Since "Jude," "Juda," Judas," and "Judah" are all variants of the same name, and since Judah was one of the sons of Jacob, we find one or another form of this name many times in the Bible. This Jude, or as he is called in Matthew 13:55 , Judas, identifies himself as "the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James." Although he does not say so, he is also the brother of our Lord Jesus, as was James. His great concern in this epistle is to warn the saints against the false teachers that have come in unawares, and are trying to lead the saints astray.


(Verses 1 and 2) "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them who are sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: mercy unto you, and peace, and love be multiplied."


Jude here identifies himself as a "servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James." His letter is addressed to, "them who are sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Jesus Christ, and called." Thus he acknowledges the work of the Trinity in the salvation of the saints; for they are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God," the Father, the blood of Christ Jesus redeems and keeps them, and the Holy Ghost calls them. This letter is to those who have thus been sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Jesus the Christ, and called. Now his prayer for them is that mercy, peace, and love be multiplied unto them.


(Verses 3 and 4) "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 to the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were 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."


Jude's phrase, "common salvation," seems to have given some much trouble in understanding. It has no reference to this salvation's being "common" in the sense of being any less valuable than some other. Its only meaning is that it is provided in common to all God's elect, just as much to one as to another. It is that great salvation which is wrought out by Christ Jesus for every one of His saints, from the least to the greatest. "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 to the saints," shows clearly a change from the subject he had intended to write about. There is little said in this epistle about salvation. Starting with verse 4, and continuing through verse 19, the whole subject is the false teachers who have crept in. So evidently what he is saying is that, when he had very diligently considered writing about salvation, he found himself faced with an even more pressing problem, which needed addressing, "To write unto you and exhort you that ye earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints." "The faith which was once delivered to the saints" is that whole body of truth which we call the gospel, especially the doctrines that set forth Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, and as having by the offering of Himself to God as the sacrifice for sins, with no help and no need of help from any other, for ever put away the sins of His people, together with the doctrine of His resurrection, ascension, and promised return for all those who look for His appearing. As he continues, Jude tells us why this change of subject matter is necessary. "For there are certain men crept in unawares." This shows the insidiousness of Satan and his ministers. They do not come boldly up, and declare their enmity against our Lord. Instead they creep in, pretending to love Him. And when they have gained the confidence of some of the saints, they begin, little by little, to project their own false doctrines, by setting forth an idea here, and a thought there, without alarming any except those who are well acquainted with, and well grounded in "the faith which was once delivered to the saints." These are ungodly men who have from long ago been ordained (appointed, prepared, or any other word of similar meaning) to this condemnation. They turn the grace of God into lasciviousness. That is, they use the doctrine of salvation by grace as a license to sin, and fulfill all their evil lusts, saying, "If we are saved by the grace of God, and not by works, we can do any thing we please and still be saved, so we can continue in sin as before." The Apostle Paul's answer to this lie is, "God forbid. How can we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein". They, unless stopped by those who know the truth, will continue on with worse and worse teachings, until finally they come out boldly and deny "the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." Notice that Jude does not say, "their Lord Jesus Christ" for this HE CERTAINLY IS NOT, so far as a saving relationship is concerned, albeit they will find on the day of judgment, and will be made to acknowledge that "Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father." The Apostle John, in both his first and second epistles, leaves no doubt that those who do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, HAVE NOT GOD, but are of antichrist; and Jude's language certainly bears witness of the same. With such men and their doctrines having crept in at the time of this writing, one hardly needs to be surprised at who, and what, are presently among us.


(Verses 5 through 7) "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."


It is often necessary that our memory be refreshed concerning the works of God. We, of course, prefer to be reminded of the blessings He has given us, instead of the judgments and chastisements He has sent. But the latter are often necessary as well. We are familiar with the wanderings of Israel on their journey from Egypt to the land of Canaan , and how that the Lord, because of their unbelief, made them wander in the wilderness until a whole generation of them, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua, had died. However it seems that Jude's reference here specially concerns those who because of their unbelief rebelled against Moses and God, and were destroyed in a violent manner by the judgments of God, more than the remainder of Israel . Then He mentions "the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation". There are few scriptures that deal with the record of these "fallen angels," but there are enough to give us the general idea that, Satan was himself created an angel, as were all the demons over which he is now the prince. Our Lord Himself said, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." Jude says, "The angels which kept not their first estate," that position in which they were first installed, "but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in chains [bonds] under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." The objection may be raised that Satan and his hordes are still loose and roaming the earth today. While this has some truth in it, they still are bound, in that limitations are set beyond which they cannot pass, just as, in our worldly court system, a criminal awaiting trial, may be "out on bond" instead of being locked up in jail, but there are restrictions placed upon him by that bond. The difference between our analogy and the reality is that in our court system we are not always able to enforce the restrictions of the bond; but God never fails. In this case they are shut up "under darkness." They enjoy not the light of the presence of God. Even the near approach of God causes them fear and torment, as witnessed by Matthew 8:29, Mark 5:7, and Luke 8:28. The only access Satan has to heaven, or to God, is as the accuser of the saints, and that he well knows will also be cut off, as shown in Revelation 12:7-9. So Satan and his angels are reserved for judgment at a time already appointed by the Judge, Christ Jesus our Lord. For a description of that judgment, see Revelation 20: 7-15. Now Jude turns to another example of the judgments of God upon evil men, " Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them" All Bible readers, and many who read it very little, are acquainted with this example. And there is no need to repeat the account of it at this point. We are all aware of what fornication is, and the phrase, "going after strange flesh," [unnatural flesh], means that terrible sin of homosexual behavior, whether of men or women, and is the sin for which Sodom is so infamous, even today. It is the "going after strange flesh," in that it is strange, or foreign even to the laws of nature. It brought Sodom to destruction, as it has other nations and kingdoms since, though most of them are not so well known as Sodom ; and unless there is a great change it is soon to bring destruction upon this nation of ours. Another point to be noticed is that Jude says, concerning Sodom and the other cities, "In like manner_ _ _." This phrase cannot refer to "the angels" in verse 6, because they are asexual, and therefore not capable of such a sin. Therefore there is no antecedent left for this phrase except those men who have crept in unawares, are "turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying," first by their deeds, and then by their doctrine, "the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." Now since the "lifestyles" of these ungodly men and the people of Sodom are alike, Sodom serves as an example of what will be the end of these. They will suffer the vengeance of eternal fire.


(Verses 8 through 10) "Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominions, 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."


These "filthy dreamers" (certainly while they are awake, but, even worse, while they are asleep, their minds are filled with filthy things) who have crept in, are going in the very tracks of the sinners of Sodom and Gomorrha. They "defile the flesh" with this filthy "lifestyle," even bringing upon themselves, and upon others around them, various diseases that primarily belong to such sinful practices. They despise, or have no respect for, authority, and speak evil of [blaspheme] those in high offices. Compare this with Michael, the Archangel , who, "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." This is, perhaps, a reference to Zechariah 3:1-2. The wording is slightly different, but that is not unusual in New Testament quotations from the Old. There we have, "And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?" In this picture we see Joshua the high priest being resisted by Satan as they stand before the Angel of the Lord. The name, "Michael" means, "Who is as God," and Michael is called "the Archangel ," signifying that there is only one. This is the highest angel, and many scriptural references indicate that he is in command of angels. Isaiah says, "For He said, Surely they are My people, children that will not lie: so He was their Saviour. In all their afflictions He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed them." (Isaiah 63:8-9) In blessing the sons of Joseph , Israel said, "The Angel, Which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads." (Gen. 48:16) In both these quotations it seems clear that our Lord is "the Angel" to Whom reference is made. No other but He is "as God." So it seems reasonable to interpret the "Angel of the Lord," in Zech. 3:1, as none other than Michael, Who is also our Lord Jesus the Christ. Therefore, in keeping with Jude's wording, we have a contention between Michael and Satan, which, some might say, does not fit the picture given by Zechariah, in that he says that Satan was at Joshua's right hand to resist him. If we but look we can see that it was not Joshua who spoke to Satan, but the Lord, which certainly intends "the Angel of the Lord" Who was present. "The body of Moses" seems to have no reference to the physical body of Moses, but to the law, since it was a common manner of expression to refer to the law as "Moses." Instead of saying "the law says," they often said, "Moses says." Nevertheless the real point of the lesson here is that, with all His power and authority, Michael used no hard words and made no evil remarks about Satan, but simply said, "The Lord rebuke thee." However that is not the way of those who creep in and try to lead astray the Lord's people. They speak evil of any thing and any one that they do not know, and since they do not know the Lord, they are certainly going to speak evil of Him, even to the denying of His divinity. They also speak evil of His ways and His commandments. Even things that they do know, strictly from the fact that they have natural life, that is, by natural instinct, as do the brute beasts, are used of them contrary to the laws of nature, and by such deeds they destroy themselves. (The word translated, "corrupt," means "destroy.")


(Verses 11 through 13) "Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and run greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever."


There is certainly nothing good ahead for these false teachers; all that can be said of them is, "Woe unto them." They are following the same path that Cain followed. They have a form of religion, but no faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God. Cain brought an offering to God, but the writer of the Hebrew epistle says, "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain." It is not a matter of comparing Abel's faith to Cain's faith. He did not say that it was because Abel's faith was better than Cain's, and for this his offering was more excellent. He just says, "By faith Abel_ _ _." That is, Abel had faith, and Cain did not. The error of Balaam is that he, desiring the reward promised by Balak, thought that perhaps God could be persuaded to turn against His chosen people if they could just be enticed into immoral conduct. And he did not realize that God's love for His people is anchored in, and based upon, Himself, and not their works. For this reason he continued trying to find a view of Israel that he thought might induce God to curse them. Failing in this, he taught Balak to place temptation before them. This is also the way of these evil ones. Core, or Korah, as the name is given in Numbers 16:1-35. rebelled against the authority of Moses and Aaron, which, since they were chosen and called of God for this work, is actually the authority of God; and the account of the incident is given in the above referenced text. These filthy dreamers are doing the same thing, and shall finally come to the same end. Jude says that, as long as they are allowed to partake in your feasts of charity, they are spots in those feasts. This is a reference to the "love feasts" that were a common practice of early Christians, and though not actually a part of it, were followed immediately by the Lord's Supper, to which the statement may also refer. They defile the feast, as a dirty spot defiles an otherwise clean garment. They are brazen enough that they have no fear of getting caught, and neither do they have any fear of God. They are clouds without water; they cannot refresh the soul that longs for comfort and edification from the word of God. As clouds are blown about by winds, so are they carried from one false idea to another. They are trees without fruit. If there is ever the appearance of fruit about them, it withers away, and nothing of any value comes of it. They are twice dead, or worse than dead. If one wants to consider the literal expression, "twice dead," it is readily apparent this is fulfilled in that they are dead in sin, and having made a profession of faith in our Lord, (for that is the only way they could have crept in unawares,) they are dead to even that profession, which certainly constitutes being "twice dead." Seeing that they are plucked up by the roots, there is no hope for their recovery. More loathsome characters can hardly be imagined than Jude depicts in his next words concerning these. "Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever." They are forever lost, without remedy.


(Verses 14 and 15) "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 all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."


We do not know from whence Jude had his information about the prophecy of Enoch, since it is not found in Genesis, where the account of Enoch is given, but there is no reason to question its validity, inasmuch as we believe the scriptures of both Old and New Testaments to be inspired of God. He may have received this by inspiration, or he may have had a source, which has been lost to us. He says that, these very persons are the ones, of whom Enoch spoke, when he said that the Lord is coming to execute judgment upon them. In this declaration, Jude uses the word, "ungodly" four times, applying it to them, their words, their deeds, and the manner of their committing those deeds, leaving no doubt as to his meaning.


(Verses 16 through 19) "These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit."


It seems totally unnecessary to make any comment on verse 16, seeing that in it Jude has added a little further description of those who have been his subject since the beginning of verse 4, and it is clear enough to be understood by children. In verses 17 and 18 he reminds us that these men are the fulfillment of what the apostles of our Lord Christ Jesus have already said would come. These are the mockers that walk after their own ungodly lusts. Verse 19 should be understood, "These be they who cause divisions, sensual, having not the Spirit."


(Verses 20 through 23) "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."


Jude turns from his description of these wicked deceivers, to give some final instructions to the saints, saying, "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith_ _ _." Certainly faith, as given to each of God's children by the Holy Spirit, is "most holy." But it appears that Jude is referring not to this, but to that which he, in verse 3, called "the faith which was once delivered to the saints", the whole body of truth concerning our Lord Jesus the Christ and His works in salvation, with particular attention given to the fact that He is the Son of God. We can indeed, and should, build up ourselves on these things by constantly meditating upon them, and with the help of the Holy Ghost, praying always that our Lord will reveal Himself more and more unto us, that we may be able to hold fast to this faith, and not be deceived by the enticements continually set before us by these false teachers. Thus we will be able to walk in the love of God, and this is what Jude means when he says, "keeping yourselves in the love of God." As we thus continue in close fellowship with God, we can expect the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. A glance back at verse 1 reminds us that this letter is addressed to those who are "sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Jesus Christ, and called." It is therefore obvious that Jude is not telling us how to obtain eternal life, but how to continue in the assurance of it. By doing what he says, we can "look for," or confidently expect, that the mercy of our Lord will keep us "unto eternal life," that is, as the apostle Peter says, "unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." Although the scriptures sometimes speak of eternal life as already in our possession, Jude is considering the time of its being fully unveiled, as it were.


(Verses 22 and 23) "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."


It is obvious from the theme of this entire epistle, that Jude is concerned with saving our brethren from the clutches of these unprincipled and ungodly men who have crept in unawares, and are wreaking havoc in the churches. When he says, "save with fear," the emphasis is on saving them from the pitfalls and traps these men are setting before them, not saving them from hell. "The fire" of which he speaks is the bitter chastisement that is sometimes necessary to bring an erring one back to the way of truth, or it may have reference to the fiery judgment of "the great day," to which these evil ones are bound, but from which God's children are always pulled back, whether through the efforts of His faithful servants, or the chastening rod of God. Just as there is difference of physical strength among men, so are there differences of spiritual strength among God's children. We are to have compassion upon the weak, and gently, with loving kindness, we are to point them to the truth of our Lord, and encourage them in it, tenderly warning them of pitfalls and sorrows ahead for those who become entangled in the web of these false teachers. At the same time, those who are well grounded in the principles of Christ, but begin to show a tendency to follow these evil ones, are to be dealt with more forcefully, and warned more severely. And while warning them, we are to make it manifest that while we love them, and are doing this for their good, even their slight leaning toward such evil is detestable, and an object of hatred to us, and more importantly, to our Lord. Although they may have led an exemplary life before becoming entangled in the deceit of these evil teachers, that garment is now "spotted by the flesh," defiled with such evil conduct, and is an object of hatred to us, and should be to them.


The remaining two verses of this epistle are so clear, they need no explanation. Therefore we quote them without comment. "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."


Close Window