December 27, 2015.
Daily Reading: Jude.
Background: Though there is some debate as to which Jude wrote the epistle of Jude, it is typically attributed to Jude, the brother of Jesus and of James (see Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3, noting that ‘Jude’ and ‘Judas’ are two English translations of the same name in Greek), who was a leader in the Jerusalem church. Conservative estimates of when the letter was written range from AD 60-80. Jude’s epistle is one of the shortest in the New Testament, and it considered a general epistle, such as I John and James, that is written to the disciples at large rather than a specific church or person. In the letter, Jude writes to warn the brethren to take heed of what they had been taught and not be lead away by false teaching and the heretical ideas about the doctrine of Christ that had been creeping in recently. The content and language is somewhat similar to that of II Peter, and Jude uses material from possibly two non-canonical sources in his letter, the most notable being a quote of a prophecy from the book of Enoch. After a call to endure, Jude gives what is sometimes thought of as one of the best crafted doxologies of the New Testament letters glorifying Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Concepts and Connections.
False teaching and perseverance: Jude addresses his epistle to those who are called, beloved and kept for Christ Jesus, likely intending for his letter to be circulated throughout churches. Though topic he would have like to write them about was their common salvation, he felt it more necessary to write a warning and encouragement to them to contend for the faith against the heretical ideas that had been stealthily brought in and were ruining the faith of some. Judge calls these people ungodly and perverters of the grace of God. Jude uses many allusions to the Old Testament in his writing. He first calls on the example of the exodus from Egypt, reminding the believers that after God had lead the people out of Egypt, He still punished those who did not believe (see Exodus 12, Numbers 14). Note here that Jude denotes Jesus as doing this, showing His equivalence with God. He then tells them that the angels who did not believe are kept in chains until the judgement day. As a third example, Jude uses Sodom and Gomorrah to show the wrath of God that comes upon those who do evil and contend agains the will of God. He uses these examples to warn against apostasy from the faith, which had over taken some. We see the pride and arrogance of those who are leading people astray, as they would pronounce judgements against beings that even the archangel would not. He compares them to Cain, Balaam and those with Korah in his rebellion, three figures who contended against will of God (see Genesis 4, Numbers 22-24 and Numbers 16, respectively). They were arrogant, feasting with the disciples as if nothing was wrong or in error. Then Jude quotes a prophecy from the book of Enoch, indicating that the Lord had reserved judgment and wrath for these false teachers which was coming against them. He exposes their intentions, noting that they follow their own desires and not the will of the Lord. Finally, Jude gives his fellow Christians a call to note that this falling away had been spoken of by the Lord Jesus and the apostles, saying that there would be scoffers in the last time. These were those who caused divisions and devoid of spirit. But the disciples were to keep themselves in the love of God, putting their faith in Jesus and doing all that they could to save others along with them. This is applicable to the time of the epistle as well as today. Jude finishes with a strong doxology that glorifies our God and Savior Jesus Christ. May we ever live for Him.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Deuteronomy 23-25.
Glory be to Christ our Lord.