My dear friends, I was doing my best to write to you about the salvation we share in common, when I felt the need of writing at once to encourage you to fight on for the faith which once and for all God has given to his people (v3)
Jude (a shortening of Judas which distinguishes him from others) was a brother of Jesus along with James, however he only identifies himself here as the brother of James and a servant of Jesus Christ so as to not claim any undue authority or position.
If you have been following these blogs then you will quickly notice that there are a lot of similarities with Peters letters; particularly 2 Peter 2 although it is thought that Peter’s letter was written after Jude’s
False teachers had slipped into the church and were distorting the message of grace so that they could continue in their immoral ways.
- He reminds us God rescued the Israelites from Egypt but ended up destroying many of them because they did not believe.
- Angels who sinned are now chained up in darkness awaiting judgement
- Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of their immoral ways
- Cain killed his brother Abel because of jealousy
- Korah became conceited and rebelled against Moses so he along with his followers were destroyed
- Balaam was rebuked by his donkey because he allowed his greed to get in the way of God’s word
These people who were infiltrating the church are described by Jude as dirty spots, clouds which bring no rain, dead trees that bear no fruit. Wandering stars for whom a place has been reserved in the deepest darkness. These people despised authority and wanted to continue doing their own thing, claiming that God’s grace allowed them freedom to sin even more so that God’s grace could abound more.
These people (just like the Israelites) were always complaining and grumbling against God and the church leaders. They continued to do their own thing following their evil desires, using flattery to get their own way,
Jude writes that Enoch prophesied about these people; that the Lord would come and bring judgement on them. This prophesy is not recorded in our Bible accounts of Enoch but in writings found much later attributed to him. One of the problems we have is that there are many documents and writings which would have been known to the Jewish scholar but are not included in our Bibles. This does not mean that they are inaccurate and often give more detail of historical events and are mentioned elsewhere in the various letterd. We also know that Jesus of course spent 3 years teaching his disciples and so would have told them many things which were not written down and passed on to us. In several of the letters, references are made such as “We told you about such and such when we came last time” so it was not considered necessary to write any more. We do know that Enoch was a Godly man who among others would have been distressed by the evil and immorality around him.
Jude warns that this will increase in the last days;
When the last days come, people will appear who will mock you, people who follow their own godless desires. These are the people who cause divisions, who are controlled by their natural desires, who do not have the Spirit (v 18 & 19)
We have seen a recurring pattern throughout all these letters that we must be on our guard against allowing the immoral ways of the world to slip back into our lives, to diligently follow Gods word and continue to have faith in him and his Word alone, rejecting the false doctrines that are not consistent with Christ’s teaching. Yes we have access to God’s grace, but must not take advantage of that and use it as an excuse to carry on in a way that displeases him. The bible shows that there is a limit to how much he will allow disobedience and unfaithfulness to continue.
But you, my friends, keep on building yourselves up on your most sacred faith. Pray in the power of the Holy Spirit and keep yourselves in the love of God as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy to give you eternal life (V 20-21)
We are to show mercy to others who are struggling and “snatch them out of the fire” but to “hate their very clothes, stained by their sinful lusts” (see verse 23)
Just because the world around us wants to follow its own ways and allow people to live however they want – we are still to live by God’s rules. Yes we will be mocked as “old fashioned”, “prudes” among other names, but we have a far greater reward awaiting us, being faultless and joyful in his glorious presence.
An extra “Titbit”
As a slight “aside” there is also one more interesting “snippet” mentioned in verse 9 (starting from partway though verse 8).
they despise God’s authority and insult the glorious beings above. Not even the chief angel Michael did this. In his quarrel with the Devil, when they argued about who would have the body of Moses, Michael did not dare condemn the Devil with insulting words, but said “The Lord rebuke you!”
This is another one of those verses which I have never noticed before and there are a couple of things to note;
Firstly – what was this event that was described? – we do not see it recorded in the writings about Moses, so what happened? It seems that this was mentioned in other writings that were around at that time which are not included in our Bible. It refers back to the statement in Deuteronomy 34 where we are told that the Lord buried Moses and no-one knows the exact place. The story around this is that God sent Michael the angel to bury him but the Devil tried to claim the body for himself. Michael did not attempt to use his own authority to argue with the Devil but simply said “The Lord rebuke you” and sent him on his way.
The important message here is to remember that the Devil currently still has a lot of power and although we are given authority over him through Christ, he is still one of God’s created beings and should be respected as such (as we are to respect our leaders and each other)
Our modern evangelical teaching encourages us to try and be clever and rebuke Satan in our own right, but that right is not yet ours while we are still in our human body. It belongs to God. Even Jesus did not rebuke Satan in his own right when tempted in the wilderness but used the Word of God to remind him of his place. Michael is shown here to be treating the Devil as an equal with due respect although knowing that he has God’s authority to which Satan must submit. He knows that he is acting under God’s authority, not his own, so we must be careful to use God’s word and His authority when dealing with the Devil and not try to be clever or disrespectful. This will also protect us from becoming conceited in the way that is being described of some of the false teachers and keep us in faithful trust and humility under God’s grace.
Quotes from The Good News Bible