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1. “Jude, the slave of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to the beloved in God the Father, and to the called, having been kept for Jesus Christ.” Jude, like all the other apostles, subscribes himself, “God’s love slave.” Sinners are the devil’s slaves. Unsanctified Christians occupy the attitude of hired servants in the kingdom of God, i. e., salaried preachers, et cetera, while the sanctified are God’s love slaves, perfectly free from every care and disencumbered of all solicitude for time and eternity, free as angels to do the sweet will of God, which the Holy Spirit constantly reveals.
Hebrews 10:10. Though they are God’s love slaves, serving Him with all the heart, soul, mind and body, they enjoy the most perfect spiritual liberty, i. e., the very freedom of God Himself, which is perfect liberty to do everything good and nothing bad. We see from this verse “having been kept for Jesus Christ,” that Jude, like all the other apostles, preached the personal return of Jesus to this world, and labored to get the people sanctified wholly, robed and ready to meet their coming Lord with a shout.
2. “Mercy and peace and divine love be multiplied unto you.” Here again we have spiritual mathematics in the prayer of Jude. Conversion is “addition,” adding life to a dead soul and a kingdom to a bankrupt spirit. Sanctification is “subtraction,” eliminating the sin principle out of the heart and making us holy. As sin is taken out to make room for grace, then we reach “multiplication,” in the wonderful incoming floods of the Holy Ghost, inundating our whole being and wafting us away in sea of glory. Now that we have a superabundance on hand, “division” normally follows, distributing the benefactions of salvation to all we meet. How deplorable to see teachers all around us standing in the pulpits, encumbered with the great responsibility of teaching God’s people in the school of Christ, when they themselves have never progressed beyond “addition.” What a contrast with the wisdom of the world, which positively requires a higher grade of scholarship.
THE PRIMITIVE FAITH
3. “Contend earnestly,” is epagoonizesthai from agona, the arena in which the gladiators fought a man or a wild beast till bloody death ended the conflict. Hence you see the climacteric force of this inspired exhortation to strive with all our power of soul, mind and body, to hold fast the truth as it is in Jesus, revealed in the Bible, and preach it to all the world. Oh, how we need a universal rally on this line at the present day! So few churches are now willing to see the truth as it is in Jesus. The popular preacher must let go his grip and drift compassless and chartless on the dubious sea of sinning religion till engulfed in the fearful maelstrom of irretrievable woe.
4. “For certain men who long ago have been written down for this condemnation, ungodly, having changed the grace of our God into impurity, even denying our only Sovereign, yea, our Lord Jesus Christ.” The foreknowledge of God is illimitable, apprehending the untrammeled choice of every human being, and consigning all to their eternal destiny, pursuant to the election of their own free will relative to the things appertaining to life and godliness. Jude here, in the clear illumination of the Holy Ghost, has his eye on the coming millions of counterfeit preachers, “transforming the grace of God unto impurity,” i. e., propagating anti- holiness religion as a substitute, or the spiritual purity proclaimed by every inspired apostle. The denial of Jesus Christ is now the rejection of the Holy Ghost, His Successor and Revelator. John 16:7. We must keep in mind the divine unity, remembering that Satan is no fool, but he always adapts his artillery to the enemy on the field. During the Father’s dispensation he turned all the battering rams of earth and hell against the divine Fatherhood, i. e., monotheism in contradistinction to the polytheistic idolatries of the heathen nations. During the Son’s dispensation, Satan stirred earth and hell till he killed Him, pushing the battle with all possible energy through the early centuries against the Christhood of Jesus. As we are now living in the last dispensation, i. e., that of the Holy Ghost, now in charge of the world, calling all nations to the glorious privileges of the heavenly bridehood, preparatory for the coming Christ and the glorious millennial reign, all the artillery of the pandemonium, augmented and utilized by the arts and sciences in the hands of wicked men, are turned against the divine personality, office and work of the Holy Ghost. Thus Satan is fighting in his last ditch, destined soon to suffer signal and final defeat in his war against the Holy Ghost, as during his terrible and prolonged campaigns against the Father and Son. Then apocalyptic angels will descend, arrest him like a common criminal, and lock him up in hell. It is a misnomer to talk about the fight against holiness. It is simply the devil’s old fight against God now in the person of the Holy Ghost. Oh, how few churches at the present day will tolerate a Holy Ghost meeting, and how very few let the Holy Ghost rule them! Surely we are living in the last days, when the lukewarm Laodicean church hastens to her awful doom, when the Lord will come and “spew her out of his mouth.” Oh, how important that all true hearts rally under the blood-stained banner of the Lord Jesus Christ, responsive to the leadership of the Holy Ghost.
THE SECOND BLESSING ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY
5. “But I wish you to remember, once knowing, all things, that the Lord having saved the people out of the land of Egypt destroyed them that believed not the second time.” This verse is the strongest Scripture in the Bible for the second blessing, literally sweeping all possible controversy from the field and positively revealing the undeniable fact that our faith is put to a second test, in which failure is final and fatal. This statement of the Holy Ghost is so fortified by the example of Israel, as to be perfectly luminous even to the most stupid mind and absolutely uncontrovertible by all the logic of earth and the sophistry of hell. You all know how wonderfully God saved Israel from Egyptian bondage when He led them through the sea. You remember well the sad faltering of their faith at Kadesh-Barnea, in consequence of which they passed under the curse, forfeiting Canaan and bleaching their bones on the burning sand. Unfortunately to deuteron, which means the “second time,” was lost out of this important passage during the Dark Ages, so it does not appear in the English. The construction of this Scripture is unmistakable. God having saved the people at the Red Sea responsive to their faith, “destroyed” the same in the wilderness because of their unbelief at Kadesh-Barnea. There is but one possible conclusion, i. e., that the faith of every soul is put to a second decisive crucial test. Though your faith stood the test of conversion, when you had to believe for pardon or abide in condemnation, God will test you again, when you must believe for sanctification or lose your soul. Hebrews 12:14.
6. Doubtless all created intelligences came into existence under probation. I opine the probation in many celestial worlds has already expired. It expires with us at death, “How thou art fallen, O Lucifer, the son of the morning.”
Isaiah 14:22. This is a prophetic allusion to the fall of Satan, who was a bright archangel. Lucifer, i. e., light-bearer, so called from the splendor of his glory. Unfortunately many angels followed his example, participating in his woes. Whence came all the devils who throng hell and curse earth, as God never created a devil nor a sinner? These are some of the inevitable liabilities of human freedom, virtue and responsibility. These devils have an awful dread of hell, preferring to roam over the earth seeking a tenement in human souls. I know some of the more guilty, pursuant to this Scripture, are locked in the deep, dark dungeons of hell “till the judgment of the great day.”
7. Jude also alludes to the awful doom of Sodom and Gomorrah, which, like the fallen angels, stand before us a gloomy monument of the awful retributions inevitably following in the tread of sin.
8. “Likewise, indeed, these also dreaming pollute the flesh, reject lordship and speak evil of glories.” Remember, Jude is shooting this red-hot lightning at the carnal preachers and people in the fourth verse. “Lordship” is kuriotees, the abstract noun from kurios , lord, uniformly used in Scripture derivative of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Hence “reject lordship” means that these people reject the divine government, revealed in God’s Word and Spirit. The Holy Ghost has the sole right to rule the churches and individual Christians. All we mean by “holiness people” is the people of all races, sex and countries who obey God, revealed in His Word and Spirit, i. e., they are loyal to the Holy Ghost. The “holiness people” know no authority but the Bible and the Holy Ghost. They are certainly the only people in the world who can claim loyalty to God. “Ye can not serve God and mammon.” “They blaspheme, i. e. speak evil of glories,” i. e., the glory of holiness. Hence you see the great army of carnal preachers and worldly professors are involved in this awful anathema.
9. This isolated and mysterious historic allusion to the terrible hand-to- hand battle of the Archangel Michael and the devil over the body of Moses admits of but one solution, i. e., the transfiguration of that body. If Satan had not conquered our race in Eden, none of our bodies would undergo disintegration. The presence of Moses with his transfigured body on the mount with Jesus and Elijah confirms the fact that the devil did not keep his body in the grave. Hence we must conclude that Moses having died on Pisgah was raised and transfigured when Michael came to take him up to heaven, Satan fighting over him with desperation, or we must conclude that he was translated from Pisgah. In either case Satan lost the body when it was transfigured. Michael coming after him encountered the devil in a hand-to-hand combat, dared not bring against him a judgment of blasphemy, but said, “The Lord rebuke thee.” Here we see that in Michael’s terrible conflict with the devil over the body of Moses, he did not usurp the divine prerogative, issuing his verdict against him. God alone is the judge of all men and devils, while, like Michael, we are to be valiant for truth, fighting the devil and sin under the black flag, yet we must remember that the judicial prerogative belongs to God alone. Prejudice is from the Latin pre, beforehand, judicium, judgment. Hence prejudice means a judgment given before the testimony is heard. That is the trouble with holiness this day, and always has been. God’s religion is a secret revealed only by the Holy Ghost to the penitent believer. God in the judgment day will give the devil, all demons and men, a fair trial. The Holy Ghost is the only Arbiter of religion and the Church.
10. “But these speak evil of such things as they know not; and such things as they know naturally, like irrational animals, in these they are corrupted.” These men are spiritually dead, knowing nothing about spiritual things. They may be great in human learning, all of which is polluted by depravity, only augmenting their spiritual corruption and damnation.
11. “Woe unto them because they have gone off in the way of Cain.” Cain was a very religious man, the great patriarch of anti-holiness, bloodless religion. Doubtless his offering was much more costly than was Abel’s. It only lacked the blood. Hence it was destitute of salvation. For a time the antediluvians were divided between the holiness followers of Abel and Seth, and the anti-holiness followers of Cain, the latter predominating over the former till Noah and family stood alone favored of God, with the ark in which to ride up from the doom of the wicked world. Jesus says, “As it was in the days of Noah... so shall it be when the Son of man cometh.”
Matthew 24:38-39. As the antediluvians waxed worse and worse till the flood, when Noah escaped in the ark, so the world will grow worse till the Lord comes and takes up the faithful few in the cloud from the awful Tribulation symbolized by the flood. Cain’s bloodless religion is sweeping Christendom today, while Abel’s bleeding Lamb has but here and there a devotee. “In the delusion of Balaam, they rushed forth for reward.”
Balaam coveted Balak’s gold, and did his best to get it by cursing Israel. Jesus condemns a hireling ministry. Oh, the preachers this day who curse Israel (the holy people) to get the gold of the rich, carnal members! But, like the case of Balaam, God turns all their curses into blessings to His true people. Glory to His name! God’s true people are this day ejected, ostracized, anathematized and decapitated, but God makes it all a blessing to them, as He turned all the curses of Balaam into showers of blessing, poured down from heaven on Israel. “And they perished in the gainsaying of Korah.” Remember the rebellion raised by Korah, Dathan and Abiram in Israel against Moses, Aaron and Miriam for professing the second blessing. They charged them with usurping authority over Israel, testifying, “We are all holy,” whereas they claimed to be “holy” in a sense above the rank and file of Israel. Moses immediately committed the controversy to God, who, taking the matter into hand, commanded the people to depart from these men, leaving Korah, Dathan and Abiram and their adherents to themselves, when behold the earth opened a great chasm and swallowed them up, closing on them, burying them out of sight. This was the mournful fate of the people who publicly opposed the second work of grace, claimed by Moses, Aaron and Miriam, conferring on them leadership in Israel. Beware; history repeats itself.
12. “These are hidden rocks in your love feasts.” Nothing is so terrible to the sailor as the rock hidden out of sight by the ocean. The ship striking goes down to rise no more. An old sailor told me he witnessed a case of this kind. The collision was so sudden that seven hundred passengers were all buried in a watery sepulcher; only about forty sailors, by good fortune, were saved, while the great steamer with her contents sank immediately. This is a fearful metaphor. These carnal, unsaved preachers (whose name is legion) with all the power of intellectual culture, social position and official influence, are hidden rocks in our meetings. Honest souls come in contact with them. They slur holiness, upset their experiences, damn them and they sink into the deep sea of perdition. Good Lord, save us from human leadership. Let us follow Jesus only. “Feasting with you without fear.” They are fond of festivals, enjoying high living, full of carnal boldness engendered by promotion, flattery and popularity. “Shepherding themselves.” Instead of taking care of the flock they take care of themselves, living like kings, receiving money enough to support a dozen missionaries. They live in pomp and splendor on the money paid by people on their way to hell. Because they pay their assessments, their carnal pastors let them slip through their fingers into hell. If they should enforce discipline, excommunicating all their ungodly members, their salaries would drop from thousands to hundreds. They sell the souls of their members to the devil for filthy lucre. Hear Jesus speak,
“The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hireling indeed not being the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf seizes and scatters them; because he is an hireling he does not care for the sheep.” (John 10:11-13.)
Read Ezekiel ( 30) to the shepherds of Israel, and you will find it still stronger. You see Jesus does not want hireling shepherds (pastors) for his sheep. The well salaried pastor will sleep soundly in palatial parsonage while the people who support him in princely affluence revel in Satan’s dances, feed their lusts on the obscenities of the theater, or while away the midnight hours around the card-table, attend horse-races and circuses, to say nothing of the saloon and other hell-dens. All these and many more hell-traps are the devil’s wolves devouring the sheep. Here is a pastor with a thousand members. He needs a corps of red-hot curates working on the streets and holding cottage meetings and running a Pentecostal revival the year round to compete with Satan’s meetings and keep them out of hell.
He receives their money and is amply able, out of his own purse (if he will live like a man of God), to support a half-dozen blood-washed and fire- baptized helpers to work night and day, fighting Satan’s wolves and saving the flock. This is an appalling scene, the shepherds living at their ease while the devil’s wolves eat up the flock, i. e., the people who support them financially go down to hell. Awful will be the revelations of the judgment day. “Clouds without water, driven away by the wind.” The preacher is God’s cloud to send down water to keep the people from dying of thirst, and the gardens and farm from the desert waste. But, alas, these counterfeit preachers are as destitute of the living water as Peter and John of silver and gold. “Winds,” emblematize Satanic experience which is sure to predominate when we do not preach with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. “Withered trees without fruit, twice dead and plucked up by the roots.” From this awful description of the Holy Ghost you see these men were once converted (of course many of them never knew God), i. e., they were dead in the beginning, died again, now utterly destitute of spiritual fruit, hopeless and doomed. When a tree is dead, plucked up by the roots, and withered dry, it can never live again. Hence you see the force of the metaphor. These men are hopeless backsliders, doomed to perdition. Sanctification is God’s appointed grace to keep us from backsliding. These men rejected it persistently till they sank into hopeless apostasy. At the same time they are full of carnal confidence, sated with popularity, complimented and sought after by the blind (spiritually) people for preaching big sermons. Jude 1:16.
13. “Wild waves of the sea pouring out their own disgrace.” Oh, how beautiful the snowy white waves of the ocean. Yet their beautiful white crest is the dark winding sheet of the sailor. These are the popular preachers magnetizing the carnal people by their eloquent speeches, cultured manners, handsome physique, tidy apparel and inimitable urbanity. At the same time they blind their spiritual eyes and lead them to hell. “Wandering stars for whom has been reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” What an awful metaphor! When a planet deflects from its orbit, it can never get back, but is destined to aberrate further away till it collides with another, and is utterly demolished. You see plainly and unmistakably that the deepest, darkest, blackest and hottest abyss of the pandemonium is reserved for the counterfeit preacher. I have been a preacher forty-three years. I would rather endure any other hell than the preacher’s. Jude is not indulging in chimerical visions, but awful realities, revealed to him by the infallible Holy Spirit. If it was so in Jude’s day, when the Church was but a handful, what is it now, when she belts the globe? Doubtless Judas, who sold Jesus for money, has a tremendous following among the clergy of the present day.
14. Satan is the great deceiver. He calls preachers and manipulates them from first to last, clothed as an angel of light, passing himself for God. I know the counterfeit preachers, like the members, are honest, but deceived by Satan and led captive at his will. When we make the slightest compromise, we are on a downward trend, and in danger of landing in hell. So magnitudinous is this great problem of the counterfeit preachers that Enoch before the flood saw them in his prophetic visions.
15. Here Enoch describes the great Tribulation into which this wicked world is hastening. When the Ancient of Days, i. e., God the Father (Daniel 7:0), will come down and execute judgment against the wicked nations and fallen churches, preparatory to the millennial reign of His Son, these carnal preachers will meet an awful retribution for usurping the government of the Church out of the hands of the Holy Ghost.
16. “These are querulous murmurers.” They are never satisfied with their appointments. They want something better and think they ought to have at. “Walking according to their own desires.” They lay their own plans, have their own way, utterly ignorant of the wonderful triple divine leadership, i. e., God’s Word, Providence, and Spirit. They constrain others to conform to their carnal plans. “Their mouth speaketh great swelling words.” Oh, how eloquent they are! How they tickle the ears of their carnal members. They study all the week on thirty-minute degospelized and despiritualized sermons for Sunday. Oh, how very little Gospel truth do we this day hear from the popular pulpits! “Holding persons in admiration for the sake of gain.” This needs no comment. Nothing but entire sanctification prepares a man to preach to the millionaire as to the hod-carrier. The arduous study of many preachers is to fix up a sermon to please the rich and influential, instead of preaching to please God. None can do without the Holy Ghost, of whom these poor counterfeits are utterly ignorant. We see why Jesus forbade His own Apostles, and all others, to preach the Gospel till they received the Holy Ghost. Without this blessed Illuminator and Comforter, we are almost sure to deflect more or less to please the people. True preaching makes good people feel good and the bad feel miserable. As the good spiritual are few and generally poor, the temptation to please the carnal multitude and the rich and influential comes against a preacher like an avalanche. If not well fortified by the Holy Ghost it will sweep him away.
17, 18. “At the last time there will be mockers going forth according to their own lusts of the ungodly.” Jude quotes this as a trite prophecy of our Lord’s Apostles. In 2 Peter 3:3 you find the same. Hence there is no dodging the issue. We are living amid the awful fulfillment of this terrible prophecy. Fallen churches in all ages have bred false prophets. The world this day is filled with fallen churches and flooded with false prophets. “Let God be true and every man a liar.” What is a fallen church? A church without the Holy Ghost. Just as the body is dead without the soul, the church is dead without the Holy Ghost. When deposed from the leadership He does not stay long in a church. Who is a false prophet? One who is led by an evil spirit (a devil) instead of the Holy Spirit. That evil spirit is dressed up like an angel of light, passing himself for the Holy Ghost and deceiving the man, who thinks he is a true Gospel preacher till he wakes up in hell. As a rule, false prophets are candid, honest (with men), often scholarly, high-toned gentlemen, who edify and delight the people by their nice soft speeches, “selling the people to the devil for money.” 2 Peter 2:3. Satan has more intelligence than a thousand theologians. If you do not get rid of him altogether, he will get the wool over your eyes somewhere. Can I get rid of the devil? Yes; glory to God! In both of our Lord’s prayers (Matthew 6:13 and John 17:15) we have “deliver us from evil.” The Greek for evil is tou poneerou, the evil one, i. e., the devil. It is your glorious privilege not only to get rid of all sin, but to get rid of the devil and all his myrmidons. Here is where the flood of counterfeit preachers, i. e., false prophets, have always come in. They do not get rid of the devil, so he leads them captive, passing himself off for God. If you would not get caught in Satan’s trap, get rid of him altogether. How can I? While the devil is so wise and strong that he can deceive and wrap you round his fingers, Jesus is omnipotent and can toss the devil beyond the North pole in the twinkling of an eye if you will perfectly submit to Him, letting Him have His way with your soul, body, life and and faltered on entire consecration, and fallen into the hands of Satan.
19. “These are sidetrackers,” i. e., they are used by Satan to get the train off the track of “holiness to the Lord.” The devil’s switch begins so parallel with the main track as not to be discovered by unspiritual yes till you run out on it. Then it gradually diverts from the main trunk, “Holiness to the Lord,” till it turns at right-angles, but ere long gets turned directly back toward hell. You see your preachers and church officials aboard cheerful and happy, so you think all is well till you plunge into the pit. God used three Johns, Bunyan, Knox, and Wesley, to start three holiness revivals, developing into Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches. Where are they now? Echo answers, Where? If their sainted founders were to rise would they find recognition? “Intellectual, not having the Spirit.” I do not accept the English “sensual.” Doubtless the preachers are sensual, but I prefer “intellectual.” The Greek is “ psychikoi,” from psychee, the soul or the mind. From this we have the word psychology, the science of mind. The most literal translation of this word is psychical, which is little used. I prefer intellectual. Again the antithesis with “not having the Spirit,” decidedly favors “intellectual.” True religion is not morality, philanthropy nor churchianity, but spirituality. False religion always gives prominence to intellectualism. These preachers “not having the Spirit,” preach by the power of their intellect and education. Hence their grandiloquent, unspiritual sermons, gathered up to please the people. Jude 1:16.
20. “But you, beloved, building up yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.”
21. “ Keep yourselves in the love of God, receiving the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” These two verses contain the very counsel and admonition which we all need to fortify us against these false teachers, who everywhere abound. Unless we are emptied of sin, filled with the Holy Ghost, constant in prayer, we are in constant danger of Satan’s lasso, thrown out by an unscriptural teacher. In conclusion of this scathingly anathematizing prophecy of Jude against these counterfeit preachers, he divides them into three classes: denotes the sentence of a criminal judge. The conclusion is clear and explicit that this class is hopelessly reprobated and doomed to perdition. They have crossed the dead-line, grieved away the Holy Spirit and are out of mercy’s reach.
(2) 23. “And some save, seizing them out of the fire.” This second class is barely hopeful. There is one chance for them in a thousand, and that is by jerking them out of hell-fire. They are on the brink, the wreathing flames already curling round them. Run quickly and seize them out.
(3) “But others pity in their fear, truly hating the garment which is polluted by depravity.” This is the hopeful, savable class. They are already convicted and trembling with fear. Oh, what an inviting case for Christian prayer, sympathy and heroic efforts. “Hating the garment which has been polluted by depravity,” i. e., the Christian workers hate this garment of profession worn by the false prophet, and polluted with depravity. Beware and go under the black-flag. If you soften things and compromise with him (though he is a big preacher) you are responsible for his blood. You are full of love for his soul, and at the same time hatred for the carnal profession which almost sent him to hell. Here Jude winds up these terrific anathemas of the Holy Ghost against counterfeit preachers, raised up by Satan to antagonize the true herald of salvation in all coming ages, and especially the latter days, in which we know more. You see in the finale he consigns one class of them hopelessly to Satan. For another class there is a bare possibility of salvation by seizing them out of hell-fire. The third class are already penitent and savable.
24. “And unto Him who is able to keep you from falling, and enable you to stand in the presence of His glory, blameless, with rejoicing.” This is Jude’s beautiful benediction. This refers to the Lord’s coming in His glory to receive His ready Bride (for which I am on the constant outlook). “Blameless” is the better translation, as we will not be faultless till transfigured. Sanctification, which is as far as we can go till the Lord comes, does not make us faultless, but leaves us encumbered with infirmities so long as we are in the fallen bodies. Justification makes us innocent. Sanctification makes us blameless, but glorification sweeping
away all the collateral infirmities of mind and body makes faultless like the angels. Entire sanctification prepares us to meet our Lord descending in His glory. Then after the resurrection of “the dead in Christ” (1 Thessalonians 4:17), the living members of the Bridehood will be changed, i. e., transfigured, and made faultless and “caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and be ever with the Lord.”
25. “To God our only Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, government and power before every age and every name, and to all ages. Amen.” Jude’s benediction is very beautiful, and should be used interchangeably with all the others which are found at the conclusion of all the Epistles. It is a great mistake to use 2 Corinthians 13:14 till it becomes monotonous. The Holy Ghost gave us all of these benedictions for our edification in the kingdom of God.
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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Jude 1". "Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19