for
the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring us into eternal life".
I think this speaks to the final aspect of our salvation when we
enter the next life, either at death, or at the return of Jesus to earth.
verses 22 and 23 Jude is going to speak to three different groups.
The first group is seen in verse 22.
The text says to "be merciful to those who doubt".
Jude does not say, “be merciful to those who don’t believe”.
There is a difference between doubt and unbelief.
Thomas doubted, even though he was a believer.
We are to be merciful to such a person.
They need our help. They
need our mercy, not our heavy handed criticism.
second group is seen in verse 23. We
are to "snatch others from the fire and save them".
I don't think this group of people is those who merely have doubts.
These are unbelievers who are hell bent to the
. They need to be snatched out
of their way of life at any cost. We snatch these people from the fire as
a firemen would snatch someone from a house on fire.
It's that serious.
last group of people Jude speaks about is a bit uncertain.
Jude does say how to witness to them.
He says, “to others show mercy mixed with fear – hating even
the clothing stained by corrupt flesh”.
Jude is speaking to how we reach out to the sinner.
We are to show mercy, but show mercy in fear, lest we fall in the
same sinful trap. Hating their clothes stained by corruption means that we
love the sinner but hate the sin. If
we hate their clothes stained by sin, that should help us not to get
caught up in the lifestyle of the sinner we're attempting to help and
(verses 24 and 25)
closes his short letter with great and majestic words about our Lord Jesus
Christ. He says, "To Him
who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His
glorious presence without fault and great joy - to the only God our Savior
be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
before all ages, now and forever more, amen".
context "to Him" refers to Jesus. He is capable of keeping us
from falling, assuming we let Him.
as true Christians will stand before Jesus some day, and because of what
He did for us by His life and death on earth, He will view us as
faultless, even though we are full of fault.
was, and is, and will be to come. He
is the final authority over all there is.
He has no rivals, no competition. His word is final.
This is why Jude speaks of Jesus' majestic glory and authority.
This is also why Jude speaks to the eternal nature of our Lord
Jesus Christ here. When
speaking of Jesus' eternal nature, we understand this to be because He is
is one very short letter, but it is extremely relevant for modern day
Christians because we have the same problems concerning false teaching
today. May we understand what
Jude is teaching us and apply it to our lives.
This will not only produce joy in us, but will produce joy in the
heart of Jesus as Jude says. Hebrews
12:2 says, "For the joy set before Him".
The writer of Hebrews speaks of this particular joy that will be
seen on the face of Jesus when He welcomes us into His eternal kingdom.
ends his letter with associating Jesus with the only God and Saviour.
This speaks to the Deity of Christ, that is, Jesus is in fact God
in human flesh, or now, in glorified human flesh.
This confession of faith on Jude's part would be a confession that
could lead him to death. All
those living in the
were to confess that Caesar was God and Saviour.
Christians could not make that confession.
Therefore many were executed for their stand that the Lord Jesus
Christ alone was God, Saviour, and Lord.
two main themes of Jude; false teaching and the return of Jesus to earth,
are just as relevant today as they were in Jude's day.
We are obviously closer to the end of this age than Jude was, and
as we draw closer to the end, false teachers increase in both numbers and
in popularity. The only way to
keep one's self in the faith is to be the Biblical literate Christian you
were meant to be. We cannot
afford to neglect this little book of the New Testament.