The Letter from Jude

Chapter 1

Jude exhorts them to be constant in the profession of the faith, 1-3. False teachers have crept in to seduce them, for whose evil doctrine and manners horrible punishment is prepared, 4-19; whereas the godly, by the assistance of the Holy Spirit and prayers to God, may persevere, grow in grace, keep themselves, and recover others out of the snares of those deceivers, 20-25.

1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: 2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.

3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write to you concerning the common salvation, it was needful for me to write to you and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith, which was once delivered to the saints. 4 For some men have crept in unexpectedly, 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.

5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, 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. 6 And the angels who did not keep their first state, but left their own habitation, he has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness to the judgment of the great day, 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to impurity and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

8 Likewise also, these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil and disputing about the body of Moses, did not dare bring against him a railing accusation, but said, "May the Lord rebuke you." 10 But these speak evil of those things which they do not know. But what they know naturally as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. 11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and have perished in the gainsaying of Core. 12 These are spots in your feasts of charity when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear. They are clouds without water carried about by winds. They are withered autumn trees, without fruit, twice dead, plucked out by the roots. 13 They are raging waves of the sea foaming out their own shame. They are wandering stars to whom the blackness of darkness is reserved forever.

14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with tens of thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all and to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have impiously committed and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." 16 These are murmurers and complainers, walking after their own lusts, and their mouth speaks great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.

17 But, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 That they told you, "There would be mockers in the last time who would walk after their own ungodly lusts." 19 These are those who separate themselves. They are sensual, not having the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying by the Holy Spirit, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. 22 And on some have compassion, making a difference, 23 And others, save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To God the only wise, our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.

Commentary

Matthew Henry Commentary - Jude, Chapter 1

Notes

[v.7] - Reference, Genesis 19:24.

[v.9a] - "Michael" - From John Gill's Exposition: "By whom is meant, not a created angel, but an eternal one, the Lord Jesus Christ; as appears from his name Michael, which signifies, 'who is as God': and who is as God, or like unto him, but the Son of God, who is equal with God? and from his character as the archangel, or Prince of angels, for Christ is the head of all principality and power; and from what is elsewhere said of Michael, as that he is the great Prince, and on the side of the people of God, and to have angels under him, and at his command, Daniel 10:21."

[v.9b] - "when contending with the devil and disputing about the body of Moses, did not dare bring against him a railing accusation" - From John Gill's Exposition: "Which some understand literally of the fleshly and natural body of Moses, buried by the Lord himself, partly out of respect to him; and partly, as some think, lest the Israelites should be tempted to an idolatrous worship of him; but rather it was to show that the law of Moses was to be abolished and buried by Christ, never to rise more: and they think that this dispute was either about the burying of his body, or the taking of it up again; Satan on the one hand insisting upon the taking of it up, in order to induce the Israelites to worship him, and Michael, on the other hand, opposing it, to prevent this idolatry; but then the difficulty is, where Jude should have this account, since the Scriptures are silent about it. Some have thought that he took it out of an apocryphal book, called 'the Ascension of Moses', as Origen, which is not likely; others, that he had it by tradition, by which means the Apostle Paul came by the names of the Egyptian magicians Jannes and Jambres; and some passages are referred to in some of their writings, as having some traces of this dispute; but in them the discourse is not concerning the body, but the soul of Moses; not concerning burying or taking up of his body, when buried, but concerning the taking away of his soul, when he was alive; which none of the angels caring to undertake, at length Samael, the chief of devils, did, but without success, wherefore God took it away with a kiss himself: besides, the apostle produces this history as a thing well known; nor is it reasonable to suppose that such an altercation should be between Michael, and the devil, on such an account; or that it was in order to draw Israel into idolatry on the one hand, and on the other hand to prevent it; since never was the custom of the Israelites to worship their progenitors or heroes; nor did they seem so well disposed to Moses in his lifetime; nor was there any necessity of taking up his body, were they inclined to give him honour and worship; yea, the sight of his dead body would rather have prevented than have encouraged it: but this is to be understood figuratively; and reference is had to the history in Zechariah 3:1; as appears from the latter part of this verse: some think the priesthood of Christ is intended, which was the end, the sum and substance, of the law of Moses; and seeing that Joshua, the high priest, was a type of Christ, and the angel of the Lord contended with Satan about him, he might be said to dispute with him about the body of Moses; but this sense makes a type of a type, and Christ to contend about himself; besides, this should rather be called the body of Christ than of Moses, others think that the temple of the Jews is meant about the rebuilding of which the contention is thought to be; and which may be called the body of Moses, as the church is called the body of Christ; though it should be observed, that the temple is never so called, and that not the place where the church meets, but the church itself, is called the body of Christ: but it is best of all to understand it of the law of Moses, which is sometimes called Moses himself, John 5:45; and so the body of Moses, or the body of his laws, the system of them; just as we call a system of laws, and of divinity, such an one's body of laws, and such an one's body of divinity."

[v.9c] - "May the Lord rebuke you" - Reference, Zechariah, ch. 3.

[v.10] - "corrupt" - Or, "destroy."

[v.11a] - "the way of Cain" - Reference, Genesis 4:3-12.

[v.11b] - "the error of Balaam" - Reference, Numbers, ch. 22.

[v.11c] - "the gainsaying of Core" - Core is also known as, Korah. Reference, Numbers 16:1-35.

[v.14-15] - From John Calvin's Commentary: "I rather think that this prophecy was unwritten, than that it was taken from an apocryphal book; for it may have been delivered down by memory to posterity by the ancients. Were any one to ask, that since similar sentences occur in many parts of Scripture, why did he not quote a testimony written by one of the prophets? the answer is obvious, that he wished to repeat from the oldest antiquity what the Spirit had pronounced respecting them: and this is what the words intimate; for he says expressly that he was the seventh from Adam, in order to commend the antiquity of the prophecy, because it existed in the world before the flood."

[v.22] - "making a difference" - That is, distinguishing between the weak and the willful. On the weak, have compassion (verse 22). For the willful, save with fear (verse 23), warning them of the wrath of God on the day of judgment. To put it another way, preach grace to the humble and preach the law to the proud.

[v.25] - "dominion and power, both now and forever" - Reference, Revelation 1:8.

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