Just finished reading and taking notes on the letter by Jude. For such a small work, it is rich with truths. Here are my observations:
V. 3 – Salvation is common. It is for all, but clearly not received by all.
V. 4 – What does the Bible mean when speaking of men who were long ago marked (or appointed) for the purpose of turning the grace of God into lewdness? Are some men, indeed, “positioned” by God to do this, or are they doing this because of their position, the position of which God declares evil by its very nature, as well as all who embrace that position? (The same can be said of angels in the next few verses.)
What is lewdness?
Verses 6-7 – Angels have a proper domain, much like humans have a proper domain, that is, earth. Some left their own abode. The actions of these angels are compared to the Sodomites’ and Gomorrahites’ sexual immorality and pursuit of strange flesh. Did these angels pervert their own unique nature, in which God created them, by pursuing strange spirits? If so, how did they do this? They are spirits (Hebrews 1:7). Are spirits subject to engaging in immoral activity that is unique to their realm (acts of which are unknown or not understood by humans), and which would be known and judged by God to be immoral in their world? Can the angels have relationships with each other that can be perverted?
I firmly believe that spirits cannot have sexual relations with humans, with the exception of the Holy Spirit by virtue of coming upon Mary, the mother of Jesus, and causing her to be pregnant with God’s Son, but this is hardly a sexual experience; and in fact, it is not at all a sensual one. It is a unique occurrence. No other spirit of any nature has ever done this nor can claim to have ever done this. If so, it would make the virgin birth of Jesus less than unique. Thus, angels having relations with humans, as some contend took place in Genesis, cannot have happened. (And if it did happen, what would prevent angels from still doing this today?)
Perhaps one of the ways bad angels pervert themselves is by seeking after strange flesh, that is, possessing a human, thus contending with the Holy Spirit doing so. While I believe that is true, I see no sexual reasoning in this. But do not some humans (bad people) seek after the strange flesh of spiritual wickedness? Yes.
V. 9 – Michael the archangel contended with Satan, the angel formerly known as Lucifer, over the body of Moses. This was one of many spiritual battles that took place on planet earth, of which we are certain. But even Michael, perhaps the most powerful spirit next to the Trinitarian nature of God, did not speak evil of one of the order of dignitaries (angels). Michael understood. He knew how to handle pure evil; but as Jude observed, these evil men (v. 4) speak evil of everything, to their own destruction. They are “flirting with disaster.”
V. 12-13 – How do we recognize those who have sneaked in among us to turn God’s grace into lewdness? Jude gives us some strong hints:
- They are spots in our love feasts. First, what is the believers’ love feast!? Second, in whatever feasts these are, these brute beasts will serve only themselves.
- They are clouds without water. As big and fluffy and magnificent, and beautiful, as they appear, they produce nothing. There is no spiritual hydrological cycle. These brute beasts do not invest in others with the intent of others being discipled to come full circle and spiritually investing in others.
- These brute beasts are fruitless trees, especially when you’d think that their fruit should be abundant. It’s all about them.
- They are raging waves of the sea. They churn up their own shame. With violence and chaos, these brute beasts rage and grumble and complain (v. 16). What is the nature of their shame? Lewdness perhaps? Self-aggrandizement?
- They are wandering stars to be eventually cast in eternal darkness. But what does a wandering star do? It gives off a spectacular “tail” that soon fades away and is easily blotted out by light.
Jude says that these brute beasts pervert God’s grace in three ways (v. 11): They act out of unholy character (Cain), they dash headlong to speak deceitfully for their own gain (Balaam), and they plunge headlong into rebelling against the Lordship of Jesus (Korah). These give us plenty of warning signs for whom these evil ones really are.
V. 15 – If there are ungodly sinners, are there not then Godly sinners? Yes, those sinners saved by the grace of God, the grace that evil ones – brute beasts – desire to turn into lewdness.
Verses 16-22 – The ungodly ones are those whose evil deeds are fleshly, self-centered, and worldly-focused. Believers are to keep themselves in the love of God, NOT in the love of worldly, fleshly contaminants.