Jude was most probably the half-brother of Jesus and the brother of James (Jude 1:1). As a member of the 144,000 (Fraternity of Faithful Believers), he considered himself to be a slave of Jesus Christ (Jude 1:1). Jude wanted to write to his audience (believers) about their common salvation, but instead, he was compelled to address the common threat of apostasy (Jude 1:3).
More and more, the believer is called to live in the Kingdom of God – a spiritual place of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17). However, we are sadly inclined to slip away into apostasy. The Greek word apostasia was used at 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Apostasia is a noun, meaning a “defection from truth, falling away.” As previously discussed in this blog, salvation is a continuum. Salvation includes the first moment that we believed that Jesus is the Christ, and it includes our spiritual growth to maturity. We deny our Lord and master Jesus Christ when we fail to act consistently with the reality that He is our Lord and Master (Jude 1:4). The believer must have an ongoing intentionality to continually draw near to God; otherwise, he or she will inevitably fall away. As described in the Parable of the Sower of Seed (Matt. 13:18-23), some fall away because of any threat of persecution or social ostracism. Others fall away because of the worries and anxieties of this life. Most, however, have misplaced priorities. Their primary concerns are pursing wealth, pleasure, approbation, or any other personal desire, which might take priority over the spiritual life. Primarily, we humans live according to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16-17). We either have our eyes on Jesus Christ, or something else takes priority.
First, Jude warned against false teachers that encouraged a lust for inordinate sensuality (Jude 1:4). We interact with the world around us through our five senses. This is how God designed us to be. However, to live the spiritual life, the spiritual must take priority over the material and sensual. Three generations of Americans have been encouraged to elevate the sensual above the spiritual and live according to their feelings. Most Christians confuse the sensual and the spiritual. Many fall into a trap of being led by their feelings as opposed to the Spirit. In order to properly distinguish between human feelings and the Spirit, the believer must continually interact with the Word of God. When orienteering with a compass in the woods, one must know at least three things – one’s current location, the direction one should be heading, and the intended destination. Otherwise, such a person will be helplessly lost. Similarly, the believer receives guidance and direction from three things: the Spirit, the Word, and the Providence of God. By these three things, the believer finds his way. Without the Word, the believer cannot distinguish between his or her feelings and the guidance of the Spirit. Additionally, without the Spirit and the Word, the believer will not be able to see the Providence of God in his or her life. The believer must be trained by the constant study of the Word of God to discern and recognize the Spirit and the Providence of God. As a warning, the believer must understand that lusts are loud, but the Spirit is a still, calm, and quiet voice. To walk by the Spirit, our conscience must be under the influence of the Spirit and impregnated with the Word of God. We must be fully saturated with the Word of God.
Jude warned that most believers will fall away, and he drew the attention of his audience to the early Israelites. The Israelites were rescued from Egypt, but then most died in the desert, never having reached their goal of the Promised Land of blessing (Jude 1:5). After being saved at the parting of the Sea and after the proclamation of thanksgiving to God and Moses, they became distracted from their spiritual journey. They rebelled against God, and their bodies were strewn across the desert. They may have believed that Yahweh was the God of Israel, but they quit trusting in Yahweh when they encountered various tests, just like us modern day Christians. Jude said that the Israelites were destroyed in the desert because they did not continue to trust in God (Jude 1:5). Jude used the Greek verb apollymi, which means “to destroy.” Apostate believers are destroyed. The reader might recall that I mentioned the doctrine of destruction in a previous blog. In fact, disobedient believers (those who believed but drifted away) and unbelievers (those who never believed) both go through a process of destruction. The process of destruction starts in this life and has eternal consequences. However, as I have previously discussed, I do not believe that the process of destruction includes the theory of annihilation or a literal Lake of Fire. Instead, we must understand that the wrath of God is directed against all disobedience, and there will be eternal, ongoing consequences.
As another example of creaturely disobedience, Jude specifically mentioned the angelic beings that rebelled as described in Genesis, Chapter 6. Like in the Book of Job (Job 1:6), the angels described in Genesis, Chapter 6 were called the “sons of God.” Many have taught, and I agree, that Genesis 6 does not refer to a human rebellion. Jude calls them angels, which (in the New Testament) most often referred to nonhuman super beings. Dr. Michael Heiser has taught and written much about the Genesis 6 Rebellion, and the reader is encouraged to pursue additional information and learn about the Genesis 6 Rebellion’s dramatic effect on human history. For our purposes, it is important to understand that angelic disobedience to God, like human disobedience to God, is promised punishment (Jude 1:6). For those angelic beings who crossed a well-delineated boundary, they were put in a prison until the Final Judgment. It is important to note that these rebellious angels were not immediately annihilated. They were imprisoned. I believe that this reveals a feature and important pattern regarding God’s judgment. Peter also discussed this same incident (2 Peter 2:4-5). Significantly, Peter declared “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority” (2 Peter 2:9-10).
As the Creator, God has the right to set human and angelic boundaries regarding behavior. God is the ultimate authority. He has the right to punish and to keep the disobedient under punishment until the Final Judgment. In 2 Peter, we learn that some angelic beings are being kept in prison (Tartarus) and will undergo continued punishment until the Final Judgment (2 Peter 2:4), but we do not have a forensic or scientific description of the punishment. Peter used the Greek verb kolazo, which means to “curtail, chastise, or punish.” In a similar way, those humans that do not accept Christ in this life are held in prison (Sheol a/k/a Hades) until the Final Judgment. As for apostate believers, they are kept under appropriate punishment in this life until their death. At their death, they go to Heaven. After the Final Judgment, every knee will bow (Phil. 2:9-11). God will destroy the human and angelic inclination to rebel. He will accomplish this task by His wrath and love. In no uncertain terms, God is not to be trifled with. Humans and angels wrongly doubt God’s ability to subjugate all things to Himself. We should reconsider Philippians 3:21. He has the energy and power to subdue all things to Himself (Phil. 3:21). God will put all of Christ’s enemies under His feet (1 Cor. 15:25). Everything will be subject to Christ and God, the Father (1 Cor. 15:28).
Jude also used Sodom and Gomorrah as a warning to believers (Jude 1:7). As previously discussed in my blog and podcast, sexual immorality is a great distraction to many. Our bodies of weakness are inclined to move from a normal desire to lust (inordinate desire), then to sin, and finally to death (Jas. 1:14-15). As previously discussed, spiritual death is a state of insensitivity to God’s voice. Sodom and Gomorrah serve as a strong warning to humanity. Because we are so easily distracted, God’s guidance to His people is very simple and straightforward. If we want to have sexual relations with another person (which most do), Christians must confine themselves to monogamous, permanent relationships with a member of the opposite sex. As long as we live in bodies prone to sin and distortion, God instructs us to practice an extreme sexual self-control and self-discipline. This self-control and self-discipline is an important component and feature of what it means to practice Christianity. Regardless of any Christian’s failure, this standard has been an important component of Christianity for over 2000 years. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is an example of God’s eternal fire, meanings the wrath of God. The God who comes from eternity punishes and judges those who practice sexual immorality and disregard God’s boundaries of human and angelic behavior.
Jude warned that there are always some Christians who peddle destructive messages and lies (Jude 1:4). As previously discussed, Political Correctness is a destructive message comprised of lies with focused attacks on legitimate authority and God’s Divine Order. At Jude 1:11, we see three examples of how men are distracted from the spiritual life: Cain, Balaam, and Korah. Cain suffered from approbation lust. Balaam suffered from monetary lust, and Korah was sidetracked by his lust for authority and power. Cain was jealous because Abel received a special commendation from God. Cain was warned to just seek God’s will and everything would work out fine. Indirectly, He was told to trust God to be fair and just. However, Cain continued to live in jealousy, and he ultimately murdered his brother, Able. Balaam was a prophet of God, but he also lusted for money (Num. 22-24). God forbade Balaam to curse Israel, but Balaam lusted after a bribe from King Balak of Moab. King Balak wanted to destroy the people of God, and Balaam wanted to earn a big sum of money. On the other hand, Korah lusted for the authority of Moses and the priesthood of Aaron (Num. 16). Korah, like Moses and Aaron, was from the tribe of Levi, but Korah was not allowed to participate in the special privileges and duties of the High Priest’s family. Therefore, Korah rebelled against Moses and Aaron. Because of his lust for power, Korah and 250 of his followers were destroyed. Over the Centuries, many Christians have likewise been distracted from the spiritual life. They, too, lusted for approbation, wealth, and power, among other things. Because of such lusts, they rebelled against God.
Apostate believers function like irrational animals (Jude 1:10). A beast is oriented to the earthly as opposed to the heavenly. Humans fail to function as imagers of God if we do not walk according to the Spirit and Word. Such believers fail to fulfill their God-given destiny.
Additionally, many (because of their lusts) bring destructive messages into the Church. However, people are often good at disguising their lusts (Jude 1:4). Such people talk the talk, but they do not live under God’s authority. Many probably even deceive themselves. Jude said,
These are the men who are hidden reefs at your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along with winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever (Jude 1:12-13).
Jude used a series of strong Biblical images to describe apostate teachers and believers. If we do not live under God’s authority, we are forever disoriented. Apostate teachers and believers live in a forever darkness, opposed to walking in the light. Instead of being guiding stars of light, apostate teachers are wandering stars that cannot be relied upon for guidance through life. Apostate believers are hidden reefs because they often use “god talk” to disguise their true motivations. Primarily, they live according to the lusts of the eyes and flesh and pride. To be faithful, we must subordinate ourselves under God’s will and timing. The apostate believer primarily focuses on himself or herself. To think appropriately, the Christian must think nonstop about God’s will as to what he should meditate upon, as to what he should speak (or not speak), and as to what he should do with his time. The faithful believer should seek to live in a relaxed, intimate fellowship with God. On the other hand, the apostate believer is a “cloud without water” (Jude 1:12-13). They should be a source of blessing, but all too often, they are a source of cursing, not blessing. They are said to be “carried along by winds” because they are under the influence of demonic thinking. They are attentive to the Zeitgeist (the spirit of the age) as opposed to God. Such believers are wild waves because they are unstable and destructive. They do not produce spiritual fruit (Jude 1:12-13). Such believers are twice dead because they have returned to an existence which is insensitive to God. At one time, they became a believer in Jesus Christ, but they are now dull of hearing. They are like the proverbial dog who returns to its vomit (2 Pet. 2:22). They are like the proverbial pig, who after being washed, returns to wallow in the mud (2 Pet. 2:22). Likewise, they are like an uprooted plant that can no longer grow and flourish (Jude 1:12-13), and they are like a branch disconnected from the tree and left dying on the ground (John 15:1-8).
Jude wrote that Enoch prophesied against such apostate believers. Enoch was a hero of faith, who walked with God, but he never died. As a reward for his faithfulness, Enoch was transported directly from this life to the next, without dying. The writer of Hebrews explained that Enoch was translated without dying because he pleased God (Heb. 11:5). The writer of Hebrews explained that “without faith it is impossible to please Him [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). The life of Enoch stands as a testimony against apostate believers and rebellious unbelievers. Jude then quoted from an extra biblical source. “It was about these [apostate believers and rebellious unbelievers] that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam prophesied, saying ‘Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him’” (Jude 1:14-15). The Greek word asebeia is often translated “ungodly,” but it is best understood as referring to those who lack a reverence for God, which can include believers and unbelievers. The life of Enoch stands in stark contrast to the ungodly who were destroyed in the great Noahic Flood, or the ungodly Jews and Romans who perished between AD 66 to AD 70 during the war between Rome and the Jews, or the many who will be destroyed at Christ’s return. Faithfulness is a product of God’s grace. Unfortunately, most are rebellious and easily distracted. However, the punishment and judgment of the ungodly and irreverent is a reality. As depicted in the Book of Revelation, God’s angels play a major role in the execution of judgment against the apostate. The same will be true at the time of Christ’s return. However, at the time of Christ’s return, He will also be accompanied by great numbers of faithful believers. Jesus Christ will lead a mighty invasion force to retake Earth. Jude 1:14-15 describes both Christ’s ultimate return and the judgments of God between AD 66 and AD 70. The judgments of AD 66 to AD 70 included judgments inflicted against both Rome and Israel. We humans will reap what we sow. There is also one more very important point concerning Christ’s return. Jude stated that when Christ returns, He will “convict” the ungodly. Jude used the Greek verb elegcho, which means to “convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove.” Jesus Christ will confront all of humanity. There will be an invasion and great confrontation.
Jude described the apostate as discontent complainers (Jude 1:16). They are like the Exodus generation. They constantly find fault with others and God. Like the Exodus generation, they are arrogant faultfinders. They do not have humility. They live according to their lusts. They mock and scoff at sound Biblical teaching (Jude 1:18). They flatter others for their own benefit, always calculating their own best advantage (Jude 1:16). In contrast to walking by the Spirit, most believers walk according to the lusts of the eyes and flesh. Such believers cause factions and disunity (Jude 1:19). In contrast, Jude encouraged faithful believers to pray in the Spirit and build up their most holy faith (Jude 1:20). Faithful believers are told to keep themselves in the love of God and to wait on the mercy of the Lord as they live the Christian spiritual life (Jude 1:21). The faithful are told to have mercy on those believers who have wavered by snatching them from the fire (judgment) (Jude 1:22-23). Finally, Jude promised that God was able to protect the faithful from stumbling (Jude 1:24). The faithful were promised that they would share in God’s coming glory (Jude 1:24). Jude ended his epistle by offering glory to “the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time, and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 1:25).
 “G646 – apostasia – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (NASB).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 10 Aug, 2020. <https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G646&t=NASB>.
 “G622 – apollymi – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (NASB).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 10 Aug, 2020. <https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G622&t=NASB>.
 Heiser, Michael S. “Reversing Hermon: Enoch, the Watchers, & the Forgotten Mission of Jesus Christ.” Defender Publishing, 2017.
 “G2849 – kolazō – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (NASB).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 10 Aug, 2020. <https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2849&t=NASB>.
 “G765 – asebēs – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (NASB).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 10 Aug, 2020. <https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G765&t=NASB>.
 “G1651 – elegchō – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (NASB).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 10 Aug, 2020. <https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1651&t=NASB>.