The book of Jude is small—one chapter 25 verses long—tucked in just before the Revelation. Just as Genesis is the first book of the Bible and Revelation the last, the position of Jude is equally significant. It holds a spot that parallels Esther in the Old Testament. The Book of Esther is the last of the historical books for the Hebrews in the Old Testament. It was meant to be prophetic foreshadowing of the future history of the Jewish people, largely taking place over the “times of the Gentiles.” Immediately following is the Wisdom Literature, and then the prophets.
The book of Jude holds a similar anchor in the New Testament, providing the last instructions for the Church Age. Prophetic in character, it foreshadows the fate of the Church and Christians for the period between the epistles and the 3rd chapter of Revelation.
Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote this epistle with one main objective in view: “[…] That ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).
Why? Because: “[…] There are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (verse 4, KJV).
Jude is writing expressly to prepare the Church against teachers of falsehoods, corruptions and the fleshly philosophies of mankind. “Contending for the faith” is the very line of defense that falls when the gospel is distorted and corrupt doctrine is adopted.
We can see here that the Church was attacked very early by false teachers who had “slipped” into its ranks even while the apostles were still alive. These false teachers are sneaky and devious … not going in unto the sheep by the front gate. Jesus warned: “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber” (John 10:1). Because of their slipperiness and subtle ways of encroaching upon the Church, Jude then lays out a list of diagnostic characteristics by which to recognize them, lest the Christian be caught unawares.
But while Jude is responding to what he sees in his day, he is certainly also covering the conditions of the very last days. He says: “But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, ‘In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires’” (verses 17-18, NIV).
Following Jude’s introduction which ends in verse 5, two structures are then carried throughout the rest of this book:
- The direct actions of 10 persons, entities or groups are named, besides the false, corrupt teachers that play a role in the battle for the truth of the gospel. Each of these factors mentioned, we can view as being prophetically significant.
- 18 characteristics that help to identify false teachers that “[…] deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord” (verse 4).
To no surprise—as Scripture always corroborates itself in various ways—the numbers of “10” and “18” are aptly symbolic. “18” is the sum of three “6’s.” Three times the number of man signifies the peak significance of an apostate, human religion or system (i. e. 666). In the Bible, the number “3” often signifies spiritual or religious significance. In the case of a humanist apostasy, the number “18” then would represent its fullest perversion. Apostle Paul, when listing the characteristics of ungodly people during the apostate “perilous times” in 2 Timothy 3, also mentions exactly 18 characteristics.
The number “10” is also significant in the Bible. It symbolizes a type of “systematic” or “program” completeness. This number breaks down to a sum of 6, 3 and 1. The symbolism of the first two numbers has already been reviewed. The “1” signifies the perfect finality or person. You will see this when we list the 10 constituents of this group.
Let’s then first turn our attention to this collection of 10 persons (or groups) and attempt to glean any prophetic implications they may foreshadow for the “last days.”
1. “[…] The Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe” (verse 5).
Prophetic Parallel: Israel is returned to its land in the last days—delivered from out of the world, as from Egypt—yet most do not believe in their Jehovah and many will be destroyed in the coming Great Tribulation (Jacob’s Trouble).
2. Angels (in their fallen state, demons) are mention next in verse 6. “And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.”
Prophetic Parallel: Disobedient angels (demons) who originally took unto them “the daughters of men” (Genesis 6:2, KJV) and corrupted mankind in the age of Noah (and then were bound up), foreshadow another demonic attack upon humanity in forms of deceiving demons and possibly in manifested physical form during the Tribulation. In Revelation 12, we read that “[…] Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (verse 9). While that event specifically takes place in the Tribulation Period, several New Testament authors (including Jude) warned that in the last days many deceiving doctrines, taught by demons, would make their way into the Church. We see the “stealth” of these conditions today. Many Christians are not able to recognize these false teachers for what they are.
3. Sodom and Gomorrah: “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire” (verse 7).
Prophetic Parallel: In the last days, that there would be a prevalence of immorality to the point demonstrated even in Sodom and Gomorrah. There, sexual perversion was publicly endorsed to the extreme of flaunting and aggressive militancy. Those that did not want to participate were even subject to physical danger. We already see such conditions today.
4. Archangel Michael is mentioned next: “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation […]” (verse 9).
Prophetic Parallel: Michael, who is the Archangel of the Jews, is disputing with the world run by the Devil over the right of Israel to exist. Michael serves a special role for the Jews, as is confirmed by the prophet Daniel. “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise” (Daniel 12:1). Even though the Devil wants a dead race of Israelites, Michael does not slander him, but leaves this task to the Lord. Indeed today, there can be no doubt that Satan is working very hard to make Israel a dead body, both physically and spiritually. To this point,Israel is spiritually dead, awaiting the event described in Ezekiel 37 when they would be filled with the Spirit.
5. “Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain” (verse 11). What is the way of Cain? It is the path of man doing what is right in his own eyes. It also signifies the attempts of man to create his own righteousness through his own achievement and toil. It is the opposite of grace, which is salvation freely given and undeserved.
Prophetic Parallel: Today, the entire globalized world is represented by Cain. Humanism reigns. Systems and agencies such as the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, the World Health Organization and so on, believe that by virtue of mankind’s toil, a society of peace and goodness can be created (so humanists think). Jesus said otherwise, “There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17, KJV). Even so-called Christian churches have endorsed or joined similar movements. The rapidly increasing influence of Reconstructionism (Dominion Theology) tangentially falls into this category.
6. “[…] They have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error […]” (verse 11). This is one of the greatest errors being perpetuated today that most people do not see. I have called it the “Babylon Occlusion” (See Midnight Call magazine, July 2007). Balaam was guilty of prophesying for a price. He oriented his sights to money and materialism, mixing it with the precepts of his religion. Money had the upper hand.
Prophetic Parallel: Without a doubt, money is the highest god in the systems of globalized man. The merging of faith and money is nearly complete. There are various indications of this also in the so-called Christian church, including a prevalent Prosperity Gospel. The world is already far advanced on the road to the final ecumenicism shown in Revelation 17-18, where world polity, economics and a substitute Christian faith will be merged into one.
7. “[…] They have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion” (verse 11). Korah, a Levite, and some 250 eminent Israelite leaders were guilty of trying to set themselves up as being equal to the station of priest. They challenged the God-elected leadership of Moses and Aaron. They judged themselves to be holy and worthy. It was a power struggle and represented total disregard for spiritual authority. They effectively were appointing themselves to a position of power.
Prophetic Parallel: Today we have the condition of Korah in its most extreme form, more blatant than perhaps ever in the Church Age. For one, the largest religious organization in the world, widely considered to be Christian, has set itself up as the very vicar of Christ. The Roman Catholic Church has appointed itself as the necessary intermediary to salvation, also presuming to set up His kingdom on earth. It has challenged the very position of Christ. This is Korah’s rebellion at its most extreme. Similar rebellions are also witnessed in Protestant sects. Various self-appointed prophets and apostles presume to speak on a level equal in authority to Christ and the Holy Scriptures.
8. “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: ‘See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him’” (verses 14-15).
Prophetic Parallel: Enoch was the first example in the Bible of someone being “snatched away” … in other words, raptured. Here, he is shown as not only foreshadowing the pre-tribulation Rapture, but also the post-tribulation return of Christ with the saints, as the next two points confirm.
9. “[…] Thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone […]” (verses 14-15).
Prophetic Parallel: These are the saints of old as well as those raptured, who come back with Christ to vanquish the ungodly, meeting them on the plains ofMegiddo.
10. “[…] The Lord […]” (verse 14).
Prophetic Parallel: This is Jesus Christ, God Himself … “the One who is good,” returning to set up the Millennial Reign.
Having reviewed the list of persons and/or groups, we note the oft occurring 6-3-1 distribution noted earlier, whose sum is the number 10. There are six names representative of man and his relations—“his people out of Egypt” (Israelites), Enoch, Cain, Balaam, Korah, and the people of “Sodom and Gomorrah and surrounding towns.”
The group of spiritual, non-physical or of non-human origin are the “thousands upon thousands” of saints (they have already been translated to incorruptible bodies at this point), Archangel Michael, and the “angels that left their estate.” The Lord Himself here represents the single unity of perfection.
The Objective: Identifying the False Teachers
Now, we list the characteristics of the false teachers, their identification being the very objective of Jude’s writing.
1. “[…] These dreamers pollute their own bodies” (verse 8).
2. “[…] reject authority” (verse 8).
3. “[…] slander celestial beings” (verse 8).
4. “[…] These men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand […]” (verse 10).
5. “These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm” (verse 12).
6. “[…] shepherds who feed only themselves” (verse 12).
7. “They are clouds without rain […]” (verse 12).
8. “[…] blown along by the wind” (verse 12).
9. “Autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead” (verse 12).
10. “They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame” (verse 13).
11. “These men are grumblers […]” (verse 16).
12. “[…] and faultfinders” (verse 16).
13. “They follow their own evil desires” (verse 16).
14. “They boast about themselves […]” (verse 16).
15. “[…] and flatter others for their own advantage” (verse 16).
16. “These are the men who divide you […]” (verse 19).
17. “[…] who follow mere natural instincts […]” (verse 19).
18. “[…] and do not have the Spirit” (verse 19).
Numbered here are 18 characteristics with which to identify false teachers and purveyors of the doctrines of demons. No Christian should ever be deceived by them.
Points to Ponder
Jude is a remarkable book of prophetic foreshadowing, serving as a useful alert to endtime Christians. Given the prophetic parallels that we have considered, we must conclude that it is already very late … very near the Midnight Call. We are on the threshold of the occurrence associated with the eighth name mentioned—Enoch—the new beginning for the saints when they will be raptured. The number “8” stands for exactly that—a new beginning. Eight people were on Noah’s ark.
All prophetic parallels are in clear sight today. Our identification of the season of the last days should be obvious.
Once the “thousands upon thousands” of saints return with Christ, the next occurrence is the judging of the ungodly. They come “[…] to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (verse 15).
Described by Jude are very difficult times (“perilous times” as mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:1) for true Christians. However, Jude comes to our aid and outlines a course of action for us … a list of seven (which is a divine number).
“But you, dear friends,” he says:
1. “[…] Build yourselves up in your most holy faith“ (verse 20);
2. “[…] and pray in the Holy Spirit” (verse 20);
3. “Keep yourselves in God’s love […]” (verse 21);
4. “[…] as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life” (verse 21);
5. “Be merciful to those who doubt” (verse 22);
6. “[…] Snatch others from the fire and save them” (verse 23);
7. “[…] To others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh” (verse 23).
In closing, let us join Jude in his Doxology:
“To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen” (Jude 24-25).