2014 – January/February Issue-Practical Lessons-Article 11

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DOs and DON’Ts for the Faithful

Epistle of Jude

“Jude the servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James” (Jude 1).

Thus does Jude identify himself. He was an apostle and possibly the halfbrother of Jesus. Jude set forth to write a letter of encouragement to the consecrated and sanctified by God and Jesus Christ, about our common salvation. “Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.” Evidently the letter was to be a general exhortation, similar in content to 2 Peter 1:2-8, which emphasizes giving all diligence to the spiritual life, in every facet pleasing to God.

Jude abruptly changes the theme of his letter, seeing something diabolical developing. Certain men (ungodly) began to infiltrate the church, unawares at first to the true saints. Jude says they “turned the grace of our God into lasciviousness” (Jude 3). That moves Jude to be impassioned in his warnings. He exhorts us to earnestly contend (though not to be earnestly contentious) “for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints” (verse 3 ASV).

In Romans 6:1 Paul similarly asks, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” and declares: “God forbid!” (Romans 6:1).

Jude gives three sins to help identify wolves in sheep’s clothing: faithless rebellion, impetuous disobedience, and unbounded lust. Even after leading Israel out of Egypt, the people did not trust God to provide all their necessities for which they clamored (Numbers 14, Psalm 95:11. Before the Flood, angels rashly materialized to take women and generate children — violent children1 (Genesis 6:1-4, 2 Peter 2:4). Sodom and her sister cities freely committed fornication and lusted even for animals (hence the word “sodomy”) and angels [1] (Genesis 19, 2 Peter 2:6-8). So let us take heed to ourselves today:

* Believe the word of God and live it. * The Lord’s people must avoid violence and oppression of others. * Every Christian must flee sexual lusts, both natural and unnatural.

Jude 8 and 10 associate immorality with rebellion, and accusation against honorable Christians. Verse 8 explains the reason for their ungodly, evil, loathsome course. These all despise dominion. These are so arrogant, their mind set is, “No one tells me what to do!” That was not the attitude of Jesus, and it is an attitude that the faithful church must uproot.

Verse 9 declares: “Yet Michael, the archangel, when contending with the devil, he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke thee.’ ” How did Jude know the facts of this verse? In Zechariah 3:2 here is a dispute between the Lord and Satan, as Joshua, chosen in parabolic form, to be the high priest, clothed in filthy garments. Satan accuses the nation, shown in the filthy garments of Joshua, as unfit for God’s use. God rebuked him and Joshua was clothed with clean garments.

In parables, the thing stated represents the thing meant. In this figure Joshua represents Israel. Moses represents the body of Israel at the baptism of water into the cloud and the sea. Satan wanted the body of Moses, Israel, pointing to their unbelief as filthy garments. In response, Michael said merely “the Lord rebuke thee.” God had great plans for Israel. Satan knew this and wanted to thwart God’s plan.[2] Reference to Cain, Balaam, and Korah is to warn against jealousy, greed, and ecclesiastical ambition respectively. Such tares are hidden rocks in love feasts that will break your (spiritual) teeth; clouds without water who offer a pretension of blessing but with nothing to show for it. To be twice dead, plucked up by the roots implies they are liable to second death, without hope of resurrection; etc.

Cain did not seek God for His counsel as to the proper sacrifice but used his own way: headstrong. Surely his father Adam had told him about the sanctity of an animal sacrifice. When Abel’s sacrifice was accepted and his was not, Cain became extremely jealous. As jealousy broods and festers, it produces murder — as it did in this case.

We, too must be on guard against this evil. This may be one of the things Jude is warning against, especially as new ones are welcomed into our fellowship. Others arise from within. As Paul warned the elders of Ephesus, “I know that after my departing grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:29 RV).

Next, Jude mentions Balaam, who for the sake of reward, ignored God’s warning and followed a course opposed to God’s counsel. We, who know God’s will in the matters of his truth, must have no part in seeking monetary wealth, especially from an impure source.

The third example is Korah, a Levite, who gathered men together to defy Moses’ leadership, declaring themselves all holy and that Moses had no right to lift himself up. The Lord showed their error by opening up the earth to swallow up Korah, Dathan, Abiram and their families, and consumed their 250 allies by fire (Numbers 16:1-35). This, Jude calls speaking evil of dignities. Let us never be found to speak against one whom God has called. This error has already crept into some of our churches.

Enoch’s Prophecy

Quoting Enoch,[3] “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand[s] of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds.” Christ is to come in glory with His 144,000 saints.[4] The convincing, or rebuking, is for the benefit of those who are now sinning, as the Day of Judgment is to be their Times of Restoration of all things. But sinners must first recognize their sins and sinfulness in order to learn righteousness.

Each of us is to recognize there will sometimes be sensual people among us. In spite of that, we are to pray, and to build ourselves up in the most holy faith.

While we look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, we must also learn to practice mercy. “On some have mercy, who are in doubt; and some save, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (verses 22-23 RV). There are three cases given: (1) We must have mercy on those who are strugglingwith temptation. (2) Whenever possible, when a brother or sister in Christ is about to sin, help them overcome. (3) When one has already sinned, we must nevertheless have mercy, but with fear “lest thou also be tempted,” yet sorrowing that the brother has spotted his robe and needs the “fuller’s soap.” Let all be done to the glory of God (Jude 25).

__________

(1) Sons of angels would not be under the Adamic death penalty, even though human. Hence, it was necessary to destroy them artificially — by the Flood. The Bible does not tell us when this defection happened, but if there is any credibility to the non-Biblical Book of Enoch (6:6), it happened in the days of Jared, about eleven centuries before the Flood. [Jude 14-15 agrees nearly word-for-word with Enoch 1:9. However, past chapter 11 (and perhaps earlier), the “Book of Enoch” is not credible. The book is translated from an Ethiopic manuscript. Additionally, some Aramaic (Qumran) and Greek fragments also exist, though none in Hebrew. The Qumran (Dead Sea Scroll) manuscripts explicitly omit 35 of the 107 chapters.]

(2) Editor’s note: Is the nation of fleshly Israel ever represented as a high priest? The high priest usually represents Jesus Christ, as in the consecration of the priesthood, where the church is typified by the under priests (Leviticus 8). However, on the Day of Atonement the under priests are not shown separately, so the high priest represents the Christ, head and body (Leviticus 16). Jesus Christ is holy, harmless and undefiled; so Joshua, the high priest in filthy garments, here should picture the church, of whom it is said, “all our righteousnesses are as a polluted garment” (Isaiah 64:6 ASV). Jesus Christ is described separately as “the angel of Jehovah” (Zechariah 3:1, 5, 6). This suggests another lesson: Jude cites the vision of Joshua the high priest standing in filthy garments, Satan standing to accuse him, and the angel of Jehovah defending him, the body of Moses. That body typifies the Body of Christ, which cannot justify itself, accused by the Devil (“the accuser of our brethren”), but defended by our Lord Jesus Christ, to show that the spirit of accusation comes from the Enemy, and not from God (Zechariah 3:1-5, Jude 9). We need to purge ourselves of the spirit to accuse.

(3) Jude refers to Enoch as “the seventh from Adam.” But why should Jude introduce such an apparently unnecessary detail, unless to draw attention to a defi- nite numeric symbolism connected with Enoch. This numeric symbolism is shown in the record of his age, which is stated in Genesis 5:23 as 365 years, the number of days in a year. The ratio between one year and Enoch’s life is the same as between a day and a year. This scale is the key to the interpretation of many chronological prophecies in the Bible (Ezekiel 4:6).

Acts 3:21, concerning the times of restitution yet to come, informs us of those times: “God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” It says, not since Moses, but “since the world began.” After John the Baptist was born, his father, Zechariah, spoke of God’s holy prophets which have been since the world began. If “since the world began” be taken as the first world, then Enoch should likely be taken as a prophet.

That a revelation was given to Enoch is confirmed by both Bible and tradition. The original prophetic writ- ings of Enoch are not to be confused with the “apoc- ryphal” Book of Enoch, written 4000 years later, about the 2nd century BC. Enoch lived in the 43rd to 40th centuries BC. He was God’s prophet in the Antediluvian Age, “the world that then was” (2 Peter 3:6). [Editor’s note: The writer takes the chronology (and other thoughts below) from Adam Rutherford, a British pyramidologist who accepts the Septuagint chronology The Septuagint is regarded more highly in Britain than in America. The Dead Sea Scrolls support the Hebrew Masoretic Text of the Books of Moses much more than they support the Septuagint.]

Enoch knew about the coming flood and the reason for it, seeing for himself the wickedness of the earth.

Right from the promise that the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head, man clung to the hope of deliverance. When the revelation of Enoch foretold the Messiah, his work, his mission, his death and resurrection, and his judgment of the nations for the blessing of the world, the hope was revived. The prophecy of the virgin birth of the Messiah in Isaiah and Matthew was known in the constellations long be- fore the Old Testament was written. It was one of the earliest prophecies and may have come from Enoch.

Genesis 5:21-24 tells us that Enoch walked with God and he was not, for God took him. The days of Enoch were 365 years. Hebrews 11:5 reiterates this, saying that by faith Enoch should not see death and was not found because God translated [removed] him, for be- fore he was translated [removed] he pleased God.

Whatever this means to our finite minds, we cannot attempt to understand the mind of God. We can only read his word and ponder the consequences for Enoch.

About the mathematical revelation to Enoch, we have additional information in the Great Pyramid of Giza which was not built until the 2nd millennium after Enoch lived. In what is called the Ante Chamber of the Great Pyramid, called by the ancients the Chamber of Enoch, the circumference of this chamber is 365.242, the number of days in our solar year and (rounded) the number of years in Enoch’s life.

Jude’s quote from Enoch in verse 14 is a graphic por- trayal of Revelation 19:11, 14 and 15. This shows the knowledge that Enoch was given many centuries before. As the disobedience of angels that Enoch wit- nessed threw the earth into uncontrolled violence, Jude warns the church against similar terrible conditions at the end time, and perhaps in more subtle ways how the ungodly will do everything possible to discredit God and the great sacrifice of Jesus, in order to fill the earth with unrighteousness.

(4) The time between Jesus coming for his saints (John 14) and coming with his saints is not clearly stated in the Bible, whether it is years, decades, or even centuries.

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