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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Jude 1

 

 

Verse 1

1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

Ver. 1. Jude the servant] To distinguish him from Judas the traitor, lest he should suffer by mistake, as Nicholas the deacon is thought to do, as if he were the author of the sect of the Nicolaitans, which Christ hated. This Jude or Judas, was also surnamed Lebbaeus, that is, hearty; as Hooper the martyr was called hearty Hooper. He was indeed a hearty friend to the truth, earnestly contending for the faith once delivered unto the saints; and ( haereticorum malleus) a hammer against heretics, whom he describeth here to the life, and opposeth them to his utmost.

To them that are sanctified] Or to them that are beloved, as other copies have it.

Preserved] "Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation," 1 Peter 1:5.


Verse 2

2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.

Ver. 2. Mercy unto you, &c.] Mercy from the Father, peace from the Son, and love from the Holy Ghost.


Verse 3

3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Ver. 3. Of the common salvation] That wherein all saints have a share.

For the faith] That faith of the gospel, Philippians 1:27, the doctrine of faith.

Once delivered] Once for all, not only as but one only rule, but as but once sent to a nation. So that if lost, or any way corrupted, it will not be given again; another edition of it is not to be expected. Contend earnestly for it, therefore, conflict one after another, as the word επαγωνιζεσθαι signifies. Hold fast the faithful word, as with both hands, Titus 1:9. {See Trapp on "Titus 1:9"} Resolve either to live with the gospel, or to die for it. Be zealous in the defenee of it, and strive your utmost. When Carolostadius opposed Luther’s consubstantiation, but weakly, faintly, and insufficiently, Zuinglius said he was sorry that so good a cause wanted shoulder. Non satis humerorum haberet. In the conference at Possiacum in France, Beza (speaker for the Protestants), entering into the matter of the Eucharist, spake with such heat, that he gave but ill satisfaction to those of his own party (saith the author of the History of the Council of Trent), so that he was commanded to conclude. How true this is I know not; sure it is, that in falling forward is nothing so much danger as in falling backward; so he that contendeth earnestly for the truth, though he may carry some things indiscreetly, yet he is far better than a faint chapman or a feeble champion. Austin was much heartened and hardened in his Manichism, because he met with weak opponents, such as his nimble wit could easily overturn.


Verse 4

4 For 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.

Ver. 4. For there are certain men] Not worthy to be named, as that rich glutton, Luke 16:19.

Crept in unawares] παρεισεδυσαν, stealing their passage, and making as if they minded nothing less. Thus Socrates (the writer of the Ecclesiastical History) was a close Novatian, as the learned Jacobus Billius observeth; he favoureth that heresy all along his history, sed ita oblique, ut minus perspicaci Lectori non tam dolori suo atque irae obsequi quam veritatis rationem habere videatur, but he doth it so cunningly, that a man would think he did it out of pure regard to the truth. (Observat. Sacrar. i. 26.) So Spondanus, the epitomizer of Baronius, drinks to his readers the pernicious poison of Hildebrand’s heresies, quasi aliud agens, as if he intended no such matter.

Ordained to this] Gr. προγεγραμμενοι, written down, enrolled, set down in the black bill.

Turning the grace of our God] Gr. μετατιθεμενοι, translating it from its proper end, perverting it, by arguing from mercy to liberty, which is the devil’s logic. Corruptio optimi est pessima. The corruption of the best is the worst. Learned men have conceived, saith Plutarch, that as of oxen, being dead and rotten, there breed bees, of horses wasps, of asses beetles; so men’s bodies, when the marrow melteth and gathereth together, do bring forth serpents. The grace of God, if turned into wantonness, becometh the "savour of death unto death."


Verse 5

5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.

Ver. 5. Afterward destroyed] Their preservation was but a reservation, as was Sennacherib’s, Pharaoh’s, and theirs whom God threatened to destroy, after that he had done them good, Joshua 24:20.


Verse 6

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.

Ver. 6. Kept not their first estate] Their original integrity or principality. Of this sin of the angels, the cause was the will of the angels, good in itself (but mutable and free), not by working either, but by not working, saith a divine.

But left their own habitation] Being driven thence and hurried into hell.

He hath reserved in everlasting chains, &c.] There are two sorts of chains, saith Mr Leigh. First, those which torment the devil, God’s wrath, and his own conscience. Secondly, those which restrain him, his own finiteness, and God’s providence.


Verse 7

7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Ver. 7. Giving themselves over] In scortationem effusae, wearying and wearing themselves out with that beastly sin, εκπορνευσασαι εκ επιτασιν habet; as did Proculus, Messalina, and Lais, who died in the act of uncleanness. ( απεθανε βινουμενη, Athen. xiii.) The word here used signifies, saith Aretius, Scortationi immori, et contabescere illius desiderio, To waste and consume with that cursed concupiscence. Such a one was that filthy lecher mentioned by Luther, who desired no other heaven than to live always here, and be carried from one stews to another. He died between a couple of notorious strumpets.

And going after strange flesh] {See Trapp on "Genesis 19:5"}

Are set forth] Gr. προκεινται, are thrown forth.

For an example] Herodotus saith the like of the destruction of Troy, that the ruins and rubbish thereof are set forth for an example of this rule, των μεγαλων αδικηματων μεγαλαι εισι και αι τιμωριαι παρα του θεου, that God greatly punisheth great offences.


Verse 8

8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.

Ver. 8. Likewise also] Or, yet nevertheless; albeit these dreadful executions are set before them for an example.

These filthy dreamers] Or, these sound sleepers, these whom the devil hath cast into a dead lethargy of damned security. (Sopiti. Beza.) Or, these Nehelamites, that pretend dreams and divine inspirations. See Jeremiah 29:24; Jeremiah 29:31.

Defile the flesh] By nocturnal pollutions, which we must pray against. The devil can fasten that filth upon the soul when we sleep, that he cannot do at another time.

Despise dominion] Gr. αθετουσι, set it at nought. {See Trapp on "2 Peter 2:10"} Under pretence of Christian liberty, they "set it aside," they "put it from its place" with scorn and contempt.

And speak evil of dignities] Gr. blaspheme glories: so the Papists do familiarly those princes they count heretics, as Henry IV of France, whom they called Huguenot Dog, &c. Our Edward VI, bastard. Of Queen Elizabeth they reported in print some years after her death, that she died without sense or feeling of God’s mercies. Sanders calleth her the English wolf; Rhiston, the English lioness, far surpassing in cruelty all the Athaliahs, Maacahs, Jezebels, Herodiases, that ever were. Os durum! Harsh mouth. (Rivetti Jesuita vapulans, 263.)


Verse 9

9 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.

Ver. 9. About the body of Moses] As desirous thereby to set up himself in the hearts of the living. There is a strange strife still, not of earthly, but of spiritual powers, about the possession of man’s heart. If Satan can get that, he is safe. And so Satan’s vicar. It was a watchword in Gregory XIII’s time in Queen Elizabeth’s days, "My son, give me thy heart." Be in heart a Papist, and go where you will, and do what you will.

Durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee] Let us also answer the devil in like sort: or as Grynaeus (out of Chrysostom) when he sent back Pistorius’s railing letters, not so much as opening the seal, Inhonestum est honestam matronam cam meretrice litlgare, It is not seemly for an honest matron to scold with a base harlot.


Verse 10

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.

Ver. 10. Of those things which they] So do the Papists in railing against imputed righteousness, assurance of salvation, the testimony of God’s Spirit witnessing with our spirits, &c.

In those things they corrupt themselves] As in eating, drinking, carnal copulation, &c., holding neither mean nor measure, as he in Aristophanes (in Ranis), οστις γε πινειν οιδε και βινειν μονον, who was good for nothing else but to epicurize.


Verse 11

11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

Ver. 11. In the way of Cain] The devil’s patriarch, the first apostate; this was fulfilled literally in Alphonsus Diazius, who slew his brother John, because he was a Protestant; and mystically, in all that are guilty of spiritual parricide.

And ran greedily] Gr. εξεχυθησαν, were poured out, as water out of a bottle; they ran headlong after the wages of wickedness, not caring which way they came by it, so they had it. Instar aquae diffluentis proiecta est eorum intemperies, saith Calvin, their limitless lust-like water, ran all abroad, &c.


Verse 12

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;

Ver. 12. These are spots] Or rocks, or muddy holes, that harpy-like {a} not only devour, but defile all that they touch, σπιλαδες, παρα το σπαν την ελην, a trahendo lutum.

In your feasts of charity] See these described by Tertullian (Advers. Genres, c. 39).

When they feast with you] Thrusting themselves into your company, whether invited or not; sin having wended an impudence in their faces.

Feeding themselves] As fatted cattle fitted for the slaughter.

Without fear] Of being ensnared by the creatures, Proverbs 23:2.

Clouds they are] Light, and constant only in their inconstancy. The philosopher saith, Insalubre admodum caelum est quod pluviam promittit non, demittit, That is an unwholesome air that promiseth rain, but performs it not. It is ill conversing with these waterless clouds.

Twice dead] Killed with death, Revelation 2:23. Such as for whom hell gapeth.

Plucked up by the root] Trees that are not for fruit are for the fire.

{a} Gr. and Lat. Myth. A fabulous monster, rapacious and filthy, having a woman’s face and body and a bird’s wings and claws, and supposed to act as a minister of divine vengeance. ŒD


Verse 13

13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

Ver. 13. Raging waves of the sea] Unsettled, turbulent, and arrogant spirits; boldly belching out their abominable opinions and detestable doctrines.

Wandering stars] That were never better than meteors. Sir Francis Drake in his Travels reporteth that in a certain island to the southward of Celebes, among the trees night by night did show themselves an infinite swarm of fiery-like worms flying in the air, whose bodies, no bigger than an ordinary fly, did make a show, and give such light as if every twig on every tree had been a lighted candle, or as if that place had been the starry sphere. Lo, such were these impostors.


Verse 14

14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

Ver. 14. And Enoch also] Enoch foretold the day of judgment before Noah the deluge. That day is longer before it comes, but shall be more terrible when it is come.

Behold] One calleth this word a starry note; another compares it to a hand in the margin of a book pointing to some notable thing; another compares it to the sounding of a trumpet before some proclamation, to procure attention; and it is no more than need, so heedless we are of our soul’s health. Hence the heathen’s hoc agite, Well this. in their sacred services. And the deacons in Chrysostom’s time were appointed to call often upon the people in these words, Oremus, attendamus, Let us pray, let us pay attention. I am afraid, saith a divine, most of us do believe the predictions of Scripture but as we believe the predictions of an almanac, which tells you that such a day will be rain, and such a day will he wind; you think it may come to pass, and it may not. So here; such a threatening may be fulfilled, and it may not; let us venture it; it may be "the Lord will deal" with us not according to his present menaces, but "according to all his wondrous works," as those rebellious Jews suggested to Jeremiah 21:2.

The Lord cometh] Syr. Maranatha. Hence the Jews say that the great excommunication Maranatha was instituted by Enoch.

With ten thousand of his saints] Or, with his holy myriads; sc. of saints and angels; he shall not leave one of them behind him in heaven, Matthew 25:31. And whereas it is said, The Lord cometh, it shows that he is already on his way, and will be with us shortly. Where St Jude had this prophecy of Enoch it much matters not. The Jews have yet to this day some relics of it in their writings. And Tertullian tells us (de Habitu Mulierum), (but who told him I know not), that the book of Enoch’s prophecies were preserved by Noah in the ark, and that they continued and were read until the times of the apostles. But because they contained many famous testimonies concerning Jesus Christ, the Jews out of malice suppressed and abolished the whole book.


Verse 15

15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

Ver. 15. To convince all] To set them down, to leave them excuseless, speechless, self-condemned, ελεγξαι.

Of all their hard speeches] Their rude, crude, crooked, cross speeches, uttered with perverse lips; so Solomon calls them, Proverbs 4:24, as if the upper lip stood where the nether lip should.


Verse 16

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.

Ver. 16. These are murmurers] Ut porci saginati, saith Aretius, as boars in a frank, they grunt against God’s ways and worshippers, like so many Caii Grunnii Corocottae.

Complainers] Invalidum omne natura querulum, saith Seneca. Weak ones are never without their ailments.

After their own lusts] So many lusts, so many lords.

Great swelling words] Bubbles of words. See the note on 2 Peter 2:18. The Syriac renders it, stupendous stuff. They amaze their hearers with sesquipedalian {a} words, and sublime businesses, big swollen fancies, &c.; they tell them they shall hear that which they never heard before, and therefore call upon them to mark; whereas the thing is either false, or if true, no more than ordinarily is taught by others: with as much confidence as ignorance they counsel the simple by portentous words and phrases abhorrent from Christian religion, truth, and sobriety; and which wise men lament while fools applaud and admire.

Having men’s persons] Licking up their spittle, as it were, and loading the mouse with the elephant’s praises. Ungunt pariter et emungunt.

{a} Of words and expressions (after Horace’s sesquipedalia verba ‘words a foot and a half long’, A.P. 97): Of many syllables. Ten dollar words! ŒD


Verse 17

17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Ver. 17. Of the apostles] Paul and Peter, from whom St Jude borroweth much from his Epistle. See my Preface to God’s Love Tokens.


Verse 18

18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

Ver. 18. Mockers] Who fleer {a} when they should fear. {See Trapp on "2 Peter 3:3"}

Who should walk after their ungodly lusts] Gr. the lusts of ungodliness, whereby the heart is turned away from God and godliness.

{a} To laugh mockingly or scornfully; to smile or grin contemptuously; hence, to gibe, jeer, sneer. ŒD


Verse 19

19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

Ver. 19. Who separate] From Church assemblies, upon pretence of newer lights, greater holiness. The Arabic renders it, intermitters, sc. of Church worship. Such as upon pretence of a more than ordinary holiness, and I know not what imaginary perfection, thought they might give over hearing of the word, as having immediate teaching; and separated from holy duties, as the words following show.

Sensual] Gr. ψυχικοι, animal; such as have no more than a reasonable soul, and are yet in their pure naturals, 1 Corinthians 2:14, and by their profane practices animas etiam incarnaverunt, have turned their very spirits into a lump of flesh.

Having not the Spirit] Unless it be the spirit of delusion, as Muncer the Anabaptist had, who wrote a book against Luther, dedicated it "To the most illustrious Prince Christ" (as his words are), uphraideth Luther with want of the Spirit, and calleth him a carnal man, a silly soul. (Scultet. Annal. 338.)


Verse 20

20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

Ver. 20. Building up] By holy conference, a singular help, a most needful but too much neglected duty.

Praying in the Holy Ghost] Whose creature fervent prayer is.


Verse 21

21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Ver. 21. Keep yourselves] Remit nothing of your former fervour. But keep afoot and alive that twofold love of God: 1. That of desire, and earnest delight and intense longing after him, as our chiefest good. 2. Of delight and complacency, whereby we hug and embrace him, solacing ourselves in the fruition of him.


Verse 22

22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

Ver. 22. And of some] Or (according to other copies), "Retell their false reasonings," and dispute them out of their errors, ελεειτε, alias ελεγχετε.


Verse 23

23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

Ver. 23. Out of the fire] viz. of hell; as the angel pulled Lot out of Sodom, as ye would save a drowning man, though ye pulled off some of his hair to save him. {a} Hic est depingendus Satan et Tartarus, et career atrocissimus et luctuoaus, in quo vere sit strider dentium et fletus, saith Aretins. Those that are obstinate, and receive not reproofs, are to be terrified and told of the horror of hell, those seas of vengeance, that worm that never dieth, torments without end and past imagination.

Even the garment spotted] As Nero’s was, when he rode in the same horse litter with his own mother. (Sueton.) The phrase is thought to be taken either from legal impurities of leprous garments, by touching of which men were defiled, Leviticus 14:54-57; or else from the profuse drunkenness and filthiness of the Gnostics, which sometimes defiled their garments.

{a} Haec est sancta violentia, optabilis rapina. Jerome.


Verse 24

24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

Ver. 24. That is able] q.d. I can only counsel you, it is God must keep you.


Verse 25

25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Ver. 25. {See Trapp on "1 Timothy 1:17"}

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jude 1:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jude-1.html. 1865-1868.

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