Thursday, March 05, 2009

Exposition of Jude: Part 14 of 25

Note: This is a series of occasional verse by verse expositions of Jude. An archive of this and past commentaries may be found under the label "Jude Exposition" below.

Jude 1:14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints…."

Jude has gone into much detail to describe the depraved false teachers who were plaguing the believers and churches to which he was writing. In vv. 14-15 he shares a prophecy of impending judgement. A day of reckoning is coming on which the false teachers will be confronted by the Lord himself.

The prophecy begins in v. 14: "Now, Enoch, the seventh from Adam prophesied about these men…." Jude then quotes a prophecy from the ancient figure Enoch. As Jude points out, Enoch was seventh in the line from Adam (see Gen 5:1-24). Most notably, Genesis 5:24 tells us that after three hundred and sixty five years of life, "Enoch walked with God and was not, for God took him." In this he was like the prophet Elijah who was also taken up from the earth without tasting death (see 2 Kgs 2).

The non-canonical book from which the quotation comes is called The Book of Enoch or 1 Enoch. This book was not a part of the inspired Scriptures, and some have questioned why Jude would use such a quotation (recall a similar discussion at Jude 1:9). Obviously in using this one quotation, Jude is not validating everything in the book from which it was taken. The inspired authors were perfectly free to draw upon non-inspired works. Paul, for example, often quotes pagan poets in his letters (see Acts 17:28; 1 Cor 15:33; and Titus 1:12).

Jude quotes Enoch’s reference to the return of the Lord in glory: "Behold the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints." The Lord here is the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Rom 10:9; 1 Cor 12:3; Phil 2:11). His coming is his parousia, the second coming in glory to judge the living and the dead. He is accompanied by a myriad of the saints. The saints are those who have fallen asleep (died) in Christ and who are already present with the Lord in glory. Paul refers to this in 1 Thessalonians 4:14 when he says "even so God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus." They will accompany Christ in his triumphant coming.

These false teachers have perhaps scoffed at Christ’s second coming (cf. 2 Peter 3:3-4). Jude reminds them, however, that one day they will have to stand face to face with Jesus himself and answer for what they have taught about him (cf. Heb 13:17; James 3:1). This word both assures teachers of truth that one day their cause will be vindicated and warns teachers of falsehood that one day their deeds will be exposed.

  • How does the knowledge that one day Christ will return as judge affect the way you live your life now?

  • Why would God allow quotations from uninspired writings to be included in the inspired Scriptures?

  • What does this verse tell us about the future destiny of those who die in Christ?

  • What kind of encouragement does this verse provide for teachers of the truth?


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