V.4 – "For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, (Gr. pareisduein, to enter secretly and to slip in stealthily) those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ." In verse 3 Jude tells Christians to contend for the faith and now he tells them why; because there are many ungodly people who pervert the truth and they are in the church. He then shows how these apostates failed to heed the historical warnings of God's judgment as seen in verses 5-7.
Before we look at the various bad examples from OT history, let's make sure we don't miss the main point. These false teachers spoken of in Jude, the OT examples below and the increasing apostasy we see in the church today all stem from a rejection of God's authority as revealed in His Word. From universalism (all people go to heaven) to antinomianism (Christians do not have to obey God's Word/law since we are justified by faith alone; Rom. 6:15), to Gnosticism (a secret spiritual enlightenment of the divine within – there is no such thing as sin; currently seen in the new age movement); all of these and other heresies reject God's authoritative Word (generally by re-interpreting it) and thus reject God Himself.
["The word for "marked out" (Gr. prographo) in verse 4 is never used for an eternal decree but for an upcoming action. JUDE COMMENTARY .COM] ["This expression teaches that the condemnation of apostates has been determined long beforehand. If men choose to fall away from the Christian Faith, then their condemnation is the same as that of the unbelieving Israelites in the wilderness, the rebel angels, and the Sodomites. They are not foreordained to fall away, but once they do apostatize by their own choice, they face the punishment predetermined for all apostates." MacDonald, William ; Farstad, Arthur: Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1995, S. Heb 11:1]
"Ungodly (Gr. asebes – destitute of reverential awe towards God, condemning God, impious) persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness ( Gr. Aselgeia – denotes "excess" the absence of restraint) and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ." ["The word for master (Gr. despotas) is used only 10 times in the New Testament, and the majority of the time is used to describe the obedience that slaves have toward their masters. Jude is pointing out that the false teachers had rejected the authority of the true Master and instead sought to corrupt the grace of God." JUDE COMMENTARY .COM]
V. 5 – "Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, (or "Though you already know all this, I want to remind you"- NIV) that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe." This is where the unbelieving spies and most of the people rejected God's Word to take the promised land and God made them wander in the wilderness for forty years until all of them twenty years and older died. (See Numbers 13-14) Jude reminds them and us from this account that the eternal, unchanging God always punishes those who reject Him (ultimately in hell) and always rewards those who trust and obey Him. And He disciplines His children for disobedience and rewards us for obedience, with the full recompense only coming in heaven (Gal. 6:7; Heb. 11:39-40). Thus it takes faith and patience to the end. "For we live by faith, not by sight. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." (See 2 Cor. 5:7-10)
V. 6 – "And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day." This seems to refer to the Genesis 6:1-6 account where "the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years." The Nephilim were on the earth in those days-and also afterward-when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them." There are several interpretations of who the "sons of God" were but for sake of space I will only mention the one that seems correct to me. That is that the "sons of God" were human beings that were indwelt by fallen angels (demons) as we see in Ezek. 28:11-19 when the King of Tyre seems to have been indwelt by Satan and as the human antichrist will be (1 Thess. 2:8-9). This helps explain passages such as this one in Jude, 1 Peter 3:19-20 and 2 Peter 2:4-5, 9 in reference to God's judgment of demonic activity in context of Genesis 6. This is when God judged the world with the flood because He "saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time." (Gen. 6:5) "When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increases." (Prov. 29:16) This certainly seems to apply to our times today as Jesus said it would. "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold." (Matt. 24:12) Just in the last two weeks friends of mine were close to, involved in, or witnesses to multiple murders or homicides (nine total deaths).
V. 7 – "Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire." Now we have a third example of how God punishes evil and delivers His people (Lot and his family were spared). Like the disobedient Israelites and the fallen angels seen above, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them rebelled against God's Word and He "rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah-and overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities-and also the vegetation in the land." (Gen. 19:24-25) The literal fire that destroyed them symbolizes the eternal fire (hell) for the unrepentant.
["Gross immorality" – (Gr. ekporneuo) is only found here in the New Testament. The preposition ek in the compound denotes "out and out" or "giving up utterly." The word is used in the LXX to denote the participation in harlotry (Genesis 38:34; Exodus 34:15, 16). Porneia refers to premarital sexual intercourse, adultery, bestiality, and homosexuality. The reference here is in relation to the gross homosexuality, which the citizens of these cities partook (Genesis 18:24; 19:4,5). "And went after strange flesh" -people were going to another type of flesh. This could refer to either men going after men, women going after women, or men and women going after beasts. All of these fit with the type of debauchery present in Sodom and Gomorrah. It should be noted that the homosexual movement holds the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was not of a sexual nature, but rather it was about violence, class distinction, and unloving relationships as seen in Ezek. 16:49-50. Jude however shows the sin of these cities was of a sexual nature. Some have stated God will not punish those disobedient for eternity, opting rather for total annihilation. Jude, however, states the length of the punishment to the wicked is the same as the length of the life to the godly (Matt. 25:46). The eternal example of Sodom and Gomorrah is used to remind the Christians of what will happen to those who leave "the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 3). This fits in perfectly with the purpose of the book. JUDE COMMENTARY .COM]
V. 8 – "Yet (even knowing how God judged these in Israel's history) in the same way these men (the ungodly ones who reject God's authority), also by dreaming (false prophets, who claimed to get their teachings by revelation or dreams; see Deut. 13:1-5), defile the flesh (sexual immorality), and reject authority (Gr. atheteo kuriotes – to "not recognize" – "to do away with what has been laid down." These men were not recognizing and submitting to the authority that was established for them. The use of the word kuriotes for authority might indicate Jude is speaking of the authority of Jesus since Jude has already stated these men deny the Lord in V. 4), and revile angelic majesties (They speak contemptuously and spitefully against authority, whether it be divine, angelic, or human).
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION AND APPLICATION
1. What is your main take away from the message and table discussion and how can you apply it to your life?
2. What were the problems in the church in Jude's day and what are some similar problems in Christianity today?
3. See v. 4 – How have wicked men come? What things do they do? Who do wicked people deny? What do you think about that? What warning comes from God to people who behave like that?
4. See vv. 5-8 – What stories does Jude remind his readers about? Why might he have chosen those stories? What link does Jude make between imagination (dreaming- v.8) and respect for God's authority? If people are using their wicked imagination, what is their attitude to God's authority? How would those people speak about God's holy angels? [Fight for the *Faith!An EasyEnglish Version (2800 word vocabulary) of the letter of Jude www.easyenglish.info]