Tag Archives: Jude

Tracing the False Teachers through Jude

It has been argued that Jude isn’t describing the then-present false teachers in verses 17-19, and that therefore it isn’t describing the fulfillment of Peter’s prophecy in Second Peter 3:3.  That is, that what is described in verses 17-19 is just a characteristic of some future false teachers.  But does the text bear that idea out?

Tracing the False Teachers through Jude

To confirm that Jude is speaking only of the false teachers who were living and working in the church when he wrote, in fulfillment of Peter’s prophecy, we must follow the pronouns and the word “ungodly” throughout the book. Also take special notice of what is said of the present false teachers in verse 16 and compare it with the prophecy Jude quotes in verse 18.

Verses 3-4: …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, because 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.

Verses 5-7 are examples of previous judgments against rebellious people.

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

Verse 9 speaks of the example of Michael the archangel

Verses 10-11: 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. 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 Korah.

Verses 12-13: 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. Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

Verses 14-15: And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand 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 murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.

Verses 17-18: But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before by 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 they who separate themselves, sensual, not having the Spirit.

Conclusion:

Jude only has one group of false teachers in mind throughout his letter. It is the group who had already crept in secretly, causing him to write this letter (verses 3-4). Each time the word “these” shows up, it is a reference back to this same group of false teachers.

This group of false teachers that the church was having to deal with in AD 65-66 (depending on whose dating you go with) was “walking after their own lusts” (verse 16). Immediately after stating that fact, Jude asks them to remember Peter’s prophecy about the mockers that would walk after their own lusts—proving that Jude (by God’s inspiration) connected that prophecy with what was happening in the church at that time.

-Bradley Cobb

What the Commentators Have to Say…

When discussing the possibility that Second Peter 3:3 is a reference to the final days of the Jewish system (culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem), I was told, “I’ve been studying the Bible for 44 years, and I’ve never heard that before.”  The next thing was “Guy N. Woods and Gospel Advocate don’t say that.”  Then came, “I searched online, and the only person that says that is Max King!”

These statements were full of logical fallacies (Guy N. Woods isn’t the standard of interpretation, just because you haven’t heard it doesn’t mean it isn’t true, just because you haven’t heard it doesn’t mean people haven’t ever said it, and I’m not Max King–nor one of his disciples).  But, in order to show that this isn’t some new interpretation, and that it isn’t something that was somehow hidden from public view, we present to you the thoughts of many well-known and well-respected commentators.

Burton Coffman on 2 Peter 3:3

Burton Coffman wrote a 37-volume, verse-by-verse Commentary, originally published by Firm Foundation. About this set, the following quotation is given online: “Many people consider the Coffman series to be one of the finest modern, conservative commentary sets written.” The following is from his notes on 2 Peter 3:3. Bold font added for emphasis

Wheaton declared that it is “likely” that the mockers here are the same as the false teachers of the preceding chapter; and Dummelow considered it “probable”; but the view here is that they were almost certainly the same. This is indicated by two considerations: (1) They are sensual characters, walking after their own lusts, as were the false teachers; and (2) they are evidently people who were familiar with the “promise” of the Lord’s coming, who had indeed once believed it, but then became mockers.

Thus, this prominent preacher/writer/teacher in the church of Christ realized that the “mockers” in 2 Peter 3:3 are to be identified as the “false teachers” of 2 Peter 2. It is not a separate group of people. If it is the same group of people, then 2 Peter 3:3 describes the “mockers” that were working in Jude’s day (Jude 16-19).

College Press Commentary on 2 Peter 3:3

Usually called the “Old Green Commentaries,” the College Press Commentary set was written by members of the Christian Church and the church of Christ. Bold font added for emphasis.

“The last days” is a term used sometimes in the New Testament with reference to the last days of Judah (and Jerusalem) as a nation (Acts 2:17, James 5:3). This could be true here

The author of that volume went on to say that it seemed more to him that it was the end of the world. But he did make it a point to say that this phrase could be a reference to the last days of Judah and Jerusalem in this passage. That was published in 1962.

John Sutcliffe on 2 Peter 3:3

John Sutcliffe, a Methodist preacher, wrote his commentaries on the New Testament in 1835. Bold font added for emphasis.

[Note on 2:10] That walk after the flesh — and despise government. The Jews, at the time of the writing of this epistle, were beginning the war against the Romans. The old proverb was realized in them: He whom God destroys is first mad. The reins were launched to passion, and the tongue to infamy.

[Note on 3:1-2] This second epistle is, with one undeviating design, to stir up your pure minds to watchfulness and prayer, and that ye may be mindful of the words of the holy prophets, and also of the cautions repeated by Christ, and by us his apostles, against all false teachers and scoffers at what we say concerning the visitations of God on the Jewish nation, and of the fall of the sacred temple. Lactantius says, “Peter and Paul preached at Rome, and what they preached, being written, remained as a record. In which they predicted many astonishing events, and this among others, that after a short time God would send a king who should vanquish the Jews, should level their cities with the ground, and besiege them so closely, that they should be so far reduced by famine, as to feed on the bodies of one another.” — This record is in perfect unison with the Holy Scriptures.

[Note on 3:3] Scoffers. The heretics described in the preceding chapter, who scoffed at prophecy respecting the fall of Jerusalem, like the filthy sinners which the deluge washed away. See the reflections on Genesis 8.

The idea that applying these verses to the final days of Judah and Jerusalem is somehow a “new” idea is false. The above was written nearly 200 years ago.

N.T. Caton on 2 Peter 3:3

N.T. Caton’s Commentary on the Minor Epistles is part of the “New Testament Commentary” series, done by members of the Lord’s church in the late 1800s. J.W. McGarvey, Moses E. Lard, and Robert Milligan also wrote volumes for this collection. Bold font added for emphasis.

Verse 3.—Knowing this first, that scoffers…

Among other things, remember that both prophets and apostles have told you that in the last days of Judaism scoffers will appear. These, walking after their own passions, deride, ridicule and attempt to make sport of the doctrine of the cross, and the teaching therewith connected.

This book was originally published in 1897, showing that this was the belief of well-respected members of the Lord’s church over a hundred years ago. This is not a new idea.

John Gill on 2 Peter 3:3

John Gill was a English Baptist who lived in the 1700s. He wrote his N.T. commentaries between 1746-1748. Bold font added for emphasis.

“the last days”; either in the days of the Messiah, in the Gospel dispensation, the times between the first and second coming of Christ; for it is a rule with the Jews(s), that wherever the last days are mentioned, the days of the Messiah are intended; see Heb. 1:1; when the prophets foretold such scoffers should come; or in the last days of the Jewish state, both civil and religious, called “the ends of the world”, 1 Cor. 10:11; a little before the destruction of Jerusalem, when iniquity greatly abounded, Matt. 24:11;

This well-known man presented this interpretation as a possibility over 250 years ago.

Thomas Coke on 2 Peter 3:3

in 1803, Thomas Coke, a prominent Methodist preacher, published his final New Testament commentary. Bold font added for emphasis.

Knowing this first— That is, either what was to happen first in order of time, or as a premise, from whence they might conclude, that they ought to remember the predictions of the prophets, and the commandments of the apostles. The last days particularly and more immediately refer to the last days of Jerusalem, or of the Jewish state. See Jude 18-19.

Again, the idea that 2 Peter 3:3 refers to false teachers prior to the final days of the Jewish system is not a new one. Here is another very well-known commentary which presented that exact interpretation over 200 years ago.

Adam Clarke on 2 Peter 3:3

Adam Clarke spent 40 years preparing his 6,000-page commentary collection, and it has been recognized as a “standard” work for nearly 200 years.

The last days – Probably refer to the conclusion of the Jewish polity, which was then at hand.

This interpretation is not new, nor is it something that was somehow kept secret. Adam Clarke’s commentary collection has sold literally over a million copies since it was first published. And it is also included in almost every computer Bible program, adding up to millions more copies spread throughout the world.

Conclusion:

The idea that the “last days” in 2 Peter 3:3 is a reference to the final days of the Jewish system (including Jerusalem) is not a new idea. It has been presented in popular and well-known commentaries for at least 250 years. Until Guy N. Woods’ commentary came out in the 1950s, the most widely-read commentary in the Lord’s Church on Second Peter was the one by N.T. Caton—and he stated clearly that the end of Judaism was under consideration in this passage. This proves that not only is this interpretation not new, but also that it was the primary view held in the Lord’s Church less than 100 years ago.

Guy N. Woods Makes the Case

It has been argued that Guy N. Wood didn’t make the connection between Second Peter and the book of Jude, and that therefore the idea that Second Peter 3:3 could have been speaking about the time when Jude wrote is “nonsense.”

Number one, Guy N. Woods is not the standard of what is correct.  He has written some very helpful material, but he himself admitted that his commentaries were not perfect, and that there were likely things that he missed.

Number two, he made the connection between the two letters, but only in his commentary on Jude (strange, I thought, but it is what it is).  So the argument about brother Woods not making the connection is a false one.  He himself makes the case that Peter and Jude are speaking of the same group of people.

[From his introduction to the book of Jude, bold font added for emphasis]

RESEMBLANCE OF JUDE TO SECOND PETER

There is a close and obvious relation between the Epistles of Jude and Second Peter; and the effort to determine which preceded the other—whether Jude borrowed from Peter or Peter from Jude, or whether both borrowed from a common source— has long occasioned the ingenuity of commentators, Bible expositors and students generally. To those of us who accept both Epistles as inspired productions, the matter is of little consequence. Inasmuch as Peter was an apostle and Jude was not, it seems more likely that Jude would expand the teaching of an apostle than that an apostle would depend on Jude for what he wrote; and an examination of the internal evidence leads plausibly to the conclusion that Jude followed the apostle. In verses 17 and 18, Jude appears to quote 2 Peter 3:3. Testimony to the apostolic office in the phraseology of this verse indicates Jude’s knowledge of 2 Peter, and his use of it, a procedure entirely proper in his case, but difficult to believe if reversed. Jude confessed dependence on what the apostles had taught as ground for the acceptance of matters; whereas, Peter never acknowledged, even in the most indirect fashion, dependence on another.

As evidence of the close connection between the two Epistles, it may be noted that both warn of heretics who deny the Lord that bought them (2 Peter 2:1; Jude 4); these false teachers, in both instances, were turning the grace of God into lasciviousness (Jude 4; 2 Peter 2:2); they had crept into the congregations privily and were doing their work deceptively (2 Peter 2:1; Jude 4); their motive was covetousness (Jude 11; 2 Peter 2:3, 15); in both references the heretics despised authority, and railed at dignitaries (2 Peter 2: 10; Jude 8); both writers call attention to the fact that they employed swelling words of vanity (2 Peter 2; 18; Jude 16); they are described in both Epistles as ignorant, being influenced by neither reason nor the gospel, but acting like brutes (2 Pet 2: 12 ; Jude 10); they are likened to Baalam (2 Peter 2:5; Jude 11); and to “springs without water,” and “clouds carried along by winds” (2 Peter 2:17; Jude 12).

From the foregoing instances, and numerous others which might be offered, it seems certain that either Jude or Peter was familiar with, and followed, in some detail, the work of the other, though which it is not possible to pronounce with certainty. Again we would emphasize that it is of little consequence; both are divine productions, both dealt with similar conditions; and it was, therefore, entirely legitimate to follow the same pattern and plan and utilize the same arguments. If the apostles Peter, John and Paul could cite Old Testament prophecy in support of their inspired utterances, what objection could be raised to a New Testament writer citing a prior production for the same reason?

Guy N. Woods above acknowledged that it was “obvious” that the two letters were discussing the same topic.

[From his notes on Jude 4, bold font added for emphasis]

For there are certain men crept in privily, even they who were of old written of beforehand unto this condemnation,—The occasion for the concern which Jude felt, and the immediate reason why he wrote the Epistle is here revealed: false teachers had appeared among the saints; they had slipped in unawares, and were thus all the more dangerous because they were unrecognized. These teachers are described as “certain men,” but not otherwise identified; they had “crept in privily,” i.e., they had entered, as it were, by a side door (pareisedusan) and without revealing their true motive of seducing the saints. Peter, in describing these same teachers, predicted that they would “bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their lascivious doings, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” (2 Peter 2: 1,2.)

Guy N. Woods states that the false teachers described by Jude are the “same teachers, predicted” by Peter. Therefore, Guy N. Wood taught that the prediction (prophecy) of Peter regarding these false teachers was fulfilled by the time Jude wrote.

[From his notes on Jude 18, bold font added for emphasis]

That they said to you, In the last time there shall be mockers, walking after their own ungodly lusts.—Cf. 2 Peter 3: 2, 3, where the words are very much the same. Those who are disposed to hold that Second Peter was written earlier than Jude, and that the writer of our Epistle was dependent on that production for many of its sentences, cite this reference as evidence of the claim. It should be noted, however, that Peter, in the words which immediately precede the statement, refers the prophecy to an earlier announcement than his own: “This now beloved, the second epistle that I write unto you; and in both of them I stir up your sincere mind by putting you in remembrance; that ye should remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and the commandment of the Lord and Saviour through your apostles; knowing this first, that in the last days mockers shall come with mockery, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Peter 3: 1-4.) The word translated “mockery” here is the same as that which occurs in 2 Peter 3: 3, and the reference is much the same, though Jude does not detail, as did Peter, the specific form of mockery referred to—sneers at the delay alleged in the coming of the Lord.

Guy N. Woods stated that Peter’s prophecy was a statement of an earlier prophecy. So, Jude quoted Peter, and Peter was referencing a prior prophecy given. Jesus prophesied that false teachers would come in the final days of the Jewish system (Matthew 24).

Conclusion

Even Guy N. Woods, who neglects to mention the connection between the epistles in his commentary on 2 Peter [but did mention it in his notes on Jude, as seen above], noted that Peter and Jude were speaking of the same false teachers. He admitted that Peter wrote first by saying that the false teachers that Jude spoke of were the same ones “predicted” by Peter. He even admitted that Jude 17-18 “appeared” to quote 2 Peter 3:3.

Therefore, Guy N. Woods admitted through these notes that the false teachers mentioned by Jude—false teachers that were already in the church when Jude wrote—were the same ones prophesied about in Second Peter.

-Bradley Cobb

A Comparison of Second Peter and Jude

The following comparison chart shows that both Peter and Jude were describing the exact same group of people. They used some of the exact same words to describe them, and some of those words aren’t used anywhere else in the whole Bible.

Peter foretold it as future, Jude exposed it as taking place soon thereafter.

 

Second Peter Jude Notes
2:1: But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among YOU, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies,  Verses 3-4a, “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to all the saints BECAUSE there are certain men crept in unawares, who were of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness…  *”privily” and “unawares are the same basic word in Greek, appearing nowhere else in the New Testament.
2:1 denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 4b: denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2:3: And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you, whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. Verse 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.
2:4: For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;  

6: And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

 

2:6-8 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:   (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

7: Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities round 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.
2:9-10 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness*, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.  

Verse 8: “Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile* the flesh, despise dominions, and speak evil of dignities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*”uncleanness” in Greek is a form of the word translated “defile.”

*Guy N. Woods admitted these were “parallel passages,” that is, speaking about the exact same topic. [notes on 2 Peter 2:10]

2:11: Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusations against them before the Lord. Verse 9: Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil, he disputed over the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said “the Lord rebuke thee.”
2:12: But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not, and shall perish* in their own corruption*. Verse 10: THESE speak evil of things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt* themselves.

 

* “perish,” “corruption,” and “corrupt” all come from the same basic Greek word.
2:13: And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots are they, and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you.* Verse 12a: THESE are spots in YOUR feasts of charity, when THEY feast with YOU,* feeding themselves without fear. 

 

* The word translated “feast with you” appears nowhere else in Scripture but these two places.
2:14: Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin: beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children. Verse 4: …ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness.

Verse 11: …they ran greedily after the error of Balaam…

2:15-16: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, but was rebuked for his iniquity; his dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. Verse 11: Woe unto them! Because they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Korah. 
2:17: These are wells without water, clouds that are carried about with a tempest: to whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verse 12b: Clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots.

 

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

 

*The “mist” of darkness is the identical phrase in Greek to the “blackness” of darkness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2:18a: they speak great swelling words of vanity,

 

 

 

Verse 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. *The phrase “great swelling words” comes from one Greek word that appears only in these two verses.
2:18b they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them that live in error. Verse 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 Lord into lasciviousness

 

“wantonness” and “lasciviousness” are the same word in Greek.
3:1: This second epistle, beloved, I write unto you, in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance Verse 5: I will therefore put you in remembrance, though once you knew this… 
3:2: That you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior. Verse 17: But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ
3:3: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts.

 

 

 

 

 

Verse 18: How that they told you there should be mockers in the last days, walking after their own ungodly lusts.

 

Verse 16: THESE are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts

 

*The words “scoffers” and “mockers” are the same word in Greek, and that word appears nowhere else in Scriptures.
3:4: saying Where is the promise of his coming

3:7: the heavens and earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

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.

 

Conclusion:

Peter and Jude are describing the exact same people.

-Bradley Cobb

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

Bible Q&A – How did Jude Get Enoch’s Prophecy?

Question: How did Jude get Enoch’s prophecy, since it isn’t recorded in the Old Testament? Is the “Book of Enoch” inspired? And if so, why isn’t it in the Bible?—S.P.

Thanks for writing. This section of Jude (that is, verses 14-15) has caused perhaps the most discussion and confusion of any section of the entire letter. Is Jude endorsing an apocryphal book as being from God? If so, why isn’t it included in our Bibles today? Is Jude using an uninspired document as proof of what he’s been speaking? If so, how can we have any confidence of what is inspired and what isn’t? Is it possible that Jude is quoting something that truly happened, but just wasn’t recorded for us? There are so many questions, and each of them deserves to be answered.

So, let’s look at the text and answer the questions:

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

Enoch

There are a few things that Enoch is known for in the Scriptures. First, he was taken by God and did not see death. Elijah is the only other on in Scripture that was taken by God without having to suffer physical death. Second, he “walked with God” or “pleased God,” which is the reason why he did not see death (Gen. 5:22, 24, Heb. 11:5). Third, he was the father of Methuselah (Gen. 5:22).

So far as the Scriptures outside of Jude are concerned, this is basically all we know about Enoch.

The seventh from Adam

If there was any doubt about the one who gave the prophecy, Jude eliminates it here. The prophecy he is about to quote came from Enoch, the seventh in chronology, starting with Adam. In order, they are: (1) Adam, (2) Seth, (3) Enos, (4) Cainan, (5) Mahaleel, (6) Jared, and (7) Enoch.

Enoch…prophesied

This is extremely important to understand, because Jude is saying without a doubt, that this prophecy is from the Enoch mentioned in Genesis 5. And because Jude was written by inspiration of God, we can know that this prophecy was indeed given by the real Enoch who was taken by God before the flood.

Why is this important? It is important for multiple reasons:

First, there is no such prophecy recorded in Scripture.

Some people, in trying to explain how Jude could quote a prophecy that isn’t recorded, have said that perhaps Jude is quoting from some other Enoch. But Jude makes it clear that the Enoch he is quoting is the seventh from Adam. That objection is thrown out.

Second, because Jude has been accused of quoting an uninspired book as Scripture.

The Book of Enoch 1:9 says:

“And behold! He cometh
with ten thousands of [His] holy ones
To execute judgment upon all,
And to destroy [all] the ungodly:

And to convict all flesh
Of all the works [of their ungodliness]
which they have ungodly committed,
And of all the hard things
which ungodly sinners [have spoken] against Him.

If you read Jude 14-15, you will see a striking similarity between the two passages.

It has become fashionable to say that Jude is quoting from this uninspired book. But given that no one can pinpoint the date in which it was written (with guesses ranging from 200 BC to AD 200), it is just as likely that whoever wrote “the Book of Enoch” was quoting from Jude.

If Jude was quoting from the Book of Enoch, then he lied when he said he was quoting from the real “Enoch, the seventh from Adam.” Hopefully, you can see that the charge leveled against Jude is a serious one. If Jude was quoting from the “Book of Enoch”—written no earlier than 200 BC—then the book of Jude cannot be inspired, for it would be speaking a lie as though it were truth—proving it was not from God.

So, how this all be settled? Where did the information come from? Why is Jude 14-15 so similar to Enoch 1:9?

Here are some plausible possibilities.

Possibility #1: There was an oral tradition that Enoch had given this prophecy, though it was not ever written down in the Old Testament Scriptures. If indeed this is the case, then the prophecy of Enoch was passed down by word of mouth accurately for over 2500 years. While it is possible, it seems very unlikely that any oral tradition could be passed down for 2500+ years and remain anything close to accurate. However, if there was an oral tradition to this effect, then Jude was confirming its authenticity and application (by inspiration), and there would be no surprise that the so-called “Book of Enoch” would have included it.

Possibility #2: Jude was given this information directly by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This possibility assumes there was no oral tradition, but instead that Jude was given information that wasn’t in the Old Testament record. This should not be a surprise, because the apostle Paul was given the names of two Egyptian magicians who withstood Moses—even though those two men were never named in the Old Testament (see 2Ti. 3:8). This was information given by inspiration without any reliance on an outside source.

Possibility #3: The Book of Enoch, though uninspired, contained an accurate quote of Enoch which was afterwards affirmed by God through Jude. What must be kept in mind is that this does not mean that everything in the Book of Enoch is accurate. This is just like when Paul quoted from two uninspired poets. He was only saying that the part he quoted was accurate—nothing more (see Act. 17:28, Tit. 1:12). The problem with this is again that no one knows when Enoch was written (some guesses are as late as the second century AD—long after Jude was written).

Of the three, I am convinced that the second is the most likely, though the other two are possible.

-Bradley S. Cobb

(Note: the above information comes from our book, “Fight for the Faith: A Study of the Letter from Jude”)