Study Notes

Jude 1:8-10


Jude was strongly urged by the Holy Spirit to write this letter to all Christians - telling them to contend earnestly for the faith against apostates in the church. These are people that look like Christians, yet they are condemned for their walking away from the truth of the gospel. These apostates deny Jesus Christ in their actions of ungodliness - using grace as a license to practice their immorality.

Last week, we looked at two examples Jude gave us of apostasy. Examples of people that experienced God, yet rejected Him in unbelief. The first example was the Israelites who were saved out of Egypt, yet failed in faith. Although they came through the Red Sea, were led by the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, were miraculously provided manna to eat and water from the rock to drink, they sinned in unbelief. They accused God of evil every time they encountered a situation that was difficult. Most of them died in the wilderness, judged by God.

The second example that Jude used were the angels that sinned by leaving their own domain and sinning like the men of Sodom and Gomorrah did. They had been in heaven - in the very presence of God, yet they too fell into apostasy.

Now in verse 8, Jude directs us back to the apostates in the church, saying...

1:8 In The Same Manner

Apostates in the church among us fall away in the same manner - the same way - that the Israelites and the angels did. They experience God, they see the wonders of God, yet their flesh screams to be satisfied. Each of us has that same battle waging inside of us:

Gal. 5:16-17 ...Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another...

The difference between being a victorious Christian and a condemned apostate is which side you allow to win.

Also By Dreaming

Jude says something mysterious here: he says, "also by dreaming," these men defile the flesh, reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. By "dreaming," he means sensual fantasizing. The first step towards apostasy is fantasy. James tells us,

James 1:14-15 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

If you fantasize about it in your mind, you are practicing for it, and training your body to respond to it when the opportunity presents itself. How do you prevent this? Two ways:

Number one: Avoid exposure to it, because Jesus said,

Luke 11:34-36 "The lamp of your body is your eye; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you may not be darkness. If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it shall be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays."

And the apostle Paul told us,

Eph. 5:12 ...It is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.

Don't put yourself into discussions, situations, or places that draw your mind into sensuality. Don't look on it, don't even talk about it.

Number two: Capture it. When you do find yourself tempted to fantasize of something sinful, do as the apostle Paul did when he wrote,

2Cor. 10:5 ...we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

Rebuke sinful thoughts, take them captive to holy obedience.

Defile the Flesh

Jude lists three things here that apostates do: they defile the flesh, they reject authority, and they revile angelic majesties. Defiling the flesh is literally to pollute yourself with sin. This can be physically by fornication or adultery, or it can be mentally by exposing yourself to sinful music and movies. Your flesh is polluted by these things.

Too often, we justify this defilement by excusing it as being "just a little." But how many drops of food coloring does it take to color an entire glass of water? Only one. How many barrels of toxic waste need to be dumped to pollute a playground? Only one. So how much sin do you think it takes to defile your flesh?

There needs to be repentance on our part. We can rid ourselves of this pollution.

2Cor. 7:1 ...Beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

We cleanse ourselves through holiness. And holiness is gained through the fear of God.

Reject Authority

Rejecting authority is next on the list. Our generation has been taught that it is noble and right to rebel against authority. But the Bible shows us that God is completely intolerant of rebellion against authority.

The very first time authority is mentioned in Scripture is back in Genesis 16. God had promised Abram a son, but his wife Sarai felt she was too old for the promise to be given through her. So she offered her handmaid Hagar as a surrogate mother. After the child was born, Sarai became intensely jealous of Hagar.

Gen. 16:6-9 ...So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence. Now the angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, "Hagar, Sarai's maid, where have you come from and where are you going?" And she said, "I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai." Then the angel of the LORD said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority."

God insists that we respect authority and submit to it. In this case, it was personal authority, like a wife to her husband or an employee to his boss. The book of Romans points out that we are to obey political authority:

Rom. 13:1-2 Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

Then there is the spiritual authority over us. When Miriam rebelled against Moses' authority in Numbers 12, she was stricken with leprosy. God is adamant that we respect authority. Now it gets even more difficult as we see that He expects us to respect the authority of the devil himself, which is what Jude is talking about when he says, "These men revile angelic majesties."

Reviling Angelic Majesties

"What?" you may ask. "I have no respect for the devil's authority! I rebuke the devil! I bind the devil! I curse the devil! I revile the devil!" Really? Where in the Bible does it tell us to do any of these things? Of course, we are to resist the devil (James 4:7), and we are not to give the devil an opportunity (Eph. 4:27), but we are never told to bind the devil or even to speak to him.

It grieves me to no end when people start talking to the devil while they are praying. "We bind you, Satan. We rebuke you, Satan." People certainly haven't learned this practice from the Bible! It is specifically stated that reviling angelic majesties is the method of apostates, not godly Christians.

The word "revile" in Greek is "blas-fay-MEH-o," which should sound very familiar. It is where we get our word, "blaspheme." It means to curse, revile, to speak irreverently or profanely of. Peter said that it is the unrighteous who do this.

2Pet. 2:10-11 ...Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord.

It doesn't matter that the devil is on the opposing army - he outranks you in authority. The only one who has higher authority than the devil is God Himself. That is why Jesus alone was able to say, "Get behind Me, Satan" (Matt 16:23; Mark 8:33).

And Jude reminds us of this using the example of the second-in-command over all of the Kingdom of Heaven, Michael the Archangel.

1:9 Michael The Archangel

Who is Michael the Archangel? We first read about him in the book of Daniel. Daniel was praying for three weeks when the angel Gabriel appears and tells Daniel,

Dan. 10:12-13 ..."From the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.

So here we see Michael is one of the chief princes in a spiritual realm. Then, a few verses later, Gabriel says,

Dan. 10:20-21 "...I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come. However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these {forces} except Michael your prince."

So Michael is specifically the chief prince over the Jewish people. Chapter 12 confirms that, when Gabriel says,

Dan. 12:1 "Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise..."

Finally, he shows up in the book of Revelation, when John describes the scene:

Rev. 12:7-9 And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

This war with the devil will take place during the Great Tribulation, but in verse nine, Jude is describing a different battle with the devil, in a previous age.

Disputed With The Devil

Why would Michael be disputing with the devil about the body of Moses? We read of Moses' death in Deuteronomy 34...

Deut. 34:5-7 So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Bayth Pe-ORE; but no man knows his burial place to this day. Although Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated.

God Himself buried Moses. Why? And why did the devil so desperately want Moses' body? No one knows for sure. One theory is that the devil desired to make Moses' body an idol that the Jews would worship. They were certainly susceptible to worshiping the instruments that God used. Remember the account we read in Numbers 21...

Num. 21:6-9 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. So the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us." And Moses interceded for the people. Then the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery {serpent,} and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he shall live." And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

After an event like this, you wouldn't just throw the thing away. But as the years progressed, what we see is that it turns into an idol. In 2Kings, we read that during the reign of Hezekiah...

2Kgs. 18:4 He removed the high places and broke down the {sacred} pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan.

Moses' body could have been treated in the same way - worshiped as an idol. There is another possibility, that the devil was trying to prevent the future ministry of Moses. Many people believe that one of the two witnesses described in Revelation 11 will be Moses. But we will never really know why the dispute happened this side of heaven.

The Lord Rebuke You

The real point Jude is making is that even the highest angel we know of would not rebuke the devil. But Jude says that apostates revile things that they don't even understand - they just do things by instinct, like animals. But that's not how God has told us to build our doctrine or come up with our practices. Instead, we are to found our faith on the Word of God: adding nothing to it, taking nothing away from it.

1:10 Destroyed

Apostates revile things that they do not understand - the angelic majesties. They do, however understand some things - things that they know by animal instinct - that they desire gratification of their flesh. It is by these things that they do understand that they are destroyed.

Prov. 16:25 There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

People's flesh desires sex, and millions of people have died from AIDs and other STDs. People's flesh desires drugs, and millions have died from overdoses. People's flesh desires alcohol, and many more have died from drunken driving and liver failure.

This is what Jude means when he says,

Jude 10 ...the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.

But the Lord's desire for us is life.

John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly."

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