V1010But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.. Again Jude uses that contemptuous “these”. In contrast to Michael these apostates audaciously and recklessly “revile the things which they do not understand”. That is arrogance and pride all over. Naturally they have a knowledge which is also present with “unreasonable animals”. This knowledge regards to the natural instincts, needs which they do have, like eating and drinking and sexuality. Animals act after their nature, their instinct. They cannot think, for they have no mind. These people act in the same way like animals do. But just because they are supposed to be able to think of what they do, while they contrarily still act like animals in fulfilling their lusts, they abase themselves and destroy themselves in their way of acting. With the lack of the mind of animals they indulge in sexual satisfaction.
V1111Woe 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.. The “woe” is spoken out over them, which is the only time that we find it spoken out in the letters. It is the language of the book of the final judgments, the book of Revelation. On the basis of some old testament ungodly men Jude describes the way that leads to this ‘woe’.
They have “gone the way of Cain”. They are like Cain and his way, that is the way of a religion that does not come from God’s righteousness, but from their own righteousness. Cain was the first who went this way and this way is still extremely popular. He believed in God, but he thought of honoring God in his own way, with his own ‘good works’ (Gen 4:3-83So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground.4Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering;5but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.6Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?7If you do well, will not [your countenance] be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”8Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.). God had to be satisfied with that. He did not think for a moment of coming with a bloody sacrifice. God Himself showed that after the fall (Gen 3:2121The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.) which was understood by Abel (Gen 4:44Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering;). This attitude of Cain, serving God with good works, an attitude which is normal with Gentiles, has crept in into Christianity and has been followed up by countless people.
The next step is “the error of Balaam” (Num 22:77So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the [fees for] divination in their hand; and they came to Balaam and repeated Balak’s words to him.; 31:1616Behold, these caused the sons of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, so the plague was among the congregation of the LORD.). That implies their self-enrichment in the service of God. Balaam called himself a prophet of God, but he was greedy and wanted to trade his prophetic gift for money, which implied that he was willing to curse God’s people for money.
Like Balaam today’s false teachers are also good in using the tongue and speak for money what the people want to hear. They manipulate the truth for the sake of money. In that way they turn the house of God into a commercial market. To make merchandise out of the good that comes from God occurs frequently in Christianity, especially in the roman-catholic church where all the so-called blessings from birth to death cost money. Even the situation after death becomes a source of profit, for people are enabled to shorten their time by the fabrication of ‘purgatory’ with a duration that is dependent on the amount that is being paid.
The third and last step in the apostasy is the unmitigated rebellion against God, such as to be seen “in the rebellion of Korah” (Num 16:19-3519Thus Korah assembled all the congregation against them at the doorway of the tent of meeting. And the glory of the LORD appeared to all the congregation.20Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,21“Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them instantly.”22But they fell on their faces and said, “O God, God of the spirits of all flesh, when one man sins, will You be angry with the entire congregation?”23Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,24“Speak to the congregation, saying, ‘Get back from around the dwellings of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.’”25Then Moses arose and went to Dathan and Abiram, with the elders of Israel following him,26and he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart now from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing that belongs to them, or you will be swept away in all their sin.”27So they got back from around the dwellings of Korah, Dathan and Abiram; and Dathan and Abiram came out [and] stood at the doorway of their tents, along with their wives and their sons and their little ones.28Moses said, “By this you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these deeds; for this is not my doing.29If these men die the death of all men or if they suffer the fate of all men, [then] the LORD has not sent me.30But if the LORD brings about an entirely new thing and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that is theirs, and they descend alive into Sheol, then you will understand that these men have spurned the LORD.”31As he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open;32and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged to Korah with [their] possessions.33So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.34All Israel who [were] around them fled at their outcry, for they said, “The earth may swallow us up!”35Fire also came forth from the LORD and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering the incense.). Korah rejected God’s election of the priesthood and in that way His authority. He wanted to have the function of priest himself and wanted to take the place of mediator, through which he could exercise control over God’s people. We see that also in the roman-catholicism all over. God’s judgment was executed over him and his companions. They descended in the realm of death alive.
All these three persons have in common that they arrogated something to themselves which they were not. In Cain we see a false worshipper, in Balaam a false prophet and in Korah a false priest. The apostasy of each of them had to do with religion. Also here the rank order is not chronological but spiritual: Cain went, Balaam ran greedily and Korah perished. It is a frame of a spiritual downturn and the end of the people who are concerned.
V1212These are the men who are 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;. It is as if Jude is tiring himself out in looking for examples in order to make clear to you what kind of people these apostates are. In order to present the character and destiny of those apostates more clearly, he uses some examples from nature in verses 12-1312These are the men who are 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;13wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever..
The first example is that of “reefs”. The word ‘reefs’ is derived from the word ‘cliffs’, which are rocks below the sea level, that may cause boats to sink when the helmsman does not watch carefully. He calls the apostates “reefs in your love feasts”. ‘Love feasts’ are the fellowship meals that the first Christians connected to the Lord’s Supper (1Cor 11:2020Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper,).
With these apostates, however, there is nothing to be found of Christian love and fellowship. During the love feasts they only think of themselves. They “feast”, without any fear to be found improper or greedy. They are feeding themselves shamelessly and in that way are the evident opposite of the Lord Who is seeking the well-being of the sheep. In Ezekiel 34, a chapter that deals with false shepherds, the ‘woe’ is spoken out over them (Eze 34:22“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock?).
These people probably have, while enjoying all the goodies, spoken out all their edifying thoughts with nice talks. They have given a swirling show, but it seemed to be nothing more than the sparkling of soap bubbles. It promised to be a refreshment like clouds are expected to be producing water (the next example from nature), but they are “clouds without water”. They form a great contrast to Moses who as his desire regarding to his words, speaks out the following to God’s people: “Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew” (Deu 32:22“Let my teaching drop as the rain,
My speech distill as the dew,
As the droplets on the fresh grass
And as the showers on the herb.
; cf. Isa 55:1010“Fo as the ain and the snow come down fom heaven, And do not etun thee without wateing the eath And making it bea and spout, And funishing seed to the sowe and bead to the eate;).
There is no handhold in what they say, for they are “carried along by winds”. They behave themselves inconsistently and constantly come with other ideas, which do not make sense. They leave only disenchantment and hopelessness behind. What a difference with what Paul wishes to the believers: ”As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all [aspects]” (Eph 4:14-1514As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;15but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all [aspects] into Him who is the head, [even] Christ,; Heb 13:99Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.)!
They are like “autumn trees without fruit”, meaning trees out of which the life has gone and therefore are not expected to be producing fruit. They are “doubly dead”. In the first place they are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:11And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,) and in the second place they are dead in their confession, for therein all life lacks.
They are dead from the root, there is in no way connection with life, which also cannot possibly flow, for they have been cut off from the root. They have been “uprooted”. In this way the promised fruit will never come, just like the promised water from the clouds will never come. Such trees are to be cut down (Lk 13:99and if it bears fruit next year, [fine]; but if not, cut it down.’”). These people are like trees which have been pulled up by the roots, which means that they have been taken away from the place of which they confessed to have taken in. The only thing that is left for trees that have been pulled up by the root is the fire.
V1313wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.. The following example that Jude uses is that of the sea. He compares these people with “wild waves of the sea”. There is a complete uncontrollability with them like with a raging sea (cf. Isa 57:2020But the wicked ae like the tossing sea, Fo it cannot be quiet, And its wates toss up efuse and mud.). If you have ever seen a sea in the storm, you must also have seen white foamed waves, caused by the wind. Those white foam is blown to the beach by the wind. The foam goes in all directions and finally there is nothing left of it.
This is what happens to these people and their doctrines. Despite the noise that they cause, they show nothing more than their own shameless deeds which are visible on the top of the waves and which are being blown to the beach. The white foam seems to refer to cleanness, but it is the whiteness of the whitewashed tombs (Mt 23:2727“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.). There is nothing left of it, they leave nothing behind that has any value.
In their whole performance they still want to give the impression that you can take their life as an example in order to determine your direction, but they are “wandering stars”. They will end up where they live and that is in “the black darkness” and that will last “forever”. They will never more be able to deceive anyone there and they will also never be able to enjoy anything.
V1414[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,. In the earliest days already there has been prophesies about these men, that they will be condemned. As a proof of that Jude quotes Enoch. In order not to confuse this Enoch with the other, the man with the same name who is a descendant of Cain (Gen 4:17-1817Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son.18Now to Enoch was born Irad, and Irad became the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael became the father of Methushael, and Methushael became the father of Lamech.), it is said of him that he is the “seventh [generation] from Adam”. He “prophesied” about the coming of the Lord Jesus to bring judgment over the ungodly apostates.
This prophesy of Enoch is only to be found in this letter. In the Old Testament we do not find it. God’s Spirit has also revealed this to Jude (the same that is written in verse 99But 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!”). Enoch prophesied in his days about the coming of Christ for judgment, whereby He will be accompanied by “many thousands of His holy ones”, which include all the redeemed of all times. This judgment has had a fulfillment in advance in the flood.
It is a nice thought that Enoch himself was taken away by God before the flood, without seeing death (Heb 11:55By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.). In that way he is a picture of the church that will also be taken up into heaven before the judgments hit the earth. The believers will not come into judgment (Jn 5:2424“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.).
V1515to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all 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.”. The judgment will be executed over all unbelievers. Christ will judge all works as well as all words of the ungodly sinners. Do you see how the Holy Spirit emphasizes the nature of ungodliness? The people are ungodly, just like their deeds and ways and their harsh words which they “have spoken against Him”. Therefore every soul that has committed that sin will be personally punished by Him. Because judgment does not directly follow after the deed, it may seem that God forgets to punish and man keeps on doing evil (Ecc 8:1111Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.). But the day will come to pay the bill.
V1616These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their [own] lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of [gaining an] advantage.. Their ungodly words have been uttered in grumbling language. They are dissatisfied, they always want more or differently, they complain about their destiny. They always blame God. Why does He allow the wars and miseries to happen? If He is that almighty, why does not He change the world?
Those are people who are “following after their [own] lusts”. They always seek to fulfill their passions. They speak “arrogantly”, using sensationalizing language, words that are haughtily and hypocritically spoken out. They crawl for people who are above them and they flatter them purely out of selfishness, in order to benefit personally. Meanwhile they follow their own hidden agenda, for they do not care about others. Only the ‘I’ is important.
Now read Jude 1:10-1610But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.11Woe 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.12These are the men who are 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;13wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.14[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,15to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all 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.”16These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their [own] lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of [gaining an] advantage. again.
Reflection: Which examples of ungodliness does Jude present in these verses?