God's Condemnation of Apostasy and False Teachers
by Dr. Cooper P. Abrams, III
A COMMENTARY ON THE BOOK OF JUDE
God's Condemnation of Apostasy and False Teachers
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Cooper P. Abrams, III
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Table of ContentsThe Salutation (Jude 1)...........................................................................2
The State of Believers in Jesus Christ "Sanctified" (Jude 1)...................3
The State of Believers in Jesus Christ "Preserved" (Jude 1)..................4
The State of Believers in Jesus Christ "Called" (Jude 1) ........................5
The Source of Strength in the Christian Life Jude 2 ...............................5
Judas' Purpose in Writing this Epistle (Jude 3) .................... .................7
The Pretenders - the Apostate False Teachers (Jude 4) .......................8
God will Judge False Teachers (Jude 5-7) ...........................................12
Jude Denounces the Apostates (Jude 8-10) ........................................14
Describing the False Teachers (Jude 11) ............................................18
The Condemnation of False Teachers (Jude 12-13 ) ..........................21
God's Faith Prophets (Jude 14-16) ......................................................22
Encouragement for Believers (Jude 17-23) ..........................................23
Our Consolation and Sure Hope (Jude 24-25) .....................................25
God's Condemnation of Apostasy and False Teachers
by Dr. Cooper P. Abrams, III
The Salutation (Jude 1) "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:” (Jude 1:1)
The Salutation (Jude 1)
"Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:” (Jude 1:1)
The writer identifies himself as Jude, the servant of the Jesus Christ and the brother of James. The New Testament mentions four men by the name Judas. In Acts 9:11, Ananias is told to go to Judas' home and seek Saul of Tarsus. Another Judas is mentioned in Acts 15:22 who bore the surname "Barsabas" but nothing beyond this statement is known of him.
There were two Apostles named Judas, Judas Iscariot (Matt. 26:14-16) and another Judas who was known as Lebbeus and Thaddeus (Matt. 10:3). Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13 identifies this Apostle as "Judas the brother of James" and it he who would write this small Epistle.
Some have questioned who was the James that was Judas' brother. There are several James's mentioned in the New Testament. One was the Apostle John's brother and there was the son of Alphaeus (Luke 6:14-15). Jude in identifying himself as the "brother of James," stated his relationship with his well-known brother James, who was the half-brother of the Lord Jesus. Judas was a very common name and in noting himself as the Brother James the Lord's half-brother, those who read this Epistle would know who he was and accept his letter.
Like Jesus's, half-brother James in his Epistle, Jude does not state his relationship to the Lord. Both brothers rather humbly stated they are the "servants" of the Jesus Christ. The word both brothers use is doulos meaning a slave. It refers to both an involuntary and voluntary bond slave who sold himself into slavery or servitude. Clearly, in this case, they sold themselves into the Lord's service voluntarily when they believed and received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
The book of Jude was written in the period of 70-80 A.D. near the end of the First Century. At least three decades had passed since the Lord Jesus returned to heaven. It has been said that the Book of Acts describes the beginning of the institution of the local church and Jude deals with the ending or the end of the Church Age. The subject of the Book of Jude is extremely serious and must be carefully studied. The whole of the book deals with apostasy and a turning away from the faith.
The English word apostasy does not appear in the Bible, but the phrase turn away is the Greek word apostrepho used five times in the New Testament. [See Rom. 11:26, 2 Tim. 3:5, 2 Tim. 4:4, Heb. 12:25] Robertson states the word is “Present middle (direct) imperative of apotrepô, turn thyself away from.
Jude states that he is addressing the letter to those who are
. The word sanctify means to make holy or to purify being set apart for God's use and special service. Many things in the Bible were said to be sanctified. The Sabbath Day was sanctified by God, meaning set apart for special service (Gen. 2:3). The Tabernacle and its furniture was set apart as the place of God's presence and for worship (Exod. 29:43, Lev. 8:10). Jesus was sanctified by the Father (John 10:36); food is sanctified when offered in prayer (1 Tim. 4:5). The believer is instructed to sanctify God in his heart (1 Pet. 3:15). Sanctification does not mean to purify or to make sinless, but to set apart something for God and for His service. In relation to the Christian, sanctification refers to being set apart unto God from sin. There are three distinctly different aspects of this sanctification, which refer to time. The believer has past, present, and future sanctification. Every Christian can say, "I have been sanctified; I am being sanctified; I will yet be sanctified." David Cloud presents sanctification in three tenses:
PRESENT SANCTIFICATION is the process by which the Holy Spirit gradually changes the believer's life to give victory over sin. This is practical sanctification. This is Christian growth, putting away sin and putting on godliness (Rom. 6:19,22; 1 Thess. 4:3,4; 1 Pet. 1:14-16). This present process of sanctification never ends in this life (1 John. 1:8-10). The Christian must resist sin until he is taken from this world at death or at the return of Christ. In this sense, the Christian can say, "I AM BEING sanctified by God's power."
FUTURE SANCTIFICATION is the perfection the believer will enjoy at the resurrection (1 Thess. 5:23). At Christ's coming, every believer will receive a new body that will have no sin. The Christian will no longer have to resist sin within or to grow toward perfection. His sanctification will be complete. He will be wholly and forever set apart to God from sin. In this sense, the Christian WILL BE sanctified at Christ's return.”
Jude states that believers are also "preserved" in Jesus Christ. The word used is tereo which is an interesting word. It denotes a continuing aorist action of watching and guarding and keeping one's eye on something. Vines says, "The aorist tense regards the continuous "preservation" of the believer as a single, complete act, without reference to the time occupied in its accomplishment." This stresses the absolute security of the believer in Jesus Christ. We are assured by the Lord that we are forever His and have received eternal life. Twenty six times in the New Testament God states the believer has eternal life. An additional ten times this word is translated "everlasting life" stating the believer is assured of an unending salvation. The word eternal is aionios and means something that is perpetual or without end.
In Luke 18:1-8, the Lord Jesus told a parable of a woman who persistently appealed to the ruling judge to avenge her of an adversary. This unjust judge being wearied by the widow's pleading finally agreed to avenge her. Jesus then said, "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:7-8) This refers to the state of truth at the end of the coming seven-year Tribulation which ends with the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Although innumerable people will be saved during these seven years, most will be martyred by the forces of the Antichrists and the false prophet. Jesus' stated that only a remnant of true believers will remain alive at His Second Coming. There will be great religion on earth, led by the False prophet, but because of the growing apostasy, religion will be devoid of truth.
Paul warned Timothy that there was coming a time when people would not abide sound doctrine. Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:1-5, "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."
Thus, Paul speaks of the trend towards apostasy, which means that once sound churches will turn from God's truth to false doctrine. This apostasy will be marked by people who practice a semblance of the truth, but turn from an outward worship of God to a worship of carnality. In other words, these churches change from preaching God's word and edifying the Body of Christ to one of satisfying the "lust of the flesh." These churches and people, heap meaning to magnify, to themselves smooth [itching ears] talking teachers who compromise and then abandon God's word to please the people. Without question, we in this age are seeing the results of the trend that began many years ago. The Charismatic/Pentecostal and emergent church movements have rejected sound doctrine and have changed the worship of Almighty God into a show. Their services are more akin to ungodly rock music concerts.
Mainline Protestant denominations that in the past held some semblance of truth have totally abandoned God’s word and taught the heresy of a works, plus grace salvation. Many of these denominations are ordaining women preachers in clear violation of God's word. Even worse they are voting on whether they will allow homosexuals and lesbians to officiate as pastors and priests. With growing furor this trend has already destroyed many churches and without question in a short time will render these groups devoid of any biblical truth.
Jude lastly states that believers are "called." The word Jude uses is kletos and refers to one who is invited or summoned. 1 Corinthians 1:9 says "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." Jesus in Revelation 3:20 presents the Lord Jesus standing outside the door saying, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Luke 19:10 states, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Thus, God has called all men to come and receive the salvation through Jesus Christ the Lord. The calling is the preaching of the Gospel, the Good news that Jesus the Christ has come and He suffered and died for our sins and was resurrected on the third day, victorious over sin and death. Thus, because of Christ Jesus’ atoning work, a man in simple faith can repent of his sins, be forgiven, and received eternal life.
The believer receives salvation by the mercy of God. This is the result of God's love for us as His creation. There is no more profound truth in God's word than the fact of the love God has extended to man. Yet, all men to do not reap the benefit of His love, because they allow their sins to separate themselves from God. He offers totally forgiveness of sins and eternal life, but He does not force it upon us. Many a child has broken the hearts of their parents by rejecting their love and rebelling against them. This is the same thing that most men do toward God. He offers His love freely and generously, however few accept His love and the resulting benefits, His love brings.
God's love is limited by the fact that He is also just in all things. The sin debt man owes the Lord Jesus Christ has paid. However, the payment can only be applied to those who will accept it. If a person rejects God, he rejects the only mean there is to pay for his sins. God's only requirement for a man is to believe Him when He says He is our Savior, and that He suffered and died for our sins and that He arose from the dead and defeated both sin and death for us.
Jude in his salutation extends his well wishes for those who would read his epistle. He first wishes for them that they experience the wonderful mercy of God. Mercy is only needed by those that are guilty and have experienced sin. The word "mercy" addresses need for relief from the misery that sins causes. All sin has a destructive effect in our lives, and Jude is wishing that believers would experience God's comfort from sin. This would naturally apply to the believer, but it would also apply to those around us. Other men's sins affect us also. Sin makes a victim of the one committing the sin and also those to who come in contact with the sinner.
Jude continues by stating his desire that their peace and love be multiplied. The peace of God is available to the one who believes and puts their trust in Jesus Christ. [See John 14:27] Romans 5:1-2 states this truth, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." That peace is something that the unsaved man cannot understand.
Paul said in Philippians 4:6-7 "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." God gives the Christian a new nature which can experience this unexplainable peace that comes with salvation. The child of God knows that whatever his circumstance, he will always be in God's family, bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. He has the assurance that God will keep him and see him safely to heaven. [See 2 Tim. 1:12, 1 Peter 1:3-4] This is especially meaningful because we know that we are all sinners and prone to fail. However, we have a sure promise that God will never forsake us. [See Heb. 13:5]
Though we have the peace of God in our hearts, it does not mean that we automatically experience the comfort that peace brings. Paul explains this in Romans 8:6 "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." There is no peace for the person who is carnally minded whether they are a Christian or not. In Galatians 5:22, the Lord says that one of the fruits of the Spirit is peace and verse 25 states if a believer is in fact, saved, and living in the Spirit, we ought also to walk in the Spirit. Clearly, a believer can live apart from the Lord, and that is why Ephesians 5:18 says, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;" Therefore, the word of God reveals that every child of God has the ability to experience fully God's peace in their lives. It also is true that sin will cause us one to lose their peace. By receiving the mercy of God, we can be cleansed of our sinning and know God's perfect peace. [See 1 John 1:9] Peace then is multiplied when one who knows the Lord lives their lives obediently and purely for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Love too is multiplied by the same process. Loving others is not automatic, but is based on a person's conscious commitment and desire for the welfare of others. Ephesians 5:2 encourages us, “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour." Both peace and love come from the quality of one's walk in Christ. Both grow in the fertile soil of a contrite heart which directs the believer in obedience and commitment to God.
No one can serve God apart from serving others. The one who has experienced God's love is grateful for it. He will then past the love he received on to others. Biblical love, [agape love] is the sincere desire for the well-being of others that is placed into action.
"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
No pastor or teacher likes to dwell on the negative, but rather prefers to exhort or uplift his hears. It is much more cheerful to talk about the positive things in God's word, and a positive message is more likely to please the audience. Nonetheless, in reality, the Bible has more negative things to say than positive. Jesus spoke more about hell than He did about heaven. The largest percentage of His teaching was warning against sin and disobedience to God.
When Jesus began His ministry of teaching and performing miracles great numbers of people followed Him. His theme was of the coming kingdom God had promised the Jews. It along with His feeding the people was well received. However, when He began to rebuke the Jewish leaders and people of their sin and hypocrisy, they began to leave Him in mass. The religious leaders even began to plot to kill Him. His message, like ours should be today, was one of hope, salvation and also warning people about the consequences of sin.
Jude states his heart's desire was to write on the subject of their common salvation in Jesus Christ. However, because many were turning away from the faith, and there was a great need to bring to their remembrance the growing apostasy and challenge them to earnestly contend for the faith.
He begins by addressing them as "beloved." The term refers to people loved by God and also by the writer. It is a term that denotes a special endearment to those that one has a close relationship with. The word carries the meaning of someone deeply caring for another person. Using the title authenticates the importance of what the writer is about to say in the letter. Jude is saying, "Following is a message that comes from the heart, shows my concern for you and is one of great importance."
He reminds them of the need to "contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints." It is a sad fact that as time progresses many professing Christians and churches abandon the biblical heritage and truth they once held. They buy into the idea that, the things which were done in the past is of little or no value today. Truth and doctrine become "old fashioned" and modern self-proclaimed intellectuals belittle their biblical heritage with their new ideas they claim are better. They promote the idea that everything in the past is outdated and has been made ineffective by time. For example, the hymns of the faith that are based on the word of God, that nourished and uplifted the saints of God for decades is now boring. So these new "leaders" lead their congregation to sing catchy entertaining two or three-line choruses that do not present Scripture, but are rather only little religious clichés.
In most cases, the first thing to go is spiritual discernment, which is followed by a use of modern Bible translations, a shift in the church's music toward contemporary and worldly songs that appeal to the flesh. This is accompanied by weak watered down preaching, that results in ignoring biblical worship and a rejection of sound doctrine. All this develops into an emotional worldly method of evangelism where the scriptures are not adequate in themselves to win the lost. Their converts are won with a 1-2-3 presentation that is devoid of repentance or a realization of man’s sinful state. Thus, the pulpit becomes a stage for the preacher to entertain his audience and put on a show. Their message becomes the false health and wealth gospel and God’s word is mixed with psychology. By this time, God has long since left the congregation. God will not be a party to apostasy and a watering down of His word.
"For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."
Barnes makes an excellent statement concerning the men who come into churches and lead them astray. "The apostle (Jude) now gives a reason for thus defending the truth, to wit, that there were artful and wicked men who had crept into the church, pretending to be religious teachers, but whose doctrines tended to sap the very foundations of truth." The fact these false teachers were able to creep into a church shows the shepherd of the church and/or the people let their guard down. They clearly were complacent and content watchmen sleep on the job.
The word "ordained" means it was "fore written." The Lord Jesus warns us of these "wolves in sheep's clothing”:
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." (Matthew 7:15-20) Paul also warned of the future turning from the faith:
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;" (1 Timothy 4:1 ) Churches are rarely destroyed from outside. It is the Devil's cunning trick to send in a uncalled man who is poorly trained and equipped for the ministry. These "hirelings,", having no call of God, aspire to the ministry as a profession. They are smooth talkers often well versed in modern psychology. Their message is weak and watery and contains no meat. In order to hold the crowd they turn to music and emotion.
It behooves every church of God that loves the Lord and His word to be on guard. Satan has such a man readily and available to move and take over every sound biblical church. These outward charismatic preachers change the grace of God into lasciviousness, which means something indecent, wanton and without restraint.
Can anyone deny that we can see this every day on the so called "Christian TV Networks" where the TV evangelists hawk their false health and wealth gospel? These evil men are well received by the public, which is attested to by the millions of dollars they receive. They have disgraced the word of God and the Lord's wonderful grace and turned it into a con to make riches for themselves. These women, who blatantly take the position of a preacher, do so in defiance of God's stated word. God never calls a woman to be a preacher.
The acts of leading God's people away from the truth means they deny the Lord and Jesus Christ. They clearly have no fear of God and trample on God's word as if it were dirt. Their hearts are seared as if with a hot iron to the acceptance of biblical truth. They use the Bible stealing from it familiar phrases and passages which they twist into tools to aid their deception. Most of all, in glowing terms, they proclaim how much they love the Lord.
In Paul's instructions to Titus, he admonished him to hold fast to God's truth. Titus 1:9-11 "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake."
The last phrase of the above verse gives the main motive for these people having “ministries.” They do so for the sake of "filthy lucre" or money. They have sold their souls to the Devil, and their reward is filthy money. As Jesus warned in Matthew 7:15 there are men, false teachers, the actual enemies of God, who will come into a congregation of God's people to destroy them by corrupting God's truth. Jesus said they are wolves who come in sheep's clothing to disguise their true identity and intent.
The phrase ". . .before of old ordained to the condemnation," means their appearance and sinful work was predicted. The Greek word pareisduno translated "crept in unawares" is a unique word only used this once in the New Testament. It describes the use of cunning words and clever deceptions. In extra biblical use in the First Century, the word was used of a criminal who secretly slipped back into the country after being expelled. It literally means to "go down into and alongside." So these "certain" men who are cunning deceivers secretly slip into a church and clever begin to destroy it. Jude uses the term "lasciviousness" to describe the acts of these men who pervert God's grace. The word "lascivious" means to be wanton or lustful in nature. These false teachers engage in shameless conduct.
Some years ago ABC's Prime Time Live investigated Robert Tilton, TV evangelists and healer. I recorded the program and have it on tape in my library. I watched him go to the front row of the audience and pick up a walking crane and hold it high in the air. He looked down and told a man sitting in front of him that he was healed. Tilton then shouted for him to get up and run to the back of the church. The man did as he was told and ran down the aisle to the back of the church. The congregation went wild! Tilton shouting, told the people to look and see what God had done. When interviewed at the back of the church a few minutes later by Dianne Sawyer, the man was asked about his apparent healing. The man said, "Mame, I wasn't healed; that cane belonged to the woman sitting beside me!" Dianne Sawyer asked him, "Why did you run to the back of the church?" The man answered, "Well, he told me to, so I did it." This was a demonstration of the lasciviousness God says is the nature of these deceitful false teachers.
Further, the word “lasciviousness” is used to describe a person who is lewd or sexually sensual even involving the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. These are undisciplined, unruly, ungodly people who are hard to control. Clearly, today these traits are very apparent in the pulpits and congregations of the modern contemporary emergent churches and the televangelist.
Paul repeatedly warned against these people who creep into churches and destroy them. When he left Ephesus, he gave them stern instructions. This was a serious matter for the Apostle.
These false teachers present themselves as being wonderful people who love the Lord, all the while denying God and the Lord Jesus by their false doctrines and practices. They come as nice, intellectual, and caring people. Yet, as 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 says they are the agents of Satan.
Satan is not some hideous red creature with horns and a pointed tail, and he comes as an "angel [messenger] of light." He comes with some new teaching that tickles the ears of his hearers, and he leads unwary people astray. Note what Paul said about them to young Timothy.
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
They appear to be godly sincere people who have a form of godliness. These are not outwardly evil people, but people who are very religious and have a charisma about them that disarms people and causes people to follow them. As a pastor, several times in my ministry I have had such people in the church I pastored. In the first church that God used me to plant, there was man who had been holding a Bible study before I arrived. He organized them into church, without my knowledge, a month before I arrived. The man was unqualified to preach and was spiritually weak and untrained in God's word. He allowed several people to be members who did not have any testimony of salvation. Further, he allowed a couple from a false church to join the congregation. The couple did not even agree with the church’s constitution or doctrinal statement. Consequently, they have been a thorn in the side of that church ever since. They clearly and openly do not hold to the biblical doctrines on which the church was founded. However, they have a lot of money and generously gave to the church, and this endeared them to the people. They are outwardly a nice couple which made it impossible for me as the pastor to remove them from the membership. I had no support from the congregation who were completely deceived by this couple who appeared to be "ministers of righteousness," all the while having a corrupting influence. They knew I saw them for what they were, and clandestinely they lead a campaign against me the six years I was there, and were partly responsible for my leaving. I talked with the church’s current pastor, and he told me they were still causing him and the church difficulties.
Jesus warned us to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees in Matthew 16:6. Leaven in the Bible represents an evil influence that permeates the congregation. It perverts God's truth and work and effectively limits God's ability to work. The effect of having this element in a church is that it hinders God's blessings and work. The Devil knows that God cannot bless false teachings, practices, and those that compromise God's word by mixing truth with error.
Satan’s plan is to send unbelievers into a church to disrupt it. It is clear that by their actions, as Jude says that they are, “. . . denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ." Understand that outwardly these deceivers are very subtle in how they deny the Lord. They will outward claim to love God, but actually are apostates who do not believe God's word.
The gambit of apostasy goes from seemingly living a Christian life, to living in open rebellion against God. They will often even reject His deity. In a real sense, a person who claims to be a Christian and does not live for the Lord is, in truth, denying Him. Such people do not fear God and have no appreciation for His person and righteousness. They live with a false sense of immunity from God's judgment of sin, which marks them as being unbelievers.
The warning should not fall on deaf ears. Pastors and congregations should be diligent in discernment ever watchful for Satan's attempts to corrupt God's truth and destroy His work. They should be supportive of their godly pastor who God has called to lead the flock and protect them from the wolves that come in sheep's clothing.
"I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." (Jude 5-7)
Jude uses several examples of God's actions in past history as a reminder that God is a just God and will judge sin and disobedience. When God delivered the Children of Israel from Egypt, He did so with many miracles. Israel was crying out in their bondage and asking God for deliverance from Pharaoh. [See Exodus 2:23-25] God then graciously brought them out of Egypt and promised to protect and care for them. Many believed God, but others, although physically delivered from Egypt, had not been delivered spiritually. That was apparent by their murmuring and disobedience. At Kadesbarnea God brought them to the threshold of their new land, a land of milk and honey. He promised to fight for them as He had when He delivered them from Egypt. God promised that He would deliver them also from the Canaanites. However, when the spies returned out the land, only Joshua and Caleb showed themselves to be believers. The rest did not believe God's promises and refused to move into Canaan on faith trusting in God. Their unbelief caused God to not be able to bless them. He cannot bless when people will not in faith believe His word. So God condemned them all. They wandered in the desert for forty years until every adult in Israel had died that had not believed God. Only Joshua and Caleb were allowed to live and go into Canaan.
God's past blessing does not assure that He will continue to bless when people follow false teachers and go into apostasy and reject God by their unbelief. At Kadeshbarnea, God's man, Moses, told them of God's plan and of His promise to give them the land. Nevertheless, the people listened to the ten faithless and unbelieving spies. Rather than believe God's word, delivered to them by Moses, they followed the ungodly spies who denied God.
This is the warning of Jude. God's people must be discerning and believe God or suffer the consequences. With God's people, it is not a matter of not knowing God's will and truth, because we have God's word, to instruct us. However, the problem is that faithless men ignore God's promises and allow themselves to be deceived. Today, there are many faithful men in God's pulpits preaching God's truth and warning their congregations of sin and disobedience. Yet, often comes along a "nice" more impressive leader with charisma who cunningly leads the people astray. The result will always be the same as it was with Israel. God destroyed not only the unrighteous spies, but all the unbelievers in Israel who followed them. This a solemn warning of what He will do whenever people reject Him.
Many a church because of following false teachers has gone into apostasy and should have the name Ichabod written across it doors, meaning that the glory of the Lord had departed. [See 1 Sam. 4:19-22] Rarely, if ever does a church that abandons God's truth, ever repent and return to God. It is the little foxes that spoil the vines, meaning small seemingly insignificant compromises in God's word are the leaven that destroys the lump. God forbid that any true pastor or child of God become complacent and give an inch of ground to the wolves that are ever circling our congregations ready to devour. Jude in verse six gives another example of God's unwavering justice. Satan rebelled against God and lead a fourth of the angels in heaven to disobey God. [See Ezekiel 28:12-14, Isaiah 14:12-15] God, however, did not spare them and has reserved them for "everlasting chains under darkness" to be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire. These angels committed a terrible atrocity by willingly rebelling against God and following Satan. God judged them and confined them in a special place, and they are there today. Note the statement, "under darkness" is added to describe further their plight. The Lake of Fire is permeated by fire, yet this fire produces no light. The place is in utter or complete darkness. There is no contact with others in the darkness of the Lake of Fire, and this verse seems to imply the inhabitants are in complete isolation. Such is the judgment of God against rebellion.
It is vital that we understand that the angels chose to leave "their first estate." With the full knowledge of God and who He is, they willingly refused to believe Him and thus rebelled and condemned themselves. In the same way, Jude is warning people who know of God, even with a head knowledge of His existence which all men have, [See Romans 1:18-23] that if they reject God they too put themselves beyond God's mercy and into His wrath.
Peter also uses the same examples in presenting the truth of the judgment of God against those who reject God's truth.
"And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly." (2 Peter 2:3-6)
At this point, it needs to be emphasized that those that went into apostasy were unsaved angels and people. The angels were untried and when the test came of whether they believed and honored God a portion of them rejected Him. [This shows angels have wills.] Those that go into apostasy are not saved born-again people. They are people who have "religion," or a head knowledge of God, but do not have the new birth. They give some intellectual assent to the existence of God, but it is not from the heart and they have not submitted themselves to Christ in faith. The true believer who puts his faith in Jesus Christ, with a heart felt faith, are saved as Romans 10:10 states. It is true that a believer can turn from following the Lord. 1 John 5:16 states there is sin a Christian can commit, which will lead to his physical death. [See 1 Corinthians 11:28-31, Hebrews 12:6-10] The true child of God cannot fall away from God's grace and be lost, but he can fall into sin. Hebrews 6:4-11 explains that it is impossible for one who is born again, receiving the Spirit of God to be lost. The impossibility of a Christian being lost is shown in that if it were possible Christ would have to be crucified again.
In verse seven, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha are presented as a further demonstration that God will judge and punish sin. Jude says the Sodomites gave themselves over to the gross sin of homosexuality. In other words, they willingly chose the lifestyle they knew was wrong. God destroyed both cities and its inhabitants in judgment for their blatant sin. Here the extent of the judgment is stated in that their judgment was the "vengeance (punishment) of eternal fire."
"Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves."
A professor of mine told the account of a young woman who attended the same Christian college he did. She was the epitome of a Christian. She dressed right, talked right, lived right, and was in the limelight as the perfect example of a born-again young woman. Several years later it was learned, that after she graduated, she was found on Bourbon Street in New Orleans working as a stripper. She is a perfect example of an apostate. She knew the truth and even lived for a time by God's principles, but she willingly turned her back on God and went the way of Satan.
Another example of turning away from God was seen in a man who was a preacher in a near-by town. After about seven years of preaching, he closed the church and in a short time abandoned any semblance of be a Christian. He today brags openly about his drinking, party life style, and love of hard rock music and concerts.
Jesus in the parable of the sower described the seed that fell by the way side. The Lord speaking of these seeds said in Mark 4:15-17, "And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended."
Clearly, Jesus is saying that although they initially assented to God's word outwardly they never allowed it to take root in their lives. What they learned of God was not believed from their hearts. [See Rom. 10:9-20] When something came into their lives that distracted them from the Lord, He no longer appealed to them.
In verses 5-7, Jude warned about past apostasies in the Old Testament and of its consequences. God judged those who turned from God's truth and He "in like manner" [verse 8] will continue to do so with all who reject Him today. Jude calls these false teachers "filthy dreamers." The word "filthy," correctly added by the King James Bible translators explains the state of these apostate teachers. It emphasizes the seriousness and degree of sin they commit. Paul describes them in Romans 1:21-23.
"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen."
The apostasy of these evil people was not done ignorantly. They fully knew who God is and yet in their pride elevated themselves over God and deliberately changed the glory of our uncorruptible God into one of corruption made in the likeness of sinful man.
Jude identifies them "dreamers," which means to see dreams or delusions. The word is a verb, meaning “being given over to sensuous dreamnings.” The word used by Jude for “dreamers” is not the word that normally refers to a dream. Rather this word refers to a confused state of the soul, an abnormal imagination that holds the dreamer captive by ungodly sensuality. In other words, their teachings are the rooted in their delusional and sinful minds warped by sin. It is the mark of an apostate, as well as a cult, that their teaching is unrealistic and unnatural. [See 1 Cor. 2:14] How frustrating it is to try and explain God's truth to these blind and unhearing people. In their own feelings of pride in their intellect and knowledge reject God's truth off hand. The do not see themselves as sinners and will not repent and be saved. Thinking themselves to be wise, they make themselves to be fools and "blind guides." [See Matthew 23:16, 24]
Jude explains that these unregenerate false teachers, masquerade as speaking for God, and will eventually expose themselves as hypocrites. In some way, in time, their immoral hearts will be revealed and they will be shown who they are inwardly. There are many examples of this in “Christianity.”
Jimmy Swaggart, once popular televangelist, in 1988 and 1993, was revealed to have had adulterous affairs with various prostitutes. Exposed, as an adulterer and gross sinner he went on TV and with tears streaming down his face asked the public to forgive him. It was no more than a sham, because in a short time he was caught again. Even today has a television program and preaches to gullible and blind people who send him money.
Another nationally known televangelist, Jim Bakker, was convicted of embezzling millions of dollars from his "ministry" and spent a number of years in jail. His wife who cried big tears, that marred her heavily made-up face, however, later remarried and denied even the simplest of biblical truth. Jesus said that a tree is known by its fruit. (Matthew 23:33). It has been well said, "That you can fool some of the people most of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." What baffles the mind is that in spite of sinful scandals and blatant false teachings these apostates prospered because millions of people sent them money.
Another mark of these false teachers is that they hate authority. That is what the term "despise dominion" means. Dominion refers to authority. God's plan for his ministers is to be responsible to the local church. God's plan is that those who lead and teach His people are accountable to God's local congregation as that assembly follows God's word. The authority of a Bible believing church is God’s word. The apostate will reject that God’s word is the only authority. For example the Roman Catholic church vehemently denies the authority of Bible and proclaim their authority in their traditions and councils.
What they are ultimately rejecting is the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and His authority. They set themselves up as being more enlightened and superior than the lesser people in the church. They pride themselves in being "non-denominational" which, in reality, means being "non doctrinal." Instead of supporting the uncompromising principles of God's word they pride themselves in being ecumenical and not dogmatic. They purport that they are people who love others and do not judge them. The truth is their actions are wholly self-centered and selfish. They truly are ravaging wolves in sheep's clothing.
Another trait of the false apostate teachers is speaking evil of dignities. In verse nine, Jude explains the seriousness of this gross sin by saying that even Michael the Archangel when contending with Satan over Moses' body did not speak a word against him. Rather, Michael responded by saying the "Lord rebuke thee." The degree of the depravity to which these false teachers descend is the point of this statement. These people having no respect for authority other than themselves will slander and criticize God's pastors and children who are following truth.
Through my Internet site, Bible-truth.org I have personally corresponded with many such people through my question and answer service. Because I uncompromisingly declare God’s word, they think nothing of slandering me by calling me ugly names. These years of experience have brought me to the conclusion that "I have never met a man who was not a Bible scholar." Lest you misunderstand my statement, I use this phrase to refer to the many people who without study, training, or any real grasp of biblical truth, set themselves up as authorities on the Bible. They read someone’s book, and they become authoritative Bible scholars and have no respect for those who have dedicated their lives to truthfully studying God's word.
Jude 10 states the true condition of false teachers. They can run shod over the Gospel, the deity of Jesus Christ, the supernatural Being of our God and Creator, and His works and word without a twinge of conscience. Spiritually, false teachers are morally corrupt, intellectually, and certainly spiritually blind. They are arrogant, disrespectful and blaspheme God's truth with an false sense of impunity. They boldly criticize God's truth, which they do not know anything about. It is very difficult to carry on a sensible conversation or dialog with them. I once heard a statement that I think clearly expresses the problem. It says, "They do not even know enough to known they do not know anything." That is a pitiful state for a person to be in. God states their predicament in the following verses:
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14)
"But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;" (2 Peter 2:12)
If we are realistic, we will understand that the false teachers who read the book of Jude, which so plainly exposes them for what they are, are little impressed by God's description of them. Being the hypocrite, they are not open to accepting any criticism of themselves, and further will go to any length to mask who they are truly.
In referring to these unregenerate teachers both Jude and Peter refer to them as "brute beasts." This is a harsh statement that says the state of their minds are such, that they think like an animal. Animals are not capable of reasoning, but are controlled by their animal nature. The highest goal of an animal is to fill its belly and fulfill the desires of their bodies. This is a shocking description to apply to any man, saying that he acts like a dumb animal. But this description is not for the benefit of the false teacher, but for the instruction of God's people, so they can be wary and discerning of those the Devil may send their way.
"Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core."
Jude associates the sin of these false teachers with three Old Testament characters. Each one of these mentioned had a particular sin that marked their lives in opposing God and misleading God's people. Cain was an arrogant man who knew of God and His truth, but willingly rejected Him. Instead of accepting God's word literally as God instructed Adam and Eve, who conveyed it to their two sons, he twisted it to fit his own ideas. Cain had no respect for God. He rejected God's stated instruction about offering an animal sacrifice and as a farmer offered fruit from his fields to God. Cain was the first apostate. God's purpose in giving them the instruction of offering an animal sacrifice was to fore-shadow the coming promised Messiah. [See Genesis 3:15] Everything that the Lord has instructed man to do religiously, He has always explained and Cain and Abe knew the animal sacrifice pre-pictured the coming sacrifice for sin of the Savior.
However, Cain would not accept giving a blood sacrifice because he had no faith or trust in God. [See Hebrews 11:4] When it was rejected by God, Cain showed his rebellion by becoming ". . . very wroth, and his countenance fell." (Genesis 4:5). Sin and evil are always accompanied with false doctrine. Cain in anger, rose up against his brother Abe and murdered him.
Liberal theologians and apostates of our day, like Cain, reject God’s literal instructions and formulate their own religious practices that are contrary to God's word. They deny the Gospel, the deity of Jesus Christ and God as our Creator, and the Supreme Being of the Universe. The Bible literally states that Jesus gave up the spirit and allowed Himself to physically die. However, they say He wasn't really dead, but only in an unconscientious state, and was not really God; nor was the resurrection true. They purport that Jesus was simply a good man whose example we should follow, but He was not the Savior of the word literally...but only a Savior in showing us how to save ourselves.
These apostate teachers pervert God's very word and deny what it clearly teaches. In our day, liberal theologians have concluded that God is not against homosexually in spite of God overwhelmingly condemning it repeated in both Testaments . They say the account of God destroying Sodom and Gomorrah was not about God judging the sin of homosexually. Rather, the Sodomites were destroyed because they were planning to assault the angels that visited Lot. Their sin was only in not showing oriental hospitality to these strangers. [See Genesis 19:4-5] The liberals blatantly deny what the words state. The words "know" or "knew" is used in Genesis 4:17 of Cain having relations with his wife and producing a child. It is also used in the same way of Adam and Joseph referring to sexual relations with their wives. Clearly, when men stated they wanted to "know" the angels, it meant they wanted to have a homosexual relations with them. This is but one of hundreds of examples of how the apostate "theologians" of our day pervert God’s word and deny Him.
Jude uses the example of Balaam in Genesis 22-25. When Balak, the king of Moab, wanted to defeat Israel he called on a false prophet to aid him. He could not defeat them militarily, so he sought another method. God then visited Balaam and told him not to curse Israel because He had blessed them. Balaam, fully knowing the will of God, and having received instruction directly from Him went to Balak and said he could not curse Israel and he left. Balak, unsatisfied with Balaam's refusal, sent princes to persuade him to help. Balaam again, knowing God's will, said he would come if the king would give him "a house full of silver and gold." (Gen. 22:18) Balaam then headed to see Balak and collect booty. However, an angel blocked his way. The ass that Balaam was riding saw the angel and refused to go forward. Three times Balaam beat the ass and finally God opened the mouth of the ass and it spoke to Balaam, rebuking him for his actions. God then opened Balsam's eyes so he could see the angel. Balaam fell to the ground and confessed that he had sinned against God. He returns to Balak and once again refuses to aid him telling him that God has forbidden him to do so.
Balak the king is undeterred and again seeks Balaam sending him sheep and oxen to entice him to come. Once again, God meets Balaam when he offers sacrifices on seven altars. God tells Balaam He has blessed Israel and Balaam is not to curse them. Balaam, in Balak's presence, offers a blessing on Israel. Numbers 31:16 records in spite of what God said, Balaam advised Balak to instruct the women of Moab to commit idolatry and immorality with the men of Israel. They did and corrupted the men of Israel and that brought on Israel God's judgment. God has instructed Israel not to allow relations with the women of Moab. Thus, the sin of Balaam and Israel was in disobeying God for financially gain and sensual lust. God then judged Israel for their disobedience and allowing themselves to be misled.
The TV and radio are full of Balaamites, ungodly men of the modern tongues and the emergent church movement, who preach a false gospel in God's name, deceiving millions and milking them of their money. Many people today, like the men of Israel, are gullible. Sadly, so many people follow the liberals and false teaches of our day like little puppy dogs, willingly blind to lies of these false men and women. They have a bent toward sin and when the opportunity comes they go into idolatry and immorality. They are gullible, because they seek health and wealth from God instead of salvation, spiritual conversion, and truth.
Jude says these false teachers have "perished in the gainsaying of Co're [Korah]. The word gainsaying means "against the word." [Greek - anitlogia] Korah was Moses' cousin who resented that he was excluded from being a priest. He, in pride, envied Moses for being Israel's leader. Korah then lead a rebellion against Moses telling the people the false message that they did not need Moses or priests. Two hundred and fifty in Israel followed Korah in his rebellion against God and Moses. They rejected God's order of having an appointed priest and leader before Him for the people. The reason for the priesthood was to pre-shadow the coming of the Messiah as our high priest, who would be the intermediary for the people. [See Heb. 4:14-15; 5:5, 10; 6:20; 7:26] Korah told the people they did not need an intermediary, and could administer for themselves, thus denying God's promise of the Redeemer and clear instructions. God dealt with Korah directly and the ground opened up and swallowed him, his family and even their houses and goods. God sent a fire and consumed those two hundred and fifty men who believed Korah and offered a false incense on the altar to God.
Korah taught a works salvation that men could save themselves by their own works and in doing so rejected God's salvation. Those that follow in Korah's footsteps deny the need of Jesus Christ, His atoning work on the cross, or His word. They preach a works salvation. The idea so often heard says, "We all are working in our way to God, only in different ways and God honors them all." Part of their strategy is to belittle God's true servants who preach and believe His word.
The apostates of today are reflected in the statements of Billy Graham, the popular evangelist that so many people follow and hold in such high regard. An example of his apostasy is found in 1987 in McCall's Magazine. Graham said, "I used to think that pagans in far-off countries were lost -- were going to hell -- if they did not have the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them. I no longer believe that. ... I believe there are other ways of recognizing the existence of God -- through nature, for instance -- and plenty of other opportunities, therefore, of saying yes to God." How subtle does Billy Graham deny God's word which says, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Jesus Himself further stated, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
Graham is revealed as a typical apostate that is reflected in his statement to Time Magazine in which he denied hell is a place of literal fire. Graham said, "The only thing I could say for sure is that hell means separation from God. We are separated from His light, from His fellowship. That is going to hell. When it comes to a literal fire, I don't preach it because I'm not sure about it. When the Scripture uses fire concerning hell, that is possibly an illustration of how terrible it's going to be -- not fire but something worse, a thirst for God that cannot be quenched." Jude explains that the apostate false teacher twists God's instruction and makes up his own teachings contrary to what he knows God has said. The false teacher is a "hireling" who is in the ministry for the money he can make and he will lie and deceive in order to keep the money rolling in. He degrades God and God's truth. (John 10:12-13) The apostate will teach a works salvation perverting what he has been clearly taught.
"These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever."
The feasts that Jude refers to are called "love feasts" and are addressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:20-22. The verse is saying these apostates, who were at the love feasts, were "spots" in their fellowship. A spot normally is thought of as something that has contaminated what otherwise would be pure. Here the word refers to a hidden rock or reef under the sea that could rip the bottom out of a ship. The false teacher is an ever present danger lurking just out of sight waiting to destroy the unwary ship. They are described as being clouds without water carried about by of winds. A cloud without water can produce no rain on which plants must live. These waterless clouds look like productive clouds, but are empty. Further, they are carried about of the wind. Within the last decade we have seen examples of a number of these teachers who with great fanfare and excitement promote new movements.
One of the worst was the Promise Keepers Movement that was in the limelight for a number of year. With its emotional appeal and unbiblical teachings, it made the founders a great amount of money. Other such empty promotions are the "prayer of Jabez" that made its promoters millions of dollars. It too ignored the context of 1 Corinthians 4:10, and the situation in which this prayer was prayed and used it to promote the false health and wealth gospel. These movements were promoted as offering great spiritual benefit, but they all failed because they were not based on biblical principles and they were spiritually empty; clouds without water.
Jude says they are like trees whose fruit withers, who are ". . . twice dead plucked up by the roots." Jesus said in Matthew 15:13, "But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up." The analogy is that these apostate teachers are like barren, dead trees that are good for nothing but to be plucked up and destroyed. False teachers are also spiritually dead inside and cannot produce good fruit. Jude says they are "twice dead" which means they are like trees in the winter, dead and devoid of leaves and fruit. Even when summer comes these trees remain dead showing they have no life in them.
It is easy to see the righteous indignation of Jude in his description of the apostate teachers who stealthily invade churches. He recognizes their destructive and evil influence on a local congregation and its ministry. Jude shows "righteous indignation" as God's true servant, seeing these things occurring among God’s people. Several times the Bible uses a raging sea to characterize the unbeliever. Like a raging sea which is in turmoil, so is the one who does not believer God. Jude paints a picture of despair which typifies the life of a man apart from God, wandering without true purpose and headed into the darkness of the final judgment reserved for the sinner who rejects God.
"And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage."
It is interesting that Jude mentions Enoch, who was the seventh generation from Adam, and prophesied of the coming of these apostate teachers. Genesis 5:24 says of Enoch, "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." He was unique because he pleased God and the Lord took him to heaven directly, without him seeing death. Enoch was the only prophet before Noah that the Bible mentions. Only Jude mentions the prophecy of Enoch. God revealed through him this truth that no one else recorded. 2 Peter 1:21 says, "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
Enoch further prophesied of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus and of the apostates who would also come. Enoch, foretold that Jesus would come with " . . . ten thousands of his saints." (Jude 14) The word "saints" is translated from the Greek word hagios which means a "holy one." The number “ten thousand” is the word murias and refers to a “innumerable multitude or unlimited number” of God’s saints. What a comfort and joy it is to know that those who have believed and placed their faith in Jesus Christ will be among this great throng of God's children. We will return to earth after being Raptured at the being of the Tribulation and then stand before Christ at the BEMA judgment. [See 1 Cor. 3:10-15] The born-again Christian will return at the Second Coming, and in the Lord's army will serve Him in His Millennial Kingdom which He promised to Israel for all eternity.
Enoch says that when the Lord returns He comes to execute judgment. This is given as a stern warning to the apostate teachers and predicts their doom. In this present time, the false teachers boldly proclaim their false teachings and practice their unbiblical deeds. By their actions, they defy Almighty God, but at this time, they are called to task. As Dr. R. G. Lee’s popular message taken from 1 Kings 21:18-19, 23, proclaimed there is a “pay day some day.” The phrase ". . . convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have been ungodly committed," should shake the apostates to their core. The word "convince" means to bring conviction. They denied God in their lives, but at the Second Coming, they will no more rebel and blaspheme mGod's word. No longer will these rebellious people deceive the people. Their end has come; God’s longsuffering is over, and the Lord begins swift judgment of them. These false and apostate people can be identified by their character. They are murmurers or grippers, forever complaining about something. Their lives are marked by pursuing the lusts of their flesh. They are great talkers, always having a comment on everything that is brought up, and they with "swelling words" meaning, with pompous arrogance, present themselves as experts on everything.
The phrase, ". . . having men's persons in admiration because of advantage" is a literal rendering of the Greek text. It means these people used flattery to get the advantage over people. Everyone likes to be complimented and have nice things said about them, and it is a powerful tool for those seeking to dupe other people and control them. These are the "positive" preachers who play up to the audience and preach to please the crowd. They are the leaders of Protestant denominations who have removed the word "hell" from their preaching and from their hymn or song books. Further, they never mention the shed blood of Jesus Christ lest the mention of blood offend anyone. These are men who smile like "Cheshire cats," all the while praising everyone and everything thing. Preaching on sin, the blood of Christ, hell, or warning men of the consequences of unbelief is taboo with them. They certainly would not say anything that would offend the sinner or expose his sin. [See John 3:19-20] Their's is a social gospel of a false love and good that waters down God's truth and corrupts it with human psychology that neither saves nor comforts the sinner.
"But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh."
If the letter had stopped at verse 16 surely the believer would be left discouraged and frustrated at learning of the power of Satan and his apostates who work against truth and the gospel. It is always disquieting to know that one's church could be so easily penetrated by those that follow Satan, and who disrupt the work of God. No one wants to learn there may be traitors in their group.
However, Jude offers encouragement and reminds the child of God of the words of the Apostles about the Lord Jesus. Jude is saying this is not something that was unexpected, but it was predicted. The Apostles plainly said these apostates would be in the last times who would be in the churches and who would be living for themselves, satisfying their ungodly lusts. [See Act 20:29; 1 Tim. 4:1-2; 2 Tim. 3:1-5, 13; 4:3; 2 Peter 2:1, 3:3] These false teachers would separate themselves from God's people and from truth and mislead many.
We have to look no further to find the apostate teachers than the founders of the Christian cults, all claiming special revelation from God. However, their doctrines show them to be the servants of Satan. In the mid 1800s, after the Great Awakening of the turn of the 19th Century, there arose a storm of these false teachers getting to themselves congregations of gullible people who allowed themselves to be mislead. During this period there arose the apostate religions such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Mormons, the Campbellites, the Church of Christ, the Seventh Day Adventists, and a host of other false teachers. Literally, over the years, millions have followed their ungodly teachings, which have damned the souls of innumerable men and women to hell because they believed their lies.
Once again, Jude uses the word "sensual." These apostate false teachers were all exposed to the truth and the word of God, but each of the founders of the cults rejected God's truth and like Cain invented their own religion. Jude is saying these men present themselves as being great spiritual leaders, but they in truth are totally physical or men driven by sensual lusts. Lust and sexual immorality are found in all these people. These ungodly men thought themselves spiritually higher and superior than the ordinary man. Think of the sexual scandals associated with the founders of the modern cults and of the modern televangelist who hawk their false gospel to line their pockets.
Further there are the intellectual theologians and liberal church leaders who look down their long noses at the fundamentalists, and those who believe the Bible literally. They look upon them with ridicule and disdain. With their perceived superior intellect they belittle anyone who is not their crowd. Many are awed by their blatant false superiority and outward charisma. But as Jude said in verse 12, “. . . they are barren of life and twice dead.”
The contrast between the false apostates and those who believe and serve God is without comparison. One is empty, vain, ungodly, and devoid any glimmer of anything spiritual or worthwhile. These apostates parade on their stages with great pomp and ceremony offering those who follow them a higher religion and a false hope. Yet, those that have the truth and true hope are those who are so simple minded, that they in child like faith accept God's word. The apostate has only contempt for the humble child of God, who has believed and received the very spirit of God, in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. True and godly believers are growing in the Lord and building their lives on a most holy faith. They are those that are the prayer warriors realizing their frailty and dependence on God and are ever praying seeking God's help and guidance for their lives. These godly saints of God by their faithfulness and obedience keep themselves in the love of God, seeking His mercy and salvation through the work of Jesus Christ. These are the ones who honor our wonderful loving God and serve Him. However, their very existence is a rebuke to the apostates and for centuries they have borne the contempt.
"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." (Jude 24-25)
In the face of such powerful forces that are working against the cause of Christ, one could become discouraged. It often seems like the Devil is winning all the battles and our efforts to reach the lost are constantly being sabotaged. The false teachers have great resources that they use to reach millions of people. Their deceptive message is cunning, and it lures gullible men and women. We feel like John the Baptist, who was a ". . . voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." (Matthew 3:3)
Jude is saying that in spite of the false teachers, the believer's salvation is secure in Christ Jesus. God is able to keep us from falling. It is God who keeps us saved and will not allow any of His children to be lost. God assures the believer saying, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:3-5)
It is ironic that most of the false teachers proclaim that a Christian can lose their salvation. However, they do so in clear denial of God's stated promise. God tells us plainly that the true believer is in no danger of losing his salvation. The false teachers hammer away at their audiences using the threat of a person losing their salvation as one of their cunning devices to keep people loyal to them and sending in the money.
God says the believer will one day be presented faultless before the presence of the Lord. That will be a wonderful day to see unobstructed the glory of God and experience the "exceeding joy" of finally being delivered from the sin of this world. It will be a joyous moment for the believer, who has put his faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. He will be going home and will see the One who redeemed him and has made him His children. We should take great comfort in the truth of our promised homecoming. We cannot, in this life understand fully, what a great salvation God has prepared for us. However, this we know, it will be wonderful and beyond our most imaginative expectations. This truth should stir our hearts toward praising and honoring Him who is our Savior. Yes, all glory and majesty, dominion, and power are His, and best of all it is present now and forever. The believer has the abiding presence of the Lord to aid him in his struggles with sin and in the opposition of Satan.
In 1966-67, I was stationed in Vietnam, at Tan Son Nhut Air Base just outside Saigon. When the VC would mortar the base it was frightening in the first few minutes as mortars began to explode. Nevertheless, I knew that within a few moments those that guarded the base would return fire and drive the enemy back into his holes. I was fully confident that shortly, the attack would be over because we were defended by brave and well trained men. In spite of the danger of the moment, my spirit was calm. I trusted our defenders. I knew they were good men. Jude in the closing words of this small Epistle, who has been so blunt in exposing apostasy, is offering us a calming truth. Our God is all-powerful and wonderful beyond our comprehension. He is able, and no matter what the devil may throw at us, we are in no real danger! Our salvation is secure in the Person of Jesus Christ, who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He has promised to return and has foretold many details of His coming final victory. Our task is to be faithful and take our comfort and strength from God's promises and with God's help we will!
“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2)
End Notes:1. A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nasville:Holman, 1931) p321.
Dr. Cooper Abrams is the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, of Tremonton, Utah. He is a veteran missionary, pastor, church planter, and author working in the state of Utah since 1986. He and his wife Carolyn are missionaries sent by Calvary Baptist Church, King, NC and have been involved in seeing three sound Independent Baptist churches established in Utah since 1986.
He graduated from Piedmont Baptist College in 1981 with a Th.B. (Bachelor of Theology), and in 2000 with an MBS (Master of Biblical Studies). In 2013, he earned a PhD in Religion - Bible Major from Bethany Divinity College and Seminary.
He is an avid writer and has authored over numerous articles, books, Bible courses, and six Bible commentaries. His has written many articles on apologetics, hermeneutics, Baptist History, The Pentecostal Movement, and Mormonism.
Most of his work is posted on his popular Internet web site, Bible Truth https://bible-truth.org. The web site which was begun in 1996 currently averages over seven thousand visitors per day. The site is rated between the top two to five Baptist web sites, out of thousands, on the “Baptist Top 1000", the “Independent Fundamental 1000," and the “Fundamental 500."
He can be contacted at:
Calvary Baptist Church
An effort has been made to locate sources and obtain permission where necessary for quotations used in this book. In the event of any unintentional omission, a modification we be incorporated in future additions.