The Letter of Jude
Copyright ©2000, Charles Hess, Ridgefield, Washington
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The short letter[ 1 ] from Jude encourages Christians to contend for the faith and live righteous lives. Saints are forewarned about false teachers who are described with various figures of speech. The possibility of falling from grace is clearly taught. Because of this, Christians are advised to keep themselves in the love of God and to make every effort to save the lost, "pulling them out of the fire" (Jude 23; see chart OUTLINE OF JUDE).
OUTLINE OF JUDE
- Greeting to the called, sanctified and preserved (Jude 1, 2).
- Contend for the faith (Jude 3, 4).
- Ancient and recent sinners (Jude 5-11).
- The wickedness and doom of sinners (Jude 12-16).
- Prediction of apostasy (Jude 17-19).
- Faithful service and prayer (Jude 20-23).
- Glory, majesty, dominion and power to God (Jude 24, 25).
1:1, 2 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ: 2 Mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you.
JUDE IDENTIFIES HIMSELF
Jude.[ 2 ] Jude, also correctly translated Judas, was a brother of James and most probably a half-brother of Jesus (see Introduction; chart SEVEN MEN NAMED JUDE).
A servant of Jesus Christ [the servant of, bondservant of, bondman of, slave of, Jesus Christ]. Jude was a slave of Christ (see 1Co 6:19,20). Note the allusion to others who were apostles, as he admonishes his readers: "But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you..." (verses 17, 18). This probably indicates that Jude was not an apostle.
And brother of James [a brother of James]. It is almost certain that Jude was also the Lord's brother. Why did he not say so? There are at least four possible reasons, all of which are related (see chart WHY NOT SAY: "BROTHER OF THE LORD?").
WHY NOT SAY: "BROTHER OF THE LORD?"
- To de-emphasize human kinship in spiritual kingdom.
- Spiritual tie took precedence over literal family (see Lu 11:27, 28).
- To counter superstitious reverence of Jesus' kin.
- Holy Spirit guided him not to say it.
TO THE CALLED
To those who are called [to the called ones]. The Greek sentence structure lends emphasis to the fact that Christians are called. In the present verse, the word "called" is an adjective. Christians are the called ones, the invited ones. Believers have the power to become children of God (Joh 1:12). The gospel is God's power to save believers (Ro 1:16). Sinners are called by the gospel and then are begotten by it (see 1Co 4:15; 1Jo 5:1). Many are called but few are chosen (Mt 22:14). Those who have responded in faith and obedience to the gospel call are Christians (see note on Eph 4:1; 2Th 2:14). Obedience includes being baptized into Christ. One is raised from the water of baptism to walk in newness of life in Christ (Ro 6:4, 5). When one obeys the gospel, he is then made free from sin and becomes a servant of righteousness (Ro 6:17, 18; Ga 3:26, 27).
Sanctified by God the Father [beloved in God the Father]. The Received Text has "sanctified." Some manuscripts have "beloved." Believers are both sanctified by God and beloved in God. To sanctify means to make holy. Paul said of the Corinthian Christians, some of whom had been gross sinners, "But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (1Co 6:11). Christians abide in God's love which is multiplied (Jude 2). They are told, "Keep yourselves in the love of God" (Jude 21).[ 3 ]
PRESERVED IN CHRIST
And preserved [and kept, who keep themselves]. A related word TEEREESON keep is used of the keeping power of God (Joh 17:11). Jude's use of the word "preserved" or "kept" emphasizes God's part in keeping Christians saved. We all owe our faithfulness to His grace, His word and His steadfast care. Salvation is such that no man can snatch a saved person out of the Lord's hand (see note on Joh 10:28; chart KEPT FAITHFUL BY GOD).
In Jesus Christ [for Jesus Christ][ 4 ] (see Joh 17:2, 12, 24).
KEPT FAITHFUL BY GOD
- Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me (Joh 17:11).
- He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Php 1:6).
- Approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ (Php 1:10).
- The God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1Th 5:23).
"KEEP" AND "KEPT" [A WORD STUDY]
- TETEEREEKAN they have kept Your word (Joh 17:6).
- ETEEROUN I have kept [them] (Joh 17:12).
- TEEREESEES You should keep them from the evil one (Joh 17:15).
- Inheritance incorruptible ... TETEEREEMENEEN reserved in heaven (1Pe 1:4).
- TEEREESATE keep yourselves in the love of God (Jude 21).
Mercy, peace [mercy to you, and peace]. Mercy is from God. It is because of God's mercy that men may have peace with Him.
And love.[ 5 ] The love in this verse is primarily God's love (see note on verse 21). Because He loves Christians in a special manner, He grants them mercy and peace. They, in turn, love Him and one another, and they obey His commandments (see 1Jo 4:19, 21; 5:3).
Be multiplied to you [be multiplied]. Jude covets for his readers an abundance of God's mercy, peace and love. Similarly, Peter wished that grace and peace would be multiplied (1Pe 1:2; 2Pe 1:2). He explained that this was to be done through the knowledge of Christ (2Pe 1:3; compare Ro 16:25, 26; 1Th 5:23).
JUDE'S PURPOSE IN WRITING
1:3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
Beloved.[ 6 ] The readers were beloved of God and dear to Jude (compare Ro 1:7; 1Co 4:14; 10:14; 15:58; 2Co 7:1; 12:19; Php 2:12; 4:1).
PROVERBS ABOUT DILIGENCE
- He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich (Pr 10:4).
- The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich (Pr 13:4).
- Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings (Pr 22:29).
While I was very diligent [using, when I gave, while I was giving, all diligence, being very eager]. Jude had given thought to what he would write. In fact, he had already made a decision as to his topic.
EXAMPLES OF DILIGENCE
- My heart's desire and my prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved (Ro 10:1).
- He who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness (Ro 12:8).
- Be diligent to present yourself approved to God (2Ti 2:15).
- And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end (Heb 6:11).
PETER ON DILIGENCE
- Giving all diligence (2Pe 1:5).
- Be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble (2Pe 1:10).
- Be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless (2Pe 3:14).
To write to you. The thought never entered Jude's mind to write in support of a human name, a human creed or a man-made denomination. Such would have been contrary to truth and sinful (let modern preachers take note). Preachers today may be "diligent" or "making every effort" to preach favorite lessons when there is an urgent need for lessons on local and foreign evangelism, sound doctrine or condemnation of sin. In like manner, Christians may be busily engaged in some innocent project, even one that could be called a good work, but it may not be what God would place on the urgent list. Jude was very diligent to write about a topic of eternal importance.
OUR COMMON SALVATION
Concerning our common salvation [of the, our, common salvation; concerning the salvation we share]. Salvation in Christ is common, not in the sense of being ordinary or mundane, but in the sense that it is shared by every apostle as well as by every baptized merchant, farmer, homemaker, slave and king (see Tit 1:4). The saved ones enjoy a common tie as brothers and sisters in Christ.
NECESSARY TO WRITE
I found it necessary [it was needful for me, I was constrained, I have been obliged]. Jude's concern for the salvation of his readers constrained him to write about something essential to that salvation, namely, faithfulness to the original gospel. Many people believe they can be saved on their own terms, or on some basis other than the teachings of the New Testament. They ought to heed Jude's warning.
To write to you.[ 7 ]
Exhorting you [and exhort you, appealing to, admonishing, you]. Jude hoped to stir his readers to action against false teachers by exhorting them. He hoped they would engage in gospel warfare, in the fight to defend the faith once for all revealed.
CALL TO DEFEND THE TRUTH
To contend earnestly for [to contend for, that ye should earnestly contend for]. The Greek preposition EPI upon or about adds intensity to the verb contend. It implies unrelenting combat in warfare or in the games; hence sincerity and earnestness. Jude says nothing about Christians taking up a literal sword to persecute those in religious error. His plea is for spiritual warfare. The battle is to be fought by holding a sound position and teaching it decisively and forcefully. This involves logical reasoning and orderly debate. Christians should share this zeal for truth demonstrated by Jude and others. For example, Paul wrote about certain false teachers, "To whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you" (Ga 2:5).
The faith.[ 8 ] "The faith" is the body of truth that can be preached (Ga 1:23), obeyed (Ac 6:7) and contended for (see note on Ga 1:23). It may be called "the faith" because it constitutes "those things which have been fulfilled[ 9 ] among us" (Lu 1:1). This faith is essential to being a follower of Christ. Faith is involved in man's initial response to NT truth (see Mk 16:16; Ro 5:1). It is involved in one's continued life as a Christian (see 2Ti 4:6-8). The revealed word is therefore called "the faith." How much of the truth must be believed and contended for? All of it. There is no facet of it that is non-essential. On the other hand, opinions should never be stressed to cause turmoil and division in the church.
NT IS COMPLETE [A CHALLENGE]
- Since the NT is complete, and salvation depends on adherence to the original gospel, what can be essential to salvation from some "new" revelation?
- If Scripture says the same thing, the "latter-day" revelation is not new.
- If Scripture does not say the same thing as the "latter-day" revelation, it is to be rejected.
ONCE FOR ALL DELIVERED
Which was once for all [once, which was once]. Christ died for sins HAPAX once for all (1Pe 3:18; compare Heb 9:26-28; 10:2). The faith was delivered HAPAX once for all. This points up the fact that the NT revelation is complete (see chart NT IS COMPLETE [A CHALLENGE]).
Gospel truth was delivered to the early churches once for all. There is a finality about it. It is perpetually valid, firm and steadfast. The revealed truth is the same throughout the entire church age. It will never have to be changed or supplemented.
Delivered.[ 10 ] The faith was delivered to the saints by divine revelation (see chart DELIVERED [A WORD STUDY].
DELIVERED [A WORD STUDY]
- Making the word of God of no effect through your PARADOSEI tradition which you PAREDOOKATE have handed down (Mk 7:13).
- Stephen was accused of teaching that Jesus would change the customs which Moses PAREDOOKEN delivered to us (Ac 6:14).
- Keep the PARADOSEIS traditions just as PAREDOOKA I delivered them to you (1Co 11:2).
- For PAREDOOKA I delivered to you first of all that which I also received (1Co 15:3).
- The faith which was once for all PARADOTHEISEE delivered to the saints (Jude 3).
To the saints. While false teachers were introducing heresies (2Pe 2:1), the faith was being delivered verbally (and in writing) to the early churches by apostles and prophets. All Christians are saints (see notes on Ro 1:7; Php 1:1).
DANGER CONFRONTING THE CHURCH
1:4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
For certain men [for there are certain men]. Jude repeatedly calls direct attention to false teachers (see verses 8, 10, 12, 14).
SECRET INVASION OF CONGREGATIONS
Have crept in unnoticed [have got in, have slipped in, unawares, privily, admission has been secretly gained]. False teachers had slipped in secretly, as it were, by the side door. At first they did not announce their intended purpose of undermining the true church of Christ (see note on 2Pe 2:1).
Recently,[ 11 ] while in Australia, I observed that most houses were built more than a foot above the earth. Those that were built close to the ground were devoured by termites. In the Lord's churches, insidious teachers (some sincere) are eating away at the very structure. The "change agents" (their word) want to change the NT church to resemble a denomination. Christians need to remember what Solomon wrote, "Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it" (Ps 127:1). They need to think about what Jesus said: "Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted" (Mt 15:13).
Who long ago [who were of old, they who of old]. The Greek may refer to any period in the past. The language does not require that sentence was passed upon false teachers from eternity. The meaning is that God, through Moses, marked out for punishment those who would not listen to Christ. One passage where He does so follows: "And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die" (De 18:19, 20; compare Ac 3:19-23).
MARKED FOR CONDEMNATION
Were marked out [written of beforehand, ordained, designated]. Jude makes clear what he means about false teachers being written about beforehand. He specifically points out the punishment that befell the unbelieving Israelites (verse 5), the rebel angels (verse 6) and the inhabitants of Sodom (verse 7). The punishment of which Enoch prophesied awaits the false teachers (verse 15).
For this condemnation [to this condemnation, to this sentence]. Jude alludes to this judgment in several more verses. The condemnation of false teachers, in some respects, resembles that meted out to the unbelieving Israelites, sinful angels, Sodom and Gomorrah. As in these examples, the punishment of false teachers would be destruction (verses 5, 11; compare verse 15), "everlasting chains under darkness" (verses 6) and "eternal fire" (verse 7).
Ungodly men [ungodly persons, people]. Ungodly persons are those without God and/or those who oppose or refuse to practice pure religion (see notes on verses 15, 18).
Who turn [turning, who pervert]. False teachers, from some popes to certain television evangelists, have perverted the gospel and confirmed their error by sinful and immoral acts (see notes on 2Th 2:3-10).
The grace of our God.[ 12 ] It seems that in every age there have been some who tried to take advantage of the truth that the OT law was "taken out of the way." The ones Jude describes did so by teaching and practicing lawlessness,[ 13 ] including sins of the flesh. Such was never intended nor approved by Christ or the apostles. For instance, Paul asked, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Ro 6:1, 2).
Into lewdness [into lasciviousness, dissoluteness]. The Greek word ASELGEIAN indicates a "lack of restraint." Grace was being perverted into license. Licentiousness has no place in the life of any Christian. "For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles -- when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries" (1Pe 4:3).
DENYING THE LORD (A)
- Jews denied Him by asking for the release of Barabbas (Mt 27:20-22; Ac 3:13, 14).
- False teachers deny He is Master and Lord (compare Ac 2:36; Eph 1:20-23; Col 1:18, 19; Heb 1:3).
- Some deny Him by their works (Tit 1:16).
- Early Gnostics said matter was evil; denied He was human (see 1Jo 2:22, 23; 4:2).
- Others denied His deity (1Jo 4:15).
And deny [denying, and denying]. Denying Christ is perilous (see chart DENYING THE LORD A and B). Although very bad, it is forgivable. The great apostle Peter denied Him (see Mt 26:70, 72, 75; Mk 14:68-72; Lu 22:57-62; Joh 18:25-27). The Lord's "love" conversation with him in which He instructed him to "Feed My lambs" and "Tend My sheep" implies he was forgiven (see Joh 21:15-17).
DENYING THE LORD (B)
- Whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father (Mt 10:33; Lu 12:9).
- The rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times (Joh 13:38).
- If we deny Him, He also will deny us (2Ti 2:12).
- Every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God (1Jo 4:3).
- Ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 4).
Did the false teachers announce their denial of Jesus Christ the first Sunday they came into an assembly of the church? I doubt it. They crept in unnoticed (verse 4). However, in the course of their teaching, doctrines that basically denied the Lord were smoothly introduced into the hearts of the hearers.
The only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ [our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ]. The NKJV follows the Received Text. Most modern translations follow the alternate reading shown above.
The first occurrence of Lord is from DESPOTEEN Master, which denotes, among other things, that God is absolute owner of everything. The second occurrence is from the more common Greek word for Lord, KURIOS, one possessing power or authority. The parallel passage in 2 Peter 2:1 has "denying the DESPOTEEN Lord who bought them."
A REMINDER FROM JEWISH HISTORY
1:5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.
But I want to remind you [I will therefore, now I desire to, but I would, put you in remembrance]. Jude reminds his readers of OT events known by them (see verses 5-7; chart APOSTASY DEMONSTRATED).
- The Lord saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe (Jude 5).
- Angels who did not keep their proper domain, reserved in everlasting chains for the judgment (Jude 6).
- Sodom and Gomorrah, having given themselves over to sexual immorality, an example suffering the vengeance of eternal fire (Jude 7).
Though you once knew this [though ye know all things once for all, though you were fully informed, though you once knew these things, you who knew all things].[ 14 ] Jude recognizes that his readers know Jewish history.
That the Lord [that he, how that, that after, the Lord].[ 15 ]
GOD SAVED THE ISRAELITES
Having saved the people [saved, who saved, a people]. The people of Israel were saved from starving, from slavery and from Pharaoh's army. "So the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore" (Ex 14:30; see notes on 1Co 10:5-12). Were Israelites ever saved spiritually? Yes (see note below on Who did not believe).
Out of the land of Egypt [out of Egypt]. God saved and redeemed Israel. "He redeemed them from the enemy" (Ps 78:42). "He saved them from the hand of him who hated them, And redeemed them from the hand of the enemy" (Ps 106:10). "Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy" (Ps 107:2).
UNBELIEVING ISRAELITES DESTROYED
Afterward [in the second place, he later]. The initial point Jude makes is that the Israelites were saved out of Egypt. His subsequent point is that most of them were destroyed.
Destroyed those. The original fighting force of 603,550[ 16 ] men died during forty years of wilderness wandering. "Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness?" (Heb 3:17). An entirely new generation of approximately the same number[ 17 ] entered Canaan.
DID THE ISRAELITES EVER BELIEVE?
Who did not believe [that believed not, who had not believed]. Did the Israelites ever believe? Yes. "Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses" (Ex 14:31). "The waters covered their enemies; There was not one of them left. Then they believed His words; They sang His praise" (Ps 106:11, 12). They were saved by faith and they "all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea" (1Co 10:2).
DID THE ISRAELITES LOSE THEIR FAITH?
Did they lose their faith? Most of them surely did (see chart ISRAELITES LOST THEIR FAITH). They were destroyed because of their unbelief (see notes on Heb 3:16-19).
ISRAELITES LOST THEIR FAITH
- In spite of this they still sinned, And did not believe in His wondrous works (Ps 78:32, 33).
- They soon forgot His works; They did not wait for His counsel (Ps 106:13).
- Then they despised the pleasant land; They did not believe His word, But complained in their tents, And did not heed the voice of the LORD (Ps 106:24, 25).
1:6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own habitation, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.
And the angels [the, and angels][ 18 ] (see note on 2Pe 2:4).
Who did not keep [that, which kept not, who had not kept].[ 19 ]
Their proper domain [their own principality, first estate, position, original state]. The angels alluded to, left their first estate, their beginning place. That is, they left their original office and position of dignity and service to God.
ANGELS ABANDONED THEIR ABODE
But left [but had abandoned]. Angels had the power of choice. These particular angels contemplated their course and chose to abandon heaven.
Their own abode [their proper habitation, dwelling]. Apparently, the sinful angels left their heavenly home for earth. Some ancient apocryphal[ 20 ] writings describe their cohabitation with the daughters of men. There is no Scripture to support this fanciful idea. The sin that the angels committed was in leaving their own habitation and in not keeping their principality. There is no hint here, or elsewhere in the Scriptures, that their sin consisted of co-habitation with women, beautiful or otherwise. Although this outlandish theory is contradicted by Jesus: "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven" (Mt 22:30), it has been swallowed hook, line and sinker by many denominational commentators. The "proper abode" of Christians on earth is the Lord's church but they long for their future proper abode in heaven (2Co 5:2).
He has reserved [he keeps, he has kept, have been kept by him]. The sinful angels were committed to pits of darkness (see note on 2Pe 2:4).
In everlasting [in eternal]. The sinful angels were placed in eternal chains. They are held without release or interruption until the judgment day.
Chains [bonds]. The Greek word for chains, bands or bonds need not be taken literally. The angels were confined.
Under darkness [of darkness, under gloomy darkness, in the nether gloom].[ 21 ] Angels were restrained in the thick darkness of the nether[ 22 ] world.[ 23 ]
FOR THE JUDGMENT
For the judgment [to, until, the judgment, unto the great judgment day]. What will happen to sinful angels after the judgment? Jesus said eternal fire is prepared for the devil and his angels (Mt 25:41; compare Mk 9:47, 48; Lu 16:23- 25).
THE GREAT DAY
Of the great day [great judgment day]. The great day is the day of all days, the resurrection-judgment day.
EXAMPLES OF PUNISHMENT
1:7 As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
SODOM, OT SYMBOL OF VICE
- Unless the LORD of hosts had left to us a very remnant, we would have become like Sodom (Isa 1:9).
- Declare their sin as Sodom (Isa 3:9).
- All of them are like Sodom to Me (Jer 23:14).
- The punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom (Lam 4:6).
- Your younger sister . . . is Sodom and her daughters (Eze 16:46).
- I overthrew some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah (Am 4:11).
- Surely Moab shall be like Sodom (Zep 2:9).
As Sodom [even as, just as, Sodom]. Sodom was a city of vice and corruption. Its name became a synonym for wickedness, depravity and God's judgment against sin (see the two charts on SODOM). Sodomy is homosexuality (see Ge 19:5; compare De 23:17; Ro 1:27). Sometimes this sinful practice is connected with idolatry (1Ki 14:24; 2Ki 23:7).
SODOM, NT SYMBOL OF DESTRUCTION
- It rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all (Lu 17:29).
- Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom (Ro 9:29).
- Condemned them to destruction, making them an example (2Pe 2:6).
- Dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt (Re 11:8).
And Gomorrah [and Gomorrha]. The location of Gomorrah was established in 1924 by an archaeological expedition led by the late eminent archaeologist, Dr. Melvin Grove Kyle, who wrote,[ 24 ] "The cities are clearly shown to have stood in front of Jebel Usdum where they lie under the waters [of the Dead Sea] today. This region was found by geologists to be a burned-out area of oil and asphalt, of which there has been an accumulation which is now being exploited. Where these conditions exist, there is an accumulation of gases. Geologists admit that at some past time there was a great explosion, with first an upheaval and then a subsidence of strata. Salt, mixed with sulphur, was carried up into the heavens white hot and so rained down upon the cities of the plain, exactly as the Scriptures describe the rain of fire and brimstone from heaven."
CITIES OF THE PLAIN
And the cities around them [and the surrounding cities]. Other cities of the plain were Admah, Zeboiim and Zoar[ 25 ] or Bela (De 29:23; Ho 11:8). Zoar escaped the destruction that annihilated Sodom because of Lot's prayer (see Ge 19:20-22; compare De 34:3; Isa 15:5; Jer 48:34). The little city of Zoar still stands on the western shore of the Dead Sea. Since the days of the Crusades, it has been known for the introduction of table sugar. Its name "Zo-har" somehow came down to us as "sugar."[ 26 ]
Sodom and Zoar personify "the goodness and severity of God" (Ro 11:22). "The name of Sodom is an enduring reminder of His righteous wrath upon sin, but the little town of Zoar stands as testimony to the sweetness of His mercy toward those who love, trust and obey Him."[ 27 ]
In a similar manner to these [in the same manner, in like manner, in like manner with them, which likewise]. The Greek for "these"[ 28 ] is plural and may be either masculine or neuter. Several have understood the pronoun to refer to the false teachers to whom Jude called attention, often by using "these," the same pronoun as here, in several other verses (see Jude 4, 8, 10, 12, 14). Others understand the meaning to be the false teachers of his day (they) engaged in immorality as these (Sodom, Gomorrah and the cities of the plain). Versions that insert "the angels"[ 29 ] have no real basis in the Greek text for such a rendering.
Having given themselves over to sexual immorality [giving themselves over to, committing greedily, fornication, acted immorally, turned to sexual immorality]. "Sexual immorality" translates one Greek word that is also rendered as "fornication." In Scripture, fornication is a more general word than adultery. It includes premarital sex and forms of sexual uncleanness other than the normal sex act. It also encompasses bestiality and homosexuality. The cities of the plain practiced the latter sin excessively. They were "given over" to it.
And gone after [going after, and going after, and indulged in]. People in the cities of the plain were addicted to, and devoted to, sins of the flesh. They sought out strange sexual perversions with different partners, often of the same sex.
OT DENOUNCES HOMOSEXUALITY
- You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination (Le 18:22)
- Whoever commits any of these abominations . . . shall be cut off from among their people (Le 18:29).
- If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination (Le 20:13).
- There shall be no . . . perverted one of the sons of Israel (De 23:17; compare 1Ki 14:24; 15:12).
- The rest of the perverted persons, who remained in the days of his father Asa, he banished from the land (1Ki 22:46; compare 2Ki 23:7).
NT DENOUNCES HOMOSEXUALITY
- He who made them at the beginning, "made them male and female," and said, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh" (Mt 19:5).
- For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due (Ro 1:26, 27).
- Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites . . . will inherit the kingdom of God (1Co 6:9, 10).
Strange flesh [other flesh, unnatural lust]. Jude's statement about the sin of homosexuality and the punishment God has in store for those who practice that filthy, disease-ridden sin is important enough to commit verse 7 to memory. The law of Moses forbad people to engage in homosexual or bestial sexual acts. "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion" (Le 18:22, 23). Paul said Gentiles practiced this kind of sin (see charts OT DENOUNCES HOMOSEXUAL PRACTICES; NT DENOUNCES HOMOSEXUAL PRACTICES). Among the unrighteous to be kept under punishment for the day of judgment are "those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness" (2Pe 2:10). After reading the Scriptures, one must conclude that the practice of homosexuality is unnatural and sinful, and is an abomination in God's sight.
AN ALTERNATE LIFESTYLE?
The world may lend acceptance to sins with such labels as gay, swinging and AC-DC. Liberal lawmakers may legalize them. A sick educational system may present them as "optional lifestyles." But no amount of worldly acceptance can whitewash them into respectability with those who honor God and keep His word.[ 30 ]
Are set forth [lie there, serve]. Jude writes as though the locations of the destroyed cities were known in his day. Several of his readers may have visited the sites near or in the Dead Sea. Contemporary visitors to that area see a modern town of "Sodom" but it is not the same as the city that was destroyed. Nevertheless, it serves as a reminder of sin and its consequent punishment. The little town of Zoar still stands. To those not so fortunate to visit Palestine, the reminders are "on exhibit" in the Scriptures.
AN EXAMPLE OF GOD PUNISHING SIN
As an example [for an example]. The fires that burned Sodom and the other cities are cited as harbingers of the threatening fires of hell. God will not overlook sin forever (see 2Pe 2:6-9). The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah stands forever to illustrate His wrath against the wicked.
Suffering [undergoing, by undergoing, of those under]. The punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah was not something that happened once in the distant past. It was not an isolated event that was forever over and done with. If this had been the case, the Greek aorist tense would have been used. Instead, Jude employed the present participle to show that the punishment was still going on at the time he wrote. They were "being held under" punishment.[ 31 ]
The vengeance [the, a punishment, the judgment, the sentence]. The Greek word for punishment or vengeance does not include the idea of personal satisfaction. Because of His perfect holiness, God must punish sin. However, it gives Him no pleasure whatsoever to send the wicked to torment. "For he does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men" (Lam 3:33). "'Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?' says the Lord GOD" (Eze 18:23). "'As I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked'" (Eze 33:11).
Of eternal fire.[ 32 ] There is a difference of opinion among translators as to whether the punishment of eternal fire refers to Sodom and Gomorrah or to other sinners. It does not matter. The Bible elsewhere teaches eternal fire for the wicked whether they lived in Sodom or elsewhere (see note on Mt 25:41; see note on verse 6). Let us fear lest we have a part in it.
FALSE TEACHERS DESCRIBED
1:8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.
Likewise [yet in like manner, in the same way]. Jude saw a likeness between the false teachers of his day and the inhabitants of the cities of the plain. The latter persisted in wickedness. They suffered punishment. The false teachers were persisting in their sins. They, too, would suffer punishment.
Also these dreamers [these dreamers also, these men in their dreamings, filthy dreamers]. Once again, Jude calls direct attention to the false teachers (see verses 4, 10, 12, 14). The word "filthy" in italics in the KJV does not appear in the Greek. Some think the dreamers were false prophets who dreamed up their prophecies.[ 33 ]
Defile the flesh.[ 34 ] "And especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority" (2Pe 2:10).
Reject authority [and set at nought, despise dominion, despise lordship, disregard authority]. The false teachers probably rejected kings, magistrates and even elders of the church. More seriously, they rejected the authority of Christ (Mt 28:18; compare Da 7:13, 14; Mt 11:27; 26:64; Ro 14:9; Eph 1:20-23; Php 2:9-11; Col 2:10; 1Pe 3:22).
To submit to God's authority, one must accept His word. Nothing may be added or subtracted. This point was made clear by Moses when, in the land of Moab,[ 35 ] he expounded the law. "Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you. You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you" (De 4:1, 2; compare 13:1-4; Pr 30:6; Re 22:18, 19; see note on 2Pe 2:10). The false teachers rejected, along with the authority of Christ, the holy Scriptures themselves. They distorted them to their own destruction (2Pe 3:16).
And speak evil of dignitaries [rail at, revile, speak against, and speak railingly against, dignities, majesties, the glorious ones]. In this verse, the Greek has no word for "angelic" or "celestial," although many so understand the context (see note on 2Pe 2:10). Williams renders it simply, "deride the majesties." Macknight[ 36 ] understands the phrase to mean "revile magistrates when they punish them for their lewd practices." Barnes wrote, "The word rendered dignitaries here, [DOXAS] means properly honor, glory, splendor; then that which is fitted to inspire respect; that which is dignified or exalted. It is applied here to men of exalted rank; and the meaning is, that they did not regard rank, or station, or office -- thus violating the plainest rules of propriety and of religion"[ 37 ] (compare Ac 23:4, 5).
The point Jude makes, as seen from the following verse, is that Christians ought not to revile anybody. What about an unfair employer? A crooked politician? Satan? The implication is that one must not burst forth with slanderous insults even to these.
MICHAEL VERSUS SATAN
1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, 'The Lord rebuke you'".
Yet Michael [but, but when, Michael]. The name Michael means "Who is like God?". He was the special protector of the Hebrew nation. He is identified as "one of the chief princes" who came to help Daniel (Da 10:13; compare Da 10:21). The one who comforted Daniel and spoke to him in Daniel 10:11 through 12:13 said that Michael "stands watch over the sons of your people" (Da 12:1). In the book of Revelation, it is stated that there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels "fought with the dragon" (Re 12:7).[ 38 ]
The archangel.[ 39 ] Michael was the archangel. That is, he was chief of the angels. In Scripture, only one archangel is mentioned. The Jews held that there were four chief angels, one standing on each of the four sides of God's throne. According to their lore, he was also one of seven archangels.
THE APOCRYPHAL ASSUMPTION OF MOSES
Origen (about AD 185-254) mentions a book called The Assumption of Moses. It is thought to have been an apocryphal book. According to Origen, it contained an account of the contest between Michael and the devil about the body of Moses. I have not seen this book and do not know if it had been written by Jude's time. However, there is little doubt that the document existed in Origen's day. Almost certainly such a story was accepted by at least some of the Jews. They had ancient and fanciful stories about various things. There is so little inspired information about this point that I am not inclined to speculate.
If Jude did quote from an apocryphal book, why did he do so? Would he refer to such writing as authority? Would he use it in some way to counter claims that false teachers may have been taking from the same source? Did Jude really quote from an apocryphal book? He does not so state and the Holy Spirit inspired him to write. For those interested in further pursuit of this topic, Ellicott has listed thirty-two verses in 2 Peter and Jude that he thinks have correspondence with passages in 1 Enoch.[ 40 ]
In contending [when contending, when disputing, when he disputed]. In disputing with the devil (compare Ac 11:2, 3 in the Greek), Michael was contending or striving with actual words.
With the devil.[ 41 ]
When he disputed [arguing, disputed, he reasoned]. The Greek word for "disputed" denotes an argument made with words (compare the usage in Mk 9:34; Ac 17:2, 27; 18:4, 19; 24:12). There are two implications here. First, the devil is a real person capable of speech (compare Ge 3:1-5; Job 1:7-10; Mt 4:3, 6, 9; Joh 8:44). Secondly, he was disputing or debating with words. Michael and Satan were speaking to each other.
LITERAL BODY OF MOSES?
About the body of Moses.[ 42 ] Jude says nothing about burying Moses' fleshly body. However, there are several imaginary stories that have come down to us from ancient Jewish sources. Many are fanciful and indisputably false. One of them has to do with an argument between Michael and Satan about the possession, burial or preservation of Moses' literal corpse. Would it have made any difference whether it was buried, mummified or cremated?[ 43 ] Nothing was said about whether the devil wanted to get possession of it. It is possible that God saw fit not to preserve it in the presence of the people lest they make an idol out of it as they did the bronze serpent.[ 44 ]
"Perhaps [Satan], too, thought that because Moses once sinned he had a rightful claim on him. Obviously the Devil didn't know that God had a master plan already at work that would one day wash away the sins of the penitently obedient faithful, even retroactively (Heb 9:15). As a matter of fact, he wasn't able to figure out how it was going to work till after he himself, in his efforts to sabotage it, had made use of 'lawless hands' to commit the atrocity that unwittingly activated the system, and it was then too late to stop it."[ 45 ]
WAS THE BODY OF MOSES THE JEWISH NATION?
In a paragraph above,[ 46 ] it was pointed out that Daniel was told that Michael stood watch over the sons of the people (Da 12:1). Protection of the Jewish nation was one of his special tasks. Because of this, some think that "the body of Moses" was the Jewish people. The church is the body of Christ (Eph 1:22, 23; Col 1:18). Israel was the body of Moses. Satan would have liked nothing better than to destroy that nation.[ 47 ]
Dared not bring against him [did not dare, presume, he did not presume, to pronounce upon, to bring against him]. Michael did not hold back an insult because he feared Satan but because he respected the sovereignty of God.
A reviling accusation [a railing, a reproachful, accusation, judgment]. Satan is the lowest evil personified. If anyone deserves a reviling accusation it is he. Yet, Michael did not bring upon him harsh, violent or caustic words of judgment. Mortals need to follow this example and always use discretion, caution and gentleness when speaking to others, whether higher-ranking, equal or inferior, good or bad.
THE LORD REBUKE YOU
But said, 'The Lord rebuke you' [the Lord rebuke thee, may the Lord rebuke you]. Michael requested that the Lord take matters in His own hands and deal with Satan according to his error.
This same statement was once made by the LORD[ 48 ] to Satan. It is quoted for similarity, not to imply that it is the exact instance Jude was alluding to.
"Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the LORD said to Satan, 'The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?'" (Zec 3:1, 2).
The lesson is plain. One is not to be audacious, brazen or rash when speaking to (or about) others even if one does not agree with them.
WORLDLY KNOWLEDGE OF FALSE TEACHERS
1:10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.
But these [but these men]. Again, Jude calls specific attention to the brazen false teachers (see verses 4, 8, 12, 14).
Speak evil of [rail at, revile, they speak railingly, reproachfully, against]. The false teachers spouted forth violent, harsh and abusive language. The archangel Michael's rebuke of Satan was mild in comparison to their rashness. It is disgraceful the way some people "bad mouth" the church, its elders and even civil authorities. Many who do so have little or no absolute knowledge of what they are talking about. Brethren, such things ought not to occur!
Whatever they do not know [things, whatever things, which they know not, they know not, do not understand].[ 49 ] (see note on 2Pe 2:12).
And whatever they know [but what they know, understand]. The false teachers were not totally without knowledge. They understood a few things. Most of their knowledge came to them through the five senses. They tended to ignore or reject what they could not touch or see with their own eyes.
Naturally [by mere nature, by instinct]. The false teachers were likened to brutes governed by mere instinct. Instinct is a natural or inherent aptitude, impulse or capacity. It refers also to any behavior prompted by the subconscious.
Like brute beasts [like the creatures without reason, as irrational, as the irrational, as the unspeaking, animals, animals do]. Even the most "intelligent" animal is without reason when compared with man. Jude is using hyperbole[ 50 ] to show that the false teachers' spiritual and intellectual belts missed a loop or two. Peter, made a similar point. "But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption" (2Pe 2:12).
In these things they corrupt themselves [in these, in those things, they are destroyed]. The repercussion of the false teachers' false, impudent words was their own undoing. Their immoral and indecent acts likewise shall come back to eternally haunt them.
CONDEMNATION OF FALSE TEACHERS
1:11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.
A TRIAD OF SINS
- The way of Cain.
- The error of Balaam.
- The rebellion of Korah.
Woe to them!. The Holy Spirit points out the penalty due the false teachers.
For they have gone [for they went, because they walk].[ 51 ]
THE WAY OF CAIN
In the way of Cain. Cain offered of the fruit of the ground. He did not offer by faith (see Ge 4:4, 5; Heb 11:4). His offering was not accepted by God (Ge 4:5). He refused to accept responsibility for his own error. Instead, he began to pout (Ge 4:6). Then he murdered his brother Abel. He was punished for his murder (see chart CAIN'S OFFERING).
- He did not offer by faith (Heb 11:4).
- His offering was not accepted by God (Ge 4:5).
- He murdered Abel because his works were evil and his brother's righteous (1Joh 3:12).
- He was punished (Ge 4:11-13).
Have run greedily [and ran greedily, riotously, have, and, given themselves up, have rushed]. The false teachers had rushed into error with abandon. They greedily sought after illicit sexual encounters. They plunged headlong into fleshly sins. Perhaps, even with more enthusiasm and reckless cupidity, they sought wealth.
THE ERROR OF BALAAM
In the error of Balaam [after, to, into, the error of Balaam, to Balaam's error]. The story of Balaam is recorded in Numbers 22-24; 31:16. He knew that God did not want His people cursed. Yet, for money, he tried to find a way to get around the plain will of God. For a price, he was willing to do his best to curse them. His problem was a covetous heart. When God would not allow him to curse the Israelites, his creativity went to work. He figured out a way to cause them to sin by introducing idolatry and by sending attractive women among them to make the men more cooperative (see note on 2Pe 2:16). Although Balaam prayed, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end by like his!" (Nu 23:10), he perished in war along with the Amorites and Midianites, the enemies of God's people (Jos 13:22).
Balaam was not the only person who ran "greedily" or "rushed headlong" into this error. The Israelite men rather enjoyed the wiles of the pagan women who were sent into the camp. They were romping and playing and immorally honoring an idol. Many were killed as a result of the sin. The slaughter of these apostates who fell for Balaam's plot brought the final outbreak of divine wrath upon Israel before their entry into the Promised Land. There is an analogy between Israel and the church (see 1Co 10). We gain a practical lesson from this event. Jesus taught in the parable of the vineyard that the "eleventh-hour" laborer shall not lose his reward (Mt 20:1-16). Does not this episode demonstrate that an eleventh-hour apostate will not escape his punishment[ 52 ] (compare Eze 18:24)? Let us all vow to be faithful until death. Almost until the end is not enough (but see Ps 37:23, 24).
For profit [for reward, hire, for the sake of gain, for gain]. In contrast to Paul and the other apostles who served out of conviction, the false teachers were looking for monetary gain.
And perished [and perish, and have perished]. The consequence of the sins of the false teachers was so certain that Jude speaks of it as already accomplished.
THE REBELLION OF KORAH
In the rebellion of Korah [in the gainsaying of Core, in Korah's rebellion]. The rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram is recorded in Numbers 16:1-40. Korah and his men revolted against Moses whom God had made ruler over Israel. They resolved that he should not be lord over them. With a loud outcry of anguish they went down into the mouth of the earth as it closed over them (Nu 16:32, 34). Some people never learn. On the very next day, after the calamity had come upon Korah and his group, two hundred fifty unauthorized men took it upon themselves to serve as priests. Fire destroyed them as they were offering incense (see Nu 16:35). Besides those who died on account of Korah, 14,700 died by plague (Nu 16:49).
The ambitious, restless false teachers in Jude's day were anxious to take their theological scissors and cut the reins of Christ who is the Guide and Head of the church. They wanted to bypass the elders and take over the sole guidance of the churches. They were insubordinate to the apostles. They were defiant, rebellious and disobedient. Their lack of submission led to their destruction.
METAPHORS DESCRIBING EVIL MEN
1:12, 13 These are spots in your love-feasts while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves; they are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; 13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
These are [these are they]. After giving the triad of sins in verse 11, Jude once again calls attention to the false teachers (see verses 4, 8, 10, 14).
FALSE TEACHERS [SIX METAPHORS]
(Jude 12, 13)
- Spots in love-feasts.
- Serving only themselves.
- Clouds without water.
- Autumn trees without fruit.
- Raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame.
- Wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
Spots [blemishes, who are hidden rocks]. The NKJV translators understood the Greek for "spots" to have a similar meaning as a different Greek word in 2 Peter 2:13, namely, "spots," or "blemishes." Thus, the false teachers are represented as impurities in their fellowship. A more common meaning of the word used here, however, is "a hidden rock in the sea." Like a rocky reef in dark waters upon which a ship could founder, the false teachers posed a threat that might wreck the gospel ship. There was a real danger that souls would be lost because of their false teaching (see chart FALSE TEACHERS [SIX METAPHORS]).
In your love-feasts [on your feasts of charity].[ 53 ] Love-feasts were held by members of some of the early churches of Christ. Some think the Gnostics corrupted the love feasts by turning them into gluttonous orgies.[ 54 ]
WHAT WERE THE LOVE FEASTS?[ 55 ]
Now and then the false doctrine resurfaces that the Lord's supper may be, or even should be, associated with a common meal.
What does Jude mean by "love feasts"? He warns of certain base persons being spots in the love feasts. The actual word used is AGAPAIS, the plural form of AGAPEE love. That this word has the meaning of "love feast" in this context is concluded by most scholars because the word is used with that meaning in early church history. The immediate context provides little help in understanding the meaning. To speak of "blemishes" or "reefs"[ 56 ] in love feasts is a mixed metaphor.
The term "love feast" is thought by some to be another designation for the Lord's supper. Some think it referred to a meal that Christians ate together in their own homes (see Ac 2:46). There may be some merit in the opinion that it refers to the type of feast Christ recommends to which the poor are to be invited, rather than wealthy friends (see Lu 14:12, 13). Not enough information is given in the NT to certainly establish any of the above suggestions as the the one true meaning.
Many commentators make the definitely erroneous statement that the love feast in NT times was a meal in the assembly either before or after the Lord's supper. These writers have influenced some brethren to serve communion along with a common meal eaten during worship. This is not the meaning of "love feast" in Jude 12. Paul expressly forbade such. "If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home!" (1Co 11:34). "What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in?" (1Co 11:22). Paul is clearly referring to a meal as an actual part of the assembly. Several interpreters have noted that these verses do not forbid the eating of a meal "in the building" or "on the grounds" at any time. Paul himself left us an example of eating "in the building." This occurred at Troas after he had preached until midnight (Ac 20:11).
Strangely enough, 1 Corinthians 11 is the very passage often used by commentators to support their claim that the Lord's Supper was eaten in connection with a regular meal in the assembly! In this passage, however, there is no mention of them having the Lord's Supper before or after a meal. Apparently, they were having a meal instead of the Lord's Supper. Among the Greeks, it was customary to have drunken parties to honor pagan deities. This might explain the behavior at Corinth.
Those who use the above passage in support of eating a common meal along with the Lord's supper, make an argument something like this: "Paul doesn't condemn having a meal in the assembly. It is just the excess and the lack of sharing that he condemns." This rationalization runs counter to the clear implication of Paul: "What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in?" (1Co 11:22). He does not ask, "Do you not have houses to eat too much and to drink too much in?" The Lord's Supper is not intended to be a nourishing meal. If one is hungry he is to eat at home.
Paul explains exactly how the Lord's Supper is to be eaten. He says what the Corinthians were doing was not even the Lord's Supper (1Co 11:20). Neither could it be called a "love feast." The actions of the Corinthians were not only selfish but the very idea of having a meal for nourishment as a part of the assembly was condemned.
Commentators who state that in early church history the love feast was a meal connected with the Lord's supper have not cited any basis for that claim. In several early descriptions of the Lord's supper, there is no mention of a love feast. For example, Ignatius, who lived AD 30-107, mentions the love feast and the Lord's supper, but separately.[ 57 ] From the context, it is impossible to determine whether he intends the love feast to be another name for the Lord's supper or something different.
Clement of Alexandria, who was born AD 153 and died about AD 200, opposes calling a sumptuous feast an "agape." He makes reference to Luke 14:12, 13 as the proper way to have an agape.[ 58 ]
According to Tertullian, who lived from AD 145 to 220, the agape was a supper to benefit the needy.[ 59 ] He mentions that the meal was begun and ended by prayer and that hymns were sung. He does not state when or where the meal was eaten.
In the Constitutions of the apostles,[ 60 ] the love feast is described as something an individual Christian might hold in his own home for the benefit of poor widows.
In summary, early historical references tend to indicate that the love feast in early church history was a meal provided by an individual Christian in his own home for poor people in application of Luke 14:12, 13. It is possible that this practice dated back to NT times and that this is also what "love feast" in Jude refers to. However, one should not rule out the possibility that this meaning was introduced at a later date.
How then may the expression "love feast" be used by Christians? First, we should be very careful about using the word, since in the only passage in the Bible where the word is used, its meaning is not at all clear.
The only completely safe way to use it would be the same way it is used in Jude 12. Christians could refer to hypocrites in the church as blemishes in their love feasts. Such usage would definitely be in accordance with Scripture.
If someone wishes to use the expression to describe a meal which a Christian provides in his own home for the needy, that would be in agreement with the use in early church history. There is some question, however, as to whether that is the meaning in Jude 12.
To use the expression as a description of the Lord's supper or to describe a meal which Christians eat together, might be justified on the basis of the argument that such meals are meals at which love is demonstrated. But it must be kept in mind that there is no proven connection with the biblical use of the word in Jude 12. Christians should never include a meal for physical nourishment as a part of their worship assembly since that is specifically forbidden by Paul.
While they feast with you [feasting with you, feasting together with you, as they boldly carouse together]. The false teachers had taken over the love feasts to the extent that the whole procedure was a hindrance to the local saints (see note on 2Pe 2:13).
Without fear. The false teachers did not reverence God. They had not the slightest qualm about church discipline that probably had become somewhat lax or permissive. The days of miraculous signs were swiftly coming to a close. The false teachers had little fear of being struck dead or blind (see Ac 5:5, 10; 13:11).
SERVING ONLY THEMSELVES
Serving only themselves [feeding, pasturing, shepherding, looking after, caring only for, themselves]. The false teachers Jude describes were much like those pictured by Isaiah. "Yes, they are greedy dogs, which never have enough. And they are shepherds who cannot understand; they all look to their own way, every one for his own gain, from his own territory. 'Come,' one says, 'I will bring wine, and we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink; tomorrow will be as today, and much more abundant'" (Isa 56:11,12). Apparently the evil teachers censured by Jude were serving for "dishonest gain" (compare 1Pe 5:2). Christians are to serve one another: "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others" (Php 2:4). These false teachers were serving only themselves. Paul described similar men: "For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple" (Ro 16:18).
They are clouds without water [waterless clouds]. Waterless clouds are deceptive. So were the false teachers. "Whoever falsely boasts of giving Is like clouds and wind without rain" (Pr 25:14).
Carried about by the winds [carried along by the winds]. Like clouds being blown along without dropping any rain, the false teachers' lessons ended with little or no truth expressed. They were instable and unproductive.
LATE AUTUMN TREES
Late autumn trees [autumn leaves, trees in late autumn, autumnal trees]. Late autumn is when deciduous trees drop their leaves. They only appear to be dead but in the spring are expected to bud and put out new leaves. That is, unless they are dead.
Without fruit [fruitless]. Late summer or autumn is the time for fruit. The false teachers bore none.
Twice dead [utterly dead]. A fruit tree may have looked dead the first winter but if it put out no leaves the next spring there was no doubt that it was dead. Two seasons without leaves are enough to convince anyone a tree is dead. In fact, it could be said to be "twice dead" or "doubly dead." A tree girdled through its cambium layer is also dead (or dying). A doubly dead tree does not put forth leaves in the spring nor does it bear fruit. The false teachers were spiritually "doubly dead."
Pulled up by the roots [rooted up, uprooted]. A tree with its roots bulldozed out of the ground will not survive. Without question, an uprooted, girdled, autumn tree that produces no leaves or fruit is dead! Jude is telling his readers that the false teachers were spiritually dead beyond any doubt! They could expect no useful, spiritual fruit from them.
RAGING WAVES OF THE SEA
[1:13] Raging waves of the sea [wild waves of the sea]. Wild waves keep coming. They advance and recede again and again. They never quit. Like waves, the false teachers appeared to weave back and forth, move in and out, as they incessantly introduced false doctrine.
Foaming up their own shame [foaming out their own shame, their own shames, casting up the foam of their own shame]. An ill-smelling brown foam may develop as the waves stir up the refuse from ships anchored near the shore. The issue of the false teachers was like bad-smelling froth.
"But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt" (Isa 57:20).
Wandering stars.[ 61 ] Wandering stars are those that have wandered from their courses. Before they knew the identity of planets, the ancients called them "wandering stars." They noticed that planets, comets and meteors did not follow the regular east-west movements of the constellations across the night sky. Consider the drop in temperature on the water-planet (earth) and imagine that it was drifting away from the sun. Consider the coldness of a life that has wandered away from the Son.
For whom is reserved [has been, to whom has been, reserved]. Once a person dies in a lost condition, he is always lost. Scripture offers no escape from the eternal darkness of hell (see note on 2Pe 2:17). "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels'" (Mt 25:41).
The blackness of darkness forever [the gloom of darkness, for eternity]. Although not known in Jude's day, his description calls to mind black holes[ 62 ] that have exceedingly strong gravitational pulls. Matter pours into them never to be seen again. There may be also an allusion here to the "chains of darkness" or "pits of darkness" into which the sinful angels were committed (2Pe 2:4). The language here, however, indicates the black darkness is for the false teachers.
1:14, 15 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
Now Enoch [And Enoch, and Enoch also]. Enoch was a son of Jared (Ge 5:18) and father of Methuselah (Ge 5:21, 22; Lu 3:37). Both he and Noah walked with God[ 63 ] (Ge 5:24; 6:9). At age 365, he was translated that he should not see death (Ge 5:21, 22; Heb 11:5, 6).
The seventh from Adam [in the seventh generation from Adam]. The list from Genesis 5:1-18 is: (1) Adam, (2) Seth, (3) Enosh, (4) Kenan, (5) Mahalalel, (6) Jared and (7) Enoch (compare 1Ch 1:1-3).
Prophesied [prophesied also]. The book of 1 Enoch, from which this quotation seems to be taken, is said to have been compiled by Pharisees about 163-63 BC. Only a few fragments of it were known until 1773 when Bruce found the entire book in an Ethiopic Bible. The discovery of fragments of it among the Dead Sea Scrolls has awakened new interest in its structure and dating. As I write these words, I am looking at a nearly complete copy of it (73 pages). It seems to have been edited, compiled and fabricated from bits and pieces of other documents. Is it possible that one or more of them may have come down to the compiler(s) from the original Enoch of Genesis 5? If so, the Holy Spirit gives His stamp of approval upon this small portion of 1 Enoch. I think only an inspired person could determine which, if any, portions of the apocryphal writings are inspired.
About these men also [of these, of these also, as to these, also as to these]. Again, Jude calls attention back to the false teachers (compare verses 4, 8, 10, 12).
ENOCH QUOTATION [FIVE PROPOSALS]
- Apocryphal 1 Enoch inspired (all scholars deny this).
- Jude cited uninspired "prophecy" as authority (this questions his inspiration).
- Jude merely quoted a commonly known uninspired prophecy but not as authority.
- The judgment passage may have been inserted in 1 Enoch after Jude wrote.
- Apocryphal 1 Enoch a compilation of documents of varying antiquity, a portion of which contains inspired prophecy from the Enoch of Genesis 5.
Saying, Behold.[ 64 ]
The Lord comes [the Lord came, has come]. If one accepts the book of Jude as inspired as I do, he may have a problem with Jude's reference to "Enoch, the seventh from Adam."[ 65 ] This seems to allude to the Enoch of Genesis 5. Not only that but Jude says Enoch prophesied (see chart THE ENOCH QUOTATION [FIVE PROPOSALS]). Then he gives a quotation very much like what I will now copy from 1 Enoch 1:9: "Behold, he will arrive with ten million of the holy ones in order to execute judgment upon all. He will destroy the wicked ones and censure all flesh on account of everything that they have done, that which the sinners and the wicked ones committed against him." This pretty well matches Jesus' prophecy of the judgment scene (see Mt 25:31-46). Who knows if this quotation came down to us via the ark to be copied into the apocryphal book of 1 Enoch?
HOLY ONES AS ANGELS
- When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him (Mt 25:31 Received Text; Nestle Text simply has ANGELOI angels).
- At the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints (1Th 3:13).
- Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints (Jude 14).
- Tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels (Re 14:10).
With ten thousands [amidst his holy myriads, with a vast multitude]. Note the similarity of the Enoch quotation with other biblical statements: "The LORD came from Sinai, and dawned on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints; from His right hand came a fiery law for them" (De 33:2). "A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened" (Da 7:10). "Thus the LORD my God, will come, and all the saints with You" (Zec 14:5; compare Mt 16:27; 25:31). The angels number "ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands" (Re 5:11).
Of His saints [holy ones]. Although the Greek is "holy [ones]," most understand the meaning to be angels because Jesus is to come with His angels (Mt 25:31; compare De 33:2; Ps 68:17; see chart HOLY ONES AS ANGELS).
DAY OF JUDGMENT
- Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name' (Mt 7:22).
- More tolerable . . . in the day of judgment (Mt 10:15, 11:22, 24).
- Give account of it in the day of judgment (Mt 12:36).
- Appointed a day on which He will judge the world (Ac 17:31).
- To die once, but after this the judgment (Heb 9:27).
- Reserved for fire until the day of judgment (2Pe 3:7).
[1:15] To execute judgment on all [against all]. "Then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment" (2Pe 2:9; compare Ro 2:6-8; Re 20:11-15; see chart DAY OF JUDGMENT).
To convict all [and to convince all]. The Greek word for "convict" appears only once in the NT. It carries with it the idea that the wicked will be strongly convicted and put to shame at the judgment.
Who are ungodly among them [that are ungodly among them, the ungodly of them]. The ungodly are those who oppose God's way. They may be believers or unbelievers. They may have a vain religion or none at all. The false prophets were ungodly (see note on verse 4).
UNGODLY IN DEED
Of all their ungodly deeds [of all their deeds of ungodliness]. Unless forgiven, all ungodly, irreverent and impious deeds will be judged (see 2Co 5:10).
UNGODLY IN MANNER
Which they have committed in an ungodly way [which they, have wrought ungodlily, ungodly wrought, have ungodly committed, have committed in such an ungodly way, which, in their ungodliness they did]. This suggests the evil deeds of the false teachers were not done in an honorable way or with prayerful thoughtfulness. They did them in an ungodly and irreverent manner.
HARSH BIBLICAL STATEMENTS
- He who does not believe will be condemned (Mk 16:16).
- Done evil unto the resurrection of condemnation (Joh 5:29).
- A hard saying: who can understand it? (Joh 6:60).
- Vengeance on those who do not obey the gospel (2Th 1:8).
- Marked out for this condemnation (Jude 4).
- To convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds (Jude 15).
- Shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Re 21:8).
And of all the harsh things [and of all, and concerning, their hard speeches, the hard things, the harsh things, all the harsh things]. Unless forgiven, all hard and evil speaking will be judged. "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Mt 12:37).
UNGODLY IN NATURE
Which ungodly sinners [that ungodly sinners]. The false teachers uttered harsh and irreverent words. They committed impious deeds. They were ungodly both in heart and life.
IRREVERENT IN SPEECH
Have spoken against him [have spoken against him, spoke against him]. This ends the quotation from Enoch. The ungodly sinners had said harsh things against Christ Jesus.
FALSE TEACHERS' CHARACTERISTICS
- Grumblers (Jude 16).
- Flatterers (Jude 16).
- Mockers (Jude 18).
- Walk according to ungodly lusts (Jude 18).
- Cause divisions (Jude 19).
- Sensual, worldly-minded (Jude (19).
- Devoid of the Spirit (Jude 19).
1:16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.
These are murmurers [these are grumblers]. Murmuring is often condemned in Scripture and never upheld as righteous (see Ex 16:2; Nu 14:1-4, 27; 17:5, 10; Mt 20:11, 12; Lu 5:30; Joh 6:41-43, 61; 7:32) . Apparently, the grumblers in the present verse had murmured against Christ as the Israelites murmured against God. They probably did not like His plan of salvation or the way He blessed their lives (compare 1Co 10:10; Nu 16:41, 49; 17:5, 10).
Complainers [malcontents, faultfinders]. A prominent sin of the grouchy false teachers was complaining or finding fault about their lot in life.
FOLLOWING AFTER OWN LUSTS
Walking according to [walking after, following, going after]. It is when one follows after or gives favorable attention to lusts that they do harm. Lusts are simply desires. They may vary in intensity due to such things as background, circumstances, associates and how attractively sin is presented. Most significant is the response an individual makes to temptation. Desires may or may not lead to overt acts of sin. Desire in itself may not be evil but, if allowed to linger in the mind, it poses a real threat to holiness (see Jas 1:14, 15).
Their own lusts [their lusts, their own passions, desires]. The false teachers' days and nights were lived out in selfishness and lustful thoughts. Not only that, they followed them by fulfilling their passions and desires.
And they mouth great swelling words [and their mouth speaks arrogant things, swelling words, loud-mouthed boasters]. The false teachers were boisterous and flamboyant. In other words, they were loud-mouthed show-offs (see 2Pe 2:18).
FLATTERY FOR PERSONAL GAIN
Flattering people [having men's persons in admiration, admiring persons, flattering others]. The Greek, literally, is "admiring the faces." The false teachers courted favor by admiring the countenances or faces of other people. The false teachers were crowd-pleasers. They were lavish with compliments and praise. Like a minister in a certain glass chapel, they sought to give the people what they wanted to hear.
PARTIALITY IS SINFUL
- You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty (Le 19:15).
- It is not good to show partiality in judgment (Pr 24:23).
- And your mighty sins: Afflicting the just and taking bribes; Diverting the poor from justice at the gate (Am 5:12).
- Hold not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality (Jas 2:1).
- If you show partiality, you commit sin (Jas 2:9).
The NT forbids partiality as did the law of Moses (see chart PARTIALITY IS SINFUL). James pictured a rich man receiving an honorable place in the assembly while a poor, ragged man got the footstool. Then he said, "But if you show partiality, you commit sin" (Jas 2:9).
To gain advantage [because of, for, for the sake of, advantage, gain, profit]. The false teachers had a motive in courting the favor of the people. It was profitable for them to do so. Peter said, "By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words" (2Pe 2:3). Their heart was "trained in covetous practices" (2Pe 2:14). They flattered people for money.
ADMONITION TO CHRISTIANS
1:17, 18 But ye, beloved, remember ye the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 that they said to you, In the last time there shall be mockers, walking after their own ungodly lusts.
But you, beloved [but, beloved, but ye beloved]. Once again Jude expresses tender affection for his readers (compare verses 3, 20).
REMEMBER APOSTLES' WORDS
Remember [remember ye, must remember]. Christians are admonished to recall, to call to mind and keep in thought the words of the apostles. Daily study and memorization of Scripture are ways to do this.
The words which were spoken before [the words spoken, which have been spoken, before, the predictions]. The actual words of the apostles are to be remembered so they may be called to mind. For most people, this requires daily effort.
Peter, Paul and others predicted the coming of mockers and false teachers.
By the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ [of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ]. Jude distinguishes the apostles as being qualified to speak forth God's inspired word (compare Joh 14:26; 16:12, 13; 2Pe 1:3). They spoke "as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Ac 2:4). Peter exhorted his readers to be mindful of the words of both apostles and prophets (2Pe 3:1, 2).
[1:18] How they told you [that, how that, they said to you]. The apostles had been speaking to Jude's readers. The Greek imperfect tense implies they had continued to speak to them over a period of time in the past. They continue to speak to us today, that is, if we are willing to glean lessons from the pages of the NT and apply them to our lives.
That there would be mockers [there should, would, shall be, will be, scoffers, mockers]. Some think Jude was alluding to a class of evil men other than the false teachers described in verses 4-16. However, there does not seem to be much difference between the two groups. The apostles had predicted the coming of mockers, those who would poke fun at, and scorn religious truths. For example, Peter wrote, "Knowing this first, that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts" (2Pe 3:3). One example of their scoffing is the taunting question, "Where is the promise of His coming?" (2Pe 3:4). They also railed at dignitaries and made light of Scriptures that condemned their lascivious lifestyle.
In the last time [that in the last time, that at the end of the time]. The "last time"[ 66 ] is equivalent to the "last days" (2Pe 3:3).
FOLLOWING AFTER UNGODLY LUSTS
Who would walk according to [following, who should, would, walk, walking, after]. The mockers were just like the murmurers in some respects (see verse 16). For one thing, they followed their own lusts.
Their own ungodly lusts [their own lusts of ungodliness, ungodly passions]. The mockers followed their passions as they pursued ungodly affairs.
THEY WHO MAKE SEPARATIONS
1:19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.
These are [it is these]. Jude alludes to a certain class that may or may not be in addition to the false teachers thus far described (see verses 4-16). They certainly do not include all men nor even all the unconverted.
Sensual persons [natural men, worldly, worldly people]. The "sensual" or "natural" mockers Jude describes were worldly-minded and selfish. They followed their own instincts and hunches (compare Jas 3:15). Neither Jude or James suggest the mockers possessed any kind of inherited depravity.
Who cause divisions [who separate themselves, set themselves apart, make separations, set up divisions, dividers]. The false teachers were responsible for dividing the body of Christ. The NEB adds a few words here in their translation (which some call a "commentary"). Their phrase "between spiritual and unspiritual persons" does not appear in the Greek text. The NEB would be improved if their footnote would appear in the text itself: "Or these men create divisions; they are . . . "
DEVOID OF THE SPIRIT
Not having the Spirit [having not, devoid of, the Spirit]. James Macknight thinks the Spirit here is miraculous. The mockers had no gift of the Holy Spirit, miraculous or otherwise (see note on verse 21). Guy N. Woods understands they were not influenced by the word of God. He wrote,[ 67 ]
"Those who are sensual are influenced by a wisdom which is from below, rather than that which is from above, evidencing that they 'have not the Spirit'. Being without the guidance of the Spirit through the word of truth, their lives are sensual, earthly, devilish (James 3:15)."
UNTO ETERNAL LIFE
1:20, 21 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
But you, beloved [but ye, beloved]. Once again, the Holy Spirit guides Jude to express love for his readers (see verses 3, 17). In verse 21, it is revealed that a Christian must do something to keep himself in God's love.
BEING BUILT UP
- The word of His grace, which is able to build you up (Ac 20:32).
- Let each one take heed how he builds on it (1Co 3:10). 3. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward (1Co 3:14).
- Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph 2:20).
- Rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith (Col 2:7).
BUILDING YOURSELVES UP
Building yourselves up. This suggests Christians ought to be doing something on a regular basis to build themselves up on their most holy faith. The saints need to work to build up each other (see Heb 3:13). The Holy Spirit does not do all the building up for us (see note on Php 2:12). Building someone up does not refer to flattery which was used by false teachers (Jude 16). Christians are not to use flattery (see 1Th 2:5). Flattery just puffs up rather than building up.
THE SIN OF FLATTERY [PSALMS]
- Their throat is an open tomb; They flatter with their tongue (Ps 5:9).
- With flattering lips and a double heart they speak (Ps 12:2).
- May the LORD cut off all flattering lips (Ps 12:3).
On your most holy faith [in]. The basis for the "most holy faith" is the word of Christ (Ro 10:17). The faith is most holy because its Author and Perfecter is most holy. It is most holy because it involves forgiveness of every sin of those saved by it. It is most holy because by it men are able to come boldly before the throne of God. "The faith" (verse 3) is the body of truth by which Christians are built up and given an inheritance in the holy city of heaven (see Ac 20:32). A Christian cannot hope to be built up without studying and meditating upon God's holy word. To build each other up, Christians spend time with one another and put forth effort to maintain fellowship and prayer. Many who enjoy getting together to sing use this method to build one another up.
PRAYING IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
Praying in the Holy Spirit [pray, in a spirit that is holy]. Christians pray "in the Holy Spirit" in the sense that they pray according to the teaching of the Spirit revealed in the word.
"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit" (Eph 6:17, 18).
KEEP IN THE LOVE OF GOD
Keep yourselves.[ 68 ] Many of God's blessings are conditional (see 2Ch 7:14; Pr 11:25; Mt 5:3-12; 2Co 4:17).
Jude gives two requirements for keeping in the love of God: building up on the most holy faith and prayer (see charts KEPT FAITHFUL BY GOD; "KEEP" AND "KEPT" [A WORD STUDY] at Jude 1. Even some of the angels did not keep their own habitation (see Jude 6). It is possible for Christians to leave their habitation in the spotlight of God's love. They are required to keep themselves "unspotted from the world" in order to practice pure religion (Jas 1:27). God works in Christians but, at the same time, they must work out their own salvation "with fear and trembling" (Php 2:12, 13).
The idea of keeping one another in the love of God is a possible meaning of the Greek (compare the language in 1Pe 4:8-10). God, of course, loves everyone. In a special sense, faithful Christians are "in the love of God."
In the love of God.[ 69 ] God has a special love for faithful saints. They must remain faithful to remain in His love. Although no outside influence can destroy His love for His own (see Ro 8:35-39), there is something to be actively performed by the individual to remain in His love. Jesus told the apostles to "Abide in My love" (Joh 15:9). He explained how this could be done. "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love" (Joh 15:10). We keep one another in His love by encouraging each other to be faithful (see notes on Heb 10:24, 25).
LOOKING FOR CHRIST'S COMING
Looking for [awaiting, wait for]. Paul was "looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Tit 2:13). Peter was "looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat" (2Pe 3:12).
The mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.[ 70 ] Paul called the coming of Christ "the blessed hope." Jude calls it "the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ." He begins his letter with a plea for mercy, peace and love to be multiplied (verse 2). Mercy and forgiveness are related terms. The Lord's coming will be "mercy." We are trusting that then the spirits of just men[ 71 ] will be made perfect (Heb 12:23).
Unto eternal life [who brings eternal life]. Christ's mercy brings eternal life. "That having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Tit 3:7). He will appear a second time with salvation (Heb 9:28).
RESCUE THE PERISHING
1:22, 23 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
And on some have compassion [have mercy]. There are many "sheep without a shepherd" to whom the Christian must show compassion. He is to have compassion upon all but, especially, to these poor lost souls.
Making a distinction [making a difference, who are in doubt, who doubt, who are wavering]. One must use discretion. Some people may be better approached in a manner different from others, even though the gospel is the same. This calls to mind Paul's desire to become all things to all men in order to save some (see 1Co 9:19-22; chart RESTORING THE LOST).
Some manuscripts have "who are in doubt" rather than "making a distinction." Some new Christians may still have certain doubts. Even a seasoned believer might face trials which cause him to waver. We must be patient with such people, encourage them, and help them overcome their doubts. This refers to people who are like the man who cried out to Jesus in tears: "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mk 9:24).
RESTORING THE LOST
- In a spirit of gentleness (Ga 6:1).
- Turn back those who wander from the truth (Jas 5:19, 20).
- Give a reason for your hope (1Pe 3:15).
- Contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3).
- Pull them out of the fire (Jude 23).
But others save [save some, and save others]. Jude alludes to another class of people. For them, a bolder approach is recommended.
With fear [in fear]. The lost are in a fearful state. An urgent attempt should be made to save them, and they urgently need to respond.
"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted" (Ga 6:1).
Too much pity may motivate the one teaching to become spotted with the sin of the lost (see chart FEAR AND SALVATION).
FEAR AND SALVATION
- Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Php 2:12).
- Conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear (1Pe 1:17).
- A reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear (1Pe 3:15).
PULL THEM OUT OF THE FIRE!
Pulling them out of the fire [snatching, by pulling, by snatching, [them] out of the fire]. Some people are on their way to perdition unless something is done to save them. They are, as it were, a firebrand[ 72 ] in the fire already ignited. The picture becomes clearer by reading a passage from Amos. "'I overthrew some of you, As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And you were like a firebrand plucked from the burning; Yet you have returned to Me,' says the LORD" (Am 4:11). Jude no doubt had a passage in Zechariah in mind where both a firebrand and defiled garments are mentioned (Zec 3:1-5). In his filthy robes, Joshua the high priest represents Jerusalem, a brand plucked from the fire. But God clothes Joshua with festal robes and a clean turban, denoting that He forgave his sins. The lesson to us is that we must bring the lost back to the Lord for cleansing while there is time (see 1Co 3:14, 15).
HATE THE DEFILED GARMENT
Hating even the garment [abhorring even the garment]. A polluted garment may have been worn by someone with AIDS or some other loathsome disease. Care must be taken by nurses in the sick room to avoid contracting a disease themselves. Cleanliness and sanitation are absolutely essential. In like manner, it is vital that Christians avoid dabbling in "little sins" of the flesh or of the mind. They ought to loathe everything that leads to sin. Elders, preachers and teachers with "filthy garments" desperately need to seek forgiveness without which they cannot minister effectively to others.
Defiled by the flesh [spotted by the flesh].[ 73 ] Polluted garments suggest anything that tends to spread sin to another. Paul wrote, "Do not be deceived: 'Evil company corrupts good habits'"(1Co 15:33). Peter described false teachers as "spots and blemishes" carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you" (2Pe 2:13). Social contact with such people should be avoided except for teaching purposes. Christians hate sins but love sinners (see Re 3:4; 7:14). They are careful about what they come in contact with as well as that which they watch and hear. The tongue of another may be set on fire by hell and can defile the whole body and set on fire "the course of nature" (Jas 3:6). Consequently, one must be selective of friends and choose carefully his entertainment.
1:24, 25 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, 25 To God our Saviour, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power; Both now and forever. Amen.
GOD IS ABLE
- Our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases (Ps 115:3; 135:6).
- With God nothing will be impossible (Lu 1:37).
- Able to make all grace abound toward you (2Co 9:8).
- Able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think (Eph 3:20).
- Able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him (Heb 7:25).
CHRIST IS ABLE
- Mighty to save (Isa 63:1).
- All authority in heaven and on earth (Mt 28:18).
- Authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him (Joh 17:2).
- Who will transform our lowly body . . . able even to subdue all things to Himself (Php 3:21).
- Able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day (2Ti 1:12).
GOD KEEPS CHRISTIANS FROM STUMBLING
Now to Him who is able [but to him that is able]. Much of what God does to keep His children from stumbling is accomplished through His revealed word (compare verse 3; see charts GOD IS ABLE; CHRIST IS ABLE).
To keep you from stumbling [to guard you, without stumbling, from falling]. This points up the danger of falling (see 1Co 10:12).
"For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body" (Jas 3:2).
GUARDS FROM STUMBLING (A)
- Will keep you wherever you go (Ge 28:15).
- Underneath are the everlasting arms (De 33:27).
- Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great (Ps 18:35).
- He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep (Ps 121:4).
GUARDS FROM STUMBLING (B)
- I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you (Isa 41:10).
- Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! (Isa 46:4).
- In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; And He bore them and carried them All the days of old (Isa 63:9).
GUARDS FROM STUMBLING (C)
- Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me (Joh 17:11).
- The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Php 4:7).
- The Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one (2Th 3:3).
- Who are kept by the power of God through faith (1Pe 1:5).
- I also will keep you from the hour of trial (Re 3:10).
GOD MAKES CHRISTIANS STAND
And to present you [and to set you, make you stand]. Paul spoke of God being able to establish Christians.
"Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began" (Ro 16:25).
Paul believed he would see the Corinthians in heaven. He said to them, "Knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you" (2Co 4:14).
THE LORD'S CARE
- The LORD has been mindful of us; He will bless us (Ps 115:12).
- But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows (Lu 12:7).
- Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you (1Pe 5:7).
GOD MAKES CHRISTIANS BLAMELESS
Faultless [without blemish, blameless]. "And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and irreproachable in His sight -- if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister" (Col 1:21-23). "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1Th 5:23).
Before the presence of His glory [in the presence of, before his glory]. What a glorious victory it will be when we stand in the presence of God, faultless, because He cleansed us from every sin by the precious blood of Christ.
With exceeding joy [with rejoicing, in great, exceeding, joy, with exultation]. There is great joy in becoming a Christian and much more joy in living the Christian life. Earthly joys are only a foretaste of what will be experienced by all Christians when they enter heaven with all the redeemed.
To God our Savior [to the only God our Saviour].[ 74 ] There is no Savior other than Jehovah (Is 43:11; Ho 13:4). The Father (Tit 3:4; 1Ti 1:1) and the Son (Tit 3:6; Ac 5:31) are our Savior.
Who alone is wise [through Jesus Christ our Lord].[ 75 ] "To God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen" (Ro 16:27). "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen" (1Ti 1:17). Christ is "the wisdom of God" (1Co 1:24).
Be glory.[ 76 ] "For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen" (Ro 11:36). "For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen" (Mt 6:13; compare Re 19:1).
And majesty [majesty]. This word refers to God's unsurpassed greatness. "O LORD my God, You are very great; You are clothed with honor and majesty" (Ps 104:1). "The Majesty" is also a designation for God (Heb 1:3; 8:1).
Dominion [might]. This word refers to God's supreme governmental power. "To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen" (Re 1:6).
And power [and authority]. This word refers to God's power to exercise authority. "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power: For You created all things, And by Your will they exist, and were created" (Re 4:11).
THE ETERNAL GOD
- The eternal God is your refuge (De 33:27).
- The LORD shall endure forever (Ps 9:7).
- Your name, O LORD, endures forever (Ps 135:13).
- The High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity (Is 57:15).
- You, O LORD, remain forever (Lam 5:19).
- To the King eternal ... be honor and glory forever and ever (1Ti 1:17).
- The Alpha and the Omega . . . who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty" (Re 1:8).
Both now and forever [before all time and now, and to all the ages, and for evermore, from before the whole age, and now, and to all the ages].[ 77 ] The timeless eternity of God is taught from beginning to end in Scripture (Ge 21:33; Re 10:6). "'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,' says the Lord, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty'" (Re 1:8).
Amen.[ 78 ] When man says "Amen" he means "So be it." When God says it, He means "It is and shall be so."
To the Introduction
[ 1 ] The basic text, and all quotations not designated otherwise, are from the New King James Version, copyrighted ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Bracketed alternatives are drawn from various sources such as the ASV, Darby, KJV and RSV. Greek transliteration follows the BibleSoft method.
[ 2 ] IOUDAS, Judas, Jude; one of the brethren of Jesus; not the brother of James the Apostle, the son of Alphaeus, but of James the superintendent of the church at Jerusalem (Vincent 1.711); Judas, the brother of our Lord: Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3, and very probably Jude 1 (Thayer 306).
[ 3 ] They TEREOO keep in the love of Christ by abiding in the doctrine and keeping His commandments [Joh 15:10; 1Jo 1:7; 2:3, 4; 5:3] (Littrell).
[ 4 ] 'IEESOU CHRISTOO, simple dative without preposition. Therefore, for Jesus Christ (Vincent 1.712).
[ 5 ] KAI AGAPEE, and love (Marshall 951); peculiar to Jude in salutation (Vincent 1.712).
[ 6 ] 'AGAPEETOI, beloved (Marshall 951).
[ 7 ] GRAPHAI HUMIN, to write to you (Marshall 952).
[ 8 ] TEE PISTEI, the faith (Marshall 952); the sum of what Christians believe (Vincent 1.712).
[ 9 ] Or are most surely believed.
[ 10 ] PARADOTHEISEE, delivered (Marshall 952); delivered verbally (Thayer 481); of oral or written tradition handed down, passed on, transmitted, related, taught (Arndt 615).
[ 11 ] July 1995.
[ 12 ] TEN TOU THEOU HEMON CHARITA, the of the God of us grace (Marshall 952).
[ 13 ] A kind of lawlessness that grew out of the false doctrine of "faith only" that permits stealing, fornication and other sins is known as antinomianism.
[ 14 ] HAPAX, once (Marshall 952); the once is not formerly, but once for all, as verse 3. . . . though ye know all things once for all (Vincent 1.713).
[ 15 ] HOTI [HO] KURIOS, that [the] Lord (Marshall 952).
[ 16 ] Numbers 1:46.
[ 17 ] 601,730 (Nu 26:51).
[ 18 ] ANGELOUS TE TOUS, angels and (Marshall 952); messengers [from ANGELLOO to deliver a message], sent whether by God or by man or by Satan . . . most frequently of an order of created beings, superior to man, belonging to heaven and to God and engaged in His service (Vine 47).
[ 19 ] MEE TEEREESANTAS, not having kept (Marshall 952); with a negative: failed to hold fast = lost through carelessness or gave up through frivolity or a deficient understanding of the value of what [they had] (Arndt 515); [not having] kept, left (Thayer 622).
[ 20 ] Apocryphal is from the Greek APOKRUPHOS obscure, hidden. Apocryphal writings are of doubtful authenticity and are not considered worthy to be included in the Bible.
[ 21 ] HUPO ZOPHON, under gloom (Marshall 952); under carries the sense of the darkness brooding over the fallen spirits (Vincent 1.714); denotes the gloom of the nether world; hence, thick darkness, darkness that may be felt (Vine 260).
[ 22 ] Nether means "down below." The nether world is the unseen hadean world.
[ 23 ] There is an interesting passage in 1 Enoch 21:7-10: "I then proceeded from that area to another place which is even more terrible and saw a terrible thing: a great fire that was burning and flaming; the place had a cleavage [that extended] to the last sea, pouring out great pillars of fire; neither its extent nor its magnitude could I see nor was I able to estimate. At that moment, what a terrible opening in this place and a pain to look at. Then Urael, [one] of the holy angels who was with me, responded and said to me, 'Enoch, why are you afraid like this?' [I answered and said], 'I am frightened because of this terrible place and the spectacle of this painful thing.' And he said unto me, 'This place is the prison house of the angels; they are detained here forever.'"
[ 24 ] Melvin Grove Kyle, Explorations at Sodom, 67, 130, 137, 138 from Zondervan 317, 318).
[ 25 ] The Hebrew for Zoar is TOO'AR little, formerly called Bela, now probably under the waters of the bay at the southeast part of the Dead Sea (Ge 14:2; Zondervan 915).
[ 26 ] Curtis Manor 78.
[ 27 ] Manor 78.
[ 28 ] It has been argued that since TOUTOIS these is masculine it has to refer to angels because Sodom and Gomorrah are neuter. The argument based on this pronoun is fallacious. If one knows anything at all about the Greek language he would recognize that TOUTOIS has exactly the same form in both the masculine and neuter (see Machen 102). The pronoun may refer to the cities of the plain or to the false teachers. Jude's point was to compare the false teachers and their impending punishment to the doom of Sodom, Gomorrah and the cities around them.
[ 29 ] See the NEB; Good News for Modern Man.
[ 30 ] Adapted from Manor 81.
[ 31 ] There is some confusion as to whether the undergoing of suffering refers to Sodom and Gomorrah or to the false teachers Jude describes. An interesting viewpoint is expressed by Albert Barnes (10.393). "I do not see that the apostle here means to affirm that those particular sinners who dwelt in Sodom would be punished for ever, for his expressions do not directly affirm that, and his argument does not demand it; but still the image in his mind, in the destruction of those cities, was clearly that of the utter desolation and ruin of which this was the emblem; of the perpetual destruction of the wicked, like that of the cities of the plain."
[ 32 ] PUROS AIOONIOU, fire of eternal (Marshall 952); AIOONIOS is also used of the sin that "hath never forgiveness," Mark 3:29, and of the judgment of God, from which there is no appeal, Hebrews 6:2, and of the fire, which is one of its instruments, Matthew 18:8; 25:41; Jude 7, and which is elsewhere said to be "unquenchable," Mark 9:43 (Vine 373); without end . . . very often of God's judgment (Arndt 28); of the fire of hell we find the following expressions,-- which are to be taken tropically [of the extreme penal torments which the wicked are to undergo after their life on earth; so in the discourses of Jesus], or literally [so apparently in the Apocalypse]: (Thayer 558).
[ 33 ] Compare with De 13:1-5.
[ 34 ] SARKA MEN MIAINOUSIN, flesh on one hand defile (Marshall 952); of moral and physical defilement (Vine 278); defile, pollute, sully, contaminate, soil . . . in a physical and a moral sense, SARKA flesh [of licentiousness], Jude 8 (Thayer 414); of moral defilement by sins and vices (Arndt 520).
[ 35 ] See Deuteronomy 1:5-4:40 and especially Deuteronomy 4:39, 40.
[ 36 ] James Macknight 693.
[ 37 ] Barnes 10:243.
[ 38 ] Jews have many stories about angels. For example, Michael and Gabriel are often mentioned together as cooperating in a task. They were supposed to have been the two groomsmen at Adam's wedding at which God Himself officiated. They also were supposed to have assisted at Moses' burial (Cohen 50).
[ 39 ] HO ARCHANGELOS, the archangel (Marshall 952); not found in the OT, and in the NT only in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and Jude 9, where it is used of Michael, who in Daniel is called "one of the chief princes," and "the great prince" [Septuagint, "the great angel"] (Vine 64); a biblical and ecclesiastical word, archangel, that is, chief of the angels (Thayer 76).
[ 40 ] The passages from 1 Enoch in the order listed by Ellicott are: 2; 1:8; 5; 6:4, 5; 7:1, 2; 10:26; 14:9; 15:7; 18:16; 40:8; 41:1; 45:2, 4, 5; 53:8-10; 58:4; 66:6; 68:39; 82:4-6; 92:17, 18; 96:25; 97:1; 102:7; 105:13, 14.
[ 41 ] TOO DIABOLOO, with the devil (Marshall 953).
[ 42 ] PERI TOU MOOUSEOOS SOOMATOS, about the of Moses body (Marshall 953); the struggle between Michael and the devil for Moses' corpse (Arndt 532).
[ 43 ] The human form returns to dust slowly by natural decomposition or rapidly by cremation (Ge 3:19; Job 10:9).
[ 44 ] The people burned incense to the bronze serpent (2Ki 18:4).
[ 45 ] Manor 462.
[ 46 ] See first paragraph under verse 9.
[ 47 ] Satan worked against the best interests of God's OT people. For example, he had a hand in David's numbering of Israel. "Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel" (1Ch 21:1). "And God was displeased with the thing, so He struck Israel" (1Ch 21:7). Satan, or one of his agents, was the "prince of the kingdom of Persia" who withstood Michael (Da 10:13). Satan also stood up against Joshua, God's high priest, to accuse him (Zec 3:1, 2).
[ 48 ] No doubt, the LORD spoke to Satan through the angel.
[ 49 ] HOSA MEN OUK OIDASIN, what things on one hand they know not (Marshall 953); mental comprehension and knowledge, and referring to the whole range of invisible things (Vincent 1.716).
[ 50 ] Hyperbole is a figure of speech that uses exaggeration to emphasize a point.
[ 51 ] HOTI EPOREUTHEESAN, because they went (Marshall 953); EPOREUTHEESAN is third person plural, first aorist passive indicative of POREUOMAI (Han 435); metaphorically, of a course of conduct, or way of thinking (Vine 1215).
[ 52 ] Adapted from Curtis Manor 444.
[ 53 ] EN TAIS AGAPAIS HUMON, in the love feasts of you (Marshall 953); in the plural in Jude 12, and in some manuscripts in 2 Peter 2:13; ASV margin, "many ancient authorities read 'deceivings'" [APATAIS] (so the KJ). These love-feasts arose from the common meals of the early churches (compare 1Co 11:21). They may have had this origin in the private meals of Jewish households, with the addition of observation of the Lord's Supper. There were, however, similar common meals among the pagan religious brotherhoods. The evil dealt with at Corinth became enhanced by the presence of immoral persons, who degraded the feasts into wanton banquets, as mentioned in 2 Peter and Jude. In later times the AGAPE became detached from the Lord's Supper (Vine 694).
[ 54 ] Harrison 1488.
[ 55 ] The writer is indebted to Roy Davison for the following section on love feasts.
[ 56 ] The different renderings "blemishes" or "reefs" are due to alternate meanings of the Greek word.
[ 57 ] Ignatius, "Letter to the Smyrnaeans" 8; compare Justin Martyr, First Apology 65-67.
[ 58 ] Clement of Alexandria, Instructor 1.1.
[ 59 ] Tertullian, Apology 39.
[ 60 ] Constitutions of the H. Apostles 2.4.28
[ 61 ] ASTERES PLANEETAI, stars wandering (Marshall 953); possibly referring to comets, which shine a while and then pass into darkness (Vincent 1.719).
[ 62 ] There is a passage in 1 Enoch 21:1-6 on this subject: "And I came to an empty place. And I saw [there] neither a heaven above nor an earth below, but a chaotic and terrible place. And there I saw seven stars of heaven bound together in it like great mountains, and burning with fire. At that moment I said, 'For which sin are they bound, and for what reason were they cast in here.' Then one of the holy angels, Uriel, who was with me, guiding me, spoke to me and said to me, 'Enoch, for what reason are you asking and for what reason do you question and exhibit eagerness? These are among the stars of heaven which have transgressed the commandments of the Lord and are bound in this place until the completion of ten million years, [according] to the number of their sins.'"
[ 63 ] "And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him" (see Ge 5:22-24).
[ 64 ] LEGOON IDOU, saying behold (Marshall 954).
[ 65 ] Some think Jude's reference to Enoch, the seventh from Adam, was never intended to refer to the godly patriarch himself but to the apocryphal book of Enoch 1. They imagine that the book was called "the seventh from Adam" in the following quotation. "On that day, two monsters will be parted -- one monster, a female named Leviathan, in order to dwell in the abyss of the ocean over the fountains of water; and [the other], a male called Behemoth, which holds his chest in an invisible desert whose name is Dundayin, east of the garden of Eden, wherein the elect and the righteous ones dwell, wherein my grandfather was taken, the seventh from Adam, the first man whom the Lord of the Spirits created" (1 Enoch 60:7, 8). That anyone would try to make a book title out of this remote passage is synthetic, ingenious and puzzling.
[ 66 ] Others understand "the last time" to refer to the period after AD 70 (see Macknight 696).
[ 67 ] Guy N. Woods 2.245, 246.
[ 68 ] HEAUTOUS TEEREESATE, yourselves keep (Marshall 954); keep in, that is, cause one to persevere or stand firm in a thing (Thayer 622); keep yourselves from harm by making it possible for God to show his love for you in the future also (Arndt 815); HEAUTOUS is a plural reflexive pronoun with the force of yourselves or one another; you must keep yourselves in the love of God (Williams).
[ 69 ] EN AGAPEE THEOU, in [the] love of God (Marshall 954).
[ 70 ] TO ELEOS TOU KURIOU HEMOON 'IEESOU CHRISTOU, the mercy of the Lord of us Jesus Christ (Marshall 955).
[ 71 ] Some consideration should be given the interpretation that the "just men" in Hebrews 12:23 were the faithful OT saints made perfect by the application of the blood of Jesus Christ.
[ 72 ] A firebrand is a piece of burning wood.
[ 73 ] APO TEES SARKOS ESPILOOMENON, from the flesh having been spotted (Marshall 955); spotted from the flesh (Lenski 647).
[ 74 ] SOOTEERI HEEMOON, Savior of us (Marshall 955).
[ 75 ] Some manuscripts have "To the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ" rather than "To the only wise God our Savior." For an occurrence of "only God" see Jo 5:44.
[ 76 ] DOXA [be] glory (Marshall 955); glory [from DOKEO to seem], primarily signifies an opinion, and hence, the honor resulting from a good opinion . . . used in ascriptions of praise to God (Vine 484).
[ 77 ] Some early manuscripts have "Before all time, and now and forever."
[ 78 ] AMEEN, Amen (Marshall 955); "Amen" said by God = it is and shall be so," and by men "so let it be" (Vine 45).
Copyright ©2000, Charles Hess, Ridgefield, Washington, U.S.A.
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The basic Scripture text in this commentary on Jude
is the New King James Version,
Copyrighted ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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Published in The Old Paths Archive (http://www.oldpaths.com)
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