False Teachers in the Letter from Jude

Like Second Peter, it is universally acknowledged that Jude writes about false teachers. But it is also pretty much universally agreed that these false teachers were a problem when Jude wrote. That is, it wasn’t something in the future, but something that was a problem at that time. Here is what Jude has to say about the false teachers:

Verses 3-4, “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to all the saints BECAUSE there are certain men crept in [PAST TENSE] unawares, who were of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning [present tense] the grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying [present tense] the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Verse 8: “Likewise also THESE filthy dreamers defile [PRESENT TENSE] the flesh, despise [PRESENT TENSE] dominions, and speak evil [PRESENT TENSE] of dignities.

Verse 10: “THESE speak evil [PRESENT TENSE] of things which they know not [PRESENT TENSE]: but what they know [PRESENT TENSE] naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt [PRESENT TENSE] themselves.”

Verse 11: “Woe unto them! Because they have gone [PAST TENSE] in the way of Cain, and ran [PAST TENSE] greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished [PAST TENSE] in the gainsaying of Korah.

Verse 12: THESE are spots [PRESENT TENSE] in YOUR feasts of charity, when THEY feast [PRESENT TENSE] with YOU, feeding [PRESENTE TENSE] themselves without fear. Clouds they are without water, carried about [PRESENT TENSE] of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots [PAST TENSE].

Verse 13: Raging waves of the sea, foaming out [PRESENT TENSE] their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

Verses 14-15: Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of THESE, saying “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints 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.

Verse 16: THESE are [PRESENT TENSE] murmurers, complainers walking [PRESENT TENSE] after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh [PRESENT TENSE] great swelling words, having [PRESENT TENSE] men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.

Verses 17-18: Remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. How they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

Verse 19: THESE be [PRESENT TENSE] THEY who separate [PRESENT TENSE] themselves, sensual, having not [PRESENT TENSE] the Spirit.

Conclusion:

The false teachers spoken of by Jude were present and prospering when he wrote in AD 65-66.

But also take very special notice that when Jude is talking about these false teachers, who were living and active in the church when he wrote, he quoted Second Peter 3:3 as a prophecy of what was taking place at that time.

-Bradley Cobb

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