Contending For The Faith – Chapter 1

This is a one chapter excerpt from my book, “Agonizing For The Faith: A Biblical Exposition of Jude”


“Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ; May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you. Beloved, while I was making every opportunity to write to you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” Jude 1-3

The greatest threat to the church since its formation has always been false teaching. This epistle is a polemical letter to the church in every age. It is a gift from God that is meant to protect the flock from the corruption of sin propagated by false teachers. To begin with, false teaching was not prevalent in the church until around 68-70 A.D. Satan had attempted to destroy the early church by persecution initially, but his plan backfired and instead the church grew exponentially. In light of this failure, Satan took a more clandestine approach. Our great enemy devised a plan to come in under the radar of those who lacked discernment. He came into the church through unbelievers posing as Christians and began to teach false doctrine.


The book of 2 Peter was written around 67-68 A.D. before Peter’s death. This is important because it helps us to date the book of Jude. Many scholars believe that Jude was written after 2 Peter, but before Jerusalem was sacked in 70 A.D. The support for this lies in several areas, most notably in Jude 17-18 where Jude makes a direct quotation from 2 Peter 3:3 in verse 18. In verse 17, Jude tells us to remember what the apostles said beforehand (primarily Peter) as he quotes 2 Peter 3:3. This shows us that Jude indeed was written after Peter for him to make this citation. Keep in mind that Jude more than likely lived in Jerusalem at this time. The letter must have been written before the Roman Emperor Titus destroyed the city in 70 A.D. or Jude would most certainly have included it in the epistle. Lastly, there is commonality between Jude 6-7 and from 2 Peter 2:4-9 about Sodom and Gomorrah and the angels who did not keep their domain. The book of 2 Peter is more prophetic about the coming apostasy, whereas Jude reveals to us the fulfillment of those wolves that have entered the church.


Who is Jude? There are two possibilities as to the identity of Jude (Judas): Jude the apostle who was the son of James and Jude the half-brother of Jesus. There are many liberal commentators that espouse that “we cannot know who this Jude really was.” The fact is that we can because there really isn’t a lot of ambiguity. The people who mislead Christians with statements like this are nothing more than wolves in service of Satan himself looking to discredit Scripture any way they can. With this said, We can immediately rule out the apostle Jude, son of James simply by looking at verse 1 which says, “Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James.” The apostle Jude was the son of James (See Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13). This would give credence to the fact that the author was indeed Judas the half-brother of Jesus.

James was the leader of the Jerusalem church, the writer of the epistle of James, and the half-brother of Jesus. Mark 6:3 reveals, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?” John 7:5 shows us that none of his brothers believed He was the Christ. “For not even His brothers were believing in Him.” Then in Acts 1:14 after Jesus death the faithful all gathered in the upper room. “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” So at some point between John 7:5 and Acts 1:14 Jesus’ brother Judas, using his own words became a “bond servant of Christ.” This was certainly not the infamous Judas Iscariot, nor Judas son of James. Jude was Christ’s half-brother.

There is one more point to look at in regards to Jude’s salvation. The Greek word for bond servant is “doulos” (δοῦλος). It derives from “deo” which means “to bind”. Originally, it was the lowest form of servitude, but also came to mean, “One who gives themselves up to the will of another.” Jude was no longer a slave to sin, but a slave to Christ, and as such, has given his will up for that of Christ’s. Jude’s identity no longer lies in this world because He has a new Master, one who is not cruel and whose yoke is light.

“To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.” Jude 1b-2

“Those who are called” is “kletos” (κλητός) and means “invited”. Its root word is “kaleo” which means “to call” or “to summon”. Kletos is used in Scripture for God appointing someone to an office (i.e. apostle – Romans 1:1), a general call to salvation (Matthew 20:16), or to identify His elect (Jude 1:1). In the context, Jude is referring to those who have been elected to salvation. They are true believers in Christ. This shows us God’s irresistible grace which calls His elect to salvation. This is not the general call to salvation. Believers have been appointed to salvation by God’s grace and sovereignty, not by works lest any man should boast. This salvation cannot be taken away from the believer. “To those who are called beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.” Notice that the believer is not only appointed by God the Father, but “kept” by God the Father for Christ. “Kept” is “tereo” (τηρέω), which derives from “teros”, meaning “a guard”. In context it means “to preserve” or “to attend to carefully”. A pastor friend provoked my thinking in regards to “kept” when he wrote, Jude also says that we are preserved, “kept safe” in Jesus Christ. Just as Noah and his family were kept safe and secure in the Ark, which was a foreshadowing or type of Jesus…”[1] The ark was a representation of refuge in God through Christ. It is Christ who protects the believer from the wrath of God just as the ark protected Noah and his family from God’s judgment on the world. Just as God preserved Noah, so too will He preserve all of those who are called to salvation (See John 10:29).

Mercy, peace, and love was a distinctly Christian greeting. “Mercy” (Eleos – ἔλεος) means “kindness to those that are afflicted”. Jude is asking God to multiply His mercy to the elect that read this letter. He knows that they are afflicted by sin and in need of constant mercy before an all holy God. Praise God that He indeed multiplies His mercies daily for us!

“Peace” (Eirene – εἰρήνη) means “wholeness”. It implies having been at war and then being reconciled. It is the reconciliation that we have to God through Christ that gives believers peace with our Creator. We are no longer at war with Christ. If we are at peace with our Maker, we can be at peace during the seemingly constant storms of our lives that seek to unsettle and sink us. He asks that God multiply His peace to them, which gives the believer assurance of their salvation.

Lastly, “love” (agape – ἀγάπη) derives from “agapao”. This word denotes being full of goodwill. It is the unconditional love out of the four Greek loves. It is showing benevolence and charity to someone who is in need, and might I add, someone who could never pay you back for the good you bestow to them. This is precisely the love that was demonstrated when Christ became a scapegoat on our behalf and bore the wrath of God for our sins. Christ saw our need and paid our ransom to any who believe on Him and repent of their sins. We could never pay Him back for this act of self-sacrificing love.

“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” Jude 3

What you must understand is that certain heresies began to creep into the church. When Jude started the letter with “beloved” he is wanting to convey his love for them, and inasmuch having this love for them, he must convey a very hard message where his words will not be so gentle. In other words, he does not want believers to take offense to what he is about to unveil. Jude’s original intent was to write about the salvation they share in Christ, however, something happened. The Greek words behind “while I was making every effort” make it hard to know for sure whether Jude had a strong desire to write about their “common salvation”, or was possibly in the act of writing about their “common salvation” when the Holy Spirit prompted him to change directions. Jude was in the act of trying to write the letter about salvation, but the Holy Spirit interrupted and prodded him to a more urgent matter. Have you ever been in the midst of doing something when the Holy Spirit stopped you? I remember many years ago I was on the faculty for a national leadership school up in Chicago for SAE (Sigma Alpha Epsilon). We were teaching undergrads from colleges around the country about leadership. I remember specifically that I saw an undergrad (out of several hundred) at the beginning of the week and had a strong desire to talk to him, but I wasn’t sure why. I didn’t know him, but then I had a sense of regret in my heart for not going up to talk to him that first night. In fact, I didn’t see him the rest of the week and felt a strong desire that I needed to talk to him. I kept looking for him at all the meetings and gatherings, but could not seem to find this young man. Then on the last night I went out with some faculty to a sports bar. I ended up seeing this undergrad sitting at the bar with his friend. Like Jude stated, “I felt the necessity to write”, I felt the necessity to speak to this man for whatever reason. He had people with him on both sides of the bar, so I prayed to God that if it was His will for me to speak to this man that he would open up a seat beside him. Literally, the moment that I finished praying, the man to his left stood up and walked away. I left the other faculty members at our table and just pulled up a seat beside him and sat there. I wasn’t sure what to do from there because his back was turned, so I prayed that God would start the introduction. This young man turned around the second I finished my prayer and asked me from out of nowhere, “Would you ever commit suicide?” I was completely caught off guard. I replied, “No”. He then replied, “I would if my girlfriend broke up with me.” That was when I shared with him the hope believers have in Christ. I shared the Gospel with him and spent the night talking to him. I had intended to hang out with the faculty that night, but the Holy Spirit called an audible. He did not come to know Christ as his Savior that night, but seeds were planted. I found out the next year that he had been through some storms. His girlfriend had broken up with him, but he didn’t take his life. Are you ever so busy or in such a hurry that you cannot sense the Holy Spirit prodding you to minister to someone in need? Or perhaps scrap a lesson you were going to teach? I think there are far more opportunities each day where the Spirit prods us, but we ignore the still small voice inside us.

“I felt the necessity to write to you”. I want to elaborate on the word “necessity” so that you understand what Jude is saying, and the burden I felt in Chicago to talk to that young man. “Necessity” is “anagke” (ἀνάγκη). The preposition “ana” means “upward” and denotes a movement from lower to higher, while the other part of the word “agkali” derives from “agkos” and denotes the curving of the inner angle of the arm, or “a bent arm”. Properly, it means “an arm bent to receive a burden”. These two words together imply a serious compression or stress. It is a burdensome situation that necessitates immediate action. This was no small burden Jude was carrying. God had clearly put something so heavy on Jude that he could do nothing else until he wrote this letter addressing these false teachers. God does not speak to us in an audible voice, but he does take a prod and poke our spirits to make us go in the right direction so as to accomplish His will. In fact, in Psalm 119, “teach me” is a common saying by David. The Hebrew word “lamad” (לָמַד – teach, Psalm 119:12) actually means “to strike with a sharp rod”. It is used in context to an ox-goad which is a sharp stick that is used to prod oxen or cattle to go into the direction the farmer desired. This is exactly how God teaches us, directs us, and grows our faith because we are a stubborn people. Can you now see the pressure that God had truly put on Jude?

Jude exhorts the brethren to “contend earnestly for the faith.” Contend is “epagonizomai” (ἐπαγωνίζομαι). This is where we get our English word, “agonize”. “Epi” (focused on) is a preposition that intensifies the meaning of the word, and “agon” meaning “a contest”. This word is used in athletic competitions where athletes contend against others to win the game. It was also used in a figurative sense of soldiers in combat against an enemy. When your life is on the line and you are fighting vigorously against an enemy combatant, you will pour every ounce of your strength and wisdom into overcoming your foe. If you don’t, you will die. I believe this is the exact thought that Jude is conveying figuratively. It is a battle against enemies. I could imagine Jude saying to the church today, “Stand up against this enemy that has infiltrated Christ’s church and throw them out!” Epagonizomai is in the present tense denoting that believers should be constantly engaged and ready to fight those that malign the word of God. Jude is showing us that there are two options: Fight or retreat. The believer is commanded to fight, though I will say that the fighting is done with the sword of the Spirit in grace and truth, not in malice or hatred. The believer’s fighting must be different from the unbeliever, who will be angry, malicious, and seek to hurt you. If we are not gracious in our rebukes and reproofs then we will look no different from the world. Beloved, if you do not contend for the truth of God then error will abound and a Christianity that is not Christian will prevail.

[1] Quote from Pastor Stephen Bowen


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Israel Was Not Enslaved in Egypt for 400 Years

I am breaking my hiatus from blogging temporarily! This blog was inspired from some realizations that I made as I was working on my book, “Agonizing for the Faith”, an exegesis of Jude. I was doing some studying regarding Jude 1:7 where Jude gives us an example of the apostasy of the past. I had read from John MacArthur that Sodom was destroyed approximately 450 years after the flood. This would have meant that Shem was still living at the time of Sodom and Gomorrah’s judgment. He was 98 when the flood subsided and died at 600 years old. If Dr. MacArthur is correct, Shem would have been alive 50 years after the destruction of these cities. This would reveal in some ways that Sodom and Gormorrah are without excuse for their apostasy, especially through Lot, knowing about the flood judgment and ignoring it.

With all of this said, I began to count backwards chronologically from Christ’s birth using scripture as my guide. I was at 1445 B.C. (the exodus) when I was looking at the Abrahamic covenant. Everything was on target until I found some numbers that didn’t reconcile from two different verses:

“God said to Abram, ‘Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed 400 years.” Genesis 15:13

“Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And at the end of 430 years, to the very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” Exodus 12:40-41

Even the New Testament had a verse corroborating the 400 years through Stephen’s address to the Pharisees. “God spoke to this effect, that His descendants would be aliens in a foreign land, and that they would be enslaved and mistreated for 400 years.” Acts 7:6

How can you reconcile these two different numbers? For so long people have taught from scripture that Israel was enslaved for 400 years. In Genesis 12:4 we find out that Abraham is 75 years of age when God makes the covenant with him. In Genesis 12:41 it specifically says, “And at the end of 430 years, to the very day”. This means that from the very day that the covenant was made with Abraham to the very day that the Israelites were freed from Egypt was 430 years exactly. Our God is a God of details. So, if our God is a God of details then why do we have the 30 year discrepancy between Genesis 15:13 and Exodus 12:40-41?

I knew that there was no way that Abraham dwelled in Egypt at the time the covenant was made. I also knew that Isaac did not. I knew that for most of Jacob’s life he did not. Remember Jacob settling in the land of Shechem (in Canaan) in Genesis 33:18 after he parted ways with Esau? This did not sit well with my spirit, nor did the 30 year discrepancy. I started with what I thought would be the easiest discrepancy to reconcile; The 30 year difference.

As I read commentaries about this discrepancy the overwhelming majority of commentators stated that the author (Moses) was rounding down to the nearest hundredth. I didn’t buy that explanation because God is a God of details, not ambiguity, so there had to be an answer. There are a few examples in scripture of rounding, but they were used in regards to estimating the number of men (Acts 5:36, 1 Samuel 22:2, 1 Kings 22:6). As far as I know I did not see a biblical precedent for rounding to the nearest hundred in terms of years (I could be wrong). The rounding suggestion did not sit well with my spirit, so I continued my studies. That was when I came across a British Theologian by the name of Henry Ainsworth from the early 1600’s. He said regarding Genesis 15:13 in terms of the 400 years of oppression, “Which began when Ishmael, Son of Hagar the Egyptian, mocked and persecuted Isaac.”  So he believes that the 400 years started when Ishmael mocked Isaac. Remember, it was 400 years of persecution, not 430. Genesis 15:13 specifically says that Abraham’s descendants will be “strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed.” This means that Abraham would not suffer this enslavement or oppression, but his offspring would.

Let’s take a look at Genesis 21:8-11 where the persecution of Isaac is recorded.

“The child (Isaac) grew and was weened, and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. Now Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking. Then she said to Abraham, “Drive out this maid and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son Isaac. The matter distressed Abraham greatly because of his son.”

The word “mocking” in the Hebrew means “to laugh,” but is not a light-hearted type of laughing. It denotes “to make sport of” someone. It is a rather harsh and cruel type of mocking meant to deride its object. It upset Sarah so much that she wanted Hagar and Ishmael out of their lives with no inheritance because Ishmael was not the heir. This was when the persecution started, and they were in Canaan, not Egypt. Is it any wonder that in Genesis 26:18-22 we see that after Isaac dug wells on two occasions he quarreled with herdsmen who claimed that the water was theirs, and they took them from him. Then upon digging a third well there was no more fighting from the herdsman in the land. Isaac did all the work and these herdsmen took the first two wells from him.

Now, Galatians 4:28-29 backs up Henry Ainsworth’s interpretation. In fact, it was these verses that he cited for his support. “And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also.”

The believer is like Isaac who was a child of the promise. The “he who was born according to the flesh” is Ishmael and represents those without inheritance into God’s Kingdom. Paul tells us that it is he (Ishmael) who was born of the flesh that persecuted he (Isaac) that was born of the Spirit. Paul is showing us that Ishmael indeed persecuted his brother Isaac and this strongly supports that the persecution started in Canaan before any of Abraham’s children reached Egypt.

In regards to weening. The Jewish Agency for Israel  stated that in Talmudic times children were weened between 18 months and 5 years old. A Rabbi named Joshua stated that a child should be allowed to nurse until the age of 5 back then. If all of this is true, then Abraham was 75 when the covenant was made and 25 years passed until Isaac was born. Isaac was then weened at 5 years old and the persecution began for Abraham’s offspring, starting with Ishmael’s persecution of Isaac. This accounts for the 30 years + 400 of oppression and slavery.

Lastly, it is time to look at why the Bible says in Exodus 12:40 “Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.” Here is the Septuagint (LXX) translation of this exact same verse:



Αἰγύπτῳ means Egypt, and Χανααν is Canaan. So, why is Canaan not in our bibles? It is not in the KJV, ESV, NASB, NKJV, NIV, or any other translation of the bible. The answer is actually very simple. The Hebrew translation that all of these bibles are translated from derive from the Hebrew Masoretic Leningrad Codex which was transcribed in 1008 A.D. The Septuagint (the Greek translation of the ancient Hebrew text) was translated in 250 B.C. which is over 1200 years before the Masoretic translation. The Septuagint was translated from an older Hebrew text that is no longer in existence. The Septuagint is one piece of evidence against the Masoretic translation. The Hebrew Masoretic indeed appears to have a scribal error when it was copied.

A second piece of evidence against the Masoretic translation of Exodus 12:40 is the Samaritan Pentateuch “Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, and of their fathers in the land of Canaan and in the land of Egypt, was 430 years.” It was written around 100 B.C. and had access to this older Hebrew text that is no longer in existence. This too supports that Canaan was left off because of a scribal error.

A third piece of evidence against this translation is the historian Flavius Josephus. So I opened my book of all his writings to see what he had to say. He had access to these older manuscripts as he wrote history in the first century A.D. He says, “They left Egypt in the month of Xanthicus, on the fifteenth day of the lunar month; four hundred and thirty years after our father Abraham came into Canaan, but 215 years only after Jacob removed into Egypt.” Antiquities of the Jews, book 2.15.2

Josephus corroborates that the Israelites were in Canaan first and then Egypt second during this 430 year period. He even elaborates more by saying that when Jacob moved down to Egypt with all of their relatives (66, but a total of 70 counting Jacob, Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim) that this ended 215 years living in Canaan and would begin a 215 year period living in Egypt. So the Israelites were not enslaved for 400 years as many pastors and movies might tell you. Now we have three sources, which are proving that a scribal error was made in the transcription of the Hebrew Masoretic Codex.

Fourthly, the apostle Paul had access to these older Hebrew texts, especially as a Pharisee. We know that he was a mix of Jew and Greek, and that he was a Roman citizen. Paul referred to himself as a Hebrew of Hebrews. In Acts 26:14 during his conversion on the road to Damascus, Christ spoke to him in Hebrew:

“I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me.”

Paul clearly knows Hebrew. As such, he studied these old texts and references them in his letter to the Galatians. “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed.” Galatians 3:16a. Then in verse 17 he says, “What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise.” Paul is saying the Law came 430 years after the covenant was made, showing us that the Mosaic Law came right after they were freed from Egypt as he obviously referred back to Exodus 12:40. Note, He did not say 400 years of slavery in Egypt.

I hope this clarifies some things for you. Exodus 12:40 has an obvious scribal error from its transcription in 1008 A.D. and as such makes this verse a contradiction because almost all bible translations do not include Canaan.

I had gotten together about 50% of the information, but then found this resource that helped me to pull all the missing pieces together and solidify it. I have included some of the information I learned into this blog post. It is a brilliant 12 minute video that perfectly articulates not only this, but even down to how many actual years the Israelites were in bondage (No less than 80 years, but no more than 144 years). It goes into several other things that are very relevant which I don’t mention here. It is biblical scholarship at its very best. Please watch it! It will help you to defend against attacks that claim the bible is full of error. That is why I felt it so necessary to write about this because liberal theologians and unbelievers only seek to disprove God’s word. Hopefully, this will strengthen your faith and prove the inerrancy of God’s word.


Soli Deo Gloria!


Beware of Christian Pragmatism

This is not a typical blog post where I exegete scripture. This was a thread I wrote on Twitter today (2/21/18) about the dangers of Christian pragmatism and transcribed upon request. Keep in mind this is a transcript from my Twitter thread so it will be lacking in eloquence 🙂


Christian pragmatism is judging the right or wrong of any decision based on the results. If there are good results then that has to be the right way, or if the results are bad it must be the wrong way. This is the Christian Pragmatist line of thinking.

It is the reason why many churches have made changes to attract the unbeliever. It is what has brought about the Seeker movement, but unbelievers aren’t seeking God. “There is no one who seeks for God.” Romans 3:11b Pragmatism says, “We want more people to be saved from Hell.” So, they make a series of decisions that will bring people to the church instead of going out to the unbeliever. They will have large free events for the community, move from a choir to a band that sings hip Christian songs on the radio, the pastor will wear jeans & a shirt, the pastor will stop teaching doctrine, moving from an exegetical position to an eisegetical one. Hell will no longer be preached, but the love of Jesus will be heralded without the consequences for unbelief. Salvation becomes a decision you make, churches get a food court, Jesus is reduced to a self help guru who wants you to do your will, in fact your will is His will. The children’s ministry will become more like a daycare, rather than a place for instruction. The church becomes a place for constant entertainment, church planting is done based on demographics and surveys done in communities to see what type of church the community wants, missions trips will attract few and the sole purpose will be to meet the earthly needs of people, not the spiritual need of salvation in Christ, kids will only play games in youth groups rather than study the word, liberty will become license to do what ever one wants, righteousness will wane as eventually sin will not be taught. I am only scraping the tip of the iceberg with Christian pragmatism, and it is wrong.

Christian pragmatism is an assimilation to the world to carry out the great commission. It comes at sacrificing God’s truth. It believes that large numbers are good when in reality those large numbers of unbelievers aren’t changing, rather it is the true believers that degrade. If there is one thing Satan has done almost from the beginning, it is to infiltrate the church. When he overruns a church with unbelievers coming for a feel good message and entertainment who do you think begins to fill the leadership roles in the church? Unbelievers.

I have seen a God fearing woman lose her job & move in with her boyfriend because she could not afford to pay rent. That is Christian pragmatism. It is based on the end results of what you deem is good, not what God deems is good. Pragmatism is destructive to the church. Stop it!


Jude’s Doxology – Exegesis of Jude 24-25

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 24-25

Jude concludes this short, but powerful epistle with one of the sweetest doxologies in scripture. After calling out the heresies, motives, and attributes of false teachers, and then the three classes of deceived believers with which we are to show mercy, he then reminds them of the One who will keep them from stumbling. Jude knows the evil that resides in the human heart. It is totally depraved. He knows that the believers that he wrote to at this time will be continually tempted into believing error, and God in His omniscience preserved this book for those of us in the ages to come by including it into the canon of scripture. The phrase “to Him who is able” in Greek is “dunamai”. It means “to be able/to be empowered”. The Greek word for “keep” is not “tereo” which means “to preserve” or “to maintain”. The word Jude uses for God’s action in keeping us from stumbling is “phulasso”. It is akin to “phulaks” which is a military guard. It means “to preserve by having an eye on”. This exact word is used in Luke 2:8 for the shepherds watching over their sheep. Just as a shepherd will be perpetually vigilant when they are watching their sheep, so too does this mean that God is perpetually vigilant in looking after His elect. God is literally keeping watch and guarding His sheep from the ravenous wolves that seek to destroy them. I do believe that this aspect of God’s protection also refers to believers who have been led astray by false teaching. The word dunamai is in the present indicative tense revealing that God is actively guarding His elect. I also believe that God is actively working to bring the brethren back who have strayed into error. If God did not pursue the believer in error it would indicate that this person was not a believer to begin with. We know from John 10:29 and Romans 8:31-39 (to name a few) that no one can snatch God’s chosen out of His hand, even those that stray. Their salvation will always be secure because salvation was never based on works. Those believers that are blinded by their sin grieve God, but rest assured He will not leave them in their sin, whether in this life, but most assuredly the next. I used to believe that abortion was okay in cases of rape and incest, but not anymore. I used to watch Joel Osteen, but never again. I used to think sex before marriage was acceptable, but not anymore. I used to think that I was the one that chose my salvation in Christ, but now I believe that Christ chose me first. Isn’t it encouraging to know that God is actively protecting the brethren, but even seeks after brothers and sisters who have strayed into error? Often times He uses many of us to confront believers who are friends, family, or acquaintances that have been deceived so that they might be restored to Him. Do you have friends or family actively deceived by a false teacher? If so, do you think God might be prodding you to help open their eyes?

We see that God is gracious in that He not only watches us like a shepherd, but He will also make us stand in the presence of His glory. The phrase, “to make you stand” is the Greek word “histemi”. It means, “to place”. It is in the present imperfect future tense which speaks of a time in the future that God will stand the elect in His presence. This is more than likely the Bema seat where Christ will be giving out crowns to believers. Note that it is God who is doing the placement so that it is clear that we contributed nothing to our salvation. How do I know this? We stand in His presence “blameless”. The Greek word used here is “amomos”. “A” (alpha) is a negative meaning “without”, and “momos” means “a blemish”. Properly, it is “without a blemish” or “blameless”. We stand in God’s presence blameless because Christ’s righteousness was imputed to us. As John Edwards said, “You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary.”

Continuing on, Jude has told us that we will stand before God blameless “with great joy”. The Greek word is “agalliasis” and speaks to an “exuberant joy” or “an intense joy”. Why would we not have this intense state of exuberance in the presence of God? We will be freed from our sin nature and given new bodies. It is a cause for celebration to no longer be enslaved to our own sin nature. Our faith will finally become sight. I can only imagine the tears shed by every believer that stands before our righteous and benevolent King. We will rebel against God no more and can finally live in true freedom and give Him the worship He truly deserves. What a magnificent day this will be!

In verse 25, “To the only God” is “Monos Theos”. “Monos” means “alone” (without a companion) and “Theos” is God. Monos is an adjective modifying the proper noun, God. It is where we get our English word “mono” meaning “one/single”. This is an absolute statement showing that there is only one God, and one way to Him through His Son Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. Christianity is a religion and it is exclusive because there is only one God in all of creation. All other gods are manmade or are the inspiration of demons. There are not many ways to heaven as the Universalist will boast. Of all the world religions only one boasts of a God that would suffer and die in the place of man for their sins. Only one God was sinless and could redeem man from their depravity and rebellion. This is the God of the Christianity. Siddhartha Guatama (Buddha), Krishna, Vishnu, Brahma, Allah, Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russell, and all the other faux gods/teachers will lead all their followers to eternal damnation in Hell.

Jude then ascribes to Christ the attributes of all “glory, majesty, dominion and authority”. The Greek word for “glory” is “doxa”. It translates as “praise” or “glory” and derives from the word “dokeo”, meaning “to seem” and denotes an opinion or estimate of someone or something. As such it is honor resulting from a good/favorable opinion. He deserves all honor and glory for all time for His sacrifice on the cross and the grace and mercy he has shown us throughout our lives. If you ever want to say “Praise God” or “Glory to God” in Greek all you need to say is “Doxa to Theo”.

The next word ascribed to Christ is “majesty” which is “megalosune”. It derives from “megas” and means “greatness” in stature. There is nothing in existence that can compare or exceed the greatness in stature of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The next word Jude uses is “dominion” which is “kratos” in the Greek. It signifies “manifested power” but translates as “dominion” signifying an exerted power. As the sovereign Lord of all, He exerts His power to bring about His will, not thwarted by any spirit or man in achieving His desires. Every apple that falls from a tree or every creature’s lungs that take in a breath of air must have God’s divine approval for it to come to pass. It is His power that keeps the universe from collapsing to destruction. It is His common grace that restrains the hearts of men from becoming as wicked as they could be. If God took His gracious hand off this world then all mankind would wipe themselves out. It is His power that sustains life and restrains the depravity of man. Beloved, stand in awe of the God who has dominion over all of creation.

The last word Jude uses as an attribute of God is “authority”. The Greek word is “exousia” and means “the liberty to do as one pleases”. Because the Lord is the author of creation, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the Savior of men, the author of righteousness, He is allowed to do whatever He wants. He is the Beginning and the End. Often times we as the pot will tell the Potter that He is exercising His authority all wrong. What arrogance! We try to supplant His authority on a daily basis, but it is futile. We tend to think we are gods or that God is a genie, and then attempt to usurp exousia from Him. Exousia is not an attribute of man and never will be because we are the creation and He is the Creator. All authority belongs to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit.

Jude then finishes his doxology with an “Amen”. It means, “so let it be”. It is a transliteration of the Hebrew word Amen which means “truth”. This half-brother of Jesus, who during Jesus’ earthly ministry did not believe Christ was the Son of God, now finishes His epistle by certifying that Jesus is who He said He was. Amen (Truth)!


I am going to be taking a long break from writing blogs as I write my book, “Agonizing for the Faith” (An Exegesis of Jude) and work on revisions to the sequel of my fantasy novel, “Athanasia: The Great Insurrection”. I hope to get “Agonizing for the Faith” out sometime in mid to late summer. I also hope to release “Athanasia: The Unknown Lands” sometime in the summer of 2019. I might on a rare occasion put up a post exegeting a passage of scripture if time permits.


Soli Deo Gloria!

Have Mercy on Those Who Have Been Deceived – Exegesis of Jude 20-23

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” Jude 20-23

Jude has been quite descriptive through this epistle about how to identify false teachers. In verse 19 he finished by calling them people that, “cause division, are worldly mind, and devoid of the Spirit.” Jude then shifts into verse 20 with an exhortation to believers, saying, “building yourselves up on your most holy faith”. What does this statement mean? Let’s first look at the Greek word for “building”. It is the compound word “epoikodomeo”. It breaks down as “epi” (upon), “oikos” (house), and “domeo” (to build). Epi intensifies the word to mean, “to build up/build upon”. The implication is that a pre-established foundation is already in place for which one can build upon. We all know that this foundation is Christ. This verb is used in conjunction with the noun “faith”, showing where the building is to take place in our lives. “Pistis” is the word for faith and derives from the root “peitho”, meaning “persuasion/to persuade”. This word derives from an ancient Greek goddess named Peitho. Peitho was the aide to the goddess of love, Aphrodite. She was the goddess of the art of persuasion and seduction and no one could resist the spells she placed on them. With this understanding of the historical context of “peitho” we see how this relates to God. Those God chooses cannot resist Him. He is the only one able to persuade an unbeliever to salvation. When God calls one to salvation He imputes the gift of faith to them so that they will believe. It is this faith that is the foundation with which the Holy Spirit, using the Word of God begins to build up the believer.

“Praying in the Holy Spirit” is just a simple call for one to submit to God in prayer, because the purpose of prayer is to find the will of God. The Holy Spirit should guide our prayers. He will lead us according to the will of God.

In verse 21 Jude says, “keep yourselves in the love of God.” Let me first say that this does not mean that God can or will stop loving a believer if we don’t meet His standard. We can never meet His standard. You cannot earn or deserve God’s love. It simply means that the believer must always keep the love of God in view. It should be on our minds constantly which will in turn keep us from straying. Remember, it is obedience to God which shows Him that we love Him. “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15. The only ones able to keep His commandments are his elect with whom He has given His Holy Spirit. In fact, the Greek word for “keep” is “tereo”. It derives from “teros” meaning, “a guard”. Jude is using this word to exhort the believer to stay on guard, or to preserve themselves. How do we preserve ourselves in the love of God? We are mindful of Him constantly, guarding our hearts from the deceptions of this world.

The next Greek word is “prosdechomai” (waiting anxiously). Waiting anxiously is an oxymoron in the English language because it combines two words that are in contradiction to one another. So what does the Greek word mean? The prefix “pros” means “towards” and the word “dechomai” means “to receive or expect with ready reception”. The prefix intensifies the word to mean “to wait actively and expectantly.” Prosdechomai is in the present tense making the word active for believers to be in a constant state of watching and waiting. In the context of the verse we are to actively look and welcome Christ’s coming return when He will grant us mercy by giving us eternal life.

What is really interesting to note is that Jude uses God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit together in verses 20-21. He is showing the unity of the Triune God. It is praying according to God’s will through the Holy Spirit that keeps us in the love of God, and it is that constant mindfulness of God which will subsequently give us a patient readiness to welcome in the day of Christ our Lord.

As we go into verses 22-23 Jude gives the believer direction on how they should respond to those who have been deceived in the church by an apostate. He is giving us three types of people, with the first group being the easier of the three to turn away from the error they believe. Then it degrades to the less hopeful group, and then an even less hopeful group. Most commentators believe that these groups are all unbelievers within the church, while I don’t think that is the case for any of these three. Let me show you why:

In verse 22, “And have mercy on some who are doubting”, the word “mercy” (Eleos) means, “to show benevolence or compassion”, but carries with it that the giver (of mercy) has the adequate resources to meet the need of the recipient. The Lord is the only one who has the adequate resources to meet the desperate needs of sinful man. It is through Christ’s penal substitutionary atonement that the Lord paid our penalty for our sin, satisfying His wrath and righteous standard, giving fallen man the only way to salvation. With that said, what is worth noting here is that the word for “doubting” is “diakrino”. The word “dia” means “thoroughly back and forth” and “krino” means “to judge”. Properly, “to judge/investigate thoroughly”. This is the word we used for “judging” which means to exercise discernment in the context of Matthew 7:1-6. The word has both negative and positive implications because it can be used in both a good or bad context. It is the context which prescribes the usage. We can exercise good reasoning in our discernment or bad. In this case it is used in the negative. It is over-judging or vacillating. It is a person that is wrestling back and forth between truth and error, or is just plain indecisive. What Jude is telling us is to have mercy on these individuals. At times people who have been deceived by false teachers will vex us with their wavering back and forth on doctrinal matters, or not suffering adversity well. God will give us the mercy to show them because we do not have it in and of our own strength. Jude is telling us to lean on the God of grace to give us the mercy to help the brethren that are wavering in their faith (or with biblical truth). I tweeted out on February 12th that a couple who had stopped going to church and began staying at home and listening to Bill Johnson’s “sermons” from Bethel each Sunday had agreed to find a church and stop listening to Johnson. My friends who confronted this couple said that when they spoke to the wife, her eyes opened up and she knew that she had been deceived. However, the woman’s husband is having a harder time stopping. He is willing to find a new church, but has not let go of listening to Johnson. My friends that are ministering to this couple are going to have to be extra merciful, and those of us praying for them are going to have to be extra merciful as they waiver back and forth. They are believers who are being brought out of a cult, and just like the Israelites wanted to go back to Egypt, so too will they struggle wanting to go back into sin. Some of you are going to have to bear with believers that have been deceived by people like Rachel Held Evans who promotes homosexuality in the church, abortion, and believes that women should be in the pulpits. You are going to have to long suffer them as they go back and forth between truth and error. Jude is exhorting us to be benevolent to our brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter what they are going through. I believe in time they will return.

The second group is the “save others, snatching them out of the fire”. The language is hard to interpret here, but I believe this group to be believers as well. The Greek word for “snatch” is “harpazo” meaning, “to seize by force” both suddenly and decisively. This term is used in Acts 8:39 when Phillip was snatched up by God from the Ethiopian Eunuch and taken to Azotus which was 20 miles north of Gaza. The implication of “harpazo” is that we will be snatching these people from the fire. I believe the fire (pyr) is being used symbolically for danger and destruction. If this is supposed to be Hell, then why didn’t Jude use the term Hades? This word “pyr” is the root word for “peirasmos” which is the Greek word for trials (See James 1:2). It is most often used in the context of tests, trials, and refining. With that said, I don’t believe that this is eternal torment in Hell, though many commentators espouse this. I say this because it is a command for us to save others from the fire. We can’t save anyone from the fires of Hell, that is God’s duty, not ours. We are literally being told to pull these brothers and sisters away from the destructiveness of the lies they have believed. These lies that have rooted in their lives will lead them to destructive behaviors and habits that will literally damage, or completely ruin their lives to the point of physical death. Can you imagine a believer giving their last $20 to a prosperity preacher thinking that God will increase it by 100 fold instead of feeding their family? How about a homosexual who is told his lifestyle is acceptable in the sight of God? Those that live this lifestyle devoid of restraint have countless partners. An overwhelming amount of homosexuals pick up drug habits within this lifestyle. I just read yesterday where a 26 year old homosexual male prostitute died from a drug overdose. The man who hired him constantly was one of Hillary Clinton’s big donors named Ed Buck. This man introduced him to drug use as he would incorporate drug use in their encounters. This eventually led to this young man’s death. Does this not grieve you? Not to belabor the point, but I heard a pastor say one time that a government study done in Santa Cruz, California revealed that the average homosexual lived to the age of 42. This was just in Santa Cruz, but I don’t think that number would change much nationally. These are the destructive realities of sin, and this is just one facet of sin because there are countless others which all mankind grapple with. If this was your brother and sister in Christ, would you allow them to continue in this, or would you snatch them out of the fire? I pray that the faithful in the church will pull their brothers and sisters from the destructiveness of their sin. Scripture is clear that we must confront sin amongst our brothers and sisters (See James 5:19). It must be done in truth and grace, and if it is public sin, it must be dealt with through the church discipline process.

This last group is the “on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh” group. I prayed about this verse asking for direction to see if these were truly unbelievers. As I was reading this verse over again Galatians 6:1 came to mind. It says, “Brethren, if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2

I believe that Galatians 6:1-2 goes hand in hand with Jude 23. Both Jude and Paul exhort us to help a brother or sister who has fallen into sin, but they also admonish us to be careful or we will be polluted by this sin. There are brothers and sisters who have fallen out of fellowship with God and have been given over to a darkened mind as a form of chastisement. We have to be really careful here, or the deception that they hold to will grip us. In this scenario someone who has a darkened mind from an apostates teachings needs several brothers and sisters to graciously and lovingly correct their error. They need people in constant prayer for this person, and if necessary, employ church discipline. Church discipline is meant to restore the straying brother or sister, but also is a way to protect the flock from being led astray. The Greek word used for “hate” is “miseo” which means “to detest”. However, the word implies a comparative basis. It is used in Luke 14:26 which says, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate (miseo, ‘love less’ than the Lord) his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” I am of the opinion that Jude is telling us to hate the sin more than the sinner using this comparative word. The word “garments” is “chiton” which is the tunic worn on the skin, not an outer garment. This is essentially underwear. Jude is admonishing us to handle this straying believer like you would someone else’s dirty undergarment. Without being descriptive I believe that we would use every precaution when handling someone else’s dirty underwear, and likewise we should do the same with someone deep in sin. We are to bear these brothers and sisters burdens, but with extreme caution.


Soli Deo Gloria!

Remember the Words that were Spoken Beforehand (about apostates) – Exegesis of Jude 17-19

“But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, ‘In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.’ These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.”

In verse 17 we begin to see Jude pulling up from his descriptions of false teachers and move into an exhortation to the saints. He exhorts them “to remember” what the apostles of Christ have already warned them about regarding false teachers coming in the last days. The Greek word for “remember” is “mimneskomai”. It means “to be mindful/to remember”. It derives from “mnaomai” which means “to recollect” and is derived from a form of “meno” which means “to abide/to remain”. You could render the word as, “to abide in a constant state of recollection”. The word is in the present tense signifying that the believer should be in a constant state of recollection in regards to what the apostles have told us about false teachers in the last days. With this in mind, let’s look at what the apostles had to say in regards to false teaching:

“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which he purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore, be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.” Acts 20:28-31

What I find interesting is that “not sparing” in Greek is “me pheidomai”. “Me” is a negative that denies any hypotheticals or subjectivity regarding its object. This word modifies “sparing the flock”. Pheidomai (sparing) means “to abstain” or “to refrain from doing something”. This word is in the present tense, so when it says, “not sparing” it would not be wrong to say “never refraining” from the proclamations and deceptions of their heresies. They are merciless individuals, relentless in the spread of Satan’s heresies in an attempt to destroy Christ’s Church. False teachers are a dangerous form of spiritual cancer and must be removed from the body immediately.

You can look at 2 Peter 2:1 – 3:4 to see what Peter has to say. 2 Peter is believed to be written a few years before Jude’s epistle as Jude seems to pull some of what Peter says into his letter.

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” 2 Peter 2:1-3

“Sensuality” in verse 2 is “aselgeia”. It means, “licentiousness” or ‘lasciviousness”. It denotes someone who lacks restraint and indulges in sexual immorality. They are lawless like the Antinomians and Libertines. Jude spoke earlier in verse 4 about false teachers being sexually immoral men and women, so too are those that follow them. These men and women teach that you should love yourself, listen to your heart, or do what makes you happy because that is what God wants. This unbiblical nonsense is what makes indulging in sexual immorality so easy, because your flesh wants to do evil. The false teacher’s words will tickle the ears of the nominal Christian, leading them to a non-biblical, me-centric, unholy, false Christianity that will lead to their destruction in Hell. Their words are like seeds planted in the fertile soils of a sinful heart, ready to germinate and take root.

In this next passage is a third apostle (John) warning about false teaching in the last days. What is obvious is that Jude knows the word of God thoroughly as he forewarns the believer to be ready.

“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.” 1 John 2:18-19

In verse 18 we see the use of the term “antichristos” for the first time in scripture. The term is only found in John’s epistles (See 1 John 4:3 and 2 John 7). The first question that comes to mind is how this term came about? I believe that John coins this term from reading the old testament prophecies of Daniel (Daniel 8:9-11, 11:31-38, 12:11) and from Christ in Matthew 24:15. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit John ties the prophecies in Daniel (i.e. abomination of desolation) to the reign of the final world ruler before Christ’s return. A vile creature that will be the opposite of Christ and everything He stands for. An insidious man by the name of “antichrist” meaning “against Christ”. As John labels this man of perdition, he labels antichrist’s children as well by proclaiming that many antichrists have already appeared. I believe that John had one in mind by the name of Cerinthus as he wrote this. Cerinthus preached a different gospel that was rooted in Gnosticism. He denied the virgin birth and even taught that Jesus would establish a 1000 year reign of sexual pleasure after His return. Cerinthus claimed angelic inspiration for his new gospel that he was preaching as he infiltrated the church. John opposed this heretic vehemently, so much so, that Irenaeus (disciple of Polycarp) wrote in the second century about a time when John spotted Cerinthus in the bath house with him. Irenaeus records, “Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of truth, is within.” (Against Heresies 3.3.4). You can put the name of any false teacher today in place of Cerinthus in John’s warning. Inspired by the Spirit, part of me wonders if this encounter happened before he wrote 2 John, and was somewhat of the inspiration for 2 John 10-11. Literally, have nothing to do with these apostates. All of this to say that an antichrist is anyone who proclaims a gospel different than that of Christ. Steven Furtick, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, TD Jakes, Joel Osteen, Todd White, Todd Bentley, Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson, Mike Bickle are all antichrists. They preach a different Gospel from that which Christ gave, thereby setting themselves in opposition to Christ himself.

These are just some of the warnings outlined in scripture where the apostles spoke of the false teachers entering the church. With all of this said, in verse 18 Jude begins giving more descriptors.

In verse 18, Jude takes from 2 Peter 3:3 in regards to false teachers and their mockery in the last days. “…in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts”. Jude uses the same word for mocker (empaiktes) as Peter did in this verse. So what are false teachers scoffing at? They are scoffing at a return of Christ. I don’t believe this is talking about atheism per se, but rather theists who call themselves “Christians” but teach a different gospel. I know Christians use this verse to refute atheists, but the context lends itself to false teachers, who like atheists deny Christ. The only people that believe that Christ will return are the elect, not unbelievers. What is the reason why false teachers will be mocking the elect in the last days? Jude answers by echoing Peter in that they will be “following after their own lusts.” The Greek word for following is “poreuomai” meaning “to walk in one’s own ways” or in context “to walk according to their own lusts. It is in the present tense and denotes someone walking continuously in their ways, never ceasing. Lusts is “epithumia” which we saw in Jude 16 and means “uncontrollable passion” or succinctly stated within the context “lust”, which is desire out of control. These false teachers love their sin so much that they will mock us for believing that Christ would return and bring judgment. Can you imagine Steven Furtick, Joel Osteen or Bill Johnson mocking God’s elect who believe Christ will return? Rest assured, they, or their successors will do it, as will their followers. Prepare for it.

In verse 19, Jude lays out three more attributes of a false teacher. They will “cause divisions”, “will be worldly minded”, and “devoid of the Spirit.”

The word for “cause divisions” is a compound word, that contains, “apo” (from), “dia” (a division into two or more parts), and “horizo” (to set a limit/to define) which is where we get our English word “horizon”. It can be rendered as “drawing boundaries to separate one from another”. Properly, “to disjoin”. The false teacher goes into a church where believers are in unity and “disjoins” them. Apostates are good at crossing lines and creating new boundaries. This person is a sower of discord and strife. Most often, where you find division in the local church you will find an apostate at the center. From a universal church level, you will find these false teachers creating heretical doctrines that “disjoin” believers from orthodoxy. They are able to steer real believers away by mixing truth and error. While I will not call Jacobus Arminius an unbeliever, I will say that his teachings defy scripture and caused a split in the universal church making man the one in control of his destiny, not God. While I do hold to a cessationist view, I will say that the continuist beliefs have made it easy for wolves to effectively overrun the Charismatic movement with ease. While I do believe that the word of faith movement is absolute heresy, I mourn as I see those believers with little to no discernment following after these wicked men and women. The chief job of the apostate is to cause division, not unity. God unifies, while Satan disjoins.

The word for “worldly minded” is “Psuchikos”. Psuche give us our word for “soul”, but deals with the immaterial, natural man. It speaks to the baser nature of man’s corrupt desires which come naturally. It is someone who is subject to their appetites. In other words, these false teachers are subject to their immorality. They have no restraint over the evils they do like a wild animal. I heard a pastor from a church in Florida take the place of Shittim and turn it into a profane word to the laughs of the crowd. He said, “If you are outside of the will of God you are in deep….” You can figure out the rest. Perry Noble said something similar using a fecal matter emoji. It is easy to say profane things because that is what comes naturally. It is holiness that does not come easily, so when you see your Pastor faithfully proclaiming the word, thank the Lord, because that is a miracle. That is a man submitted to God.

The last phrase is “devoid of the Spirit”. The word for devoid is “me echo”. The Greek word “me” is a strong negative denying any subjectivity or opinion of a thing or matter. When you see this word used, there is no room for hypotheticals or subjectivity. “Echo” is “I have”, and combined with “Pneuma” (Spirit), you can render this as “without having the Spirit” or “not having the Spirit”. Jude minces no words here, these apostates are categorically, unconditionally, completely unregenerate. There is no truth that proceeds from their mouths, but only that which is released from the wickedness in their heart. A false teacher that mixes a little truth with a little error is still proclaiming error. It is like being pregnant. A woman is either pregnant or not pregnant, she cannot be half pregnant. The spirit in an apostate is an unholy spirit, not the Holy Spirit.

Soli Deo Gloria!

False Teachers and the Art of Murmuring – Exegesis of Jude 16

“These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.” Jude 16

As Jude continues his description of apostates he begins to give specific descriptions of the character of these men and women. I am going to break down each one of these descriptions piece by piece in hopes that it will give you wisdom to discern. These “hidden reefs” sneak into churches, so my hope is that this will enable you to spot these individuals and stop the spread of their heresies.

The first description Jude uses is “grumblers”. This is one of the first Greek words that I taught my children in reference to Philippians 2:14, because, as most kids do, they like to grumble and whine when they want something badly. Philippians 2:14 says, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” The Greek word used here is the same one Jude uses in verse 16. The word is “goggustes” and literally means “to murmur”. This is a secret discontent that lies deep within the one who beholds it. This sin that dwells in the hearts of all men comes from a lack of contentment. Within the context, an apostate is one who has a lack of contentment in God. These apostate men and women have an insatiable desire for the things of this world. They want money, prestige, and power, and all the fleshly desires that come with it (sex, big houses, fine foods, nice cars, being on magazine covers or TV shows, etc…). When these apostates don’t get what they want they become angry. As James tells us, “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel; You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 1:1-3

Sinful man gets angry when it doesn’t get what it wants and will even go as far as murder to get the things that they lust for. Where there is murmuring, there will be an idol manifesting itself in a depraved heart for all to see. In fact, the implication of “goggustes” is that signs of this inner discontent will begin to manifest on the outside. In the church they will be the ones who like to talk under their breath when they do not get what they want. They will be malicious gossips. As it progresses these apostates might approach a bible teacher or a pastor and complain to them about what they didn’t like about the sermon on a regular basis. They might try to dig up dirt on individuals that oppose them so as to discredit them. Make no mistake, these apostates are agents of discord, and though they might sneak into the church, it is only a matter of time before their true intentions are revealed. Murmurers speak with the accent of Hell. The confines of Hell will one day be filled with malcontent people who will seethe in anger over not getting the desires of their depraved hearts. Brothers and Sisters, it is very easy for believers to mimic this trait of apostates. We should be content in our circumstances, not emulating those who are destined for destruction. The accent of the redeemed should be one of praise and thanksgiving, not murmuring.

The next word Jude uses is “mempsimoiros” (finding fault). It is a combination of Memphomai, meaning “to blame” and moira, meaning “an allotment/apportioned amount”. Properly, it means, “a complaint over an allotted portion.” They are people that will blame you for their sins and failures, never accepting responsibility for themselves. We live in a society that is ripe with “mempsimoiros”. There are people who commit crimes that state the reason they carried out these evils was because they had a rough childhood. While having gone through a rough childhood might be true, they ultimately made a decision to choose a life of crime. The crimes they committed did not choose them, they chose the crimes. This is why no one will have any excuse when they stand before God at the Great White Throne judgment. Every unbeliever cast into Hell will be guilty of choosing rebellion against the Lord of all creation.

The next label Jude puts on an apostate is one who is “following after their own lusts”. The Greek word “poreuo” means, “to journey/to walk” but within the context it denotes “to walk in one’s own ways” or better yet from a contextual perspective, “to walk according to one’s moral preferences.” As you have probably deduced, the moral preferences here are their “own lusts”. The Greek word used is “epithumia” which happens to appear only a handful of times in all of scripture in a positive context. It is predominantly used regarding evil desires. “Epi”, is a prefix that intensifies the meaning of the word. It is simply defined as, “focused on”. The second half of the word is “thumia”, which derives from “thumos”. If you remember Ephesians 4:31 “thumos” is “rage/wrath”. It is a passion/anger that boils up and over, and then recedes. This word is not always used in a sinful context as it is used in Revelation 16:19 regarding God pouring His wrath out on Babylon. Since Greek words can have more than one meaning the context always determines the usage. In this case “epi” intensifies “thumia” and gives us the translation of “lust”. Lust is nothing more than desire out of control, which is why God can exercise “thumos” in regards to anger and we cannot. In His righteous state He can control every emotion so that it never deviates into sin. He being the Alpha and Omega of holiness cannot be tempted to sin because it is not in His nature. Man on the other hand has a natural disposition for evil. In the case of false teachers, they are controlled by their appetites. In my fantasy novel, “Athanasia: The Great Insurrection” there is a wicked pirate by the name of Bremus who is talking to the Pirate King Sprasian. Bremus has a lust for blood, power, and gold. Sprasian asks Bremus, “Are you really satisfied by the lifestyle we lead?” To which Bremus responds, “I am never satisfied, that is why I must keep doing it.” This is the road that lust will take you down, one of diminishing returns. The more you commit a sin, the less satisfaction you receive, which necessitates that you must do the act more and more in an attempt to fill the void. The problem is that lust cannot be satiated. Jude is showing us the path to lust in verse 16. Lust starts with discontent for the will of God by the simple act of murmuring about present circumstances. It always comes from an idol that we construct in our depraved hearts. That deep discontent begins to manifest itself in actions. And those actions never satisfy. If you read my book you will see a flashback of Bremus in his youth where he hated being poor. He was the son of a tent maker, and he coveted the great wealth of those who came to purchase tents from his father. He began to murmur against his father for not charging more or cutting back on the quality which eventually led to a confrontation that ended their relationship. Bremus’ idolatrous love for money bred discontent. His discontent led to his murmuring, and his murmuring led him to cheat his father’s customers, which eventually led him to become a murderous pirate to try to fulfill his lusts. He was never satisfied as he repeated the same destructive cycle over and over again. These apostates, like Bremus, are fully given over to their sins. There is no escape as these sins will eventually destroy them and lead to a day of reckoning with the Lord Almighty.

Next, apostates speak “arrogantly” and are “flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.” In this verse (with the exception of epithumia) I believe that Jude is pointing to apostates as being wind bags (i.e. people that like to talk a lot). They carry out their evil deeds most often with their mouths. The Greek word for “arrogantly” is huperogkos. The “u” transliterates to a “y” making it “hyper”. Hyper means “beyond” and ogkos means “swelling”. Properly, it means, “greatly swollen” or “bloated”. Jude is using the word in a figurative sense to denote someone who speaks very highly of themselves. They like to talk about themselves and their achievements all the time. Every word spoken is an exaggeration coming from pure narcissism. A false teacher is not a beacon of humility, they are swelling with pride like their father Satan. Jude then uses another verb “thaumazo” (flattering) to describe a false teacher’s speech. It literally means, “to marvel/wonder at”. In context, this speaks to apostates “marveling” at people like you and me. They tell us how great and faithful servants we are of the Lord for the sole purpose of gaining “opheleia”, which means, “profit” or “advantage”. False Teachers literally exaggerate how wonderful you are so that they can get something from you in the future. What is the advantage they seek? More often than not it is money. If you confront an apostate about their error they will begin by flattering you so that you will start to think too highly of yourself. This is meant to stop you from exposing their heresy and warning others of their true intentions. Don’t buy it. A centered believer does not need the accolades of man to function. We seek the approval of our King. It doesn’t mean that we as believers should not commend one another on achievements, it means that we must use discernment to see if someone is trying to use us to their advantage. Is it any wonder that Solomon says in Proverbs 26:28, “A lying tongue hates those it crushes, and a flattering mouth works ruin.” Solomon used lying and flattery in same sentence to reveal to us that flattery is in fact a prevarication. The false teacher does not believe a word of what he is saying to you. He just wants an advantage and in the end it is for your ruin.

We must confront apostates using the word of God as our guide. There are so many that have fallen under the spells of false teachers and only the word of God is able to remove the scales from their eyes.

Whatever comes out of the mouth of a false teacher is meant only to destroy. Never forget this.

Soli Deo Gloria!