Introduction

Studying the little Epistle of Jude is like working a gold mine because of all the rich nuggets which are here just for the mining.

The writer is Jude, which is the English form of the name Judas. Jude, he tells us here, is the brother of James. Now, in the Gospel records there are three or four men by the name of James, and there are three men by the name of Judas. We are helped in our identification of the writer of this epistle by the record in Matthew: “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?” (Matt. 13:55). So two of these brothers, James, the writer of the Epistle of James, and Judas, the writer of the Epistle of Jude, are half–brothers of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are two other men by the name of Judas, and they both were among the twelve apostles of our Lord. The best known, of course, is Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed the Lord. The other apostle by the name of Judas is distinguished in this way: “Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” (John 14:22, italics mine). The way he is identified is just that he is not Judas Iscariot. Therefore we believe that the writer of this epistle is the third Judas which Scripture mentions, Judas, the half–brother of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice that neither James nor Jude identify themselves as brothers of the Lord Jesus. James introduces himself as “… a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ …” (James 1:1). And Jude introduces himself as “the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James.” Jude calls himself the servant, meaning “bond slave,” of Jesus Christ. Why didn’t James and Jude capitalize on their blood relationship with Jesus? I think the reason is obvious. Neither James nor Jude believed in the messianic claims of Jesus until after His resurrection. It was the Resurrection that convicted them and confirmed to them that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Up until that time they thought He had just gone “off” on religion, that He was, as the Scripture puts it, beside Himself. But after His resurrection they became believers. You see, it was possible to grow up in a home with Jesus in the days of His flesh and not recognize Him. I believe we see in Psalm 69 that He suffered loneliness and misunderstanding during those growing up years in Nazareth. Therefore His brothers felt that, although they had been reared with Him, they hadn’t really known Him at that time. As Paul expressed it later, “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more” (2 Cor. 5:16). Jude, though a half–brother, recognizes that Jesus is the glorified Christ and that human relationship is not meaningful to him in any way. He had to come to Christ as a sinner, accepting Him as Savior just as anyone else did.

By the way, this is the marvelous answer of both James and Jude to an attitude which arose after the era of the apostles. There was a brief period when the family of Jesus was revered in a rather superstitious and sacred way as if they were something special. Actually, they were not superior; they were simply human beings who had to come to Christ just as you and I must come to Christ.

I have always felt that Protestantism has ignored Mary. She was a wonderful person. It was no accident that she was chosen of God to bear the Son of God, but that does not mean she is to be lifted up above all other people. She takes her own rightful place. Elizabeth called her blessed among women, not blessed above women, and Mary herself confessed her need of a Savior (see Luke 1:47). Therefore the brief period through which the church went when the family of the Lord Jesus was elevated to a very high position would certainly have been opposed by James and Jude. They themselves took the position of being merely bond slaves of Jesus Christ.

This book was written around A.D. 66–69.

The theme of the book is assurance in days of apostasy. Jude picked up the pen of inspiration to write on some theme or truth concerning the gospel and our salvation. He could have chosen the subject of justification by faith, but Paul had written on that in Romans. He could have chosen the resurrection of Christ, but Paul had written on that in 1 Corinthians. Or he could have chosen the doctrine of reconciliation, but Paul had written on that in 2 Corinthians. Probably Jude could have written on the great subject of faith, but Paul had written on that in Galatians. Or he could have selected the church as the body of Christ, but Paul had written on that in Ephesians. Or he could have selected the person of Christ, but Paul had written on that in Colossians. Jude could have written about our Great High Priest, but the writer to the Hebrews had already written on that. Or he could have chosen the subject of fellowship, but John was going to write on that later on. So the Spirit of God caused him to develop another subject rather than to develop one of the great doctrines. The Spirit of God arrested his purpose before he could even put down his subject and directed him into another channel. Jude’s subject is the coming apostasy. He gives us the most vivid account that we have of the apostasy, and he presents it in a very dramatic manner. Jude hangs out a red lantern on the most dangerous curve along the highway the church of Christ is traveling.

Jude describes in vivid terms and with awe–inspiring language the frightful conditions that were coming in the future. This little epistle is like a burglar alarm. Apostates have broken into the church. They came in the side door while nobody was watching. And this little epistle is like an atom bomb. The first bomb did not fall on Hiroshima or Nagasaki; it fell when Jude wrote this little epistle. It’s an atom bomb, and it exploded in the early church as a warning.

Jude gives the only record in Scripture regarding the contention of Satan with Michael the archangel over the body of Moses. It is a very remarkable passage of Scripture.

Also, Jude records the prophecy of Enoch, which is found nowhere else in Scripture. He sees the Lord coming with ten thousands of His saints.

The little prophecy of Jude affords a fitting introduction to the Book of Revelation.

(McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible Commentary, Vol. 57: 2 & 3 John & Jude. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991.)

Poems & Quotes

Jude 1–3

“Jude, a bondslave of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who by God the Father have been loved and are in a state of being the permanent objects of His love, and who for Jesus Christ have been guarded and are in a permanent state of being carefully watched, to those who are called ones.”
          –Translation of Jude from Word Studies from the Greek New Testament by Kenneth S. Wuest

“While charis [grace] has thus reference to the sins of men, and is that glorious attribute of God which these sins call out and display, His free gift in their forgiveness, eleos [mercy], has special and immediate regard to the misery which is the consequence of these sins, being the tender sense of this misery displaying itself in the effort, which only the continued perverseness of man can hinder or defeat, to assuage and entirely remove it… In the divine mind, and in the order of our salvation as conceived therein, the eleos (mercy) precedes the charis (grace). God so loved the world with a pitying love (herein was the eleos), that He gave His only begotten Son (herein the charis), that the world through Him might be saved (compare Eph. 2:4; Luke 1:78-79). But in the order of manifestation of God’s purposes of salvation the grace must go before the mercy, the charis must go before and make way for the eleos. It is true that the same persons are the subjects of both, being at once the guilty and the miserable; yet the righteousness of God, which it is quite necessary should be maintained as His love, demands that the guilt should be done away before the misery can be assuaged; only the forgiven can be blessed.”
          –Dr. R. C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament

Jude 3, 4

“Divinely-loved one, when giving all diligence to be writing to you concerning the salvation possessed in common by all of us, I had constraint laid upon me to write to you, beseeching (you) to contend with intensity and determination for the Faith once for all entrusted into the safekeeping of the saints.”
          –Translation of Jude from Word Studies from the Greek New Testament by Kenneth S. Wuest

Jude 4–6

“There is a surge of immorality in civilian and military life. Moral decay is an acute national problem, and there is an urgent need to improve moral leadership among youth.”
          –Vice Admiral Robert Goldwaithe, Chief of Naval Air Training, 1959

Jude 6, 7

“The belief in God is like the fading smile of a Cheshire cat; it is disappearing in this scientific age.”
          –Attributed to Aldus Huxley

“The most amazing event to enter modern history has been generally snubbed by our chroniclers. It is the petering out of Christianity. Not only are the Bible stories going by the board, but a deeper side of religion seems also to be exiting. This is the mystic concept of the human soul and its survival after death. Parsons are still preaching away on this topic and congregations are still listening. But congregation and parson both seem to have moved from church to museum. Fifty years ago religion was an exuberant part of our world. Its sermons, bazaars, tag days, taboos and exhortations filled the press. Its rituals brought a glow to our citizenry. At their supper tables a large part of the voting population bowed its head and said grace. Religion today is a touchy subject, not because people believe deeply and are ready to defend such belief with emotion, but because they do not want to hear it discussed. They do not know quite what they feel and they do not know what to say about God, His angels and the record of His miracles. Not wanting to sound anti-Christian (or antisocial or anti-anything not under general condemnation) they settle for silence. In this silence, more than in all the previous agnostic hullabaloos, religion seems swiftly disappearing.”
          –Ben Hecht , "New God for the Space Age" (1963)

“U.S. Protestantism–once famous for its diversity–is homogenizing into what is almost a new faith, and if it continues in its present direction, it will be stone-cold dead in a couple of dozen years.”
          –Gibson Winter, The Suburban Captivity of the Churches

“And angels who did not carefully guard their original position of preeminent dignity, but abandoned once for all their own private dwelling-place, with a view to the judgment of the great day, in everlasting bonds under darkness, He has put under careful guard.”
          –Translation of Jude from Word Studies from the Greek New Testament by Kenneth S. Wuest

Jude 8, 9

“A pledge ‘to have not part in any war’ has been taken by a large body of leading Protestant clergymen in the east. Among them are some of the wisest and most influential ministers we have–men such as Fosdick, Holmes and Sockman in New York for example. This Covenant of Peace Group declares that war settles no issues, is futile and suicidal and is a denial of God and the teachings of Christ. It asserts that the ‘chain if evil’ which holds us to war can and must be broken now. This is noble doctrine. However, much events may lead us to differ with it, when these bold and sincere men stand in their pulpits and preach this rejection of all war, let us remember that these clergymen by their record have earned the right to their belief. In a great democracy suppression of the clergy in war or peace can never justly become an instrument of policy, as it has under the dictators.”
          –Editorial from Woman’s Home Companion

Jude 9–11

“Out of a poll of 700 preachers, the following results were given: 48% denied the complete inspiration of the Bible; 24% rejected the atonement; 12 % rejected the resurrection of the body; 27% did not believe that Christ will return to judge the quick and the dead. A Washington, D.C. minister said, ‘We liberal clergymen are no longer interested in the fundamentalist-modernist controversy. We do not believe we should even waste out time engaging in it. So far as we are concerned, it makes no difference whether Christ was born of a virgin or not. We don’t even bother to form an opinion on the subject.’ An Arlington, VA. Minister said, ‘We have closed our minds to such trivial consideration as the question of the resurrection of Christ. If you fundamentalists wish to believe that nonsense we have no objection, but we have more important things to preach than the presence or absence of an empty tomb 20 centuries ago.’ A leading minister in Washington, D.C. said flatly, ‘In our denomination what you call the “faith of our fathers” is approaching total extinction. Of course a few of the older ministers still cling to the Bible. Bur among the younger men, the real leaders of our denomination today, I do not know of a single one who believes in Christ, or any of the things that you classify as fundamentals.”
          –From a study and statements by liberal preachers

“Yet Michael, the archangel, when disputing with the devil, arguing concerning the body of Moses, dared not bring a sentence that would impugn his dignity, but said, May the Lord rebuke you.”
          –Translation of Jude from Word Studies from the Greek New Testament by Kenneth S. Wuest

Jude 11–13

“When a man is born once, he will have to die twice. When a man is born twice, he will only have to die once.”
          –Dwight L. Moody

Jude 13–16

He that has light within his own clear breast,
May sit in the centre, and enjoy bright day;
But he that hides a dark soul, and foul thoughts
Benighted walks under the midday sun;
Himself is his own dungeon.
          –John Milton

Jude 16–19

“These are the complainers against their lot, ordering their course of conduct in accordance with their own passionate cravings, and their mouth speaking immoderate extravagant things, catering to personalities for the sake of advantage.”
          –Translation of Jude from Word Studies from the Greek New Testament by Kenneth S. Wuest

Jude 20–25

“Prayer is the Holy Spirit speaking in the believer, through Christ, to the Father.”
          –From a missionary in Venezuela