The Book of Jude

A Study of Jude

Jude is an epistle (letter) written by Jude, brother of James written between 70 and 90 AD.  It is believed by most scholars that this Jude is not the Apostle Jude (son of James), but rather the half brother of Jesus.  Matthew 13:55 records Jesus’ brothers’ names as James and Judas, but english translations change the name to Jude, possibly for the same reason that today no one would name their child Judas.  This letter was written to Christians.

Why is it important to study Jude?

As a Christian it is important to study Jude for two reasons.  First, so that you can recognize people drifting or false doctrine creeping into the church.  Second, so you can guard your own heart and soul and not fall into apostasy.

As someone who feels like they’re falling away, it is important to study Jude to find insight on what might be dragging you down.  It also will help you understand what is pulling you so that you can seek help for yourself. 

Let’s Jump Into Jude!

Jude (ESV) 1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: 2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.

The book of Jude is about apostates and apostasy.  

What is an apostate?

From the dictionary:

Noun, a person who renounces a religious or political belief or principle.

We see this a lot in society today.  During the 90s, churches began to fill up rather quickly, but no one noticed people falling out the back door quickly.  We’re seeing more and more prominent Chrstian speakers and musicians falling away from the Truth and getting into the LGBQT+ movement, or screaming publicly that they are losing their faith.  

What is an apostasy?

The word “apostasy” comes from the greek word “apostasia” meaning:

  • A defiance of an established system or authority 
  • A rebellion 
  • An abandonment or breach of faith has a great video on apostasy that is worth watching before continuing.  

Jude (ESV) 3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Jude originally sat down to write a letter about salvation, but instead recognized a huge problem in the early church.  He saw that the church knowingly or unknowingly allowed people who God would have condemned to make their way into the church body.  These were ungodly people who twisted around the grace of God for their own physical pleasure and gain.  If you read about the church of Thyatira in Revelation 2, you’ll read about how they tolerated Jezebel.  Jezebel falsely taught that since you’re saved, you can do whatever you want with your earthly body.  This goes against any teaching about purity from Jesus in the gospels.  He also points out this is denial of Jesus Christ.

Jude (ESV) 5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

The story of Moses freeing his people in the book of Exodus is both heroic and tragic at the same time.  It wasn’t very long after they were free that they were complaining about everything and even wanting to go back to Egypt.  There were many issues along the way, including worship of idols and God having to deal with them.  Some were lost along the way, and the entire older generation had to wander and die before allowing anyone into the promised land.

One interesting group that Jude mentions here is the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority.  This is the group known as the nephilim.  You can read their story in Genesis 6 and the Book of Enoch.  

Genesis 6:6 (ESV) When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

The nephilim were bred from angels and human women.  They were extremely strong and very large.  If you go to Google and do an image search for “Nephilim Bones”, you can get an idea of how large and powerful the nephilim were.  Please also note, these may not be authentic bones, but you will at least get a visual idea of how to wrap your head around this.

Also take note of Sodom and Gamora.  This is the city where Abraham made a deal with God and got Lot and his family out before God destroyed it.  You can read about this in Genesis 19.

Jude then mentions the punishment of eternal fire for all of these groups.  You can read about that in Revelation 20.  You’ll read about the Great White Throne judgement and the judgement of being cast into the lake of fire.  You don’t want to be cast into the lake of fire.

Jude (ESV) 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.

Romans 1:18-32 is a deep, harsh analysis of sin.  It talks about judgments from God for falling into all of these categories talked about by Jude.  When we focus on our own desires, our own dreams, and follow the flesh, we end up destroying ourselves and our lives.  Remember Jonah?  He didn’t want to go to Ninneveh.  He almost lost his life.  When we do what God wants us to do, everything goes according to plan.  Daniel is a perfect example of this.

We learn from Michael that we shouldn’t cast judgement on sin and satan.  That’s God’s job.  We simply need to rebuke them in the name of the Lord.  

Jude (ESV) 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.

I always get nervous when I see phrases like “Woe to them!”.  This is telling.  Cain was one of Adam and Eve’s two sons.  Genesis 4 tells the story of Cain and Abel giving offerings to God.  Abel gave offerings that were pleasing to God, while Cain gave the leftovers and was rebuked by God.  Cain ultimately killed Abel over this.  

You can read about Balaam’s error in 2 Peter 2 and Korah’s Rebellion in Numbers 16.  

Isaiah 14:12 – ““How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!”

Romans 14-15, Do not judge someone for weak faith.

Jude (ESV) 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.

Enoch was one of two who never died.  Elijah went up to Heaven in a chariot of fire, leaving Elisha to continue his work on earth.  Enoch walked 300 years with God and walked the earth no more.  You can read this in Genesis 5:18-24.  Here we also get confirmation that Enoch was a prophet.  

Enoch’s prophecy is not in the Bible, but in the Book of Enoch.  What Jude is referring to can be found in Enoch 1:9, “And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones To execute judgement upon all, And to destroy all the ungodly: And to convict all flesh Of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, And of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

The Book of Enoch is a very interesting read.  You can find it here:

Why is this not part of the Bible?  The Holy Spirit chose to leave it out.  This piece of the book aligns with Revelation 19-20.  

I don’t want to focus on the validity of the Book of Enoch in this lesson.  Please research and read and determine for yourself.  Act 17:11 reminds us to do that with any topic always.

Jude (ESV) 17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Matthew 24 gives us insight on the predictions of the apostles and Jesus.  Here we find the disciples asking Jesus about the end times.  Jesus tells them that the Temple will be destroyed and they want to know when.  Jesus then issues a warning.

Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.

We must use discernment and the scriptures to determine if what we’re being taught is truth.  We cannot let ourselves be compromised.  Jesus then continues when these events might unfold.

Matthew 24:6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

“The end is not yet” – That’s comforting isn’t it?  As bad as the world might be, it’s going to get worse.  Jesus continues.

Matthew 24:7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

Other translations use “sorrows” in place of “birth pains”.  Either way, this is just the beginning of what will lead up to the worst era in the history of the world.

Matthew 24:9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Here’s what Christians have to look forward to.  Tribulation and death, hated, and what we’re talking about now, apostasy (falling away).  All we need to do is hold our heads high and we will be saved.  Just like Jesus tells the church of Philadelphia in Revelation 3.

We need to make sure we’re spreading the truth.  We’re not being worldly or devoid of Spirit.  We need to teach salvation as it is talked about in John 3.

Jude (ESV) 24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Discussion Questions:

What is an apostate? 

What is apostasy? 

Have you come across an apostate? 

What can we do about apostates? 

What is an example of false teaching or false doctrine? 

How do we protect ourselves from becoming an apostate? 

How does this book and its teachings apply to our times?

Written by Dan
This is my collection of bible study lessons and book reviews. I am the Executive Pastor of Cross Waves Church and graduate of the Willmington School of the Bible, part of the Liberty University Rawlings School of Divinity.