Ju speaks to concerns about life in the early church, about a timeless truth being delivered to the church once for all. Ju is concerned with warning people about dangerous intruders who have snuck into churches, people who appear to be Christians but who are not v 4. These intruders were probably people whose doctrines and ideas Jude would have rejected. Still, Ju offers no clear refutation of what the phony Christians taught or believed. Instead, the accent is instead on how these intruders behaved, how they lived.
Ju is challenging in Greek.
1. Many of these words are never seen elsewhere in the NT.
2. In terms of its syntax, it’s a very sophisticated document, written in a high style even in the context of the NT where you have things like He, 1 Pe, and Ac – high style documents themselves.
3. It’s hard to read translated because of the lengthy thoughts.
So in many ways Ju is a difficult letter. It contains a few obscure passages and some odd references to nonbiblical materials. In some places our best Greek manuscripts disagree with one another so we can’t even be certain what the letter originally said. Jude’s main point is the exhortation to watch out for the wolves in sheep’s clothing. You will know them by their fruits!
When all things are said and done, Ju does not get used that much in the church.
Outline of Jude
1-2 Address and greeting
3-4 Occasion and theme
A 3 appeal to contend for the faith
B 4 the background to the appeal: The false teachers, their character and judgment
5-23 Body of the Letter
B’ 5-19 the background: A commentary on four prophecies of the doom of the ungodly
5-7, 8-10, 9 three OT types and interpretation including Michael and the devil
11, 12-13 three more OT types and interpretation
14-15, 16 the prophecy of Enoch and interpretation
17-18, 19 the prophecy of the apostles and interpretation
A’ 20-23 the Appeal
24-25 Concluding doxology
The letter opens with a salutation and blessing that identifies it as a message from Jude, the brother of James, to those who are “kept safe for Jesus Christ” (vv 12). The author explains that the intrusion of ungodly people who pervert the grace of God into licentiousness has made necessary a letter that champions orthodox faith (vv 34). He recites a list of occasions in which God punished the wicked in the past (vv 57) and promises that the current “dreamers” who “slander the glorious ones” will likewise be destroyed (vv 810). He pronounces a prophetic “woe” or curse upon them in language filled with invective and illustrated by allusions to various Jewish writings (vv 1116). The letter concludes with exhortations to faithfulness (vv 1723) and a doxology to God, who is able to keep people from falling (vv 2425).
The first accounts we have of how books got into the canon come from aaround 325 with bishop Eusebius’ The Church Histories (Ecclesiastical Histories) in which he reflects and comments on the different books of the NT – which he does in several different places.
Eusebius refers to the epistle called Ju, referring to it in relation to other books already being used by some congregations.
Eusebius wrote in Greek and he used the Greek word VIou,daj Judas
While not all of the early churches used Ju, many churches found it to be useful.
Hence, it circulated in the early church and was found in collections of the letters that many churches held.
Because it was found useful, it was accepted by a number of other churches, and the usefulness of Ju commended it to the people who were drawing up the list of books considered to be canonical.
So Ju’s canonicity was therefore due to:
1. its attribution as having come from Jude (Judas), the brother of Jesus, someone out of the original apostolic era, a leader in the life of the early church.
Whatever the brother of Jesus would have written or taught would have been considered valuable for later Christian communities.
2. its usefulness in the life of the church as evidenced by its appearance in various churches’ collections for the two centuries or so after it was first written.
Later, in 367 bishop Athanasius of Alexandria wrote an Easter letter to all the churches in his diocese, a letter in which he says ‘these are the books that we recognize as authoritative books for the life of the church; we recognize no other books, and if anyone recognizes those, we are not in agreement with them.’ In this letter Athanasius listed the 27 books we actually have in our NT, the first list we have that matches our 27 books of our NT.
Athanasius had a certain amount of authority around Alexandria in Egypt but if you had gone over to the continent of Europe and had gone to Rome and asked the Romans if Athanasius had the authority to tell them which books to read, they would have said, “certainly not.” Athanasius is an illustration of a tendency in the life of the earlier church – the fourth century church – to recognize these 27 documents that we have in our NT as being authoritative for Christianity.
The first word in this letter in the Greek Bible identifies the author of this letter with the Greek name VIou,daj Ioudas, a name which is variously translated into the English as Jude, Judah, or Judas. We know of several persons who bore that name. See handout.
So, Jude is the English name while the real name in the Greek – as it’s transliterated out of Aramaic or Hebrew – is Judas.
Therefore, although the text say VIou,daj which is really Judas and because Judas is a bad character for most of us, VIou,daj was translated into the English from the get go not as Judas but as Jude.
Thus, it’s not until the Bible gets translated into English that they change VIou,daj to Jude.
As another example of this type of change we have the name James in the English Bible which is actually Jacob VIa,kwboj in the Greek text.
So there were certain transitions that were made from the Greek into the English with the Tyndale version and the KJV.
Jacob is all over the place in the OT, and so you have Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but once you get into the NT and you have the name Jacob, it gets turned into James.
It’s an open question who this VIou,daj is. As to who wrote Ju most often scholars focus on two people – Judas, the brother of Jesus and Judas son of James ( James, the brother of the apostle), both of whom come from the earliest Christian community, both of whom would have been in a position to write something.
Still, some conclude that neither of these two are the likely author of Ju because of the following three factors:
1. of the quality of the Greek language being used.
Ju contains impeccable Greek; it’s obvious to everyone reading this letter that it’s being written by a person who is in easy command of the Greek.
The grammar, vocabulary and style of the Greek are sophisticated; there are a large range of Greek words used in these 25 verses.
All of this points to a native Greek speaker as author; it’s not the kind of Greek one would expect from someone using Greek as a second language.
On the other hand, if you use a second language long enough and you started using it early enough in life, the second language becomes like your first language.
If this is a bilingual person, you couldn’t have much of an argument for it being the language betraying a person who was a native Greek speaker.
So language itself has caused some to raise questions about whether Judas, the brother of Jesus, and Judas the apostle would have been in a position to write this quality of Greek.
2. in the arguments that are set forth in Ju, when the author calls on something as a source of authority, the author never really calls on his personal authority to register a point he’s making. Instead he calls upon the early Christian tradition. He speaks about ‘the faith,’ and he uses the faith, the early Christian tradition as the source of authority from which he draws in order to make his points to the life of the early community.
That is in contrast to others that we see like Paul, who when he writes a letter rarely makes an appeal to tradition itself.
Paul does on a rare occasion as he does in 1 Cor 15 where he says 1 Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2 through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to youunless you have come to believe in vain. 3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
Instead, when Paul, who is an apostle, wants to register a point with community, he draws upon his personal authority as an apostle to do that.
So it is his having experienced the risen Lord in his life that gives him the authority to make a point to people to call on them to do a certain thing.
Jude doesn’t argue that way.
We can say Jude has too much humility to argue that way! and that’s entirely possible.
It may be that Jude draws upon tradition because he truly is a humble person and won’t set himself forth as an authority.
But people do point to the difference between the way that Jude as an early writer is writing and the way Paul wrote.
Many based on the Greek and the way Jude calls upon tradition as the source of authority have argued that Jude belongs to the second century, not to the first century.
3. the issues in which Jude is concerned, at what he’s criticizing, at how he calls names, how he speaks about people who are waterless clouds and casting up the foam of their own shame.
Jude has all these ways of referring to those he’s arguing with and when you can see what it is that he is taking exception to, the problems the seem to lie behind the writing of this letter look like the kind of problems that existed in the mid second century rather than at any time during the first century.
So these people conclude it’s a second century document which means the author is another Jude from the five listed above altogether.
So the combination of factors – the language, the appeal to tradition as the source of authority and then finally the kinds of problems that are being addressed by the letter – cause many to argue that Ju is from the second century, not the first century, and therefore, we don’t know who this Jude is. It’s just someone named Jude.
Also, Judas was also the fourth most common name used for Jewish children between 300 BCE to about 200 CE.
The Christian community also used this name following the lead of the Jewish community.
You have Judas Maccabeus for example.
Christian communities don’t use it anymore because it has become tainted through an association with Judas Iscariot.
The author of this letter, however, is almost always associated with the Jude who is identified in the Gospels as one of four brothers of Jesus (Mt 13 55; Mk 6 3). We know that one of Jesus’ brothers, James, became the leader of the church in Jerusalem (see Ac 12 17; 15 1321; 1 Cor 15 7; Ga 1 19; 2 9), and we also have a letter in the NT attributed to James.
According to the Gospels, the brothers of Jesus did not believe in him during his life on earth (Mk 3 21; Jn 7 15). They did, however, come to faith after the resurrection (Ac 1 14). At least two of them became missionaries, accompanied by their wives in their travels (1 Cor 9 5). It seems likely that Jude was one of these. At any rate, although Jude did not attain the same level of renown as did James, the very existence of this letter indicates that his name carried some weight in certain circles. One historical report indicates that his grandsons were still leaders of churches in Palestine toward the end of the first century (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.1920).
Ju has often been identified as pseudepigraphical – that it’s not Jude writing but someone else using the name of Jude. It’s pseudepigraphal simply because the author’s command of Greek surpasses what scholars have thought a Palestinian peasant would have been capable of producing. So is it a first century Jude, a second century Jude or is it a first or second century person who is just using the name Jude to write the book? Still we can look at the way he identifies himself in v 1 as a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James no matter who he is historically speaking.
In recent years, however, there has been increasing appreciation for the level of sophistication that such persons may have attained if they were actively engaged with the Roman world, as Jesus’ disciples and siblings appear to have been. There has also been an increased awareness of the role that professional scribes sometimes played in the composition of letters.
Accordingly, most scholars today are willing to grant the possibility that this letter was written by Jude, the brother of Jesus (probably with the help of an amanuensis). A few additional points are cited in favor of Jude being the author.
1. Allusions to scripture in the letter reflect knowledge of Hebrew manuscripts rather than dependence on the Greek Septuagint, and the Hebrew Bible was used most prominently in Palestine, where Jude lived.
2. Furthermore, the authorship of this letter appears to have gone unquestioned in the early church, even by those who had some problems with its contents.
3. It has also been suggested that a pseudonymous writer would have invoked a more prominent name, or at least might have identified himself as the “brother of Jesus” rather than as “the brother of James” (v 1).
None of these points are decisive, however, and a number of scholars continue to regard Jude as a pseudepigraphical letter from some secondgeneration Christian who wanted his words to be regarded as part of the legacy of the Holy Family.
Hypothetically, this letter could have been written at almost any point during the last half of the first century. Certain factors are cited in favor of a date near the beginning of that period:
1. the author believes that he is living in the last days (v 18), a perspective that became less prominent as time passed. 2. He also draws upon nonbiblical Jewish traditions (vv 6, 9, 14-15), whose relevance would decline for believers as the Christian church continued to develop.
Other factors point to a later date:
1. the author refers to the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints (v 3), suggesting a body of tradition that can be passed from one generation to the next;
2. he also urges his readers to remember the predictions of the apostles (v 17), which suggests that he is looking back on the apostolic age as a bygone era (albeit one in which some of the readers may have participated [cf. v 18 they said to you]).
When the letter is dated early contemporaneous with Paul’s letters in the 50s and early 60’s it is almost always accepted as an actual correspondence from Jude the brother of Jesus. When it is dated later in the postapostolic period of the 80’s or 90’s it often is regarded as pseudepigraphical. A few have argued vigorously that it dates from the second century ( 100 to 120 ).
But some scholars maintain that the date has little bearing on the question of authorship because if Jude was one of Jesus’ younger brothers (listed last in Mt 13 55 and third in Mk 6 3), he could realistically have lived until the end of the first century.
The standard view is that Ju and also 2 Pe were later documents within the NT canon.
Most agree that that 2 Pe was later than Ju and that the author of 2 Pe used much of Ju in his composition.
Ju is addressed to a readership that is identified theologically – klhtoi/j to those who are called (to the Church) – rather than geographically which we read about in v 1. To those who are called, who are beloved in God the Father and kept safe for Jesus Christ. Always remember we are on hearing one side of a telephone call, what one person has to say to another group on the other end of the conversation.
Some interpreters take this to mean that the letter was not intended for any particular church or group of churches. However, most scholars think that the particular crisis being addressed is that of false Christians (called intruders in v 4) who are wreaking havoc somewhere in the church (we don’t know where). The letter of Ju pulls no punches in condemning such troublemakers. Rescuing those who have fallen victim to false teaching is serious business to the author.
Jude associates these intruders who have stolen into the church with six notorious examples from Jewish tradition. This is some the story behind the story aspect of Ju.
1. Israelites in the wilderness v 5. cf Nu 14; 1 Cor 10 1-11; He 3 7-19
2. angels who mated with women on earth v 6. cf Ge 6 1-4; 1 Enoch 6-8
3. citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah v 7. cf Ge 19.
4. Cain v 11. cf Ge 4 1-16; He 11 4; 1 Jn 3 12
5. Balaam v 11. cf Nu 22-24; Re 2 14
6. Korah v 11. cf Nu 16
A good deal of research has been devoted to determining who these troublemakers were and what they did that was so offensive. Although Jude says that they deny our only Master and Lord Jesus Christ v 4, the people whom he has in view almost certainly claim to be Christians (see vv 4, 12). Most likely, the point is that although these troublemakers do not deny Christ overtly, their words and deeds have the effect of doing so.
The troublemakers are described with a number of colorful insults:
* irrational animals (v 10)
* waterless clouds carried along by the winds (v 12)
* wandering stars, for whom the deepest darkness has been reserved forever (v 13)
* autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, uprooted (v 12) .
* wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame (v 13)
We also hear that they are worldly people (v 19) who are ungodly sinners (v 15) and devoid of the Spirit (v 19). They are malcontents (v 16) and scoffers (v 18); they grumble (v 16) and flatter people (v 16), and they are selfindulgent with regard to their own lusts (vv 16, 18). All of this, however, is generalized invective. We gather that the troublemakers are bad people who exhibit lots of vices, but still we want to know if there was some particular philosophy or failing that caused them to be this way.
A few references might offer more specific insight. First, the people whom Jude rejects are said to pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness (v 4). Thus, they might be libertine Christians who confuse forgiveness with permissiveness and adopt an attitude similar to what Paul characterizes as continuing in sin in order that grace may abound (Ro 6 1; cf 3 8; 6 15; 1 Cor 6 12; 10 23; Ga 5 13). They follow their own animal instincts (v 10) and yield willingly to lusts of the flesh (vv 8, 18; cf. 7, 16). Indeed, their doings have become blemishes on the Christian love feasts, the daily or weekly gatherings that served as a primary occasion for worship and fellowship (v 12; cf. Ac 2 46; 1 Cor 11 1734). We cannot be sure exactly what the troublemakers were doing at these community meals, but the implication is that they were behaving in a manner typically associated with pagan banquets and secular celebrations.
In a somewhat different vein, Ju also refers to the intruders as dreamers (v 8) who reject authority (v 8) and slander what they do not understand (v 10). This might mean that they are hyperspiritual Christians who place more value on their own ecstatic and visionary experiences than they do on other sources of religious authority (eg., scripture, apostolic tradition, community consensus, decisions of elders). If so, then Ju’s description of them as worldly people who are devoid of the Spirit (v 19) is ironic because they are the opposite of what they claim to be (cf. Co 2 18).
The extensive use of Jewish traditions suggests that the letter of Ju is probably addressed to Jewish Christians. If this is the case, then the intruders might be Gentiles who have been only partially converted from paganism, accepting certain elements of the Christian gospel but rejecting Jewish morality and, perhaps, retaining pagan notions of revelation and enlightenment. In any event, the presence of such people in the community has proved divisive (v 19), which implies that the intruders have garnered support from some members of the church. In fact, most scholars believe that at least some of these troublemakers present themselves as teachers in the church. They might be itinerant prophets who travel from church to church making converts and charging fees for their services (see v 11; and cf. v 16 with Ro 16 18).
In any case, the issue is not simply one of dealing with wayward Christians who fail to live as they should. These people are actively promoting an understanding of the faith that supports their appalling lifestyle. The letter of Jude seeks to address this crisis. Its purpose is stated clearly. Ju appeals to the readers to contend for the faith that was delivered to them by the apostles (vv 3, 1718). How many times do we hear about that in the NT?!
Major Themes in Jude
The Certainty of Judgment
The first and most prominent thing that Jude wants to say is that the fate of the false believers is sealed because they were designated long ago for condemnation (v 4). The judgment of God upon them is inevitable (vv 1315). To drive this point home, he reminds his readers of how God has judged infamous sinners of the past. The current batch of troublemakers belong on the same list and are likewise destined for eternal fire (v 7) or deepest darkness (v 13).
Jude makes no attempt to argue with his opponents. He doesn’t even call them to repentance. Like an OT prophet, he simply pronounces a “woe” against them, and that’s that. The church should, of course, have a merciful attitude toward all sinners, but in the case of these false believers, such mercy must be exercised with caution. In fact, the greater concern is rescuing those who might come under their influence (vv 2223).
In its 25 vv Ju refers 6 times to a motif of keeping or being kept.
1. The readers are kept safe by God for Jesus Christ (v 1).
2. Angels did not keep their proper position when they left heaven for earth v 6.
3. The rebellious angels are now being kept in eternal chains (v 6).
4. The deepest darkness is being kept (reserved) for false believers (v 13).
5. The readers should keep themselves in the love of God (v 21)
6. God is able to keep them from falling (v 24).
The overall impression is that God is in control of all things and that, unlike rebellious angels or false believers, the readers should accept what God has ordained. The goal is preservation, not innovation.
The Apostolic Faith
The positive affirmation in Ju is for readers to build themselves up in their “most holy faith” (v 20), which is the faith that has been entrusted to the saints once for all (v 3; cf. Ac 2 42; Ro 6 17; 1 Ti 4 6; 2 Ti 1 13; 4 3; Tt 1 9).
Jude believes that the tradition received by the apostles is sufficient and needs no supplementation. His readers simply need to remember those things of which they have already been informed (vv 5, 17). Thus, innovation can be equated with wavering (v 22) or even with a denial of Christ (v 4). There is no need for innovation, furthermore, because all things have been taken into account. Even the current crisis was predicted by the apostles, who said that troublemakers would appear in the last days (v 17; cf. Ac 20 2930; 1 Ti 4 1; 2 Ti 3 19).
Ju provides no summary or description of the faith tradition that he commends, but we gather from the letter that it involves identification with God as Father and Savior (vv 1, 25), with Jesus Christ as Master and Lord (v 4), and with the Holy Spirit (v 20; cf. v 19). These relationships are made possible through the grace of God and the mercy of Jesus Christ (vv 4, 21), but such grace must not be exploited as an excuse for selfindulgence.
Indeed, there is a certain synergy assumed for the divinehuman relationship. God is able to keep people from falling (v 24), and God does do this (v 1), but people must also do things to keep themselves in the love of God (v 21). Finally, the apostolic faith has a strong eschatological component because believers look forward to eternal life (v 21) without forgetting the prospect of eternal punishment (vv 7, 1315).
Use of Apocryphal Writings
The letter of Jude draws freely on Jewish writings that are not considered to be canonical scripture by either Jews or Christians.
First, Jude alludes to a story found in 1 Enoch, according to which the angels that mated with earth women to produce a race of giants (reported in Ge 6 14) were imprisoned by God for the day of judgment (v 6; cf. 1 Enoch 68).
The book of 1 Enoch is an apocalyptic Jewish writing from the third century BCE; its contents may also be assumed by 1 Pe 3 1820.
Later, Jude quotes directly from 1 Enoch in a way that indicates that he regards the book’s prophecies as reliable and true (vv 1415; cf. 1 Enoch 1 9).
Elsewhere, Ju refers to a story in which the archangel Michael had a dispute with the devil over who should take possession of the body of Moses (v 9). This tale is not actually recorded in any literature available to us, but comes to us secondhand from Clement of Alexandria (ca. 150215) and a number of other early Christian scholars. These people maintained that this story about Moses was reported in a Jewish work called The Assumption of Moses, which was still extant in their day. Most contemporary scholars think that this writing was probably part of a Jewish work known to us as The Testament of Moses. Our manuscripts of the latter work are incomplete, and the story to which Jude refers may have been contained in the portion that is missing.
Thus, the letter of Ju conveys a rather open or relaxed view regarding canon. Jude uses legendary materials and apocryphal writings in the same way that he uses scripture, without making any distinction between the authoritative value of those writings that we deem canonical and those that we do not. This aspect of the book has posed problems for Christians throughout history.
On the one hand, it has caused some Christians to question whether Ju should be accepted as scripture. That is, how can a writer who is inspired by God fail to discern that other writings are not inspired by God? On the other hand, it has caused some to suggest that if Ju is to be regarded as scripture, then the books that Ju cites (especially 1 Enoch) should be regarded as scripture also. This was the view of Tertullian (155230) and, in general, of the Ethiopic church. But neither 1 Enoch nor The Assumption of Moses became part of the OT. They are not even a part of the Apocrypha, which is regarded as a secondary canon by some Christians (including Roman Catholics). Today, Ju’s reliance on these books usually is viewed as a curious holdover from a time when the concept of canon was still in flux.
Ju is a polemical letter. It employs harsh rhetoric and is laden with threats, insults, and derogatory remarks. If it is unpleasant to read, this may be because it deals with an unpleasant topic. It deals with the capacity for religion to do great harm.
The author is convinced that his readers are being hurt. It’s not that they are simply being convinced to adopt wrong ideas. It’s that they are being duped and exploited by people who are only pretending to have their interests at heart (v 18). This explains why Jude cannot adopt a tolerant “Let everyone believe what they want to believe” attitude. He writes from necessity (v 3), driven by a passionate concern to rescue those whom he believes are in danger to snatch them from the fire, so to speak (v 23).
The letter of Ju received something of a second life in the church when apparently it was taken up by the author of 2 Pe and used as a source for the composition of that letter. Indeed, students who have become familiar with Ju and then go on to read 2 Pe inevitably experience a bit of déjà vu as words, examples, and biblical references from Ju are employed over and over again in 2 Pe. That is, the author of 2 Pe knew Ju and drew on its rhetoric.
This tells us that the problem that Ju addressed was no isolated incident. That is, Christians continued to struggle with the question of which voices within the church should be trusted, and with the related question of how to define criteria according to which the validity of diverse faith expressions should be determined.
1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, who are beloved in God the Father and kept safe for Jesus Christ:
1 VIou,daj VIhsou/ Cristou/ dou/loj( avdelfo.j de. VIakw,bou( toi/j evn qew/| patri. hvgaphme,noij kai. VIhsou/ Cristw/| tethrhme,noij klhtoi/j\
MLS: Judas, a servant (slave) of Jesus Christ, brother of James, to those who are called and beloved in (by) God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.
See discussion of the name Jude above.
a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James is Jude’s own self-designation.
That is, he uses use phrases identifying him as being someone in particular.
He positions himself in relation to these two figures – one, Jesus Christ as servant or slave and two, James as brother.
How he describes himself is all that we know with absolute certainty about this author.
slave, servant, bonds servant
dou/los can have different senses to it.
Literally it means someone who is owned by another person, someone who is a bonds servant (an indentured servant who goes into slavery through agreement with another person, usually for some term like 7 years), or someone’s servant who would be someone who still maintains their freedom but work as a lowly employee of another person.
All of these senses of this word are possible but it’s striking that no truly free person would ever choose this name dou/los for themselves in the ancient world.
It implied a social status that was beneath that which anyone would have normally aspired to.
So if you call yourself dou/los, you are saying that you are a very lowly person, a person of no social standing, a person who is under the authority of another human being and who has in some way or other obligations to do the will of another person even if that is at the expense of one’s self.
Therefore, Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ contains a recognition that he has submitted himself completely to Jesus Christ.
Paul also uses this language in his letterers; Paul talks about himself as a slave of Jesus Christ, recognizing that he has become the possession of Jesus as Jesus has claimed him through the saving work that has been done.
So Jude makes that same kind of claim here calling himself a servant or slave of Jesus Christ.
This is a way that members of the early Christian community spoke about themselves because they were recognizing the authority of Jesus Christ.
Their confession was “Jesus Christ is Lord” and by naming Jesus as Lord, they gave him a position above themselves, and the implication of the difference between him and them is that he is kurios Lord and they are dou/los slave, and they relate to him along those lines of authority so that he has the authority over them, not they over him, and they are not positioning themselves as his equals.
Christ means the anointed one so many translations now translate it as Jesus the Messiah or Messiah Jesus rather than Jesus Christ.
The title Christ does not imply divinity but that this person has been chosen and anointed in the sense that God has marked this person for a special service.
It’s only because we understand Jesus to be divine, that we understand this kind of title.
In Jesus own day the title would have suggested that he was a Messiah, one chosen by God for a very special purpose, marked out and commissioned, directed to do God’s will in a certain way.
Christ is a title, not a name – Jesus, the Christ
No one had a last name at this time.
The words brother of James are not in Lk 6 13-16 or Ac 1 13 but in this letter it says Jude, … brother of James.
It literally says avdelfo.s de. vIakw,bou brother of James
So it’s not that he’s the son of James but that he’s the brother of James and that raises another interesting point – Who was James? the answer to which could take days to discuss.
Taking Ga was striking because what it is it is saying that through the real Son of God we have become adopted children of God and that gives us a status alongside Christ that we never had before which is that we are children of God along with him.
So that really is a striking way of talking about the relationship of human beings with God.
The regular Lord-servant way of referring to things implies a kind of over-under, a kind of radical hierarchy whereas the way that Paul refers to things in Ga implies more of an equity, although Paul would never understand himself to be on an equal footing with Jesus Christ; he still understands that in and through Jesus Christ he’s been adopted as a child of God; he’s become a son of God in a sense of adoption along with Jesus Christ who is God’s son is the way Paul understands it. … Ga says the fruits of the inheritance are available only because of the adoption in and through Jesus Christ.
We have an extended description of who he is and who the recipients are.
The sender is defined in terms of relationships particularly with Jesus Christ.
The recipients are defined as those who are called, … beloved, and kept
Rather than have just have a mere word of greeting Jude has May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.
So it’s a larger word of wish for these people, a theological wish list for them rather than just a mere “hi.”
Jude has theologized the greeting.
So Jude has expanded the standard opening along theological lines; there’s much more being said there than the normal greeting of “hi.”
called, beloved, kept
This is the first of the triple groupings in Ju.
These words say something about the author’s understanding of who the people are to whom the document is written.
called tells us they are called from someplace to someplace; you are called in such a way that it gets your attention.
There is a redirection of life that takes place as you are called.
The root word kale kalew sp is the base word that forms the root of the word ekklsia.
When we talk about someone being called in the life of the early church, we are almost being redundant because to be called was to become part of the body of Christ.
So when Ju says to those who are called he is really addressing a church, or the church, not just any group of people anything or anywhere but a specific group of people who have been addressed in a very specific way.
Further, he’s calling them out of the context of the world in which they live and into the context of the life of the church which is a new body of people who devote themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s hard to say whether he’s speaking to one congregation or to many congregations at once.
Most agree it’s not written to a particular congregation but to the early Church in general.
There’s an ambiguity in the Greek with in (by) God the Father.
They have been chosen; they have a new context, a context of the new community in relationship to God, a covenant community.
This is not just any old community but a covenant community who have received a call from God and as such they have come into the life together and they are in the context of God’s love and they exist by God’s love.
So the new context is that of a covenant community, not just any old group of people anyplace anywhere.
kept ( KJV preserved) for Jesus Christ
They are called into the context of a new community of faith; they are called by the love and power of God and marked out into the realm of a new covenant community, and now we are told that in that new realm beloved by God, they are kept.
Mike: This means that ultimately our fate has already been decided by God’s action in Jesus Christ.
It could also refer to the first century attitude about evil and the cosmic force that evil represented in history.
There is no cause for anxiety in faith as we have a living relationship to God in and through Jesus Christ.
We are kept safe from that anxiety and saved from the peril of evil itself.
Evil has come into the life of the church and Ju will address in this letter.
There is a corruption that’s gone on and people have to make a decision about how they are going to live their lives as it pertains to that corruption.
So there’s a calling for these people to stand firm in the faith, to guard and keep the faith, so that as they are kept in Jesus Christ, they keep the faith themselves.
So there is a larger concern behind all of these statements being made that you don’t want to miss.
2 May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.
2 e;leoj u`mi/n kai. eivrh,nh kai. avga,ph plhqunqei,hÅ
MLS: may mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you.
Some have tried to – incorrectly – correlate the 3 things here with the 3 things of v 1.
This v tells us the Ju expects certain things to happen in the life of the church.
The church is not just some flat entity that you join but that something is going on in the life of the church.
For Ju there is an ever-growing reality which he can define as mercy, peace and love.
mercy e;leoj comes into the English language as the word eleemosynary (of or for charity; charitable).
There’s a charitable generosity, a charitable disposition in the life of the church; they experience generosity; they are generous in relationship to one another – spiritually and in terms of a physical reality.
The early church cared for its members, for the people in the Church.
For those of us in our highly secularized world it’s hard for us to comprehend that kind of community existed in the first century and that these people were bound to one another like members of a family, not just as friends, but as family.
There was a will to look after the well-being of the other that went beyond just hoping that things happened in a nice way for them.
There was an involvement on the part of one person toward another person in the early community.
There was a way of living among the early church that is a lesson for us as we try to understand what it is to be the church in the world today and how we can live in relationship to one another.
The Christian community has been marked by generosity down through the ages and we occasionally forget that.
Ju understands that there is this goodness, this mercy that exists in the life of the church which ought to mark out the congregation.
The people experience mercy and they live out mercy toward others.
peace in biblical literature is much larger than the absence of something negative; it’s the presence of much that is positive.
The word for peace suggests the experience of salvation so we are to understand that there is the experience of health, of wholeness, the absence of strife, the absence of that which is negative and the presence of that which is positive.
Peace is God’s work in the first place, not something that humans cook up.
God’s brings peace into the life of the community as the result of God’s own mercy.
One seminary professor of MLS once said, “The only place where you know what love means in this world is on the tennis court.”
See undone glossary file on love.
avga,ph community that love has the power to transform another person.
As I experience God’s love I become an agent of God’s love so that love is almost contagious.
It doesn’t just exist in a one-way fashion but in fact as love is given, love is received and love touches and transforms the life of the others so that then the other who experiences the love then becomes an agent of that love toward other people.
There is a kind of reciprocity in the love as well.
So love itself is a dynamic concept in the ancient world and especially in the life of the Christian community where love is often thought of in relationship to what God does toward humanity in Jesus Christ and how we are affected by that love in relationship to God and in relation to one another.
v 2 concludes the salutation, and Ju has no thanksgiving prayer.
3-16 or 3-19 is the body of the letter which addresses the major concern of the letter.
Ju has no parenesis.
3-4 address the theme of the whole letter.
3 Beloved, while eagerly preparing to write to you about the salvation we share, I find it necessary to write and appeal to you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
3 VAgaphtoi,( pa/san spoudh.n poiou,menoj gra,fein u`mi/n peri. th/j koinh/j h`mw/n swthri,aj avna,gkhn e;scon gra,yai u`mi/n parakalw/n evpagwni,zesqai th/| a[pax paradoqei,sh| toi/j a`gi,oij pi,steiÅ
MLS: beloved, being very eager to write to you of our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
Ju regards those to whom he writes in the context of this love that has been given by God but now that has touched the Christian community so that people relate not only to God in love but to one another in love.
So Ju speaks to the people in a way that illustrates the reality of love in the church itself.
Ju reason for writing is to tell them about our common salvation, ie, the salvation they experience in the context of the Christian community.
The early church had the common experience of the saving grace of God.
salvation comes out of soteria sp and is related to another Greek word swth,r soter savior
That is, the idea of salvation in the life of the early church was directly connected to the saving grace of God that had been poured out in the savior, Jesus Christ so salvation was obviously related to Christ in the mind of these early Christians because they used language like salvation.
salvation and savior are somewhat alike for us but soteria sp and soter were actually much more alike in the Greek; they just had different endings on them.
But the basic idea of common salvation is the common experience of the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
So this is saying something about their experience of God through Christ.
So that’s what Ju is writing to them about – their common experience of their salvation.
You know that Ju didn’t just casually decide to write this letter with what he says next, I found it necessary
For the most part NT letters were not written casually but usually in a white heat as they addressed some problem or situation requiring correction.
There’s a compulsion behind the writing of this letter because certain things are taking place – as we’ll find out as we move through this letter – in the life of the church that upset Ju deeply.
Basically he will condemn these things and mark them out for condemnation.
He doesn’t necessarily talk about how to reprove the other person because we don’t get a strategy for that.
Instead, he’s warning about how we avoid these problems in the life of the church.
So this letter issues a very deep warning and calls the people to stand firm in their faith which they have been given once for all as he puts it.
So Ju is writing to them to take up these issues that have become part of the controversy in the life of the early church and to make a declaration to the people to whom he’s writing about what they ought to be doing about this.
In writing this letter Ju discusses what is going on, whether or not there something wrong with it and what we ought be doing about it.
There are things going on that compel Ju to write and then he says he writes for a purpose, to admonish these people to contend for the faith which has been delivered once for all to the saints.
That’s the imperative associated with this letter.
contend for the faith, struggle for the faith, defend it
Notice here that the word faith is used more in the sense of religion or the commitment that we have.
There are times in our lives when we face issues in the life of the church when we have to make decisions such as the one Ju is making about whether or not we’re going to contend for the faith.
However, most of the time we defer because there is a certain potential for embarrassment that might be there, for example, the embarrassment of possible rejection.
Ju is appealing to the people to contend for the faith.
The word for appealing calls for a judgment in a law court in antiquity.
This would be the word if you had a case brought before a judge and you had someone making a case for a certain verdict, you would say in the Greek parakale,w I appeal to you
That is, Ju is calling for them to form a judgment, to take stock of the situation that’s confronting them and in some way or other make up their minds about it and to be willing to pronounce a judgment.
Ju is not leaving them at a point of neutrality; he’s bringing them along in such a way that he wants them to become involved with the situation and to make a judgment.
So Ju writes to them and appeals to them to contend for the faith.
There are different ways to contend for the faith.
Live it; take a stance; defend it; speak up; be charitable …
There is a point of contention between Ju and those about whom he writes that suggests that he would want their position to be judged inappropriate or actually condemned.
Ju is not interested in just working out some kind of compromise; he’s interested in the right thing being done.
Ju is trying to persuade a congregation to take a stanch in relationship to a problem, and if he persuades the people to do that in mercy, peace and love, then there would be a godly solution to the problem rather than just a human solution of one side winning and the other, losing.
Ju still wants to make sure that those whom he’s opposing and that he’s calling for the people to whom he writes to oppose – that their position not be recognized in the life of the church and that it be judged as actually inadequate and inappropriate.
4 For certain intruders have stolen in among you, people who long ago were designated for this condemnation as ungodly, who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
4 pareise,dusan ga,r tinej a;nqrwpoi( oi` pa,lai progegramme,noi eivj tou/to to. kri,ma( avsebei/j( th.n tou/ qeou/ h`mw/n ca,rita metatiqe,ntej eivj avse,lgeian kai. to.n mo,non despo,thn kai. ku,rion h`mw/n VIhsou/n Cristo.n avrnou,menoiÅ
MLS: for admission has been secretly gained by some who were long ago designated for condemnation, ungodly person who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only master and Lord, Jesus Christ or deny the only master and our Lord, Jesus Christ
So you contend for the faith v 3 because there are people – intruders – who would lead you astray from that.
The point being made here is one that is difficult to apply to the life of the church because it says point blank that in Jude’s day admission has been secretly gained by some who were long ago designated for condemnation
So these are people who make Presbyterians uncomfortable because that brings up the doctrine of predestination.
Jude’s statements in this letter don’t show a whole lot of sympathy for these people at all but even Jude shows some ambiguity about how he understands grace and condemnation to operate in the life of these people.
These people have been allowed to infiltrate (Jude’s image) the life of the church.
Jude is upset not only about the ungodly behavior of these people but also about how these people are leading others astray.
licentiousness means that they do what they jolly well please.
They have taken license and they are not beholding to any discipline of any sort.
They have come into the life of the church and they have taken the doctrine of grace a teaching that gives them opportunity to do what they please, not what God has as a purpose for their lives, no discipline in Christian life but an open lifestyle that really has no boundaries on it.
Paul uses the same word licentiousness in relation to the Corinthians in his Corinthian correspondence.
If you tell people that the law has in some way or other been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the implication is that the law is no longer applicable.
You can take it to imply that the law isn’t applicable to life any longer which could open people up to all sorts of strange thoughts and behaviors.
Part of the problem in the life of the early church is that when they were told they didn’t have to do certain things, then they assumed that they didn’t have to do other things and that they could do other things that had been inappropriate in the past.
So they gave up things that they shouldn’t have given up and they took on activities that they shouldn’t have taken on.
That became a problem.
Finding reasonable boundaries was part of the struggle of the life of the early Christian community.
That is what Jude is confronting in this letter – the problem of people redefining the boundaries or Christian faith and practice.
We’re not first century Christians but were not that much different from first century Christians.
There’s not that much new under the sun so it shouldn’t surprise us that the problems that existed then are still with us now.
To see some of the parallels between what was going on then and what is going on now is helpful.
deny the only master and our Lord, Jesus Christ leads to some ambiguity about whether it’s calling God or Christ master at that point.
Imagine that going on in the congregation, that someone would come into the congregation and say that ‘God’s grace allows us freedom because we’ve been forgiven by the grace of God.’
You can see it in the Corinthian correspondence.
In portions of 2 Cor people have come into the church and are leading people astray.
It’s even more explicit in 1 Cor because people are presuming upon God’s grace.
They are perverting grace in the sense that they say that because they are forgiven, they can do what they jolly well please.
That is the kind of activity that Jude is upset with at this particular point in his letter, with those who pervert the grace of God into licentiousness
That part we can understand in a parallel fashion with 1 Cor – the people are abusing grace.
All have been forgiven; God forgives us of our sins; therefore I can be what I want to because God forgives me.
It’s a twisted logic but some obviously thought this way in the life of the early church.
The harder part is when Jude says they deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Is their behavior itself the denial of their Lord Jesus Christ?
Some people are explicitly denying the lordship of Christ by …
In this particular text Jude is upset because people have come into the church itself; so it’s their activity in the church that he seems to be most upset about.
There are implications for those who operate on a more secular level but those are only implications, and the explicit statements are related to that which is going interesting implicitly in the life of the church.
There’s not a new heresy on the face of the earth; most of them have been around for a couple thousand years.
If we would take seriously the history of the church, we would see how these very issues we are struggling with have already been dealt with by earlier believers in earlier periods.
We might not come to exactly the same conclusions that they came to but we would do well to be informed by the thinking they engaged in and the things that they had to say as teaching if we are going to face these things ourselves in anything other than using our own resources.
They were designated long ago for this condemnation.
He’s confronting people in the life of the early church who themselves contend certain things and deny certain things.
From Jude’s point of view with which I agree, he is very critical of their beliefs and of what they say and deny.
Jude is seeing that God’s work in relation to them is purely negative because it is condemnable; it’s not being affirmed in any shape, form or fashion.
Jude is saying that they are designated for this condemnation.
Part of our problem is that we absolutize things and it may not be that is an absolute statement.
He may not be talking about the absolute end of these people but that there is a correction that needs to be applied to the life of these people.
They need to be confronted for their inappropriate beliefs and even more so in his mind their inappropriate life styles.
And there is a condemnation in the confrontation, and after that condemnation in the confrontation I think his hope for these people his hope for all humanity – that they would repent of their sins and come back into line with the teaching of the church rather than perverting the teaching of the church as they have been.
Jude is being as negative as you can possibly be.
This is a vigorous denial of the validity of the things that these people are saying and doing.
Then from Bauckman’s outline he now goes to B’ and A’ in a rhetorical flip.
Ie, he lays out contend for the faith and then the background, but then when he exposits and expands, he treats B first and then A
1-2 Address and greeting
3-4 Occasion and theme
A 3 appeal to contend for the faith
B 4 the background to the appeal: The false teachers, their character and judgment
5-23 Body of the Letter
B’ 5-19 the background: A commentary on four prophecies of the doom of the ungodly
5-7, 8-10, 9 three OT types and interpretation including Michael and the devil
11, 12-13 three more OT types and interpretation
14-15, 16 the prophecy of Enoch and interpretation
17-18, 19 the prophecy of the apostles and interpretation
A’ 20-23 the Appeal
24-25 Concluding doxology
The point of every example in Ju is about how God punishes unbelievers: v 5 destroy; v 6 eternal chains and deepest darkness; etc.
He gives example after example showing that God does not let things go unpunished but actually affects retribution against the ???
5-7 is one long, well-structured, practically-organized sentence in the Greek but is broken up in the English.
Ju is written in a very elaborate style which reminds us of Karl Barth who liked to write these sentences that went around and came around, building a force as they moved through a serpentine which invited a lot of interpretation because of the complexity of the sentences.
5-7 have had punctuation introduced into the English translations which helps us break up this long sentence into smaller parts.
5 ff Jude is going to cite illustrations of rebelliousness.
5 Now I desire to remind you, though you are fully informed, that the Lord, who once for all saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.
5 ~Upomnh/sai de. u`ma/j bou,lomai( eivdo,taj Îu`ma/jÐ pa,nta o[ti Îo`Ð ku,rioj a[pax lao.n evk gh/j Aivgu,ptou sw,saj to. deu,teron tou.j mh. pisteu,santaj avpw,lesen(
MLS: Now I remind you, though you were once for all fully informed, that the one who saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe
Now I desire to remind you tells us that Jude is going to remind the reader of something they have already been told.
Then he again reminds them that they have already been told with though you were once for all fully informed
Therefore, according to Jude what is being said in this letter is nothing new; this is something that has already been taught in the life of the community and these people should have – had they been listening in an earlier period – already gotten about what he about to say to them.
Jude is saying he shouldn’t have to be telling them this again.
Just as the children of Israel had been fully informed of the works of God, the early Christian church had been fully shown and told of God’s truth and they’ve been given a truth that is so true that it was once for all.
The idea of something occurring once for all occurs particularly in He – once for all meaning that there is full information; there is trustworthy information; there is information that stands the eternal test of time.
Jude is telling them they have been given God’s truth so Jude can now remind them of what happened to the children of Israel. See just below.
Jude will now look a different portions of scripture and use them as examples that have teaching for the life of the community.
that the Lord has a text critical problem.
Some of the early manuscripts say Lord; some say Jesus, and some say God.
Probably the oldest form of Greek doesn’t say who he is so later scribes come along and in an attempt to fill in the blank, try to tell the later readers of this document – who may not be all that schooled – who it is that Jude is really talking about by supplying names.
But the oldest and most reliable text appears simply to say the one who saved the people out of the land of Egypt …
the one who saved the people out of the land of Egypt is God.
That same God afterward destroyed those who did not believe by attrition as much as anything else because the judgment pronounced by God on the children of Israel after their disbelief in the wilderness was that that generation would not enter the promised land, and so they wandered about the wilderness for 40 years until 99.9999% had died off.
the one who saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe refers to the Israelites in the wilderness and their rebellion against God there, in particular, when they turned back to the idols of the land out of which the Lord had brought them – when they actually turned away from God and toward something else.
They murmured against Moses and in turn against God, and in addition, when they have the opportunity and Moses was away for periods of time, they assumed that Moses was dead, and they wanted to get back to some security so they make a calf for themselves and worship that calf rather than to continue to trust in God and worship who had led them out of Egypt.
Just what God did with those people?
First, God saved them from the difficulties in the land of Egypt.
Second, because of the people’s rebelliousness God destroyed those who did not believe.
They continued to wander in the wilderness until a whole generation had died.
So God destroyed them in the desert.
At that point the transition took place into the promised land and even the leadership changed at that point from Moses to Joshua.
Moses stays back from entering the promised land because of his own disobedience to the commandments of God.
Here in v 5 the author has in mind this murmuring and this turning away from God and turning back toward the gods of the Egyptians.
who did not believe is an important phrase because the whole point here is whether or not people believe and if they believed, what is going to be the evidence of their belief? They will repent and live a life that is appropriate to the call they are being called to in Jesus Christ.
So they have to repent and live up to a calling.
That is what Jude is saying the people have not done, and that is what he is arguing here against in this letter.
So the inherent warning to those of the early church – and for us today – is to shape up, to remain faithful.
There’s a threat here that if we don’t remain faithful to that which we’ve been given, if we are as Jude puts it disobedient to the truth, then it sounds like God would wash God’s hands of us.
In a nutshell Jude sees this as a life and death issue to him; the truth of the gospel is at stake and Jude calling for people to rally around the truth of the gospel that they have been taught and to stand firm and to reproach that which is being taught to them that is contrary to what they have already learned.
They are to remain faithful.
In 1 Cor 10 1 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness. 6 Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did.
Paul tells the story of the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness as they’ve been brought out of Egypt, making the same point that Jude makes only he makes it even more explicitly because he tells the story in more detail than Jude does.
See 1 Cor 10 notes where Paul’s point is the same as Jude’s here but it’s actually more clear in Paul than in Ju.
The experiences of people in the life of the church – that is, the experience of communion and the experience of baptism – are not inherently guaranteed to give us some kind leverage on God whereby God can’t any longer hold us accountable.
Both Paul and Jude are saying that even experiencing the blessings of God in communion and the baptism are not enough to keep us above the judgment of God.
God’s judgment is relevant to even lives of even the believers themselves.
Jude is drawing an analogy to the OT to make those points.
When we look back in our situation and read Ju, Ju is in our past the same way Ex was in the past of Jude.
When we draw analogies to our present situation from Ju and in turn from the story of the exodus, we might conclude about our own position in relationship to God that we have certain responsibilities which if we are not executing those responsibilities according to the will of God, we need to be aware that God’s judgment came upon God’s people in the past and we need to shape up.
That is basically Jude’s point.
For our own lives today we’d make the point that the judgment of God is pertinent for our own passage through life and the judgment of God ought to call us to a kind of holy style of living that is in keeping with the truth that has been delivered to us once for all.
The call of God to us is a call to be steadfast in facing the difficulties of life.
Rather than ??? we trust God and as we trust God, God brings us through those difficulties in a way that we might not be prepared for.
We may not anticipate what God is going to do for us in bringing us through those difficulties.
The point that is being made in relation to the exodus here is that God means what God says and if we are going to read Ju and make application to our own lives, we must recognize that God doesn’t fool around, that God’s commandments to us are to be taken seriously.
The fully-informed ought to extend itself to all realms of our lives but we are accommodating ourselves to all kinds of things which isn’t very faithful living in light of being fully-informed.
We stand today on the other side of the cross.
There was a side before the cross and there’s a side after the cross, and on the other side of the cross looking back, we can see that God has been at work down through human history for God’s own good purposes.
So God’s will and God’s work was for the good and when we look at the way that God dealt with certain things and we see this wrath, it hard for us to comprehend.
question about Moses
There is no specific mention about Moses at this point.
When you get down to v 9 you’ll have Michael and the devil contending for the body of Moses which is part of Jude’s focus on the exodus story but he doesn’t make the connection up at this point; Moses is not remembered as the one who is prominent in bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt.
He has gone out and he is the one through whom God has draws out the people of Israel.
His name isn’t mentioned here and we might expect it to be mentioned but for whatever reason Jude is focusing in an inexact fashion – he’s making exact points but he’s not giving us fully-illustrated events from the account of the exodus; he’s making minimal reference.
I think that shows us that he expects these people to be informed of scripture; his assumption is that they would know these texts from scripture.
6 And the angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgment of the great Day.
6 avgge,louj te tou.j mh. thrh,santaj th.n e`autw/n avrch.n avlla. avpolipo,ntaj to. i;dion oivkhth,rion eivj kri,sin mega,lhj h`me,raj desmoi/j avi?di,oij u`po. zo,fon teth,rhken(
MLS: and the angels that did not keep their position but left their proper dwellings have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day.
See intermediate state discussion at Ro 8 24.
v 6 talks about the angels in Ge 6, which he’s probably referring to from their former book of Enoch.
The closest reference we can get from scripture here is Ge 6 1 When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, “My spirit shall not abide in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those daysand also afterwardwhen the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.
In later Jewish telling of this story there is the idea that God judged the sons of God – who would be understood to be angels – for having gone into the daughters of humanity and God judged those people in such a way that God condemned those angels in such a way that they were condemned to eternal punishment.
That’s as close as we can get in our Bible to the reference that Jude is making here to the angels that didn’t keep their position but left their proper dwellings. On the other hand, another book of Jewish writing, Enoch, would have been considered in the time of Jesus and in much of the time of the early church.
Enoch tells stories that are more elaborate than the stories we have in the OT about God’s dealings with humanity and God’s dealings with angels.
In Enoch there is a reference to angels involvement with the daughters of humanity and there is a statement that God actually imprisoned these angels.
So the idea we’re looking at here in Ju comes from Enoch.
It may have it’s basic origin in the book of Ge but it almost certainly comes into our NT from Enoch.
More than anything Jude is looking to Jewish story-telling because Jude is really focused on the exodus in v 5 and in v 7 he’ll deal with Sodom and Gomorrah.
So Jude is telling basic Jewish story in v 6.
In Ge it’s left quite open; you don’t quite get what’s going on there; you just see the sons of God going into the daughters of humanity and then you have these giants, the Nephilim, who in some way or other have offspring who were the great heroes of the past.
So it’s just this little condensed reference to a lot of ancient history that we don’t really know anything more about and the only reference we know of to that story that elaborates it is in Enoch which comes close to the ideas we have here in Ju.
So whether it’s Ge or Enoch, the point of v 6 is that the angels misbehaved; there was a kind of rebelliousness on the part of the angels.
he has kept in eternal chains implies a kind of intermediate place where these people are locked up in chains awaiting the great day of judgment.
in the nether gloom means they are in a realm of condemnation away from God until the judgment of the great day – the day that’s prophesied in the OT by a number of prophets – Joel, in particular – and mentioned by John the Baptist and by Jesus – a day of judgment that is coming.
The early church looked toward that day and in a very funny way, the early church looked forward to the day because it was in that final judgment that the people of the early church would be vindicated and be rewarded.
So there was a positive dimension to this day of great judgment if you were a faithful follower of Jesus Christ.
It was not just a bad thing that was going to happen but a good thing – judgment that had redemption, salvation on the one hand and judgment that has a kind of condemnation on the other hand.
So God is going to sort out the good from the bad in the day of final judgment.
In this v God has locked up these rebellious angels to await the day of great judgment and you can imagine that there judgment is going to be one of condemnation because they have been already bound up for doing what it was that was considered rebellious by God.
So again, v 6 is making the point that if you rebel against God, then God is going to judge.
That’s just the point that was being made in v 5.
So v 5 and v 6 are making the same basic point so you might anticipate that in the next v Jude is going to teach that if you rebel against God, you’re going to experience God’s judgment and condemnation.
7 Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
7 w`j So,doma kai. Go,morra kai. ai` peri. auvta.j po,leij to.n o[moion tro,pon tou,toij evkporneu,sasai kai. avpelqou/sai ovpi,sw sarko.j e`te,raj( pro,keintai dei/gma puro.j aivwni,ou di,khn u`pe,cousaiÅ
MLS: just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally (went after other flesh) and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
So the idea is the same as we’ve seen all the way to this point so far, that if you rebel against God’s purposes, then God is going to judge and bring condemnation upon the rebelliousness that you expressed toward God.
So they served as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire just as the people of Israel were condemned for their rebelliousness in the wilderness and just as the angels were brought into the nether gloom to await the day of judgment, so also Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities have undergone a day of judgment already and that day of judgement is meant to be an example, a warning to the early Christian community.
And if that’s the case then the early Christian community then that would be the case for us today.
Jude’s teaching is not really simply focused on a particular time and place but it’s really a kind of timeless teaching that intends to communicate to all Christians in the early church and all Christians in subsequent generations of Christianity the truth of God’s judgment.
Most scholars do understand this verse to be a reference to God’s condemnation in the OT of the activities of people who were engaging in same sex relations. That’s the basic understanding of this v that most people have.
The truth be told, we don’t pay attention to much of this; we brush it aside as being irrelevant to us.
This is something we have to take seriously.
Every one of us in one way or another brushes something aside from God’s teaching.
This is a clear illustration of one kind of problem from the point of view of Jude in the life of the early church but this is not the only thing.
Jude also is telling these stories to remind people in the church that brushing aside the will of God is something that is going to bring condemnation.
question about the OT story regarding sending the men out for sex
The idea of hospitality is not to be taken lightly.
Hospitality for us is having someone to our home for dinner but in the ancient world the giving of hospitality was a sacred obligation in which you took that other person in as if that person were your very family itself.
That’s what the protection of these people is all about in the story.
Lot is the only one who really gives hospitality; the rest are in violation of the commandment of hospitality and they are in violation specifically by wanting to have these angelic figures sent out to them in order that they might engage in sexual relations with them.
Out culture doesn’t have that notion of hospitality.
Ju comes from a later period than Jesus or Paul when there were very significant problems – in the late first century and in the second century – that threatened to destroy the faith entirely.
So when Jude encounters these people who are thinking, teaching and acting in ways contrary to what he knows and believes to be the truth, then he really is stern and sharp in his criticism of them.
It’s important to see that he’s story-telling at this point; he’s illustrating the reality of God’s condemnation and he’s doing it as a warning over against the kind of teaching and behavior that he’s encountered in the life of the church; he wants to warn other people away from them.
So there is a kind of harshness about Ju that does distinguish it from both the teaching of Jesus and the letters of Paul.
I suspect the tone of the letter is a result of the time in which the letter is written as much as it is anything else.
In the time of Jude there were people already teaching that Jesus wasn’t human, and just as Jesus wasn’t human, we don’t have to be attentive to our own everyday lives; we are truly spiritual people who are above the mundane things of Christian morality.
So Jude is teaching these people that there are concrete incidences in the history of God’s dealings with people that show that God wont’ tolerate this kind of behavior.
It could also be a kind of early gnosticism wherein people believe that what they know sets them free to do what they want to do.
So we know from early church history that there were movements in the life of the church that actually threatened to destroy the church.
So Jude is a harsh critic of whatever it is.
Unfortunately we can’t tell exactly what it is from the way the letter he writes the letter although we suspect it’s early docetism and early gnosticism that was a threat to the existence of the church that Jude is fighting against.
Jude names things but you still can’t pin down exactly what he’s talking about.
There are tendencies on the part of people that he’s opposing.
If we could say exactly what is was that Jude was criticizing, then we could pin this letter down to a particular point in time and it would help us to know something about when the letter was written and who wrote the letter than we are able to say.
We often take sin lightly because we don’t really believe in evil anymore.
Evil itself is something that we have more-or-less written off as a reality.
Sin and evil have become no more than misdeeds that people commit in the course of everyday life.
We don’t take the reality of evil that is something that is more than merely human seriously.
If we took it seriously, then sin would be taken more seriously.
These people have apparently begun to teach other Christians that it’s OK to believe certain things and that it’s OK to do certain things that Jude knows that it’s not OK to believe or do.
So Jude sharply criticizes these people for doing what it is they are up to.
Jude is fighting a battle against them, pulling out all the stops; Jude is not writing from a neutral point of view.
So Jude argues in a very forceful fashion that strikes us from a distance of the letter as being harsh.
It would be interesting to know how the earliest readers of this letter took the letter, how they thought about the letter and what impression it made on them.
You can get a little clearer impression in the verses that follow of what it is that he’s taking exception to.
It doesn’t become entirely clear but you get a more abstract impression of what he’s criticizing as we move along.
The word he’s using – which is normally translated licentiousness – has about it the qualities of immorality.
So Jude is talking about something that is immoral, not just about something that is kind of naughty.
It’s not a light thing that he’s taking exception to; he’s sees it as being a deadly problem.
His concern is these people coming in and putting a different spin on the gospel than the one they were given in the first place.
Jude cites striking examples.
God went out of God’s way to save these people.
But because of their rebelliousness God struck them down.
What a privileged position to have as an angel and yet God has to bring them into a kind of bondage in the nether gloom to await the final judgment day.
Then God gave the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah so many chances by reducing the level of expectation down to nothing essentially.
If you show me just a little bit of righteousness then I’ll withhold the judgment on these places.
But God ultimately pronounced a judgment on the unrighteousness that was present there, and we find out Sodom and Gomorrah and the towns around them are undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
8 Yet in the same way these dreamers also defile the flesh, reject authority, and slander the glorious ones.
8 ~Omoi,wj me,ntoi kai. ou-toi evnupniazo,menoi sa,rka me.n miai,nousin kurio,thta de. avqetou/sin do,xaj de. blasfhmou/sinÅ
missed class 6-24-07 and the discussion of vv 8-11: was in South Dakota with Tyler, Taylor and Audrey
reject authority – inappropriate religious belief and behavior
Reject authority – inappropriate religious belief and behavior
Their thoughts are being put into action
Blaspheme someone other than God
Criticize them at the level of their faith
Blaspheme = religious nature – offered an utterly negative critic of person – their faith and religious beliefs – criticizing them to the core
USA – separation of church and state
Distinction secular and sacred
Ancient world and today in Middle East – secular order under girded by those things sacred
Licentiousness – loose living
Blaspheming the glorious ones
Thoroughly negative critic about that which is divine
9 But when the archangel Michael contended with the devil and disputed about the body of Moses, he did not dare to bring a condemnation of slander against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
9 ~O de. Micah.l o` avrca,ggeloj( o[te tw/| diabo,lw| diakrino,menoj diele,geto peri. tou/ Mwu?se,wj sw,matoj( ouvk evto,lmhsen kri,sin evpenegkei/n blasfhmi,aj avlla. ei=pen\evpitimh,sai soi ku,riojÅ
According to Jude, the warrior angel Michael did not allow himself to be drawn into a conflict with the devil but instead simply said,’The Lord rebuke you’ (v 9).
Michael and Devil fight over the body of Moses
A story – not in the bible
Can be found in a document called the Assumption of Moses
The Lord Rebuke You – Zech 3:2 – same line
What is Jude’s point?
The Lord fights spiritual battles
Those in tune with God do not make the pronouncements
That these people reviling
These people wrong taking the authority
Jude does the same thing
Making negative pronouncements against his opponents
Not launching an attack at supernatural
Concept of devil in New Testament times
Book – Assumption of Moses
Later Jewish writing
Angels more prominent
Deuteronomy – Last chapter – vs. 6?
Q – Transfiguration of Jesus – was not everyone who was there someone who had not died in a normal way. Yes
“We can be sure Michael won (when fighting with the devil for Moses body) because Moses was present at the transfiguration.” (Jim)
There are churches today that believe in fighting demons,
Also angel worship in the secular world
Jude – taking the stance that he is taking – bringing in the authority of God.
10 But these people slander whatever they do not understand, and they are destroyed by those things that, like irrational animals, they know by instinct.
10 Ou-toi de. o[sa me.n ouvk oi;dasin blasfhmou/sin( o[sa de. fusikw/j w`j ta. a;loga zw/|a evpi,stantai( evn tou,toij fqei,rontaiÅ
They revile what they do not understand
People – what they believe and what they do inappropriate
Happening a lot today
Bring religion down to their level
Many religious concepts
Those who do not understand
“Christian life is about getting comfortable with the incomprehensible.”
God’s ways are not always clear
“Imagine what you will know tomorrow.” Quote from the movie Men in Black
Jude criticizing them reviling what they do not understand
Compares to irrational animals – know only by instinct
11 Woe to them! For they go the way of Cain, and abandon themselves to Balaam’s error for the sake of gain, and perish in Korah’s rebellion.
Again Jude uses Hebrew scriptures.
Cain comes from Ge 4.
Balaam comes from Nu 22-24.
Korah’s rebellion comes from Nu 16.
Korah’s rebellion has a destruction of the people as well when God becomes outraged at the behavior of these people; and God destroys a number of them in the wilderness.
Woe to them = Owi, Oui, Oni (cannot read my writing) in Greek
Cain – first murder
Jealousy – kills his brother
He believed in God but did not accept God’s authority
Cain – character who rejects the authority of God
An example of the kind of behavior Jude is opposing
Balaam – Number 22 – 24
Prophet for hire
Curse children of Israel
“A prophet who wanted a profit” (Jim)
God tells him No
Confronted by a donkey – he sold out
Reject the authority of God – stand condemned for that kind of behavior
Do not know what doing
Making inappropriate profit off whatever doing
Gaining access to the fellowship
Kora’s rebellion – they perish
Grumbling against the authority of God that was given to Moses
Open a fissure
What did they do?
Rejected the authority of God
Kora – authority exercised through Moses
In Jude – not clear what these people have done
Believing wrong things
Doing wrong things
However, we are not given a list of things wrong
Not guided by our instinct
Inappropriate to take others to a wrong place
How do we make appropriate/inappropriate decisions ourselves?
We have scripture – authority
Experience, reason, and tradition in the church
Confer with one another
Above all – Holy Spirit in us – guiding us in all these things
12 These are blemishes on your lovefeasts, while they feast with you without fear, feeding themselves. They are waterless clouds carried along by the winds; autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, uprooted;
MLS: … blemishes on your love-feasts, as they boldly carouse together, looking after themselves, waterless clouds carried along by winds, fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted.
Using images from nature, Jude’s language here in vv 12-13 is very colorful, designed to bring across a vivid point to these people.
He’s saying that as these people act out these inappropriate things that they are doing. They are guilty from Jude’s standpoint of both thinking, teaching and doing the wrong things. So they are promoting both in thought and action an inappropriate lifestyle.
Indirectly here Jude is talking about the Lord’s Supper.
See lengthy discussion in Lord’s Supper lecture file
We can see that the people Jude is addressing are grumbling, complaining, creating dissension and they are on the take.
Jude is warning those to whom he’s writing not to have anything to do with these people because these people are in a position to ruin the life of the church.
The church’s life is a fragile thing and Jude is aware of that so rather than simply tolerate this kind of activity and say ‘well, one day they’ll go away’ Jude has launched a tirade against these folks and is really doing everything he can to dismantle any kind of authority that they might have assembled for themselves.
In some way these people are problematic in the life of the community and Ju is offended by their activities.
These people are serving as a blemish on their love-feast, as a corrupting presence in the life of the worship, particularly in the celebration of the Supper.
They have in some way or other got into a position of prominence and they are making claims and teaching and doing things that are obviously not in agreement with Jude.
As they continue to be there and do what they are doing, as the community lives out its life and celebrates the Lord’s Supper, their presence itself is a blemish itself on that activity.
Jonathan Edwards in his days as a pastor tried to determine who should and should not take communion; he thought he could discern someone’s spiritual condition by virtue of the life that they lived; so it got him in trouble; he got thrown out of his parish.
In 1 Cor Paul is very careful to say that you need to discern the body as you approach the communion table and you need to be reverential and have an appropriate attitude toward the elements themselves and toward the communion itself and toward God.
All of these things need to be in someone’s heart before they took communion.
waterless clouds are useless, nothing more than fluff, good for nothing.
carried on by winds means they are waterless clouds delivering nothing.
You can’t get much more negative than to call someone fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted.
If you ever want to learn in a pious way to insult someone, study Ju.
Jude doesn’t use a foul word at all.
Late autumn is harvest time but there’s no harvest to be had because they are twice dead, whatever that is.
I know what refried beans are but twice dead ???
I guess that means it’s pretty dead.
Jude wants to make the point that these people are once again useless.
For all that they say and do, they really are not delivering the appropriate goods.
Negative images by Jude – in his own way, undermining these people
13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the deepest darkness has been reserved forever.
MLS: wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame, wandering stars for whom the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved forever.
wandering stars for whom the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved forever is an image that’s taken up almost certainly from wisdom writings of Judaism and it may be alluding to Enoch, a kind of apocalyptic document that was popular in Jewish and Christian circles in the first and second centuries.
Remember that Jude is contending against people in the church whose corrupting influence is leading others astray, false teachers and prophets who are engaged trying to make a false profit.
Jude is concerned about and warning against this inappropriate behavior that is leading others astray.
14 It was also about these that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “See, the Lord is coming with ten thousands of his holy ones,
MLS: … “Behold, the Lord came with his holy myriads
Jude quotes from Enoch which becomes a source cited in order to back up Jude’s argument – that the Lord is going to bring judgment upon those who themselves are ungodly.
Enoch is rather long and has been preserved in Ethiopic and translated.
These activities which Jude is taking exception to need to be warned against for the sake of others.
Lest you be led astray by what these others are advocating you need to know that God is going to execute judgment.
So Jude is using Enoch’s statement to warn these people to move away from those who are going in an inappropriate direction.
It’s not so much a warning to those who are doing these things as it is a warning to those who are receiving this writing from Jude that tells them that they are not to follow after these fruitless trees or these wild waves of the sea.
15 to execute judgment on all, and to convict everyone of all the deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
MLS: to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness which they have committed in such an ungodly way and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
Jude gets ungodly into this phrase more times than you can shake a stick at.
16 These are grumblers and malcontents; they indulge their own lusts; they are bombastic in speech, flattering people to their own advantage.
MLS: … they follow their own passions; they are loud-mouthed boasters, flattering people to gain advantage.
These are the opponents as Jude recognizes them.
This image comes from the people wandering in the wilderness.
The people grumbled against Moses and in turn against God.
This people are not just grumbling but they are advocating grumbling; they seem to be misleading others which is what Jude is trying to stop.
Lest you mistake Jude’s ‘grumbling’ for the people’s grumbling here, Jude’s is more a railing against these opponents.
The impression you get is that the opponents in some way or other are things that he lines them up with: Cain, Balaam, Korah, etc. and the other images like grumbling.
All of these were directly against God.
The grumbling was against Moses but it was against God as God’s representative and therefore against God.
If you took the people that Jude is criticizing to be legitimate ministers of the gospel, then you would say there is not any difference between Jude and these people.
But the fact of the matter is that we have received this document through a line of tradition that tells us that those who he was opposing were false Christians.
So their grumbling is obviously from Jude’s point of view against God, not against somebody.
So it’s a question of where you are aiming your complaint against, what you criticism is of.
Is it of God or is it of a human being?
What is the principle that is going to guide us when we have controversies?
In a controversy you have going to have to decide.
Although Jude is teaching, he comes close to reviling, his own word for it, letting the opponents have it.
We don’t know what came before this document.
Has he patiently attempting to bring a milder criticism over against these opponents?
Jude seems exasperated.
In Mt we have prescriptions where Jesus teaches how we are to correct our brothers and sisters when they’ve gone astray.
There were recognized ways in which people could have appropriate confrontations in the life of the church but Jude doesn’t give us any of those directions here.
You get the picture that the people have gone so far and they are such a negative force that we need to pull back from them and have nothing to do with them. It’s almost like an excommunication although that is later language.
flattering people to gain advantage gives us this idea of false communication in order to derive some kind of benefit from it.
Another translation has and they court favor to gain their ends.
Jude is not describing anything that we can’t at least relate to; we can recognize and relate what he’s talking about.
17 But you, beloved, must remember the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Jude now turns to his audience in a little more compassionate rather than impassioned manner of address.
Jude addresses his audience with what was a standard form of Christian address in the life of the early church.
Leaders routinely addressed members of the congregation not as friends – although we use that language a lot these days – but as beloved because they related to one another as if they were members of a family.
predictions could be translated as foresayings
A way of thinking about this word is as foretelling; the idea is fore and then something about speaking; hence, forespeaking.
What does this word predictions say about the life we live in the church and the kind of blessings we have from God in the course of our life together in the congregation?
We don’t think or talk about that sort of thing any more because it’s a little spooky.
If we talk about that kind of thing too much, someone may worry about us; we’ll be taken for some kind of strange fanatics.
the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ is a place in the letter scholars use to determine when the letter was written.
Although it’s hard to tell how far in the past Jude is looking, Jude assumes here that the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ are gone from the picture here.
Many argue that the apostles themselves are not on the scene anymore but I’m not sure that you can say that from this verse.
Still, Jude understands that the apostles taught certain things that are pertinent to the life of the church as he and his readers are experiencing it.
So what the apostles had to say in the past has value for what’s being lived out in Jude’s present.
18 for they said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, indulging their own ungodly lusts.”
MLS: … “In the last times there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”
If this were scripture, this would be a proof text.
He’s attributing to the apostles this statement which was made in the past somewhere about the future; Jude is claiming that he and the people to whom he is writing are living in those very days that were spoken about in the past by the apostles.
It’s fascinating that while Jude is making the claim that he and his letter recipients are living in the last days, the last time here, the same kind of thing can apply to us today.
This future about which these apostles spoke was not restricted to any particular one moment; they were speaking about the ongoing work of God in the world and about the way that people received the gospel and the way people lived in the life of the church.
So Jude makes a claim that the future about which the apostles spoke is the time in which he lives but we could say the same thing.
The future about which they spoke really is the time in which we live as well.
If that is the case what do you make of this idea of there being scoffers, following their own ungodly passions?
This is actually a statement of warning but implicit in this statement of warning is a condemnation of this kind of behavior, behavior that implies that someone doesn’t believe.
They are scoffing at something which means they are brushing it off as if it doesn’t amount to anything.
Interesting enough Jude seems to claim that these are people who are in the church!
These are not simply people who are outside the church who are criticizing the life of the congregation but these are people who actually bring in their scoffing to the life of the congregation and set up controversies there in the life of the church because he goes on in v 19 to say who set up divisions.
He gives the impression that there are scoffers in the church, not simply scoffers outside of the church.
Actually, there has never been a time when that wasn’t the case; there were controversies from day 2.
As quickly as congregations formed, there were controversies so it’s nothing new!
This controversy has come up very early in the life of the church.
You’d hope that the early church would be unblemished by these kinds of selfish behaviors that are being described here but unfortunately it wasn’t that way and unfortunately things haven’t changed.
question about scoffers
scoffing is not about wanting to attend the boundaries that have been set by God for our lives and making fun of those boundaries and brushing them away as though they don’t have any validity for us.
To have someone scoffing at that in which you believe and by which you live is discouraging at times.
In fact, someone’s lifestyle can be a way of scoffing without any comment being made at all.
The question is “Do we focus on that which discourages us or do we follow the example that’s been given us of our Lord Jesus Christ?”
the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ are speaking in Jesus Christ’s behalf and he is the one in whom we are to put our hope and our trust, not simply in some other person because no matter how fine a person is, you can become discouraged sometimes by trying to follow their example rather than the example of Christ.
He’s using a statement by the apostles to underscore the validity of his observation that these people who are grumbling are themselves loud-mouthed boasters who are flattering people to gain their own advantage.
So Jude wants his readers to recognize that the apostles have spoken about these people in the past.
passions is epiphimea sp in the Greek and it can be translated in a variety of ways depending on the context.
It means a kind of impassioned disposition toward something.
Our lusts has a sexual connotation to it but epiphimea has a larger range than that.
epiphimea can cover lusting after fame, fortune, etc., anything other than sexual activities.
The scoffers here are following their own ungodly passions.
19 It is these worldly people, devoid of the Spirit, who are causing divisions.
MLS: … worldly people, (literally) the spirit not having, who set up divisions.
Jude goes on to describe what these people do as they scoff and as they follow their ungodly passions.
the spirit not having indicates these are people have a purely human outlook on life, without any spiritual quality at all.
It’s devoid of any trace of godliness; God is not involved in what these people are doing as they set up their divisions.
The spirit is not in them in any shape, form or fashion.
Their purely human outlook is what has set them on the path of their grumbling and mal-contentment and lustfulness in the broadest sense.
These activities are not as the result of spirituality but of their lack of spirituality.
So there is a divisive quality about the work that they are into in the life of the church.
They are bringing division to the church rather than bringing about unity in the life of the church.
the one thing you can see across the board in scripture is that all the NT books value the unity of the life of the church and at times Paul will say that unity is to be placed above all else.
You don’t fight with one another in this world but put forth a unified front where you can touch the lives of people and bring them into the life of the church.
Divisions themselves are disruptive and ultimately they make a mockery of God.
They make God to look like a God of confusion.
After he warns them, Jude now gives them some positive admonitions.
This is Jude’s formula for how to live your life as a Christian in the context of the church where there is controversy and where there might be discouragement by focusing on these scoffers.
Rather than be discouraged and rather than falling into the controversy, Jude tells them what to do.
20-23 SG: NT class
Most of us find these vv somewhat unedifying.
20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit;
MLS: but you beloved, build yourselves up on you most holy faith; (literally) in spirit holy pray
Again Jude addresses them using the early Christian form of salutation.
This is a particular use of the word faith here is described as the foundation for all of life.
In Paul’s letters you wouldn’t find Paul using the word faith in this fashion.
faith here is something that exists; something that is stable; something that’s foundational and it’s upon that which we build.
That is a way of writing about faith that seems to be typical of the period after the letters of Paul.
Paul says you are saved by grace through faith but he never really uses the word faith as a static entity that’s foundational.
What is foundational to Paul is Jesus Christ himself.
So a little later in the life of the early church the word faith became the way that the faith of the people was designated.
We use the word faith the same way that Jude does.
We talk about ‘faith is our foundation for life.’
So Jude is telling them that the faith they have inherited is the foundation of their life and on that foundation they can build up and edifice that will be appropriate and ultimately have some kind of enduring quality to it.
Therefore, our lives are to be constructed on our faith.
Jude calls it a most holy faith.
Sometimes we use our most holy faith as an ornament system.
We build up our life and occasionally we put on a little bit of faith and put it on as an ornament here and there but that’s not the picture Jude is presenting.
Jude is talking about faith as the foundation for life, and we build up our whole life upon faith itself; we just don’t take a little faith and smear it around to look good.
So Jude is challenging them here.
pray in the Holy Spirit probably started with the KJV since everybody is doing it.
pray in the Holy Spirit means basically that we understand that God is alive and at work in the world.
If we are living our lives on the foundation of our faith, then quite naturally we pray in the Holy Spirit because God’s spirit is present in our lives.
So if we are clothed in the spirit – using Paul’s language for this – and the spirit is in you and you are in the spirit – which can cut two ways, then the outcome of that kind of living is that you would pray in the Holy Spirit.
So pray in the Holy Spirit is nothing exotic.
You’re right about the idea of the Holy Spirit being the one upon whom we wait.
Sometimes we are impatient and we want to press forward with the things we think are important in the life of the church.
Rather than waiting on the spirit to provide some clarity and direction, we charge in to do the job for the Holy Spirit.
So we ask the Holy Spirit to give power to us as we do what we think is the right thing to do rather than to wait for the spirit to lead and direct us and to then confidently go forth in the spirit to do what we are being led to do.
21 keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
MLS: keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Now Jude uses positive admonition, a positive program of action to tell them how to go about their lives.
Up to this point he’s warned them about not having anything to do with these people that he has castigated in a variety of ways.
Now he’s speaking to his audience about the way they are to go through their lives.
They are to build themselves up on their most holy faith, to pray in the Holy Spirit, to keep themselves in the love of God, and to wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
This is sort of a trinitarian formula and this is the Trinity way before the councils of Nicea and Chalcedon where these elaborate doctrines of the Trinity were worked up.
This is a simpler version of the Holy Spirit in God’s presence and power at work in the world and then a mention of the love of God with keep yourselves in the love of God and then a mention of the mercy of out Lord Jesus Christ.
So pray in the spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So the three persons of the Trinity are mentioned here in passing without any kind of elaborate doctrinal statement being offered to explain the nature of the Holy Trinity.
keep yourselves in the love of God means to be invested in the love of God.
God’s love is being given to us and it’s our privilege and also our responsibility to live in that love, not merely to wait for that love to give us a bowling ball or something. ??? MLS: I think that’s what it means.
We just can’t receive it as a pretty package, set it down and just look at it. We can open it up and experience it in our lives.
We have to be disciplined to remind ourselves about the reality of the love of God.
It’s easy to look off in the wrong direction and not see God’s love at all active in our lives but if you stop and look around, you’ll see God’s love all around us.
Jude means in the present to wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ looks toward the idea of final judgment, something that was a vital idea in the life of the early church.
Jude understands that at the final judgment the Christians will experience the mercy of God in and through the steadfastness of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Lord Jesus Christ will stand up for the believers.
Our Lord Jesus Christ will be their advocate and his mercy will be given to the believers in spite of what they / we may deserve.
He’s looking toward judgment because he’s mentions not only the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ – and that mercy word has to do with the last judgment – but we also have unto eternal life so we get the impression that it’s an ultimate thing being talked about here.
This has to do with eschatology, the teaching about the last things, which includes a day of final judgment and in that day of final judgment there is mercy and there is wrath.
mercy and wrath are meted out to humanity in God’s portions.
Scripture here is saying that those who are in Christ who have confidence in Christ, Christ’s mercy will be their experience and they will be moved onto eternal life and not simply have to experience the judgment that we deserve.
discussion of the Greek
mercy is the noun that carries the day and then there is a genitive clause modifying that mercy.
the Lord of us Jesus Christ and then we have another prepositional phrase unto life eternal.
The mercy is what is unto life eternal and the mercy is the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.
22 And have mercy on some who are wavering;
MLS: … convince some who doubt
This is a verse in and of itself.
The people who created the v system of the NT determined that this statement was a coherent statement that ought to be focused on as a whole.
This particular v has significant text critical problems; they are not light.
There are about 14 different readings, two of which are to have mercy on (NIV, NRSV) and the other says to convince.
The Greek words are somewhat alike but it’s a judgment call on how to read this text as having mercy or to convince.
It’s ultimately impossible to tell which was the original text but either way it shows that the Christian is to have some kind of concern for and relationship to the person who is doubting.
Rather than just sitting back and watch someone who is struggling with doubts, the idea here is that the Christian engages that person in mercy and love and to work with them in such a way as to help them as they struggle with their doubts.
There is no place for a high-handed judgment on the part of the Christian here; the Christian may be wary of scoffing but the Christian is not to be disdainful of doubt.
There is a different between scoffing and doubt as it is being casted here – that doubts are honest doubts.
23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on still others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies.
MLS: save some by snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear hating even the garments spotted by the flesh
This is still the image of the great final judgment which we read about in Am, Zc, and Jl.
The OT prophets had this day of the Lord on which one of the things that’s always there with God’s judgment is the image of fire.
Fire is not just to produce pain but it’s intended to produce purity because fire in the images of the Bible is something that burns out the dross.
That which is useless is eliminated through the application of fire and judgment to it.
So whatever is good remains as a result of the fire and whatever is bad is destroyed.
That is a fairly stark statement to say that some people are in danger of being destroyed by the fire.
We don’t here much about the fire anymore although many of us grew up hearing about it.
We were regularly reminded that we were in need of refinement!
So there are certain things that God does not approve of and there is no place for those things in God’s kingdom.
The text reminds us of the peril people are in by saying save some by snatching them out of the fire and then on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garments spotted by the flesh.
With have mercy with fear Jude is saying that as we deal with these people in a merciful fashion, we have to be aware that we are just as susceptible to whatever problem it is that they are having as they were, and we are in danger of lapsing into the kind of attitudes and behaviors that these people have.
So rather than immodestly going in and ??saving the day, we go in with a kind of humility as we give mercy to people, and as we express that mercy in humility, we are ever aware that we too could be in their position.
the garments spotted by the flesh is eschatological judgment language.
There is the idea of people being robed in some kind of garment – either a pure white garment or a garment that is blemished – and the blemished garment has not place in the kingdom of God so we have to be aware that there is a danger of that kind of contamination and we have to be on guard against our own selves.
We have to be aware that we need God’s help to live our lives in the way that God wants us to.
vv 24-25 is a doxology or benediction, ie, the asking of God’s blessing at the end of a religious service, a formal kind of pronouncement that is typical of a worship setting.
As brief as this letter is, Jude assumes that this letter will be read in the life of a congregation.
This is not a purely private communication being written from him to someone else.
Over and over in this letter Jude has talked about your and our, the plural forms, not mine and yours singular.
There is a kind of relevance in what Jude says for each and every one of us and although the communication is personal it isn’t private.
It’s meant to be pubic in the life of the church.
Jude is reporting to them what he’s thinking about them in light of what he’s thinking about God.
This is not a closing of a letter such as “I wish I could be there with you; I keep you in my prayers; thanks be to God always; goodbye.”
This is an indirect kind of closing but it’s really has the quality of a benediction in the setting of a worship service.
Some have said that if you took away the opening and you only had the body of the letter and this closing that given the style of these two things you would not conclude that you had a letter at all, that you had something more like a homily.
Sermons in antiquity had things arranged in three’s and five’s.
So some have argued that Ju is a short sermon that’s been transformed into a letter by the attachment of an opening statement.
There is a lot to be said for this argument.
Notice how many triple groupings the author has.
v 1 called, beloved, kept
v 2 mercy, peace, love
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing,
MLS: now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing,
According to v 24 God is able to keep us from falling and to make you stand without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing.
So God is able to bring us through this life to the place where we stand before God – he’s still thinking about the end – and as we stand before God because we have experienced God’s mercy, then we are present in God’s glory and we are there with rejoicing.
the presence of his glory is the image of this last day of final judgment.
God’s glory confronts creation; God’s glory brings creation into judgment over against God which is a frightening image except it’s said in the context of a statement that says that God is able to keep us from falling and it continues in v 25 with God is our only God, our savior through Jesus Christ our Lord.
24 and 25 are connected so we find out who he’s talking about in 25.
25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
MLS: to the only God our savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time, now and forever. Amen.
So Jude clarifies who he’s talking about.
only God, our savior through Jesus Christ our Lord contains a world of theological truth.
only God means Jude is a monotheist, believing in one God and one God only.
Jude identifies this God as being at work to be our savior.
It’s remarkable that the very God who promises judgment is the very God who saves us from out sins.
That gives us a kind of confidence because the burden is not simply with us; the burden is with God and God makes a promise to us that God will do for us what we can’t do for ourselves.
That is something we need to come back to every day of our lives.
I know that there are things that I need to be doing with my life that I can’t bring myself to do; I can’t get the job done as it’s been laid out for me.
But I can in confidence know that God will do for me what I can’t do for myself.
So the challenge of faith for me day-in and day-out is to believe with enough security and confidence to live the way I know God’s calling me to live, whether I’m able to or feel able to or not.
It’s not how I feel about it but how God is about it, about what God’s doing.
God our savior
Normally in the NT Jesus Christ is our savior but here we have God as savior.
Semantically we have God our savior through Jesus Christ our Lord.
There are several other ways this v is read other than as just through Jesus Christ our Lord.
through honor to Jesus Christ our Lord
through the glory to Jesus Christ our Lord
The word order has been juggled in some translations.
The simplest reading is what the editors preferred.
But God’s salvation comes through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen. let it be so