Life-Study of 1, 2, & 3 John, Judeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we saw that the subject of the Epistle of Jude is contending for the faith. Jude charges us to contend for the faith, and then he goes on to speak concerning apostasy (v. 4). In verses 5 through 7 he gives some historical examples of the Lord’s judgment upon apostasy. Now in verses 8 through 19 he points out the evils of the apostates and their punishment under the Lord’s judgment. Let us consider these verses one by one and pay attention to certain crucial points.
Verse 8 says, “Yet in like manner these dreamers also defile the flesh and despise lordship and revile dignities.” The ungodly men spoken of in verse 4 are dreamers, bearing the name of Christians yet doing things as in dreams, such things as perverting the grace of God into licentiousness to defile their flesh and denying Jesus Christ as our only Master and Lord, despising His lordship and reviling the authorities in His heavenly government.
According to what we have observed throughout the years, those who deny the Lord Jesus and refuse to believe the holy Word eventually cast off the feeling in their conscience. In Paul’s words, their conscience has been seared (1 Tim. 4:2) and does not function properly. As a result, they may become unclean and immoral. Once a person’s conscience has become seared, he no longer has a protection or safeguard.
The apostates defile the flesh, despise lordship, and revile dignities because they do not care for God’s government. Having no regard for God’s authority, they are altogether lawless. They despise lordship; that is, they despise the lordship of Christ, which is the center of the divine government, dominion, and authority (Acts 2:36; Eph. 1:21; Col. 1:16). They also revile dignities, which probably refer to both angels and men in power and authority.
In verse 9 Jude continues, “But Michael the archangel, when disputing with the Devil, arguing concerning the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a reviling judgment against him, but said, The Lord rebuke you.” The body of Moses was buried by the Lord in a valley in the land of Moab, in a place known by no man (Deut. 34:6). It must have been purposely done in this manner by the Lord. When Moses and Elijah appeared with Christ on the mount of transfiguration (Matt. 17:3), Moses must have been manifested in his body, which was kept by the Lord and resurrected. Probably, in view of this, the Devil attempted to do something to his body, and the archangel argued with him concerning this. The reference in 2 Peter 2:11 is general, but this is a definite case, concerning the body of Moses.
Jude points out that Michael did not bring a reviling judgment against the Devil, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” This indicates that, in the Lord’s heavenly government, the Devil, Satan, was even higher than the archangel Michael. God appointed and set him so (Ezek. 28:14). In any case, Satan was under the Lord. Therefore, Michael said to him, “The Lord rebuke you.” Michael kept his position in the order of divine authority.
Verse 10 says, “But these revile whatever they do not know; and whatever they understand naturally, as animals without reason, in these they are being corrupted.” The first mention of the word “these” in verse 10 refers to the dreamers in verse 8. In Greek the word “know” here denotes a deeper sensing of invisible things, and the word for “understand” denotes a superficial realization of visible objects. We need both an understanding of visible things and a knowing of invisible things.
The Greek word rendered “naturally” also means instinctively. These dreamers revile what they do not know, things which they should know; and what they understand they understand naturally, instinctively, without reason, as animals of instinct. They do not exercise the deeper and higher knowledge of man with reason, including the consciousness of man’s conscience. What they practice is the shallow and base instinctive understanding, like that of animals without human reason. By behaving this way they are being corrupted or destroyed.
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