1:8-16 False teachers are dreamers; they greatly defile and grievously wound the soul. These teachers are of a disturbed mind and a seditious spirit; forgetting that the powers that be, are ordained of God, Ro 13:1. As to the contest about the body of Moses, it appears that Satan wished to make the place of his burial known to the Israelites, in order to tempt them to worship him, but he was prevented, and vented his rage in desperate blasphemy. This should remind all who dispute never to bring railing charges. Also learn hence, that we ought to defend those whom God owns. It is hard, if not impossible, to find any enemies to the Christian religion, who did not, and do not, live in open or secret contradiction to the principles of natural religion. Such are here compared to brute beasts, though they often boast of themselves as the wisest of mankind. They corrupt themselves in the things most open and plain. The fault lies, not in their understandings, but in their depraved wills, and their disordered appetites and affections. It is a great reproach, though unjust to religion, when those who profess it are opposed to it in heart and life. The Lord will remedy this in his time and way; not in men's blind way of plucking up the wheat with the tares. It is sad when men begin in the Spirit, and end in the flesh. Twice dead; they had been once dead in their natural, fallen state; but now they are dead again by the evident proofs of their hypocrisy. Dead trees, why cumber they the ground! Away with them to the fire. Raging waves are a terror to sailing passengers; but when they get into port, the noise and terror are ended. False teachers are to expect the worst punishments in this world and in that to come. They glare like meteors, or falling stars, and then sink into the blackness of darkness for ever. We have no mention of the prophecy of Enoch in any other part or place of Scripture; yet one plain text of Scripture, proves any point we are to believe. We find from this, that Christ's coming to judge was prophesied of, as early as the times before the flood. The Lord cometh: what a glorious time will that be! Notice how often the word ungodly is repeated. Many now do not at all refer to the terms godly, or ungodly, unless it be to mock at even the words; but it is not so in the language taught us by the Holy Ghost. Hard speeches of one another, especially if ill-grounded, will certainly come into account at the day of judgment. These evil men and seducers are angry at every thing that happens, and never pleased with their own state and condition. Their will and their fancy, are their only rule and law. Those who please their sinful appetites, are most prone to yield to ungovernable passions. The men of God, from the beginning of the world, have declared the doom denounced on them. Such let us avoid. We are to follow men only as they follow Christ.
12. spots—So 2Pe 2:13, Greek, "spiloi"; but here the Greek is spilades, which elsewhere, in secular writers, means rocks, namely, on which the Christian love-feasts were in danger of being shipwrecked. The oldest manuscript prefixes the article emphatically, "THE rocks." The reference to "clouds … winds … waves of the sea," accords with this image of rocks. Vulgate seems to have been misled by the similar sounding word to translate, as English Version, "spots"; compare however, Jude 23, which favors English Version, if the Greek will bear it. Two oldest manuscripts, by the transcriber's effort to make Jude say the same as Peter, read here "deceivings" for "love-feasts," but the weightiest manuscript and authorities support English Version reading. The love-feast accompanied the Lord's Supper (1Co 11:17-34, end). Korah the Levite, not satisfied with his ministry, aspired to the sacrificing priesthood also: so ministers in the Lord's Supper have sought to make it a sacrifice, and themselves the sacrificing priests, usurping the function of our only Christian sacerdotal Priest, Christ Jesus. Let them beware of Korah's doom!
feeding themselves—Greek, "pasturing (tending) themselves." What they look to is the pampering of themselves, not the feeding of the flock.
without fear—Join these words not as English Version, but with "feast." Sacred feasts especially ought to be celebrated with fear. Feasting is not faulty in itself [Bengel], but it needs to be accompanied with fear of forgetting God, as Job in the case of his sons' feasts.
clouds—from which one would expect refreshing rains. 2Pe 2:17, "wells without water." Professors without practice.
carried about—The oldest manuscripts have "carried aside," that is, out of the right course (compare Eph 4:14).
trees whose fruit withereth—rather, "trees of the late (or waning) autumn," namely, when there are no longer leaves or fruits on the trees [Bengel].
without fruit—having no good fruit of knowledge and practice; sometimes used of what is positively bad.
twice dead—First when they cast their leaves in autumn, and seem during winter dead, but revive again in spring; secondly, when they are "plucked up by the roots." So these apostates, once dead in unbelief, and then by profession and baptism raised from the death of sin to the life of righteousness, but now having become dead again by apostasy, and so hopelessly dead. There is a climax. Not only without leaves, like trees in late autumn, but without fruit: not only so, but dead twice; and to crown all, "plucked up by the roots."