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Called to Contend for the Faith

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Introduction to Jude

Jude is a short but dense general epistle listed at the end of the Christian canon just preceding Revelation.
we should probably date Jude also in the middle-to-late 60s.”[1]
[1] D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, Second Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 692.

I. Author (v. 1)

There are 5 Jude’s in the New Testament: Judas Iscariot, the traitor (Luke 6:16); Judas the infamous revolutionary (Acts 5:7), Judas the son of James (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13), Judas Barsabbas, a prophet (Acts 15:22, 27, 32), and Judas, a brother of Jesus (Mark 6:3; Matt. 13:55). The most likely referent from verse 1 must be Jude, the Lord’s brother, since he is said to be the brother of James who became a prominent leader in the early church (Acts 15:13–21; 21:18; Gal. 2:9) and who was also a brother of the Lord.

II. Recipients (vs. 1-2)

This letter is really for all Christians as we see in the identity of the recipients for Jude writes in verse 1 to:
those who are called
beloved in God the Father
kept for Jesus Christ

III. Purpose statement (v. 3-4)

Jude wants to appeal to Christians to contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints because certain ungodly people were trying to pervert the grace of God into sensuality and were denying our Master and Lord Jesus Christ
Contend!

IV. Judgment examples (vs. 5-7)

The Lord saved the wilderness generation of the Exodus (Exodus 12:31–42) but afterward destroyed those who didn’t believe (Num. 14:29, 37; 26:64, 65; compare Heb 3:17-19)
The angels who left their positions of authority and their proper dwelling have been kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day. (2 Peter 2:4, compare Matthew 25:41)
Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities who indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire are an example of punishment of eternal fire (Genesis 19:13–29, compare Matthew 11:23–24).

V. The character of these (false teachers) (v. 8-10)

They rely on their dreams
They defile the flesh
They reject authority
They blaspheme the glorious ones contrary to what the archangel Michael did (v. 9) [See Excursus at the end for more info]
According to the church fathers, starting with Clement of Alexandria (Fragments on the Epistle of Jude) … Jude is citing, not the OT, but the Assumption of Moses. (Clement wrote, “When Michael, the archangel, disputing with the devil, debated about the body of Moses.” Here he confirms the Assumption of Moses. He is here called Michael, who through an angel near to us debated with the devil.”) Thus there is universal agreement that Jude is citing an apocryphal work.
Deuteronomy 34:5–6 ESV
5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord, 6 and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day.
5. They blaspheme all that they don’t understand
6. They are destroyed by what they don’t understand

VI. Judgment examples as woes against them! (v. 11)

1. They walked in the way of Cain (Genesis 4:2–15)
Genesis 4:8–12 ESV
8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”
2. They abandoned themselves after gain like Balaam (Numbers 22–24)
Numbers 22:32–34 ESV
32 And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to oppose you because your way is perverse before me. 33 The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live.” 34 Then Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you stood in the road against me. Now therefore, if it is evil in your sight, I will turn back.”
3. They perished in Korah’s rebellion (Numbers 16:1–3)
Numbers 16:31–35 ESV
31 And as soon as he had finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split apart. 32 And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods. 33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. 34 And all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up!” 35 And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men offering the incense.

VII. More description of these (v. 12-13)

They are hidden reefs at your love feasts
feast with you without fear
shepherds feeding themselves
waterless clouds swept along by winds
fruitless trees in late autumn
a. twice dead
b. uprooted
wild waves of the sea who cast up the foam of their own shame
wandering stars for whom the gloom of utter darkness awaits

VIII. Enoch prophesied against these (v. 14-15)

Seventh from Adam (Genesis 5:1-18; compare Enoch 60:8)
The Lord comes with 10,000s of his holy ones (compare Deut. 33:2; Dan. 7:10; Mark 8:38; 1 Thess. 3:13; 2 Thess. 1:7)
The Lord will execute judgment on the ungodly (Enoch 1:9)
For their deeds of ungodliness
How they have committed their ungodliness
For the harshness of their words against the Lord
[See Excursus at the end for more info]

IX. More character of the false teachers (v. 16)

Grumblers
Malcontents
Following their own desires
Loud mouthed boasters
Showing favoritism to gain their own advantage

X. Our response in contending for the faith against these (v. 17-23)

Remember the word of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ who warned that scoffers:
would come in the last days
would follow their own ungodly passions
would cause divisions
would be worldly
would be devoid of the Spirit
Keep yourselves in the love of God
building yourselves up in your most holy faith
praying in the Holy Spirit
waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ
Have Mercy on those who doubt
Save others by snatching them out of the fire
Show mercy with fear hating the garment stained by flesh

Excursus: Sources in Jude

Pseudonymity and Apocrypha
Pseudonymity and pseudepigraphy denote the practice of ascribing written works to someone other than the author—that is, the works in question are falsely (pseud-) named (onoma, “name,” hence “pseudonymity”) or attributed (epigraphos, “superscription,” hence “pseudepigraphy”). This must not be confused with anonymity, in which no formal claim is made (e.g., Matthew, John, and Hebrews are all formally anonymous). Similarly, one must distinguish between pseudepigraphical and apocryphal works. The word apocrypha is tied rather more to notions of canon than to notions of authenticity: certain wings of Christendom have argued that a collection of “apocryphal” works should be included in the canon. The matter of false attribution played little or no part in the identification of the fourteen or fifteen books or parts of books that constitute the Apocrypha (most of which Roman Catholics view as “deuterocanonical”). A book is either canonical or apocryphal (or deuterocanonical), regardless of whether or not it is pseudepigraphical.[1]
Thus, as we have seen (chap. 8), the New Testament itself voices principled rejection of pseudonymous letters (esp. 2 Thess. 2:2; 3:17); now we observe that the Fathers universally reject pseudonymity as an acceptable literary category for documents bearing the authority of Scripture. This leaves very little space for the common modern assertion that pseudonymity was a widely acceptable practice in the ancient world. That pseudonymous apocalypses were widespread is demonstrable; that pseudonymous letters were widespread is entirely unsupported by evidence; that any pseudonymity was knowingly accepted into the New Testament canon is denied by the evidence.[2]
Jude 9 – But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” (Jude 1:9 ESV)
I. Canonical Reference
A. Michael - Daniel 12:1, 10:13
Moses’ burial - Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Similar Angelic Rebuke - Zechariah 3:2
II. Non-Canonical, Pseudepigrapha/Apocrypha
Contending with the devil. (Clement’s Fragments on the Epistle of Jude)
Disputing over the body of Moses (Clement’s Fragments on the Epistle of Jude)
According to the church fathers, starting with Clement of Alexandria (Fragments on the Epistle of Jude) … Jude is citing, not the OT, but the Assumption of Moses. (Clement wrote, “When Michael, the archangel, disputing with the devil, debated about the body of Moses.” Here he confirms the Assumption of Moses. He is here called Michael, who through an angel near to us debated with the devil.”) Thus there is universal agreement that Jude is citing an apocryphal work.[3]
This was a composite Jewish apocalyptic work by a Pharisaic quietist, written in Hebrew or Aramaic in the first quarter of the 1st cent… the sections dealing with the death and burial of Moses are missing from this.[4]
Jude 14–15 – It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, (15) to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 1:14–15 ESV)
III. Canonical References
Enoch - Genesis 5:18–19, 21–24; Luke 3:37; Hebrews 11:5
The Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints (Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalms 68:17; Isaiah 40:10; 66:15; Micah 1:3; Zechariah 14:5– Second Coming!)
IV. Non-Canonical, Pseudepigrapha/Apocrypha
Jude 14 – Seventh from Adam – Enoch 60:8
Execute judgment – Enoch 1:9[5]
“But the male is named Behemoth, who occupied with his breast a waste wilderness named †Dûidâin†, on the east of the garden where the elect and righteous dwell, where my grandfather was taken up, the seventh from Adam, the first man whom the Lord of Spirits created.”[6] (Enoch 60:8)
And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of ‹His› holy ones To execute judgement upon all, And to destroy ‹all› the ungodly: And to convict all flesh Of all. the works ‹of their ungodliness› which they have ungodly committed, ‹And of all the hard things which› ungodly sinners ‹have spoken› against Him.[7] (Enoch 1:9)
Jude 18 – They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions. (Jude 1:18 ESV)
V. Canonical References
Scoffers – 2 Peter 3:3
Predictions of the apostles and the Lord Jesus Christ – Matt 7:15–16; Matt 24:11, 24; Phil 3:18–19; 2 Tim 4:3–4, 2 Tim 3:1–5; 2 Pet 2:1; 1 John 4:1
VI. Implications of Quoting Non-Canonical Sources
First, Jude cites neither of these books as “Scripture”—γραφή (graphē) does not occur—nor does Jude use traditional formulas to introduce either text.[8]
Second, Jude’s reference to these texts implies nothing about his view of the books in which they are found. He may very well believe that the story about Moses’ body and Enoch’s prophecy are “true”; but this does not mean that he regards everything in either of the books concerned as true. And it is even possible that Jude simply cites this material because it is well known to his audience without himself making any commitment to its truthfulness.[9]
Footnotes
[1] D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, Second Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 337.
[2] D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, Second Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 736–737.
[3] Peter H. Davids, The Letters of 2 Peter and Jude, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2006), 59–60.
[4] J. N. D. Kelly, The Epistles of Peter and of Jude, Black’s New Testament Commentary (London: Continuum, 1969), 265.
[5] Robert Henry Charles, ed., Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, vol. 2 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2004), 189.
[6] Robert Henry Charles, ed., Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, vol. 2 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2004), 224.
[7] Robert Henry Charles, ed., Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, vol. 2 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2004), 189.
[8] D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, Second Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 694.
[9] D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, Second Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 694–695.
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