Jude 1:4
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
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Jude 1:4. For there are certain men (see the margin) crept in unawares — Insinuating themselves into people’s affections by their plausible pretences, and leavening them by degrees with their errors. The ungodly teachers here described seem to have been the Nicolaitans, mentioned Revelation 2:6, whose doctrine Christ himself declared to be hateful to him. Perhaps the Gnostics and Carpocratians, the successors of the Nicolaitans, were also meant. The Nicolaitans are said to have maintained that marriage was a human invention, not binding on Christians; on which account they had women in common, and practised unnatural lusts, as is plain from Jude’s account of them. And they hardened themselves against the fear of punishment in a future state for these crimes, by extolling the goodness and mercy of God, which they thus perverted to lasciviousness. Who were of old ordained — Or rather, as the original expression, προγεγραμμενοι

εις τουτο το κριμα, literally signifies, written, or described, before to this condemnation — Even as early as Enoch, by whom it was foretold, that by their wilful sins they would incur this condemnation. “Jude means, that these wicked teachers had their punishment before written, that is, foretold, in what is written concerning the wicked Sodomites and rebellious Israelites, whose crimes were the same with theirs; and whose punishment was not only a proof of God’s resolution to punish sinners, but an example of the punishment which he would inflict on them. Others think that in the word προγεγραμμενοι, written before, there is an allusion to the ancient custom of writing laws on tables, which were hung up in public places, that the people might know the punishment annexed to the breaking of the laws. If this is the allusion, the apostle’s meaning will be, that the wicked teachers, of whom he is speaking, were, by the divine law, condemned to severe punishment from the beginning. Turning the grace of our God — Revealed in the gospel; into lasciviousness — Into an occasion of more abandoned wickedness, even to countenance their lewd and filthy practices. It seems these ungodly men interpreted the doctrine of justification by faith, in such a manner as to free believers from all obligation to obey the law of God, and taught that they might commit the worst actions without being liable to punishment, if they possessed faith; by which they meant the mere speculative belief and outward profession of the gospel. Denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ — See on 2 Peter 2:1. The original words, και τον μονον δεσποτην Θεον και κυριον ημων Ιησουν Χριστον αρνουμενοι, “may be translated various ways, all equally literal: 1st, And denying the only Lord God, even our Lord Jesus Christ. According to this translation, one person only is spoken of here, namely, our Lord Jesus Christ, who is called the only Lord God. 2d, Denying both the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. According to this translation, two persons are distinctly spoken of, namely, the one Lord God, or God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ his Song of Solomon 3 d, And denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. This, which is the translation in our English Bible, and which, in sense, is not different from the second rendering, I have adopted,” says Macknight, “not only because, according to it, two persons are spoken of as denied, namely, the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, but because it represents Jude’s sentiment as precisely the same with John’s 1st epist. 1 John 2:22, He is the antichrist who denieth the Father and the Son. By declaring that those ungodly teachers denied both the Father and the Son, the apostle showed to what a pitch of impiety they had proceeded.

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.For there are certain men crept in unawares - The apostle now gives "reason" for thus defending the truth, to wit, that there were artful and wicked men who had crept into the church, pretending to be religious teachers, but whose doctrines tended to sap the very foundations of truth. The apostle Peter, describing these same persons, says, "who privily shall bring in damnable heresies." See the notes, 2 Peter 2:1. Substantially the same idea is expressed here by saying that they "had crept in unawares;" that is, they had come in "by stealth;" they had not come by a bold and open avowal of their real sentiments. They professed to teach the Christian religion, when in fact they denied some of its fundamental doctrines; they professed to be holy, when in fact they were living most scandalous lives. In all ages there have been men who were willing to do this for base purposes.

Who were before of old ordained to this condemnation - That is, to the condemnation (κρίμα krima) which he proceeds to specify. The statements in the subsequent part of the Epistle show that by the word used here he refers to the wrath that shall come upon the ungodly in the future world. See Jde 1:5-7, Jde 1:15. The meaning clearly is, that the punishment which befell the unbelieving Israelites Jde 1:5; the rebel angels Jde 1:6; the inhabitants of Sodom Jde 1:7; and of which Enoch prophesied Jde 1:15, awaited those persons. The phrase "of old" - πάλαι palai - means "long ago," implying that a considerable time had elapsed, though without determining how much. It is used in the New Testament only in the following places: Matthew 11:21, "they would have repented long ago;" Mark 15:44, "whether he had been any while dead;" Luke 10:13, "they had a great while ago repented;" Hebrews 1:1, "spake in time past unto the fathers;" 2 Peter 1:9, "purged from his old sins;" and in the passage before us.

So far as this word is concerned, the reference here may have been to any former remote period, whether in the time of the prophets, of Enoch, or in eternity. It does not "necessarily" imply that it was "eternal," though it "might" apply to that, if the thing referred to was, from other sources, certainly known to have been from eternity. It may be doubted, however, whether, if the thing referred to had occurred from eternity, this would have been the word used to express it, (compare Ephesians 1:4); and it is certain that it cannot be proveD from the use of this word (πάλαι palai) that the "ordination to condemnation" was eternal. Whatever may be referred to by that "ordaining to condemnation," this word will not prove that it was an eternal ordination. All that is fairly implied in it will be met by the supposition that it occurred in any remote period, say in the time of the prophets.

The word here rendered "before ordained' - προγεγραμμένοι progegrammenoi, from προγράφω prographō - occurs in the New Testament only here and in the following places: Romans 15:4, twice, "Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning;" Galatians 3:1, "Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth;" and Ephesians 3:3. "As I wrote afore in few words." Compare the notes, Galatians 3:1. In these places there is evidently no idea implied of "ordaining, or pre-ordaining," in the sense in which those words are now commonly understood. To that word there is usually attached the idea of designating or appointing as by an arbitrary decree; but no such meaning enters into the word here used. The Greek word properly means, "to write before;" then "to have written before;" and then, with reference to time future, "to post up beforehand in writing; to announce by posting up on a written tablet," as of some ordinance, law, or requirement; as descriptive of what will be, or what should be.

Compare Robinson, Lexicon. Burder (in Rosenmuller's Morgenland, in loc.) remarks that "the names of those who were to be tried were usually posted up in a public place, as was also their sentence after their condemnation, and that this was denoted by the same Greek word which the apostle uses here. Elsner," says he, "remarks that the Greek authors use the word as applicable to to those who, among the Romans, were said to be "proscribed;" that is, those whose names were posted up in a public place, whereby they were appointed to death, and in reference to whom a reward was offered to any one who would kill them." The idea here clearly is that of some such designation beforehand as would occur if the persons had been publicly posted as appointed to death. Their names, indeed, were not mentioned, but there was such a description of them, or of their character, that it was clear who were meant.

In regard to the question what the apostle "means" by such a designation or appointment beforehand, it is clear that he does not refer in this place to any arbitrary or eternal decree, but to such a designation as was made by the facts to which he immediately refers - that is, to the Divine prediction that there would be such persons Jde 1:14-15, Jde 1:18; and to the consideration that in the case of the unbelieving Israelites, the rebel angels, and the inhabitants of Sodom, there was as clear a proof that such persons would be punished as if their names had been posted up. All these instances bore on just such cases as these, and in these facts they might read their sentence as clearly as if their names had been written on the face of the sky. This interpretation seems to me to embrace all that the words fairly imply, and all that the exigence of the case demands; and if this be correct, then two things follow logically:

(1) that this passage should not be adduced to prove that God has from all eternity, by an arbitrary decree, ordained a certain portion of the race to destruction, whatever may be true on that point; and,

(2) that all abandoned sinners now may see, in the facts which have occurred in the treatment of the wicked in past times, just as certain evidence of their destruction, if they do not repent, as if their names were written in letters of light, and if it were announced to the universe that they would be damned.

Ungodly men - Men without piety or true religion, whatever may be their pretensions.

Turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness - Abusing the doctrines of grace so as to give indulgence to corrupt and carnal propensities. That is, probably, they gave this form to their teaching, as Antinomians have often done, that by the gospel they were released from the obligations of the law, and might give indulgence to their sinful passions in order that grace might abound. Antinomianism began early in the world, and has always had a wide prevalence. The liability of the doctrines of grace to be thus abused was foreseen by Paul, and against such abuse he earnestly sought to guard the Christians of his time, Romans 6:1, following.

And denying the only Lord God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ - See the notes, 2 Peter 2:1. That is, the doctrines which they held were in fact a denial of the only true God, and of the Redeemer of men. It cannot be supposed that they openly and formally did this, for then they could have made no pretensions to the name Christian, or even to religion of any kind; but the meaning must be, that "in fact" the doctrines which they held amounted to a denial of the true God, and of the Saviour in his proper nature and work. Some have proposed to read this, "denying the only Lord God, even (καὶ kai) our Lord Jesus Christ;" but the Greek does not demand this construction even if it would admit it, and it is most in accordance with Scripture usage to retain the common translation. It may be added, also, that the common translation expresses all that the exigence of the passage requires.

Their doctrines and practice tended as really to the denial of the true God as they did to the denial of the Lord Jesus. Peter, in 2 Peter 2:1, has adverted only to one aspect of their doctrine - that it denied the Saviour; Jude adds, if the common reading be correct, that it tended also to a denial of the true God. The word God (Θεὸν Theon) is missing in many manuscripts, and in the Vulgate and Coptic versions, and Mill, Hammond, and Bengel suppose it should be omitted. It is also wanting in the editions of Tittman, Griesbach, and Hahn. The amount of authority seems to be against it. The word rendered "Lord," in the phrase "Lord God," is (Δεσπότης Despotēs,) and means here "Sovereign, or Ruler," but it is a word which may be appropriately applied to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the same word which is used in the parallel passage in 2 Peter 2:1. See it explained in the notes at that verse. If the word "God" is to be omitted in this place, the passage would be wholly applicable, beyond question, to the Lord Jesus, and would mean, "denying our only Sovereign and Lord, Jesus Christ." It is perhaps impossible now to determine with certainty the true reading of the text; nor is it "very" material. Whichever of the readings is correct; whether the word (Θεὸν Theon,) "God," is to be retained or not, the sentiment expressed would be true, that their doctrines amounted to a practical denial of the only true God; and equally so that they were a denial of the only Sovereign and Lord of the true Christian.

4. certain men—implying disparagement.

crept in unawares—stealthily and unlawfully. See on [2665]2Pe 2:1, "privily shall bring in damnable heresies."

before … ordained—Greek, "forewritten," namely, in Peter's prophecy Jude 17, 18; and in Paul's before that, 1Ti 4:1; 2Ti 3:1; and by implication in the judgments which overtook the apostate angels. The disobedient Israelites, Sodom and Gomorrah, Balaam and Core, and which are written "for an example" (Jude 7, and Jude 5, 6, 11). God's eternal character as the Punisher of sin, as set forth in Scripture "of old," is the ground on which such apostate characters are ordained to condemnation. Scripture is the reflection of God's book of life in which believers are "written among the living." "Forewritten" is applied also in Ro 15:4 to the things written in Scripture. Scripture itself reflects God's character from everlasting, which is the ground of His decrees from everlasting. Bengel explains it as an abbreviated phrase for, "They were of old foretold by Enoch (Jude 14, who did not write his prophecies), and afterwards marked out by the written word."

to this condemnation—Jude graphically puts their judgment as it were present before the eyes, "THIS." Enoch's prophecy comprises the "ungodly men" of the last days before Christ's coming to judgment, as well as their forerunners, the "ungodly men" before the flood, the type of the last judgment (Mt 24:37-39; 2Pe 3:3-7). The disposition and the doom of both correspond.

the grace of our God—A phrase for the Gospel especially sweet to believers who appropriate God in Christ as "our God," and so rendering the more odious the vile perversity of those who turn the Gospel state of grace and liberty into a ground of licentiousness, as if their exemption from the law gave them a license to sin.

denying the only Lord—The oldest manuscripts, versions, and Fathers omit "God," which follows in English Version. Translate as the Greek, "the only Master"; here used of Jesus Christ, who is at once Master and "Lord" (a different Greek word). See on [2666]2Pe 2:1. By virtue of Christ's perfect oneness with the Father, He, as well as the Father, is termed "the ONLY" God and "Master." Greek, "Master," implies God's absolute ownership to dispose of His creatures as He likes.

Who were before of old ordained; Greek, forewritten, i.e. of whom it was formerly written, or foretold, viz. by Christ and his apostles; or rather, it is to be understood according to our translation, before ordained, viz. in the eternal counsel of God; God’s decree being compared to a book, in which things to be done are written down. This the apostle adds to prevent any offence that might be taken at the wickedness of these seducers; and therefore lets these saints know, that though such men crept in unawares to them, yet it was not without the providence of God so ordering it.

To this condemnation; or, judgment; and it may be understood, either of a reprobate sense, to which they who thus perverted the gospel were given up by God, according to his preordination; or of that damnation he decreed should follow upon their wickedness, in making shipwreck of the faith themselves, and subverting others. This seems best to agree with 2 Peter 2:3.

Turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness; abusing the doctrine of the grace of God, and benefits of Christ revealed in the gospel, especially the doctrine of Christian liberty, to the encouraging themselves and others in the vilest lusts, 2 Peter 2:1.

And denying the only Lord God: either this may be understood of the Father distinctly from Christ, expressed in the following clause, and only is put in not to exclude either of the other Persons of the Trinity from being God, but to exclude idols and false gods: or it may be understood of Christ, as well as the words following; not only because there is but one article in the Greek relating to the whole sentence, but because it seems best to agree with the parallel place, 2 Peter 2:1, which is most generally understood of Christ; and because the heresies of those times, which Jude cautions these saints against, struck especially at the Godhead of Christ, which he therefore the more expressly asserts.

For there are certain men crept in unawares,.... These words contain a reason why the doctrine of faith should be contended for, because of false teachers, who are described as being then upon the spot; the Apostles Peter and Paul had foretold that they would come, but Jude here speaks of them as in being; wherefore present rigour and vigilance were necessary to be used: their names are not mentioned, nor their number, only that there were "certain", or "some men"; which is done to stir up the saints to self-examination, whether they were in the faith; to diligence, in finding out these men; to vigour, in opposing them; and to care, to nip error and heresy in the bud: and they are said to have "crept in unawares": either into private houses, as was the custom of those men; or into the churches, and become members of them being the tares the enemy sows among the wheat; or into the ministry, assuming that office to themselves, without being called and sent of God; and so into the public assemblies of the saints, spreading their poisonous doctrines among them; and also into their affections, until discovered; and so the Ethiopic version reads here, "because ungodly men have entered into your hearts"; and all this was at an unawares, privily, secretly, without any thought about them, or suspicion of them:

who were before of old ordained to this condemnation; or judgment; meaning either judicial blindness of heart, they were given up to, in embracing and spreading errors and heresies; so that these are not casual things, but fall under the ordination and decree of God, which does not make God the author of them, nor excuse the men that hold them; and they are ordained and ordered for many valuable ends; on the part of God, to show his power and wisdom; and on the part of truth, that it might be tried and appear the brighter, and to manifest his people and their graces: or else punishment is designed, even everlasting condemnation, to which some are preordained of God; for this act of preordination respects persons, and not mere actions and events; and is not a naked prescience, but a real decree, and which is sure, certain, and irrevocable; is God's act, and springs from his sovereignty, is agreeably to his justice and holiness; nor is it contrary to his goodness, and is for his glory: the date of this act is "of old"; or as the Syriac version renders it, , "from the beginning"; that is, from eternity; see 2 Thessalonians 2:13; for reprobation is of the same date with election; if the one is from eternity, the other must be so too, since there cannot be one without the other: if some were chosen before the foundation of the world, others must be left or passed by as early; and if some were appointed unto salvation from the beginning, others must be foreordained to condemnation from the beginning also; for these words cannot be understood of any prophecy of old, in which it was forewritten, or prophesied of these men, that they should be condemned for their ungodliness; not in Matthew 24:1, in which no such persons are described as here, nor any mention made of their punishment or condemnation; nor in 2 Peter 2:1; for then the apostle would never have said that they were "of old", a long while ago, before written, or prophesied of, since according to the common calculation, that epistle of Peter's, and this of Jude's, were written in the same year; nor in the prophecy of Enoch, Jde 1:14; for Enoch's prophecy was not written, as we know of; and therefore these men could not be said to be before written in it; besides, that prophecy is spoken of as something distinct from these persons being before written, to condemnation; and after all, was a prophecy referred to, the sense would be the same, since such a prophecy concerning them must be founded upon an antecedent ordination and appointment of God; the word here used does not intend their being forewritten in any book of the Scriptures, but in the book of God's eternal purposes and decrees; and the justice of such a preordination appears by the following characters of them,

ungodly men: all men are by nature ungodly, some are notoriously so, and false teachers are generally such; here it signifies such who are destitute of the fear of God, and of all internal devotion, and powerful godliness; and who did not worship God externally, according to his institutions and appointments, and much less sincerely, and in a spiritual manner; and who even separated themselves from the true worshippers of God, and gave themselves up to sensuality, and therefore their condemnation was just:

turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness; not the love and favour of God, as in his own heart, or as shed abroad in the hearts of others; for that can never, be turned to such a purpose, it always working in a contrary way; nor the principle of grace wrought in the soul, which being of a spiritual nature, lusteth against the flesh, and cannot be turned into it; more likely the goodness of God in his providential dispensations, which is despised by some, and abused by others; but rather the doctrine of grace, which though lasciviousness is not in its nature, nor has it any natural tendency to it, yet wicked men turn or transfer it from its original nature, design, and use, to a foreign one: and they may be said to turn it into lasciviousness, either by asserting it to be a licentious doctrine, when it is not; or by treating it in a wanton and ludicrous manner, scoffing at it, and lampooning it; or by making the doctrine of grace universal, extending it equally alike to all mankind, and thereby harden and encourage men in sin,

And denying the only Lord God; God the Father, who is the only sovereign Lord, both in providence and grace; and the only God, not to the exclusion of the Son and Spirit, but in opposition to nominal and fictitious deities, or Heathen gods; and he was denied by these men, if not in words, yet in works: the word "God" is left out in the Alexandrian copy, and in the Vulgate Latin version,

And our Lord Jesus Christ; as his deity, or sonship, or humanity, or that he was the Messiah, or the alone Saviour, or his sacrifice, satisfaction, and righteousness; with respect to either of which he may be said to be denied doctrinally, as he is also practically, when men do not walk worthy of their profession of him; and both might be true of these men, and therefore their condemnation was righteous. The copulative "and" is omitted in the Syriac version, which seems to make this clause explanative of the former.

{2} For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, {3} ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2) It is by God's providence and not by chance, that many wicked men creep into the Church.

(3) He condemns this first in them, that they take opportunity or occasion to wax wanton, by the grace of God: which cannot be, but the chief empire of Christ must be cancelled, in that such men give themselves up to Satan, whom they call Libertines.

Jude 1:4. Compare 2 Peter 2:1-3.

παρεισέδυσαν γάρ] the reason of ἀνάγκην ἔσχον. παρεισέδυσαν marks the entrance of false teachers into the church as a secret and unauthorized creeping in of such as do not properly belong to it, but are internally foreign to it (comp. Galatians 2:4 : παρείσακτοι, explained by the scholiasts by ἀλλότριοι); it is synonymous with παρεισέρχεσθαι; comp. 2 Timothy 3:6.

τινες ἄνθρωποι] In the same indefiniteness the false teachers are also mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:6. Arnaud observes: le mot τινες a quelque chose de méprisant, comme dans Galatians 2:12; so also Wiesinger and Schott; this is possible; but the appeal to Galatians 2:12 is unjustified. That the expression ἄνθρωποι is used in order to bring forward the fact that they “with their entrance into the church remained in their natural state” (Schott), is highly improbable. Hofmann unnecessarily separates τινες from ἄνθρωποι, taking ἄνθρωποι, οἱ κ.τ.λ., as in apposition to τινες.

οἱ πάλαι προγεγραμμένοι εἰς τοῦτο τὸ κρίμα] By the participle with the article a peculiar circumstance worthy of remark concerning these men is brought forward (Winer, p. 127 [E. T. 167]); but not, as Schott, after Rampf, arbitrarily maintains, “a mark perfectly clear to the readers is given for the recognition of those who are meant;” the article being equivalent to isti, those notorious men.

προγεγραμμένοι] The preposition προ in this verb indicates either antea, earlier, before; thus always in the N. T.; see Galatians 3:1 (comp. Meyer in loc.); Romans 15:4; Ephesians 3:3; or palam. If it has this last meaning, then προγράφειν signifies “to announce something publicly by writing;” thus in an entirely special sense proscribere; accordingly Wolf explains it: qui dudum sunt accusati et in hoc judicium (εἰς τοῦτο τὸ κρίμα) vocati. Yet this is inaccurate, as the peculiar idea of proscribere is not retained; for, if retained, it would not suit εἰς τ. τ. κρίμα. Yet more arbitrarily Wahl explains προγράφειν by designare. Oecumenius, Hornejus, and others have correctly taken προ here as a preposition of time. According to Isaiah 4:3, LXX.: οἱ γραφέντες εἰς ζωήν, the sense might be: those who are written before (as in God’s book of fate, and consequently destined) εἰς τοῦτο τὸ κρίμα (Calvin: haec metaphora inde sumpta est, quod aeternum Dei consilium, quo ordinati sunt fideles ad salutem, Liber vocatur); but the term πάλαι is unsuitable, as it is never in the N. T. used of God’s eternal counsels. προγράφειν is here rather to be understood entirely as in the adduced passages of the N. T.; and with de Wette a pregnancy of expression is to be assumed; thus: those who are already before by writing destined to this judgment. Hofmann explains προγεγραμμένοι according to John 1:46 compared with John 5:46 (γράφειν τινα = γρ. περί τινος): “those of whom it is written before;” and then εἰς τοῦτο τ. κρ. = “in reference to this judgment;” but with regard to the former it is to be remarked, that the form of expression here is different from John 1:46; and with regard to the latter, that by it a weakening of the preposition in its direct connection with προγεγραμμένοι takes place.[11] Oecumenius refers this to the prophecies concerning future false teachers contained in the Epistles of Paul and Peter. Grotius, Schott, Hofmann, and others point particularly to 2 Peter 2. But πάλαι combined with προγεγρ. evidently points back to an earlier period,[12] so that only older prophecies can be meant, namely, the prophecies and types of the O. T., and perhaps particularly the prophecies contained in the Book of Enoch: see Jude 1:14 (so also Wiesinger). Against Calvin and Beza, who find the idea of the decretum aeternum here expressed, Bengel remarks: non innuitur praedestinatio, sed scripturae praedictio.

εἰς τοῦτο τὸ κρίμα] Although κρίμα in itself is not equivalent to κατάκριμα, yet here a condemnatory judgment is meant; τοῦτο, namely, that which Jude has in view, and which is indicated in the following verse; Stier: “for this judgment, which I now announce to them;” Arnaud: il y a τοῦτο, parceque cette punition est l’objet qui l’occupe. It is incorrect, with Wiesinger and Hofmann, to refer τοῦτο τὸ κρίμα to παρεισέδυσαν, as something including judgment in itself; or, with Schott, to the “damnable error of those men,” specified in the words τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ κ.τ.λ.; for neither the entering in nor the error can in themselves be called a κρίμα.

ἀσεβεῖς] to be taken by itself; not to be united with οἱ προγεγραμμένοι (against Tischendorf, who has placed no comma before ἀσεβεῖς). The ungodliness of these men is further indicated, according to its nature, by the participial clauses which follow (comp. 2 Peter 2:6).

τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν χάριν κ.τ.λ.] who pervert the grace of our God into lasciviousncss. χάρις, not = doctrina gratiae (Vorstius), nor evangelium (Grotius), nor fides catholica nobis gratis data (Nicolas de Lyra); but grace itself as the proffered gift of God in the forgiveness of sin and redemption from the law; so also Wiesinger, Fronmüller, Hofmann. It is incorrect to explain the idea by “the life of grace” (de Wette-Brückner), or by “the ordinances of grace” (Schott). ἡμῶν, belonging to τοῦ Θεοῦ, is to be understood as an expression of the feeling of sonship; Bengel: nostri, non impiorum.

In μετατιθέντες εἰς ἀσέλγειαν, ἀσέλγ. is either the purpose of the change of the grace of God, or that into which grace is changed. In the former case μετατίθημι here would in itself have a bad subsidiary meaning (de Wette: “who pervert the grace of our God for the purpose of licentiousness”); but it never elsewhere so occurs in the N. T. Accordingly, the second explanation is better (Brückner), according to which the meaning is: they have converted the χάρις, which God gave to them, into something different, namely ἀσέλγεια; inasmuch as liberty was converted by them into lasciviousness; comp. Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 2:16; 2 Peter 2:19.

καὶ τὸν μόνον δεσπότην καὶ κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰ. Χρ. ἀρνούμενοι] In 2 Peter 2:1 the epithet δεσπότης is used of Christ; this favours the combination of τὸν μόνον δεσπότην as an attribute with Ἰησ. Χρ. (so de Wette, Schmidt, Rampf, Wiesinger, Schott, Fronmüller, Hofmann). But, on the one hand, in every other place this word denotes God; and, on the other hand, δεσπότης would hardly be distinguished from the word κύριος, if both were to be referred to Christ;[13] add to this that μόνος elsewhere expresses the unity of the divine nature; comp. Jude 1:25; John 5:44; John 17:3; Romans 16:27; 1 Timothy 1:17; 1 Timothy 6:15-16; Revelation 15:4; against which view Schott incorrectly urges 1 Corinthians 8:6 and Ephesians 4:5. For these reasons, it is more probable that τὸν μόνον δεσπότην is not an appellation of Christ, but a designation of God (Brückner); comp. 1 John 2:22 : ὁ ἀρνούμενος τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὸν υἱόν (also Enoch xlviii. 10 is to be compared: “they have denied the Lord of the spirits and His Anointed”). No argument against this explanation can be drawn from the want of the article before κύριον; see author’s commentary on Titus 2:3 (Winer, p. 121 ff. [E. T. 162]),[14] which is in an unjustifiable manner denied by Hofmann. The denial may be considered as either practical (comp. Titus 1:16) or theoretical. Since throughout this Epistle the carnal and godless disposition of these men is brought forward, it is most probable that Jude at least had the first kind of denial specially in view. At all events, such explanations as those of Grotius: “abnegabant Jesum, quia eum dicebant hominem natum ex homine,” are to be rejected, as Jude never reproaches his adversaries with such a definite erroneous doctrine.

[11] Luther’s translation: “there are certain men crept in, of whom it is written before, to this punishment,” by which προγεγρ. is separated from εἰς τ. τ. κρ., is contradicted by the natural verbal connection.

[12] Schott aud Hofmann contest the fact that πάλαι points to an earlier period. πάλαι, which “generally indicates the past in contrast to the present” (Pape), may certainly be used when that past is not distant (comp. Mark 15:44); but, on the one hand, this use of the term is rare; and, on the other hand, it is not here applicable, as the reference to the past generally is already contained in the προ of the compound verb; πάλαι here can only be put to mark this past as lying in the distance.

[13] Hofmann gives the distinction of these two ideas as follows: “Christ is our δεσπότης, as we are His property bound to His service; He is our κύριος, as His will is the standard of ours.” But if this be correct, it is not in favour of Hofmann but against him, because Jude would then in an incomprehensible manner make the weaker idea to follow upon the stronger.

[14] When Wiesinger and Schott appeal for their explanation to the fact that the relation to God is already expressed in the preceding clause, and that therefore it would be unsuitable to express it here again, it is to be observed that in that clause the relation to Christ is also indicated, since the grace of God is communicated through Christ; also, there is no reason why Jude should not have indicated μετατιθέναι as a denial both of Jesus Christ and of God. Whilst Schott grants that the expression “the only master” may only refer to God, he so interprets the article τόν before μόνον δεσπ. that he explains it as equivalent to “he who is.”

Jude 1:4. Nature of the Threatened Danger. It is stealthy; it is serious enough to have been predicted long ago; its characteristic is impiety, showing itself in the antinomian misuse of the Gospel of God’s free grace, and in the denial of God and Christ.

4. For there are certain men crept in unawares …] More literally, For there crept in unawares certain men … There is a touch of contempt in the way in which, as in Galatians 2:4, 2 Peter 2:1, the false teachers are referred to without being named. Here also, as there, stress is laid on their making their way into the Church insidiously, and, as it were, under false pretences. The words that follow have often been urged as giving a sanction to the Calvinistic theory of a Divine decree predestining men to condemnation, but it is against this view that the word “of old” is never used in the New Testament of the Divine Counsels, which are in their very nature eternal, and are commonly indicated by such words as “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4), “from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18), the “eternal purpose” (Ephesians 3:11) and the like. The Greek word for “of old” may, on the contrary, be used of even a recent past, as in Mark 15:44, 2 Peter 1:9. Nor does the Greek word for “ordained” express the thought of a decree like that of the Calvinistic theory, but rather of a public designation, as in Galatians 3:1. St Jude’s words accordingly are adequately rendered by who were long ago before marked out as on their way to this condemnation, and may refer to previous prophetic utterances of the same type as those of 1 Timothy 4:1-2, or 2 Peter 2:1, which had already pointed to such men as the coming danger of the Church.

turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness] The description agrees with that in 2 Peter 2:18-19, in pointing to the party who under the pretence of magnifying the grace of God (Romans 6:1), and asserting their Christian liberty, led base and licentious lives, the party, i.e., condemned alike by St Paul (1 Corinthians 6:9-18), by St Peter (2 Peter 2) and by St John (1 John 3:7-10). See notes on 2 Peter 2.

denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ] The better MSS. omit the word “God,” and as the Greek word for the first “Lord” is that used in 2 Peter 2:1 (see note there), we are probably justified in applying it also to Christ. On that view, or indeed in any case, it would be better to express the distinction between the two terms by translating, the only Master and Lord Jesus Christ. The “denial” spoken of is two-fold, both in doctrine, as in 1 John 2:22-23, or in life, but the context shews that stress is laid chiefly on the latter.

Jude 1:4. Παρεισέδυσαν, have crept in unawares) παρὰ, under, by the way.—οἱ πάλαι προγεγραμμένοι εἰς τοῦτο τὸ κρίμα, who were of old forewritten for this judgment) For their coming was predicted, Jude 1:17; and that they should undergo the judgment, which he is about to describe, is evident from the examples of punishments inflicted upon others of similar impurity—examples which have long been written. There is no reference to predestination; respecting which, however, there is a similar expression, οἱ γραφέντες εἰς ζωὴν, they who are written unto life, Isaiah 4:3; but he is speaking of the prediction of Scripture. Πάλαι, of old, in the time of Enoch, Jude 1:14; and since he himself only spake it, and did not also write it, it must be regarded as an abbreviated expression, in this sense: They were long ago foretold by Enoch, and afterwards marked out by the written word. Therefore comp. the word ἀσεβεῖς, ungodly, with Jude 1:15. The meaning of εἰς is as far as relates to. Τοῦτο, this, is forcibly demonstrative; the apostle already, as it were, seeing their punishment. The language used by Enoch comprises all the ungodly of the beginning and of the end of the world. The disposition and the punishment of all are alike.—ἡμῶν, of us) not of the ungodly.—χάριν, the grace) of the Gospel.—τὸν μόνον δεσπότην, the only Master) Sir 18:33, in the Complutensian Edition: Κρείσσων παῤῥησία ἐν δεσπότῃ μόνῳ, εἴπερ νεκρὰ καρδία νεκρῷ ἀντέχεται.—καὶ Κύριον, and Lord) St Jude shows that the impiety of those whom he censures, makes attacks both against God and against Christ: τὴν τοῦ ΘΕΟΥ ἡμῶν χάριν μετατιθέντες εἰς ἀσέλγειαν, καὶ τὸν μόνον δεσπότην καὶ Κύριον ἡμῶν ΙΗΣΟΥΝ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΝ ἀρνούμενοι· who alter the grace of our GOD as relates to [“into”] lasciviousness, and deny our only Master, and Lord JESUS CHRIST. This was not observed by those who inserted Θεὸν after δεσπότην.[1] A passage exactly parallel occurs, 2 Peter 2:1, ΤῸΝ ἈΓΟΡΆΣΑΝΤΑ ΑὐΤΟῪς ΔΕΣΠΌΤΗΝ ἈΡΝΟΎΜΕΝΟΙ, denying the, Lord that bought them.—ἀρνούμενοι, denying) Let the portentous fictions (heresies) of the ancient heretics, as mentioned by the fathers, be thoroughly weighed.

[1] ABC Vulg. and most Versions omit Θεόν. Rec. Text inserts it, with more recent Uncial MSS., and with the two Syr. Versions alone of very ancient authorities.—E.

Verse 4. - It has been inferred that the writer had been actually at work upon another Epistle, when he felt it necessary to give it up and compose this one. That is not a certain inference from the previous verse. What that verse makes clear is that it had been Jude's purpose to compose an Epistle on the general subject of the common salvation, and that something emerged which made him change his plan and write a letter dealing with certain specific matters of urgent importance, and hortatory in its form. The circumstance which led to this change is here stated - it was the appearance of a corrupt and insidious party in the Church. For, he says, there are certain men crept in unawares; or, as the Revised Version more forcibly renders it, privily. The verb describes the men as men who had no rightful standing in the Church, but had made their way into it secretly and by false pretences. Compare Paul's description of the "false brethren unawares brought in, the came in privily to spy out our liberty. which we have in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 2:4); but especially the picture which two of the latest Epistles give of the "false teachers who privily shall bring in damnable heresies" (2 Peter 2:1), and those who "creep into houses and lead captive silly women" (2 Timothy 3:6). The men thus generally described are next designated more precisely as those who were before of old ordained to this condemnation. So the Authorized Version renders it. But the point is more correctly caught by the "even they who" of the Revised Version. The men just spoken of in general terms are immediately described as the very men to whom something more precise applies, which is now to be stated. There is some difficulty, however, as to the exact sense of the statement. The term which is translated "ordained" by the Authorized Version is of doubtful interpretation, the doubt turning on the question whether it has a temporal or a local reference. The latter idea seems to be expressed in Galatians 3:1, where the verb means either publicly placarded or openly set forth ("evidently set forth," according to the Authorized Version). For the most part, however, the temporal sense prevails, and that this is the sense here is confirmed by the fact that the verb is connected with the temporal adverb "of old." It has been contended that the biblical figure of a book of the Divine counsels is at the basis of the expression here, and that it should be rendered "ordained" (with the Authorized Version), in the Calvinistic sense of "foreordained." But this is opposed by the fact that the term here rendered" of old" is not applied in the New Testament to the eternal purpose of God. The reference, therefore, is to ancient prophecy, and the term means "who were of old written of," "who were of old set forth," as the Revised Version puts it, or "designated" in prophecy. The writer does not specify what particular prophecies are in view. Hence some take them to be predictions of the evils of the last days spoken of by the apostles, such as we find recorded in the Pastoral Epistles and in 2 Peter. But the force of the phrase "of old," in its present connection, points to what is of ancient date in the stricter sense. The Old Testament prophecies, therefore, are probably those referred to, and the fact that mention is made by-and-by of Enoch as one of the prophets of old, makes it likely that the predictive sections of the book which bears his name are also in the author's mind. The phrase, "to this condemnation," explains that unto which these men were prophetically designated in ancient time. The noun denotes usually, if not invariably, the judgment of a judge on something wrong, and here, therefore, it seems to have the sense of penal judgment or condemnation. It is not quite apparent what judgment is intended. It is supposed by some that the writer is looking to the unhappy relations of these men to the Church, and finds in these relations and in the moral conditions thereby revealed the judgment 'of God upon them. It is more probable that he refers to the penal retribution, of which he is immediately to give examples. Three strokes are added to the picture of the men. These bring out in darkest outline both their character and their faith. There is first the general description of them as ungodly men - impious men, in whom there is no spirit of reverence, as the adjective literally implies. The same note appears in Peter's description (2 Peter 2:5, 6). (Compare the use of the same term in Romans 4:5; Romans 5:6; 1 Timothy 1:9; 2 Peter 3:7.) This ungodliness is next shown to take the form of an immoral perversion of spiritual privilege - turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness. By the grace of God is meant the whole gift of redemption offered in the gospel. It is called here the grace of our God; the turn thus given to the expression indicating at once the dear and intimate relation to God into which the writer and his fellows in the faith have been introduced, and their shuddering sense of the shameless use to which his gift was debased. The thing to which that grace was perverted is described by a word of wide and evil application, denoting every species of unbridled conduct, but particularly unblushing licentiousness. The same ungodliness in these men is further declared to rise to a denial and disavowal of all Divine claims upon them. The Revised Version, which is more rigorously true to the original here than the Authorized Version, gives an alternative rendering, denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ, in the text, but denying the only Master, and our Lord Jesus Christ in the margin. The question is whether God and Christ are separately mentioned as both objects of the denial, or whether Christ alone is referred to; both the titles, Master and Lord, being applied to him. The question is not easy to decide. Among the strongest arguments in favour of the latter view are the two considerations that the attitude of these men to God has been already stated in the previous clause, and that in 2 Peter 2:1 we find both the verb and the noun which are used here applied to Christ. On the other side, it is urged that the parallel in 1 John 2:22 favours the double reference here; that the title here rendered "Master" is never applied to Christ except in the single instance of 2 Peter 2:1; that the epithet "only" is used more properly of God, as in verse 25 of this same Epistle; that it is difficult to distinguish between the two titles, if both are referred to Christ here; and that the analogous expression in the Book of Enoch (48:10) is to be considered. The case is stronger on the whole on the side of the twofold subject being in view. But it is further asked whether this denial of God and of Christ is meant to be a theoretical denial or a practical. It is the practical disavowal of God, which appears in a godless and unbridled life, that seems chiefly in view. But there is no good reason for excluding the idea of corrupt doctrine or teaching. The latter is not expressed, it is true, in the terms adopted in the Epistles of John. Neither is there anything to warrant the supposition that the writer was thinking of Simon Magus in particular, or of Carpocrates, or any of the early Gnostics - a supposition entertained both by the earliest Christian writers and by some in our own time. But it is possible enough that the seeds which were to develop into the pronounced Gnosticism of a later time were already sown, and that in such speculative error Jude saw the ally of a life which was regardless of all Divine restraint. Jude 1:4With the whole verse compare 2 Peter 2:1.

Crept in unawares (παρεισέδυσαν)

Rev., privily. See on 2 Peter 2:1. The verb means to get in by the side (παρά), to slip in by a side-door. Only here in New Testament.

Ordained (προγεγραμμένοι)

The meaning is in dispute. The word occurs four times in New Testament. In two of these instances πρό has clearly the temporal sense before (Romans 15:4; Ephesians 3:3). In Galatians 3:1, it is taken by some in the sense of openly, publicly (see note there). It seems better, on the whole, to take it here in the temporal sense, and to render written of beforehand, i.e., in prophecy as referred to in Jde 1:14, Jde 1:15. So the American Rev.


See on 1 Peter 4:3.

Lord God

God is omitted in the best texts. On Lord (δεσπότην), see on 2 Peter 2:1.

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