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!

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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!

Apostates are Savage Beasts that Foam at the Mouth – Exegesis of Jude 13-15

Wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever. It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all and to convict the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.’” Jude 13-15

Jude continues his use of metaphors in describing false teachers by starting verse 13 with “wild waves” (kumata agria). “Kuma” derives from “kuo” which means “to be pregnant” or “to swell”. Jude is using kuma as a figure of speech to speak of “swells” on the ocean, or better yet “waves”. The Greek word “agria” derives from “agros” which gives us our English word “agriculture”. Primarily the word denotes living or growing in a field. Its secondary meaning is a metaphor that denotes something “savage” or “fierce”. Animals that are undomesticated and out in the woods or fields are untamed, unbroken, and unpredictable. Likewise, apostates are like wild, untamed waves. Just as the wind of the sea determines the direction and height of a wave, so too are apostates directed and controlled by their sin. Make no mistake, an apostate does not have control over what they do. They are so enslaved to sin that they obey its commands. Their savage nature makes them dangerous as any person that comes into their path will be wrecked. Isaiah said, “But the wicked are like the tossing sea, for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up refuse and mud.” Isaiah 57:20. I wonder if Jude had this verse in mind when he wrote verse 13. Though the ocean is beautiful it is also very dangerous and cannot be controlled. The ancients feared the sea because it was something that was unpredictable. One has only to look at what Paul endured sailing to Rome to understand the danger of sea travel in this day.

Jude continues his thought regarding wild waves by saying, “casting up their own shame like foam”. Casting up is “epaphrizo”. The preposition “Epi” (out of) intensifies the word “aphrizo” which denotes, “to foam at the mouth”. Keeping Isaiah 57:20 in mind remember that the crest of the wave slams on the shore and brings the foam and the refuse of the sea to shore. I really love the beach and try to take my family out there as much as we can. A lot of times I will look at the shore where the waves break and roll up with their foam and see what gets washed up. Sometimes I will see a dead Jelly Fish, a half-eaten fish, a dead Man of War, seaweed, or sometimes trash. It is the refuse of the sea coming to shore. Jude is using a metaphor to show that these false teachers “foam at the mouth” passionately with the filth of heresy. Remember in Matthew 15:18 when Christ said, “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.” Jude is showing us that the filth that false teachers speak correlates to what is in their heart. They are unregenerate and fully depraved, therefore, whatever comes out of their mouths not only defiles themselves, but can even defile those that hear. When I was a younger man I remember flying to Dallas, Texas to visit a vendor. I remember the vendor took me out to a comedy club with dueling pianos. As I sat there and heard the vulgarity coming from the mouths of the comedians I began to feel defiled. They said some of the most grotesque jokes about sex that I had ever heard. I felt dirty inside as my spirit went from one of joy before getting there to one of sickness. I had had enough, so I told my vendors that we needed to leave. They agreed about how disgusting the content was and we left. As we left the comedians began to make vulgar jokes about me that were sexual in nature prompting me to almost say something back to them. It was as if Satan was trying to goad me to anger. I felt so putrid in my spirit because of the excrement that proceeded from their mouths. This is true of false teachers. The refuse that they speak is meant to defile themselves and the hearer. When I wrote my two articles about the New Apostolic Reformation I felt so disgusted after listening to all of the false teaching. I needed to meditate on scripture and spend time in prayer knowing that God’s truth can wash me clean of this defilement. When I taught on NAR at my church the countenance so fell within classroom that I had to stop one of the videos. They felt like they were being tortured by the literal heresy that proceeded out of these false teachers mouths. Like the foam of the ocean which washes up onto the shore and deposits the refuse of the sea, so too is the apostate who pollutes themselves and the hearer with their heresy.

The next metaphor that Jude uses is “Wandering stars for whom the black darkness has been reserved.” The Greek words, “wandering stars” is “planetai asteres”. It is where the English words “planet” and “asteroid” are derived. The root words these derive from are “planetes” which means, “a wanderer” and “aster” meaning, “star”. Properly, “a wandering star”. Again, Jude is using “a wandering star” as a figure of speech. In ancient days people would use the stars of the sky as a tool for navigation, especially sailors. The Magi did this to find the roughly two year old Christ. What I believe Jude might be conveying here is that these apostates shine brightly, but like a falling star you cannot use it for direction. It will lead you astray. False teachers have arisen in the church and are exponentially more successful than those who are biblically orthodox. They are more well-read and recognizable when speaking about Christianity. How do I know this? I once followed a guy on Twitter who was a “Christian” and would quote Osteen regularly. During one of the Republican debates he mocked Rand Paul for quoting Os Guinness saying, “Next time you quote a Christian, quote someone whom Christians recognize like, Joel Osteen.” To which I responded that Os Guinness is one of the most well-known and well respected Christian apologists in the world. I eventually unfollowed this person. Isn’t this disheartening? People think Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar and Steven Furtick are the faces of modern day Christianity. All of them are false teachers, yet their star shines so brightly because what they speak attracts multitudes of sinners, as well as new believers to a pseudo Christianity. Their lights will quickly fade, but God’s elect will never fade.

Another attribute of a wandering/shooting star is that they go from place to place with no control or direction. Likewise, false teachers go from place to place attracting people to follow them and their teachings. They portray themselves as servants of Christ, but the gate they are leading people to is not the narrow one, but the road that is wide for those headed to destruction. Just as a shooting star has no permanence and cannot be used by ancient navigators on the sea, so too are the false teachers presenting themselves as a star in the sky, but sadly, they are leading people to the same destruction that awaits them. In fact, “darkness” which is “zophos” in Greek denotes a darkness so dense that it can literally be felt. These men and women are vessels of divine wrath, and the eternal darkness and torment of Hell is reserved for they and their followers.

It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all and to convict the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.’” Jude 14-15

In verse 14 Jude changes gears and quotes from the pseudepigraphal book of Enoch, which is not included in the canon of scripture. Remember when Jude quoted from the pseudepigraphal book of Moses in verse 9? Neither of these books was penned by either Moses or the pre-flood Enoch. The book of Enoch was supposedly a book of prophecies from Enoch as he walked about preaching about God’s coming flood judgment. Enoch was the great grandfather of Noah (See Genesis 5:21-32 for the lineage) These writings were supposedly preserved by Noah and passed down orally through the generations until it was eventually penned. The book of Enoch was used by the Jews until the time of the apostles. It was estimated to be written between 161 B.C. and 100 B.C. Tertullian even said that the Pharisees stopped using it because it had so many prophecies concerning Jesus Christ that they tried to cover it up. I don’t know this for sure, but what I do know is that if the book is not included in the canon of scripture, it should be ignored. However, since Jude makes a quotation of that book, then only that quotation is valid because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Keep in mind that what Jude quotes lines up with scripture and the context of his epistle. We are getting a look at apostasy in the end times. In verse 14, we see that “the Lord comes with many thousands of his holy ones.” The word “Lord” is referring to Christ. That is how he is presented in both the Old and New Testaments. “Many thousands” in the Greek is “murios” and is where we get our word myriad. It literally means 10,000. If it is used in the figurative sense then it would denote a number too large to count. These holy ones are in fact angels and I believe “myriads” is used in the figurative sense because this quotation from Enoch is a prophecy of the tribulation/last days. With 200 million demons coming out of the abyss and many more already running around on the earth during those dark days I am inclined to believe that the Lord will have more than 10,000 angels being put to work, especially since they are executioners of His divine judgment. What is so interesting from this little excerpt included in scripture is that Enoch is prophesying pre-flood of the last days and the second coming of Christ. “Erchomai” (coming) is in the present tense speaking to the future as if it already were happening, revealing that this in fact is a prophetic utterance. Not only that, but remember that Methuselah’s name means, “his death shall bring judgment”. How apropos of Enoch to name his son this as it was part of the will of God. The year Methuselah died was the year the flood commenced. God gave them so much time to repent, yet they rejected it.

Think about this for a second: The only other prophesy of Christ pre-flood is in Genesis 3:15 and that points to Christ’s first coming (death) and second coming (victory). In this prophesy, Enoch is telling these antediluvian people about the last days of earth and the apostasy that will be present, which is exactly the same apostasy that was present during Enoch’s time. “As it was in the last days of Noah, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:37. This verse speaks not only to the warning of God’s judgment, and its suddenness, but also of the sinful practices exhibited at the time.

In verse 15, when you see the word “ungodly” it is the Greek word “asebes”. It literally means “destitute of reverence”. In other words, they have no fear of God. Jude is showing us through this prophesy that apostates will have no reverence for God either in word or deed in the last days. When it speaks of these apostates “harsh words” the actual Greek word is “skeleros”. It means “hard” but denotes that this hardness comes from “a drying out”. The best word to describe this would be, “austere”. I believe that Jude is using this figuratively. In the last days these apostates will be stiff necked, unbending, and unyielding in their heresy no matter the judgment God brings on the earth. A great example is Revelation 6:13-17 where this immense worldwide earthquake takes place and all mankind asks for the mountains and rocks to protect them from Christ rather than repent. This is skeleros (hard, unwavering) as these people would rather worship the creation rather than the Creator. It is earth worship at its finest. Not to beat a dead horse, but in Revelation 9 after three plagues that God unleashed on the earth, those that were left alive “did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and silver” (Revelation 9:20). Apostates would rather suffer torment and torture for eternity than repent and worship Christ the King.

Soli Deo Gloria!

A False Teacher is like… – Exegesis of Jude 12

“These are the men who are the hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted;”

Jude is using a lot of descriptive metaphors when speaking of false teachers. Let’s take them apart piece by piece to get a better understanding of what the Holy Spirit is trying to show us.

“Hidden reefs” is “spilas” in Greek. In Homer’s Odyssey this word was used to denote a reef, but around the fourth century A.D. it began to mean more of a “stain”. With this understanding “spilas” is used regarding a rock or reef in which the sea rolls over or dashes against. Jude is not using this term literally, he is using it metaphorically. In context, this word denotes men and women whose conduct damages other people morally, thereby wrecking them. These false teachers seek to wreck the faith of the believer. How do they do this? They don’t do it by going after the strong in faith. They look for people weak in their faith or new to it. People who have been wounded deeply by their sinful past, or have been hurt deeply by others. They could exploit a man or woman who came from a past of prostitution or sexual promiscuity and say, “You don’t have to wait for sex until marriage as long as you love and plan to marry the person.” They may find someone new in the faith and say, “God loves all people, and because He loves all people, He would never send anyone to Hell.” There are three characteristics of reefs: they are hidden, they can damage or sink a ship, and they are stationary. The only differences between false teachers and reefs is that a false teacher is not stationary. They are a reef that is always on the move looking for someone to wreck. They are the very embodiment of 1 Peter 5:8 as they emulate their father, Satan, who “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Prowls is “peripateo” and means “to walk around” in such a way as making the most of your opportunities. All the false teacher wants to make you do is deviate in the most minute of ways from the truth, knowing that a minor deviation will lead you further and further away from it. They will waste no opportunity to lead a believer away from God or keep an unbeliever from knowing Him.

These men and women are hidden reefs in your “love feasts”. The love feast was a regular gathering in the early church where they had communion and then shared a meal together. People brought food according to their means. The wealthy usually brought a large amount of food, while the poor brought much less. For the more destitute brethren this would be the best meal that they would get each week. When Jude uses this in the context of love feasts he is only showing an example of how their apostasy arises. A marker, if you will. In 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 Paul describes an issue in the Corinthian church where some of the wealthy members would devour the large amount of food they brought and even get drunk. The poor were neglected and had little to nothing to eat. Apostates are controlled by their appetites, because lust knows no boundary. They will devour food only having regard for themselves. They are never the last in line, but the first. I have never seen a church in this day and age emulate these love feasts. But if they were held today, you could count on apostates both rich and poor devouring the food, giving no regard to anyone else but themselves. Love is sacrificial, selfishness is not. They do this “without fear”, (aphobos). Alpha “a” is without, and “phobos” is where we get the English word phobia. This word carries a dual meaning: one of reverence and one of trembling/terror. The fear of God is not one or the other, it is both reverence and terror. These apostates do not fear God, and as such they have no shame when they take the last three pieces of bread at a feast when there are hungry people behind them who may have wanted some bread. They feel right at home amongst selfless people, as they will use the brethren for whatever they can take from them. A friend of mine told me about a time when he visited a church and he told the greeter who met him at his car that they were new in town. The person immediately pulled out a card and gave it to him revealing that he was a realtor. I can tell you that this man had no desire to greet the brethren or show philoxenia (love of strangers) to unbelievers. That person was only a greeter for the sole purpose of drumming up business for himself. It’s shameless, yet, this is what apostates do. They have no fear, and as such, they have no shame in any of their undertakings.

You can see that Jude is pointing to the apostates love of self, but he even lists it as a mark, “caring for themselves.” Poimaino is the word used for “caring” and derives from the word “poimen” which means “shepherd”. So you can literally say that apostates are shepherds over themselves, meaning they only look out for number one (themselves). If you have a need, they will not help you unless they can benefit from it in some way. Is it any wonder that the false teacher Paula White asked people to give a full month of salary to her ministry or they would suffer harm for being disobedient to God. She made Yahweh into a mafia Don who will break your legs if you don’t pay up. This prosperity gospel is heresy and she is not afraid to say such folly because she doesn’t fear God. They have no idea Whom they blaspheme. As Charles Spurgeon said, “Woe to the man who is made to eat the fruit of his own doings! That which men eat on earth they may have to digest in hell, and there shall they lie forever digesting the terrible morsels which they ate with so much gusto here below.”

The next phrase Jude uses is “clouds without water.” The Greek word used here is “nephele”. The word is used in the Septuagint to denote the pillar cloud that led Jerusalem through the desert. This was the same cloud that descended upon the temple (1 Kings 8:10). It was God’s Shekinah glory. The Hebrew word used for the pillar cloud meant “nimbus cloud”. It was a cloud that covered the sky. With this said, I do not believe that the imagery Jude is giving us has anything to do with the resemblance of the Shekinah glory cloud. In fact, I believe that Jude, who was living in an agrarian society is using this as an illustration. I have been slowly clearing out my yard and laying Bermuda sod down. When I lay sod I try to do it around a day and time where there will be rain. It is the rain that gets the Bermuda sod to eventually root. There were days that I was planting sod and expecting rain in which I hurried to put the sod into place. I remember on one of these days I saw some really dark and large clouds out in the west moving east towards my home. When the clouds finally came over my home they did not empty one drop onto the ground. I remember the sun coming out shortly after. Apostates give credence to being “clouds without water, carried along by winds.” You see, these false teachers act like they are clouds full of water getting ready to drench us with the truth of God, when in reality they are empty. Because they are empty those under their leadership will not grow, rather they will wither and die. There are so many believers that have followed false teachers and when they left those cemeteries for a real church they began to root, bloom, and come to life through the faithful teaching of God’s word.

“Autumn trees without fruit” is the next illustration Jude gives us. Autumn is a compound word consisting of Ptheiro (to waste away) and Opora (autumn). This compound word speaks of the time at the very end of fall, right as winter would begin. Jude is illustrating apostates as being like barren trees in the winter. They would be dry, cold, fruitless, and leafless. To put it bluntly, they are useless. He then goes on to the next progression from calling them autumn trees without fruit to “doubly dead”. This is very strong language because I believe Jude is speaking about apostates dying a physical death and then a spiritual death. It is appointed once for men to die and then the judgment (See Hebrews 9:27). A believer will only die once, but an unbeliever will die twice.

The final progression of Jude’s tree analogy is “uprooted”. “Ekrizoo” (uprooted) combines the prefix “Ek” (out) which intensifies “rhiza” (a root) giving us the meaning “uprooted” or “to pull up by the roots”. What I find particularly interesting is that I think Jude may have had the parable of the wheat and the tares in mind here. Just follow me as I break down this passage:

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot (Ekrizoo) the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather up the tares and bind them up; but father the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:24-31.

Notice “ekrizoo” (uprooted) is used. God takes specific care of His children, protecting them from being uprooted. You see, tares look almost identical to wheat when they are growing. The only way to distinguish wheat from a tare is at maturity when they become fruit bearing. The tare (probably a weed called Darnel) will bear no fruit, whereas the wheat will. Likewise, apostates that are in the church will look just like an authentic believer, but like a tare, they will bear no fruit. This is how you can spot an apostate. At the harvest they (apostates) will be separated from the wheat (believers), and like a tare they will be thrown into the fire. These “autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted;” are worthless, so they are dug up, being only worthy of fire. The fate of the apostate never ends in eternal life, rather it ends in eternal judgment.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Three Examples of Apostasy in Scripture – Exegesis of Jude 11

Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.” Jude 1:11

In my blog post this week we are going to flip back through scripture to three examples of apostasy. We are going to examine Cain, Balaam, and Korah, and study how their unbelief manifested and how it relates to apostates in Jude’s time and in our time.

The Apostasy of Cain

“Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain.” Woe is used here as a denunciation of all apostates. “They have gone” is poreuomai, deriving from porus, meaning, “to travel” from one place to another. The word is used in the present tense denoting that they are continually traveling this path. “Way” is hodos and is used metaphorically as a “way of thinking” or “course of conduct”. What is interesting is that this exact word is used metaphorically in Matthew 7:13, “the way (hodos) is broad that leads to destruction.” You cannot help but link the “way” of Cain to the “way” that leads to destruction, just as it is for all apostates. With this said, let us examine the “way” that Cain traveled.

“So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.” Genesis 4:3-5.

The phrase “in the course of time” in the Hebrew denotes “an annual event”. Meaning that Cain and Abel and all mankind, including Adam and Eve at this time brought a sacrifice to the Lord for their sin once a year. How do we know this? In Genesis 3:15 a Savior is promised that will defeat Satan and sin. Satan will bruise the Messiah on the heel, but the Messiah will crush Satan’s head (defeating evil). The coming Christ’s penal substitutionary atonement for our sin and subsequent destruction of Satan is all prophesied here. Then in Genesis 3:21 we see that “The Lord made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” Adam and Eve deserved to die for their sins, but instead of killing them, God killed an animal and clothed them with it. Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves, but God clothed them in animal skins, according to His standard. This animal died in their place and is a foreshadowing of the coming Christ that would be the penal substitutionary atonement for believers. The price for sin was a blood sacrifice. This blood sacrifice was to be a representation of the coming Messiah (Christ) who would die on our behalf. It had to be an animal without defect representing Christ’s sinless nature. This annual event was obviously something that God instituted with Adam and Eve and they subsequently instructed their children in this. In this passage of scripture we see that Abel’s sacrifice was obedient and met God’s exact requirements. Abel showed by his obedience that he loved God. Conversely, Cain brought the fruit of the ground and it was rejected. Cain’s actions show us something about an apostate. He knew the requirement and willingly chose not to bring it. It shows that he did not reverence God or even believe that he needed a Savior/atonement for sin. False teachers don’t reverence God, and as such, do not believe that they truly need a Savior.

We know that Cain became very angry after God rejected his sacrifice. The Hebrew word for anger “charah” literally means “to blaze up in anger”. Can you see the hypocrisy? His actions showed that he wanted nothing to do with God, so why does he get angry when God rejected his sacrifice? Cain wants to be “God”. He, like all man, doesn’t want to be under God’s sovereignty. This is what infuriates Cain. God encouraged him to repent of his sin so that it would not overtake him, but he didn’t. Instead of repenting he found his brother Abel and murdered him. He could do nothing in his power to hurt God, so he murdered someone that God loved (Abel). The very furthest that anger will take you is murder, and Cain did this very quickly. Cain never even repented from murdering his own brother. He showed himself to be a child of Satan as backed up in 1 John 3:11-12, “For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brothers were righteous.” Cain from the outside presented himself as a God worshipper with his “sacrifice” but showed his contempt for God and his brother in his murderous rage. I can’t tell you how many “believers” I have met that think swearing, drunkenness, and sex before marriage is okay. That God’s grace exists so that you can sin more (antinomianism). Or that there is no hell (as Rob Bell foolishly espouses) and that everyone makes it into heaven. Brothers and Sisters, if Cain were alive today, I believe he would applaud them. Why not? It is what he did. He would applaud them for going their own “way”.

In Summary:

  • Apostates on the outside profess they are believers, but their actions always reveal their crooked hearts.
  • Apostates don’t believe they need a Savior for their sin.
  • Apostates elevate themselves to the position of God and don’t recognize his sovereignty, and as such, don’t fear him.
  • Apostates are children of Satan.
  • Apostates have a deep rooted anger in their hearts like Satan. As such, they willingly lead people away from God with their deceptions, and then onto destruction. They are murderers just like Cain and Satan.

The Apostasy of Balaam

“And for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam.” The Greek word for “they rushed headlong into” is “ekcheo”. Ek means “out” and intensifies cheo, meaning “to pour”. Properly, “ran greedily” or “ran riotously”. It is used in Matthew 9:17 to denote bursting wineskins whose contents spill everywhere. Balaam ran riotously into error (planao), which means “A wandering/forsaking of the right path”. You can literally say that apostates have nothing to restrain them from wandering into error/sin.

So, what is the error of Balaam which all apostates follow? I believe that the apostle Peter gives us a clear definition of what his error was? Speaking of apostates in 2 Peter 2:15-16 he says, “forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.” Balaam was a prophet for hire in the OT. A man that loved money more than God and it showed in his prophecies. His story of treachery is revealed in Numbers 22-24. For the sake of space I will just quote essential verses that will give you a basic picture, but I encourage you to read these 3 chapters in their entirety, as well as Numbers 25:1-18.

“Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. So Moab was in great fear because of the people, for they were numerous; and Moab was in dread of the sons of Israel. Numbers 22:2-3

“So He (Balak) sent messengers to Balaam son of Beor, at Pethor, which is near the River, in the land of the sons of his people, to all him, saying, ‘Behold, a people came out of Egypt; Behold they cover the surface of the land, and they are living opposite me. Now, therefore please come, curse this people for me since they are too mighty for me; perhaps I may be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.” Numbers 22:4-5

Balak knew that Israel was too mighty a force to stop, so he needed supernatural help. He called out to Balaam already having heard of his successful resume of both blessing and cursing. He desired Balaam to levy a curse on Israel so that they would be stopped from entering Moab’s lands. Balak sent a group of elders to Balaam with the money to pay his fee. Upon meeting Balaam, he asks the elders to stay the night and he will inquire of the Lord. Balaam asked the Lord in v11, “Behold, there is a people who came out of Egypt and they cover the surface of the land; now come, curse them for me; perhaps I may be able to fight against them and drive them out.”

Notice that Balaam’s statement wasn’t a question, and it really didn’t strike me as a request either. It has an air of arrogance about it that seems almost like he is directing God as to what He should do. God in his mercy and grace did not strike Balaam down, but told him that he was forbidden to curse Israel. He got up the next day and told the elders that God would not curse them, so they went back to Balak. Make no mistake, Balaam wasn’t a believer, he was a prophet for hire, he would try to communicate with the “gods” of any nation. If he was a true prophet of God then he would have been made well aware in advance from God about Israel’s arrival. Or he would have allegiance to God and as such allegiance to Israel. Then Balak sends even more distinguished men and a greater offering of wealth to try to get Balaam to curse Israel. He replies that the Lord will not let him, but he asks these men to stay the night and that he will inquire of God again. God already said, “No.” The Lord does not need to repeat himself. When God tells you, “No!” do you fight with Him and continue to ask? When you already know the answer do you continue to question him? How about when God reveals a truth in scripture that contradicts an error that you believe in your heart? Do you submit to it or do you fight it? Many of us fight it tooth and nail. It took me at least a year before I surrendered to predestination when I was challenged with God’s word. The problem was that I, like Balaam, didn’t want to accept God’s truth so I fought Him and lost. Balaam coveted the great wealth that he would receive from levying such a curse, so he went back to God and asked again. God knowing Balaam’s heart told him to go with the elders of Moab, but that he could only say what the Lord told him to say.

In verse 22, we see that Balaam is making his way to Balak, but again, knowing Balaam’s heart He could see that Balaam was intent on disobeying God and pronouncing a curse. The pre-incarnate Christ showed up with his sword drawn on the road, but could only be seen by Balaam’s donkey. The donkey turned away from the Angel of the Lord, but when he did so he received a beating from Balaam. On the third time the donkey tried to evade the Lord it just lay down and received a third, more fierce beating from Balaam. “And the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you that you have struck me these three times?’ Then Balaam said to the donkey, ‘Because you have made a mockery of me! If there had been a sword in my hand, I would have killed you by now.’ The donkey said to Balaam, ‘Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I ever been accustomed to do so to you?’ And he said, ‘No.’” Numbers 22:28-30

Have you ever been so set on something that when there was interference that prevented you from enjoying or obtaining it, that you immediately erupted into anger? Maybe God is protecting you from something or revealing an idol in your life. In this case, God opened Balaam’s eyes and he saw Christ with his sword drawn right in front of him ready to strike him down. The Lord corrected him and commanded him again to go with the men and ONLY say what He would tell him. Balaam’s love for money is continuously revealed in his actions, like when he beat his donkey mercilessly for keeping him from what he wanted. Balaam was not going to obey God, which is what garnered this response from the Lord. Beloved, if God reveals a truth to us and is prodding us away from something we want, then it is best that we submit or we will suffer the consequences.

When Balaam sees Israel he blesses them on three occasions and says exactly what the Lord told him to say despite Balak’s anger. However, the story does not end here:

“While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.” Numbers 25:1-2.

Right after Balaam blesses Israel in Numbers 24, they begin worshipping Baal and rush into sexual sin immediately in chapter 25. What would prompt the Israelites to violate the first commandment by worshipping Baal, and committing adultery with Moabite women? Numbers 31:16 says, “Behold, these caused the sons of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the counsel of the Lord in the matter of Peor, so the plague was among the congregation of the Lord.” The implication from scripture is that Balaam instructed Balak to have the Moabite women go into the Israelite camp and seduce the men. By luring Israel’s men into sexual sin as worship to the Moabite god Baal, God, would have no other recourse but to punish them for their sin. Do you see how twisted this is? Please understand that Balaam did not manipulate God to do this. Israel, of their own accord chose to sin against God when they could have refrained.

In Summary:

  • Apostates defy the will of God like Balaam. They will fight God at every chance.
  • Apostates love money and notoriety. Balaam loved having such prestigious guests, and to be called by King Balak and offered an enormous amount of wealth was too tantalizing to turn down.
  • Apostates will be judged and destroyed. See Joshua 13:22 when Israel struck Balaam down.
  • God even uses apostates to accomplish His will.

The Apostasy of Korah

“And perished in the rebellion of Korah.” The Greek word for perish (apollumi) means “to fully destroy/eradicate.” This will be the fate of all apostates who do not repent of their wickedness. “Rebellion” is antilogia. Anti means “against” and logia derives from “lego” meaning “to speak”. Properly, it is a verbal dispute arising from an opposing viewpoint for the sole purpose of gain. You can render it as “gainsaying” or “contradiction”. The implication is that the motives are selfish, in that it is for personal gain, and with this type of opposition only comes strife. With that said, let’s look at what Korah did regarding “gainsaying”.

The rebellion of Korah is recorded for us in Numbers 16:1-32. For space purposes I am only going to cite a few verses for general background.

“Now Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took action, and they rose up before Moses, together with some of the sons of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, chosen in the assembly, men of renown. They assembled against Moses and Aaron and said to them, ‘You have gone far enough, for all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is in their midst; so why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?’” Numbers 16:1-3

What is evident here is that Korah desired Moses and Aaron’s leadership for himself. Just as Satan had usurped Adam’s position as king, making himself the ruler of this world, so too does Korah seek to usurp God’s appointed leaders of Israel. So, he went and gathered 250 supporters of high status and rallied them to his side. His accusation was that Moses and Aaron had exalted them above the whole congregation of Israel. I can imagine the murmuring: “Isn’t all Israel holy?” was their cry. “If all Israel is holy, then why are Moses and Aaron seated above us?” Korah was envious of Moses and Aaron’s position. He desired to be in control of Israel and began his plot to supplant both men. This is diabolical when you think about it. One man craves power and influence so much that he is willing to defy God’s appointed leaders of Israel (Moses and Aaron). It cries of egalitarianism, doesn’t it? “We are all equal!” We hear that in this day and age as the culture attacks God’s order in the church. Society says, “If we are equal, then you will let women pastors lead and teach the church.” This is a violation of God’s instituted order for church leadership (See 1 Timothy 2:12-14). The modern feminist movement has the same envious, God defying spirit as Korah. Which is why Philippians 2:14 tells believers, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” Yet, Christians violate this constantly as we many times are not content over what the Lord has allowed in our lives. What is interesting is that apostates like Korah enter the church and use our discontent to cause division. In this instance, Korah was feeding off this discontentment with Moses and Aaron, but God came in and intervened.

“As he (Moses) finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open; and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged to Korah with their possessions. So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and they perished from the midst of the assembly.” Numbers 16:31-33

One other point I may mention is that those 250 men of renown were incinerated by God. The judgment for apostasy in this life is eternal fire in the next. What I found interesting in the chapter was that Moses had all the people distance themselves from Korah and his followers, so that God could open up the earth and kill these people. Anyone who associates with apostates will suffer harm, including believers. If Jonah in his disobedience could bring innocent sailors into his storm, then imagine how much worse it is when an apostate has unbelievers and true believers following them. Look at Lot whose heart was for Sodom and how it drug him down. He offered his daughters to be raped, had to be drug out of the city by the angels, his wife turned back to look against God’s command and perished, Lot’s daughters got him inebriated and had sex with him bearing the children that would be Israel’s nemesis, Ammon and Moab. Yet, Lot was called righteous. We all fall so short of the glory of God all the time. Don’t hitch your wagons to false teachers/apostates or they will drag you down into the mire with them.

In Summary:

  • Apostates are usurpers like their father, the devil. They envy what others have and will go to whatever ends to have it.
  • Apostates have a coming judgment for their heresies.
  • Apostates love to stir division in the church for their own personal gain. They merely use those that ally with them as stepping stones or cannon fodder.

We will study Jude 12 next week.

Soli Deo Gloria!

False Teachers are Like Unreasoning Animals – Exegesis of Jude 1:9-10

When we finished Jude 1:8 last week we saw how apostates revile angelic majesties and how the Greek language revealed the deeper meaning. Verse 9 was the illustration that Jude used to show reviling angelic majesties. With this said, let’s look at verse 9 with a little more depth.

“But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’”

Before we dig in I want to highlight a few things. This encounter is not mentioned anywhere in scripture with the exception of Jude 1:9. Jude, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit speaks of something that God has chosen not to fully reveal to us, and that is okay. This encounter is actually spoken of in the pseudepigraphal “Assumption of Moses”. Pseudepigraphal books are Jewish in nature and were written between 300 B.C. and 300 A.D. They are works that are attributed to people of the past, but they were not written by these specific figures of the past, making it pseudo (under a false name). Jude’s pulling out of a quote from this book does not give credence to the entire work, rather it only gives credence to the specific section he quoted. Jude quoted this section by inspiration of the Holy Spirit which is what gives it validity.

We know that Michael has clashed with Satan before in scripture and is one of God’s chief angels (Daniel 10:13,21, 12:1, and Revelation 12:7). Michael has probably had countless battles against Satan and his demons as he carries out the will of God. There is a spiritual battle going on all around us that by the grace of God we cannot see. In this instance, we know that Moses died on Mt. Nebo in Moab before the Israelites entered the promised land, and was then secretly buried in a place not known to man (Deuteronomy 34:5-6). There are some that believe that Satan wanted to desecrate the body of Moses or that he might have even have wanted to use it as an object of worship, or some other nefarious purpose. I have an idea of what it might have been. This is just a theory, so follow along with me for a minute. It is likely that Satan had an idea of what God might do with Moses body in the future. So he wanted to thwart God’s plan like he always tries to do, yet perpetually fails. He knows his end in Revelation and would know the book and its meaning very well. In Revelation 11 there are two prophets that will be dressed in sackcloth that will be preaching the Gospel of Christ and breathing judgment on those that try to harm them until their death and resurrection. Jewish tradition believes that Elijah and Moses will return before the Messiah. In Revelation 11:6 it is believed that one of these men is Moses because of the witnesses’ power to turn water into blood like the plagues of Egypt, as well as the power to destroy people with fire like Elijah calling down fire in his showdown with the prophets of Baal. Many look at Malachi 4:5 which literally predicts Elijah’s return. Also, In Matthew 17:3-4 we see Jesus transfigured, having a conversation with Moses and Elijah about something which the Lord chose to keep from us. It makes you ponder why He was speaking to them both? Could he be speaking to them about their 1260 day ministry prior to His return? It may be that Satan wanted to seize Moses body in order to prevent his return in Revelation 11 with Elijah. This is speculation, but what is obvious is that Satan wanted to do something with Moses body to attempt to thwart the will of God.

Notice in verse 9 “disputed” is “diakrino” which means, “to separate thoroughly”. The preposition “dia” (thoroughly back and forth) intensifies the word “krino” (to judge) showing that they had a sharp disagreement in terms of beliefs. It is meant to show contrasting ideas that are polar opposites and denotes a going back and forth with someone in disagreement. The Greek word for “arguing” (dialegomai) is a combination of “dia” (going from one side across to the other) and intensifies “lego” (bringing to closure/laying it to rest). Properly, it means to speak something to a conclusion, or to get a conclusion across. It signifies a going back and forth with thoughts and ideas. It is where we get our English word, “dialogue”. Michael contended with Satan, but it never became an unrighteous indignation. So much so, that Michael did not pronounce a “railing judgment” (Blasphemia Krisis) against Satan. As you know blasphemia means to slander and is used to describe Satan as the Father of Lies. Michael did not in any way insult or malign Satan even though any derogatory comment about him would be true. So Michael did not fall into sin (unrighteous indignation), instead he said, “The Lord rebuke you!” He allowed the Lord to be the Judge and the One who will justify him. When you are dealing with evil people, especially those who are apostate, you will quickly see that they cannot control the deceit and vile speech that comes out of their mouths. It is fine to get your position and conclusion across just like Michael, but like Satan, don’t expect an apostate to listen to what you have to say. They only want to make you stumble. I am sure that Satan wanted nothing more than to provoke Michael to an unrighteous anger. Don’t try to be the Holy Spirit for anyone because it only leads to sin. I wonder if Michael gives us an example of how to conclude our arguments with false teachers. There is power and humility when a believer tells an unrepentant apostate, “The Lord rebuke you!” These false teachers are children of the devil. As you will see in verse 10 Jude compares them to “unreasoning animals” showing their inability to refrain from their wickedness. As we see, apostates revile that which they don’t understand like their father Satan.

“But these men revile (blasphemeo) the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals by these things they are destroyed.” Jude 1:10

“But these men “blaspheme” the things which they do not understand.” They do not understand the mysteries of scripture or even how to interpret the bible. They are only capable of eisegesis. Because they cannot exegete scripture they read their crooked beliefs into it, and in doing so they literally blaspheme/slander God.

“And the things which they know by instinct.” The Greek word for “know” is “epistamai”. Epi is “upon” and histemi means “to stand”. Properly, “to stand upon”. It is not the experiential knowledge (gnosis), rather it is a knowledge that is sustained by intentional effort. When it is modified by (phusikos – meaning “in a natural manner” or “by nature”) we see that the context posits an apostate as one who has a natural disposition for evil. Their mind is focused on it all the time. Jude then takes this and adds to it by calling them, “unreasoning animals”. Unreasoning is “alogos” and literally means “to be destitute of reason”. You have no ability to reason with an apostate or a false teacher because they are set in their ways, and like an animal which is impossible to reason with, go on their merry way to destruction.

We have a lot of hunters in the church that I am a member of. Those of you that go deer hunting may at times leave out corn as a lure to bring the deer out of its safe place and into the open. When the deer comes out and starts eating the corn, does it think, “Wait, I am not in a corn field, why are there random ears of corn just sitting out in the middle of the woods? Someone must be trying to kill me!” The deer acts upon instinct, it is conscious, but doesn’t have a conscience, or the ability to reason. It acts on instinct alone, and as such, the hunter knowing the animal’s instinct uses it to trap or kill the beast. When the deer finds food its natural instinct is to eat it. The hunter then fires the arrow into the neck of the animal and it dies. This is why Jude says, “like unreasoning animals by these things they are destroyed.” The instinct of the false teacher always leads them into the crosshairs of the Lord’s bow of judgment.

If there is one thing that I pray you take away from this is that false teachers desecrate the word of God because they don’t understand it. It is the easiest way to spot a false teacher. Desecrating the word comes naturally to them because they have no fear of God.

Next week we will look at Jude 1:11 and how apostates compare to Cain, Balaam, and Korah.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Three Distinct Marks of False Teachers – Exegesis of Jude 1:8

In my last blog post we studied Jude 1:7 which revealed the commonality between apostates and the people of Sodom. I wanted to give one more bit of information regarding Sodom before we pick up in verse 8.  John MacArthur points out that Shem (Noah’s son) was still alive during the judgment of Sodom (See Genesis 11:10 for the lineage). He lived 502 years after the Flood, while Sodom was destroyed about 450 years after the Flood. Noah died about 100 years before Sodom’s judgment. Dr. MacArthur’s point is that the people of Sodom would have known about the flood judgment and God’s call to righteousness through the survivors like Shem or Noah, yet they rejected it too. In fact, Abram (Abraham) came from the line of Shem who was his great, great, great, great, great, great, grandfather. So, Shem was still alive when the pre-incarnate Christ came to visit Abraham and told him that He was going to destroy Sodom. Lot came from the line of Shem as well and was Abram’s nephew. As you know, Lot lived in Sodom and knew about the Flood and God’s call to righteousness. How do I know this? God called Lot righteous, which means that he was obviously taught by his parents and family about the coming Messiah and he believed. In Genesis 19:9 we even see that the people of Sodom are enraged at Lot because he indeed was judging Sodomites for their immoral ways. In fact, in Genesis 19:9 the Sodomites exclaimed, “he (Lot) is acting like a judge.” You can render the Hebrew as “He is ever acting like a judge.” The implication is that this is not the first time that Lot has reproved the people in Sodom. 2 Peter 2:8 says, “for by what he saw and heard that righteous man while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds”. The Greek word for torment means “to torture”. If Lot was tortured by their sin, and was indeed being polluted by merely dwelling in this city, why did he stay? A man who is righteous cannot be around evil and be free from torment. I believe that Lot wanted the people of Sodom to repent because he knew that God would not tolerate this wickedness forever. He wanted to continue to live there when he should have fled so that his character and the character of his family would not be tainted by the sin of the people of Sodom. You see, Sodom wasn’t going to change, but righteous people who surround themselves with depraved people will. Sodom and Gomorrah were without excuse when the Lord burned them to the ground. They had been warned of their wicked ways by Lot, yet they rejected his reproof. When apostates reach the lows of Sodom and Gomorrah it means that their depravity is complete. God has turned them over to their sin and only final judgment awaits them. There is no turning to righteousness for the apostates when they descend to this point. They defile everything they touch, including believers. Have nothing to do with them lest you give credence to their evil deeds (2  John 1:10-11).

“Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties.”

When Jude says, “Yet in the same way”, he is continuing his point from verses 5-7 in verse 8. In the same way that the apostate Israelites revolted and wanted to go back to Egypt, the apostate demons wanted to have relations with women, and the apostate Sodomites went after strange flesh, so too do they defile the flesh by their dreams. “Dreams” is ἐνυπνιάζομαι (enupniazomai) and derives from “enhupnos”. En denotes a place or a state of being. It means “in” or “with” and hupnos means, “sleep”. It is where we get our English word “hypnotize” or “hypnosis”. Properly, it means “in a dream state/in a dream while asleep”. I believe that Jude is using this word figuratively which would denote that apostates are “in a constant state of day dreaming.” For those of you familiar with day dreaming it is nothing but pure fantasy. Most of our day dreams include defeating a rival whom we despise, or glorifying ourselves. We picture ourselves with great wealth and success as well as popularity. We picture ourselves in mansions or in tropical paradises, or even about finding a spouse in which we picture different people who would fulfill this desire. It is an exaltation of self in our minds. When day dreams really get dark is when they descend into sexual fantasies, or anger fantasies. Ecclesiastes 5:7 says, “For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God.” J. Stafford Wright interprets this passage as “In the multitude of dreams are also vanities, and (in) many words (as well).” If we are exalting ourselves we cannot be Christ focused. These apostates are not Christ focused. They daydream about their greatness. They dream about having great wealth, power, and notoriety. They want to be on talk shows, write books, speak at big events, rub elbows with stars and leaders. They day dream almost perpetually, so much so that they are not in touch with reality. Their mind also descends into the perverse as they picture themselves in sexually immoral situations, seeking strange flesh (sexual immorality that encompasses more than just homosexuality, but also heterosexual immorality). Like the inhabitants of Sodom, few apostates have moral restraint, so they live sexually immoral lifestyles. They do a good job of hiding their sin, but as Numbers 32:23b says, “Be sure your sin will find you out”, whether it be in this life or the next.

“Reject authority” is ἀθετέω κυριότης. “A” is alpha, which is a negative, and “theteo” derives from “thithemi” which means “to put/place”. It denotes “setting” something in place (i.e. like a standard or law). “Kuriotis” means “dominion” and derives from “kurios” meaning “lord”. God set boundaries between angels and humans, one being no sexual intercourse with humans which some demons violated and were subsequently punished by being thrown into the abyss. Likewise, these apostates violate God’s authority. They reject the bible, thereby teaching blasphemous heresies. That is why Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) is essential, because if scripture no longer has authority over the believer, false teachers will come into the church and teach heresy without being challenged. This is why Jen Hatmaker will affirm homosexuality, and say that sitting outside on her deck overlooking the water is just as much “church” as going into a building. Romans 1:26-31 condemns homosexuality, and Hebrews 10:25 encourages the believer to not forsake the assembling of the saints. Not to mention that she teaches from the pulpit at her husband’s church violating 1 Timothy 2:12-14 where God set a boundary in that women cannot be elders/leaders or teachers of men in the confines of the church. Apostates reject scripture as the authority. Not long ago there was a woman who read my 2 blog posts on the New Apostolic Reformation and its heresies.  She had recently escaped this cult. She agreed with everything except two points: She didn’t agree with cessationism or that it was a sin for Bethel to have female pastors. As I challenged her with scripture she rejected 1 Timothy 2:12-14 and Titus 1:6. She refused to submit to what God said. What she didn’t understand was that the reason she was part of the New Apostolic Reformation was because she didn’t hold to God’s word as the standard. She rejected Sola Scriptura. If you believe that women should violate God’s ordinance for church leadership and teaching, then you will fall away from God’s standard and open yourself up for even more darker deceptions like this woman. These apostates reject God’s authority. I pray that we will examine our lives and that if any belief we have does not line up with God’s word that we will forsake it.

“Revile angelic majesties” is βλασφημέω δόξα (blasphemeo doxa). Blasphemeo is where we get our English word “blasphemy”. It is abusive, railing, slanderous speech. It is evil speaking. This word is used in regards to Satan as the father of lies, not to mention that it is used in Ephesians 4:31 showing slander as a symptom of the anger sins. Doxa in the Greek means, “praise” or “glory” It is where we get our English word doxology. Doxa derives from “dokeo” which if you read my blog on Jude 1:4 would remember that Docetism comes from this word. It means “to appear” or “to seem”. It is meant to denote something that is subjective or opinion. It means it is hard to discern exactly what something is. Docetics believed Christ was a “dokesis”, meaning, “an apparition.” They believed that the crucifixion was an illusion because Jesus could not be flesh. They believed all flesh was evil, thus Jesus could only be spirit. It “appeared” that Jesus was crucified, but they “supposed” it was a ghost or apparition on the cross. Keep in mind that Docetism arose 40 years after the crucifixion meaning that Docetics didn’t see the crucifixion, but supposed that Christ was an apparition. We know that Christ was no apparition, but we believers were not there to witness it either. We believe these things by faith through God’s word. It is hard to truly make out an apparition because it is “like” an image of a person, but is not truly that person, which is why the word denotes subjectivity. The best example I can give is in regards to Kim Walker Smith of Jesus Culture and her encounters with Jesus and God the Father at Bethel Church. They appeared to her as Jesus Christ or God the Father, but they were apparitions. These demons presented themselves as Jesus and God the Father, but they were counterfeits. They took on an image so that it “appeared” to Kim Walker Smith that she was talking to two members of the Trinity. With this said, it would make sense that Jude is talking about indescribable things in the spiritual realm. Majesties can literally be translated as “glories” here. The other reason why I believe it is translating as “angelic majesties” has everything to do with the immediate verse that follows (V9), “But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses did not pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, the Lord rebuke you!”  Jude follows up his accusation with an example using Michael the archangel and Satan. Verse 9 illustrates “reviling angelic majesties”. Apostates, like Satan, will revile what they do not understand. We don’t know what happened to Moses body, but like Satan, false teachers will revile these things that they know nothing about. Joyce Meyer said Jesus descended into Hell and was tormented in our place for our sins. When He did this He ceased being the Son of God. This would be an example of the reviling of God’s majesties/glories. We don’t know much about what happened to Jesus between His burial and resurrection. False teachers/apostates revile what they do not understand, and that is blasphemy against God.

I am going to stop here this week and pick up with Jude 1:9 next week.

Soli Deo Gloria!