Where He leads us we will follow

Overview of Jude

Jud 1:1 This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.I am writing to all who are called to live in the love of God the Father and the care of Jesus Christ.

Jude was the brother of James and also the brother of Jesus, but he describes himself as a servant of Jesus Christ. He knew Peter and they probably had a number of conversations about the Lord’s departure, because the thought and language in 2 Peter is very similar to Jude. Jude probably didn’t become a believer in Jesus until after Jesus had risen from the dead. What led Jude to his conversion isn’t known. Since Jesus appeared to his brother James (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:7), perhaps James was instrumental in Jude's conversion.

Jud 1:2 May you receive more and more of God's mercy, peace, and love.

V. 2 Jude wishes for his readers mercy, peace, and love. The greeting is peculiarly suited to those who were facing the onslaught of those whose aim was to subvert the faith. Mercy means God’s compassionate comfort and care for His beleaguered saints in times of conflict and stress. Peace is the serenity and confidence that come from reliance on God’s word and from looking above circumstances to the One who overrules all circumstances for the accomplishment of His own purposes. Love is the undeserved embrace of God for His dear people—a super-affection that should then be shared with others. He wishes that these three blessings be multiplied. Not measured out by mere addition, but by multiplication! (Believer’s Bible Commentary)

Jud 1:3 Dearly loved friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the truth of the Good News. God gave this unchanging truth once for all time to his holy people.

We as Christians must stand uncompromisingly for the inspiration, inerrancy, authority, and sufficiency of God’s Holy Word. We are meant to be defenders of the faith, to not allow any false Gospel to enter our ranks. this book was written at a time when there were false teachers preaching a false Gospel.

Jud 1:4 I say this because some godless people have wormed their way in among you, saying that God's forgiveness allows us to live immoral lives. The fate of such people was determined long ago, for they have turned against our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

It looks as if the church had it’s similarities with today’s church, I would like to be able to say this doesn’t happen today, but we all know that is not true. The reason for the letter was the presence of ungodly persons into the fellowship of the church. These heretics stand accused: they entered secretly worming their way in; they were previously appointed to condemnation; they are ungodly and they deny Jesus Christ as their Master and Lord.

Jud 1:5 I must remind you – and you know it well – that even though the Lord rescued the whole nation of Israel from Egypt, he later destroyed every one of those who did not remain faithful.

5 though you once knew this: These Christians were given fair warning concerning false teachers from the words of Christ and the apostles (vv. 17, 18) but they had become negligent and were no longer on guard. destroyed those who diasd not believe: The Israelites of the Exodus had a magnificent beginning in Egypt but a disastrous ending in the wilderness. That we have begun with the Lord does not mean that we will have the glorious conclusion we might have envisioned at the beginning of our salvation journey. The false believers who had infiltrated God’s people would be judged, just like the false believers who rejected God in the wilderness (see Num. 25:1–9). (Nelson’s Study bible)

  This short book should cause us today to reflect as to whether we have indeed like the first century church whom Jude addressed this letter to let our guard down. We need to finish well as well as start well, may we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and the truth of God's Word.

Jud 1:6 And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the day of judgment.

Here is another illustration in the fall of the rebellious angels, who erred from their calling by exalting themselves.
It is clear that the angels to which Jude refers are not holy angels of God. Instead these angels could be those who had previously fallen with Satan. Some think that these angels are “the sons of God” of Gen. 6:2, who took on human form and married women before the Flood. According to this interpretation, these perverted angels were condemned by God to chains and darkness and are presently awaiting the final judgment of Satan and all his angels (see 2 Pet. 2:4).(Nelson’s Study Bible)

Jud 1:7 And don't forget the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with sexual immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and are a warning of the eternal fire that will punish all who are evil.

As the fallen angels had committed sexual immorality with humans, so the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah had pursued all kinds of sexual perversion.

Jud 1:8 Yet these false teachers, who claim authority from their dreams, live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at the power of the glorious ones.

The angels mentioned here are not angels of God. Instead these angels could be those who had previously fallen with Satan. Some think that these angels could be the sons of God of Gen. 6:2, who took on human form and married women before the Flood. According to this interpretation, these perverted angels were condemned by God to chains and darkness and are presently awaiting the final judgment of Satan and all his angels (see 2 Pet. 2:4).

Jude cites the history of Sodom and Gomorrha to enforce his moral view. Throughout Scripture these cities are symbolic of divine judgment executed by fire.
The false teachers had their own agenda for they had not been commissioned by the church nor called by the Holy Spirit. Jude calls these ungodly persons dreamers, perhaps because they claimed divine revelation, but more likely because they denied the Lord and thus were living in an unreal world of deception. They were creating their own false world in which indulging in immorality went hand in hand with salvation. The false teachers even rejected those who were placed leaders in local congregations. They not only preferred error to truth but also demeaned and rejected those who taught the truth.

Jud 1:9 But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse Satan of blasphemy, but simply said, "The Lord rebuke you." (This took place when Michael was arguing with Satan about Moses' body.)

Michael is an archangel, the one that God will use to cast Satan down from heaven (Rev. 12:7–9), still he didn’t presume to speak reproachfully to the one who rules in the realm of demons. He left the rebuking to God.

Jud 1:10 But these people mock and curse the things they do not understand. Like animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and they bring about their own destruction.

The apostates do not realize that in any ordered society, there must be authority and there must be subjection to that authority. They think they can live as they please.

Jud 1:11 How terrible it will be for them! For they follow the evil example of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they will do anything for money. And like Korah, they will perish because of their rebellion.

A stinging indictment is pronounced upon them. How terrible it will be for them ! Because of their stubborn and unrepentant heart, they store up wrath for themselves in the Day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God (Rom. 2:5). First they have gone in the way of Cain. They have run greedily in the error of Balaam. The way of Cain is basically the rejection of salvation through the blood of a sacrificial victim (Gen. 4). It is the attempt to appease God by human efforts. C. H. Mackintosh says, “God’s remedy to cleanse is rejected, and man’s effort to improve is put in its place. This is ’the way of Cain.’.” But, of course, reliance on human effort leads to a hatred of grace and to the objects of grace. And that hatred eventually leads to persecution and even murder (1 Jn. 3:15).
Balaam professed to be a prophet of God, but he was covetous, and willing to prostitute his prophetic gift for money (Num. 22–24). Five times Balak paid him to curse Israel, and he was more than willing to do it, but he was forcibly restrained by God. Many of the things that he said were true and beautiful, but for all that, he was a hireling prophet. He couldn’t curse the men of Israel, but he eventually succeeded in luring them into sin with the daughters of Moab (Num. 25:1–5). Like Balaam, the false teachers of today are suave and convincing. They can speak out of both corners of their mouths at once. They suppress the truth in order to increase their income. The principal point is that they are greedy, seeking to make the house of God a house of merchandise. Christendom today is leavened by the sin of simony. If the profit motive could somehow be removed, much of what passes as Christian work would come to a screeching halt. C. A. Coates warns: Man is so base that he makes gain for himself out of God’s things. The ultimate point of man’s baseness is that he will make gain out of God’s things for himself. The Lord has a definite judgment on it all. We can see how Christendom is full of it, and we have to watch it in ourselves lest that element come in.
The third reason for the woe pronounced by Jude is that these false teachers have perished in the rebellion of Korah. Along with Dathan and Abiram, Korah rebelled against the leadership of Moses and Aaron and desired to intrude into the priestly office (Num. 16). In this they were actually spurning the Lord. For their insubordination, they were swallowed alive in a great earthquake. God thus showed His extreme displeasure at rebellion against those whom He has set up as His representatives. (Adapted from Believer’s Commentary)

Jud 1:12 When these people join you in fellowship meals celebrating the love of the Lord, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are shameless in the way they care only about themselves. They are like clouds blowing over dry land without giving rain, promising much but producing nothing. They are like trees without fruit at harvesttime. They are not only dead but doubly dead, for they have been pulled out by the roots.
Jud 1:13 They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the dirty foam of their shameful deeds. They are wandering stars, heading for everlasting gloom and darkness.

12, 13 spots in your love feasts: The people of God had been deceived by people who appeared to be messengers of God but instead were ministers of Satan (see 2 Cor. 11:4, 13–15). The Greek word for spots may also be translated “hidden reefs”; it serves as a strong warning to be on guard against deceivers. clouds without water . . . trees without fruit: Clouds may look like they will bring rain until the wind blows them away (see Prov. 25:14). Trees may look productive until autumn arrives, the time for fruit to be picked. The ministers of Satan promise spiritual growth but do not satisfy the hunger of God’s people for the truth. Not only are they without fruit, but they are rootless and incapable of bearing, since they are unable to tap the true source of sustenance (see Ps. 1:3). They talk about God but are truly godless. raging waves . . . foaming . . . wandering stars: These godless people put on a great show but lacked any substance. They boasted of liberty but placed the people of God in bondage to sin (see 2 Pet. 2:19). After they had done their evil deeds and made their profits, they, like wandering stars, moved on to other places to exploit God’s people again. darkness forever: These deceivers might not be punished for their evil deeds in this world, and their true character and deeds might fail to be discovered by Christians, but their punishment is certain. ( Nelson’s Study Bible)
Jud 1:14 Now Enoch, who lived seven generations after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, "Look, the Lord is coming with thousands of his holy ones.
Jud 1:15 He will bring the people of the world to judgment. He will convict the ungodly of all the evil things they have done in rebellion and of all the insults that godless sinners have spoken against him."

And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
A problem arises in these verses because of the quotations from Enoch. Jude says: Enoch in the seventh generation from Adam prophesied (RSV). The difficulty is that Jude apparently ascribes this prophecy of apocryphal Enoch to the Enoch of Gen 5. Since there is no Biblical account of any prophecy of Enoch, some claim that Jude either regarded apocryphal Enoch as canonical, or else was guilty of obvious error. However, a solution to the problem rests in the fact that this alleged prophecy is a citation not from a single passage in Enoch, but from several, and it is probable that Jude also quoted the line "the seventh generation from Adam" from Enoch 60:8. Thus Jude did not intend to refer to the Enoch of Gen 5, but referred entirely, even in the introductory line, to words found in the apocryphal Enoch. While the prophecy has no canonical status, its predictions are paralleled and supported by numerous Biblical passages, such as, Matt 25:31-46.

(Wycliffe Bible Commentary by Moody Press)

The Use of Apocryphal Sources
The Jewish Apocrypha consists of books and writings that were never recognized as part of the canon of Scripture, but which served a devotional purpose for many believers of ancient times, including some of the authors of the New Testament. Jude cites two books of the Apocrypha in his letter. Jude 9 apparently comes from The Assumption of Moses, and verse 14 comes from The Book of Enoch. Today we do not have a complete text of The Assumption of Moses, but two early church fathers, Clement of Alexandria and Origen, testify that v. 9 is a reference to that book.
Jude is not the only New Testament author who quotes extrabiblical sources. In 1 Cor. 10:4, Paul apparently made use of a Hebrew commentary (the Midrash) to support his interpretation of Israel’s wilderness wanderings. In Acts 17:28 and Titus 1:12, he quoted from pagan poets to support some of his assertions. Though we do not know where the names Jannes and Jambres come from (see 2 Tim. 3:8), Paul did not hesitate to use their story as an example of godlessness for Timothy.
Should the New Testament writers have quoted from apocryphal sources? Surely God had no trouble guiding the biblical writers in selecting material from these sources. Luke knew of “many” accounts of the life of Christ (see Luke 1:1), which he set out to better with his own “orderly account” (1:3). Along the same lines, Paul had at least one letter from the Corinthian church to guide his responses in First and Second Corinthians. Even the devil is quoted in Matt. 4:3, 6, 9. This does not mean that these sources are inspired, or even accurate, but it does mean that sometimes New Testament writers drew from the written sources God had given them to communicate effectively what He wanted them to say. The writers of Scripture wrote all that, and only that, which God had inspired them to say. We must affirm with Peter that the ultimate origin of Scripture is the mind of God (see 2 Pet. 1:19–21).

Jud 1:16 These people are grumblers and complainers, doing whatever evil they feel like. They are loudmouthed braggarts, and they flatter others to get favors in return.

This verse describes various ways apostates will misuse their tongues. Instead of praising God, they boast; instead of encouraging, they whine and complain. They are selfish and slaves to personal desires. By using flattering words, they try to gain a following for themselves that goes against the proper authorities in local congregations.

Jud 1:17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ told you,
Jud 1:18 that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to enjoy themselves in every evil way imaginable.
Jud 1:19 Now they are here, and they are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They live by natural instinct because they do not have God's Spirit living in them.

The words the apostles have written are important because they show us the will of God. For us to discern the spirit (v. 19) of anyone claiming to speak for God, the standard for us to evaluate what they say is aligning it with the Bible itself. Those who attack the central truths of Scripture, the ones concerning God, Christ, and salvation by God’s grace through faith, must be avoided.

Jud 1:20 But you, dear friends, must continue to build your lives on the foundation of your holy faith. And continue to pray as you are directed by the Holy Spirit.
Jud 1:21 Live in such a way that God's love can bless you as you wait for the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy is going to give you.

Jude tells us how to keep ourselves in the love of God. It is clear that Jude is encouraging us in this verse to cultivate our love for Christ, for we can’t be separated from His love for us.

Rom 8:35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death?
Rom 8:36 (Even the Scriptures say, "For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep." [36])
Rom 8:37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
Rom 8:38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away.
Rom 8:39 Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jud 1:22 Show mercy to those whose faith is wavering.
Jud 1:23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. There are still others to whom you need to show mercy, but be careful that you aren't contaminated by their sins.

22, 23 We have certain obligations to other believers. First, we need to show mercy to those in any kind of spiritual or physical need. Second, we need to use discernment (making a distinction) in helping our brothers and sisters in the church. Some will require tender care and patience to help them grow in Christ. With others, we may need to use drastic action to rescue them from the temptations of sin. In rescuing our fellow believers, there is always the need to use wisdom and caution to prevent getting caught up in the sin that caused them to fall. Hating even the garment defiled by the flesh is a metaphor for staying wary of sin—as Paul says, “considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Gal. 6:1). (Believer’s Bible Commentary)

Jud 1:24 And now, all glory to God, who is able to keep you from stumbling, and who will bring you into his glorious presence innocent of sin and with great joy.
Jud 1:25 All glory to him, who alone is God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Yes, glory, majesty, power, and authority belong to him, in the beginning, now, and forevermore. Amen.

One of the great and lofty benedictions of the NT is the one at the end of this short epistle. Two comparable Pauline benedictions are Rom 16:25 and 1 Tim 6:14-16. Vital to all exhortations to believers is the reminder of the infinite resource of God himself, who alone is competent to keep us from falling in this life and to bring us to himself in the last day. He will perfect the work of sanctification so that the believer will be faultless, or without blemish (ASV). This word looks back to the description of sacrificial animals in the OT. Jude 25 teaches both the oneness of God and equality of Jesus Christ with God the Father. Thus it militates against the view that the deity of Christ was an invention of the post-apostolic church. God is spoken of as Saviour seven times in the NT. Here his saving power is shown in the Person of his Son, whom the Church acknowledges as "Lord," i.e., God. The final ascription of glory, majesty, dominion, and authority is Jude's testimony to the gracious character of God, who wrought our salvation through Christ.
( Wycliffe Bible Commentary)

So we saw on the one hand the character of the apostates: They were Godless Men –worldly; carnal; denied Jesus as their Sovereign Lord; rejected authority; critical; flattered others when it was to their advantage and immoral.

On the other hand the true believers built up their faith; prayed in the Spirit; kept God’s love; waited in anticipation and hope for eternal salvation in the knowledge of God’s mercy; won souls for Him and rested in God’s keeping power for God was able to stop them from stumbling.

a) Protect yourselves from the false teaching so you may persevere in the true faith
b) Build yourselves up in faith.
c) Pray for the Holy Spirit to help and strengthen you in this fight against this immoral, false teaching.
d) Keep yourselves focussed on God's love as you wait for the mercy of Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life in heaven.
d) Remove those affected by false teaching from your midst.
e). Have mercy on those members who have been given doubts about their faith because of influence from the false teachers in your midst.
f) Reach those whom you can by snatching them from the fire in which the false teaching has embroiled them.

We want to be among the faithful ones don’t we? We need to stay focussed on God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord. May all, glory, majesty, power, and authority belong to him, in the beginning, now, and forevermore. Amen.