The book of Jude is placed at the end of the epistles, just before the book of Revelation.
It is both instruction for the early churches and foreshadows what will happen to the Church and to Christians in the last days.
Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote this letter with one main purpose:
“That ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).
Because, he said, “There are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4).
Clearly, Jude is writing to prepare the Church against teachers of falsehoods, corruptions and fleshly ways of thinking.
When the gospel is watered down and adulterated, what comes to a halt is precisely the “contending for the faith” that is the line of defense against falsehood and corruption.
Jude warns that the Church was already then attacked by false teachers who had “slipped” into its ranks even while the apostles were still alive.
He warns that God didn’t hesitate to deal sternly with Israel, when they followed false leaders:
The sentence on that generation was passed at Kadesh Barnea, when the Israelites followed the (faithless) majority opinion of 10 out of the 12 spies whom Moses had sent to survey the promised land and bring back report. Only two of those who reported believed the promise. 10 thought the inhabitants of the land were too strong for them. The majority opinion swayed all Israel, and God sentenced them to spend the rest of their days in the wilderness, so that the wilderness became their burial place.
Because of their subtle but dangerous encroachments upon the Church, Jude lists characteristics by which to recognize them.
Of course, Jude is responding to what he sees in his day, he is also prophetically dealing with the dangers of the very last days.
He says: “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.” (Jude 1:17-18)
Today Israel has been returned to its land in the last days, delivered from out of the world, as from Egypt, yet most Israelis do not believe in their Jehovah and many will be destroyed in the coming Tribulation (which has been called the time of Jacob’s Trouble).
Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
Today immorality is rampant, even to the point demonstrated in Sodom and Gomorrah. There, sexual perversion was publicly endorsed to the extent of flaunting and militancy. We already see such conditions today in “gay pride” processions, in laws permitting “same-sex marriage”, etc.
Today, Michael, the Archangel of the Jews, is disputing with the world run by the Devil over the right of Israel to exist. Michael plays a special role for the Jews, as is confirmed by the prophet Daniel. “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise” (Daniel 12:1).
Even though the Devil wants all Israelis and Jews dead, Michael does not slander him, but leaves this task to the Lord. So too, in the face of threats by Iran, Hamas, Hizbullah, Egypt, Syria, etc., our strategy should be intercession that the Lord may rebuke the enemies of Israel, in the world and in the church.
The way of Cain is the path of man doing what is right in his own eyes, and trying to show his righteousness through his own achievement and toil. It is the opposite of grace, which is salvation freely given and undeserved.
Today, the entire globalized world is going the way of Cain. Humanism prevails. Systems and agencies such as the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, the World Health Organization and so on, believe that a society of peace and goodness can be created by human effort. Jesus said otherwise,
Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, … there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Even churches that are thought of as Christian have joined similar movements, practicing and recommending the way of Cain..
Verse 11 continues “… and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, …”
This is one of the greatest errors of today yet most people do not see it.
Balaam’s sin was that of prophesying for money. Balaam was ruled by Mammon.
Today it seems that money is the highest god, not only in the systems of globalized man, but also increasingly in the so-called Christian church, faith is being merged with money, as in the hype to raise tithes and offerings, and the so-called Prosperity Gospel.
Verse 11 concludes “… and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” (In the KJV New Testament, this Biblical person’s name is spelled as Core, but in the Old Testament it is Korah. These were two different teams of translators, and their way of transliterating the Hebrew sounds into English differed, but clearly Core is Korah.
Korah, a Levite, and some 250 Israelite leaders were guilty of trying to set themselves up as being equal in level to the priest. In doing so, they challenged the leadership of Moses and Aaron who were leaders appointed and anointed by God. They judged themselves to be just as holy and worthy.
It was a power struggle with total disregard for spiritual authority. They were appointing themselves to a position of power.
Today we have the condition of Korah in its most extreme form, more blatant than perhaps ever in the Church Age.
For one, the largest religious organization in the world, widely considered to be Christian, has set itself up as the very vicar of Christ. The Roman Catholic Church has appointed itself as the necessary intermediary to salvation, also presuming to set up His kingdom on earth. It has challenged the very position of Christ. This is Korah’s rebellion at its most extreme.
But similar rebellions are also seen in Protestant churches, where self-appointed prophets and apostles presume to speak on a level equal in authority to Christ and the Holy Scriptures.
Enoch was the first example in the Bible of someone being “snatched away” … in other words, raptured. In this letter by Jude, Enoch is shown as also prophecying the post-tribulation return of Christ with the saints
These are the saints of old as well as those raptured, who come back with Christ to vanquish the ungodly, on the plains of Megiddo, and set up the 1000-year Kingdom of God on earth.
Six names listed in Jude represent man and his relationships
“his people out of Egypt” (Israelites), Enoch, Cain, Balaam, Korah, and the people of “Sodom and Gomorrah and surrounding towns.”
The group of spiritual, non-physical or of non-human origin are the “thousands upon thousands” of saints (they have already been translated to incorruptible bodies at this point), Archangel Michael, and the “angels that left their estate.”
The Lord Himself here represents the single unity of perfection.
Jude also lists the characteristics of the false teachers, their identification being the main purpose of Jude’s writing.
10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves
12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.
19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
Jude is a remarkable book of prophetic foreshadowing, serving as a useful alert to endtime Christians.
Given the prophetic parallels that we have considered, we must conclude that it is already very late.
We are on the threshold of the occurrence associated with Enoch.
All prophetic parallels are in clear sight today. Our identification of the season of the last days should be obvious.
Once the “thousands upon thousands” of saints return with Christ, the next occurrence is the judging of the ungodly.
The times described by Jude are very difficult times (“perilous times” in 2 Timothy 3:1) for true Christians.
However, Jude comes to our help with a recommended course of action for us …
Jude 1:20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.