Searching the Scriptures
“Search the Scriptures…for they are they which testify of Me”. John 5:39
Author: Bob Moses
Jude: The Epistle
This Epistle of Jude is special in many ways. It is merely one chapter consisting of only 25 verses. The theme of this letter is “Contending for the Faith”. When I began writing Bible Studies over 40 years ago, my header was “Contenting for the Faith”. Over the years I have changed this header, only a few times and now as you know I use “Searching the Scriptures”. I do miss “Contending for the Faith” Jude: vs. 3; it is most appropriate for our day and time as you will undoubtedly notice, as this Epistle unfolds.
There are a few items necessary to mention, before we actually begin this Commentary on the Book of Jude. First it is important to know that Jude was not an Apostle of Jesus but rather a disciple (follower). Furthermore, Jude was the brother of James, who also wrote an Epistle recorded in the New Testament. He too, (James) was not an Apostle but a disciple. Both of these men were the fleshly brothers of Jesus, the Christ. Jesus being the elder brother and born of The Virgin Mary. James was probably the next oldest and Jude the younger of the union of Joseph and Mary not counting other brothers and sisters.
I must digress here for just a moment as I am persuaded that undoubtedly this last statement will not go unchallenged. Many have been taught and believe vehemently that Mary, the mother of Jesus, had no other children. The fact is quite the opposite. Let us turn, as usual, to the Scriptures themselves. Matthew 13: 53 – 58: “And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his bretheren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Also Mark 6: 1—6: where we read essentially the same thing. The Scriptures leave nothing further to question on this matter. Those who have been taught otherwise have been deceived. Deception, which we shall see, is the harbinger of this Epistle
At the outset neither James nor Jude accepted Jesus as the Messiah. In their mind Jesus was a normal brother, not some heavenly being, the Son of God, nor the King of Kings foretold in all the Old Testament Scriptures as handed down by the prophets. One can imagine these brothers playing together, running, jumping, playing games as all brothers do. In due course James and Jude acknowledged that their brother Jesus was somehow different and eventually became followers of their elder brother. They were convinced of his deity after the resurrection and are numbered with the disciples in the upper room after his ascension : (Acts 1: 12—14). They each wrote one of the Books (Epistles) of the New Testament. Nevertheless, they are not the James and Jude who were indeed, called by Jesus to be Apostles.
James and Jude were common names during the time of Jesus. Interestingly, among The Twelve, two were named James and one named Jude. The Twelve are named as: 1) Simon Peter (Cephas, Bar-jona) 2) Andrew 3) John 4) Philip 5) James 6) Bartholomew (perhaps the same as Nathanael) 7) Thomas (Didymus) 8) Matthew (Levi) 9) Simon Zelotes 10) Jude (Lebbacus, Thaddaeus) 11) James the Less 12) Judas Iscariot. The original qualification of an apostle was that he should have been personally acquainted with our Lord’s ministry, from his baptism by John the Baptist to his ascension: Acts1: 21 & 22. They had a close personal relationship with our Lord and therefore were enabled to give testimony of His redemption. “He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast out, and heal all manner of diseases;” “and sent them forth two by two, to preach the kingdom of God” (Mark 3:14; Matt. 10:1-5; Mark 6:7; Luke 6: 1, 13, and 9:1). They accompanied our Lord on his journeys, saw his wonderful works, heard his discourses to the people (Matt. 5:1; Luke 6:13-49) and those addressed to the learned Jews (Matt.19:13 Luke 10:23. They sometimes worked miracles (Mark 6:13; Luke 9:6. They recognized Jesus as the Christ of God (Matt. 16:16; Luke 9:20, and ascribed supernatural power to him (Luke 9:54). Jesus taught them to understand the spiritual meaning of his parables (Mark 4:10; Luke 8:9). Before his death Our Lord promised to the Apostles the coming of the Holy Spirit, to fit them to be founders and rulers of the Christian Church (John 14:16, 17, 26; 15: 26, 27; 16: 7-15. Then after his resurrection he confirmed their call, and commissioned them to “preach the Gospel to every creature” (John 20: 21-23; Matt. 28:18-20). On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended upon the Church (Acts 2), and the apostles became different men, testifying with power of the life and death and resurrection of Jesus (Luke 24: 48; Acts 1: 22; 2: 32; 3:15; 5:32; 13: 31). We therefore see how the Apostles differed greatly from a disciple, yet many intertwine the two. While James and Jude were the fleshly brothers of Jesus, they were not called by Him, to be Apostles.
One final word before we began our Study. As mentioned above an Epistle is a letter. These letters were written by various authors and addressed to Christians. The Epistles of the New Testament are twelve in number and are known as: 1) First Timothy; 2) II Timothy; 3) Titus; 4) Philemon; 5) James; 6) I Peter; 7) II Peter; 8) I John; 9) II John; 10) III John; 11) Jude; and 12) Hebrews. While I paint with a broad brush, when I say they were written to Christians, some were addressed to individuals, some to groups of Churches, and all were written for our instruction and learning. The first several verses will usually acquaint us with who the author is writing to specifically, but the application is for all of us who have accepted Christ as our Lord, from the beginning of the Church Age up to and including our current day. A better understanding of this manner of teaching, by the Holy Spirit, will unfold as we closely examine the Epistle of Jude.
It is accepted that this Epistle was written between AD 66 and AD 75. AD 73 seemingly the most likely year as a consensus of scholars indicates. . We do not know from where it was written, nor specifically, who it was written to. It is obviously to Christians of the day. The text will reveal that while Jude is the writer The Holy Spirit is very much present and not very happy. The theme is “Contending for the Faith” and the subject is “Apostasy” which is being treated as having already set in, to the young professing church. The cause, course and effect of Apostasy (or a falling away from the doctrine of the Church) is described.
“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: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love be multiplied.” Jude 1 & 2. “Jude the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James;” these facts were attended to above when we established that James and Jude were fleshly brothers of Jesus.
Vs. 1: “To them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called;” Take specific note of the heavenly order revealed to us in this verse. Right off the bat we see to whom Jude is writing this Epistle but let’s examine this more closely. To them, is obviously we Christians. Then observe: First we are Sanctified which means were have been “set aside” in godliness and sacredness. Secondly we are Preserved; meaning we are “kept safe”, guarded, protected, shielded, prevented from spoilage and can’t be lost. Thirdly we are Called; in other words we have been “summoned; laid claim to”. We see the Holy Trinity at work here. Of importance is who did what and when. We are Sanctified by God the Father before the foundation of the world. We are Preserved by Jesus Christ at the Cross. We are Called by the Holy Spirit at his discretion or the appointed time. The order of the actions are most important. Unfortunately, as usual, man turns it around, and says that we are first Called, then Preserved and then Sanctified. So, you ask, what difference does it make? There is a tremendous difference indeed. The fact that we were Sanctified before the foundation of the world proves that God knew us long before we were ever born. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee…” Jeremiah 1:5. The fact that we have been Preserved by the Blood of Christ, is not a mystery, to we born again believers. That it remains in the center of the three is accurate and correct. We are Called by the Holy Spirit when our heart and minds are prepared to accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. The Holy Spirit is given charge as to the time and place of this major event. The Holy Spirit can not and will not call any who have not already been sanctified by God the Father. How can we first be called, if not already sanctified? The Holy Spirit could not possibly call someone who is evil, into the family of God. If we accept man’s order and can be called first, then preserved and lastly sanctified the door would be left wide open to bypass the gift of grace for the reward of works. Should this error take place, we would be exposing a weakness in the work of the Holy Trinity. The very notion itself is untenable.
Vs. 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.”. The common salvation is those who are beloved of God and called to be saints. Also Rom. 1:7. Salvation implies deliverance, safety, preservation. It is the all inclusive word of the Gospel such as justification, redemption, grace, forgiveness, sanctification and glorification. It is the “free gift” of faith given unto us from God. “Salvation is of the Lord.” Jonah 2:9. To contend for the faith means to safeguard the faith, protect it, defend it, secure it, make it Holy unto yourself and your brothers in Christ. It is by faith that we are saved; Eph. 2:8: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Rom. 14:23. Thus we are bidden, yea, commanded to Contend for the Faith.
Jude; vs. 4—19: “For there are certain men crept in unawares (into thechurches) 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. 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. 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. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha 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. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. 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. 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. 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. 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; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints. 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. 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. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
We will comment on these verses individually but let us first review what Jesus himself states in regard to this topic; Matthew 7: 15—23. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Let’s also read what Paul, guided by the influence of the Holy Spirit, pens to the church at Rome: Romans 1:16—32. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, the just shall live by faith. for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beast, and creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever, Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections; for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful; Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
Apostasy set-in at the out-set. Before Jesus was even crucified we see a falling away of the doctrine of Christ. He says “beware of false prophets”. Paul reiterates this warning in his discourse to the church at Rome. He states that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. Those, who hold the truth in unrighteousness because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God; and changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.
Jesus says in Matthew 7: 21—22; “Not everyone that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day; Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils and in thy name done many wonderful works?” Note Jesus points out that not all that call upon him shall enter the kingdom of heaven but “he that doeth the will of my Father”. Obedience is required and essential, not merely lip service or a good testimony. We must be about the Fathers business. The next verse is even more alarming. “Many will say to me in that day; Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils and in thy name done many wonderful works?” It is the leaders of the Church which are being addressed. It is the leaders who utter their so called prophesies, the leaders who claim to cast out devils, the leaders who boast of their wonderful works and not just a few, but “many”. All while using the name of the Lord. Jesus will say unto them, “I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity”. vs.23. Who are these people? False prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.
The question which immediately comes to mind is how can we test these men? The answer is simply you must learn the Scriptures. How can you test someone if you do not know the true answer yourself? “Study to show thyself approved” II Tim. 2;15. We are shown how to identify them. See verse 10 below.
Paul says the ungodly and unrighteous have changed the truth of God into a lie, and worship and serve the creation more than the Creator. Keep in mind we are not just talking about those outside the family of God, but those men and women inside the Church. I exhort you to be aware of these people standing next to you as you worship the Creator of heaven and earth.. Could they possibly be serving the creation more than the Creator? Are they occupied with saving the planet, concerned about global warming, saving a spider or a frog from the advance of mankind, proponents of green energy? Are they worshipping and serving the creation more than the Creator? God formed the heaven and the earth; do you question whether or not he can sustain them? Caution; do not fall in the way of Apostasty. Where was man when the dinosaur became extinct, where was man when God created the heaven and earth? To everything there is a time and a place. God is still on his throne. Do not think that you can influence the mind of God, other than through prayer. Carrying a placard and marching round-a-bout, is an exercise in futility when dealing with the Almighty God. Run not toward the applause for the current cause; rather crawl under disparage of the Cross for the Boss. Do not attempt to change his truth into a lie for you shall bear the consequences. “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me ye that work iniquity” Matt. 7:23
The history lesson of Apostasy presented by Jude begins with verse 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.” Jude takesus back to the days of Moses when after the people of Israel were freed from Egyptian bondage, they fell headlong into apostasy. Even while Moses was upon the mount receiving the Law from God, they shamed themselves. Observe who was dong the work; “the Lord having saved the people, afterward destroyed them that believed not”. It was Jesus dong the work. We can go back even further, to the Garden of Eden where sin/apostasy reared its ugly head. For we are told that the Lord was walking in the garden in the cool of the day and the Lord sought Adam and asked; where art thou? and Adam said he had hidden because he was naked. Jesus asked him how he knew he was naked and had he eaten from the tree which he had commanded him not to eat. Adam admitted that he had because the woman and the serpent had caused him to do so. Thus did the Lord Jesus curse all three; Adam, Eve and the serpent. Genesis 3.
Jude continues in verse 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.” He is referring to the angles who followed after Satan when Satan rebelled against God; we are told that over a third of the angles in heaven went with Satan in this rebellion. It is to and for them that hell was devised and awaits their arrival after the great judgment day. Hell was not made for man but many men shall find their eternal abode in this awful place.
Vs. 7; “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha 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.” The sin of Sodom and why she was destroyed is revealed in Ezekiel 16: 49 50: “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me; therefore I took them away as I saw good”. (That is to say as God saw it good, to do so). Can you not see the resemblance spoken of here in our land today? Pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness, neither helping the poor and needy, being haughty and committing of abominations before the Lord? The very things that caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha are happening all around us. Indeed the apostasy is rampant and growing daily.
Vs. 8; “Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.” Jude is referring to those mentioned in vs. 4; viz; ungodly men who had crept in unawares and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Vs. 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.” We are being reminded that we are not to judge our fellow man, nor accuse him, allow the Lord to act in accord with His will as he sees fit to do so. Even the Arch-angel Michael did not judge nor make accusations against Satan but said rather; “The Lord rebuke thee”!
These next few verses describe the false teachers. It is written so that we may be able to identify them in our midst. Vs. 10; “But these (false teachers) speak evil of those things which they know not; but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.” These false teachers speak not about spiritual things but natural things. They generally speak of cultural issues, politics, news of the day, advising on self-improvement, etc. things they learned in order to advance their secular education. When they speak of spiritual matters they speak as brute beasts because they do not know what they are talking about. In this they corrupt themselves even further.
Vs. 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. The way of Cain is that of “works”, denying the blood sacrifice. Let us refresh our memory. Genesis 4: 1—5; “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering; but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.” Cain brought as an offering the “works” of his labor for an offering, whereas Abel brought the firstling of his flock and the fat thereof. The difference being Cain was attempting to “work” his way into the good graces of God, and Abel brought a blood sacrifice. Should you wonderhowthese boys should know the difference, the answer is that they were undoubtedlytaught. Vs. 23 of Chapter 3: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” The example was that God covered the sin of Adam and Eve with an animal sacrifice and the shedding of blood, which was a fore shadow of Christ offering his blood on the Cross. None other offering could have been accepted by God. Cain could have bargained with his brother and purchased a lamb in exchange for some of his fruits and vegetables and then presented a bona fide and acceptable offering unto God. Nevertheless, he elected to bring forth his works. He insisted in worshiping God in his own way. This is the way of Cain. How many do we see today, of those attempting to work their way into heaven and worshiping God, not as he demands, but as they see fit. We are saved by grace through faith, not of works, lest any man should boast. Eph. 2: 8 & 9.
Next we have; “and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward.” The error of Balaam was that he reasoned from a natural or human based morality; expecting God to punish any offender then and there, on the spot. He did not understand that God, through Jesus could be both a judge and still be a justifier; that he could condemn, yet also pardon. And the fact that they ran greedily, for the reward, reflects seeking human approval in the form of money, popularity or even applause.
“And perished in the gainsaying of Core”. This is found in Numbers Chapter 16. Korah (Core) spoke against Moses and Aaron and aroused many of the Isralites against them. God punished these rebels by opening up the ground and it swallowed them into the pit. These men rebelled against the word of God and the authority of Moses, therefore God destroyed them. These are the false teachers and misguided leaders in our Church today who murmur against the true teachers of the Word.
The three errors revealed to us here are the way of Cain, which is to neglect the teachings of God and worship or do things in your own way. The error of Balaam is seeking approval, popularity, money or any other enticement for personal gain. The gainsaying of Core is to rebel against God and his authority. The result of a “natural or human morality” leads to condemnation and punishment. “Spiritual morality” is patience and waits for God to purify the sinner and embrace him through grace into the family of God.
Vs. 12: “These (false teachers and false believers) 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 are those around you, who participate, yet know not Christ. Clouds without water, means they have no truth in them. Water is the symbol of the Word of God. What we have before us is wandering clouds being tossed about by the wind, hoping to find a place to land where they can find others who believe as they do. Trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit. Trees growing out of shallow ground, not fertile, thus they cannot produce fruit and if by chance they do, it is bad fruit, so poor that it cannot be eaten. The ground they rest in is so shallow that they are plucked up by the roots, twice dead. Twice dead indicates that they are dead both naturally and spiritually. There is a saying that embodies this concept. “Born once die twice; born twice die once”. When you are born once it is a physical, earthly birth and of course the body will die. When you are born twice it means that you were born a natural earthly birth, but then were born again spiritually, thus you will only die once, physically, because then the spirit will go to be with God. We see then the meaning of Jude when he says “twice dead”.
In verses 13 we have Jude still identifying these same false teachers and false believers. “Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”
Vs. 14: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these saying, behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints”. What is the purpose of the Lord coming with ten thousand of his saints? To execute judgment…
Vs. 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 (The Lord).Observe how the apostasy expands. The Lord comes to execute judgment, not only to false teachers and leaders, but now; “upon all” that are ungodly and their ungodly deeds and hard speeches, who have spoken against him.
Vs. 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.” Having men’s persons in admiration means that they are good speakers using colorful language; because of advantage means they speak from pulpits or places of authority. Who can challenge someone speaking from a pulpit, a dais or into a microphone? These command their audience speaking from a place of advantage over their listeners.
Vs. 17—19: “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” Sensual and having not the Spirit indicates that these are carnal people. Sensual meaning the fleshly or natural man. Let’s read Romans 8: 8 & 9: “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
Verses 20 through 23 assures and comforts true believers and reveals their seven-fold duty. 1) But ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, 2) praying in the Holy Ghost; 3) Keep yourselves in the love of God; 4) )looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life; 5) And of some have compassion, making a difference; 6) And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; 7) hating even the garment spotted by the flesh; viz; the natural or unregenerate man as centered upon self, prone to sin, and opposed to God.; this we are instructed to hate.
Vs. 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.” Many call upon this verse as an example of once saved, always saved. The argument establishes the premise and doctrine that He (Jesus the Christ) is able to keep you from falling (or failing) and also able to present you faultless before God.
Verse 25 is the benediction or closing of this epistle. “To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.”
The Epistle of Jude brings several things to our attention. We are taught that Apostasy began way back in the corridors of history. Since the beginning of the Church Age and after Christ made his appearance Apostasy rather than slowing down, has gained speed and ramped up. This Epistle was written to “Born Again Believers”, to put them on guard against this Apostasy. We are instructed therefore, to earnestly “Contend for the Faith” which was delivered to us, the Saints. This means that we are to stick closely to the Word of God and react boldly when we see infractions and misguided things being taught.
The very location of this Epistle within the Holy Canon also makes a profound statement. It is placed right before the Book of Revelation; the Book that reveals to us what is to take place at the end of the Church Age. We see the Apostasy of the Church and then the Judgment of the earth and mankind. This proves, at least in my mind, that God knew the end from the beginning.
A couple contrasts are also notable. In Paul’s Epistle to Rome he writes to a church without a leader. In Jude’s Epistle we see a leader (Jude) without a church. The Epistle to Rome is written to bring together the various factions which are splitting the Church. In the Epistle of Jude we see him admonishing the Church to separate itself from the Apostasy of unbelievers. Paul is trying to bring believers together in harmony, Jude is trying to break them apart from unbelievers. Paul spells out the grace of God, Jude warns us of the works of man. Paul speaks of Brotherly love, Jude proclaims that the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints to execute judgment.
Many would claim that the contrast mentioned above illustrates the contradictions and inconsistencies of the Bible. Just the opposite is true; these prove the accuracy of Scripture. It becomes even more obvious to true believers, why we must Study the Word of God, to learn to discern and Rightly Divide the Word of Truth. How else can we reconcile the truths presented to us? I have not read one contradiction or inconsistency in the Holy Canon. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” II Tim. 3:16 & 17. It is up to us to “Study to show thyself approved…” II Tim. 2:15
May you be wonderfully blessed for reading this Epistle. It is my prayer that you have found it enlightening and edifying to your spiritual growth. Remember and be prepared to “Contend for the Faith” during this time of Apostasy.