Survey of the Book of Jude

The author of Jude is thought to be another one of the brothers of Christ, like James (Mark 6:3). However, his claim to the authority for writing the book is not that of a blood relationship but of servanthood to Christ (Jude 1). Dates vary for the book, but those who see it as a near companion to the Revelation put it in the AD 90s; those who note the similarity to II Peter put it around AD 65-70, to be consonant with the writings of Peter before he was crucified upside down in A. D. 68; and a few others put it as late as A. D. 150.

The epistle is a general epistle, written to all who believe.

Verses 4-11 have much in common with II Peter the second chapter. II Peter was a book not easily accepted by many of the early church, but first and second century historians accepted Jude easily enough. The Muratorian Canon, a list of authoritative books used by churches in and around Rome in A. D. 170, lists Jude. Objections to Jude as being part of the Canon usually center upon the fact that Jude quotes two apocryphal books in its short exposition, the Assumption of Moses (from the first century A. D.) and the book of Enoch from the first century B. C. However, quotations from such writings have not disqualified other books from being recognized as part of the Canon, or the book of Acts would be left out: Paul quotes from a secular prophet of the time about the God in whom we live, and move, and have our very being (Acts 17: 28).

The main theme of Jude seems to be much like that of II Peter, guarding from threats from within the church. Trademarks of false teachers seem to include their reliance upon carousing and licentiousness and the abuse of what might be called "freedom." They fail to show the respect for deity that they should and use abusive language (8-10). Compare to Matthew 5: 33-37 and elsewhere about letting our Yea be yea and our Nay be nay-anything more is of the devil. The "wild waves of the sea" which suggest their instability is reminiscent of James 1 about the double-minded man.

Some discussion about the angels of verse 6 has been made. Compare to Revelation 13: 7-12. Apparently at some point the angels in heaven had a choice of whether to serve God or to serve self, and they made the wrong choice. This very likely was before the time of Adam, or before the time of the events of Genesis 3. The rebellious angels along with Satan and his followers will spend eternity in Hell.

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Sid Womack, webmaster