(1) The books of Jude and II Peter are very similar. We don't know if Jude used or read II Peter, or if Peter used or read Jude. Both books have a very important thing in common: they warn against apostasy.
(2) What is apostasy? It comes from the Greek word APOSTASIA, which is made up of two Greek words APO, meaning "from," and HISTEMI, meaning "to stand." Therefore, the basic definition of apostasy means, "to stand away from." But as this word was used throughout the centuries other meanings began to develop. Such as:
A. To depart from one place and go to another (II Thess 2:3). In this verse it refers to the Rapture of the Church, the departure of all believers in Jesus Christ from the earth to be with the Lord.Therefore, the book of Jude gives us an intense warning against leaving the truth, and gives a number of examples from Old Testament history.
B. It also means, "To revolt from, to renounce, to abandon a previous loyalty, defection."
C. In the book of Jude the word APOSTASY is not used directly, but it is defined, explained and analyzed many times.
D. In the book of Jude, apostasy means only one thing, "a departure from the truth of the Word of God and the acceptance of false doctrine."
(3) The book of Jude was written sometime between 65 - 67 AD. It was not addressed to any particular group of people, but to all believers wherever they may be.
(4) When Jude wrote his warning he probably had the Gnostics in mind, since they were very strong in the first century. Gnosticism basically taught that emancipation, true freedom, or salvation came through GNOSIS, meaning "knowledge."
We are still facing the same problem today in our society and in other societies around the world. The prevailing philosophy of today says that we must educate our children extensively in order to solve our social and economic problems. They say that the more knowledge we have the better we will be able to cope with our problems, and eventually solve them. But the Word of God says in I Cor 8:1, "that knowledge (gnosis) puffs up."In other words, it causes one to be proud and arrogant. Don't misunderstand what I'm saying. Education is great, and we need it. Our children need education to function successfully in society. But secular knowledge must be tempered with the "water of the word of God"(Eph 5:26). Then, and only then, can knowledge be applied through common sense, and true reason based on divine viewpoint. So Jude is warning the believers of his generation that the gaining of knowledge apart from the Word of God leads to apostasy, a departure from all truth, and the acceptance of false doctrine.
(5) The book of Jude is not a very popular book among believers, past or present. Apart from verses 24-25, very few believers know anything about the book of Jude."Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever, amen."Apart from these two verses, Jude is generally unknown.
(6) When we gain an understanding of the background of Jude's writing, it not only becomes a fascinating historical account of what the first century church faced, but it also has great application for us today.
(7) Jude records that certain men had come into the church and eagerly engaged in turning the grace of God into an excuse for open immorality and were denying the only true God and Jesus Christ the Lord. (vs 4).
(8) Then in verses 5-7, Jude issues warnings against false teachers who reject the truth. His warnings are given with Old Testament examples.
A. The Exodus Generation: the book of Exodus.
B. The angelic infiltration into the human race: Genesis chapter six.
C. Sodom and Gomorrah: Genesis chapter nineteen.
(9)Jude also gives a description of the apostates in his generation. He says that they are, "evil dreamers,"that they "reject authority," and that they even"malign and design evil lies against those in authority."(vs 8).
(10) Then Jude gives his readers an example from the spiritual conflict that is constantly raging all around us. He mentions Michael the archangel and his confrontation with Satan in verse 9.
(11) Jude tells us that apostates think they know everything. They think that they are logical and right, when in reality they will be totally destroyed because the opposite is actually true. (vs 10).
(12) Jude brings in"the way of Cain," "the greed of Balaam,"and "the revolt of Korah"in vs 11. All of these were apostates. They rejected the truth of the Word of God.
(13) Jude uses idioms to explain these apostates in verses 12-13.
(14) Jude mentions the prophecy of Enoch concerning apostates and how God will condemn all who will not follow His ways. (verses 14-15).
(15) Jude then brings in the attitudes and actions of those apostates. He says that"they murmur against all true authority, they are discontented, their lusts are their dictators, their speech is arrogant and proud, and they do all these things for personal gain."(vs 16).
(16) Jude then gives encouragement to those who have stayed with the truth of the Word of God. He tells them to remember that they were told in the past that apostates would always exist, and not to be discouraged or disillusioned when they see and hear them. (verses 17-19).
(17) Jude emphasizes the concept of the building up of ourselves in the spiritual life through the learning and application of the Word of God and continual prayer in the filling of the Holy Spirit. (vs 20).
(18) Jude encourages believers to continue in the plan and purpose of God for their lives. (vs 21).
(19) Even though the majority of people are negative, believers are told to have compassion in vs 22. We are to have compassion, yet we are to stand firm on the doctrines of the Word of God.
(20) Some will be saved at the last moment before they die, or just before the Rapture of the Church. (vs 23).
(21) Jude emphasizes the concept of eternal security in his benediction. (verses 24-25).
This ends our introduction and outline to the book of Jude. Next, we will begin with our exegetical study of the book. In our exegetical study, we will go verse by verse selecting key words and phrases and analyzing them.
(VS 1)Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.
Jude (1)- Jude, along with James, wrote practical epistles rather than doctrinal epistles. Their epistles contain doctrine, but they were written from a practical or application standpoint. James talks about the production of the "faith-rest life," and Jude talks about and "warns against apostasy." The book of Jude is very intense. Each verse is equal to a chapter.
The servant -The Greek word DOULOS means "a bondslave." It refers to one who belongs to another, one who was purchased by another for his own private possession. Jude says that Jesus Christ owns him.
Jude does not emphasize his human relationship with Jesus Christ. In fact, James and Jude begin their epistles the same way."A bondslave of the Lord Jesus Christ."They do not bring up the fact that they were half brothers of Jesus Christ. I am sure that if you or I were a half brother or sister to someone famous or important we wouldn't hide it. In fact, we would probably want everyone to know it. But Jude, like his brother James, were not name-droppers.
This also tells us that his physical birth was not an advantage. Just because they had the same mother as Jesus Christ, and just because Jesus Christ was their half brother did not give Jude or James any advantage. There are no advantages in physical birth whereby man can gain the favor of God. Grace excludes all human merit, ability, and assets inherited or acquired. And here, we are dealing with inherited possibilities. Because Jude did not attempt to impress anyone with his family ties or any human ability, we know that Jude was oriented to grace.
Neither Jude nor his mother Mary are in heaven because of their family relationship with Jesus Christ. Everyone is saved exactly the same way. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved."(Acts 16:31)."Whoever believes in Him shall not perish but will have everlasting life." (John 3:16). Human relationships must always be subordinate to spiritual relationships, and that is the principle being taught here. We should always be aware of the fact that before we were born we did not order a high I.Q. But if you were born with one that was the grace of God. No two people are equal, no matter what family they may come from, or to what race they belong. Some people are born stupid, and some people are born smart. There is no way we can compensate for the inequalities of physical birth, because God has provided for that. Billions of years ago God knew that there was no such thing as equality, so He, in His matchless grace, made provision for this situation. This is commonly called "The Plan of God." Unfortunately the majority of people in the world, including Christians, know nothing about it. Literally, "Jude, a bondslave of Jesus Christ."
And brother of James - Jude does not call himself a brother of Jesus, but the brother of James. James was his older brother, and like Jude he is also a half brother of Jesus Christ (Matt 13:55). The author of the book of James, just as the author of the book of Jude, had a family relationship, a human relationship with Jesus Christ. They had the same mother. Jesus was virgin born, but Jude and James were born through natural procreation. Like James, Jude was not a believer during the public ministry of Jesus Christ (John 7:5). He became a believer after the resurrection (Acts 1:14; I Corinthians 15:7; James 1:1). James became the leader of the Jerusalem Church, and that is why he is mentioned here. As the leader of the Jerusalem Church he was well known. Jude was not as well known as his brother.
To them that are sanctified by God the Father - The words"to them"is a definite article used as a pronoun. It is a dative plural. It is a dative of advantage. The recipients of this epistle are those who have the advantage of being born again. They have been saved by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It was to their advantage, as it is to our advantage. Literally, "To the ones."
That are sanctified - Perfect passive participle of the verb AGAPAO, which means, "to love, to value." This refers to a relaxed mental attitude of love, and refers to the love that comes from God the Father. This love actually began in eternity past. In a technical sense, this love refers to the plan of God for all mankind. Literally, "Having been loved."
By God the Father - This actually says, "by means of God the Father." Literally, "Jude, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, and a brother of James, to the ones having been loved by God the Father."
Jude, in introducing apostasy, first of all makes it clear to all believers that they are in the Plan of God no matter what may be going on in their lives, and that God's love for them is perfect in every way.
And preserved in Jesus Christ -The word"preserved"(2) comes from the Greek word TEREO, meaning, "to keep watch upon, to watch over protectively, to guard, to shield, to keep in custody, to preserve." The words "In Jesus Christ"is in the genitive case and should be translated "for Jesus Christ."
Jesus prayed in John 17:11, "....Holy Father protect (TEREO, same Greek word as in our passage) them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one."Jesus committed all believers in Him to the watchful care of God the Father, and He is keeping them "FOR JESUS CHRIST."
And called (3)- Means, "to be invited, to be called." This refers to the Doctrine of Election. Because you are saved you are in the Plan of God, and God knew this billions of years ago. The word "Called" simply relates the Plan of God under Election to the Doctrine of Divine Decrees. Billions of years ago, God knew that you would accept Christ as your personal Savior. Therefore, God provided security for you and God provided a plan for you;. Learning about that plan is merely a matter of the daily study of the Word of God.
EXPANDED TRANSLATION VERSE 1: "Jude, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, and a brother of James, to the ones who have been loved by God the Father, and who have been preserved for Jesus Christ and called."
(VS 2)Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.
Mercy -From the Greek word ELEOS meaning, "Mercy, compassion, kindness, blessings, benefits which result from compassion." This word refers to "grace in action." CHARIS is the Greek word for "grace", but ELEOS refers to grace in action.
The book of Jude emphasizes the application of Bible doctrine. It is the application of Bible doctrine that protects our soul from apostasy. Before believers can learn the Word of God properly, they must sit under a Bible teacher who teaches in a systematic way. Whatever you learn, you will not benefit from it unless you learn it systematically. A systematic teacher will always communicate using the principle of ICE -- ISAGOGICS: referring to historical background. CATEGORIES:relating the subject to other Scripture references, andEXEGESIS:which is a word by word, verse by verse analysis of the text.
Therefore, the word "mercy" is used here instead of "grace" because this is a book of application, and "mercy" is the application of "grace."
And peace -The Greek word for peace is EIRENE, meaning, "tranquillity, peace of mind, absence of war, good wishes, blessings." The process of learning the Word of God and then applying it to our daily life produces "peace of mind" regardless of our outward circumstances.
In the Old Testament the Hebrew word SHALOM is the counterpart to the Greek word EIRENE. In fact EIRENE is used in the Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament) to translate the Hebrew word SHALOM. These words are very similar in meaning. Both these words have many meanings, such as: "prosperity, greeting, absence of war, reconciliation between two people, health, long life, rest, tranquillity, and happiness," just to name a few. But the main problem that exists today is that religious teachers have only picked up on one basic definition of the word "peace," and that is "the absence of war." Most religious teachers dwell on the subject of "peace on earth" to the exclusion of presenting the plan of God to a lost and dying world. Paul told the pastors at Ephesus,"For I have not ceased to declare unto you all the WHOLE counsel of God."(Acts 20:27).
It is true, the Lord does desire peace on the earth, but mankind will not be responsible for establishing it. Many believers think that if they evangelize the entire world, and win unnumbered millions to Christ that this will usher in a period of earth history without war. That belief is anti-Biblical, anti-God, and anti-Christ. There are also believers who think that if the entire world can be reached, civilized, educated and trained, an era of world peace will arrive. But this is also a lie. It is humanistic teaching that comes straight from the author of lies, Satan himself.
It is interestisng to note that the only real peace this world has ever seen has been at the height of military power. The Assyrian Empire established an era of peace because their military was so powerful that no one dared to challenge them. This was around 700 BC. The Chaldean Empire under Nebuchadnezzar around 600 BC. The Persian Empire under Cyrus the Great around 400 BC. Then there was the Imperial Peace under the Falvian Caesars of Rome from 27 BC - 96 AD, and then the Antonine Caesars from 96-180 AD. Over two years of peace. The human race has established its periods of peace at various times, but this peace was never established as some of the bleeding heart liberals say it must be today. The periods of peace of human history were established through military might and military prepardness, never by disarmament and negotiation and compromise. According to the Bible, the only way true peace can ever exist on this earth before the return of Jesus Christ is to have a military establishment second to none. Diplomacy, negotiations, restraint, compromise, and the involvement of the United Nations, are only signs of degeneracy and moral decadence.
In our passage of Jude 2, the peace that the Word of God is referring to is"the peace that passes all understanding,"(Phil 4:7). The peace that comes from the maximum knowledge and understanding of the Word of God. Jesus said in John 8:32,"...You will know the truth and the truth will make you free."This is the peace of God, and this can only be established in human souls before the second advent of Jesus Christ. This peace actually begins through faith in Jesus Christ. Then there is the "peace of mind" that can be established in human souls before the second advent through a maximum knowledge of the Word of God. But true peace on the earth between all people will only take place through the direct intervention of Jesus Christ at His second advent. Jesus Christ is the only one who will ever establish perfect peace on the earth.
An important principle should be noted here. In all of the wars that have ever existed throughout the history of mankind, there have been believers in Jesus Christ fighting for both armies involved in the conflict. In our War for Independence in 1776, many of the American Colonists, and many British leaders and soldiers were believers in Jesus Christ. This was also true in the War of 1812 between the British and the Americans. Then in the War between the states (the American Civil War) there were many believers on both sides. In World War I the same thing was true. There were German soldiers in the war who were believers in Jesus Christ. In fact, some of those German soldiers were great Hebrew and Greek scholars of the Bible. In World War II the same principle was also true. There were Japanese soldiers, as well as German soldiers who were believers in Jesus Christ and are in heaven today because of it. Therefore, just because many people accept Jesus Christ in the world through some evangelistic program or personal witness doesn't mean it can bring peace on the earth. Only Jesus Christ can establish true peace, and that will be because He will throw Satan off the earth, and rule it Himself from the world capital located in Jerusalem. Literally, "Mercy to you, and inner tranquillity."
And love -The word for "love" comes from the Greek word AGAPE. AGAPE is usually translated "love." But by a strict definition of this word it actually refers to a "relaxed mental attitude regardless of outward circumstances." True love has its source in God. I John 4:8 tells us that"God is love."Since God is the source of all true love, the only way anyone can fulfill the command to love, is to have a personal relationship with God. That can only be accomplished through faith in Jesus Christ. True love for others is actually a relaxed mental attitude toward others no matter who they are. The real enemy to this love is mental attitude sins. Because when you have mental attitude sins, you do not have a relaxed mental attitude. Mental attitude sins include: hatred, jealousy, bitterness, etc., etc. Therefore AGAPE refers to love, but it refers to a love that is free from mental attitude sins, a freedom from jealousy, hatred, bitterness, etc., etc. AGAPE does not refer to any type of emotion, only mental attitude.
AGAPE is used in Gal 5:22 with reference to the filling of the Holy Spirit. This word is often used as a synonym for the filling of the Holy Spirit, because when you are filled with the Spirit you have a relaxed mental attitude. Literally, "Mercy to you, and inner peace, and a relaxed mental attitude."
Be multiplied -This word is the aorist passive optative of the verb PLETHUNO, meaning "to cause to increase," not by adding, but by a much greater scale, and that is why it came to be known as "to multiply." In other words, Jude is actually saying, "I am desiring to see you multiply the mercy, the inner peace, and the relaxed mental attitude" that only the Word of God can bring.
Therefore, in verse 2 Jude is saying, "I know that you have mercy, I know that you have inner peace, and I know that you have a relaxed mental attitude, but I want to see these things multiplied in your lives.
EXPANDED TRANSLATION VERSE 2: "Mercy to you, and that your inner peace and tranquillity, and a relaxed mental attitude may be greatly increased is my desire."
(VS 3)Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
Beloved - (4) The Greek word is AGAPETOS, meaning, "dear ones, beloved ones." This tells us that he is addressing this to believers with emphasis on positional truth.
Jesus Christ is called, "The Beloved." Matt 3:17,"....this is my beloved Son." Matt 17:5,"...this is my beloved Son."Mark 1:11,"...thou art my beloved Son." Mark 9:7,"....this is my beloved Son, hear him." Luke 3:22,"...thou art my beloved Son."Luke 9:35,"...this is my beloved Son."Luke 20:13, "...I will send my beloved Son."
When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior through faith, we enter into union with Him, and we become "BELOVED ONES."Rom 11:28,Concerning the election, they are beloved."Eph 1:6 tells us, "He has made us accepted IN THE BELOVED."The phrase "in the beloved" means, "in Christ," who is "the beloved of God." Col 3:12 says,"As the elect of God, holy and BELOVED."
At the point of salvation each one of us was entered into union with Jesus Christ through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. At that moment we received His life which is eternal life. We received His righteousness, which is perfect righteousness. As believers all of us received the same sonship, we possess the same ambassadorship, we share the same destiny, and we are all in the same plan. The only differences that exist between believers in Jesus Christ are the differences in spiritual gifts, and the different stages of spiritual growth based on the amount of Biblical knowledge one possesses. Therefore, the objective of the Christian life is to develop our souls, to grow spiritually, to advance to spiritual maturity, to develop in our thinking the divine viewpoint of life instead of the human cosmic viewpoint. This can only be accomplished through the consistent learning of the Word of God. It is not a one shot decision. It takes time and consistency on our part to go from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity. It is only in spiritual maturity that we can ever truly serve and honor the Lord to the greatest degree. But regardless of our spiritual growth, or lack of it, we are and always will be classified as"beloved"of God, because we are in Christ through our acceptance of Him as our personal Savior.
Unbelievers as well as many ignorant believers try to establish equality in the human race. They are constantly trying to place everyone on the same level socially, economically, and educationally. They want to think that everyone is equal. But the Bible clearly teaches that freedom should be the priority, not equality. Because freedom is necessary for evangelism, equality is not. Equality does not exist in the human race, and it never will. There won't even be equality in heaven. It is here that we see the overwhelming arrogance of mankind. Thinking that they can establish equality on the earth, when God doesn't even allow equality in heaven, except in one case. All those who are in Christ are equal in their position in Him. But this equality does not exist until people respond to evangelism and personally believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Once a person accepts Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, he is on equal footing with everyone else who has believed in Christ. This equality is found in the Doctrine of Positional Truth only. All of this is brought out in this one word AGAPETOS meaning "beloved ones."
When I gave all diligence to write unto you -
When I gave -This is the present middle participle of the verb POIEO, meaning, "to make, to prepare, to accomplish, to do, to fulfill." It should be translated "Making."
All diligence -comes from the Greek word meaning "with haste, quickly, earnestness or diligence."
To write unto you - (5) We will see as we continue in our study of Jude that he had planned on writing his epistle on the topic of salvation, but the Holy Spirit moved upon him and caused him to write concerning apostasy. In other words, it appears that Jude had two main points of interest in his mind, salvation and apostasy. When it came time to begin his writing, the Holy Spirit moved Jude to write concerning apostasy. Since Jude was a positive believer and sensitive to the leading of the Lord, he did not hesitate to write his epistle concerning apostasy. The principle of inspiration is brought out here. Jude was very flexible, and, therefore, very responsive to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. How responsive are you to the ministry of the Holy Spirit? Literally, "Making all haste beloved to write to you of the salvation."
Of the common salvation -This refers to the principle of salvation and includes the entire realm of God's provision for the human race through Jesus Christ. His death, burial, resurrection, ascension and session. Literally, "Making all haste, beloved, to write to you concerning our commonly shared salvation."
It was needful -the word "needful" comes from the Greek word ANAGKE meaning, "necessity, constraint, compulsion, obligation of duty." This phrase tells us that Jude was all set to write an epistle concerning the "common salvation" when "he was constrained"by the Holy Spirit to change his topic to apostasy. Literally, "I was constrained to write unto you."
And exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints - With this statement Jude moves into the area of discussing apostasy, and that is where he stays for the rest of the book.
And exhort you - This means to admonish, to persuade, to implore, to exhort." This word actually refers to "comforting" as well as "rebuking." The Greeks used this same word for both comforting and rebuking because both are an expression of someone's love. Literally, "I was constrained to write unto you and to persuade you."
That you should earnestly contend - This is the present active infinitive of the verb EPAGONIZOMAI, meaning, "to stay in the fight, to stay in combat even though you are getting whipped." This refers to never giving up. This refers to the intense spiritual fighting in the Angelic Conflict. Many times we get knocked down by some adversity or pressure, but we are to jump right back up and continue the fight. We are to never give up. Never quit! This does not refer to any type of Christian activism, this refers to spiritual struggles. II Cor 10:3-5,"For even though we live in the world, we do not wage war(fight) as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.(the world fights through activism).On the contrary, we have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,(the knowledge of God refers to the Bible) and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."This Greek word EPAGONIZOMAI speaks of a vigorous, intense, determined struggle to defeat the opposition. Our English word "agony" comes from the noun form of this word. The Greek athletes as well as the Greek soldiers, exerted themselves to the point of agony in their efforts to win. Jude is saying here that believers should use the same effort to defend, and stand up for the doctrines of Christianity.
For the faith -The Greek word is PISTIS, meaning, "faith, believe, or that which is believed in." "That which is believed in" refers to Bible doctrine.
Which was once delivered unto the saints -The word"delivered"also means, "to be entrusted with." The word"saint" (6) refers to all believers in Jesus Christ.
EXPANDED TRANSLATION VERSE 3: When giving all diligence in writing to you, beloved, concerning the salvation possessed in common by all of us, I was constrained to write to you persuading you to fight with intensity and determination by means of Bible doctrine for that which was once and for all entrusted for keeping to the saints.
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Copyright 2000 by Robert H. Kreger. All rights reserved. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.