The Letter of Jude
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Introduction to The Letter of Jude
See the Introduction to John’s First Letter by Dr. Hunt for an overview of The Three Letters of John and The Letter of Jude.
The Author: The writer of this Epistle declares himself to be “Jude [or Judas], a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James” (Jude 1:1). In all probability Jude was a brother of Jesus, and was converted after Jesus’ resurrection (as was James) when he then became a member of the Jerusalem council. There is a tradition that following the martyrdom of James (about A.D. 66), Jude became the presiding elder of the Apostolic Council at Jerusalem. This would account for his reference to James, as mentioned above, and also for the authoritative tone of this little Epistle. It is noteworthy that Jude makes use of illustrative material drawn from the apocryphal books of Enoch and the Assumption of Moses. The Epistle of Jude was probably written shortly after A.D. 70, and may have been addressed to the Christian groups in the Holy Land and Syria.
Purpose of the Epistle: The writer states that he had planned to write a pastoral letter, dealing with some important phases of Christian teaching, but the arrival of some disturbing news caused him to change the subject matter of his Epistle. He recognized that the pressing need was not for doctrinal discussions, but rather for a message of warning and exhortation. Apparently, some of the false prophets had gained entrance into the churches, and the Gospel message was being replaced by erroneous teaching and open invitations to licentious practices. The purpose of this Epistle, therefore, was to denounce these false prophets and their teaching, hoping that this timely action would win back the erring converts and restore the true Christian teaching to the churches.
Metaphysical Notes: Jude is usually regarded as symbolizing the activity of renunciation, or elimination. This symbology will be readily understood when recalling the main purpose of Jude’s Epistle—which was to eliminate, or cast out, the false prophets and their erroneous teachings from the Christian church. There are times when we also are called upon to cast out some false prophets from our consciousness. These “false prophets” are the erroneous thoughts and conditions that take up their abode in our mind and body; and just as the false prophets wrought havoc in the early church, so do these erroneous thoughts and conditions tend to wreck our health, happiness, and peace of mind. If we are to function harmoniously, the “Jude” within us must be brought into action. But, we may ask, how is this to be accomplished? How can we cast out these erroneous thoughts and conditions from our consciousness? Seeking an answer to this question, we should note that the work Jude sought to accomplish corresponds, very largely, with the activity of denial. Erroneous thoughts and conditions may be denied out of existence, thus bringing a thorough cleansing to our consciousness.
Introduction to The Letter of Jude by Herbert J. Hunt, former Dean of Bible Studies for the Unity School of Christianity.
Jude is called “Judas the brother of James” in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13. Metaphysically, the name means praise Jehovah and it is the same as Judah and Judas, metaphysically interpreted as our power of life. However the same person is called Thaddaeus in Matthew 10:3. Metaphysically, Thaddaeus is our power of elimination. This double interpretation can lead us to say that this is a letter from our Elimination-Praise faculty.
The Letter of Jude is a letter from our elimination and praise faculty to a church where ungodly ideas had crept in. The letter from Jude provides four things in response: encouragement to charge forward in our faith-fullness to our Spiritual Cause and aim; reminds us of times we fell in the past and the judgments/corrections that followed; instructs and invites us to keep ourselves in the love of God as we await, and ends in a statement of Truth (Doxology) about the nature and keeping-power of God.
The message of this letter, metaphysically, is to be in a continual state of inner work; to both eliminate (Jude) every arising error thought (ungodly men) and to praise (Judah) God in and for everything. When we use the two together, they have a synergistic effect to amplify, support, and strengthen one another.
Because we live in a world (outer and inner) whose default seems to tend to disorder, continual ordering and organizing of the mind is needed. This constant “state of Jude/Judah” not only protects the mind from the “creeping in of ungodly thoughts,” but it also supports our spiritual/inner life work that we may attain our greatest goal and hope: the transformation of mind, spiritual ascension.
Error thoughts (ungodly men) are never far from our minds and they require a lot of energy from us. In dealing with these thoughts, our precious Life Energy (Judah) is best conserved by prevention (praise), which works together with cure (elimination), because the more you praise, the more you will be able to detect error thoughts at their onset and quickly pray or praise them away (eliminate them).
And when our best efforts fail, we can trust that God will always give us the precise righteous adjustments (mercy) we need in order to “recover us” back to the right track on our journey of the transformation of mind and spiritual ascension.
Introduction to The Letter of Jude by Mary Salama.
- Jude (Thaddaeus). See introduction for Jude/Thaddaeus. Metaphysically, Thaddaeus represents the faculty of elimination in man. In the body the eliminative center is situated in the lower part of the back. It is just as necessary that one should learn to let go of thoughts, conditions, and substances in consciousness, body, and affairs, when they have served their purpose and one no longer needs them, as it is that one should lay hold of new ideas and new substances to meet one's daily requirements. Therefore it is very necessary that the eliminative faculty be quickened in one, and a right balance between receiving and giving, laying hold and letting go, be established.
- mercy, peace, love. Mercy: Christlike treatment toward the suffering; the important point in desiring to be merciful is righteous adjustment, as this results in true overcoming (RW/mercy). Peace: Harmony and tranquillity derived from awareness of the Christ consciousness (RW/peace). Love: The pure essence of Being that binds together the whole human family (RW/love). Mercy is multiplied to the one who shows mercy to others in thought, word, and deed. Through remaining peaceful and peaceable even under stress one realizes greater peace. The same rule holds good as regards love.
Occasion of the Letter
1:3 Beloved, while I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I was constrained to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.1 1:4 For there are certain men who crept in secretly, even those who were long ago written about for this condemnation: ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master, God, and Lord, Jesus Christ.
- Faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. Our firm faith in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring us into the kingdom.
Judgment on False Teachers
1:5 Now I desire to remind you, though you already know this, that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who didn't believe. 1:6 Angels who didn't keep their first domain, but deserted their own dwelling place, he has kept in everlasting bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day. 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them, having, in the same way as these, given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.
1:8 Yet in like manner these also in their dreaming defile the flesh, despise authority, and slander celestial beings. 1:9 But Michael, the archangel, when contending with the devil and arguing about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him an abusive condemnation, but said, "May the Lord rebuke you!" 1:10 But these speak evil of whatever things they don't know. What they understand naturally, like the creatures without reason, they are destroyed in these things. 1:11 Woe to them! For they went in the way of Cain, and ran riotously in the error of Balaam for hire, and perished in Korah's rebellion. 1:12 These are hidden rocky reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you, shepherds who without fear feed themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn leaves without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 1:13 wild waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever.
1:14 About these also Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones, 1:15 to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their works of ungodliness which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." 1:16 These are murmurers and complainers,1 walking after their lusts (and their mouth speaks proud things), showing respect of persons to gain advantage.
- These are murmurers and complainers. This entire passage is about false prophets who will appear as murmurers and complainers. A false prophet refers to anything in life which makes promises but does not keep them. False prophets abound in the world. They can be found in religion, in business, in the arts, and in human relationships. They are not necessarily "wicked," but they are false. They do not produce the results they promise. How can we recognize a false prophet from a true one? By the results in people's lives. "Thus you will know them by their fruits." Examples of false prophets: (1) All negative emotions, (2) One-sided opinions, (3) Negative thinking, (4) Belief that anything can be a finality (5) Seeking revenge, (6) The belief that "more" equals "better". (USRS Bible Interpretation, Lesson 4 Matt. 5-7).
Warnings and Exhortations
1:17 But you, beloved, remember the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1:18 They said to you that "In the last time there will be mockers, walking after their own ungodly lusts." 1:19 These are they who cause divisions, and are sensual, not having the Spirit. 1:20 But you, beloved, keep building up yourselves1 on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God,2 looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ3 to eternal life. 1:22 On some have compassion, making a distinction, 1:23 and some save, snatching them out of the fire with fear, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh.
- keep building up yourselves. On the faith that God is all good and that we as sons of God are fundamentally good and upright. With faith in spiritual reality as a foundation, one builds up the superstructure of character and constrictive living day by day. Faith grows stronger only as it is acted upon.
- Keep yourselves in the love of God. By loving godliness in others as well as expressing it ourselves habitually; to love “the things of God” is to love God.
- mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. The loving-kindness and charity that we extend to others, when we are consciously one with the Christ.
1:24 Now to him who is able to keep them from stumbling,1 and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory in great joy, 1:25 to God our Savior,2 who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.
- keep them from stumbling. To keep us from stumbling requires that we keep our thoughts stayed on both love and wisdom given us by the Christ Spirit.
- to God our Savior. Salvation is an awareness of the “glory, majesty, dominion, and power” of the Christ life in us; a complete absorption in spiritual life and power.
Fillmore Study Bible annotations by Mary Salama
World English Bible Footnotes:
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