As we continue in our study of the book of Jude it is very important that we remember where we have been thus far. In verses 3 and 4 we find out that Jude is writing this letter to Christians “appealing that [they] earnestly contend for the faith.” This was necessary because, as we see in verse 4, “certain persons have crept in unnoticed…” These certain persons were fake Christians who came to church and pretended that they loved Jesus. In reality, “these certain persons were… ungodly persons who turn[ed] the grace of our God into licentiousness and [denied] our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” These persons were teaching something along the lines of “since we are all under God’s grace we might as well just keep sinning and ask for forgiveness when we are done.” They also secretly hated the fact that Jesus is Lord. So it is easy to see that, despite their claims to be Christians, these people were not real Christians. This is why Jude was compelled to write to the real Christians and warn them of these spiritual terrorists. In verses 5-7 Jude used three examples from the OT to show that these fake Christians, and whoever followed them, would face the eternal judgment of God. Jude’s main point is that the OT clearly teaches that those who rebel against God whether they identify with the people of God, or they are angels, or they are blatant sinners will all be punished. This is why it was so important that no one accepts the fake gospel that these “certain persons” were teaching.As we begin to look at verses 8-10 what is so amazing is that despite having the outcome of rebellion recorded in the OT these men still acted in the same way as the three examples recorded in vv. 5-7. Jude begins verse 8 by saying, “Yet in the same way…” Instead of learning from the examples of rebellion in the OT (which I hope you have done), these people followed the examples of rebellion from the OT. Think about this for just a moment. These people were Jews who claimed to be Christians. That means two things. First, they were taught the OT from a very young age. Second, they heard the teachings of Jesus through the Church. They knew what the bible said, they knew how to make themselves look like Christians (this is how they snuck in), but they refused to submit to God. As we will see in these verses, these individuals were consumed with their own passions. They were not interested in what God had to say; they were only interested in gratifying their own desires.
In verse 8 Jude describes these certain individuals. Jude writes, “These men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties.” Jude first describes these men as dreamers. This phrase “by dreaming” relates to all three of Jude’s descriptions. So, by their dreaming these men defiled the flesh, rejected authority, and reviled angelic majesties. But how could they do these evil actions by dreaming? Well, this word dreaming really isn’t talking about the dreaming you do at night when you are asleep. The word dreaming is talking about having visions. In other words, these men claimed that they were receiving visions from God. So whenever someone said “hey the bible says that you can’t do that!” They would respond by saying that they had received a vision that told them it was ok. This kind of false teaching is very dangerous, and that is why Jude wants the church to fight against these guys.
The people of God had the very same problem in the OT. In Deuteronomy 13:1-5 Moses records how God’s people were to respond to “false teaching dreamers,”
If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you.
Although we should not go around killing false teachers there is a lot that we can learn from this. Primarily, if someone is teaching something that contradicts what God has said in the Bible then we should not listen to them. A great example of this principle can be found in Nehemiah 6:10-13. Here Nehemiah went to Shemaiah, who was apparently a prophet, for advice. Shemaiah’s advice was that he should stop the work God had called him to, and hide in the Temple from his enemies. Nehemiah did not take Shemaiah’s advice; in fact, it would have been a sin for him to take Shemaiah’s advice. Nehemiah was not a priest, and so it would have gone against God’s word for him to enter into the Temple to hide from his enemies. Because Shemaiah gave advice the contradicted God’s word Nehemiah knew that something was not right. In the end we see that Shemaiah was actually a double-agent, who had been paid off by Nehemiah’s enemy.
The lesson for us is that we must not listen to anyone who teaches something that contradicts God’s word. It is not always some nut job on TV who is contradicting God’s word. Sometimes it is a friend trying to convince us to disobey our parents. As we will see in the rest of this verse those who contradict God’s word end up in sin. This is why we must not listen to those who contradict God’s word.
I. The Character of “these men.”
a. By their dreaming they defiled the flesh
There are three different areas of sin that these men were involved in by their dreaming. First, these men defiled the flesh by their dreaming. Despite what God’s word commanded they gratified their lust, and they justified it by appealing to their visions. In 2 Peter 2:10, Peter described this same sin as indulging “the flesh in its corrupt desires…” Because “these men” were not real Christians, and they did not have the Holy Spirit (v. 19) they were unable to control their sinful desires. Consequently, they indulged their flesh rather than obeying God’s word.
b. By their dreaming they rejected authority
The second sin that these men were involved in by their dreaming was the rejection of authority. Specifically, these men reject the authority of Jesus. This word for authority (κυριότητα) points back to verse 4 where Jude said that these men “deny our only Master and Lord (κύριον), Jesus Christ.” Thus, the authority that these men rejected was the authority of Jesus. However, they did not make this obvious. They had to claim that Jesus was Lord with their mouths so that they could sneak into the church. But the way that they lived their lives proved that they did not believe that Jesus was Lord. These men that were headed toward the same end that the individuals in Matthew 7:21-23 faced,
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
If we follow people who contradict the Bible then we will face this same destruction.
c. By their dreaming they slandered the glorious ones
The third sin that these men were involved in by their dreaming was the reviling of angelic majesties. Literally these men slandered angels (δόξας δὲ βλασφημοῦσιν). Let me explain what this means. These men were very tricky. They hated God, they hated the bible, and they did not want to keep God’s commandment in the Bible. But, they could not say this because then no one would listen to them. They had to sneaky. This is where the slandering of angels comes in. According to Jewish tradition God used the Angels to give the law to Moses (Acts 7:38; Heb 2:2). Additionally, the angels watched over the law; kind of like guardians. So when these men wanted to disobey God’s commandments they couldn’t attack God because then they wouldn’t look like Christians. So instead, they slandered the angels in order to discredit the law. They probably exalted their own visions as being better than the law the angels had given to Moses. In the process, Jude tells us that these men insulted the angels. This would be like one kid speaking poorly about another kid’s parents in order to convince them to disobey what their parents had told them.
The character that these men displayed was clearly unbiblical, and just like the rebellion that we read about in verses 5-7.