"These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness (Gr. zophos – densest darkness) has been reserved forever (eternal hell). It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him." These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage." (Jude 12-16)
The fear of hell is an essential component of salvation (John 16:8) and motivation for evangelism, but it is often omitted today in the name of a God Who loves us and wants our best and, like a sweet grandma, winks at our sin and says "boys will be boys". God is perfect love and perfect justice (and perfect in all of His many other attributes) and never does one attribute minimize the others. And because of God's perfect justice even hell will have degrees of punishment (e.g., Matt. 11:21-24; Luke 12:47-48) and is based on the amount of light (truth) a person receives and how they respond to it. (Rom. 1-2) Apostates will receive severe judgment because they know the gospel and yet reject it AND remain in the church to lead people away from the truth of the gospel. Christendom represents some who name Christ as Savior and remain in a church yet are unsaved; and in the case of apostates, they remain in the church and seek to lead others away from the truth. Since God judges them so severely we must not tolerate them in the name of "love" for they are not only hurting themselves but are influencing many other unbelievers both in the church and outside the church, who hear and believe their lies. Jesus Christ, the most loving and perfect human being that ever walked the earth (God and Man) spoke more about hell than He did about heaven and spoke more about hell than any other person in the Bible. Why? Because He wants no one to go there so much that He voluntarily suffered God's wrath on the cross in our place so whosoever will call upon the Lord will be saved (from hell – Rom. 10:13).
In the verses above Jude is inspired by God to show how evil and deceiving these apostates are and how God reserves severe punishment (the densest darkness) for them.
"These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves" – This speaks of their unseen danger. As unseen rocks near the shore can be ship-wreckers, these men are faith-wreckers. And instead of caring for the needs of others at these love feasts (like a church potluck dinner) they selfishly cared for themselves with no fear of God's judgment.
"Clouds without water, carried along by winds" – They are called clouds without water, which speaks of their false promises. It looks like rain but none ever falls. Like clouds without rain they have no substance, no spiritual nourishment. ["These false teachers promise to bring you the blessing of God, they promise to lead you in the path of God, they promise to bring you spiritual blessing and spiritual refreshment. They promise but they can't deliver. They are driven around in the sky, clouds continually portending the promise of rain but they have no water. "Without water" is the same word used in Matthew 12:43 to speak of the dry places in which evil spirits wander. They're really motivated by the unseen evil spirits who control them. They're blown around by demon winds and they deliver nothing." John MacArthur]
"Autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted" – These men are spiritually barren with no hope of ever bearing fruit because they are doubly dead and uprooted. Matthew 15:13, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up," Jesus said. Instead of being born again new creatures in Christ that can bear much fruit as they remain in the Vine (Jesus) they are dead in their sins and the flesh profits nothing (Eph. 2:1, 5; John 6:63).
"Wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam" – "But the wicked are like the tossing sea. For it cannot be quiet, (no rest) And its waters toss up refuse and mud." (Isa. 57:20) ["Sea, in the Bible is often used as a symbol of those who don't know God. The wicked are like the troubled sea when the sea is in tremendous turmoil, when there is a tremendous storm in the sea, in the morning after the storm the shore is littered not with anything productive, not with anything beneficial, not with anything life-giving but with just muck and mire and debris. That's all the false teachers do. They just make a lot of motion. They stir up a lot of foam and a lot of action and a lot of hoopla. And in the end, all they do is cast up scum. And what is the scum? It's immorality, insubordination, and irreverence, false preaching, lies, deception, shameful deeds, seductions, all forms of religious prostitution and harlotry." John MacArthur]
"Wandering stars, for whom the black darkness (Gr. zophos – densest darkness) has been reserved forever
(eternal hell)" – ["There are two possible interpretations for "wandering stars." It could depict men who are
like meteorites that shine as they blaze across the sky and then go off into darkness (Perkins 105). The
other interpretation is it refers to stars with no fixed place in the sky and therefore cannot guide men (Kelcy
181). The first definition would mean the false teachers look good to men for a while, but the doctrine that
they preached burns out because it has no eternal value (Perkins 105). The second would indicate the
teachings of the false teachers would misguide men in their relationship with God." Jude Commentary.Com]
"It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him." This judgment of God refers to final judgment of all of the unrepentant who reject Jesus Christ – the only way to the Father (John 14:6). There is judgment for the unbeliever's sin now (e.g., Rom. 1:24-27) and immediately after they die (Heb. 9:27; Luke 16:19-31) but their full and final judgment comes at the Great White Throne judgment: "Each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire." (See Revelation 20:11-15; also see 2 Thess. 1:6-10) ["Jude makes a surprising number of references to Old Testament characters and events in view of its brevity. But many have been troubled by its evident use of two first-century pseudepigraphal books. Verse 9 apparently alludes to the Assumption of Moses, and verses 14-15 clearly quote from the Book of Enoch (see 1:9). But this does not mean that Jude was thereby affirming the authority of these books; he was merely using them (as inspired by God) to illustrate a point much like Paul when he cited the Greek poets Aratus (see Acts 17:28), Menander (see 1 Cor. 15:33), and Epimenides (see Titus 1:12)." Wilkinson, Bruce ; Boa, Kenneth: Talk Thru the Bible. Nashville : T. Nelson, 1983, S. 500]
Application: "Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, 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. (Jude 3, 4) "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse!" (Gal 1:8) "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) "For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." (Titus 2:11-14)
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 does the word "saved" mean in the Bible? How do you feel about being saved and how do you feel about your family and friends who are not saved?
3. Which of the 5 descriptions of the apostates in vv.12-13 concerns you the most and why?
4. What are some positive aspects of God's judgment of unbelievers now in this life? (e.g., See Isa. 26:9b)
5. Read John 14:6, Gal. 1:8 and Titus 2:11-14 and contrast it to Jude 3 & 4.
6. Where have you and where can you "contend earnestly for the faith"? (See Acts 4:12)