Today’s two verses intimidated me so much that I wanted to declare a “Christmas vacation” from our study of Jude’s epistle. Really, not a mark of Christian maturity! Thankfully, the Lord encouraged me through my preparation time this morning, to the point that I now feel excited about showing you what I’ve learned (and encouraging you to dig deeper into this book for yourselves).
We’ll look at verses 14 and 15 in this week’s Bible Study, but of course I’ll quote them within their immediate context (hoping you’ll read the entire letter for overall context):
8 Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. 9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” 10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. 11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.
14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. ~~Jude 8-16 (ESV)
As you read verse 14, the matter of Enoch’s prophecy should jump out at you. Moses’ account of Enoch in Genesis 5:21-24 says precious little about Enoch. Yet Genesis 5:24 indicates that his holiness was so great that God took him into heaven without having him go through death. Hebrews 11:5 adds only that God commended Enoch for pleasing Him.
So where did Jude get this prophecy of Enoch? The commentaries I read all had slightly different answers, and none of them felt certain about those answers. But (and this is important) nearly all of them emphasized that, whatever the means, the Holy Spirit revealed this prophecy to Jude and inspired him to include it in this letter. Therefore, even through Moses didn’t record the prophecy, we can trust its veracity.
The prophecy begins by declaring that the Lord comes. This statement implies that He is bringing judgment, and is strengthened by the phrase, “with ten thousands of His holy ones.” Although the “holy ones” could refer to the saints (Christians who have died) who will return with Christ as seen in 1 Thessalonians 3:13), passages like Matthew 13:49-50 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 clearly teach that angels execute judgment.
In fact, the prophecy continues in verse 15 by stating explicitly that the Lord comes with His holy ones “to execute judgment on all.” Most of the commentaries took the position that this phrase indicated universal judgment. While its true that Christians will have to account for our service for Christ (see 1 Corinthians 3:11-15), John MacArthur reminds us that Jesus promised immunity from judgment to those who would believe in Him (look at John 5:24).
Look back at Jude 14 for a second and notice the phrase, “It was also about these that Enoch…prophesied.” Jude asserts that Enoch predicted judgment specifically on the apostate teachers that this epistle denounces. Thus, in verse 15, the judgment will convict, or pass sentence on, these ungodly teachers. To be precise, these teachers will be convicted, not merely for performing ungodly actions, but for doing so in ungodly ways (as Jude showed us in verses 8-13). Furthermore, God will convict them of their blasphemies.
Praise the Lord for His justice to deal with false teachers! But praise Him even more for His mercy on true believers! Enoch’s prophecy should drive us to gratitude that the shed blood of Jesus Christ shields us from the consequences of our own ungodliness.