himself in the address "the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of
James." See Introduction to the
Epistle of James, in proof of James the apostle, and James
the Lord's brother, the bishop of Jerusalem, being one and the
same person. Ga 1:19 alone
seems to me to prove this. Similarly, Jude the brother of our Lord, and
Jude the apostle, seem to be one and the same. Jerome [Against Helvidius], rightly maintains
that by the Lord's brethren are meant his cousins, children of Mary and
Cleophas (the same as Alphæus). From 1Co 9:5 (as "brethren of the Lord" stands
between "other apostles" and "Cephas"), it seems natural to think that
the brethren of the Lord are distinguished from the apostles
only because all his brethren were not apostles, but only James
and Jude. Jude's reason for calling himself "brother of James," was
that James, as bishop of Jerusalem, was better known than himself. Had
he been, in the strict sense, brother of our Lord, he probably
would have so entitled himself. His omission of mention of his
apostleship is no proof that he was not an apostle; for so also
James omits it in his heading; and Paul, in his Epistles to the
Philippians, Thessalonians, and Philemon, omits it. Had the writer been
a counterfeiter of the apostle Jude, he would doubtless have called
himself an "apostle." He was called also Lebbæus and Thaddeus,
probably to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot, the traitor.
Lebbæus, from Hebrew "leeb," "heart," means
courageous. Thaddeus is the same as Theudas, from Hebrew
"thad," the "breast." Luke and John, writing later than Matthew,
when there would be no confusion between him and Judas Iscariot, give
his name Judas. The only circumstance relating to him recorded in the
Gospels occurs in Joh 14:22,
"Judas saith unto Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that Thou wilt
manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world?" Jerome [Commentary on Matthew] says that he
was sent to Edessa, to Abgarus, king of Osroene, or Edessa, and that he
preached in Syria, Arabia, Mesopotamia, and Persia, in which last
country he suffered martyrdom. The story is told on Eusebius' authority, that Abgarus, on his sickbed,
having heard of Jesus' power to heal, sent to beg Him to come and cure
him, to which the Lord replied, praising his faith, that though he had
not seen the Saviour, he yet believed; adding, "As for what thou hast
written, that I should come to thee, it is necessary that all those
things for which I was sent should be fulfilled by Me in this place,
and that having filled them I should be received up to Him that sent
Me. When, therefore, I shall be received into heaven, I will send unto
thee some one of My disciples who shall both heal thy distemper and
give life to thee and those with thee." Thomas is accordingly said to
have been inspired to send Thaddeus for the cure and baptism of
Abgarus. The letters are said to have been shown Thaddeus among the
archives of Edessa. It is possible such a message was verbally sent,
and the substance of it registered in writing afterwards (compare 2Ki
5:1-27; and Mt 15:22). Hegesippus (in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 3.20])
states that when Domitian inquired after David's posterity, some
grandsons of Jude, called the Lord's brother, were brought into his
presence. Being asked as to their possessions, they said that they had
thirty-nine acres of the value of nine thousand denarii, out of which
they paid him taxes, and lived by the labor of their hands, a proof of
which they gave by showing the hardness of their hands. Being
interrogated as to Christ and His kingdom, they replied that it was not
of this world, but heavenly; and that it would be manifested at the end
of the world, when He would come in glory to judge the living and the
Authenticity.—Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 3.25],
reckons it among the Antilegomena or controverted
Scriptures, "though recognized by the majority." The reference to the
contest of Michael, the archangel, with the devil, for the body of
Moses, not mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament, but found in the
apocryphal "Book of Enoch," probably raised doubts as to its
authenticity, as Jerome [On
Illustrious Men, 4] says. Moreover, its not being addressed to one
particular Church, or individual, caused it not to be so immediately
recognized as canonical. A counterfeiter would have avoided using what
did not occur in the Old Testament, and which might be regarded as
As to the book of Enoch, if quoted by Jude, his
quotation of a passage from it gives an inspired sanction only to
the truth of that passage, not to the whole book; just as Paul,
by inspiration, sanctions particular sentiments from Aratus, Epimenides,
and Menander, but not all their
writings. I think, rather as there is some slight variation between
Jude's statement and that of the book of Enoch, that Jude, though
probably not ignorant of the book of Enoch, stamps with inspired
sanction the current tradition of the Jews as to Enoch's prophecies;
just as Paul mentions the names of the Egyptian magicians, "Jannes and
Jambres" (2Ti 3:8), not
mentioned in the Old Testament. At all events, the prophecy ascribed to
Enoch by Jude was really his, being sanctioned as such by this inspired
writer. So also the narration as to the archangel Michael's dispute
with Satan concerning the body of Moses, is by Jude's inspired
authority (Jude 9)
declared true. The book of Enoch is quoted by Justin Martyr, Irenæus, Clement of
Alexandria, &c. Bruce, the Abyssinian traveller, brought
home three copies of it in Ethiopic, from Alexandria, of which
Archbishop Lawrence, in 1821, gave an English translation. The
Ethiopic was a version from the Greek, and the
Greek doubtless a version from the Hebrew, as the names
of the angels in it show. The Apostolic Constitutions, Origen [Against Celsus], Jerome, and Augustine, pronounce it not canonical. Yet it is in
the main edifying, vindicating God's government of the world, natural
and spiritual, and contradicting none of the Scripture statements. The
name Jesus never occurs, though "Son of man," so often given to
Messiah in the Gospels, is frequent, and terms are used expressive of
His dignity, character, and acts, exceeding the views of Messiah in any
other Jewish book. The writer seems to have been a Jew who had become
thoroughly imbued with the sacred writings of Daniel. And, though many
coincidences occur between its sentiments and the New Testament, the
Messianic portions are not distinct enough to prove that the writer
knew the New Testament. Rather, he seems to have immediately preceded
Christ's coming, about the time of Herod the Great, and so gives us a
most interesting view of believing Jews' opinions before the advent of
our Lord. The Trinity is recognized (Enoch 60:13,14). Messiah is "the
elect One" existing from eternity (Enoch 48:2,3,5); "All kings shall
fall down before Him, and worship and fix their hopes on this Son of
man" (Enoch 61:10-13). He is the object of worship (Enoch 48:3,4); He
is the supreme Judge (Enoch 60:10,11; 68:38,39). There shall be a
future state of retribution (Enoch 93:8,9; 94:2,4; 95; 96; 99; 103);
The eternity of future punishment (Enoch 103:5). Volkmar, in Alford,
thinks the book was written at the time of the sedition of Barchochebas
(A.D. 132), by a follower of Rabbi
Akiba, the upholder of that impostor. This would make the book
Antichristian in its origin. If this date be correct, doubtless it
copied some things from Jude, giving them the Jewish, not the
[Demonstration of the Gospel, 3.5] remarks, it accords with
John's humility that in Second and Third John he calls himself "the
elder." For the same reason James and Jude call themselves "servants of
Jesus Christ." Clement of Alexandria
[Adumbrations, in Epistle of Jude, p. 1007] says, "Jude,
through reverential awe, did not call himself brother, but
servant, of Jesus Christ, and brother of James."
Tertullian [On the
Apparel of Women, 3] cites the Epistle as that of the apostle
James. Clement of Alexandria in
Miscellanies [3.2.11] quotes Jude 8, 17 as Scripture, in The Instructor
[3.8.44], Jude 5. The
Muratori fragment asserts its canonicity
[Routh, Sacred Fragments, 1.306].
Origen [Commentary on Matthew
13:55] says, "Jude wrote an Epistle of few lines, but one filled full
of the strong words of heavenly grace." Also, in his Commentary
on Matthew 22:23, Origen quotes Jude 6; and on Matthew 18:10, he quotes
Jude 1. He calls the writer "Jude the
apostle," in the Latin remains of his works (compare Davidson, Introduction to the New
Testament, vol. 3, p. 498). Jerome
[On Illustrious Men, 4] reckons it among the Scriptures. Though
the oldest manuscripts of the Peschito omit it, Ephrem the Syrian recognizes it. Wordsworth reasons for its genuineness thus: Jude,
we know, died before John, that is, before the beginning of the second
century. Now Eusebius [Ecclesiastical
History, 3.32] tells us that James was succeeded in the bishopric
of Jerusalem by Symeon his brother; and also that Symeon sat in that
see till A.D. 107, when as a martyr he
was crucified in his hundred twentieth year. We find that the Epistle
to Jude was known in the East and West in the second century; it was
therefore circulated in Symeon's lifetime. It never would have received
currency such as it had, nor would Symeon have permitted a letter
bearing the name of an apostle, his own brother Jude, brother of his
own apostolical predecessor, James, to have been circulated, if it were
not really Jude's.
addressed.—The references to Old Testament history, Jude 5, 7, and to Jewish tradition, Jude 14, &c., make it likely that
Jewish Christians are the readers to whom Jude mainly (though
including also all Christians, Jude 1) writes, just as the kindred Epistle,
Second Peter, is addressed primarily to the same class; compare Introduction to First Peter and Introduction to Second Peter. The
persons stigmatized in it were not merely libertines (as Alford thinks), though no doubt that was one
of their prominent characteristics, but heretics in doctrine,
"denying the only Lord God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Hence he
urges believers "earnestly to contend for the faith once
delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). Insubordination, self-seeking, and
licentiousness, the fruit of Antinomian teachings, were the evils
against which Jude warns his readers; reminding them that, to build
themselves in their most holy faith, and to pray in the Holy Ghost, are
the only effectual safeguards. The same evils, along with mocking
skepticism, shall characterize the last days before the final judgment,
even as in the days when Enoch warned the ungodly of the coming flood.
As Peter was in Babylon in writing 1Pe 5:13, and probably also in writing Second
Peter (compare Introduction to First
Peter and Introduction to Second
Peter), Jude addressed his Epistle primarily to the Jewish
Christians in and about Mesopotamian Babylon (a place of great
resort to the Jews in that day), or else to the Christian Jews
dispersed in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (1Pe 1:1), the persons addressed by Peter.
For Jude is expressly said to have preached in Mesopotamia
[Jerome, Commentary on Matthew],
and his Epistle, consisting of only twenty-five verses, contains in
them no less than eleven passages from Second Peter (see my Introduction to Second Peter for the list).
Probably in Jude 4 he
witnesses to the fulfilment of Peter's prophecy, "There are
certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained
(rather as Greek, "forewritten," that is, announced
beforehand by the apostle Peter's written prophecy) to
this condemnation, ungodly men denying the only Lord God,
and our Lord Jesus Christ." Compare 2Pe 2:1, "There shall be false teachers
among you who privily shall bring in damnable heresies,
even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon
themselves swift destruction." Also Jude 17, 18 plainly refers to the very
words of 2Pe 3:3,
"Remember the words which were spoken before of the apostles of
our Lord Jesus; how they told you there should be mockers in the
last time who should walk after their own ungodly
lusts." This proves, in opposition to Alford, that Jude's Epistle is later than Peter's
(whose inspiration he thus confirms, just as Peter confirms Paul's,
3:15, 16), not vice
Time and place of
that, considering Jude was writing to Jews and citing signal instances
of divine vengeance, it is very unlikely he would have omitted to
allude to the destruction of Jerusalem if he had written after that
event which uprooted the Jewish polity and people. He conjectures from
the tone and references that the writer lived in Palestine. But as to
the former, negative evidence is doubtful; for neither does John allude
in his Epistles, written after the destruction of Jerusalem, to that
event. Mill fixes on A.D. 90, after the death of all the apostles save
John. I incline to think from Jude 17, 18 that some time had elapsed since the
Second Epistle of Peter (written probably about A.D. 68 or 69) when Jude wrote, and, therefore, that
the Epistle of Jude was written after the destruction of
Address: Greeting: His Object in
Writing: Warning against Seducers in
Doctrine and Practice from God's Vengenance on Apostates, Israel, the Fallen Angels, Sodom and Gomorrah. Description of These Bad Men, in Contrast to
Michael: Like Cain, Balaam, and Core: Enoch's
Prophecy as to Them: The Apostles'
Forewarning: Concluding Exhortation as
to Preserving Their Own Faith, and Trying to Save Others: Doxology.
1. servant of Jesus Christ—as His
minister and apostle.
brother of James—who was more widely
known as bishop of Jerusalem and "brother of the Lord" (that is, either
cousin, or stepbrother, being son of Joseph by a former
marriage; for ancient traditions universally agree that Mary, Jesus'
mother, continued perpetually a virgin). Jude therefore calls himself
modestly "brother of James." See my Introduction.
to them … sanctified by God the
Father—The oldest manuscripts and versions, Origen, Lucifer, and
others read, "beloved" for sanctified. If English Version
be read, compare Col 1:12; 1Pe 1:2. The Greek is not "by," but "in."
God the Father's love is the element IN which they are "beloved." Thus the conclusion,
21, corresponds, "Keep
yourselves in the love of God." Compare "beloved of the Lord"
preserved in Jesus Christ—"kept."
Translate not "in," but as Greek, "FOR Jesus Christ." "Kept continually (so the
Greek perfect participle means) by God the Father for Jesus
Christ," against the day of His coming. Jude, beforehand, mentions the
source and guarantee for the final accomplishment of believers'
salvation; lest they should be disheartened by the dreadful evils which
he proceeds to announce [Bengel].
and called—predicated of "them
that are beloved in God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ: who
are called." God's effectual calling in the exercise of His
divine prerogative, guarantees their eternal safety.
2. Mercy—in a time of wretchedness.
Therefore mercy stands first; the mercy of Christ (Jude 21).
peace—in the Holy Ghost (Jude 20).
love—of God (Jude 21). The three answer to the divine
be multiplied—in you and towards
3. Design of the Epistle (compare Jude 20, 21).
all diligence—(2Pe 1:5). As the minister is to give all
diligence to admonish, so the people should, in accordance with his
admonition, give all diligence to have all Christian graces, and
to make their calling sure.
the common salvation—wrought by
Christ. Compare Note, see on 2Pe 1:1,
"obtained LIKE precious faith," This
community of faith, and of the object of faith,
salvation, forms the ground of mutual exhortation by appeals to
common hopes and fears.
it was needful for me—rather, "I felt
it necessary to write (now at once; so the Greek aorist
means; the present infinitive 'to write,' which precedes,
expresses merely the general fact of writing) exhorting you." The
reason why he felt it necessary "to write with exhortation," he
states, Jude 4, "For
there are certain men crept in," &c. Having intended to write
generally of "the common salvation," he found it necessary from
the existing evils in the Church, to write specially that they should
contend for the faith against those evils.
earnestly contend—Compare Php 1:27, "striving together for the faith of the
once, &c.—Greek, "once
for all delivered." No other faith or revelation is to supersede
it. A strong argument for resisting heretical innovators (Jude 4). Believers, like Nehemiah's workmen
4:17), with one hand "build
themselves up in their most holy faith"; with the other they" contend
earnestly for the faith" against its foes.
the saints—all Christians, holy
(that is, consecrated to God) by their calling, and in God's
4. certain men—implying
crept in unawares—stealthily and
unlawfully. See on 2Pe 2:1, "privily shall
bring in damnable heresies."
before … ordained—Greek,
"forewritten," namely, in Peter's prophecy Jude 17, 18; and in Paul's before that, 1Ti 4:1;
2Ti 3:1; and by implication
in the judgments which overtook the apostate angels. The disobedient
Israelites, Sodom and Gomorrah, Balaam and Core, and which are
written "for an example" (Jude 7, and Jude 5, 6,
11). God's eternal character
as the Punisher of sin, as set forth in Scripture "of old," is the
ground on which such apostate characters are ordained to condemnation.
Scripture is the reflection of God's book of life in which believers
are "written among the living." "Forewritten" is applied also in Ro 15:4 to the things written in
Scripture. Scripture itself reflects God's character from everlasting,
which is the ground of His decrees from everlasting. Bengel explains it as an abbreviated phrase for,
"They were of old foretold by Enoch (Jude 14, who did not write his
prophecies), and afterwards marked out by the written word."
to this condemnation—Jude graphically
puts their judgment as it were present before the eyes, "THIS." Enoch's prophecy comprises the "ungodly men"
of the last days before Christ's coming to judgment, as well as their
forerunners, the "ungodly men" before the flood, the type of the last
judgment (Mt 24:37-39; 2Pe 3:3-7). The disposition and the doom of both
the grace of our God—A phrase for the
Gospel especially sweet to believers who appropriate God in Christ as
"our God," and so rendering the more odious the vile perversity
of those who turn the Gospel state of grace and liberty into a ground
of licentiousness, as if their exemption from the law gave them a
license to sin.
denying the only Lord—The oldest
manuscripts, versions, and Fathers omit "God," which follows in
English Version. Translate as the Greek, "the only
Master"; here used of Jesus Christ, who is at once Master
and "Lord" (a different Greek word). See on 2Pe 2:1. By virtue of Christ's perfect oneness with the
Father, He, as well as the Father, is termed "the ONLY" God and "Master." Greek, "Master," implies God's
absolute ownership to dispose of His creatures as He likes.
5. (Heb 3:16; 4:13.)
therefore—Other oldest manuscripts and
Vulgate read, "But"; in contrast to the ungodly Jude 4.
though ye once—rather, "once for all."
Translate, "I wish to remind you, as knowing ALL (namely, that I am referring to; so the
oldest manuscripts, versions, and Fathers) once for all."
As already they know all the facts once for all, he needs only
to "remind" them.
the Lord—The oldest manuscripts and
versions read, "Jesus." So "Christ" is said to have accompanied the
Israelites in the wilderness; so perfectly is Jesus one with the God of
the Israelite theocracy.
saved—brought safely, and into a state
of safety and salvation.
afterward—Greek, "secondly"; in
the next instance "destroyed them that believed not," as contrasted
with His in the first instance having saved them.
6. (2Pe 2:4.)
kept not their first
estate—Vulgate translates, "their own
principality," which the fact of angels being elsewhere called
"principalities," favors: "their own" implies that, instead of being
content with the dignity once for all assigned to them under the
Son of God, they aspired higher. Alford
thinks the narrative in Ge 6:2 is
alluded to, not the fall of the devil and his angels, as he thinks
"giving themselves over to fornication" (Jude 7) proves; compare Greek, "in like
manner to these," namely, to the angels (Jude 6). It seems to me more natural to take
"sons of God" (Ge 6:2) of the
Sethites, than of angels, who, as "spirits," do not seem capable of
carnal connection. The parallel, 2Pe 2:4, plainly refers to the fall of the
apostate angels. And "in like manner to these," Jude 7, refers to the inhabitants of Sodom
and Gomorrah, "the cities about them" sinning "in like manner" as
"they" did [Estius and Calvin]. Even if Greek "these," Jude 7, refer to the angels, the sense
of "in like manner as these" will be, not that the angels carnally
fornicated with the daughters of men, but that their ambition,
whereby their affections went away from God and they fell, is in
God's view a sin of like kind spiritually as Sodom's going away
from God's order of nature after strange flesh; the sin of the apostate
angels after their kind is analogous to that of the human Sodomites
after their kind. Compare the somewhat similar spiritual connection of
whoremongers and covetousness. The apocryphal book of
Enoch interprets Ge 6:2 as
Alford. But though Jude accords with it
in some particulars, it does not follow that he accords with it in all.
The Hebrews name the fallen angels Aza and Azael.
left—on their own accord.
their own—Greek, "their
habitation—heaven, all bright and
glorious, as opposed to the "darkness" to which they now are
doomed. Their ambitious designs seem to have had a peculiar connection
with this earth, of which Satan before his fall may have been God's
vicegerent, whence arises his subsequent connection with it as first
the Tempter, then "the prince of this world."
reserved—As the Greek is the
same, and there is an evident reference to their having "kept
not their first estate," translate, "He hath kept." Probably what
is meant is, He hath kept them in His purpose; that is their
sure doom; moreover, as yet, Satan and his demons roam at large on the
earth. An earnest of their doom is their having been cast out of
heaven, being already restricted to "the darkness of this present
world," the "air" that surrounds the earth, their peculiar element now.
They lurk in places of gloom and death, looking forward with agonizing
fear to their final torment in the bottomless pit. He means not literal
chains and darkness, but figurative in this present world where, with
restricted powers and liberties, shut out from heaven, they, like
condemned prisoners, await their doom.
7. Even as—Alford translates, "I wish to remind you (Jude 5) that."
Sodom, &c.—(2Pe 2:6).
giving themselves over to
fornication—following fornication extraordinarily,
that is, out of the order of nature. On "in like manner to
them" (Greek), compare Note, see on Jude 6. Compare on spiritual fornication, "go a
whoring from thee," Ps 73:27.
going after strange flesh—departing
from the course of nature, and going after that which is unnatural. In
later times the most enlightened heathen nations indulged in the sin of
Sodom without compunction or shame.
are set forth—before our eyes.
suffering—undergoing to this
present time; alluding to the marks of volcanic fire about the Dead
the vengeance—Greek, "righteous
eternal fire—The lasting marks of the
fire that consumed the cities irreparably, is a type of the eternal
fire to which the inhabitants have been consigned. Bengel translates as the Greek will admit,
"Suffering (the) punishment (which they endure) as
an example or sample of eternal fire (namely, that which shall
consume the wicked)." Eze 16:53-55 shows that Sodom's punishment, as a
nation, is not eternal. Compare also 2Pe 2:6.
8. also—rather, "In like manner
nevertheless" (notwithstanding these warning examples) [Alford].
these … dreamers—The
Greek has not "filthy" of English Version. The
clause, "these men dreaming" (that is, in their dreams), belongs to all
the verbs, "defile," "despise," and "speak evil." All sinners are
spiritually asleep, and their carnal activity is as it were a dream
7). Their speaking evil of
dignities is because they are dreaming, and know not what
they are speaking evil of (Jude 10). "As a man dreaming seems to himself to
be seeing and nearing many things, so the natural man's lusts are
agitated by joy, distress, fear, and the other passions. But he is a
stranger to self-command. Hence, though he bring into play all the
powers of reason, he cannot conceive the true liberty which the sons of
light, who are awake and in the daylight; enjoy" [Bengel].
defile the flesh—(Jude 7).
Earthly and heavenly dignities.
9. Michael, the archangel—Nowhere in
Scripture is the plural used, "archangels"; but only ONE, "archangel." The only other passage in the New
Testament where it occurs, is 1Th 4:16, where Christ is distinguished from the
archangel, with whose voice He shall descend to raise the dead; they
therefore err who confound Christ with Michael. The name means, Who
is like God? In Da 10:13 he
is called "One ('the first,' Margin) of the chief
princes." He is the champion angel of Israel. In Re 12:7 the conflict between Michael and Satan
is again alluded to.
about the body of Moses—his literal
body. Satan, as having the power of death, opposed the raising of it
again, on the ground of Moses' sin at Meribah, and his murder of the
Egyptian. That Moses' body was raised, appears from his presence with
Elijah and Jesus (who were in the body) at the Transfiguration: the
sample and earnest of the coming resurrection kingdom, to be ushered in
by Michael's standing up for God's people. Thus in each dispensation a
sample and pledge of the future resurrection was given: Enoch in the
patriarchal dispensation, Moses in the Levitical, Elijah in the
prophetical. It is noteworthy that the same rebuke is recorded here as
was used by the Angel of the Lord, or Jehovah the Second Person, in
pleading for Joshua, the representative of the Jewish Church, against
Satan, in Zec 3:2;
whence some have thought that also here "the body of Moses" means the
Jewish Church accused by Satan, before God, for its filthiness, on
which ground he demands that divine justice should take its course
against Israel, but is rebuked by the Lord who has "chosen Jerusalem":
thus, as "the body of Christ" is the Christian Church, so "the
body of Moses" is the Jewish Church. But the literal body is evidently
here meant (though, secondarily, the Jewish Church is typified by
Moses' body, as it was there represented by Joshua the high priest);
and Michael, whose connection seems to be so close with Jehovah-Messiah
on the one hand, and with Israel on the other, naturally uses the same
language as his Lord. As Satan (adversary in court) or the devil
(accuser) accuses alike the Church collectively and "the
brethren" individually, so Christ pleads for us as our Advocate.
Israel's, and all believers' full justification, and the accuser's
being rebuked finally, is yet future. Josephus [Antiquities,4.8], states that God
hid Moses' body, lest, if it had been exposed to view, it would have
been made an idol of. Jude, in this account, either adopts it from the
apocryphal "assumption of Moses" (as Origen [Concerning Principalities, 3.2]
thinks), or else from the ancient tradition on which that work was
founded. Jude, as inspired, could distinguish how much of the
tradition was true, how much false. We have no such means of
distinguishing, and therefore can be sure of no tradition, save that
which is in the written word.
durst not—from reverence for Satan's
former dignity (Jude 8).
"judgment of blasphemy," or evil-speaking. Peter said, Angels do
not, in order to avenge themselves, rail at dignities, though ungodly,
when they have to contend with them: Jude says that the archangel
Michael himself did not rail even at the time when he fought with the
devil, the prince of evil spirits—not from fear of him, but from
reverence of God, whose delegated power in this world Satan once had,
and even in some degree still has. From the word "disputed," or
debated in controversy, it is plain it was a judicial
10. (2Pe 2:12.)
those things which—Greek, "all
things whatsoever they understand not," namely, the
things of the spiritual world.
but what … naturally—Connect
thus, "Whatever (so the Greek) things naturally (by
natural, blind instinct), as the unreasoning (so the Greek)
animals, they know," &c. The Greek for the former "know"
implies deeper knowledge; the latter "know," the mere perception of the
"animal senses and faculties."
11. Woe—See on 2Pe
2:14, "cursed children."
Cain—the murderer: the root of whose
sin was hatred and envy of the godly, as it is the sin of these
ran greedily—literally, "have been
poured forth" like a torrent that has burst its banks. Reckless of what
it costs, the loss of God's favor and heaven, on they rush after gain
perished in the gainsaying of
Core—(compare Note, see on Jude
12). When we read of Korah perishing by gainsaying, we read
virtually also of these perishing in like manner through the same: for
the same seed bears the same harvest.
12. spots—So 2Pe 2:13, Greek, "spiloi"; but here
the Greek is spilades, which elsewhere, in secular
writers, means rocks, namely, on which the Christian
love-feasts were in danger of being shipwrecked. The oldest
manuscript prefixes the article emphatically, "THE rocks." The reference to "clouds … winds
… waves of the sea," accords with this image of rocks.
Vulgate seems to have been misled by the similar sounding word to
translate, as English Version, "spots"; compare however, Jude 23, which favors English
Version, if the Greek will bear it. Two oldest manuscripts,
by the transcriber's effort to make Jude say the same as Peter, read
here "deceivings" for "love-feasts," but the weightiest manuscript and
authorities support English Version reading. The love-feast
accompanied the Lord's Supper (1Co 11:17-34, end). Korah the Levite, not satisfied
with his ministry, aspired to the sacrificing priesthood
also: so ministers in the Lord's Supper have sought to make it a
sacrifice, and themselves the sacrificing priests,
usurping the function of our only Christian sacerdotal Priest,
Christ Jesus. Let them beware of Korah's doom!
"pasturing (tending) themselves." What they look to is the pampering of
themselves, not the feeding of the flock.
without fear—Join these words not as
English Version, but with "feast." Sacred feasts especially
ought to be celebrated with fear. Feasting is not faulty in
itself [Bengel], but it needs to be
accompanied with fear of forgetting God, as Job in the case of
his sons' feasts.
clouds—from which one would expect
refreshing rains. 2Pe 2:17,
"wells without water." Professors without practice.
carried about—The oldest manuscripts
have "carried aside," that is, out of the right course (compare Eph 4:14).
trees whose fruit withereth—rather,
"trees of the late (or waning) autumn," namely, when there are
no longer leaves or fruits on the trees [Bengel].
without fruit—having no good fruit of
knowledge and practice; sometimes used of what is positively
twice dead—First when they cast their
leaves in autumn, and seem during winter dead, but revive again
in spring; secondly, when they are "plucked up by the roots." So these
apostates, once dead in unbelief, and then by profession and baptism
raised from the death of sin to the life of righteousness, but now
having become dead again by apostasy, and so hopelessly
dead. There is a climax. Not only without leaves, like
trees in late autumn, but without fruit: not only so, but
dead twice; and to crown all, "plucked up by the roots."
13. Raging—wild. Jude has in mind Isa 57:20.
shame—plural in Greek, "shames"
(compare Php 3:19).
wandering stars—instead of moving on
in a regular orbit, as lights to the world, bursting forth on the world
like erratic comets, or rather, meteors of fire, with a strange glare,
and then doomed to fall back again into the blackness of gloom.
14. See Introduction on the source whence Jude
derived this prophecy of Enoch. The Holy Spirit, by Jude, has sealed
the truth of this much of the matter contained in the book of Enoch,
though probably that book, as well as Jude, derived it from tradition
(compare Note, see on Jude 9). There are
reasons given by some for thinking the book of Enoch copied from Jude
rather than vice versa. It is striking how, from the first, prophecy
hastened towards its consummation. The earliest prophecies of the
Redeemer dwell on His second coming in glory, rather than His first
coming in lowliness (compare Ge 3:15 with Ro 16:20). Enoch, in his translation without
death, illustrated that truth which he all his life preached to the
unbelieving world, the certainty of the Lord's coming, and the
resurrection of the dead, as the only effectual antidote to their
skepticism and self-wise confidence in nature's permanence.
And Enoch—Greek, "Moreover,
also Enoch," &c.
seventh from Adam—Seven is the
sacred number. In Enoch, freedom from death and the sacred number are
combined: for every seventh object is most highly valued. Jude thus
shows the antiquity of the prophecies. Compare Note, see on Jude 4, "of old." There were only five
fathers between Enoch and Adam. The seventh from Adam prophesied
the things which shall close the seventh age of the world [Bengel].
of these—in relation to these. The
reference of his prophecies was not to the antediluvians alone, but to
all the ungodly (Jude 15). His
prophecy applied primarily indeed to the flood, but ultimately to the
cometh—literally, "came." Prophecy
regards the future as certain as if it were past.
saints—Holy angels (compare De 33:2; Da 7:10; Zec 14:5; Mt 25:31; Heb 12:22).
15. This verse and the beginning of Enoch's
prophecy is composed in Hebrew poetic parallelism, the oldest
specimen extant. Some think Lamech's speech, which is also in poetic
parallelism, was composed in mockery of Enoch's prophecy: as Enoch
foretold Jehovah's coming to judgment, so Lamech presumes on impunity
in polygamy and murder (just as Cain the murderer seemed to escape with
hard speeches—such as are
noticed in Jude 8, 10, 16; Mal 3:13, 14; contrast Ro 16:17.
ungodly sinners—not merely
sinners, but proud despisers of God: impious.
against him—They who speak against
God's children are regarded by God as speaking against
16. murmurers—in secret: muttering
murmurs against God's ordinances and ministers in Church and state.
Compare Jude 8, "speak
evil of dignities"; Jude 15,
"hard speeches"; against the Lord.
complainers—never satisfied with their
11:1; compare the penalty,
walking after their own lusts—(Jude 18). The secret of their murmuring
and complaining is the restless insatiability of their desires.
great swelling words—(2Pe 2:18).
men's persons—their mere outward
appearance and rank.
because of advantage—for the sake of
what they may gain from them. While they talk great swelling
words, they are really mean and fawning towards those of wealth and
17. But; beloved … ye—in contrast
to those reprobates, Jude 20,
remember—implying that his readers had
been contemporaries of the apostles. For Peter uses the very same
formula in reminding the contemporaries of himself and the other
spoken before—spoken already before
the apostles—Peter (see on 2Pe 3:2, 3), and Paul before Peter (Ac
20:29; 1Ti 4:1; 2Ti 3:1).
Jude does not exclude himself from the number of the apostles
here, for in Jude 18,
immediately after, he says, "they told You," not us (rather as
Greek, "used to tell you" implying that Jude's readers were
contemporaries of the apostles, who used to tell them).
18. mockers—In the parallel, 2Pe 3:3, the same Greek is
translated, "scoffers." The word is found nowhere else in the New
Testament. How Alford can deny that
3 is referred to (at least in
part), I cannot imagine, seeing that Jude quotes the very words of
Peter as the words which the apostles used to speak to
his (Jude's) readers.
walk after their own ungodly
lusts—literally, "after (according to) their own lusts of
19. These be they—showing that their
characters are such as Peter and Paul had foretold.
separate themselves—from Church
communion in its vital, spiritual reality: for outwardly they took part
in Church ordinances (Jude 12).
Some oldest manuscripts omit "themselves": then understand it,
"separate," cast out members of the Church by excommunication (Isa 65:5; 66:5; Lu 6:22; Joh 9:34; compare "casteth them out of the
Church;" 3Jo 10).
Many, however, understand "themselves," which indeed is read in some of
the oldest manuscripts as English Version has it. Arrogant
setting up of themselves, as having greater sanctity and a wisdom and
peculiar doctrine, distinct from others, is implied.
sensual—literally, "animal-souled": as
opposed to the spiritual, or "having the Spirit." It is
translated, "the natural man," 1Co 2:14. In the threefold division of man's
being, body, soul, and spirit, the due state in God's design is,
that "the spirit," which is the recipient of the Holy Spirit uniting
man to God, should be first, and should rule the soul, which stands
intermediate between the body and spirit: but in the
animal, or natural man, the spirit is sunk into
subserviency to the animal soul, which is earthly in its motives and
aims. The "carnal" sink somewhat lower, for in these the flesh,
the lowest element and corrupt side of man's bodily nature, reigns
having not the Spirit—In the animal
and natural man the spirit, his higher part, which ought to be
the receiver of the Holy Spirit, is not so; and therefore, his spirit
not being in its normal state, he is said not to have the spirit
(compare Joh 3:5, 6).
In the completion of redemption the parts of redeemed man shall be
placed in their due relation: whereas in the ungodly, the soul
severed from the spirit shall have for ever animal life without
union to God and heaven—a living death.
20. Resuming Jude 17.
building up yourselves—the opposite to
the "separate themselves" (Jude 19): as
"in the Holy Ghost" is opposed to "having not the Spirit."
on—as on a foundation.
Building on THE FAITH is
equivalent to building on Christ, the object of faith.
praying in the Holy Ghost—(Ro 8:26;
Eph 6:18). The Holy Spirit
teaches what we are to pray for, and how. None can pray
aright save by being in the Spirit, that is, in the element of
His influence. Chrysostom states that,
among the charisms bestowed at the beginning of the New Testament
dispensation, was the gift of prayer, bestowed on someone who
prayed in the name of the rest, and taught others to pray. Moreover,
their prayers so conceived and often used, were received and preserved
among Christians, and out of them forms of prayer were framed. Such is
the origin of liturgies [Hammond].
21. In Jude 20, 21, Jude combines the Father, the Son, and
the Holy Ghost: and faith, hope, and love.
Keep yourselves—not in your own
strength, but "in the love of God," that is, God's love to you
and all His believing children, the only guarantee for their being
kept safe. Man's need of watching is implied; at the same time
he cannot keep himself, unless God in His love keep him.
looking for—in hope.
the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ—to
be fully manifested at His coming. Mercy is usually attributed
to the Father: here to the Son; so entirely one are they.
22, 23. None but those who "keep themselves"
are likely to "save" others.
have compassion—So one oldest
manuscript reads. But two oldest manuscripts, Vulgate, &c.,
read, "convict"; "reprove to their conviction"; "confute, so as to
making a difference—The oldest
manuscripts and versions read the accusative for the nominative, "when
separating themselves" [Wahl], referring
19; or "when contending with
you," as the Greek is translated, Jude 9.
23. save with fear—The oldest
manuscripts do not read "with fear" in this position: but after
"snatching them out of the fire" (with which, compare Am
4:11; 1Co 3:15; Zec 3:2, said
of a most narrow escape), they add the following words, forming a THIRD class, "and others compassionate with
(IN) fear." Three kinds of patients
require three kinds of medical treatment. Ministers and Christians are
said to "save" those whom they are made the instruments of saving; the
Greek for "save" is present, therefore meaning "try to save."
Jude already (Jude 9) had
reference to the same passage (Zec 3:1-3). The three classes are: (1) those who
contend with you (accusative case in oldest manuscripts), whom
you should convict; (2) those who are as brands already in
the fire, of which hell-fire is the consummation: these you
should try to save by snatching them out; (3) those who are
objects of compassion, whom accordingly you should
compassionate (and help if occasion should offer), but at the
same time not let pity degenerate into connivance at their error. Your
compassion is to be accompanied "with fear" of being at all defiled by
hating—Even hatred has its
legitimate field of exercise. Sin is the only thing which God hates: so
even the garment—a proverbial phrase:
avoiding the most remote contact with sin, and hating that which
borders on it. As garments of the apostles wrought miracles of
good in healing, so the very garment of sinners metaphorically,
that is, anything brought into contact with their pollution, is to be
avoided. Compare as to lepers and other persons defiled, Le 13:52-57;
15:4-17: the garments were
held polluted; and anyone touching them was excluded, until purified,
from religious and civil communion with the sanctified people of
Israel. Christians who received at baptism the white garment in token
of purity, are not to defile it by any approach to what is defiled.
24, 25. Concluding doxology.
you—Alford, on inferior authority, reads, "them."
You is in contradistinction to those ungodly men
keep … from falling—rather,
"guard … (so as to be) without falling," or
before the presence of his glory—that
is, before Himself, when He shall be revealed in
with exceeding joy—literally, "with
exultation" as of those who leap for joy.
25. To the only … God our
Saviour—The oldest manuscripts add, "through Jesus Christ our
Lord." The transcribers, fancying that "Saviour" applied to Christ
alone, omitted the words. The sense is, To the only God (the Father)
who is our Saviour through (that is, by the mediation of) Jesus Christ
power. The oldest manuscripts and Vulgate, after "power,"
have "before all the age," that is, before all time as to the
past: "and now," as to the present; "and to all the
ages," that is, for ever, as to the time to come.