This Tuesday we will be discussing the entire book of Jude. Outside of John 2 and John 3, Jude is the shortest book of the Bible. One of the reasons for its brevity is due to Jude’s references to Old Testament and legendary Jewish events which his intended audience would automatically fill in the gaps. In reading through Jude, it is helpful to have a background in these references.
In verses 5-10, Jude gives us the example of three groups of people who incurred divine judgment. Verse 5 references the whole generation of Israel who left Egypt in the Exodus but refused to obey God and enter the Promised Land. Their punishment was that all of them would die out in the wilderness and only their children, along with Joshua and Caleb, would enter the land after the passage of forty years. Num. 14. Verse 6 references the angels who left their heavenly abode in order to mate with human women as told in Genesis 6:1-4 and elaborated upon in Enoch 6-19. These angels are bound in Tartarus until the final judgment. Enoch 20. In verse 7, Jude references Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19) where men lusted after angelic beings and whom God destroyed by fire from heaven.
In verse 9, Jude references a dispute between the Archangel Michael and Satan over the body of Moses. The Old Testament tells us that God buried Moses in an unknown grave. Deut. 34:6. A now-lost work called the Assumption of Moses elaborates on this verse telling us that Satan wished to make the location of Moses’ burial public so that the Israelites would worship Moses as their deliverer and not God. God appointed Michael as the guardian of the burial place, and Michael rebuked Satan and thwarted his plan. Michael is to be our example in dealing with false teachers.
In verse 11, Jude brings up three individual corrupt teachers of the Old Testament as types of the false teachers infecting his community. First, there is Cain. The story of Cain and Able is found in Genesis 4 where Cain murders Able over his jealousy that God accepted Able’s sacrifice and not his. The Targum (an Aramaic paraphrase of the Hebrew Bible dating from around the 1st c.) elaborates on this interaction and portrays Cain as the first great heretic. In the Targum, prior to killing Able, Cain declares that “There is no judgment and no Judge and no world to Come! No reward will be given to the righteous nor any account given of the wicked.” Targum 204. It is most likely that it is this statement that Jude is referencing. The next corrupt teacher is the prophet Balaam (Num. 22-24) who prophesied against Israel for financial gain (Deut. 23:4). The final individual example is that of Korah who led a revolt against Moses in the desert. Num. 16. Korah is the archetypical schismatic who rises against God’s chosen leader. These are the three types of teachers – the heretic, the greedy, and the schismatic – that Jude speaks against.
Finally, in verses 14-16, Jude quotes Enoch 1:9. This is the only direct quote that Jude employs in his letter. Of note, in the quote, Jude changes the word “God” to “Lord” thereby giving the right of judgment explicitly to Jesus.
** TONIGHT at Trinity at 6:00 pm is an organ recital followed at 6:30 pm by an Evensong for All Saints Day. **
November 20 is our Small Group Thanksgiving Dinner and Celebration. Fr. Rob Donahue will be presiding. This is R.S.V.P. only due to seating requirements. Please let me know if you are joining us and if you wish to bring something.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is baked potato bar. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here.
Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.Jude 24-25