Today we will consider the letter of Jude. Jude was likely the half-brother of Jesus (the Judas of Matt 13:55). Jude writes to the church at large about false teaching. He calls the church to come together in resisting false doctrine. After his greeting (1:1-2), we see that Jude actually wanted to write something different, but in light of what had been happening, he was compelled to write the church to fight for the faith delivered to the saints, that is, right doctrine: the truth (v. 3). False teachers had snuck in among the elect (v. 4). These are people who were designated for condemnation (they are not of the elect) who deny Christ through teaching antinomianism, that is, that if you are saved, there are no rules. Go do whatever you want – even sin – because all of your sins are forgiven.
Jude points back in history to the Exodus. God saved Israel, but punished an entire generation for their unbelief (v. 5). Note that Jude says it was Jesus that did this – He saved and judged! He is equating Jesus with the angel of the Lord from the Old Testament (see Ex 23:20-23). Not only that, but He has also punished the fallen angels of Genesis 6:1-2 (v. 6 – see 1 Pet 3:19-22). He punished the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (v. 7). In other words, Jesus is the savior from sin, but He is also the just Judge of the wicked. This is the faith delivered to the saints: there is salvation for those of faith who obey, and there is judgment for everyone else. Anything else is false teaching.
And yet there are still those like that first generation from the Exodus who were judged for their unbelief or the fallen angels and those of Sodom and Gomorrah punished for their carnality (v. 8). They are blasphemers. Jude’s reference to their “dreams” and their blasphemy of the “glorious ones” refers to spiritual warfare. They were under the control of demons. Even Michael the righteous archangel was not allowed to blaspheme when fighting with the devil (v. 9). These false teacher blasphemed what they did not understand (v. 10). They were losing the spiritual battle and deceived into blaspheming Christ.
Jude likens these people to Cain, Balaam, and Korah (v. 11). They are rebels against God. And they are “hidden reefs” – they are hidden among the elect (v. 12). They seek their own gain. They are “waterless clouds” – they look the part but within there is nothing – so they are swept along by every wind of false doctrine. They bear no fruit – like a dead tree pulled up from its roots. They are “waves of the sea, casting up…foam” (v. 13) – they make a lot of noise but only produce useless refuse. They are “wandering stars” – deceptive guides. They have their spot in hell reserved. These are those that Christ and His angels are coming to judge for their sins and blasphemies (vv. 14-15). Jude interestingly quotes 1 Enoch 1:9, which is part of the Septuagint, but not our canon of Scripture. Jude then tells the church how to identify such people (v. 16).
Jude then calls to remembrance what has been taught by the Apostles (v. 17): in the end times, there will be those within the visible church that will mock God by following their carnal passions and cause division (vv. 18-19 – see 2 Tim 3:1-9). But the church must keep their faith and edify each other (v. 20) by loving one another as they await the return of Christ (v. 21). We are to be merciful to those with weak faith (v. 22), and even those who buy into false teaching, who are to be “snatched out of the fire” and pulled away from carnal desires (v. 23). That the latter are to be shown mercy “with fear” is a warning for Christians to protect themselves from false doctrine.
Jude ends with perhaps the most beautiful doxology ever written (vv. 24-25). It is God alone Who can preserve and sustain us until His coming. To Him belongs all glory, majesty, dominion, and authority – He alone is worthy of all praise and He alone has authority to rule all things. This is Who He always was, is right now, and always will be – before all time, now, and forever. Amen!