|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-4 Christians are called out of the world, from the evil spirit and temper of it; called above the world, to higher and better things, to heaven, things unseen and eternal; called from sin to Christ, from vanity to seriousness, from uncleanness to holiness; and this according to the Divine purpose and grace. If sanctified and glorified, all the honour and glory must be ascribed to God, and to him alone. As it is God who begins the work of grace in the souls of men, so it is he who carries it on, and perfects it. Let us not trust in ourselves, nor in our stock of grace already received, but in him, and in him alone. The mercy of God is the spring and fountain of all the good we have or hope for; mercy, not only to the miserable, but to the guilty. Next to mercy is peace, which we have from the sense of having obtained mercy. From peace springs love; Christ's love to us, our love to him, and our brotherly love to one another. The apostle prays, not that Christians may be content with a little; but that their souls and societies may be full of these things. None are shut out from gospel offers and invitations, but those who obstinately and wickedly shut themselves out. But the application is to all believers, and only to such. It is to the weak as well as to the strong. Those who have received the doctrine of this common salvation, must contend for it, earnestly, not furiously. Lying for the truth is bad; scolding for it is not better. Those who have received the truth must contend for it, as the apostles did; by suffering with patience and courage for it, not by making others suffer if they will not embrace every notion we call faith, or important. We ought to contend earnestly for the faith, in opposition to those who would corrupt or deprave it; who creep in unawares; who glide in like serpents. And those are the worst of the ungodly, who take encouragement to sin boldly, because the grace of God has abounded, and still abounds so wonderfully, and who are hardened by the extent and fulness of gospel grace, the design of which is to deliver men from sin, and bring them unto God.
Verse 1. - Judas, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James. The Epistle opens with a designation of the author which is brief, consisting but of two terms, only remotely, if at all, official, and having nothing exactly like it in the inscriptions of other New Testament Epistles. The writer gives his personal name Jude, or rather, as the Revised Version puts it, Judas. For while in the New Testament the Authorized Version uses the various forms, Judas, Judah, Juda, and Jude, the Revised Version, with better reason, adheres to the form Judas in all cases except those of the tribe and the son of Jacob. The name was a familiar one among the Jews, whose stock of personal names was limited. This is seen in its New Testament use. Not to speak of its occurrence as the name of the son of Jacob, and as the name of two individuals in the line of the ancestry of Jesus (Luke 3:26, 30), it appears as the name of several persons belonging to New Testament times. These include one of the brethren of the Lord (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3); the apostle who is called in our Authorized Version "the brother of James," but who may rather be "the son of James" (Luke 6:16; John 14:22; Acts 1:13); the traitor Iscariot; the writer of this Epistle; the rebel leader of Galilee (Acts 5:37); the man of Damascus to whose house Ananias was directed to go (Acts 9:11); the delegate, surnamed Barsabas, who was sent with Paul and Barnabas from the mother Church to Antioch (Acts 15:22, 27, 32). The writer attaches a twofold designation to his personal name. First, he terms himself "a servant of Jesus Christ," as the Revised Version puts it, not "the servant of Jesus Christ," with the Authorized Version. The curious fact has been noticed that this passage and Philippians 1:1 (in which latter, however, we have the plural form) are the only passages in which the Authorized Version inserts the definite article in the designation of the author of any New Testament book. He gives himself thus the same title as is adopted by the James whose name heads another of the Catholic Epistles, and who is taken to be his brother. It is not certain, however, what breadth of meaning is to be ascribed to the phrase. The term, "servant of Jesus Christ," or its cognate, is used as a general description of the Christian believer, apart from all reference to any particular position in the Church (1 Corinthians 7:22, etc.; Ephesians 6:6). It does not carry a strictly official sense. It seems never to designate the apostolic office as such, unless some qualifying clause is added. It stands without any such addition, it is true, in Philippians 1:1 and James 1:1. But in the former it is applied to two comrades, one of whom is not an apostle; and in the latter the person so described is in all probability not one of those who appear in the lists of the apostles. In other passages (Romans 1:1; Titus 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1) it is coupled with the official term "apostle." It is claimed by some of the best expositors, however, that in this passage, as in some others, it has an intermediate sense, meaning one who, while not an apostle proper, was charged with the apostolic work of preaching and ministering. If that is so, the writer presents himself as one occupying the kind of position which is assigned to Barnabas, Timothy, and others in the Book of the Acts. But he describes himself further as the "brother of James." The title has nothing like it elsewhere in the inscriptions of the Epistles, and, as the particle which connects it with the former clause indicates, it points to something not merely additional, but distinctive. The distinction is the relationship to another person in the Church, better known and more influential than himself. For the James here mentioned is generally, and we believe rightly, identified, not with the brother (or son) of Alpheus who appears among the twelve, but with the Lord's brother, who is represented by the Book of the Acts as in pre-eminent honour and authority in the mother Church of Jerusalem. Jude, therefore, might have called himself the "brother of the Lord." He abstains from doing so, it is supposed by some, because that title had become the recognized and almost consecrated name of James. Or it may rather be that he shrank from what might seem an appeal to an earthly kinship which had been sunk in a higher spiritual relationship. The choice of the title is at the same time a weighty argument against his belonging to the twelve. Unable to put forward any apostolic dignity or commission as his warrant for writing, and as his claim upon his readers' attention, he places himself beneath the shield of the more eminent name of a brother, who also was the author of an Epistle in all probability extensively circulated before this one was put forth. Those to whom he writes are also most carefully described. The terms of this threefold designation are unusual and somewhat difficult to construe. The text itself is not quite certain. The Received Text and our Authorized Version give the reading "sanctified," which has the support of one or two documents of good character, and is still accepted, chiefly on the ground of intrinsic fitness, by some scholars of rank. It must be displaced, however, by the reading "beloved," which has on its side three of the five primary uncials (the Vatican, Sinaitic, and Alexandrian) as well as important versions and patristic quotations, and is accepted by the best recent authorities. This, however, gives us so unusual a combination, "beloved in God the Father," that some are driven to the conclusion that the preposition has got somehow into a wrong place. Dr. Herr pronounces the connection to be "without analogy," and to admit of "no natural interpretation;" and the great critical edition of Messrs. Westcott and Herr marks the clause as one which probably contains some primitive error. Taking the terms, however, as the vast preponderance of documentary evidence presents them, we have three brief descriptions of the readers, all sufficiently intelligible, and each obviously in point. The most general of the three descriptive notes is the "called." The idea of a "call" pervades all Scripture. It appears in a variety of applications, of which the most distinctive is that of a call into the Messianic kingdom. This call is ascribed usually, we may perhaps say universally, to God himself In the Gospels we find the term "called" contrasted with the term "elect" or "chosen" (Matthew 22:14), so that the call is of uncertain issue. On the other hand, in the Epistles, at least in Pauline passages of great doctrinal significance (Romans 8:28, 30; Romans 11:29, etc.), the election appears as the cause, the call as the result; and the latter then is of certain issue, or, in the language of theology, effectual. It is held by many that throughout the Epistles, or at least throughout the Pauline group, the term has uniformly the sense of a call not merely to the membership of the Church, but to final salvation. Whether this is the case, and how the usage of the Epistles is to be harmonized with that of the Gospels, are questions which require further consideration. It appears, however, that in the Epistles the idea of the election and the idea of the call often lie so near each other that they seem to be different expressions of one Divine act, and that an act which makes its object sure. In passages like the present, the "called" seems parallel to the "elect" of the inscriptions of 1 Peter and 2 John, and probably has the deeper Pauline meaning - a meaning which has its roots no doubt in the Old Testament conception of the certain election of a believing remnant under the theocracy (1 Kings 19:18; Isaiah 59:20, etc.). The parties addressed are described more particularly as "beloved in God the Father." The difficulty which is felt by the best interpreters of the present day in explaining the preposition "in" as it stands in this unusual connection, appears also in the renderings of the old English Versions. Tyndale and Cranmer, indeed, follow the Received Text, and translate "sanctified in God the Father." The Genevan also gives "sanctified of God the Father." But Wickliffe and the Rhemish Version follow the other text (which is that of the Vulgate), and translate it, the former, "to thes that ben loued that ben in God the fadir;" the latter, "to them that are in God the father beloved." The difficulty is met by a variety of doubtful expedients. Some cut the knot by imposing upon the preposition the sense of "by" or the equally alien sense of "on account of." Some take it to mean "in the case of God," or "as regards God," which comes nearer the point, but is yet short of what is intended. Others would render it "within the sphere of God," understanding the readers to be described as the objects of the writer's love - a love which is no mere natural affection, but inspired by God and of spiritual motive; the objection to which is that it is out of harmony with the other designations, which describe the readers from the view-point of the Divine care. The idea, therefore, seems to be that they are the objects of the Divine love, that they have been that and continue to be that in the way of a gracious union and fellowship with himself, into which they have been introduced by God the Father. The preposition, therefore, has the mystical force which it has in the familiar phrase, "in Christ" - a force which it may also have where God is the subject. All the more so that the title "God the Father" seems to refer usually, if not exclusively, to God as the Father of Christ. The third clause describes the readers, according to the Authorized Version, as preserved in Jesus Christ. Here the Authorized Version follows Tyndale, Cranmer, and the Rhemish Version. That rendering has also been adopted by some recent interpreters of importance. It is wrong, nevertheless. For there is no instance elsewhere of the carrying over of a preposition from one clause to another in such a connection as this. Not less mistaken is Wickliffe's "kept of Jesus Christ." The Genevan Version, however, gives the correct rendering, "reserved to Jesus Christ," and the Revised Version translates it very aptly, "kept for Jesus Christ." The verb is the one which is used in 1 Peter 1:4 to describe the inheritance as "reserved." It occurs frequently in the Gospels, somewhat rarely in the Pauline Epistles, and there oftenest in those of latest date (1 Timothy 5:22; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:7). It occurs with marked frequency in the Catholic Epistles and the Apocalypse. It is most characteristic of 1 John, 2 Peter, and Jude among these Epistles. The idea is that of being preserved by the Divine power until the coming of Christ - a preservation of which there was the more need to be assured in face of the falling away which threatened the Churches, and had indeed begun in some. Christ prayed his Father to keep, through his own Name, those that were given him (John 17:11). Paul prays God to keep his converts blameless unto the coming of Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23). These designations tell us nothing of the locality or circumstances of the readers, but limit themselves to spiritual characteristics. The relations in which the several clauses stand to each other is also a matter of dispute. The Authorized Version makes them coordinate clauses, "To them that are sanctified... and preserved... and called." It is better to take the "called" as the subject, and the two participles as the qualifying epithets, translating, with the Revised Version, "To them that are called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ." But it perhaps best represents both the force and the order of the original to render it, "To them that are beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ, called ones."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ,.... The author of this epistle is the same who is elsewhere called Judas, Luke 6:16, who was one of the twelve apostles of Christ, whose name was also Lebbaeus, and whose surname was Thaddaeus, Matthew 10:3, the name is the same with Judah, Genesis 29:35, which comes from a word that signifies "to praise" or "confess"; and in the Rabbinical dialect is called "Juda" (e), as here. He styles himself "the servant of Jesus Christ"; See Gill on Romans 1:1; though this is a title common to all believers, yet here, and in some other places, it is peculiar to an apostle, or minister of the Gospel; and therefore is used not merely in humility, and to acknowledge obedience to Christ, but as a title of dignity and honour: and the apostle goes on to describe himself by his natural relation,
and brother of James; not the son of Zebedee, but of Alphaeus, Matthew 10:2; and this he mentions partly to distinguish himself from others of that name, as Judas Iscariot, and Judas called Barsabas; and partly for the sake of honour and credit, James being a very great man, a man of great note and esteem, and who seemed to be a pillar in the church, and was called the brother of our Lord, Galatians 2:9; an account of the persons to whom this epistle is inscribed next follows,
to them that are sanctified by God the Father; which is to be understood not of internal sanctification, which is usually ascribed to the Spirit of God, but of the act of eternal election, which is peculiar to God the Father; in which sense Christ is said to be sanctified by the Father, and men ordained and appointed to an office, and vessels are set apart the owner's use; John 10:36 Jeremiah 1:5; the language is taken from the ceremonial law, by which persons and things were sanctified, or set apart for sacred use and service; see Exodus 13:2; and so the elect of God are by God the Father sanctified and set apart in the act of election, which is expressed by this word; partly because of its separating nature, men being by it separated from the rest of the world, to the use and service of God, and for his glory, so that they are a distinct and peculiar people; and partly because such are chosen through sanctification of the Spirit, and unto holiness both in this world and that which is to come; so that the doctrine of election is no licentious doctrine; for though holiness is not the cause of it, yet is a means fixed in it, and is certain by it, and an evidence of it; the Alexandrian copy, and some others, and the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions, read, "to them that are loved by God the Father": election is the fruit and effect of love; those that are sanctified or set apart by the Father in election, are loved by him. The Ethiopic version renders it quite otherwise, "to them that love God the Father"; which flows from the Father's love to them:
and preserved in Jesus Christ; those who are sanctified, or set apart by God the Father in election, are in Christ, for they are chosen in him; they have a place in his heart, and they are put into his hands, and are in him, and united to him as members to an head, and were represented by him in the covenant of grace; and being in him, they are preserved by him, and that before they are called, as well as after; wherefore this character is put before that of being called, though the Syriac version puts that in the first place: there is a secret preservation of them in Christ before calling, from condemnation and the second death; they were not preserved from falling in Adam, with the rest of mankind, nor from the corruption of human nature, nor from actual sins and transgressions; yet, notwithstanding these, were so preserved that the law could not execute the sentence of condemnation on them, nor sin damn them, nor Satan, who led them captive, hale them to prison; and after calling, they are preserved not from indwelling sin, nor from the temptations of Satan, nor from doubts and fears and unbelief, nor from slips and falls into sin; but from the tyranny and dominion of sin, from being devoured by Satan, and from a total and final falling away; they are preserved in the love of God, and of Christ; in the covenant of grace; in a state of justification and adoption; and in the paths of truth, faith, and holiness; and are preserved safe to the heavenly kingdom and glory: their other character follows,
and called; not merely externally by the ministry of the word, but internally by the Spirit and grace of God; so that this is to be understood of a special and effectual call, whereby souls are called out of darkness into light, and from bondage to liberty; and from a dependence on themselves to the grace and righteousness of Christ; and from society with the men of the world to fellowship with him; and to eternal glory, so as to have faith and hope concerning it,
(e) Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 50. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
THE GENERAL EPISTLE OF JUDE Commentary by A. R. Faussett
Author.—He calls himself in the address "the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James." See Introduction to the Epistle of James, in proof of James the apostle, and James the Lord's brother, the bishop of Jerusalem, being one and the same person. Ga 1:19 alone seems to me to prove this. Similarly, Jude the brother of our Lord, and Jude the apostle, seem to be one and the same. Jerome [Against Helvidius], rightly maintains that by the Lord's brethren are meant his cousins, children of Mary and Cleophas (the same as Alphæus). From 1Co 9:5 (as "brethren of the Lord" stands between "other apostles" and "Cephas"), it seems natural to think that the brethren of the Lord are distinguished from the apostles only because all his brethren were not apostles, but only James and Jude. Jude's reason for calling himself "brother of James," was that James, as bishop of Jerusalem, was better known than himself. Had he been, in the strict sense, brother of our Lord, he probably would have so entitled himself. His omission of mention of his apostleship is no proof that he was not an apostle; for so also James omits it in his heading; and Paul, in his Epistles to the Philippians, Thessalonians, and Philemon, omits it. Had the writer been a counterfeiter of the apostle Jude, he would doubtless have called himself an "apostle." He was called also Lebbæus and Thaddeus, probably to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot, the traitor. Lebbæus, from Hebrew "leeb," "heart," means courageous. Thaddeus is the same as Theudas, from Hebrew "thad," the "breast." Luke and John, writing later than Matthew, when there would be no confusion between him and Judas Iscariot, give his name Judas. The only circumstance relating to him recorded in the Gospels occurs in Joh 14:22, "Judas saith unto Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world?" Jerome [Commentary on Matthew] says that he was sent to Edessa, to Abgarus, king of Osroene, or Edessa, and that he preached in Syria, Arabia, Mesopotamia, and Persia, in which last country he suffered martyrdom. The story is told on Eusebius' authority, that Abgarus, on his sickbed, having heard of Jesus' power to heal, sent to beg Him to come and cure him, to which the Lord replied, praising his faith, that though he had not seen the Saviour, he yet believed; adding, "As for what thou hast written, that I should come to thee, it is necessary that all those things for which I was sent should be fulfilled by Me in this place, and that having filled them I should be received up to Him that sent Me. When, therefore, I shall be received into heaven, I will send unto thee some one of My disciples who shall both heal thy distemper and give life to thee and those with thee." Thomas is accordingly said to have been inspired to send Thaddeus for the cure and baptism of Abgarus. The letters are said to have been shown Thaddeus among the archives of Edessa. It is possible such a message was verbally sent, and the substance of it registered in writing afterwards (compare 2Ki 5:1-27; and Mt 15:22). Hegesippus (in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 3.20]) states that when Domitian inquired after David's posterity, some grandsons of Jude, called the Lord's brother, were brought into his presence. Being asked as to their possessions, they said that they had thirty-nine acres of the value of nine thousand denarii, out of which they paid him taxes, and lived by the labor of their hands, a proof of which they gave by showing the hardness of their hands. Being interrogated as to Christ and His kingdom, they replied that it was not of this world, but heavenly; and that it would be manifested at the end of the world, when He would come in glory to judge the living and the dead.
Authenticity.—Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 3.25], reckons it among the Antilegomena or controverted Scriptures, "though recognized by the majority." The reference to the contest of Michael, the archangel, with the devil, for the body of Moses, not mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament, but found in the apocryphal "Book of Enoch," probably raised doubts as to its authenticity, as Jerome [On Illustrious Men, 4] says. Moreover, its not being addressed to one particular Church, or individual, caused it not to be so immediately recognized as canonical. A counterfeiter would have avoided using what did not occur in the Old Testament, and which might be regarded as apocryphal.
As to the book of Enoch, if quoted by Jude, his quotation of a passage from it gives an inspired sanction only to the truth of that passage, not to the whole book; just as Paul, by inspiration, sanctions particular sentiments from Aratus, Epimenides, and Menander, but not all their writings. I think, rather as there is some slight variation between Jude's statement and that of the book of Enoch, that Jude, though probably not ignorant of the book of Enoch, stamps with inspired sanction the current tradition of the Jews as to Enoch's prophecies; just as Paul mentions the names of the Egyptian magicians, "Jannes and Jambres" (2Ti 3:8), not mentioned in the Old Testament. At all events, the prophecy ascribed to Enoch by Jude was really his, being sanctioned as such by this inspired writer. So also the narration as to the archangel Michael's dispute with Satan concerning the body of Moses, is by Jude's inspired authority (Jude 9) declared true. The book of Enoch is quoted by Justin Martyr, Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, &c. Bruce, the Abyssinian traveller, brought home three copies of it in Ethiopic, from Alexandria, of which Archbishop Lawrence, in 1821, gave an English translation. The Ethiopic was a version from the Greek, and the Greek doubtless a version from the Hebrew, as the names of the angels in it show. The Apostolic Constitutions, Origen [Against Celsus], Jerome, and Augustine, pronounce it not canonical. Yet it is in the main edifying, vindicating God's government of the world, natural and spiritual, and contradicting none of the Scripture statements. The name Jesus never occurs, though "Son of man," so often given to Messiah in the Gospels, is frequent, and terms are used expressive of His dignity, character, and acts, exceeding the views of Messiah in any other Jewish book. The writer seems to have been a Jew who had become thoroughly imbued with the sacred writings of Daniel. And, though many coincidences occur between its sentiments and the New Testament, the Messianic portions are not distinct enough to prove that the writer knew the New Testament. Rather, he seems to have immediately preceded Christ's coming, about the time of Herod the Great, and so gives us a most interesting view of believing Jews' opinions before the advent of our Lord. The Trinity is recognized (Enoch 60:13,14). Messiah is "the elect One" existing from eternity (Enoch 48:2,3,5); "All kings shall fall down before Him, and worship and fix their hopes on this Son of man" (Enoch 61:10-13). He is the object of worship (Enoch 48:3,4); He is the supreme Judge (Enoch 60:10,11; 68:38,39). There shall be a future state of retribution (Enoch 93:8,9; 94:2,4; 95; 96; 99; 103); The eternity of future punishment (Enoch 103:5). Volkmar, in Alford, thinks the book was written at the time of the sedition of Barchochebas (A.D. 132), by a follower of Rabbi Akiba, the upholder of that impostor. This would make the book Antichristian in its origin. If this date be correct, doubtless it copied some things from Jude, giving them the Jewish, not the Christian, coloring.
Eusebius [Demonstration of the Gospel, 3.5] remarks, it accords with John's humility that in Second and Third John he calls himself "the elder." For the same reason James and Jude call themselves "servants of Jesus Christ." Clement of Alexandria [Adumbrations, in Epistle of Jude, p. 1007] says, "Jude, through reverential awe, did not call himself brother, but servant, of Jesus Christ, and brother of James."
Tertullian [On the Apparel of Women, 3] cites the Epistle as that of the apostle James. Clement of Alexandria in Miscellanies [3.2.11] quotes Jude 8, 17 as Scripture, in The Instructor [3.8.44], Jude 5. The Muratori fragment asserts its canonicity [Routh, Sacred Fragments, 1.306]. Origen [Commentary on Matthew 13:55] says, "Jude wrote an Epistle of few lines, but one filled full of the strong words of heavenly grace." Also, in his Commentary on Matthew 22:23, Origen quotes Jude 6; and on Matthew 18:10, he quotes Jude 1. He calls the writer "Jude the apostle," in the Latin remains of his works (compare Davidson, Introduction to the New Testament, vol. 3, p. 498). Jerome [On Illustrious Men, 4] reckons it among the Scriptures. Though the oldest manuscripts of the Peschito omit it, Ephrem the Syrian recognizes it. Wordsworth reasons for its genuineness thus: Jude, we know, died before John, that is, before the beginning of the second century. Now Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 3.32] tells us that James was succeeded in the bishopric of Jerusalem by Symeon his brother; and also that Symeon sat in that see till A.D. 107, when as a martyr he was crucified in his hundred twentieth year. We find that the Epistle to Jude was known in the East and West in the second century; it was therefore circulated in Symeon's lifetime. It never would have received currency such as it had, nor would Symeon have permitted a letter bearing the name of an apostle, his own brother Jude, brother of his own apostolical predecessor, James, to have been circulated, if it were not really Jude's.
To whom addressed.—The references to Old Testament history, Jude 5, 7, and to Jewish tradition, Jude 14, &c., make it likely that Jewish Christians are the readers to whom Jude mainly (though including also all Christians, Jude 1) writes, just as the kindred Epistle, Second Peter, is addressed primarily to the same class; compare Introduction to First Peter and Introduction to Second Peter. The persons stigmatized in it were not merely libertines (as Alford thinks), though no doubt that was one of their prominent characteristics, but heretics in doctrine, "denying the only Lord God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Hence he urges believers "earnestly to contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). Insubordination, self-seeking, and licentiousness, the fruit of Antinomian teachings, were the evils against which Jude warns his readers; reminding them that, to build themselves in their most holy faith, and to pray in the Holy Ghost, are the only effectual safeguards. The same evils, along with mocking skepticism, shall characterize the last days before the final judgment, even as in the days when Enoch warned the ungodly of the coming flood. As Peter was in Babylon in writing 1Pe 5:13, and probably also in writing Second Peter (compare Introduction to First Peter and Introduction to Second Peter), Jude addressed his Epistle primarily to the Jewish Christians in and about Mesopotamian Babylon (a place of great resort to the Jews in that day), or else to the Christian Jews dispersed in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (1Pe 1:1), the persons addressed by Peter. For Jude is expressly said to have preached in Mesopotamia [Jerome, Commentary on Matthew], and his Epistle, consisting of only twenty-five verses, contains in them no less than eleven passages from Second Peter (see my Introduction to Second Peter for the list). Probably in Jude 4 he witnesses to the fulfilment of Peter's prophecy, "There are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained (rather as Greek, "forewritten," that is, announced beforehand by the apostle Peter's written prophecy) to this condemnation, ungodly men denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." Compare 2Pe 2:1, "There shall be false teachers among you who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." Also Jude 17, 18 plainly refers to the very words of 2Pe 3:3, "Remember the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus; how they told you there should be mockers in the last time who should walk after their own ungodly lusts." This proves, in opposition to Alford, that Jude's Epistle is later than Peter's (whose inspiration he thus confirms, just as Peter confirms Paul's, 2Pe 3:15, 16), not vice versa.
Time and place of writing.—Alford thinks, that, considering Jude was writing to Jews and citing signal instances of divine vengeance, it is very unlikely he would have omitted to allude to the destruction of Jerusalem if he had written after that event which uprooted the Jewish polity and people. He conjectures from the tone and references that the writer lived in Palestine. But as to the former, negative evidence is doubtful; for neither does John allude in his Epistles, written after the destruction of Jerusalem, to that event. Mill fixes on A.D. 90, after the death of all the apostles save John. I incline to think from Jude 17, 18 that some time had elapsed since the Second Epistle of Peter (written probably about A.D. 68 or 69) when Jude wrote, and, therefore, that the Epistle of Jude was written after the destruction of Jerusalem.
Jude 1-25. Address: Greeting: His Object in Writing: Warning against Seducers in Doctrine and Practice from God's Vengenance on Apostates, Israel, the Fallen Angels, Sodom and Gomorrah. Description of These Bad Men, in Contrast to Michael: Like Cain, Balaam, and Core: Enoch's Prophecy as to Them: The Apostles' Forewarning: Concluding Exhortation as to Preserving Their Own Faith, and Trying to Save Others: Doxology.
1. servant of Jesus Christ—as His minister and apostle.
brother of James—who was more widely known as bishop of Jerusalem and "brother of the Lord" (that is, either cousin, or stepbrother, being son of Joseph by a former marriage; for ancient traditions universally agree that Mary, Jesus' mother, continued perpetually a virgin). Jude therefore calls himself modestly "brother of James." See my Introduction.
to them … sanctified by God the Father—The oldest manuscripts and versions, Origen, Lucifer, and others read, "beloved" for sanctified. If English Version be read, compare Col 1:12; 1Pe 1:2. The Greek is not "by," but "in." God the Father's love is the element IN which they are "beloved." Thus the conclusion, Jude 21, corresponds, "Keep yourselves in the love of God." Compare "beloved of the Lord" 2Th 2:13.
preserved in Jesus Christ—"kept." Translate not "in," but as Greek, "FOR Jesus Christ." "Kept continually (so the Greek perfect participle means) by God the Father for Jesus Christ," against the day of His coming. Jude, beforehand, mentions the source and guarantee for the final accomplishment of believers' salvation; lest they should be disheartened by the dreadful evils which he proceeds to announce [Bengel].
and called—predicated of "them that are beloved in God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ: who are called." God's effectual calling in the exercise of His divine prerogative, guarantees their eternal safety.
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