“Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James, to all who are preserved and called by God the Father through their union with Jesus Christ, may mercy, peace, and love to you be multiplied.
Beloved, although I intended to write to you concerning the salvation we share, I felt compelled to encourage you to intensely and vigorously defend the faith entrusted to you who are sanctified.
Certain individuals have slipped into the Church by stealth – whose doom was long ago predicted. These unholy men have perverted God’s grace in an attempt to excuse their uncontrolled immorality and thereby deny our only Lord God and Master Jesus Christ.
I must remind you, although you are already familiar with these facts, that the Lord, having delivered His people out of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who were unfaithful. Angels, who forsook the responsibilities of their appointed domain God has bound in everlasting chains of darkness until the final judgment. Sodom, Gomorrah, and the adjacent cities, who immersed themselves in homosexuality and the grossest forms of immorality, are presented as an example of those who will suffer the retributive justice of eternal fire.
In like manner, these filthy dreamers pollute human nature and disgrace their own bodies. They continue to defy and slander those in authority. But even when Michael the archangel was disputing with the devil regarding the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce condemnation upon him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you.’ But these evil men speak disparagingly about things they cannot understand. Like irrational animals, they follow self-destructive carnal instincts.
Woe to them! They have followed the path of Cain and were led astray like Balaam, who loved only money. They have destroyed themselves as surely as those who died during Korah’s rebellion.
These men pollute your love feasts as they shamelessly gorge themselves. They are as clouds which contain no rain, tossed about by tempests. They are trees devoid of fruit, doubly dead – for they have no roots. They are like dirty waves along the shore, foaming out shameful desires. They are aimless meteors destined to be lost in eternal darkness.
Enoch, the seventh descendant from Adam, prophesied that the Lord will come with myriads of His saints to execute judgment upon all. He will convict everyone destitute of reverence for God of all their ungodly sins of impurity of which they are so notoriously guilty – including their blasphemous words. These dissatisfied people are faultfinders who consistently murmur and complain according to their own inordinate cravings. They speak arrogantly and flatter people in order to gain their favor.
Beloved, remember the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. Recall how they reminded you that mockers would come in the last days seeking only to gratify their own sinful passions. Such agitators create factions because they are devoid of the Holy Spirit.
But you, beloved, build up yourselves in the most holy faith by praying in the Spirit. Keep yourselves under the shelter of God’s love, expectantly waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ who gives us eternal life.
Refute, yet have mercy on these ungodly men. Some you can win through godly fear, thereby snatching them from eternal fire. But take care not to contaminate yourselves with their sin-stained garments.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and bring you faultless into His glorious presence with triumphant rejoicing, to the only wise God and Savior be glory, honor, strength, and majesty now and forever. Amen.” (paraphrased)
Mary and Joseph had other children after Jesus was born (Jn. 7:5). James is referred to as “the Lord’s brother” in Galatians 1:19. Jude was the brother of James and Jesus (Mk. 6:3). As one of five brothers, Jude grew up with Jesus in Nazareth. Jude (Judas) is such a common name, two of Christ’s twelve apostles also bear this name (Jn. 14:22). However, the Jude who writes this brief epistle is not one of the twelve apostles. He comes into prominence in the early Church because of his blood relationship to Jesus. Little is known of him outside his own epistle. Prior to Calvary, Jesus’ half-brothers do not believe in His deity (John 7:5). Only after His resurrection did they become His followers (Acts 1:13-14). Jude is honorably mentioned in Acts 15:22 as a worker sent with Paul, Barnabas and Silas to Antioch. The fact that Jude refers to himself as “the servant of Jesus Christ”, rather than his brother, points to a man of humble character (Jude 1). His authoritative style strongly suggests he is known to his readers.
Jude is unique in its focus and clarity. The author warns his readers regarding heretics (v. 1-4), describes their horrific characteristics (v. 5-16), and explains how to resist their deceptions (v. 17-25). His style of writing is passionate, bold, and graphic. False teachers are compared to water-less clouds, fallen angels, withered trees, wild waves, wandering stars, and senseless animals.
Jude parallels II Peter in many respects:
Godless men will deny the Lord. Jude 4 & II Pet. 2:1
Angels are reserved in darkness until judgment. Jude 6 & II Pet. 2:4
Sodom and Gomorrah were burned to ashes. Jude 7 & II Pet. 2:6
Arrogant men boldly slander celestial beings. Jude 8 & II Pet. 2:10
Michael dares not bring slanderous allegations. Jude 9 & II Pet. 2:11
Blasphemers are akin to animals. Jude 10 & II Pet. 2:12
Evil men follow the ways of Balaam. Jude 11 & II Pet. 2:15
They are rain-less clouds, driven by storms. Jude 12 & II Pet 2:17
Severe darkness is reserved for apostates. Jude 13 & II Pet. 2:17
They shamelessly lust, flatter and boast. Jude 16 & II Pet. 2:18
Such apostasy was foretold by the apostles. Jude 17 & II Pet. 3:2
Scoffers will come in the last days. Jude 18 & II Pet. 3:3
The book of Jude is fittingly placed just before Revelation with its panoramic apocalyptic judgment upon the wicked. Jude gives a vivid description of false teachers in the first century, proving their primary problem is non-submissiveness to the will of God. This is why heretics continue to plague the Church in the twenty-first century.
Jude provides six historical references. Three are general, referring to Jews who perished in the wilderness, disobedient angels who became demons, and Sodomites. His other three references regard individuals. Cain represents carnal men, Balaam is a type of those who disregard God’s Word, and Korah characterizes everyone who rebels against God’s authority. Their errors should serve as warnings, for all these illustrations exemplify disrespect for God. Jude cautions that past judgments (v. 5-7) help define future judgments (v. 14-15).
The False Teachers:
The book of Jude seems to describe an early form of Gnosticism known as Antinomianism. Jude informs his readers these subversive heretics have quietly crept into the Church (v. 4). He describes them as selfish, greedy, and divisive. An antinomian takes the doctrine of salvation by grace to extremes, believing those who are born-again need not follow ethical, biblical, or moral laws. The term “antinomianism” refers to lawlesssness and holds that one’s behavior is not essential to maintain salvation through Christ. Jude teaches this is a doctrine the Church must not tolerate. Peter suggests that teachers who twist Scripture are self-destructive (II Pet. 3:16).
At the heart of antinomianism is a gross misinterpretation of the doctrine of God’s grace and forgiveness of sins. Jude notes such persons are hostile to secular constituted authority as well (v. 8). The antinomian questions God’s authority by asking how far His grace actually extends. They argue that since His grace is boundless He allows immoral behavior. Some also deny self-control is necessary, for when one attains spiritual life the deeds of the body no longer affect the soul. Others shamelessly proclaim immoral behavior is actually a sign of spiritual maturity.
Antinomians still exist in various forms today, believing that, regardless of how much a person sins, God’s magnanimous grace willl allow them to enter heaven. They mistakenly believe that the liberty found in Christ is a license to sin. The concise and brief epistle of Jude stands as proof such thinking leads to spiritual ruin.
The book ends with three standing orders for Christians:
1. Maintain the inner glow – by praying in the Holy Spirit (v. 20).
2. Maintain the upward look – by waiting for His return (v. 21).
3. Maintain the outward reach – by rescuing backsliders from hell (v. 22-23).
JUDE: A SELF-STUDY
1. How does Jude describe himself? (v. 1)
A. as a brother
B. as a servant
C. as a co-worker
D. as a fellow soldier
2. Name Jude’s brother (v. 1)
3. Name the other male children Joseph and Mary conceived after Jesus was born: (Matt. 13:55)
4. Jude addresses Believers as those who have been: (v. 1)
D. all of the above
5. What does Jude desire for his readers? (v. 2)
D. all of the above
6. What did Jude originally intend to write about? (v. 3)
A. water baptism
B. baptism in the Holy Spirit
7. What are Believers to earnestly contend for? (v. 3)
8. What is said to have been “delivered” to the saints? (v. 3)
9. According to verse 4, what type of men had “crept” into the church?
A. ungodly men
B. men who denied the Lord
C. men who twist doctrines
D. all of the above
10. From what country were the Israelites delivered? (v. 5)
11. According to verse 5, who will ultimately be destroyed?
12. According to verse 6, who left their original habitation?
13. What group is seen as “reserved for judgment”? (v. 6)
14. Who did Jesus see “fall as lightening from heaven”? (Luke 10:18)
15. According to I Timothy 5:14-15, what did some young women decide to do?
16. From Revelation 12:9, list three names by which Satan is known.
17. By what three things is Satan defeated? (Rev. 12:11)
18. According to Genesis 13:13, how are the men of Sodom described?
19. What did the men of Sodom seek to do to the angels? (Gen. 19:4)
20. Romans 1:27 describes which of the following:
D. both A & B
21. Research and define the phrase “going after strange flesh” (KJV, v. 7)
22. How are the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah described? (Gen.18:20)
23. What did the angels do to the men of Sodom? (Gen.19:11)
24. What did the Lord rain upon Sodom and Gomorrah? (Gen. 19:24)
25. Jude verse 8 describes:
A. rebellion against authority
C. evil thoughts
D. all of the above
26. According to Romans 13:1-2, a person who disrespects authority will receive what?
27. According to Romans 13:4-6, those who enforce civil laws are called:
C. God’s ministers
D. God’s enemies
28. What archangel is named in verse 9?
29. According to Revelation 12:7, who fights Satan and his angels?
30. To what are false teachers compared in verse 10?
31. What three Old Testament characters are named in verse 11?
32. According to I John 3:12, what was Cain’s sin?
33. According to I John 3:12, what was Cain’s motive for doing this?
34. What was Cain’s attitude, according to Genesis 4:5?
35. According to Numbers 22:4-6 & 23:11, what did Balak want Balaam to do?
36. According to Numbers 23:11 & 24:10, what did Balaam do instead?
37. According to Numbers 22:28 & II Peter 2:16, who spoke to Balaam?
38. What did Balaam finally admit? (Num. 22:34)
39. Who is finally killed for his wicked compromises? (Num.31:7-8)
40. According to II Peter 2:15, what did Balaam love?
41. Korah sought to usurp the authority of what two men? (Num. 16:1-3)
42. What opened up and “swallowed” Korah? (Num. 16:32)
43. Because of the rebellion Korah instigated, how many people were killed, according to Numbers 16:35?
44. Because of the continuing rebellion of the people, God sent a plague that killed how many? (Num. 16:49)
45. According to Jude 12, false teachers are like clouds without what?
46. They are also compared to trees without what? (v. 12)
47. Peter compares them to wells without what? (II Pet. 2:17)
48. According to Jude 11-12, these false teachers are like:
A. uprooted trees
B. raging waves
C. wandering stars
D. all of the above
49. According to Genesis 5:23-24, how many years did Enoch “walk with God”?
50. According to Hebrews 11:5, why was Enoch “translated”?
51. Who will accompany the Lord when He returns? (Jude 14)
52. When the Lord returns, what will He do?
53. Who did the Israelites continually murmur against? (Ex. 15:24; 16:2 & 17:3)
54. What happens to those who murmur in the wilderness? (I Cor. 10:10)
55. What must those who murmur learn? (Isa. 29:24)
56. Who did the Pharisees murmur against? (Lk. 5:30)
57. Who murmurs against Jesus? (Jn. 6:41)
58. Whose words are we encouraged to remember? (Jude 17)
59. In the end times, who will walk after their own lusts? (Jude 18)
60. What word describes mockers in Psalm 35:16?
61. Who is mocked in Matthew 27:41?
62. In the end times, what will mockers “walk after”?
63. Define the word “sensual” (Jude 19)
64. According to Jude 20, what must we do to help build up our faith?
65. According to Jude 21, what must we constantly keep in mind?
66. What must we also look for (Jude 21)
67. According to Jude 22, what really makes a difference?
68. According to Mark 8:2, upon whom did Jesus have compassion?
69. What moved Christ to heal a leper in Mark 1:40-41?
70. Witnessing to sinners is compared to what? (Jude 23)
71. Define the phrase “spotted by the flesh.” (Jude 23)
72. According to Jude 24, what two things is Jesus able to do?
73. According to II Peter 1:10, what must we do to avoid “falling”?
74. What will be Christ’s attitude in that day? (Jude 24)
75. List the things Jude credits God with in verse 25.