Notes on Jude verses 14-25
by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)
14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
This quotation, which Jude uses, is another one not found in Scripture. Enoch, in the line of Seth, is not to be confused with the son of Cain. The Enoch of Seth’s line, son of Jared (Genesis 5:18) walked with God, and disappeared (“and was not, for God took him”) according to Genesis 5:24! If he left any written prophecies, we do not have them now. Another possibility is that there was a spurious work, or one even well-intentioned, but did not meet the canon of Scripture, using Enoch’s name. One wonders, comparing this quotation from “Enoch” with Genesis 5-6, how many saints there actually were in the pre-Flood days. Only eight people came on board the Ark. Were Noah and his family the only saints at that time?
15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard (speeches) which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
This is another part of the quotation by “Enoch”, not found in the Biblical texts. The words seem to reflect an acquaintance with or paraphrase of other Biblical truths. “To execute judgment upon all” seems to be a paraphrase of Daniel 7, especially verses 10 and 22. Daniel 12 speaks of the dead coming to life, “ . . . some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt”—which implies judgment as to who receives what.
The second and longer part of the quote speaks to the Lord “convinc(ing) the ungodly” of their deeds and speeches, especially against Him. The New Testament has several lists of sins: Romans 1:29-32 and 3:10-23; 2 Tim 3:1-5, are two examples. The Old Testament has any number of sins listed; some concerning God and His relationship with Israel, others of the Gentiles. Example: Amos 1 and 2.
Very few records exist in the Bible where people spoke ungodly speeches against God. It is true that sometimes God’s people did express wonder, amazement, and dismay to Him (the Psalms have numerous examples, Psalm 22 for one). Jeremiah even complained that God had deceived him (see Jeremiah 20:7) but later expressed that the Word was like a fire in his bones (Jere. 20:9). Even so, the Lord knows everything and will judge the ungodly for their deeds and words (Dan 7:10, Rev. 20:12).
16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling (words), having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.
Murmurers and complainers have been around for a long time. Just as they caused problems for Moses during the wilderness journey from Egypt to Canaan, and even the prophets (example: Jeremiah 44), they caused problems in the early Church (e.g., the incident in Acts 6). Most of the complaints seem to be based on the greed or lusts of those complaining (e.g., the Israelites who complained about the lack of meat in Numbers 11).
The remainder of this verse is difficult to comprehend in the KJV. Peter did use nearly the same words in 2 Peter 2:18. It does seem strange that the false believers would speak evil of some things (verse 10) and then have admiration because of advantage. The reader is encouraged to review other conservative commentaries and other helps to better interpret this verse.
17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Jude is now again speaking to genuine believers and reminding them what the apostles had said previously. It is clear, in this verse, he does not count himself as an apostle.
18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
Peter and Paul both mentions lusts several times. Jude’s words here seem to echo or allude to 2 Peter 3:3. Peter had warned in that letter that mockers would be coming and Jude confirms they not only came but were still affecting the Church.
19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
John had written (1 John 2:19) that false teachers “went out from us. . .” but never were truly genuine believers in Jesus. Apparently these people had left the genuine believers.
Paul wrote in Romans 8:9, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his (KJV)”.
20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
Jude returns to believers, again calling them and us beloved. He gives two exhortations in this verse, first, to “keep on building” ourselves on the most holy faith. Paul had written there is one (true) faith in Ephesians 4 and in two places (Ephesians 2:20 and Colossians 2:7) wrote about being built on the best foundation—Jesus Himself! If Jude has a different figure of speech in mind, namely growing in the faith, he may be alluding to 1 Peter 2:2, where Peter wrote that believers should desire the “sincere milk” of God’s Word. This would also compare to the problem on limited growth or hardly any growth, as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 3 and Hebrews 6 respectively.
Then Jude adds an exhortation to keep on praying in the Holy Ghost (Spirit). Jesus had told a parable (Luke 18:1) that people should always pray and not faint. Paul had written to the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17)”.
21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
The first part of this verse is difficult to understand in the KJV. The second part is clear, where believers are encouraged to look for the mercy of the Lord unto eternal life. Jude uses “mercy” twice in this letter; see also verse 2.
22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
Jude now encourages believers to have compassion on some. He doesn’t shine much additional light on who is to receive this compassion. Certainly believers should be willing to meet the physical needs of others (James 2 speaks of this) and should be praying for the unsaved and those believers who are not in fellowship with God. Jude also says that this compassion makes a difference. Again he does not elaborate. We may never see the results on this earth, but rewards for believers are in Heaven (1 Cor. 3).
23 And others save with fear, pulling (them) out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
This verse probably has a spiritual as well as physical application. Given that most houses of that era were made of stone, Jude may not have literal fire in a literal house in mind—but potential was always there, and he may be suggesting that if someone needs to be saved or delivered from a burning building, we should be willing to help. A story is told of John Wesley, who was literally saved from his parents’ burning house. He called himself a “brand plucked from the burning”.
Jude may have in mind the “deathbed repentance”, where dying people seek salvation for their souls. We cannot say for certain what he had in mind, but we should be ready if an occasion arises.
It is not certain what he means by hating the garment spotted by the flesh.
24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present (you) faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
Jude closes this letter with a sincere prayer. In this verse he says God is able to keep us from falling, and is able to present us faultless before Him. Paul spoke of the Church being without spot or wrinkle or any such thing (Ephesians 5:27). Some are concerned about believers who have unconfessed sin in their lives. First, ALL sins were paid for when Christ died; second, this verse proves that we will be presented faultless in the future. Amen!
25 To the only wise God our Saviour, (be) glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
In this last verse, Jude praises God our Saviour, praying He would receive the items listed. One day Jesus will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords, but He will deliver up that kingdom to God the Father (compare Daniel 7:13-14 with 1 Cor. 15:24).
Jude may have intended to write about salvation but instead listened to the Holy Spirit and wrote this letter, how that we as genuine believers should stand up for our faith. O that we would defend and declare our faith, so that many may hear and believe, making Jesus Christ their Lord and Saviour!
Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV)