Jude Chapter 1
Jude, which is rendered “Judah” in Hebrew and “Judas” in Greek, was named after its author (verse 1), one of the 4 half-brothers of Christ (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3). As the fourth shortest New Testament book (Philemon and 2 John and 3 John are shorter). Jude is the last of 8 general epistles. Jude does not quote the Old Testament directly, but there are at least 9 obvious allusions to it. Contextually, this “epistolary sermon” could be called “The Acts of the Apostates.”
Like most if not all of Jesus’ immediate family, Jude did not respond favorably to Jesus’ ministry during His earthly days (John 7:5). Yet later he may have been among Jesus’ brothers who had preaching ministries (1 Cor. 9:5). As a close relative of Jesus and a brother of James, himself a renowned Jewish Christian leader in Jerusalem, Jude wrote with authority and the assurance that his earliest readers would give him a careful hearing.
Although Jude (Judas), was a common name in Palestine (at least 8 are named in the New Testament), the author of Jude generally has been accepted as Jude, Christ’s half-brother. He is to be differentiated from the Apostle Judas, the son of James (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13). Several lines of thought lead to this conclusion:
(1) Jude’s appeal to being the “brother of James,” the leader of the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15), and another half-brother of Jesus (verse 1; Gal. 1:19);
(2) Jude’s salutation being similar to James (James 1:1); and
(3) Jude’s not identifying himself as an apostle (Verse 1), but rather distinguishing between himself and the apostles (verse 17).
Although Jude had earlier rejected Jesus as Messiah (John 7:1-9), he along with other half-brothers of our Lord, was converted after Christ’s resurrection (Acts 1:14). Because of his relation to Jesus, his eye-witness knowledge of the resurrected Christ, and the content of this epistle, it was acknowledged as inspired and was included in the Muratorian Canon (170 A.D.). The early questions about its canonicity also tend to support that it was written after 2 Peter. If Peter had quoted Jude, there would have been no question about canonicity, since Peter would thereby have given Jude apostolic affirmation. Clement of Rome (96 A.D.), plus Clement of Alexandria (200 A.D.), also alluded to the authenticity of Jude. Its diminutive size and Jude’s quotations from uninspired writings account for any misplaced questions about its canonicity.
Writing to warn believers of false teachers, Jude uses similar material as (in 2 Peter 2). Both Jude and Peter were alarmed about the rapid rise of false doctrines and the subsequent prevailing attitude of apostasy, and both men addressed these issues in their epistles.
The doctrinal and moral apostasy discussed by Jude (verses 4-18), closely parallels that of (2 Peter 2:1 – 3:4), and it is believed that Peter’s writing predated Jude for several reasons:
(1) 2 Peter anticipates the coming of false teachers (2 Peter 2:1-2; 3:3), while Jude deals with their arrival (verses 4, 11, 12, 17, 18); and
(2) Jude quotes directly from (2 Peter 3:3) and acknowledges that it is from an apostle (verses 17-18).
Since no mention of Jerusalem’s destruction in A.D. 70 was made by Jude, though Jude most likely came after 2 Peter (A.D. 68-70), it is almost certainly written before the destruction of Jerusalem. Although Jude did travel on missionary trips with other brothers and their wives (1 Cor. 9:5), it is most likely that he wrote from Jerusalem. The exact audience of believers with whom Jude corresponded is unknown, but seems to be Jewish considering Jude’s illustrations. He undoubtedly wrote to a region recently plagued by false teachers.
Evidently Jude’s original intent for his letter was to discuss truths of the common salvation that both Jews and Gentiles received, but he was led of the Spirit to exhort believers to defend the truth and contend for the faith. He reminds his readers that God punishes violations of His law, citing Old Testament examples of Cain, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Egyptians, Balaam, and the rebellion of Korah (see Numbers 16).
Several verses in this short epistle relate to future judgment, Christ’s return, the Last Days, and the believer’s destiny in the presence of His glory. An interesting tidbit of prophecy is seen (in verses 14-16), where Jude quotes from ancient Jewish literature (200 B.C.). This prophecy, not recorded in the Old Testament, is from the extra biblical book of (1 Enoch 1:9). Jude uses it to emphatically illustrate the second coming of Christ.
Jude 1:1 “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, [and] called:”
“Servant”: Before the crucifixion and resurrection, Jude had denied Jesus as Messiah (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3; John 7:5), but afterward came to humbly acknowledge himself as His slave, having submitted to Christ’s lordship.
“Brother of James”: James was the well-known leader of the Jerusalem church (Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:18; Gal 2:9), and author of the epistle that carried his name.
“Called”: As always in the epistles, this refers not to a general invitation to salvation, but to God’s irresistible, elective call to salvation (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:23-24; 1 Thess. 5:24; 2 Thess. 2:13-14). This call yields:
(1) Fellowship with Christ (1 Cor. 1:9);
(2) Peace (1 Cor. 7:15);
(3) Freedom (Gal. 5:13);
(4) A worthy walk (Eph. 4:1);
(5) Hope (Eph. 4:4);
(6) Holiness (1 Peter 1:15);
(7) Blessing (1 Peter 3:9);
(8) Eternal glory (1 Peter 5:10);
(9) “Grace of our God” (verse 4).
“Sanctified” and “preserved”: are in the perfect tense: Christians are once and continually “set apart” and “kept.” They are kept for the return of Christ (see verse 21). This expands on the idea of unconditional, thus unending, love from God to the believer in Christ. It is because of that love that believers are set apart from sin to God by the transformation of conversion.
“God the Father”: The plan of salvation and its fulfillment comes from God who is not only Father in the sense of creation and origin of all that exists, but is also “God our Savior” (verse 25; 1 Tim. 2:4; Titus 1:3; 2:10; 3:4).
“Preserved”: God not only initiates salvation but He also completes it through Christ, thus preserving or keeping the believer secure for eternal life. (John 6:37-44; 10:28-30; 17:11, 15; Rom. 8:31-39; 2 Tim. 4:18; Heb. 7:25; 9:24; 1 Peter 1:3-5).
We would call this a general letter, because it was addressed to the sanctified of God the Father, who include Christians of all ages. How wonderful to have the assurance that we are kept in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The name Jude, or Judas, was a common name among the Jewish people. The brothers of Jesus would have been terribly humbled by the fact that they lived with Jesus without really realizing He was Messiah, until after His resurrection.
This statement seems to be from someone who is humbled by the fact of who Jesus is. “Sanctified”, as we have said before, means made holy, or set aside for God’s purpose. All believers are preserved in Christ. The devil cannot take them away from Jesus.
Called means those who God called.
Jude 1:2 “Mercy unto you, and peace and love, be multiplied.”
“Mercy and peace and love”: This was a common Jewish greeting; “love” was added to make it distinctively Christian. Only here in the New Testament do these 3 qualities appear so closely together. Where law and works prevail, there is failure and death. Where grace prevails, there is mercy (Eph. 2:4; Heb. 4:16), peace (Rom. 5:1), and love (Rom. 5:5), in abundance.
Believers who have sought God’s mercy also receive peace (“inner assurance” and “stability”), and love.
This greeting is a blessing spoken on the called of God. Peter is the only one of the other writers who prayed the blessings would be multiplied. The love added to the blessing is as if it is said by John. I believe all these great men of God had great influence on Jude.
Jude 1:3 “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
Salvation is a common thing. It is received by everyone the very same way, by simple belief in Jesus. We find in this that something happened that caused Jude to find it necessary to write this letter. The message is a simple one. Do whatever is necessary to expose yourself to the salvation message. This is a letter begging them to seek out salvation. Do not let it slip you by.
“Beloved”: indicates the close relationship between Jude and his readers. Jude was evidently planning to write a less urgent doctrinal letter but was forced by developments to pen this earnest exhortation. Jude conceives of Christian faith as having a definite, unchanging and unchangeable content.
“Needful for me”: This verse implies that Jude had intended to write a letter on salvation as the common blessing enjoyed by all believers, perhaps to emphasize unity and fellowship among believers, and remind them that God is no respecter of persons. But he was compelled, instead, to write a call to battle for the truth in light of the arrival of apostate teachers.
“Earnestly contend”: While the salvation of those to whom he wrote was not in jeopardy, false teachers preaching and living out a counterfeit gospel were misleading those who needed to hear the true gospel. Jude wrote this urgent imperative for Christians to wage war against error in all forms and fight strenuously for the truth, like a soldier who has been entrusted with a sacred task of guarding a holy treasure (1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7).
“The faith”: This is the whole body of revealed salvation truth contained in the Scriptures (Gal. 1:23; Eph. 4:5, 13; Phil. 1:27; 1 Tim. 4:1). Here is a call to know sound doctrine (Eph. 4:14; Col. 3:16; 1 Peter 2:2; 1 John 2:12-14), to be willing to confront and attack error.
“Once delivered unto the saints”: God’s revelation was delivered once as a unit, at the completion of the Scripture, and is not to be edited by either deletion or addition (Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18-19). Scripture is complete, sufficient, and finished; therefore, it is fixed for all time. Nothing is to be added to the body of the inspired Word.
Because nothing else is needed, it is the responsibility of believers now to study the Word (Second Timothy 2:15), preach the Word (Second Timothy 4:2), and fight for its preservation.
The message had been given early on to the saints, who are described as holy, since they are set apart from sin to God. Jude does not want anything to happen to cause them to miss the opportunity of salvation. He explains it is simple to receive and is for everyone who will.
Jude 1:4 “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Certain men crept in unawares”: These were infiltrating, false teachers pretending to be true, who on the surface looked like the real thing, but whose intentions were to lead God’s people astray (Matt. 7:15; Acts 20-29; Gal. 2:4-5; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Pet. 2:1, 20; 1 John 2:18-23).
These apostates were Satan’s counterfeits, most likely posing as itinerant teachers (2 Cor. 11:13-15; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 2 John 2:7-11). Their stealth made them dangerous. They were characterized by 3 features:
(1) They were ungodly;
(2) They perverted grace; and
(3) They denied Christ.
“Were before of old ordained”: Apostasy and apostates in general were written about and condemned many centuries before, such as illustrated (in verses 5-7), and spoken of as Enoch did (in verses 14-16; Isa. 8:19-21; 47:9-15; Hos. 9:9; Zep. 3:1-8).
Their doom was “pre-written” in Scripture as a warning to all who would come later. Jesus had warned about them (in Matt. 7:15-20; Acts 20:29). The most recent warning had been (2 Peter 2:3, 17; 3:7).
“This condemnation”: This refers to the judgment spoken of by others “long beforehand.” Jude’s present ‘exposé’ of apostates placed them in the path of the very judgment of God, written of previously. Jude recognizes that Scripture often predicts the demise and judgment of any who flaunt God’s will.
The men in question are wrongly assuming that grace means “no moral laws.” They thus effectively deny the sovereignty and eternal moral lordship of both the Father and the Son.
“Ungodly men”: Literally “impious” or “without worship.” Their lack of reverence for God was demonstrated by the fact that they infiltrated the church of God to corrupt it and gain riches from its people (verses 15, 16, 18, 19).
“Ordained to this condemnation”: False teachers and apostates have been generally condemned as early as Old Testament times (1 Kings 18; Isa. 8:19-21; Jer. 29:9, 31; Hos. 9:9; Zeph. 3:1-8). The Scriptures condemn in the most forceful terms those who twist the doctrine of God’s grace to allow and approve gross sexual immorality and those who deny the deity, atonement and miracles of Jesus Christ.
“Licentiousness”: Literally “unrestrained vice” or “gross immorality.” Which describes the shameless lifestyle of one who irreverently flaunts God’s grace by indulging in unchecked and open immorality (Romans 6:15).
Even at this early stage of the Christian movement, there were those who were bringing in messages that were not true. We see these evil men had crept in unaware to those in charge. They were of the devil, and they were intent in turning people away from the truth to believe a lie. Just because someone sits on the pew next to you in church does not mean they are godly.
Sometimes they are sent there by the devil himself to bring false teachings in the church and to damage the gospel message. These evil men had brought sin into the church. They had even gone so far as to declare the Lord Jesus Christ not to be God in the flesh. They really were denying the Father and the Son.
“Our Lord Jesus Christ”: Two Greek words for Jesus are used here. The apostates disowned Christ as sovereign Lord (despotes, a person who wields power oppressively; a tyrant). And disdained any recognition of Christ as honorable Lord (kurios), by their wicked behavior.
The better New Testament manuscripts omit God in the text, placing the emphasis clearly on one person, the Lord Jesus Christ, and emphasizing that apostates deny Him. It is always true of false religions that they pervert what Scripture declares is true about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Verses 5-7: Jude provided three well known acts of apostasy from the Old Testament as brief reminders (verse 5), to illustrate their damnable outcome as declared (in verse 4).
Jude 1:5 “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.”
“I will”: Jude expresses the burden of wanting desperately to warn his readers. Jude sees Old Testament examples as extremely important for Christians (see Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10-11). The writer of Hebrews expands greatly on a similar insight regarding Israel’s demise in the wilderness (Num. 14: 28-35).
“Saved … destroyed” (Hebrews 3:16-19). God miraculously delivered the nation of Israel out of Egyptian bondage (Exodus 12:51; Deut. 4:34), only to have them respond in unbelief, doubting, and defecting from faith in God that He could bring them into the Promised Land (Num. 13:25; 14:4). Even to the extent of worshipping an idol of their own making, as well as murmuring against God instead of adoring Him. (Exodus 16:7-12; 1 Cor. 10:10-11). That apostate generation died during 38 years of wilderness wanderings (Numbers 14:22-30, 35).
He is reminding them that just because they were saved, does not mean they can do anything they want to, and still come to salvation. He is giving as an example, the Israelites (God’s people), who he delivered from Egypt (world).
They were delivered, but started complaining and doubting that God would take them to the Promised Land. God made them wander in the wilderness 40 years, until those who had doubted died.
Without faith, it is impossible to please God. It does not matter whether it is the Israelites on their way to their Promised Land, or believers in Christ who are on their way to their Promised Land.
We do know there will be some who stand before Jesus on judgment day who will profess to be Christians, who Jesus will tell to get away from Him, He never knew them (Matt. 7:21-23).
We must walk in the salvation we receive to inherit heaven. Our faith in Jesus saves us.
Jude 1:6 “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”
“Angels which kept not”: This apostasy of fallen angels is described (in Gen. 6:1-3), as possessing men who then cohabited with woman. These angels, “did not keep their own domain”, i.e., they entered men who promiscuously cohabited with women. Apparently, this is a reference to the fallen angels (of Gen. 6; sons of God):
(1) Before the flood (2 Peter 2:5; Gen. 6:1-3), who left their normal state and lusted after women;
(2) Before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (2 Peter 2:6; Gen. 19).
The transition to Sodom and Gomorrah (in verse 7), points to the similitude of the sin of homosexuality and what these angels did (in Gen. 6).
The judgment of the great day”: The angels who sinned (fallen angels), are currently imprisoned and destined to continue in everlasting chains through the final judgment, when all demons and Satan are forever consigned to the “lake of fire” prepared for them (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10), and all the ungodly (Rev. 20:15).
The word “kept” in the verse above is “tereo”, which means to guard, or keep an eye upon. The word “reserved” here, is translated from the same word that was translated “kept” in the verse above.
There are/were two archangels in heaven, Lucifer and Michael. Each of them had a position over the other angels. The possible reason there were one third following Lucifer, was because they were under his command. When they chose to follow Lucifer, who is now known as Satan or the devil, they gave up their freedom of movement and are only allowed to minister when sent on an evil mission.
Demons, as we call them, or devil spirits as the Bible calls them, are still ministering spirits. They just minister evil instead of good. A devil, or demon spirit, must get permission from God before he attacks a Christian. We are bought and paid for by Jesus and we are His. He says what can happen to us, not the devil.
They are waiting for the judgment of God, as is all intelligence. The people in the world who are not Christians can be attacked at any time by the devil spirits. The chains, in the verse above are not literal chains, but a control on them. Notice this is not a literal place they are held, but they are dwelling in darkness.
The main thing we are to see in this is the fact that they fell after they knew God.
Jude 1:7 “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”
“Sodom and Gomorrah”: The destruction of these cities at the southeast corner of the Dead Sea is used over 20 times in Scripture as an illustration of God’s judgment during the days of Abraham and Lot (Gen. 18:22 – 19:29). This destruction was in view of their apostasy.
This occurred about 450 years after the Flood, when at least one of Noah’s sons, Shem, was still living (Gen. 11:10-11). Since this was only 100 years after Noah’s death (Gen. 9:28), people would have known about the message of righteousness and judgment from God which Noah preached and which they rejected.
“Fornication … strange flesh”: This refers to both the heterosexual (Gen. 19:8), and homosexual lusts (Gen. 19:4-5), of the residents. See (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:27; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10), for the absolute condemnation of homosexual activity.
“Eternal fire”: Sodom and Gomorrah illustrate God’s fire of earthly judgment (Rev. 16:8-9; 20:9), which was only a preview of the fire that can never be quenched in eternal hell (Matt. 3:12; 18:8; 25:41; Mark 9:43-44, 46, 48; Luke 3:17; Rev. 19:20; 20:14-15; 21:8; see 2 Peter 2:6 and Genesis 19:1-29).
Sodom and Gomorrah are mentioned often in Scripture as examples of God’s severe judgment on sexual sin, particularly sexual perversion. From (this verse and verse 6), immoralities have clearly entered the ranks of believers to whom Jude writes.
We see in this, the judgment that came on these cities, because they lived for the sins of the world. The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was the sin of homosexuality. In one day, the judgement of God fell and they were all destroyed except Lot, his wife, and his 2 daughters.
Homosexuality goes against the laws of nature.
Jude 1:8 “Likewise also these [filthy] dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.”
This refers to a confused state of the soul or abnormal imagination, producing delusions and sensual confusion. These men’s minds were numb to the truth of God’s Word so that, being beguiled and deluded, they fantasized wicked perversions, being blind and deaf to reality and truth. Perhaps they falsely claimed these were dreams/visions from God. “These” occurs 5 more times (in verses 10, 12, 14, 16, 19), in reference to the apostates, who are characterized in 3 ways.
“Defile the flesh”: Similar to the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah (verse 7), apostates have few, if any, moral restraints and thus are frequently characterized by immoral lifestyles (verse 4).
“Despise dominion”: Like the sinning angels of (verse 6), these pretenders rejected all authority, civil and spiritual, thus rejected the Scriptures and denying Christ (verse 4).
“Speak evil of dignities” (verse 10). Speaking of angels which is supported by the illustration (in verse 9).
Jude describes the false teachers against whom he writes. Instead of God’s revealed Word, they pay attention to their own visions or dreams. In doing so they lapse into immorality and insubordination, refusing to obey authorities (whether angelic or perhaps apostolic), and even criticizing them openly.
This is saying that the sins of the flesh lead a person to come against all authority of God and the authority He has set up upon the earth. To defile the flesh is to do things against the laws of nature.
Jude 1:9 “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”
Michael is the chief archangel of God who especially watches over Israel (Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1), and leads the holy angels (Rev. 12:7). Nowhere else in Scripture is the struggle over the body of Moses mentioned. Michael had to fight with Satan to do God’s bidding, as he did on another occasion (in Dan. 10:13).
“Body of Moses”: Moses died on Mt. Nebo in Moab without having entered the Promised Land and was secretly buried in a place not known to man (Deut. 34:5-6). It would likely be that this confrontation took place as Michael buried Moses to prevent Satan from using Moses’ body for some diabolical purpose not stated.
Perhaps Satan wanted to use it as an idol, and object of worship for Israel. God sent Michael; however, to be certain it was buried. This account was recorded in the pseudepigraphical Assumption of Moses.
“Railing accusation”: Rather than personally cursing such a powerful angel as Satan, Michael deferred to the ultimate, sovereign power of God following the example of the Angel of the Lord (in Zech. 3:2). This is the supreme illustration of how Christians are to deal with Satan and demons. Believers are not to address them, but rather to seek the Lord’s intervening power against them.
Jude evidently refers to a Jewish tradition (preserved, according to ancient authorities), in a work called the Assumption of Moses, according to which Michael the archangel refused to be provoked by Satan, who charges that Moses was a murderer (Exodus 2:11-12), and therefore undeserving a proper burial.
Michael, the archangel, was one of two known archangels, the other was Lucifer. Before Lucifer fell, he was probably in the highest position an angel could hold. Michael, had respect for authority, and did not personally come against the devil (Lucifer).
He fought the devil by the name of the Lord. We can learn from this. We should not come against the devil, or his devil spirits, in our own name. The only way for us to rebuke him is in the name of Jesus.
Verses 10-13 “Blackness of darkness forever”, false teachers within the Church, themselves actually lost and without Christ, will suffer the fate of everlasting separation from God, pictured also as “the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:14-15).
Jude 1:10 “But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.”
“Speak evil”: Apostate teachers in their brash, bold, egotistical infatuation with imagined power and authority, rail on that which they don’t even understand.
“Things … things”: Apostates are intellectually arrogant and spiritually ignorant in that they don’t know because they are blinded by Satan (2 Cor. 4:4), and spiritual matters are beyond their unregenerate capacity to understand (1 Cor. 2:14). In divine matters, they are no brighter that the dumbest beasts (see Philippians 3:19 and 2 Peter 2:12).
“Corrupt themselves”: This speaks of spiritual and moral self-destruction.
Our understanding of the authority in heaven is not sufficient for us to do much with, except to do the things we know we have permission to do. We have been given power of attorney to use the name of Jesus. Natural knowledge is worldly. We should pray for the wisdom of God.
Jude 1:11 “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.”
“Woe”: In declaring ultimate spiritual judgment on the apostates, Jude followed the example of the prophets (Isa. 5:8-23), and of Christ (Matt. 23:15, 15-16, 23, 25, 27, 29). The severest judgment of all (Heb. 10:26), will come on apostates because they too followed the same path as Cain, Balaam and Korah.
- Cain openly rebelled against God’s revealed will regarding sacrifice and was a murderer;
- Balaam was bribed as he devised a plan for Balak, king of Moab, to entice Israel into a compromising situation with idolatry and immorality which would bring God’s own judgment on His people (Numbers 31:16);
- The rebellion of Korah plus 250 Jewish leaders rejected the God-appointed leadership of Moses and Aaron in an attempt to impose his will upon God and the people.
All of these are worldly and will undoubtedly meet the same end as Korah, divine judgment.
Cain’s heart was not right before God (Gen. 4:1-12). Balaam led Israel to sin (Numbers 22 – 24; 31:8-16; 2 Peter 2:15; Rev. 2:14). Korah led a rebellion against Moses and thus against God (Numbers 16).
Verses 12-13: Both verses use vivid, picturesque language to depict the degeneracy of those who have crept into the church (verse 4).
Jude 1:12 “These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds [they are] without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;”
These love feasts have to do with the early church having love-feasts, where they sat with rich and poor. In some places, this was called the Lord’s Supper. The thing intended to be beautiful had turned into something evil. They were not out to help others, but to feed themselves.
These apostates were dirt spots, filth on the garment of the church. Or more likely, what God intended for the church as smooth sailing, they turned into a potential shipwreck through their presence. These “feasts” were the regular gathering of the early church to partake of the bread and cup, plus share a common meal.
“Clouds without water”: Apostates promise spiritual life but are empty clouds which bring the hope of rain, but deliver nothing but dryness and death (Prov. 25:14). They preach a false gospel that leads only to hell.
Clouds without water are a disappointment to those who need their fields watered. They are not fit to have anything happen to them, but to be destroyed.
“Trees whose fruit withereth”: Apostates hold out the claim of providing a spiritual feast, but instead deliver famine (Luke 13:6-9). Doubly dead trees will never yield fruit and, regardless of what they say, will always be barren because they are uprooted (Matthew 7:17-20).
Jude 1:13 “Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”
“Raging waves”: Apostates promise a powerful ministry, but are quickly exposed as wreakers of havoc and workers of worthless shame (Isaiah 57:20).
“Wandering stars”: This most likely refers to a meteor or shooting star which has an uncontrolled moment of brilliance and then fades away forever into nothing. Apostates promise enduring spiritual direction, but deliver a brief, aimless and worthless flash.
These waves are out of control. The stars are speaking of the same thing. These things out of the control of God are lost, just as we would be lost, if we rebelled against God. Notice, what awaits them. Blackness and darkness is for the evil, regardless of what that evil is.
Verses 14-15: Enoch (see Gen. 5:19-24; also, Hebrews 11:5-6). The prophecy Jude cites is preserved (in the non-canonical Book of Enoch 1:9). Ungodly repeatedly describes the actions and attitudes of those whom Jude denounces.
Jude 1:14 “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,”
“Enoch”: This patriarch was raptured long before the Flood (Gen 5:18-24).
Although a similar statement is recorded in a non-canonical ancient work known as First Enoch (1:9), the Spirit of God inspiring Jude, is the real source of the prophecy.
By the phrase “behold the Lord Cometh” it seems evident that though Enoch prophesied of judgment to come in ancient times, this yet to be fulfilled prophecy relates to the Second Coming (see 2 Thess. 1:7-10).
This is the Enoch that walked with God, and was not, because God took him. He pleased God and was carried into heaven to be with God without going the way of the grave.
The source of information was the Holy Spirit who inspired Jude. The fact that it was recorded in the non-biblical and pseudepigraphical book of Enoch had no effect on its accuracy.
Notice, the number is not ten thousand, but ten thousands. Of course, the number seven means spiritually complete. These saints are the Christians. We do know that the Christians are supposed to reign with Christ as His subordinates.
Since both angels (Mat. 24:31; 25:31; Mark 8:38; 2 Thess. 1:7), and believers (Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 3:13; Rev. 19:14), will accompany Him, it may refer to both here (Zech. 14:5). But the focus on judgment (in verse 15), seems to favor angels, who are often seen in judgment action.
While believers will have a role of judging during the Lord’s earthly kingdom and will return when Christ comes to judge (Rev. 19:14), angels are the executioners of God at the second coming of Christ (Matt. 13:39-41, 49-50; 24:29-31; 25:31; 2 Thess. 1:10).
Jude 1:15 “To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard [speeches] which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
“To execute judgment”: That Jesus is both Savior and Judge is evident (see Matt. 13:47-50; Rev. 1:7; 14:14-15; 19:11-21; 20:11-15). Their final sentence is eternal hell.
“Ungodly”: The four-fold use of this word as a description of the apostates (verses 4 and 18), identifies the core iniquity, which is failure to reverence God (see Peter’s use of the term in 2 Peter 2:5-6; 3:7). It was for such that Christ died (Romans 5:6).
Jesus is the Judge. It is the Lord Jesus who executes judgment.
Jude 1:16 “These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling [words], having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.”
“Murmurers, complainers”: Or the word “grumblers” are found only here in the New Testament and is used in the LXX to describe the murmurings of Israel against God (Exodus 16:7-9; Num. 14:27, 29; 1 Cor. 10:10).
They gave vent to dissatisfaction with God’s will and way as was the case with Israel, Sodom, the fallen angels, Cain, Korah, and Balaam (verses 5, 7, 11).
“After … own lusts”: This is a common phrase used to describe the unconverted (verse 18; 2 Tim. 4:3). Apostates are especially driven by a desire for sinful self-satisfaction.
“Great swelling words”: means bombastic, arrogant language. “In admiration”: means that they flatter others in order to get what they are after. They speak pompously and even magnificently, but with empty, lifeless words of no spiritual value.
Their message has external attractiveness, but is void of the powerful substance of divine truth. They tell people what they want to hear for their own profit rather than proclaiming the truth of God’s Word for the listener’s benefit.
Now, we see who this judgement will be executed against. The people’s sins, listed in the verse above, are sins of the flesh. They are caused by worldliness. Their murmurings were against God.
Jude 1:17 “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;”
“Word … of the apostles”: The apostles had warned the coming generation about apostates, so that they would be prepared and not be taken by surprise (Acts 20:28-31; 1 Tim. 4:1-2; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 4:1-3; 2 Peter 2:1 – 3:4; 1 John 2:18; 2 John 7-11). God’s Word is designed to warn and protect (Acts 20:31; 1 Cor. 4:14). As (verse 18), indicates, there had been continually repeated warnings.
Jude calls on his readers to recall apostolic teaching. Today this would mean especially the New Testament.
This is a total separation from the people mentioned (in verse 16). This is speaking to the followers of God (the beloved). We, Christians, are reminded to keep our thoughts on the pure gospel message sent by the apostles from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jude 1:18 “How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.”
“In the last time”: While throughout this present dispensation, between the first advent and the second coming of Christ, there have been those who ridicule true believers, the scoffers doubtless multiply toward the close of the age. Immoral and amoral, they seek their own unholy sensual desires, following “after their own ungodly lusts.”
Literally meaning “at the chronological end of the current epoch or season” (2 Tim. 3:1). This term refers to the time of Messiah from His first coming until His second. These characteristics will prevail until Christ returns.
“Mockers”: These are the scoffers at God’s future plans who pretend to know the truth but deny that judgment will ever come.
Examples of such apostolic warnings are found (in Acts 20:29, 30; 2 Tim. 3:1-9; 2 Peter 3:3).
These apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ had warned that in the end times there would be scoffers who walk after the ways of the world and, also, try to lead others in this wicked way.
Jude 1:19 “These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.”
“They who separate themselves”: Jude seems to have in mind their tendency to be schismatic or divisive, to set forth heretical notions and then separate themselves and their followers from those who hold to apostolic doctrine. But note that they get their start in the church itself, (verse 4). They fractured the church rather than united it (Eph. 4:4-6; Phil. 2:2).
Sensual or worldly-minded people are people who are controlled by their flesh and not the Spirit of God. I have said this over and over, but we are either controlled by our flesh, or by our spirit. We must crucify our flesh, so that Jesus can quicken our spirit.
These worldly-minded, sensual apostate teachers advertise themselves as having the highest spiritual knowledge, but are actually attracted to the most debased levels of life. They are “soulish” not “spiritual” (James 3:15).
John 3:6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
Verses 20-21: In the light of the fact that Jesus is coming again and that He will judge all men, Jude challenges believers to build themselves up in the Scriptures (study the bible), to pray, to “keep … in the love of God” (largely by loving others). And to compassionately seek to warn the lost of their future condition.
Jude 1:20 “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,”
“Building”: True believers have a sure foundation (1 Cor. 3:11), and cornerstone (Eph. 2:20), in Jesus Christ. The truths of the Christian faith (verse 3), have been provided in the teaching of the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20), so that Christians can build themselves up by the Word of God (Acts 20:32).
“Praying in the Holy Ghost”: This is not a call to some ecstatic form of prayer, but simply a call to pray consistently in the will and power of the Spirit, as one would pray in the name of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:26-27).
The antidote for error is not simply to pull back from wrong but also to be built up in what is right, especially through clinging to God in prayer.
Notice, it is our obligation to build our faith. The best way to build our faith is through prayer and using our faith. The more we use it, the more it grows. When we do not know what to pray for, God the Holy Ghost prays for us, if we will allow Him. Letting God pray through you, for you, builds you up more than you could ever imagine.
Jude 1:21 “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
“Keep” (Acts 13:43). This imperative establishes the believer’s responsibility to be obedient and faithful by living out his salvation (Phil. 2:12), while God works out His will (Phil. 2:13). It means to remain in the place of obedience where God’s love is poured out on His children, as opposed to being disobedient and incurring His chastening (1 Cor. 11: 27-31; Heb. 12:5-11).
This refers to the perseverance of the saints, the counterbalance to God’s sovereign preservation of believers in Christ (verse 1). This is accomplished by:
(1) Building one’s self up in the Word of God (verse 20);
(2) Praying in the Holy Spirit (verse 20); and
(3) Looking for the finalization of eternal life (verse 21).
“Looking”: or waiting. An eager anticipation of Christ’s second coming to provide eternal life in its ultimate, resurrection form (Titus 2:13; 1 John 3:1-3), which is the supreme expression of God’s mercy; on one to whom Christ’s righteousness has undeservedly been imputed (verse 2). Paul called this “loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8), and John wrote that such a steady anticipation was purifying (1 John 3:3).
Here Jude stresses our role in being kept. In (verse 1), he has already used a form of the same word, preserved, most likely to denote God’s own role and ability in “keeping” His children in His grasp. Jude expects a literal return of Jesus.
Jesus said “If you love me, keep my commandments”. The very best way to stay in the love of God is to stay in the will of God. God inhabits the praises of His people. Praise Him always. It is the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ that saves us. His merciful act of paying the debt for all our sins saved us.
Verses 22-23: An important factor in keeping one’s own faith active and vibrant is exercising it serving others. Even where there is danger or extreme immorality involved, God calls on believers to mediate His love for the fallen and share the gospel with the lost.
“Some” – there are several textual variants here which could result in either two or three groups being indicated. They are:
(1) Sincere doubters who deserve compassion (verse 22);
(2) Those who are deeper in unbelief and urgently need to be pulled from the fire (verse 23);
(3) Those declared disciples of apostasy who still deserve mercy, but are to be handled with much fear (verse 23), lest the would-be-rescuer also be spiritual sullied.
Given the manuscripts evidence and Jude’s patterns of writing in trails, all 3 groups is the more likely scenario.
Jude 1:22 “And of some have compassion, making a difference:”
“Compassion”: These victims of the apostate teachers need mercy and patience because they have not yet reached a firm conclusion about Christ and eternal life, and so remain doubters who could possibly be swayed to the truth.
To be forgiven, we must freely forgive.
Jude 1:23 “And others save with fear, pulling [them] out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”
“Others save”: Others, who are committed to the error taught by the apostates, need immediate and forthright attention before they are further entrenched on the road to the fire of hell (verse 7), as a result of embracing deceptive lies.
“With fear”: This third group also needs mercy, even though they are thoroughly polluted by apostate teaching. These people are to be given the true gospel, but with great fear, lest the deliverer be contaminated also. The defiled garment pictures the apostate’s debauched life, which can spread its contagion to the well-meaning evangelist.
Do we truly love the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ? Is salvation the greatest gift we could ever attain? If it is, then we should want it, not only for ourselves, but for everyone. How can we save someone else? Tell them about Jesus and what He has done for us. If they won’t listen, grab hold of them and make them listen. Don’t let go, until they will listen.
Give a few hours of your time now to save someone from an eternity in the lake of fire. I hate the thought of anyone winding up in the lake of fire. I hate to think of it even being near anyone. The question is, do I hate it enough to spend my time keeping others from going there? Is there any greater task on this earth? What are you going to do about it?
Verses 24-25: Present you faultless before the presence of his glory”: This great doxology of verses looks forward to those heavenly scenes, when the raptured and resurrected saints are presented as a glorious Bride, holy and blameless before the true God.
The names of those in this “church of the firstborn” (Hebrew 12:23), are written in heaven (Ephesians 5:25-27; Col. 1:22; 1 Thess. 3:13; Rev. 19:7-8; Rev. 21:9 – 22:5).
Traditional Hebrew weddings involved three states:
(1) The betrothal;
(2) The presentation, often a celebration lasting several days, suggesting the joyful assembly of all New Testament saints with Jesus (John 14:2-3); and
(3) The ceremony or exchange of vows, concluding with a great final supper.
“Falling” is literally a word meaning “stumbling.” Savior here refers to God the Father but is often applied to Christ (Titus 1:4; 2 Peter 3:18). In Old Testament thought there is only one Savior (Isa. 43:10-11). Thus, early church application of the term to Jesus implies His unity with God the Father.
Many ancient manuscripts have “through Jesus Christ our Lord” following “Savior”. If those were indeed Jude’s original words, it is a moving tribute to the figure with whom he once shared childhood, and in whom he now places personal trust.
Jude’s lovely benediction/doxology stands as one of the most splendid in the New Testament. It returned to the theme of salvation which Jude had hoped to develop at the beginning (verse 3), and bolstered the courage of believers to know that Christ would protect them from the present apostasy.
Jude 1:24 “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,”
“Him that is able”: This speaks of omnipotent God (Gen. 18:14; Deut. 7:21; 1 Sam. 14:6; Matthew 19:26).
“Keep you from falling”: The power of Christ would sustain the sincere believer from falling to the temptation of apostasy.
“Present … faultless” (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:27). Christians possess Christ’s imputed righteousness through justification by faith and have been made worthy of eternal life in heaven.
“With exceeding joy”: This refers primarily to the joy of the Savior (Heb. 12:2), but also includes the joy of believers (1 Peter 1:8). Joy is the dominant expression of heaven. (Matt. 25:23).
Jude 1:25 “To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen”
“God our Savior”: God is by nature a saving God, unlike the reluctant and indifferent false deities of human and demon invention.
“Glory and majesty”: Both Jude on earth and the angels and saints in heaven (Rev. 4:10-11; 5:12-14), ascribed these kinds of qualities to our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The only One that can keep us from falling is Jesus. We must place our trust and faith in Him and He will do the rest. In fact, there is nothing more for Him to do. He did it all on the cross of Calvary. He defeated sin and Satan on the cross for all who would believe.
If you are a Christian, He has abolished your past sin. Jesus clothed us in His righteousness, the moment we accepted Him as our Savior. When God looks at a Christian, He sees the righteousness of Jesus we are covered with. Jesus actually is the One we stand before because He is the Judge of the world.
He defeated death when He rose from the grave. At the name of Jesus every knee will bow for He is the Eternal One. His power is not measurable for He is all Power.
Philippians 2:10-11 “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; ” “And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Jude Chapter 1 Questions
- What are two of the opinions of who wrote this small book?
- The Judas who was the half-brother of Jesus did not believe He was Messiah, until what?
- Who is a brother of Jude mentioned in this lesson?
- What kind of letter was this?
- Who was the letter addressed to?
- What does “sanctified” mean?
- What was the blessing he spoke on those he wrote to?
- What had he given diligence to write to them about?
- Verse 4 warns of what kind of men creeping into the church?
- What was the terrible message they had brought?
- In verse 5, he reminds them of what?
- What was done to the angels who kept not their first estate?
- What does the author believe about these fallen angels?
- Who were the two known archangels in heaven?
- The Bible calls those we call demons, what?
- Can a demon attack you whenever he wants to?
- Why was Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed?
- Who was saved from Sodom?
- What do the filthy dreamers in verse 8 do?
- Which archangel contended with the devil over Moses?
- How did Michael fight the devil?
- What power does the Christian have to fight the devil?
- What 3 evil men were mentioned in Jude 1:11?
- What disappointing things were mentioned in verse 12?
- Verse 13 is speaking of what kind of things?
- Which Enoch is verse 14 speaking of?
- Verse 16 describes who these ungodly are, who are they?
- Who are sensual people?
- Building up yourselves in the most holy ________.
- Praying in the ________ _______.
- How extreme are we to get to save someone?
- What are you going to do about it?
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