The Book of Jude seems as if it’s almost written for today. Find out why.
Who was Jude?
Are we living in the last days? The Book of Jude is not very long (only one chapter), but its twenty-five verses have much to say about the last days, and today, it is strikingly similar to the way it was in Jude’s day. Jude is the half-brother of Jesus Christ, having the same mother but not the same father, and the range of date for this book is incredibly wide, with conservative scholars placing it between the years 70 to 90 AD. The reason I think the date is much later is because Jude refers to the Apostle’s predictions for the last days (Jude 1:18) as having come true (Jude 1:17), but clearly, Jude’s epistle is just as relevant today. Jude begins by telling us that he’s “a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James” (Jude 1:1), so Jude is a servant of Christ, but he is also his half-brother. Notice that Jude puts these relationships in the proper hierarchy; Jesus is His Lord and God, and only by birth is Jude physically related to Jesus (having the same mother) but is also the brother of James, however the word translated into “servant” is wrong. It should be as the Greek word says, and that is “slave” (doulos), so there is a huge difference between a slave and a servant. A servant can quit their job, get fired, and go home after work, but a slave, particularly one of Christ, is owned by the Master, but the Master is good and He is merciful, and He now calls us friends.
Jude wrote this book out of necessity for the church. You can tell it’s different from the rest of the New Testament books because it refers to a later time period than most of the others do. Jude writes with a sense of urgency, saying he “was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). Contending for something means we have to fight for something, and in this case, it was the faith that was once “delivered to the saints,” which is clearly in the past tense. I’ve heard it said, “If it’s new, it’s not from God; and if it’s from God, it’s not new,” so “new revelations” trouble me because we cannot ever be certain of the source. Just as it was going on in the church then, today, “certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4). This perversion could the “quid pro quo” God Who promises to bless your “seeds of faith,” or adding things to the gospel like, “Jesus Christ + baptism = salvation.” Many swallow these lies because those who brought them came in under the cover of darkness and have “crept in unnoticed.” If they had been noticed, someone would have said something, but that’s why Jude believes we must contend for the faith originally delivered by Christ and expounded by the Apostles because people are adding elements to the gospel of Jesus Christ. That means it’s not really the gospel at all (Gal 1:7-9). God has already spoken through His Apostles and Prophets, but most clearly through the Son of God, Jesus Christ (Heb 1:1-2), and we hear Him speak clearly and plainly in the Gospels.
Since the date of this book’s writing may have come after most of the Apostles had died, it makes sense that the prophecies the Apostles gave had been fulfilled. Jude writes to remind them about “the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:17), and what “They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions” (Jude 1:18). We know it’s not those within the Body of Christ that Jude writes about, but “these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit” (Jude 1:20), and without the Spirit of God, no one is a child of God (Rom 8:16). Looking religious means nothing because it’s not about religion; it’s about a personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ. We are reminded that Satan has his own ministers, and this deceiver will make them look like angels of light (2 Cor 11:4-5), but they only appear that way, because they bring a message of darkness. A gospel look-alike that neglects matters of sin, repentance, confession, sanctification, living in holiness, coming out of this world, being Jesus’ disciple, and doing what Jesus’ disciples would naturally do (Matt 25:35-36). If the Apostles were here on earth today, would be appalled at some of the “buffet-style” religions that claim to be Christian? There is only one way and through One Person (John 6:44; Acts 4:12). We can’t have a little of this and a little of that, because without the whole gospel of repentance and faith (Mark 1:14-15), you have half the truth, and a half-truth is a whole lie…straight from hell.
I do not write a lot about the end time events or the last days, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important, but I believe it’s best to focus on Christ and to be ready for His appearing at any moment. I am not a Bible prophecy hound, but I do pay attention to what the Scriptures say, and what’s going on in the world, however I don’t do that at the expense of studying and reading the rest of Scripture. Is Jesus’ return soon? Are we living in the last days? I don’t know, but I know a better question: “Have you put your trust in Christ? Are you ready for His appearing because He could come at any moment?” If not, there are other prophecies that will come true someday (Rev 1:7, 20:12-25), so the question remains: “Will you put your trust in the Savior today?” Eternity is a very long time to be wrong.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.