Tonight we’re going to return to our study in Jude and look at verses 14 through 16. I’m taking this in small chunks because it really is important material. This particular section of three verses is unique, as you will see when we get into it a little bit. In another sense, it’s familiar territory to us, because it talks about judgment, and that, of course, is a very common theme in Scripture.
Let me read verses 14 through 16, and we’ll look into them. Jude, verse 14, “And about these also Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.’ These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lust; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.”
Now, obviously, this is a text that talks about the coming of the Lord in judgment on the ungodly. Prominent in the Bible is the theme of judgment, and in particular, the theme of judgment and the theme of eternal punishment is prominent in the teaching of our Lord Jesus. There is the idea today, and it is often espoused by apostate false teachers that Jesus loves everyone, and Jesus would not harm anyone, and Jesus wants to gather everyone into His heaven.
The truth of the matter is that our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ had more to say about hell than He did about heaven, and He had more to say about hell than any other personality in the Bible. Much of His teaching on hell is found in the Sermon on the Mount. And the Sermon on the Mount, traditionally, has been thought of by many apostates and many false teachers as sort of an ethical sermon. But the fact of the matter is the Sermon on the Mount has many references to hell.
In that sermon, which is recorded in Matthew 5 to 7, Jesus spoke of the danger of the hell of fire. He also spoke about the whole body going into hell, a hell so severe that the loss of a limb or the loss of an eye, in exchange for life, is nothing compared to that.
In those references, in the Sermon on the Mount, to hell, Jesus used the word “Gehenna.” The word “Gehenna” was a common word. It was used to identify the Jewish dump. In the Valley of Hinnom, just outside Jerusalem – I have been there numbers of times – there was, in ancient times, the city dump, and it was a never-ending fire, a continuously-burning fire, burning up the refuse of the city. It is that concept of an endless fire that Jesus used to describe hell.
Later in that same Sermon on the Mount, He said, “Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire.” He also said, of those who did not believe in Him, later on in His ministry, “They shall be cast forth into the outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
In seeking, on one occasion, to give encouragement to His disciples, Jesus said, “Be not afraid of them that kill the body” – be not afraid of them that kill the body – “but are not able to kill the soul. But fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” - Matthew 10:28. And, of course, there again is the word “Gehenna.”
Jesus spoke again about hell in His parables in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew. In fact, you can look, for example, at just a couple of verses there. Verse 40, “Just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels. They will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and cast them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And on the other hand, “The righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”
Jesus did not at all hesitate to refer to hell. Hell as endless fire, hell as relentless pain that produces grinding and gnashing of teeth, hell a kind of extreme outer darkness.
In the gospel of Mark, again, we find, in chapter 9, Jesus referring to hell, in verse 43, as “unquenchable fire.” Unquenchable fire. And he later says, in verse 48, “Where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.” It is a fire that does not consume; it only tortures. And it goes on endlessly. And there, again, he uses the word “Gehenna,” which was the term to describe the burning fire in the Valley of Hinnom, where the refuse of the city was thrown.
Later on, our Lord speaks of hell again. He speaks of hell as exclusion from God and what is good. He speaks of it as darkness. He speaks of it as remorse. He speaks of it as torment.
In Matthew 22:13, He says, “Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” In chapter 23, He says, “You serpents, you offspring of poisonous snakes. How shall you escape the judgment of hell?” And again, he uses the term “Gehenna,” this place of endless burning.
In the famous Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24 and 25, where He speaks of His second coming in judgment, in the forty-first verse, He says, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the” – and this is a key phrase – “eternal fire.” The eternal fire.
In verse 46, “These will go away into eternal punishment.” There He emphasizes the eternal aspect. In Matthew 26 and verse 24, it says, “Woe to that man through whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Good were it for that man if he had not been born.” That is to say, regarding Judas, nonexistence would be better than what he is going to suffer. It would have been better had he never been born, because he’s going to suffer a fate far worse the nonexistence, which indicates to me that Jesus did not teach annihilation or Judas’ fate would have been the same as having not been born. He would simply go out of existence.
Now, this is repeated throughout the gospel record, this emphasis by our Lord on the judgments of hell, the horrific judgments of hell. Dramatically, I think, in the sixteenth chapter of Luke – and you might look at it there, and we’re not covering all the Scriptures, but this one is an important one, where Jesus tells the story about a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus.
And in verse 22, it says, “The poor man died, was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom, the place of blessing. The rich man died and was buried. And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment” – and here you have a picture of someone in the torment of eternal punishment. And he cries out for mercy and asks that he receive even a drip of water to cool off his tongue. He says, “For I am in agony in this flame.”
And later, in verse 28, he says, “I have five brothers. I want someone to go back and warn them lest they also come to this place of torment.” Hell, then, is presented by Jesus, and particularly by Jesus, in all of its horror, as a place of eternal torment for both soul and body.
In John chapter 5, Jesus said there would be a resurrection unto judgment, a resurrection of the ungodly unto eternal damnation. They will suffer in a resurrected body. It is not just the suffering of a soul; it is the suffering of a resurrected body fit for that suffering. Horrible, intense suffering. And the sufferings are defined in the most graphic fashion.
Now, the hottest hell, the severest judgment, is reserved for those who know the true and reject it. Hebrews 10:28. Hebrews 10:28. “Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses die without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled underfoot the Son of God and regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” – particularly, and much more severely, if you’ve trampled underfoot the gospel, the Son of God, and regarded His blood as something unclean.
Will there be degrees of punishment in hell? Yes. And the severest punishments of hell are reserved for apostates who heard the truth, rejected the truth, and advocate and propagate error.
Look at 2 Peter chapter 2 for just a moment. In 2 Peter chapter 2, we read about apostate angels in verse 4, “who are committed to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment.” We read about those people who feel the suffering of God under punishment because they conduct themselves like those angels, those who perished in the flood, whose who were destroyed in Sodom and Gomorrah. And verse 9 says, “The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation; He knows how to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment.”
Now, that opens to us a very important thought. You might think that the ungodly, when they die, don’t enter into hell or don’t enter into punishment. That’s wrong. Here it says, “The unrighteous are kept under punishment for the day of judgment.” It’s very much like a criminal who is incarcerated until his trial, without benefit of bail, kept in prison in essentially the same conditions that he’ll be kept in in his final sentencing until the final trial. The final trial comes at the return of Christ, at the day of judgment, but all those who die in their sins enter into a place of darkness, a place of suffering, a place of pain, a place of torment, a place of horror, as illustrated in the account in Luke 16 of the rich man and Lazarus. He wasn’t somewhere in limbo; he was in a place of torment, and he desperately needed his tongue to be cooled.
They enter immediately into torment, although the final, sentencing doesn’t take place until the day of judgment, and at that time is when they receive their glorified bodies. That is the time, at the second coming of Christ, when the bodies of the ungodly are recreated, bodies suited for eternal torment, and they enter into the final form of hell, which is the eternal lake of fire as tormented souls in resurrected bodies. But even now, they are outside the presence of God, in a place of evil and torment.
This is warning upon warning about hell. Judgment will fall on the ungodly. It falls immediately and permanently. The only thing the ungodly wait for is the final form of their punishment in their resurrected body which awaits the return of Christ. He said, in John 5, there would be a resurrection unto life, and a resurrection unto judgment.
These ungodly are on the mind of Jude as he writes. Let’s go back to Jude. And as Jude writes, he refers repeatedly to their end. They’re introduced, in verse 4, as the persons who crept in unnoticed. These false teachers, these who deny, in reality, the only Master and Lord Jesus Christ. They live licentious lives. They tread, as it were, on the grace of our God.
And he says in verse 4, “They have been long beforehand marked out for condemnation.” Their condemnation has been long planned, long planned. He refers, in verse 6, as did Peter, to those angels who are kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day. And again, he repeats that even the angels who are bound in the pit, the angels who are held captive in spirit form now have not yet entered into the final form of their punishment; that awaits the judgment of the great day, the day of the return of Jesus Christ. False teachers will participate in that same judgment. They will enter into that same lake of fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. Verse 7 says, “They will undergo, as did Sodom and Gomorrah, the punishment of eternal fire.” Eternal fire.
“The false teachers” - at the end of verse 13 it says – “have reserved for them black darkness forever.” The language is unmistakable. Apostate false teachers have been ordained long beforehand to condemnation. They are awaiting the final sentencing in the judgment of that great day, but they are already undergoing the punishment of eternal fire, and they will never escape, because that place of fire, and at the same time, paradoxically, black darkness lasts forever.
You ask the question, “How dangerous is an apostate false teacher?”
You only need to answer it by saying, “What will God do to them? How does God feel about them? How should you feel about an apostate? How should you feel about a false teacher? How should you feel about someone who denies the truth of the gospel, who denies the deity of Jesus Christ or twists and perverts the gospel for his own ends? How should you feel about someone who is corrupt? How should you feel about someone who abuses grace to live an immoral life and then says he represents God? How should you feel about someone who has defected from the gospel truth but stayed in Christendom and stayed in the Church and is purveying lies?”
Well, you only need to know how God feels about that. He has reserved of them the severest eternal punishment. The severest. In the mind of our Lord, they are so dangerous, they are so destructive that the most vivid, the most pungent, the most powerful, and the most condemning language is used to speak of them. They will follow in the path of Israel’s apostates. They will follow in the path of heaven’s apostates. They will follow in the path of the nations’ apostates, as we saw back in verses 5 through 7. They will follow the path of Cain. They will follow the path of Balaam. They will follow in the kind of rebellion of Korah, as we also saw in the prior passage, and they have reserved for them the black darkness of eternal hell.
In fact, in Matthew 8:12, it calls it outer darkness. And the idea of the phrase “outer darkness” would be the darkness that is farthest removed from any light. They are infinitely removed from the light. Isolated in torment, lonely, with no hope.
Eternal torment is set for all impenitent and unbelieving sinners. But the hottest hell and the severest torment awaits apostate false teachers. And they will be sent to that final place in their glorified bodies - glorified in the sense that they’re made supernatural – when the Lord comes back. And when He comes back, He comes back in holy judgment. Of course we know there’s an element of His return in which He takes His own to be with Himself, in which He opens the doors of the kingdom, and invites His own in. But there is also, connected with His return, a fierce and terrifying reality of judgment. And Jesus refers to it, in that Olivet Discourse, repeatedly. He refers to it through the apostle Paul in one of the most frightening texts in all of Scripture. Look at 2 Thessalonians chapter 1.
Second Thessalonians chapter 1. I’m sort of editing some passages out because I don’t want to overload you with this, but in 2 Thessalonians chapter 1, Paul, in verse 5, refers to God’s righteous judgment. God’s righteous judgment. And in verse 6, he says, “This judgment is for repaying” – repaying – “sinners.” And he says this righteous judgment takes place, verse 7, middle of the verse, “when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with His mighty angels, in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” Powerful language.
When the Lord Jesus is revealed, He will deal out retribution; He will deal out justice; He will deal out appropriate vengeance to those who do not know Him and do not obey the gospel. And the penalty will be eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power. And, of course, we’ve already described what that destruction is. It’s not death; it’s not nonexistence; it is an ongoing destruction of torment that never, ever ends.
Peter, in 2 Peter 3:7, talks about the day of judgment and the destruction of ungodly men. And it’s going to happen when the Lord comes. Scoffers say, “Where is the promise of His coming? Nothing changes since the father’s fell asleep. Everything continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” In other words, “Nothing like that’s ever happened, so it never will.” Yes it will, because the present heaven and the present earth, Peter says in verse 7, are being reserved for fire. They’re being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
The book of Revelation of course addresses this horrific destruction in many different ways through the book of Revelation, the tortuous seven seals and seven trumpets and seven bowls that pour out devastating judgment and cast the ungodly into the fires of eternal hell. And, of course, you can read all of those for yourself.
And verse 14 of Revelation 14 pictures the coming of Christ as a harvest, where he comes, in verse 14, puts in His sickle and reaps the harvest of the earth. It is a horrific harvest of judgment.
But most notably, chapter 19 – and I invite you to turn to Revelation 19, because here you have the description of this event, the coming of the Lord Jesus, in judgment. Verse 11, “I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, upon His head are many diadems” – or crowns – “He has a name written upon Him which no one knows except Himself. He’s clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.” Clearly this is Jesus Christ coming.
“And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.” It’s like stamping out grapes; he crushes the life out of the sinful. “On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘KING OF KING, AND Lord OF LORDS.’”
The devastation is so great he says, “I saw an angel standing in the sun; he cried out with a loud voice, saying to the birds which fly in mid-heaven, ‘Come, assemble for the great supper of God, in order that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of commanders, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses, those that sat on them, the flesh of all men, free men and slaves, and small and great.’
“And I saw the beast” – what was the Antichrist – “and the kings of the earth” - who are a part of his enterprise – “and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled their flesh.”
Here comes Jesus at His second coming. And it is a massacre of all the ungodly on the face of the earth. And they are all together, at that point, judged and executed physically. And then we’ll say more about this in a little bit. There is a kingdom of a thousand years. At the end of that kingdom is the tribunal to which all those spirits in torment are brought, and the judgment is made final. And they, receiving a body suited for eternal punishment, are then cast into their eternal torment. That is a picture of judgment.
Let’s go back, then, to Jude and what turns out to be a rather provocative reference that Jude uses to this judgment. Black darkness, divine judgment awaits these false teachers. In fact, verse 14 begins, “And about these also Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment.’”
“About these” – these refers back to the hidden reefs of verse 12, “the clouds without water; the autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; the wild waves of the sea; the wandering stars” – the false teachers, the apostates – “for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.” About these Enoch prophesied the Lord would come to execute judgment.
This, then, is the final touch on their portrait. And this really is the most important component, because not that we might know the fact of judgment, but that we might understand that the fact of judgment give us God’s view of these false teachers. How severe are we to deal with them? How severe does God deal with them? You cannot be accommodating; you cannot be tolerant; you cannot be accepting; you cannot be open; you cannot be welcoming.
We remember - don’t we? - from John’s epistle that if you bid God speed to a false teacher, you become a partaker in his evil deed. Any deceiver fits into this category. Any false teacher, any apostate. And this is how God Himself feels about them. And therefore, it’s how we must feel about them - not that we can execute judgment on them, not that we want to burn them at the stake, as has been done in the past, not that we want to string them up or crucify them, not that we want to take them to the guillotine, not that we want to take vengeance into our own hands, but we must view false teachers the way our Lord God views them.
Now, in this interesting statement, in verses 14 and 15, Jude quotes a prophesy form Enoch. And, in quoting this prophesy, Jude is as he always is; he’s almost cryptic. It is as if he doesn’t have to say very much, because everybody knows. And that’s pretty much the case with everything that Jude writes.
Do you remember, back in verse 5, he said, “Now, I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all”? The whole tone of this letter has a certain cryptic kind of style to it. And behavior that I mean it’s very abbreviated statements, very short statements which let us know that Jude was referring to things that were very familiar to people. They didn’t need a whole drawn out account of how the Lord destroyed Israel in the wilderness; they knew it. They didn’t need a big, drawn-out account about the angels; they knew about that. They didn’t need a big, drawn-out account about Sodom and Gomorrah; they knew about that. They didn’t need big explanations even about Michael the archangel who disputed with the Devil about the body of Moses. It’s just one brief statement about it; it assumes that they had knowledge about that. They didn’t need a big discussion of Cain or Balaam or Korah. Everything in this letter is kind of geared to the assumption that you know all this, “I’m just picking on things that you know to illustrate and to make my point.”
And so, he only briefly mentions these persons and these events, because they know these stories so well. We have to conclude, then, that they knew the prophesy of Enoch. They knew it. They were familiar with it even if we are not. And if you’re wondering where in the Old Testament that prophesy is, it’s nowhere; it’s not in the Old Testament. Not there. Not recorded there.
But this says, in verse 14, “About these” – these apostates, these false teachers, these rejecters of the true God - “Enoch, the seventh from Adam” – it literally says in the Greek – “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying –”
Now, let me tell you something. If Jude, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said Enoch said that, then guess what? Enoch said that. He said it even though it’s not recorded in the Old Testament, he said it. And the Holy Spirit inspires Jude to say he said it because he said it. Enoch prophesied.
Enoch is identified as the seventh from Adam. Now, there is another Enoch, who was son of Cain, mentioned in Genesis 4:17 and 18. That’s a different one. This is the seventh from Adam: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch. And if you go to Genesis chapter 4 – or chapter 5, I mean – you don’t have to, but were you to look at Genesis 5, you would see those seven. And it says about Enoch, in verse 24, “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” He didn’t die. He talk a walk with God one day, and walked right into eternity. Walked right into God’s presence. This is the Enoch, the seventh one in the Genesis 5 genealogy.
Now, anybody with an Old Testament knows that from Adam, including both the first and the last – it’s seven – they know of Enoch. Enoch also was a fascinating character to the Jewish people because only he and Elijah went to heaven without dying. You remember God took Elijah to heaven in a chariot, 2 Kings chapter 2. And though Enoch’s prophesy is not in the Old Testament, he did give this prophecy. It is here affirmed that he gave it, and that makes Enoch’s prophesy – listen – the first prophecy recorded in Scripture, though it’s not recorded until here, nearly at the end of the New Testament – Enoch’s is the first prophecy recorded anywhere in Scripture given by a man.
There’s another prophecy in Genesis chapter 3, but that prophecy was the prophecy about the seed of the woman who would bruise the serpent’s head. That wasn’t given by a man. Who gave that prophesy? God. So, this is the first prophesy given through a man, and it concerns the Lord coming in judgment. Isn’t that interesting that it’s a second coming prophecy? And by the way, the last prophecy recorded in Scripture, given by the writer John, is this, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen, come Lord Jesus.”
The first prophecy given by a man in the Bible is to the coming of Christ in judgment, and the last prophesy given through a man is Christ coming in judgment. From beginning to end, and all through Scripture are prophesies about God coming in judgment. In the Old Testament, of course, it’s God coming in judgment, and that becomes clearly a reference to the Lord who is given judgment by the Father. And so, here it is the Lord – the Lord Jesus, who comes in judgment.
Fear of eternal judgment, friends, is a very essential component in heart preparation for salvation. I hinted at this – I think it was last Sunday; I speak so many times that I don’t know whether I’m going or going, truthfully, but I think in one of the services I commented on this, and just for your own edification, I’ll mention it to you – we have today an absence of the fear factor in evangelism. I say that, and I think of that stupid TV program where they create artificial fears. I don’t need any artificial fears. Instead of people dealing with artificial fears, traumatizing themselves through contrived means, they really ought to find out what true fear is, and that is to understand the judgment of God.
Let me tell you something about what I would – what I would say is the essential – essential element of salvation. Really, there are four things that are necessary for a person to be saved. You could call this “the science of salvation.” One, fear. You have to be saved from something. From hell. I don’t think people would want to be saved from their sin if they could have their sin and heaven, too. Agreed? Does that sound reasonable? If I can have my sin and go to heaven, that sounds like a deal. But hell, that’s another matter. And I don’t think evangelism is done properly, and I don’t think a heart is prepared properly if there isn’t a component of fear of eternal judgment, eternal hell. And in our evangelism we have to do that. Even with our children we have to do that.
Second component, the second element is humility. Humility. Not only do you have to be afraid of eternal hell, but you have to also understand that you can do nothing to rescue yourself. You have to humble yourself and deny yourself and see your utter unworthiness and your utter nothingness and your utter bankruptcy. This is heart work, folks, in the matter of evangelism. This is the plowing of the soil.
And the third element is repentance. You have to come to the place where standing, as it were, looking into the yawning mouth of hell, fearing that you will spend forever there, understanding that you can do nothing to change that, understanding your utter wretchedness and sinfulness and unworthiness, and then coming to the point where you say, “I want to be delivered from this; I want to be rescued from this; I want You to forgive my sins; I acknowledge my sins.” That’s all the heart work.
And only then do you come to the fourth element which is to believe the gospel. Most evangelism today is, “Jesus died for your sins. Believe that, pray this prayer and you’re in.” What about the first three. What about the heart preparation? We have to put the fear factor back in the gospel. It’s all through Scripture.
Well, let’s go back to this. “Enoch, the seventh from Adam” – in the genealogy of Genesis 5 – “prophesied” – now, I have to talk a little bit technically about this. How does Jude know about this prophesy? Fair question? How does Jude know about it? Well, one answer would be the Lord revealed it to him, and that’s a good answer. It came from inspiration; it came because the Holy Spirit gave it to him. Well, why in the world, with all of the things that could be said about judgment, would the Holy Spirit give him an obscure, unknown quote from Enoch? Why pull that out?
Well, there’s something more you need to know. At the time Jude wrote, at the time of the New Testament, there existed a book. And that book was known to the Jews, and it was known to the Christians as – are you ready for this – 1 Enoch. There was even 2 Enoch. There were two books that bore the name of this man. They were pseudepigrapha; that is they were not written by Enoch – either of them. But often the Jews and often others would title a historical book or a commentary with the name of a hero to give it some authenticity or to show respect to that individual. And Enoch was a very fascinating personality in Jewish thought, because like Elijah, as I said, he didn’t die. And as an apocalyptical figure in particular, he fascinated the Jews. And so, as these various literary units, during the intertestamental period of time, between the Old and the New, that 400-year period there, as the intertestamental period of time existed, there were collections of these literary units that came together, and they were pulled together under the title of 1 Enoch and 2 Enoch. They were part history and oral tradition and some written tradition and commentary.
And in 1 Enoch, this prophecy is found. And we have it even today. We have one-third of 1 Enoch existing today in the Greek language. It also exists in a – an Ethiopic form. It also exists in a Latin form, and it also exists in an Aramaic form. So, they were translating this book, because it had Jewish history and Jewish tradition and Jewish commentary. And obviously the people knew it. It was familiar to them.
And amazingly, the prophesy of Enoch, made before the flood – okay? – made before the flood, survived the flood, got into their oral or written tradition, and wound up in this book of 1 Enoch. And because there was so much evidence - perhaps this is all, in some sense, a best guess - but perhaps because there was such strong tradition as to its legitimacy, they actually named the book after him in honor of Enoch. We know his family must have known this quote either orally or they had this quote because it survived the flood. And these very words appear in the book called 1 Enoch.
In fact, I can read you the English translation of the Ethiopic version; it goes like this, “Behold, he will arrive with ten million of the holy ones in order to execute judgment on all. He will destroy the wicked ones and censure all flesh on account of everything they have done, that which the sinners and the wicked ones committed against Him.” That’s one version out of 1 Enoch 1, verse 9. And as I said, we still today have fragments of this.
So, somehow this traditional statement from Enoch, this thing that he actually said and actually was given from God to say, apparently, because it was a prophesy, a prediction, survived, and it wound up being preserved through oral or written tradition and being included in the book of Enoch.
As I said, the book of Enoch was a pseudepigrapha; that is it wasn’t written by Enoch. It was a collection of literary units brought together. It is also what we call apocryphal. That is there are some things in it that are accurate, and there are lots of things are not. It is not an inspired book. It was not an Old Testament book. The Jews never accepted it as inspired; they never had it in the canon. The Christians never accepted it as inspired. The Roman Catholic Church didn’t even include 1 Enoch or 2 Enoch in the Apocrypha, which is in the middle, you know, of Roman Catholic Bibles. It was never viewed as Scripture – that is the book of 1 Enoch.
And in fact, by the time Jude wrote, the canon of the Old Testament had long been closed. The canon, really, of the Old Testament you could say was closed 400 years before this. That is why in 2 Peter chapter 3 and verse 16, Peter writes about Paul – Paul and all his letters, etcetera – and the rest of the Scriptures. Peter, then, refers to the Scriptures. And his very statement that Paul and his writing goes along with the Scriptures indicates that Peter had a sense of the canonicity of the Old Testament. It was a body of revealed truth called “the Scriptures,” the canon being closed.
So, it’s not an inspired book, 1 Enoch, but in this case, we conclude from what is said here that the accurate prophesy that Enoch gave was preserved through the oral tradition, the written tradition, and it comes down, and Jude writes it. The people knew it. Again, as I said, he doesn’t have to give them an explanation; it was familiar. The book of Enoch was well known in that day.
By the way, Jude does not call it Scripture – graphē – nor does he introduce the quote with “It is written,” which is a pretty typical way to introduce Scripture.”
Jude is just referring to a popular source that everybody knew as generally important. They looked at these writings, that were collected in 1 Enoch, and they gave them some weight as to their history and their contribution and their commentary. And so, he simply quotes this as a known source. It’s not common, but it’s not rare either.
Acts 17 – I think this is interesting enough just to drag you through a few more minutes of it. Acts 17, verse 28, Paul says, speaking to the philosophers on Mars Hill, “In Him” – that is in God – “we live and move and exist, even as some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His offspring.’” He says, “On that your poets are right” - and there he quotes essentially a pagan philosopher by the name of Aratus who wrote this in his work called Phaenomena. He quotes a pagan philosopher.
In Titus, Paul again, speaking to people and acknowledging the world in which they live, says, “One of themselves” – one of the Cretans – “a prophet of their own said” – quote – “‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons.’” Then he quotes a secular source, a Cretan poet.
In 2 Timothy, there is an interesting statement in chapter 3, verse 8. It says in that passage, “Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses” – now, you can read Exodus till you’re blue in the face, and you’re not going to find Jannes and Jambres. You’re not going to find them. But references to Jannes and Jambres as two of the Egyptian magicians are scattered throughout all kinds of Jewish literature. We don’t know how they knew those names, but perhaps they got passed down from the Jews who were there to the next generation that went into the land, and it became part of their tradition. And so, Jannes and Jambres don’t need an explanation by Paul, because Jannes and Jambres are well known names that appear in numbers of places in Jewish literature.
Another one, in 1 Corinthians 15:33, a very interesting statement is made. Do you remember this, “Bad company corrupts good morals”? If you look in your Bible, you’ll find that in quotes, because that is a line known to have come from a Greek poet by the name of Menander – M-E-N-A-N-D-E-R. So, Paul quotes Aratus; Paul quotes a Cretan poet; Paul refers to Jannes and Jambres, not mentioned in the Old Testament, but mentioned in other Jewish sources; Paul quotes a Greek poet by the name of Menander.
And back in verse 9 about Michael the archangel disputing with the Devil and arguing about the body of Moses – you remember when we went through that, and I told you that’s not anywhere in the Old Testament? But it is in another intertestamental, apocryphal book called The Assumption of Moses. The Assumption of Moses. So, the fact that that happened got somehow into the tradition of the Jews and ended up in a work called The Assumption of Moses. And it was accurate, and that’s why Jude quotes it as accurate.
So, the quote from Enoch is used because the people are familiar with it, because it fits, an because it completes his portrait of apostate false teachers who face divine judgment at the coming of the Lord.
Wow, look at how long that took. That is amazing. Actually, it’s probably good, because next week I’ll get to the message. That was the introduction. But you know, when you see something like that, you need to understand why it’s the way it is. Now, next Sunday night we’ll go into the actual statement itself and sort out five factors in the coming of the Lord. That’s be a great time next Sunday night. I can’t believe that. Let’s pray.
Lord, Your Word is so fascinating, so captivating, and yet it is certainly more than that. It is reality, and the fear factor is there, and it must be there. And, Lord, there is a judgment; there is a day of judgment when You return. There is a horrible and eternal hell, and those who do not know You and do not obey the gospel will spend forever there, in the hottest hell.
And the severest torment awaits the apostate false teachers who stay embedded, hidden, in Christendom, who are like hidden reefs in our love feasts, who attempt to do the Devil’s work from inside the Church, who name the name of the Christ they do not know. And our attitude toward them must take into account Your attitude toward them; and Your severe judgment conveys that attitude.
We cannot give any place to them in the Church; we must earnestly contend for the faith. We must battle for the truth against them; give them no ground; give them no opportunity; give them no acceptance, no tolerance, and no success, no comfort, no ease, and no opportunity; not even to wish them God speed, or we become partakers of their evil deed, as John said.
Help us, having understood this culminating reality, after all that has been said and done about them, the most defining thing about them is how you feel about them as manifest in this judgment. And this tells us, Lord, how we need to be protected from them.
Help us to be faithful to the truth and faithful to those who proclaim it, we pray in Christ’s name, Amen.
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