Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Jude 1:11-13

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The Ungodly Influence of False Teachers. - Jude 1:11-13

Jude added three more examples of ungodly lives (11). He then showed how such lives lead to ruin (12-13).

Examples of Ungodly Influence - Jude 1:11

Jude appealed to three famous examples from the OT of God's judgment on ungodly leaders and those they lead astray. Cain The first example of ungodly influence comes from the story of Cain, which is recorded in Gen. 4:3-12 (cf. Heb. 11:4; 1 John 3:12). In the book of Genesis, Cain stood at the head of a long line of unrepentant rebellion against God. To “walk in the way” of someone means to follow their example (1 Kgs. 15:26; 2 Kgs. 8:18; 2 Chron. 11:17). According to Jewish tradition, Cain also directly led others to sin, much like the false teachers (Josephus, Ant. 1.52–62; Posterity of Cain 38-39). Balaam’s error Jude mentions Balaam as second example of ungodly influence. In Num. 31:16, Balaam was associated with advising the Moabites to lead the Israelites into the sexual sin and idolatry of the Ba’al Peor incident (Num. 25:1-3). for profit In Deut. 23:4 and Neh. 13:2, Balaam performed his divination for money, and Jewish tradition implied that his advice to the Moabites (Num. 31:16) brought him personal gain. Korah’s rebellion The third example of ungodly influence comes from the story of Korah who was a Levite leader (Exod. 6:21). In Numbers 16, Korah led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. This rebellion brought Korah, the other leaders, and 250 Israelite men into sudden divine judgment. Likewise, Jude indicated that God’s judgment will fall on those false teachers and on those whom they lead into error.

Application of Examples to False Teachers - Jude 1:12-13

Jude described the false teachers themselves. They may have appeared helpful, but like the previous examples, they only brought harm.

Blemishes - Jude 1:12

hidden reefs In later Greek, the word used here can refer to a "stain" or "blemish." Here, though, Jude referred to the unseen danger of obstacles hidden under seemingly safe water. Similarly, the false teachers were all the more dangerous for the church because they may have appeared helpful. love feasts These feasts are the most common early church meetings which consisted of both a common meal and an observance of the Lord's Supper (see 1 Cor. 11:20-34). feast . . . feed themselves The love feasts were times for the church to care for one another and to share prophecy and teaching (Acts 20:7, 11). So, Jude condemned the false teachers for serving themselves with their teaching rather than building up the community in truth. clouds without rain . . . trees without fruit These images, like hidden reefs, illustrate the deception of the false teachers, who may seem helpful but disappoint. twicedead Not only are the false teachers dead in the sense that they bear no fruit; they are also destined for ultimate destruction in divine judgment (cf. Matt. 7:16-20).

Wandering stars - Jude 1:13

. . . foaming out their own shame Jude drew this image from Isa. 52:20. The false teachers, like the waves, made a lot of noise but left behind nothing but worthlessness. wandering stars Refers to planets, and possibly meteors and comets. They do not have a predictable course, so they are not trustworthy guides. Likewise false teachers will lead followers only towards the blackest darkness. In some Jewish apocalyptic writings, like 1 Enoch, these "wandering stars," since they were not fixed in place in the skies, were thought to be controlled by disobedient heavenly beings.

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