"Jude comes right to his point: the crisis of apostasy is upon the saints. They live on a battlefield, though many saints then, as now, may not have realized the intensity of the conflict, so subtle, so sense-numbing are the adversary's weapons. Prophecies written earlier, for example, in 2 Peter or in Matthew 24:24... declared that false teachers would seek to deceive and dismantle the church. The leaders also knew that they would succeed, but the fight was for individuals, not for the organization itself, and the messages written may have been at least as much for our day as for theirs. Satan and his colleagues had earnestly joined battle, turning God's love into lasciviousness and denying the Savior, the very personification of God's love. The saints too must be aware of the gravity of the contest. Paul declared, 'For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.' (Eph. 6:12-13.) Jude's letter teems with words about preservation, salvation, protection, guarding in God's love. Here he identifies a potent weapon against apostasy: the power of the love of God." (Catherine Thomas in Studies in Scripture, Vol. 6: Acts to Revelation, ed. by Robert L. Millet, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 245-246.)
Jude 1:1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James
Was the author of this epistle the son of Mary and Joseph and the younger brother of Jesus Christ? Most authorities accept that the author of the epistle of James was the Lord's brother, and Jesus did have a younger brother named Jude. Therefore, it is probably the case that the Lord's brother Jude wrote this epistle. Out of humility it would seem, he describes his relationship to Jesus as that of servant and not brother. We should learn the same lesson. Jesus was once our Elder Brother. Since the Fall, that familial appellation is hardly appropriate.
"Mark 6:3 tells us that Jesus had four younger brothers and at least two sisters, the children of Mary and Joseph. The sisters' names have not been preserved, but the brothers were called James (in the Hebrew, Jacob), Joses (in the Hebrew, Joseph, after his father), Simon, and Judas or Juda (also known as Jude). (See also Matt. 13:55.)
"...We know little about Jude except what we learn from his epistle. Most impressively, Jude demonstrates a keen perception of his elder brother as the past and future Lord-the Lord who brought Israel out of Egypt and who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Lord who will come in the last days to execute judgment upon all. (See Jude 1:5, 7, 14-15.)
"From his denunciation of certain kinds of apostasy, we also know that his letter was one of the later epistles in the New Testament. In his lifetime, Jude stood firm with Peter and Paul in fighting the rising tide of heresy that threatened to destroy the church.
"All four brothers, family members who had once looked at Jesus as their elder brother only, were able to accept him as the Lord and the Son of God." (Carlfred B. Broderick, "The Brothers of Jesus: Loving the Unbelieving Relative," Ensign, Mar. 1987, 50, 52)
Jude 1:3 when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation
Jude's surviving epistle is written in response to a previously written, now missing, epistle. Apparently, in that first communication Jude emphasized the principle of "common salvation." This concept, while taught in the scriptures, is understood by few and distorted by Satan.
Salvation is common in two respects. First, the atonement of Jesus Christ saves us from physical death through the resurrection. This is common in that every soul, righteous or wicked, will be resurrected. Second, the atonement of Jesus Christ saves all except the sons of perdition from spiritual death. Spiritual death is defined as separation from God. Even those who receive a telestial inheritance enjoy the ministrations of the Holy Ghost (D&C 76:86). Therefore, only the sons of perdition suffer eternal separation from God. They are "the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power; Yea verily, the only ones who shall not be redeemed (from spiritual death) in the due time of the Lord." (D&C 76:37-38)
While this doctrine is true, it can leave the wrong impression. One can rationalize, "if salvation is common, then it must be easy to obtain. That means I don't have to do anything special to be saved." Those who thus rationalize miss the point. They don't understand the pain and suffering which must occur prior to such a redemption. The wicked must first be "delivered over to the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption." (D&C 82:21) They will remain in "a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state... until the time of their resurrection." (Alma 40:14) They literally have to go through hell to be saved.
Satan loves to distort this doctrine. In our day, he has a modern corollary. It is that all one has to do to be saved is "believe in Christ." Such a doctrine belittles personal responsibility, diminishes the importance of righteous works, and bestows a dangerously false sense of security. This sort of distortion was apparently at work in Jude's day. Thus, the entire point of this epistle is to encourage righteousness and remind the reader of all the times that God has punished the disobedient. He cries, "Don't be lazy about your salvation;" I "exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Next, he reminds them of the punishments of God as administered to the children of Israel (v. 5), Satan's angels (v. 6), and Sodom and Gomorrha (v. 7). He pronounces woes upon evil speakers of his generation and prophecies of judgment to be executed in the future as prophesied by Enoch and the apostles (v. 14-19). The concept of "common salvation," properly understood, leaves no room for spiritual apathy or self-justification. Those who commit sin in anticipation of common salvation can expect to first receive condemnation and the wrath of God.
Jude 1:4 ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men
James E. Talmage
The passage quoted in the text-"For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men," etc. (Jude: 4), has given rise to discussion, the question at issue being as to whether the principle of pre-appointment or foreordination is here involved. A hasty and casual reading of the passage may suggest the inference that the "ungodly men" referred to had been appointed or "ordained" in the providence of God to sow the seeds of discord and dissension in the Church. A careful study of this scripture shows that no such inference is warranted. The "ungodly men" "who were before of old ordained to this condemnation" were men who had already, i.e., previously, been denounced, proscribed and condemned for the very heresies which now they were endeavoring to perpetuate in the Church, they having crept in unawares, or in other words, they having become members by false pretenses and profession, and being able because of their membership, to spread their false teachings more effectively. (The Great Apostasy [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1958], 53.)
James E. Talmage
Many people have been led to regard this foreknowledge of God as a predestination whereby souls are designated for glory or condemnation even before their birth in the flesh, and irrespective of individual merit or demerit. This heretical doctrine seeks to rob Deity of mercy, justice, and love; it would make God appear capricious and selfish, directing and creating all things solely for His own glory, caring not for the suffering of His victims. How dreadful, how inconsistent is such an idea of God! It leads to the absurd conclusion that the mere knowledge of coming events must act as a determining influence in bringing about those occurrences. God's knowledge of spiritual and of human nature enables Him to conclude with certainty as to the actions of any of His children under given conditions; yet that knowledge is not of compelling force upon the creature.
Foreordination/Doubtless He knows of some spirits that they await only the opportunity of choice between good and evil to choose the latter and to accomplish their own destruction; these are they as spoken of by Jude, "who were before of old ordained to this condemnation." To avert the fate of such their free agency would have to be taken away; they can be saved by force alone; and compulsion is forbidden by the laws of heaven alike for salvation and condemnation. (Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 173.)
Jude 1:5 the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not
Did the children of Israel have a free ticket to salvation? Did they figure all was well because they were on the right team? After all the Lord had done for them in saving them from Pharaoh and his armies, they turned to worshiping a golden calf. As punishment, the Levites were commanded to kill the perpetrators, "and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men." (Ex. 32:28) Later, when some rebelled against Moses and the Lord, a plague killed about 15,000 (see Numbers 16).
The lesson for us is that membership in the Church is not enough. If we are faithless and disobedient, we stand to suffer harsh punishment-especially when we have made sacred covenants to do otherwise.
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a divine institution; it is led by prophets and Apostles, men with seers' vision. The Church is, however, only a means to an end, the vehicle which administers the saving gospel... Yet membership in the Church is not enough; we are neither saved nor damned as congregations. Salvation is not found in occupying the right pew." (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1987-1992], 2: 169.)
In Ignatius... you find this theme: "They think because they are members of the church that God has invested so much in them so far that he can't possibly go back on them now." [The people said] "We are safe home because we are members of the church and it is established." He said that's the most dangerous thing you can do because "the greater the security you feel, the greater the danger you are in." And then the Apostolic Fathers would cite, "For if the angels who kept not their first estate were cast out, what do you think will happen to you?" You feel secure because you have been blessed, but for that reason you are more responsible. You are in greater danger than anybody else. Can't you see that? You are never safe home. Once you've got the blessings you are stuck with something, and you are under double obligation. (Teachings of the Book of Mormon--Semester 1: Transcripts of Lectures Presented to an Honors Book of Mormon Class at Brigham Young University, 1988--1990 [Provo: FARMS], 59.)
Lance B. Wickman
Mere membership in the Church is not enough. Broken or disregarded covenants will do us no good. But those who keep their covenants with the Lord have his assurance that they will be "armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory." Holding to our covenants assures us the protection and deliverance of God from the dangers and pitfalls of this mortal wilderness. It assures us that we are on the road home. ("Of Compasses and Covenants," Ensign, June 1996)
Jude 1:6 angels which kept not their first estate
"In that one verse, Jude speaks of certain angels not keeping their 'first estate' and thus leaving 'their own habitation.' But only from Abraham do we learn that these angels were in fact spirit children in the presence of God, that the habitation they left was God's presence, that they departed because they chose to follow Satan rather than God and Jesus Christ, and that in this 'first estate' God's children lived as independent identities, exercising moral agency in the Father's presence. Were it not for the book of Abraham, much of our basic understanding of the structure, sociality, and history of our premortal existence would be missing." (Andrew Skinner, "The Book of Abraham: A Most Remarkable Book," Ensign, Mar. 1997, 21)
Neal A. Maxwell
There are biblical references to the doctrine of premortal existence. But these are not so numerous as to preclude some Christians from ignoring them or still others from attempting to explain them away. Just how many prophetic utterances concerning these doctrines were mislaid, "held back" or "taken away" from the early records from which we later received the precious Holy Bible, we know not.
When biblical scriptures bear directly upon this vitally important doctrine, sometimes it is by citing, here and there, a premortal existence wherein there were differences as between the forces of evil and those of righteousness. Satan led the forces of evil.
And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven (Luke 1:18).
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels (Revelation 12:7; see JST Revelation 12:6-8).
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day (Jude 1:6).
(But for a Small Moment [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1986], 73.)
We find that the angels who kept not their first estate are reserved in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day. Those angels that fell from before the presence of God were judged in a measure upon their fall, and were cast out to wander to and fro upon the face of this earth, bound as it were with chains of darkness, misery and wretchedness, and this condition is to continue during the whole of the temporal existence of this earth, until the final judgment of the great day, when the Saints, in the authority and power of the Priesthood which God Almighty has conferred upon them, will arise and judge these fallen angels, and they will receive the condemnation of which they are worthy. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 17: 185.)
Jude 1:8 these...despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities
The Twelve Apostles
Bring no railing accusations against your brethren, especially take care that you do not against the authorities or Elders of the Church, for that principle is of the devil; he is called the accuser of the brethren; and Michael, the archangel, dared not bring a railing accusation against the devil, but said, "The Lord rebuke thee, Satan;" and any man who pursues this course of accusation and murmuring, will fall into the snare of the devil, and apostatize, except he repent.
Jude, in the eighth verse, says, "These filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities;" and, says he, "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His Saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
Peter, speaking on the same principle, says: "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord." (July, 1839 as recorded in History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3: 395.)
The Priesthood of God cannot be disregarded with impunity. We have men in our midst who are not afraid to speak against the authorities of the Church in the localities in which they live. Jude in his general epistle, refers to such men. He alludes to them as "filthy dreamers who defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet," he says, "Michael, the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they know not... clouds they are without water, carried about of winds... wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever... These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouths speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage." So also Peter speaks of such characters, "But these as natural brute beasts made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption." Now, we have such men as these up and down. I think Brother Hosea Stout describes them as "smart Alecs." They think they are wiser and better than other people, and they want to regulate the affairs of God, when God has given them no authority to do it. But it is woe to those who fight against the authorities of the Church of God. Let such be brought up before proper tribunals; for no back-biting, nor anything of that kind can be sanctioned in the Church and kingdom of God. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 24: 235.)
Dallin H. Oaks
Evil speaking of the Lord's anointed is in a class by itself. It is one thing to depreciate a person who exercises corporate power or even government power. It is quite another thing to criticize or depreciate a person for the performance of an office to which he or she has been called of God. ("Criticism," Ensign, Feb. 1987, 70)
Jude 1:9 Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil...disputed about the body of Moses
The story of Michael and Satan disputing about Moses' body is not included in the Old Testament or the Pearl of Great Price. Obviously, this story was part of the scriptural consciousness of the ancient saints. "In Paul's day, there was no fixed collection of books, even among the Jews, that exclusively counted as scripture. Thus, Jude 1:14-15 quotes without reservation the nonbiblical book of Enoch as scripture."( Donald Q. Cannon, Larry E. Dahl, and John W. Welch, "The Restoration of Major Doctrines through Joseph Smith: Priesthood, the Word of God, and the Temple," Ensign, Feb. 1989, 10)
"Just as the War in Heaven continues, in a sense, into our own time, even so Adam's efforts to thwart and oppose Satan, the 'son of the morning,' have continued since Adam's mortal death. In the context of counseling the Saints to avoid speaking evil of responsible persons, Jude, the brother of our Lord, observed that 'Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.' (Jude 1:9.)
"This passage appears to be a reference to a rather obscure pseudepigraphic work known as the Assumption of Moses. We know that the man Moses was translated. It appears that Satan, as one who has broad power in the material world, sought Moses' death in order to gain control over his body, so that Moses 'would not have a tangible body in which to come-along with Elijah, who also was taken up without tasting death-to confer the keys of the priesthood upon Peter, James, and John' on the Mount of Transfiguration. In our own day Michael, on the banks of the Susquehanna River, detected 'the devil when he appeared as an angel of light.' (D&C 128:20.) We wonder how many other occasions there may have been in earth's history when Michael, the archangel, has stood to rebuke and set the bounds of Lucifer the archdeceiver." (Robert L. Millet, "The Man Adam," Ensign, Jan. 1994, 12)
Jude 1:9 Michael... durst not bring against him a railing accusation
With Jude's reference to this unfamiliar story, we can miss the point Jude is trying to make. Why is Michael hesitant to bring railing accusation against Satan? Is it because Michael is afraid of Satan's power? No. Is it because Satan doesn't deserve railing accusation? Obviously not.
It is a principle of righteousness, poorly understood, that men of God never bring railing accusation on anyone. It is not a righteous thing for such men to be harsh and malicious in their criticism. The Archangel would never be so harsh, even to his archenemy. In effect, he left judgment with the Lord saying, "The Lord rebuke thee."
If Michael, who will someday destroy Satan and his forces, was careful in his words with Satan, shouldn't we be careful in our criticisms of each other? Are we justified in our maliciousness when it is directed against true wickedness? Are we justified in condemning our neighbor for some offense? Are we justified in our criticisms of those who commit great sin? The example of Michael would suggest not.
If a man sin, let him be dealt with according to the law of God in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants, and then leave him in the hands of God to rebuke, as Michael left the devil. (Manuscript History of Brigham Young [Salt Lake City: Church Archives], 1837-1839 Chapter.)
Jude 1:14 the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints
B. H. Roberts
From this it appears that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, was favored with a vision even of the second coming of the Son of God, and prophesied of judgment overtaking the ungodly at that coming. This prophecy of Enoch's was in existence in the days of Jude, "the servant of Christ," or else he would not be able to quote from it. (New Witnesses for God, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1909], 3: 266.)
Bruce R. McConkie
Jude and Enoch, though separated by three thousand years, unite their voices in testifying of the glory and judgment that will attend the Second Coming. In speaking of the condemnation that will befall "ungodly men" in that great day, Jude says: "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." (Jude 1:4, 14-15.) The ten thousands of his saints are the holy angels; they are the righteous of ages past who are already resurrected. They shall attend their Lord and shall, by assignment from him, "execute judgment." They are the ones of whom Malachi wrote: "They that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch." (JS-H 1:37.) The day of judgment, the day of burning, ten thousands of judges-"Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?" Paul asked (1 Cor. 6:2)-how majestic and awesome shall this day be! (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 567.)
Enoch, how did you happen to know about things that should transpire some thousands of years hence-you that lived so far back in the remote ages of the world, that were so dark and benighted, according to the ideas of modern theologians? "I had the Gospel, and the Gospel holds the keys of the mysteries of the revelations of God; and by the spirit of that Gospel I was enabled to look through the dark vista of the future, to draw back the curtain of eternity, and contemplate the things of God, and his purposes concerning the nations of the earth, until I gazed upon the winding-up scene."
And Jude, how did you happen to know that Enoch prophesied of these things? for we have no account of it in the Bible. Where did you obtain your information? "I had the same Gospel that Enoch had, and the same power of revelation, and the same Spirit that he had, so that I was enabled to develop the same things, and to know precisely what Enoch prophesied about, and have given my testimony in relation to that matter."
But Joseph Smith, where did you get your information from? "I had just the same Gospel that Enoch had, and the same that Jude had; and I also testified of the same things, and we all agree." (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 7: 364.)
Jude 1:19 These [are]... sensual, having not the Spirit
The concepts of sensuality and spirituality are mutually exclusive. Sensuality and spirituality can never be celebrated at the same time. Whenever one is expressed, the other is suppressed. Thus those who celebrate their sensuality naturally separate themselves from God and drive away the Spirit.
David O. McKay
The real tragedy of following false ideals is that by so doing we stifle and sometimes choke out spirituality completely. The body with its five or more senses, with its appetites and passions, is essential to life and happiness, but in the ultimate analysis it is only a means to a higher end. When man makes its gratification an end in itself, he frustrates the purpose of life and descends to sensuality.
Spirituality is the consciousness of victory over self, and of communion with the infinite. Spirituality impels one to conquer difficulties and acquire more and more strength. To feel one's faculties unfolding and truth expanding the soul is one of life's sublimest experiences.
Being "honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men," are attributes which contribute to spirituality, the highest acquisition of the soul. It is "the divine in man, the supreme, crowning gift that makes him king of all created things, the one final quality that makes him tower above all other animals." (Pathways to Happiness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1957], 165.)
David O. McKay
It is said that one Roman emperor offered a reward to anybody who would invent a new pleasure. Nero set Rome on fire for the mere pleasure of a new form of diversion. Rome fell because of extravagance, luxury, and dissipation. In personal, as in national life, these are unfailing signs of decline and decay. Truly,
"... he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." (Gal. 6:8.)
(Gospel Ideals: Selections from the Discourses of David O. McKay [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1953], 389.)
Jude 1:22 have compassion, making a difference
Robert D. Hales
For you and me, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our responsibilities are clear; we are to:
-Reach out in love and be anxious to forgive those who have wronged us.
-Help by fellowshipping and caring for those who want to come back, receiving them with open arms and willing hands.
We must do as Jude, the brother of James, admonished:
"Have compassion, making a difference" (Jude 1:22; italics added).
There are principles that will help us to "have compassion, making a difference." These principles are encompassed in Luke, chapter 15, where Jesus used three parables to give us examples of the importance He placed on finding those who are lost and rendering "compassion, making a difference."
In the parable of the lost sheep, the shepherd went after the lost sheep and searched until he found the lost lamb. He then returned, rejoicing (see Luke 15:4-7).
In the parable of the lost coin, the widow lit a candle, which gave light, and swept every corner to find the lost coin. She rejoiced upon finding it (see Luke 15:8-10).
Both of these parables are examples of action taken to search, light up the darkness, and sweep until a treasured possession or lost soul is found and returned to a rejoicing home.
On the other hand, in the parable of the prodigal son, a caring father patiently waited for his son to "come to himself" (see Luke 15:11-32). He provided a loving atmosphere at home to welcome his son with open arms and willing hands so that they might rejoice together. The key is that the son knew that upon his return he would be loved and welcomed home by his father. (Difference," Ensign, May 1987, 76-77)