Jude - My Understanding
Warning, I have done no spell check or correction or even a rereading of what I wrote here, because if I start that, it will just get longer and longer.
In 1989, I was reading this book with a friend. Both of us had been thoroughly indoctrinated into evangelical theology and doctrine. Both of us were avid committed Christians, who studied and researched the Bible continually.
But we had gone through some changes in the ministry we were involved in and were searching out some answers for what we were experiencing. Somehow....(like maybe it was ...GOD), we wound up in Jude.
I had always been taught books like Jude and say, the first chapter of Romans were written about unbelievers. But in the Spring of 1989, while reading this book, I asked God, "God who is this talking about?"
Be careful what you ask for. The answer did not come over night, but due to some other circumstances, I wound up going through about 10 years of UN-LEARNING everything I once held as the truth. It is a VERY long story, and I am still on the journey.
But I would like to give my understanding of this book, which is now much different than the one I started with.
The first statement I would like to make about his book, is that when you read it, you must as you read, keep in mind that Jude was writing to people who had been in the truth for quite some time. Most likely people he knew personally, and who he held in high esteem and affection.
Secondly the letter was written to warn about a false teaching that was being spread among the Christian Churches. And the letter tells us a main characteristic of that false teaching. This is important to know in this day and time, as to my surprise, many years later when I really began to understand this book, low and behold, it was what I had been indoctrinated with. That was a hard pill to swallow.
Jude 1:1 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: 2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.
Jude 1:3 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.
The word "delivered", means once and for all delivered unto the saints. This does not just mean "taught" to the saints, but delivered over to and given to the saints to STEWARD. In other words, the original gospel and it's understanding was handed over to the saints of the first century, and was to be passed on in the following manner.
1 Cor 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, [b]and stewards of the mysteries of God.[/b]
As good stewards of the faith, which was delivered unto their trust, they were to:
2 Tim 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
The gospel of the grace of God, was given to Jesus Christ, who then gave it to his apostles, who then committed it unto faithful men who were able to teach others. This is the way in which the truth of the gospel was to be passed on.
They, the saints became the stewards of this teaching. They were to keep it as it was delivered unto them.
1 Cor 11:2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
It was not committed to angels, nor were angels to administer it.
1 Thes 2:4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
1 Peter 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed,(old testament prophets) that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
But God choose to reveal his mysteries unto men first, and then those men would reveal these things to angels.
Eph. 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be (made) known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
This was a real blow to the egos of those principalities and powers in the heavenly places. That man would let them know what the mysteries of God were. For eons, they had been deceiving men into coming to them for enlightenment and now the tables were turned. This is why Paul warned not to believe and angel or a spirit, coming along with a new revelation. The understanding of the mysteries of God via the gospel, and it's understanding had been once and for all given. And it was given and committed to man, not to angels.
Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
Angels can come in two forms, as angels and as spirits.
2 Thes 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 Thes 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, [b] neither by spirit[/b], nor by word, nor by letter as [IF]from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
2 Thes 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means
How many men have come along saying they got a new revelation from an angel? It may be the truth, that an angel spoke to them, but it's not THEE TRUTH, that the angel spoke. Angels do no have the authority to preach the gospel, in this day and time. That gospel was given wholly to men to steward. It was committed unto faithful men, who were able to teach others.
So then Jude, wishing to write of this common knowledge of the gospel committed unto them, due to arising circumstances, had to write and remind them to contend or fight to keep that original teaching they were entrusted with.
Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
There were spread around the then known world, various churches of believers in homes. And they would get "visitors", you know, bothers traveling through, who'd stop to have fellowship with them. And through this means, they were spreading a "new revelation", or "new teaching", what you might call a "new understanding" of the gospel.
Before we look at what they taught, we should look at who they were and where they came from.
You notice that Jude says, these men coming into their fellowships were [b]"before of old ordained to this condemnation,"[/b]. In other words, this was prophesied to happen, through the prophets of the OT, and by Jesus himself. Basically that Jesus would come and commit the truth to man, and that man would pervert that same truth.
But again WHO were these men? John has a little something to say about exactly who they were.
1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
1 John 2:19 THEY went out from us, but THEY were not of us; for if THEY had been of us, THEY would no doubt have continued with us: but THEY went out, that THEY might be made manifest that THEY were not all of us.
John wrote the letters of 1st, 2nd and 3rd John as a warning about these men. And his letters, as well as Jude, James and Peter reveal who they were and what they taught.
Tradition has it, or that is scholarship has it, that John most likely wrote his letters from Ephesus. Remember these men were "ordained" to this condemnation, that they would pervert the truth. Paul had something interesting to say, to the Ephesians elders, when he met with them on his way to Rome to appear before Cesar.
Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
Acts 20:8 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,
Acts 20:19 Serving the LORD with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
Acts 20:20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,
Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 20:22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:
Acts 20:23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
Acts 20:25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.
Acts 20:26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
Acts 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Acts 20:30[b] Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.[/b]
WHO was he talking to?
Eph 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, [b]to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:[/b]
He was talking to the [b]"SAINTS AND FAITHFUL IN CHRIST JESUS"![/b] And what did he foretell was going to happen? ...[b]of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.[/b] John after Paul's death writing from Ephesus said: THEY went out from us, but THEY were not of us; for if THEY had been of us, THEY would no doubt have continued with us: but THEY went out, that THEY might be made manifest that THEY were not all of us.
Johns warning of antichrist, was the same as Paul's warning to the Ephesian Elders, those who were THEN faithful IN Christ Jesus, would ARISE to be UNFAITHFUL in Christ Jesus by speaking perverse things, perverting the original understanding of the gospel of Christ, that was originally taught, and committed unto the saints, the faithful in Christ, to STEWARD, and to commit in truth unto faithful men who would be able to teach other faithful men and so on and so forth. And thus was MAN given charge of the greatest gift God ever gave.
And so it was something that man was to keep, guard, defend and protect, this pure understanding, and knowledge of God and salvation.
Paul and the others taught the same truth, and Paul constantly warned about it's corruption.
Col 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
23 [b]If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard,[/b] and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
1 Cor 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
1 Cor 15:2 [b]By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.[/b]
1 Cor 11:Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, [b]and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.[/b]
Again, the gospel or truth, was given to Jesus. He gave or taught it to his apostles, and they taught it to faithful men who were able to teach others. It was to be kept pure from adulteration, and kept as it was given. Man was entrusted with it. It was given by revelation from God to Jesus, Jesus to man, and then MAN to MAN.
You can see then why Paul would say, "thou we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you than that which we have (past tense, previously) preached, let him be accursed."
The true danger, lay not from without but from WITHIN. As Jesus said, or warned and prophesied of, "A man's enemies, shall be they of his own household." Out of the midst of His own household, would come His greatest enemy.
These were the men Jude was warning of. Men who had at one time been the faithful IN Christ Jesus, who were now coming into the unsuspecting Churches, attempting to draw away disciples after their perverted teachings.
And who better to draw you away and fool you, but those whom you love? Those whom you are commanded to show humility towards, and treat as equals. This is why Paul also said that day to those Ephesian elders: [b]"Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.[/b]
Why "tears"? Because he knew that of God's very own children, they would fall away from the truth, to a lie and suffer eternal damnation. And these are those about whom Jude was now writing. Those to whom had been committed the greatest gift God ever entrusted to man, just as he entrusted one simple commandment to Adam. By this truth, man would rule and have dominion. By it's perversion and loss, man would again fall into bondage.
Jude shows us a very important part of what these men taught.
[b]I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this,...[/b]
What he will say next will show the contrast between what believers were originally taught in the first century, and what would replace that original truth, through the perversion of that understanding.
Jude 1:5 [b]I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this,...[/b]
how that the Lord,
1. [b]having saved the people[/b] out of the land of Egypt, [b]afterward destroyed them that believed not.[/b]
2. And the angels [b]which kept not[/b] their first estate, [b]but left[/b] their own habitation, [b]he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.[/b]
Jude 1:7 [b]Even as[/b] Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, [b]are set forth FOR AN EXAMPLE, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.[/b]
What was it those he was writing to once knew? That there would be a day of JUDGEMENT for the believer. The one thing the false gospel will do is teach that the believer will NEVER BE JUDGED, and or if he is judged all that will happen is he might loose a reward or two.
Jude 1:8 Lkewise also these filthy dreamers...
What did Jude call these men who were coming in unawares and perverting the gospel into a license to sin? [b]"FILTHY DREAMERS"[/b].
You might say the truth they think they know is "In their dreams".
What does Jude now say that they do?
"defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities."
1. They defile the flesh. They think that they can sin in the flesh, and it does not have any effect on their "spirit". They think they can continue to sin in their body, but their spirit is pure. They can be promiscuous, they can steal, they can lie, they can be greedy, they can swear, they can do any immoral thing habitually and will not be judged for it. Yeah...."in their dreams"!
2. They despise dominion. Dominion is "Lordship". They do not come under authority to the teachings of Christ. And yet they think they are the authority and have authority.
3. Speak evil of dignities. Have the audacity to speak evil of the apostles and disciples of the Lord. This was back then, they were turning away from the apostles and disciples who had been with the Lord personally, and saying many evil things about them.
Jude 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
Jude 1:10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.
Jude 1:11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
And again WHO are THEY?
Jude 1:12 These (THEY) are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear:
They have no fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. they have no fear of judgment.
A feast of charity, is a fellowship meeting, an assembly of the saints, feeding and feasting on God's Word, and walking in the love of God towards one another. These people hang out with the saints, with no fear of the Lord or of his judgment.
Jude 1:12 clouds they are without water, carried about of winds;
People who do not have the pure water of the Word of truth living in them. They have left the truth, they once knew, and have now been blown around by every wind of teaching.
Jude 1:12 trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
Why are they TWICE DEAD? Because you are born into this world dead in trespasses and sins, without God and without hope. Then if you believe the gospel, and learn to walk in it, obeying the teachings and commandments of Christ, you are alive in him and bearing fruit. But if you leave the truth, once you have fully been instructed and walked in it, you are now twice dead.
Some people will always be dead in trespasses and sins. These people were alive and dead again.
Jude 1:13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
But remember they have no fear of God and no fear of judgment, because they pervert the words of Christ and the apostles, to teach the believer will never be judged.
Jude 1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with (should be translated into the MIDST OF) ten thousands of his saints,
Jude 1:15 To execute judgment upon all (his saints), and to convince all (of his saints) that are ungodly among them (his saints) of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches (false teachings) which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
So who is Jude writing and warning about? The saints of the first century who left the truth, perverted it, and then endeavored to lead others into their deception. John called them antichrist. The came or arose out of the body of Christ.
Jude 1:16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.
Jude 1:17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Now these folks he was writing to, were taught the original truth. But it may well be that we were taught some form of false truth, that originated and was passed down through the centuries, by these ungodly men, who'd left the truth, and perverted it. So don't worry, you can't leave something you never had to begin, with. There is repentance for those who have been led into this inherited lie.
Jude 1:18 How that they told you there should be mockers (imposters) in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
This again is the same thing John was talking about, those men who went out from them, who were at one time the faithful in Christ. And who all the apostles warned of.
Jude 1:19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
They separated themselves from the truth, to a lie, and therefore did not have the "spirit" or words, teachings, commandments and sayings of Jesus Christ, because they were not holding on to and WALKING in that truth anymore.
Jude 1:20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
To keep yourself in the love of God was to keep yourself in the original truth, delivered unto them. To fall away to another teaching, was to fall away from the truth. Again, you cannot fall away from something you never had.
Jude 1:22 And of some (meaning those who have left the truth) have compassion, making a difference:
Work this sentence in the Greek and it says: "And of some PITY, SEPARATING YOURSELF FROM THEM." For some there is absolutely NO HOPE LEFT, that have sinned that sin unto death.
Jude 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Meaning when you deal with these people you better do it in FEAR. If you drop something in the fire and need to retrieve it, you don't just stick your hand in there and leave it. If there is a diseased garment, that could give YOU the plague, you don't just ware it or you catch what that person had.
Jude was telling these people he loved to use EXTREME CAUTION, when dealing with these people. They had received another gospel, another spirit and another Jesus. They could become contaminated by this teaching. A little leaven, leavens the whole lump.
Jude 1:24 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, Jude 1:25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
And here is another mistranslation, that read in the Greek, states: Now unto Him who is able to KEEP THEM from falling and to present THEM before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,"
I don't care if you receive what I have to say about this verse or not, but when I worked it and read the whole thing in context, the sense was that he was at first warning them to use extreme caution in dealing with these people, and then it was as if he changed his mind, and told them, RATHER, let God who is able to keep THEM without stumbling, meaning instead of you messing with it, commit the problem to God, who can deal with his own children, without STUMBLING HIMSELF.
In other words God can deal with them, without getting infected with what they've got. Commit them unto God who is able to keep them, preserve them either for eternal life, or eternal fire, put it in God's hands.
Jude knew the absolute danger these people posed, to the then existing churches. "A man's enemies shall be they of his own household."
You don't of course have to believe me on the translation of this last verse, but if you read it in the Interlinear you will see and wonder WHY the word for word translation used the word "THEM", instead of the word "YOU".
At the time of the KJV translation, there is NO WAY, they would have translated the word correctly as "THEM", or the words "making a difference", as "separating yourself", because there was no way, they wanted anyone to think, if they read this, that they should separate themselves from the then Church of England. There was way too much separating going on as far as everyone was concerned.
Jude, and having also been infested with the teachings, they passed down, I would say the same, knew how deceptive these men were, and how dangerously catching their spirit was. So he basically preferred if they would just put these people in God's hands. People can come out of deception, and God does give some space to repent.
So this is some of the understanding of Jude that I came to after many years. My question was "God who are these people"? Was answered, in that it was not talking about unbelievers, but believers who had left the truth.
What they taught, I traced down and back through history, seeing it morph into varrious forms, and wind up IN me. Seeking out who they were opened my eyes to many other books in the bible, and led me out of the deception, and is still leading me out of the deception they began 2000 years ago.
As I said, I was taught a form of the very thing Jude warned about. I found that even though I thought I myself was "contending for the faith, which was once delivered unto the saints," in reality I was contending for the false faith, the false gospel, that had arose from within and among the saints of the first century.