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Truth Worth Fighting For

From Judah,[a] a loving servant[b] of Jesus, the Anointed One, and brother of James.[c] I’m writing to the chosen ones who are wrapped in the love of Father God—kept and guarded for[d] Jesus, the Messiah. May God’s mercy, peace, and love[e] cascade over you![f]

Dearly loved friend, I was fully intending to write to you about our amazing salvation we all participate in, but felt the need instead to challenge you to vigorously defend and contend for[g] the beliefs that we cherish.[h] For God, through the apostles, has once for all entrusted these truths to his holy believers.

Warning against False Teachers

There have been some who have sneaked in among you unnoticed.[i] They are depraved people whose judgment was prophesied in Scripture[j] a long time ago. They have perverted the message of God’s grace into a license to commit immorality[k] and turn against[l] our only absolute Master,[m] our Lord Jesus Christ.

I need to remind you, even though you are familiar with it all, that the Lord Jesus[n] saved his people out of Egypt but subsequently destroyed those who were guilty of unbelief.

In the same way, there were heavenly messengers in rebellion who went outside their rightful domain of authority[o] and abandoned their appointed realms.[p] God bound them in everlasting chains and is keeping them in the dark abyss of the netherworld until the judgment of the great day.

In a similar way, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and nearby towns[q] gave themselves to sexual immorality and the unnatural desire of different flesh.[r] Now they all serve as examples of those who experience the punishment of eternal fire.[s]

The Fate of Apostates

In the same way, these sensual “dreamers” corrupt and pollute the natural realm, while on the other hand they reject the spiritual realms of governmental power and repeatedly scoff at heavenly glories.[t] Even the archangel Michael,[u] when he was disputing with the devil over the body of Moses,[v] dared not insult or slander him, but simply said, “The Lord Yahweh[w] rebuke you!”[x]

10 These people insult anything they don’t understand. They behave like irrational beasts by doing whatever they feel like doing.[y] Because they live by their animal instincts, they corrupt themselves and bring about their own destruction. 11 How terrible it is for them![z] For they have followed in the steps of Cain.[aa] They have abandoned[ab] themselves to Balaam’s error because of their greedy pursuit of financial gain.[ac] And since they have rebelled like Korah rebelled, they will experience the same fate of Korah and likewise perish.[ad]

12 These false teachers are like dangerous hidden reefs at your love feasts,[ae] lying in wait to shipwreck the immature. They feast among you without reverence,[af] having no shepherd but themselves.[ag] They are clouds with no rain,[ah] swept along by the winds.[ai] Like fruitless late-autumn trees[aj]—twice dead,[ak] barren, and plucked up by the roots! 13 They are wild waves of the sea, flinging out the foam of their shame and disgrace.[al] They are misleading like wandering stars,[am] for whom the complete darkness of eternal gloom has been reserved.[an]

Enoch’s Prophecy

14 Enoch, the seventh direct descendant from Adam,[ao] prophesied of their doom[ap] when he said, “Look! Here comes the Lord Yahweh[aq] with his countless myriads of holy ones. 15 He comes to execute judgment against them all and to convict each one of them for their ungodly deeds and for all the terrible words that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”[ar]

16 These people are always complaining and never satisfied—finding fault with everyone. They follow their own evil desires and their mouths speak scandalous things. They enjoy using seductive flattery to manipulate others.[as]

A Call to Remain Faithful

17 But you, my delightfully loved friends, remember the prophecies of the apostles of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. 18 They taught you, “In the last days[at] there will always be mockers, motivated by their own ungodly desires.”[au] 19 These people cause divisions and are followers of their own natural instincts, devoid of the life of the Spirit.

20 But you, my delightfully loved friends, constantly and progressively build yourselves up on the foundation of your most holy faith[av] by praying every moment in the Spirit.[aw] 21 Fasten your hearts to the love of God and receive the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gives us eternal life.[ax]

22 Keep being compassionate to those who still have doubts,[ay] 23 and snatch others out of the fire to save them. Be merciful over and over to them, but always couple your mercy with the fear of God. Be extremely careful to keep yourselves free from the pollutions of the flesh.[az]

24 Now, to the one with enough power to prevent you from stumbling into sin[ba] and bring you faultless before his glorious presence to stand before him with ecstatic delight, 25 to the only God our Savior, through our Lord Jesus Christ, be endless glory and majesty, great power and authority—from before he created time, now, and throughout all the ages of eternity. Amen![bb]


  1. Jude 1:1 Or Jude. The Greek is Judas. This was a common Hebrew/Aramaic name during the time of Jesus, and there were two of the Twelve who had this name.
  2. Jude 1:1 The Greek word doulos implies a close and lasting relationship to a master; love is implied.
  3. Jude 1:1 This James was the brother of our Lord Jesus. Jude is not asserting his family ties to Jesus but to James, as a sign of his humility. Instead of introducing himself as the half-brother of Jesus, he chose to describe himself simply as a “loving servant of Jesus . . . and brother of James.” Jude is not boasting of a physical commonality with Jesus but a spiritual relationship he has with the risen Christ. See Matt. 13:55, where he is named as a (half) brother of Jesus.
  4. Jude 1:1 Or “by.”
  5. Jude 1:2 Jude adds the word love to the typical greeting of mercy and peace.
  6. Jude 1:2 Or “be multiplied in you.”
  7. Jude 1:3 Or “keep adding to the contest” or “repeatedly participate fully in the race course.”
  8. Jude 1:3 Although the Greek here is “the faith” or “on behalf of the faith,” it is clear that Jude is not speaking of faith as simply believing in God. The Christian faith encompasses the body of truth we receive from the inspired Word of God. It is possible that Jude wrote his letter after the death of Peter and was referring to 1 and 2 Peter, a few of Paul’s early letters, or even Mark’s Gospel.
  9. Jude 1:4 See Acts 20:29-30; 2 Peter 2:1.
  10. Jude 1:4 Or “written.” It is possible that Jude is referring not only to Old Testament prophecies but also to the New Testament book of 2 Peter.
  11. Jude 1:4 Or “debauchery.” See Rom. 6:1; Titus 2:11-14. The gospel of grace is beautiful to our ears. God’s grace empowers and equips us to live an ascended life so that we are not distracted or detoured by our former life of sin.
  12. Jude 1:4 Or “deny.”
  13. Jude 1:4 Or “Sovereign” (God). They deny the authority, glory, and sovereignty of our Master (God) and our Lord Jesus Christ.
  14. Jude 1:5 Some reliable manuscripts have “the Lord,” while other very reliable early manuscripts have “Jesus.” This translation, for the sake of clarity, includes both Lord and Jesus. This is an incredible reference of the preincarnate Jesus, who powerfully delivered the Hebrew people before he was even born.
  15. Jude 1:6 Or “their own principality” or “their native state.”
  16. Jude 1:6 See Gen. 6:1-4; 2 Peter 2:4-8. This episode is referring to angels who abandoned the heavenly realm to come to earth to have intercourse with women in order to corrupt the godly lineage of Seth. Cain had already gone into the darkness of sin, but the godly line of Seth would one day bring forth Noah, and from his seed (Shem) Jesus would eventually be born. The rebellious rank of angels mentioned here had sex with women who then gave birth to the Nephilim (mighty giants). Ancient references to this can be found in the writings of early Jewish writers, including Josephus and Philo of Alexandria, as well as early church fathers, such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Ambrose of Milan, Athenagoras, Tertullian, Eusebius, Lactantius, Jerome, Augustine of Hippo, and Sulpicius Severus. All of them, along with the Septuagint, identified these sons of God as the offspring of angels. See also 1 Enoch 10. This sin was one of the significant causes for the flood.
  17. Jude 1:7 This would include Admah and Zeboyim (Deut. 29:23).
  18. Jude 1:7 Or “strange flesh.” This is homosexuality, but it includes any sexual deviation or immorality. In the pseudepigraphal book The Testament of Naphtali, 3.3.4–5 refers to sexual relations between the women of Sodom and these fallen angels, called “Watchers.” The Book of Jubilees makes mention of holy angels sent by God to punish the “Watchers.” Second Enoch describes the people of Sodom as committing abominations such as pedophilia, sorcery, magic enchantments, and the worship of many gods. First Enoch 6–10 indicates there were two hundred of these “Watchers” who came to earth, lusting after the women of Sodom who had offspring (Nephilim) from their sexual relations with them. Both humanity and angels violated the boundaries God had set in place.
  19. Jude 1:7 Jude gives us three examples from ancient history in vv. 5–7, pointing to those who experienced wonderful privileges from God but terribly abused God’s grace and so were punished. Sodom and Gomorrah was described as fertile, fruitful, “like the garden of the Lord” (Gen. 13:10). Each example cited (Israel’s exodus, angels that sinned, and the cities of sexual perversion) serves as an example and a warning that God judges sin. There is an eternal punishment of fire awaiting all who refuse to hide themselves in the love and grace of God, which is expressed through Christ toward us.
  20. Jude 1:8 Or “blaspheming reputations”; that is, angelic beings.
  21. Jude 1:9 See Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1; Rev. 12:7. Michael is one of the highest angelic messengers, who is seen as leading the angelic host in war against the devil and his angels.
  22. Jude 1:9 Moses’ death is mentioned in Deut. 34:5-6.
  23. Jude 1:9 As translated from the Aramaic.
  24. Jude 1:9 See 2 Peter 2:10-12. It is obvious here that Michael the archangel had a measure of respect for spiritual powers, even toward the devil. A possible translation of the Greek word epitimao is “to hold in high regard” or “to respect.” Most scholars believe that Jude is quoting from the book of The Assumption of Moses, as cited also by some church fathers (Clement of Alexandria and Origen).
  25. Jude 1:10 There is an implication that they are like animals in heat, following their natural instincts.
  26. Jude 1:11 Or “A curse is on them.”
  27. Jude 1:11 See Gen. 4:3-8. The way of Cain was to reject the blood sacrifice that God desired and instead offer the fruit of his own labors (works). False teachers will insist on adding something to the gospel, polluting it with human works.
  28. Jude 1:11 Or “poured out” (themselves).
  29. Jude 1:11 Balaam’s error was an abuse of the prophetic gift for financial gain. See Num. 22–24; 31:16.
  30. Jude 1:11 See Num. 16. Korah led 250 men in rebellions against the leadership of Moses. The earth opened up and swallowed Korah alive. In a similar way, the “things of this earth” enticed these false teachers and they would be “swallowed up” by their greed for what this world can offer. Jude gives us three illustrations of wicked men who did as they pleased and suffered greatly: Cain, Balaam, and Korah.
  31. Jude 1:12 “Love feasts”! What a beautiful description of what our church gatherings are meant to be. We celebrate the love of Christ through our communion, worship, teaching, prophesying, and fellowship together in our love for one another.
  32. Jude 1:12 See 1 Cor. 11:17-22.
  33. Jude 1:12 Or “shepherds who care for only themselves.” The Aramaic can be translated “they submit their souls to no one.”
  34. Jude 1:12 Rain in the Bible is often a symbol of revelatory teaching (Deut. 32:2).
  35. Jude 1:12 Both in Hebrew and in Aramaic, the word Jude uses for “winds” is spirits—“swept along by the spirits.”
  36. Jude 1:12 Autumn trees are often quite stunning in beauty, but these false teachers are bearing no fruit. They have the appearance of being true, but there is no fruit connected to their lives and ministries.
  37. Jude 1:12 They are dead in appearance and dead in reality—dead through and through.
  38. Jude 1:13 The Aramaic can be translated “They manifest their confusion.”
  39. Jude 1:13 Stars were seen as navigational tools for seamen. But these false teachers could not be depended on and would give disastrous guidance. The word misleading is found in the Aramaic.
  40. Jude 1:13 This is an Hebraic expression that is meant to convey the place of future eternal punishment, the farthest away from God that anyone could ever be.
  41. Jude 1:14 That would be Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, and Enoch.
  42. Jude 1:14 Or “prophesied against them.”
  43. Jude 1:14 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek can also be translated “The Lord has come” (proleptic [or futuristic] aorist).
  44. Jude 1:15 See 1 Enoch 1:9.
  45. Jude 1:16 Or “admiring faces [of the rich] for their own [financial] gain.”
  46. Jude 1:18 The last days began at Pentecost and have continued for more than two thousand years. We have been living in the last days since the Holy Spirit was poured out. See Acts 2:17; Heb. 1:2.
  47. Jude 1:18 See Acts 20:29; 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 2 Peter 3:2-3; 2 John 7.
  48. Jude 1:20 Or “faithfulness.”
  49. Jude 1:20 Paul uses this phrase “praying . . . in the Spirit” to refer to praying in tongues. See Rom. 8:26; 1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 6:18. It can also mean “pray as led by the Spirit,” “pray in the Spirit’s realm,” or “pray by means of/power of the Spirit.”
  50. Jude 1:21 Or “By constantly and progressively building each other up on the foundation of your most holy faith, and by praying every moment in the Spirit’s power, you will keep yourselves in the love of God, awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus, who gives eternal life.”
  51. Jude 1:22 Or “Show mercy to those who are still undecided.”
  52. Jude 1:23 Or “hating even the garment [‘snake skin’ or ‘coating’] of the pollution of the flesh [the natural realm].” In other words, we do all we can to bring others to Christ, but not at the expense of becoming like them in ignoring sin. Jude, in closing, gives us seven commands: (1) Keep building up your inner life on the foundation of faith. (2) Pray in the Holy Spirit. (3) Fasten your life to the love of God. (4) Receive more mercy from our Lord Jesus Christ. (5) Have compassion on the wavering. (6) Share the gospel with those who are lost. (7) Hate any compromise that will stain our lives.
  53. Jude 1:24 The Greek word aptaistos, a hapax legomenon, is translated in classical Greek as “to keep from harm.”
  54. Jude 1:25 The Aramaic adds “The end of the letter of the apostle Judah, the brother of Jacob and Joseph.”