About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

Home Page

My Commentary on the Letter of

Jude 1 and 2    Jude 3-16     Jude 17-23    Jude 24 and 25




My 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.


A 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 Jerusalem 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.   


No 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 scenario.


Both 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. 


The 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.     


The 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.      



Greetings (verses 1 verses 2)


Jude, 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 have today.   


Jude 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 think.


Verse 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 us. 


The 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". 


Note 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.      


Note that God is our Father.  He is our Father because He is first the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 


Verse 2 says, “Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance”. 


Mercy 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. 


When 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 our lives. 


The 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.


Jude's 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 back then.



The Sin And Doom Of Godless Men (verses 3 -16)


Verse 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.     


Jude 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 "the".  "Our" seems much more personal than "the".  


So, 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.


The English word "contend" is translated from the Greek word "epagonizomai".  This 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.    


As 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.     


When 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.


Note 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.         


In 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.


Concerning 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.


Jude 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.


In 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.


I 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.


Another 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.


In verse 5 Jude reminds his readers that God delivered His people out of Egypt , 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 Israel of old, or, another false religion.  


The idea that God could destroy His own people is interesting.  Even after He spent the time and energy to save Israel 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 church of Revelation 3.  


The 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 flesh.     


The 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. 


Jude 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.   


I 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. 


Some 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. 


The 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.


I'd 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. 


If 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.       


The 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.


Josephus, the very famous Jewish historian, contemporary of Jesus when He was on earth, believed the "sons of God" were "angels of God".      


Jude 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.  


Verse 7 begins with the words, "in a similar way."  Jude compares the sexual sins of Sodom and Gomorra here with the sins of these angels.  This tells us that the angels committed sexual sins as those in Sodom and Gomorrah 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.


These 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 Lake of Fire we see at the close of the book of Revelation.


In 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.  


Jude 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. 


In 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 Israel 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 Israel in the last days, right up to the return of Jesus.   


An 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.


We 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. 


Also 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.


Concerning 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.


The 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.


The 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.        


You 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 Mount Nebo to be with their Lord.  It is interesting to note that Jesus was transfigured on a mountain that many people feel is mount Nebo .  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 Israel , 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 that.   


In 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 Israel entering Canaan , 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.


In 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. 


Jude 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. 


Paul 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.


Notice 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.


Peter 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.


Note the word "profit" when it comes to Balaam.  God used Balaam in a real way to help Israel .  God actually used Balaam who was a Gentile prophet, but eventually he became greedy, like many Christian leaders today.  Money becomes all-consuming.    


Verse 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.


Note 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. 


Of 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 Jesus.


The 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.   


Jude 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 very wealthy.    


Note in verse 12 that these false teachers are called "shepherds".  They are leaders in their own community of Gnostics.      


Jude 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 aren't.


These men are also like "autumn trees without fruit, uprooted, twice dead".  Twice dead suggests that these men are doubly dead, unable to be revived.


Jude 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 prey.  


Like 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. 


You 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.    


In 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.   


Again, 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.  


The point to the prophecy is that God will judge “ungodly men.  You can be certain of that. 


Jude 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.



A Call To Persevere (verses 17-23)


Verse 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. 


In 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.


What 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.


Jude 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.


Note 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. 


Again, 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.


Some 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 spiritual. 


In 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.      


Jude 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.


In 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.


Jude 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.  


In 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.


The 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 Lake of Fire .  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. 


The 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 save.    



Doxology (verses 24 and 25)


Jude 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".


In context "to Him" refers to Jesus. He is capable of keeping us from falling, assuming we let Him. 


We 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. 


Jesus 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 God.     


This 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.


Jude 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 Roman Empire 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.


The 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.              

Home Page