The False Teachers verses 8 - 11

 

INDEX
Home
Introduction
Salutation verses 1-2
The Letter's purpose v.3-4
Historical warning v. 5-7
The False teachers v. 8-11
A blemish in the church v. 12-13
Enoch's prophecy v. 14-16
Apostolic teaching v. 17-19
Exhortation to believers v. 20-23
Doxology v. 24-25
Conclusion
References & Bibliography

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Jude 1:8 In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings.
Jude 1:9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"
Jude 1:10 Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals--these are the very things that destroy them.
Jude 1:11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion.

In verse 8 Jude calls these false teachers "Dreamers". It could be that this refers to pretensions of prophecy but is more likely to refer to their carnal way of life that causes them to live in a dream world. Living out every lustful craving and compulsion to gratify the moment.

The consequence is that:
They pollute their own bodies (literally "flesh"). What Jude is saying is that when people give way to their passions of immorality in the name of experiment or exploration, they are actually damaging themselves. It starts in a small way as in the case of pornography but gradually becomes more and more extreme. In a sense Jude is saying if you start to pollute a river, it isn't long before the life of the river starts to die off.

They reject authority, which implies that they reject the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their life. A rebellion that causes them to ignore and dispute with those that God has placed over them. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way (Hebrews 13:17) "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you."

The rejection of godly authority in the church is a rejection of the Lordship of Christ, for leaders lead for and on behalf of Jesus himself and must give an account to their Master.

They slander celestial beings is the charge brought here, to understand this we must look at the words 'slander' and 'celestial beings'.

The word slander may be defined as: 1 Libel; malicious lies; calumny. 2. Law Oral defamation. Verb. To utter maliciously a false report concerning someone [ l ]

The words translated in the NIV "celestial beings" is defined by W. E. Vine as: " 'doxa' primarily denotes "an opinion, estimation, repute"; in the NT, always "good opinion, praise, honor, glory, an appearance commanding respect, magnificence, excellence, manifestation of glory"; hence, of angelic powers, in respect of their state as commanding recognition, "dignities," <2 Pet. 2:10; Jude 8>." [ m ]

In this then these men were slandering angels; Jude contrasts their arrogance with the behaviour of the archangel Michael. Who when challenging Satan himself would not speak arrogantly, but used scripture.

(Zechariah 3:1-5) "Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?" Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, "Take off his filthy clothes." Then he said to Joshua, "See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you." Then I said, "Put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by."

These men belittle and criticise things that they do not understand, anything outside of their experience they discard as worthless and irrelevant. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 2:14

"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."

Therefore they follow their animal instincts and find satisfaction only in gratifying the flesh.

William Barclay says "The tragedy is that no man is born without a sense of spiritual things but can lose that sense until for him the spiritual things cease to exist. A man may lose any faculty, if he refuses to use it."

Individual wickedness
We see here individuals who are chosen out as examples, again three, and Jude pronounces "Woe" over these men just as Jesus did to the Scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:13). This is a warning to the false teachers by taking from the Old Testament the three characters Cain, Korah and Balaam whom the Gnostic sect called Ophites regarded as great heroes. Jude uses them as tragic and terrible examples of sin.

Cain, the world's first murderer, is seen by many Hebrew thinkers as a cynical, materialistic unbeliever who didn't believe in God or in the moral order of the world and therefore did exactly as he liked.

Balaam is found in Numbers chapters 22, 23, and 24. He was the prototype of all greedy, money-orientated ministries and, as Balak tried to bribe him to curse the Israelites, it is clear it was only his fear of what God would do to him that stopped him striking a deal with Balak. In Numbers 25 we read that the Israelites were seduced into worshipping Baal at a place called Peor and that the Lord's anger burnt against them. It is in Numbers 31:16 that we read it was Balaam who advised the Israelites at Peor. "They were the ones who followed Balaam's advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the LORD in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the Lord's people." Balaam is considered to be a covetous false teacher that led others in sin.

(Revelation 2:14) "Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality."

Korah, whose story is found in Numbers 16:1-35, rebelled against the guidance of Moses when the sons of Aaron and the tribe of Levi were made the priests of the nation. He wanted to act and to function as a priest and minister before the alter of God and incited others to follow him. Their argument or case was as follows:
1/ you are no better than anyone else;
2/ everyone in Israel has been chosen of the LORD;
3/ we don't need to obey you, I can do this.

It is amazing to see how Korah twisted the first two statements - both true - to reach the wrong conclusion with devastating effect (see the study on the Tabernacle). The altar was the place of sacrifice, and as Christians it is a place to put to death wrong attitudes, wrong motives and wrong thoughts, a sacrificing of personal ambitions and desires, just as Christ gave himself as a sacrifice on the cross for each of us.

So Jude was charging these men with defying the legitimate authority in the church, and of therefore preferring to go their own way rather than God's. Barclay says "We should remember that if we take certain things which pride incites us to take the consequences can be disastrous"

These three men were unbelievers but there are Christians who demonstrate similar traits. Let us pause for a moment and think:

Cain didn't believe in God's order for the world and therefore did exactly as he liked not considering the consequences. Often people don't understand or experience the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their everyday life. They say I am under grace not under the law, so I can do whatever I like. The word 'submit' occurs 15 times in the letters to the churches this is an indication of the importance for us today. However, our society and culture do not recognise the need or the benefits of living in submission, but rather promotes a humanistic, throwaway culture where the cry is hear "I have rights" and "I can do what I want" (Romans 8:7; 10:3; 13:1; 13:5; 1 Corinthians 16:16; Ephesians 5:21; 5:22; 5:24 Colossians 2:20; 3:18; Hebrews 12:9; 13:17; James 4:7; 1 Peter 2:13; 2:18)

Humanism and human rights is not the panacea that will solve the present state human beings now find themselves in. I have included two quotes about humanism that sums up my thoughts.

"Christians need to recognise the solemn fact that humanism is not an ally in making the world a better place in which we live. It is the deadly enemy, for it is a religion without God and without hope in this world or the next" (L. Nelson Bell) [n]

"Humanism is not wrong in its cry for sociological healing, but humanism is not producing it" (Francis Schaeffer) [n]

Balaam was a covetous false teacher that led others in sin. There are Christians whose motives for worshipping God are wrong. They are tempted by money, status and position. The mother of James and John is seen to be worshipping Jesus so that status and position is won for her sons.

Mat 20:20-21 Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favour of him. "What is it you want?" he asked. She said, "Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom." The KJV says in verse 20, " Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him."

We have heard of men building their ministries, and making relationships that best serve themselves. They worship Jesus, why? Is it because of who Jesus is or is it to build their own ministry? John the Baptist teaches us aright when he said "(John 3:27-30) To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.' The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less." In answer to the question John 3:26 They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan--the one you testified about--well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him."

Korah was a man who led his own family to death and 249 others through false doctrine. He wanted to function as a priest and did not recognise the delegated authority of Moses. There are Christians today who are ambitious to do and be what they want to, not what God is calling them to. We often hear people say "God said" and although it is recognised that we all make mistakes, often what God says aligns more with the desires and wants of the speaker than with the will and purposes of God. In this area, for our own protection, we must take on board what John the Baptist said "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven".

Jesus said in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:15) "To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability."

Paul put it this way as he lists examples of gifting in Romans 12:6 "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. ……, let him use it in proportion to his faith.

God has given each believer abilities, a sphere of grace, and a portion of faith. Each of us must move within the boundaries set in our ministries, which are the limitations of our abilities, the sphere of grace given us and in proportion to our faith. When we move beyond the boundaries of what is given us from heaven we reap the consequences. Yet to bury our God given talents is the most dreadful of things. .

 

Introduction / Salutation verses 1 -2 / The Letter's purpose v.3-4 / Historical warning v. 5-7
The False teachers v. 8-11 / A blemish in the church v. 12-13 / Enoch's prophecy v. 14-16
Apostolic teaching v. 17-19 / Exhortation to believers v. 20-23 / Doxology v. 24-25
Conclusion / References & Bibliography

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