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early Christian writers', and this Epistle is described as the Epistle of St. Jude the Apostle, in the Vulgate and Syriac Versions; and St. Jude is designated as an Apostle by the Church of England, in common with the rest of the Western Church, and the majority of the Greek Fathers 2.
This being the case, it would follow from a comparison of the catalogues of the Apostles in St. Matthew and St. Mark, with the catalogue in St. Luke's Gospel and the Acts, that St. Jude had two other names, Lebbæus and Thaddeus.
Accordingly, we find in ancient writers that Jude, the author of this Epistle, is sometimes called trinomius, or trionymus, i. e. bearing three names*.
The belief in the identity of St. Jude the Apostle and Jude the Lord's brother, is strengthened by the sameness of temper evinced in the only speeches recorded in Holy Scripture, as uttered respectively by Jude the Apostle, and by the brethren of our Lord.
St. John relates that Jude the Apostle said to Christ, "Lord, how is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself to us, and not to the world?" St. Jude was eager for the public display of Christ's earthly glory; in which, probably, he himself, as an Apostle, expected to share.
Compare this speech with that of our Lord's brethren, recorded also by St. John ", "His brethren said unto Him-If Thou doest these things, show Thyself to the world."
This coincidence confirms the opinion that Jude the Apostle was one of our Lord's brethren.
It is observable, that in St. Luke's catalogue of the Apostles, both in the Gospel and the Acts, James is separated from his brother Jude by an intervening name, that of Simon Zelotes, or Cananite; and that in the lists of the Apostles, in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark, James is separated from Simon, the Cananite, by an intervening name, that of Thaddeus or Jude.
This is remarkable.
What can be the reason of this arrangement?
May it not be, that St. James, St. Jude, and St. Simon, were three brothers?
It is not likely, that in a list of Apostles a brother should be parted off from a brother by a person who was not a brother. The separation of St. Peter from his brother St. Andrew by the two brothers St. James and St. John, who were eminently distinguished by Christ, does not invalidate this statement. That severance is only made by St. Mark, who justifies it by a suggestion of the reason'; and in the Acts of the Apostles, after the evidence of Christ's special favour to James and John,—but not in St. Luke's Gospel'. In all the lists of the Apostles, James, Jude, and Simon are grouped together.
We find also that "our Lord's brethren" were called "James, and Joses, and Simon, and Jude," as the names are arranged by St. Matthew 1; or, according to the order in which the names stand in St. Mark's Gospel ", "James, and Joses, and Jude, and Simon." In the one Gospel Simon stands before Jude, in the other Gospel he stands after him; in both Gospels James stands first of the three brothers. James, being the first Bishop of Jerusalem, would rightly have the precedence among the Lord's brethren.
Here, then, are precisely the same three names as in the Apostolic catalogues; here also one name, that of James, stands always first in order; and there is precisely the same modification in the arrangement of the other two names, Simon and Jude, as in the catalogues of the Apostles.
We have, therefore, some ground for supposing, that the three persons who are called James, Jude his brother, and Simon, who were Apostles, are the same persons as the James, Jude, and Simon who are called "brethren of our Lord 12❞
This consideration is confirmed by the fact recorded by ancient Writers, that after the martyr
1 So Tertullian, de Cultu fem., i. 3: "Enoch apud Judam Apostolum testimonium possidet." The reference is to St. Jude's Epistle, v. 14. And Origen, in Epist. ad Roman. lib. v., p. 549: "Judas Apostolus in Epistolâ Catholicâ dicit."
2 See Tillemont, Mémoires, pp. 171. 297.
3 The Catalogues stand thus:
In Matt. x. 3, 4.
James, son of Alphaus;
and Lebbæus, who was surnamed Thaddeus. Simon the Cananite.
In Mark iii. 18, 19.
and Thaddeus; and Simon the
In Luke vi. 15, 16.
and Judas [brother] of James.
In Acts i. 13. James, son of Alphaus: and Simon Zelotes,
and Judas [brother] of James. 7 Mark iii. 17. 10 Matt. xiii. 55.
12 In the Festivals of the Church of England, and of the Western Church, "Simon and Jude, Apostles," are commemorated together in one day. There is a propriety in this union; the more so, if they were brothers by blood, as well as brother Apostles.
dom of James the Lord's Brother, and Bishop of Jerusalem, the person who was chosen to succeed him was Symeon, or Simon', a son of Clopas, and therefore brother of James, and also brother or cousin of our Lord; and that he was chosen on account of this relationship, in addition to other considerations; as was the case even with the grandsons of St. Jude, who were chosen to fill Episcopal chairs for a similar reason'.
This Symeon, or Simon, the successor of St. James, lived to the age of 120, and suffered martyrdom under Trajan'.
If Simon Zelotes, the Apostle, was, as we have reason to believe, the same as this Simon or Symeon, cousin of Our Lord, and brother of James the Bishop of Jerusalem, and of Jude the Author of this Epistle, then in this double connexion with Christ, both by virtue of Apostleship and kindred, and in the long duration of his life and Episcopate at Jerusalem, where St. James had lived and died, and finally, in his faithful vigilance and courageous martyrdom for Christ, we have an assurance, that the Epistles which have come down to us, bearing the names of his brothers James and Jude, were carefully kept by him and his Church, and are genuine and authentic writings of those whose names they bear.
St. Jude himself was married and had children; and he is probably one of those to whom St. Paul refers, when he says, "Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as the other Apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?" Some of St. Jude's grandchildren are mentioned by Hegesippus', as having borne testimony to the truth in the presence of the Emperor Domitian; and as having had spiritual rule over Christian Churches, and surviving to the time of Trajan.
This continuation of ecclesiastical eminence, and of faithful confession, in that holy family affords a further guarantee to the integrity of those writings of which they were the depositaries and guardians.
1 See note above, on Acts i. 13, new edition.
2 See Euseb. iii. 20, and note; the remarks of Professor Blunt
quoted above, p. 9, note.
3 Euseb. iii. 32.
4 Euseb. iii. 22.
5 Euseb. iii. 20.
6 1 Cor. ix. 5. It will be observed that this sentence does not exclude brethren of the Lord from the number of Apostles; if it did, it would exclude Cephas, i. e. Peter, also from the Apostleship. The argument is cumulative.
7 In Euseb. iii. 20.
a Luke 6. 16. John 17. 11.
Acts 1. 13.
1 Pet. 1. 5.
b Phil. 1. 27.
1 Tim. 1. 18.
& 6. 12.
2 Tim. 4. 7.
1* ΙΟΥΔΑΣ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δοῦλος, ἀδελφὸς δὲ Ἰακώβου, τοῖς ἐν Θεῷ Πατρὶ ἠγαπημένοις, καὶ Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ τετηρημένοις κλητοῖς, 2 ἔλεος ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη καὶ ἀγάπη πληθυνθείη.
̓Αγαπητοὶ, πᾶσαν σπουδὴν ποιούμενος γράφειν ὑμῖν περὶ τῆς κοινῆς σωτηρίας ἀνάγκην ἔσχον γράψαι ὑμῖν παρακαλῶν ἐπαγωνίζεσθαι τῇ ἅπαξ παραδοθείσῃ τοῖς ἁγίοις πίστει.
1. 'Iovas] Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James: probably the same person who is called Thaddeus and Lebbæus, and one of the Lord's brethren; and he is called Thaddeus and Lebbæus at the end of the Armenian Version of this Epistle; and so Bede and Estius here. See above on Matt. x. 3. 12; xii. 46, and 1 Cor. ix. 5, and Introduction, pp. 133, 134. He calls himself " brother of James;" but neither he nor St. James call themselves "brethren of the Lord," but both call themselves "servants of Jesus Christ." Clemens Alexandrinus says (Adumbrat. p. 1007, ed. Potter), "Judas extans valdè religiosus, quùm sciret propinquitatem Domini (i. e. his own relationship to Christ), non tamen dixit seipsum fratrem Ejus esse: sed quid dixit? Judas, servus Jesu Christi."
Nor do either of them call themselves Apostles. Nor does St. John in his Epistles or Apocalypse. See above on James i. 1. But the writer of this Epistle is expressly called "an Apostle" by Tertullian in the second century (de Cultu femin. i. 3), and by Origen (on Rom. lib. v. p. 549, and on Matt. tom. i. p. 223), who "Jude wrote an Epistle consisting of a few lines, but full of the words which are empowered by heavenly grace."
nyanμévois] beloved. So A, B, and Origen, iii. p. 607, and Lach., Tisch.—Elz. has yiaσμévois. The sense is, to those who have been, and are, beloved in God the Father; that is, beloved in God the Father, Who is the original of all blessing, and in Whom ye are, as His children by adoption in Christ. Ye were sometimes alienated from Him (Eph. iv. 18), but now ye are beloved in Him. Ye are all one in the Father and the Son. John xvii. 21, 22.
The perfect participles here, yanμévois and tetnpnμévois, not only express a past act, but a present state. See above, 1 John ii. 29; iii. 9; iv. 7; v. 1. 4. 18.
καὶ Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ τετηρημένοις] and who have been and are preserved, or kept, for Jesus Christ. The evil Angels are preserved or kept (TETпpnμévoi) for judgment (2 Pet. ii. 4); the heavens are preserved or kept for fire (2 Pet. iii. 7); but ye are preserved and kept for Jesus Christ, as a peculiar people (1 Pet. ii. 9), and there is an everlasting inheritance preserved or kept in heaven for you (1 Pet. i. 4).
Hence he says at the close of the Epistle, v. 21, "Keep yourselves (AUTOùs Tηphσate) in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.'
2. εἰρήνη-πληθυνθείη] peace be multiplied. A salutation found in this Epistle and in both St. Peter's Epistles, and in them only; and designed perhaps to call the reader's attention to those two Epistles, and to connect this Epistle as a sequel with them.
3. ayanηrol] Beloved, when I was exercising all diligent desire to write to you concerning the common salvation, I was constrained to write to you, exhorting you to contend earnestly for the Faith that was once for all delivered to the Saints.
St. Jude here states the cause of the controversial character of this Epistle.
He had been earnestly desirous to write to them concerning the common salvation; and he would have been glad to have confined himself to that subject; but he was forced to write against those who were trying to lead them to destruction.
He was constrained by the prevalence of false doctrines, to frame his address in such a manner, that it should take the form of an exhortation to his readers to contend for the faith which had been once for all delivered to the Saints; and which was assailed by the false Teachers. For (he adds) "some men crept in unawares," and are now endeavouring to corrupt the faith.
Hence his Epistle is written in an antagonistic tone; but he does not forget the hortatory portion of his design. He commands his disciples here to fight for the faith; but he also exhorts them in the sequel to build themselves on it. See v. 20.
St. Jude does compendiously, and in one short Epistle, what had been done by other preceding Apostles more at large in several longer Epistles. St. Paul, and St. Peter, and St. John, had written with a twofold design; first to establish the Truth, secondly, to refute error. See above, Introduction to St. Peter's Second Epistle, p. 70, and Introduction to St. John's Second Epistle, p. 123. St. Jude refers to their labours, and reiterates their admonitions and warnings (v. 17), and sums them up in one concise and energetic address.
"The faith had been once for all delivered to the Saints;" and for this faith St. Jude's disciples are earnestly exhorted to contend. Here therefore is an Apostolic protest against all subsequent additions to it, such as those of the Gnostic systems in
earlier times, and of the Trent Creed of the Church of Rome in later days. Cp. note above on Gal. i. 8, 9.
"To contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the Saints." Divine words, few in number, but rich in meaning. If rightly understood and duly obeyed, these words would put an end to all modern controversies, and restore Peace to the Church. Do we desire to know what the true Faith is? St. Jude here tells us that which was once, and once for all, delivered to the Saints. Every doctrine, which can be shown to be posterior to that Faith, is new; and every doctrine that is new is false. Isaac Casaubon (Dedication to his Exercitationes Baronianæ).
On this use of aπaş, "once for all," "semel et simul," see Heb. ix. 7. 26-28. 1 Pet. iii. 18, and Bengel, Stier, Passow, Huther, and others here.
'EтaywriÇeobaι, "super-certare" (Vulg.), is to fight, standing upon a thing which is assaulted, and which the adversary desires to take away; and it is to fight so as to defend it, and to retain it. See Loesner.
On this use of the word rioris, for the faith received, the deposit of sound doctrine, see Eph. iv. 5, and note above, on Rom. xii. 6. Cp. S. Polycarp, ad Phil. c. 7, ènì Tòv ¿§ àρxñs ἡμῖν παραδοθέντα λόγον ἐπιστρέψωμεν. "The faith once for
Παρεισέδυσαν γάρ τινες ἄνθρωποι, οἱ πάλαι προγεγραμμένοι εἰς τοῦτο τὸ κρῖμα, ἀσεβεῖς, τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν χάριτα μετατιθέντες εἰς ἀσέλγειαν, καὶ τὸν μόνον Δεσπότην καὶ Κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἀρνούμενοι.
d Num. 14. 29, &c.
ὁ Ὑπομνῆσαι δὲ ὑμᾶς βούλομαι, εἰδότας ἅπαξ πάντα, ὅτι ὁ Κύριος λαὸν ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου σώσας, τὸ δεύτερον τοὺς μὴ πιστεύσαντας ἀπώλεσεν· 6· ἀγγέλους το τε τοὺς μὴ τηρήσαντας τὴν ἑαυτῶν ἀρχὴν, ἀλλὰ ἀπολιπόντας τὸ ἴδιον οἰκητήριον,
all delivered to the saints," is set down by S. Irenæus (i. 2, 3. Grabe, pp. 45, 46). Tertullian, de Virg. Vel. c. 1; de Præscr. hæret. c. 13. S. Jerome, c. Joann. Hieros. § 28. Cp. Hooker, II. i. 5. Bingham, Eccl. Ant. x. 3, 4.
4. Tаpelσédvσav] they crept in privately, as it were, by a sidedoor, and with a stealthy purpose. On this use of apà in composition see 2 Pet. ii. 1, παρ-εισάξουσιν αἱρέσεις. Gal. ii. 4, παρ-εισάκτους ψευδαδέλφους. Cp. 2 Tim. iii. 6, ἐνδύοντες εἰς τὰς οἰκίας.
St. Jude here announces the fulfilment of the prophecy of the Apostle St. Peter, who had foretold in his Second Epistle that false Teachers would arise, and "would bring in privily destructive heresies." See 2 Pet. ii. 1. Here is an evidence of the priority of that Epistle. See above, Introduction, p. 132. Cp. below, vv. 17, 18.
oi máλai] they who were long ago publicly declared in the writings of the Holy Scriptures to be destined for this punishment; of which St. Jude is about to speak in what follows.
On the sense of "роyрáрw, to write before, or to display publicly, as in a writing or picture, see Rom. xv. 4. Eph. iii. 3. Gal. iii. 1, where see note. The pò may have, and probably has here, the sense, previous designation.
The word κpiua does not signify sin, but punishment (see 2 Pet. ii. 3), and what St. Jude says, is, that these men were publicly warned beforehand of the punishment (rpîua) they would incur, if they were guilty of the sins which they are now committing. The words TOUTO TO Kрiua signify this punishment, which he is about to specify in the sequel; a frequent use of OUTOS. See Kühner, § 626. Matthiæ, § 470.
The doom which they would incur had been προγεγραμμένον, written publicly beforehand, in the prophecy of Enoch (v. 14), and visibly displayed in the punishment of the Israelites (v. 5), and in that of the rebel Angels (v. 6), and had been graven indelibly in letters of fire on the soil of Sodom and Gomorrha (v. 7).
Since God is unchangeably just and holy, all who sin after the manner of those who have been thus punished, must look for like punishment to theirs. They have been publicly designated beforehand for it, by the punishment of those whom they imitate in sin. Therefore, these false Teachers cannot plead ignorance of the consequences of their sin; and you will be without excuse, if you are deceived by them.
The false Teachers here specially noted were the Simonians, Nicolaitans, and Ebionites. See Ecumen. and Theophylact, and cp. below, v. 7, and above on 2 Pet. ii. 1.
Thy TOU BEOû] turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness as the Gnostic Teachers did, by perverting the doctrine of Christian liberty into a cloke of maliciousness. See on 1 Pet. ii. 16. 2 Pet. ii. 19; and cp. the words of S. Augustine, quoted on 2 Pet. iii. 16. He refers specially to the Nicolaitans and disciples of Simon Magus. See Didymus here in Bibl. Patr. Max. iv. p. 336.
καὶ τὸν μόνον Δεσπότην καὶ Κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν aprovuevo] and denying our only Master and Lord Jesus Christ. The word deonórηs, Master, here designates Christ; as may be inferred from the place in St. Peter's Epistle (2 Pet. ii. 1), where it is said that these false Teachers deny the Master (deσñóτny) Who bought them; that is, they deny Him Who purchased them with His own blood, 1 Pet. i. 19. Cp. Rev. v. 9, nyópaσas т Oe Яuas, and the note above, 2 Pet. ii. 1, for a detailed account of the various modes in which the Gnostic and other false Teachers of the Apostolic times "denied the Lord who bought them."
After deonórny Elz. writes Oeóv; but this is not in A, B, C, and is cancelled by Griesb., Scholz, Lach., Tisch. It is found in G, K, and many Cursives, and in the Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic Versions, and in Theophylact and Ecumen. Cp. note above on 2 Pet. ii. 1.
5. ὑπομνῆσαι δὲ ὑμᾶς βούλομαι] but I am desirous to remind you who know all things once for all; eldóras has a present sense, "who know;" not "who knew."
The reading Távтa, all things, is that of A, B, C, and of Vulg., Copt., Syriac, and several Cursives and Fathers; and is preferable on many accounts to Touro, this, the reading of Elz.
St. Jude wrote this Epistle against the Gnostics, who (as VOL. II. PART IV.
Ps. 106. 26. 1 Cor. 10. 5. Heb. 3. 18. 19. e John 8. 44. 2 Pet. 2. 4.
their name declares) professed superior gnosis or knowledge; and under pretence thereof beguiled their hearers into corrupt doctrines and licentious practices. See above on 2 Pet. i. 2, 3. St. Jude assures his disciples that they themselves have all necessary knowledge, that they know all things. Compare 1 John ii. 20, οἴδατε πάντα.
Ye need not any new doctrines from these Teachers; nor do ye require any further teaching from me, since ye have been fully instructed already by the other Apostles. But (de) my desire is to remind you of what ye already know, and therefore I now write. Cp. 2 Pet. i. 12, μελλήσω ὑμᾶς ἀεὶ ὑπομιμνήσκειν περὶ τούτων καίπερ εἰδότας.
They knew all things once for all (äna§), for they had received the faith once for all delivered to the Saints," v. 3. The sense of anat is precisely the same here as there. Cp. Bengel, Stier, Huther.
OTI 8 Kúpios] that the Lord having saved the people (of Israel, cp. 2 Pet. ii. 1) out of the land of Egypt.
It is observable that A, B have 'Inooûs, Jesus, here for Kúpios. According to this reading, Jesus Christ is represented as having delivered the Israelites And this reading is supported by several Cursives, and the Vulg., Coptic, Sahidic, Ethiopic, and Armenian Versions; and by Didymus, Cyril, Jerome, Cassian; and is received by Griesb. and Lachmann.
This doctrine had been already taught by the Apostle St. Paul, in his commentary on the history of the Exodus, where he speaks of Christ as present with the Israelites in the wilderness. See 1 Cor. x. 1–11. Heb. iii. 7—19; iv. 1, 2.
St. Jude "the servant of Jesus Christ" (v. 1), refers to the deliverances of the Exodus, described by Moses, as the act of the Lord; and to the prophecy of Enoch concerning the future Advent of the Lord (v. 14), and also to the Apostles of the Lord (v. 17), and thus he reminds his readers, against the allegations of the false Teachers, that the God of both the Old and the New Testament is One; and that in both Christ is the Lord. Cp. Theophylact here.
This passage is cited by S. Clement of Alexandria, in the second century. Pædag. ii. p. 239.
TO SEÚTEрov] the second time. The first thing that God did was to deliver them; the second thing was to destroy them; the first time that they needed His aid, He delivered them; the next time that they needed it, He destroyed them (cp. Winer, p. 547); so soon did destruction follow deliverance, even of His own people. Let this be a warning to those false Teachers, and to you. 6. дyyéλous тe] and not only men did He thus punish, but Angels also, namely, those who did not keep their own first estate (their original bliss in heaven which He gave them as their own), but left their proper habitations, He hath kept under darkness with everlasting chains until (and for) the Judgment of the great Day.
"Proprium principatum; scilicet quem acceperant secundum profectum ; sed deliquerunt suum habitaculum, coelum videlicet ac stellas, et apostatæ facti sunt." Clemens Alex. 1. c. p. 1008. The Fall of the Angels is here declared to be due to their own deliberate will and deed; it was due to pride. See 1 Tim. iii. 6.
Their chains may well be called atdio, everlasting; for, though their chain now permits them to visit this nether region, yet they always carry that chain with them, and are restrained from injuring God's servants; and by attempting to do so they are aggravating their sin and punishment; and they are kept for ever from recovering their first estate, and original habitation; and at the Judgment of the great Day they will be cast into the Lake of Fire. Cp. Rev. xx. 2, 3.
On the present condition, and future destiny of Evil Angels, see above, note on 2 Pet. ii. 4.
S. Clement of Alexandria says here (p. 1008), that the chains in which the evil angels are now confined are the darkness of the air near this earth of ours (" vicinus terris locus, caliginosus aër "), and that they may well be said to be chained, because they are restrained from recovering the glory and happiness they have lost. The phrase, "chain of darkness," occurs in Wisd. xvii. 17.
f Gen. 19. 24.
Deut. 29. 23.
Isa. 13. 19.
2 Pet. 2. 6.
εἰς κρίσιν μεγάλης ἡμέρας δεσμοῖς ἀϊδίοις ὑπὸ ζόφον τετήρηκεν· 7' ὡς Σόδομα καὶ Γόμορρα, καὶ αἱ περὶ αὐτὰς πόλεις, τὸν ὅμοιον τρόπον τούτοις ἐκπορνεύ σασαι, καὶ ἀπελθοῦσαι ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἑτέρας, πρόκεινται δεῖγμα πυρὸς αἰωνίου δίκην ὑπέχουσαι.
8 8 Ομοίως μέντοι καὶ οὗτοι ἐνυπνιαζόμενοι σάρκα μὲν μιαίνουσι, κυριότητα € 2 τα 2 10, 11. δὲ ἀθετοῦσι, δόξας δὲ βλασφημοῦσιν. 9 Ὁ δὲ Μιχαὴλ ὁ ἀρχάγγελος, ὅτε τῷ
h Dan. 10. 13.
& 12. 1.
Zech. 3. 2.
2 Pet. 2. 11.
Rev. 12. 7.
i 2 Pet. 2. 11.
Διαβόλῳ διακρινόμενος διελέγετο περὶ τοῦ Μωϋσέως σώματος, οὐκ ἐτόλμησε
This passage is cited by Origen in Matt. tom xv. p. 693, and in Rom. lib. 3, vol. iv. p. 510, where he calls this Epistle " scriptura divina," ibid. lib. v. p. 549.
7. Σόδομα και Γόμορρα] Sodom and Gomorrha are also set before you as warnings in Holy Writ. Gen. xix. 24. Deut. xxix. 23. Isa. xiii. 19. Jer. 1. 40. Ezek. xvi. 49. Hosea xi. 8. Amos
iv. 11. Zeph. ii. 9; and in the New Testament, Luke xvii. 28, 29. Rom. ix. 29. 2 Pet. ii. 6.
τὸν ὅμοιον τρόπον τούτοις] having given themselves over to fornication, in like manner to that of these men (on this use of opolos see Rev. xiii. 11). These Gnostic Teachers and their votaries were guilty of harlotry, and their sins were also like those of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, going after strange flesh (ep. Rom. i. 27). See the description of the Nicolaitans, S. Iren. i. 20. Theodoret, hær. fab. i. Epiphan. hær. xxv.; and cp. note above, on 2 Pet. ii. 2, and below, on v. 8.
It is observed in the valuable Ancient Catena on this Epistle, published by Dr. Cramer, p. 157, that St. Jude, in this and the following passages, is warning his readers against the false doctrines, and licentious practices, of the following heretics of the Apostolic, and sub-Apostolic age, namely, the Simonians, Nicolaitans, Ebionites, Cainites, Borborites, Valentinians, Sethians, Marcionites, Manichæans. The Epistle cannot be rightly understood without reference to their tenets.
πρόκεινται δεῖγμα πυρὸς αἰωνίου] are set forth_as example of everlasting fire. Cp. 2 Pet. ii. 6, móλels Zodóμwv καὶ Γομόρρας κατέκρινεν, ὑπόδειγμα μελλόντων ἀσεβεῖν τεBeikos. Cp. 1 Maccabees ii. 5. Wisdom x. 7, and S. Irenæus, iv. 70, "pluerat Deus super Sodomam et Gomorrham ignem et sulphur de coelo, exemplum justi judicii Dei."
St. Jude does not say, that these Cities are suffering the penalty of everlasting fire, but that by their punishment and perpetual desolation (díky úπéxovoai), they are a specimen of that fire which awaits the ungodly, and which is everlasting. Cp. Cassiodorus, Estius, Stier, and Huther here.
Or, if, with the English Version, De Wette and others, we render the words thus, "are set forth for example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire,” then they are to be thus expounded; "As Sodom and Gomorrha suffer the vengeance of a fire that consumed them finally, so that they will never be restored, as long as the World lasts, so the bodies and souls of the wicked will suffer, as long as they are capable of suffering; which, since they are immortal, will," as Tertullian says, "be for ever," "erimus iidem, qui nunc, nec alii post resurrectionem; Dei quidem cultores, apud Deum semper, profani verò in pœnam aequè jugis ignis, habentes ex ipsâ naturâ ejus, divinâ scilicet, subministrationem incorruptibilitatis." (Apol. 48.)
Cp. notes above, on Matt. xxv. 46. Mark ix. 44-48. 1 Cor. xv. 26, and see Bp. Taylor, Serm. iii., on Christ's Advent to Judgment, Part iii. § 6, where will be found a complete and conclusive argument on the Eternity of Future Punishment, and Dr. Horbery on the Scripture Doctrine of Future Punishment, chap. ii. Num. xciv.
8-16.] This passage is referred to by Clemens Alexandrin. Strom. iii. p. 431, where he speaks of this description as prophetic, and as applicable to false Teachers also of the age after the Apostles.
8. &μoiws μévтo] in like manner however, notwithstanding these warnings, these false Teachers proceed, with wilful and presumptuous recklessness, in the same course as those, whose example of suffering ought to have deterred them from sinning. The Sodomites are specially mentioned by St. Jude, because some of the Gnostics in their unclean recklessness of living even honoured them as free, and as proficient in superior knowledge! A fearful warning against the flagitious results of Heresy. See Irenæus i. 35, and above, Introduction to St. Peter's Second Epistle, p. 72, and to St. John's First Epistle, p. 102, and 1 John i. 6, and below, note on v. 11.
évvπviaCóμevoi] dreaming, they dream evil things, and fondly deem them to be good. Clem. Alex. They profess superior knowledge, and yet they live like men in a dream, from which they will awake to woe.
On this word see the fearful comment and recitals of Ecumenius and Epiphanius, hæres. xxvi.
σáρка μèv μiaívоvri] they defile the flesh with filthy lusts, in which they are led to indulge by their denial of Christ's Incarnation and Passion, and of the Resurrection of the flesh. See above, on 2 Pet. ii. 2. 10 – 12.
The pèv, indeed, on the one side, with its correlative dè, which follows (σάρκα μὲν μιαίνουσι, κυριότητα δὲ ἀθετοῦσι) suggest by a slight but significant touch, that there is a moral and metaphysical connexion between sensual defilements of the flesh, and contumelious outrages against lordship. The reason is obvious. They who pollute the flesh, which has been consecrated by Christ's Incarnation, will not scruple to revile His dominion and dignity, and that of those who are His Representatives. Sensuality and Lawlessness are joined together in the same manner by St. Peter (2 Pet. ii. 10).
Michael who is as God? who is like God? Cp. Rev. xiii. 4, with Dan. x. 13. 21; xii. 1, and Rev. xii. 7; and the word Archangel occurs 1 Thess. iv. 16.
The Gnostic false Teachers, against whom St. Jude writes, professed to revere Angels: they said that the World was made by Angels; and they even worshipped them. See above, on Col. ii. 8. 18, and 2 Pet. ii. 1. 10.
St. Jude therefore refers to the example of an Archangel, and thus puts them to shame. These false Teachers despised lordships and reviled dignities. But the Archangel Michael, although contending even with a fallen Angel, the leader of fallen Angels, the Devil,-—diaßóλq, the calumniator, or railer,—and disputing with him concerning the body of Moses, which God had buried and concealed (Deut. xxxiv. 6), in order, as is probable, that it might not become an object of worship to the Israelites; and which, it seems, the Devil desired to possess, in order that God's purpose in this respect might be frustrated, and that the mortal remains of that faithful servant of God might be made to be an occasion of creature-worship to the Israelites,— -as the brazen serpent set up by Moses was made to be (2 Kings xviii. 4), and as the relics of holy men have been made in later times,-yet even against him, the Arch-enemy of God, and even on such an occasion, the Archangel Michael did not venture to bring a railing sentence, but reserved all Judgment to God, and said, The Lord rebuke thee. The Archangel was courteous in his language even to the Devil; so was Abraham to Dives in torment (Luke xvi. 25), and Christ to Judas the traitor (Matt xxvi. 50).
The Jews themselves, from whom the Gnostics for the most part arose (see Introduction to St. John's First Epistle, p. 98, and on 2 Pet. ii. 1), had a tradition, that Sammael, the prince of the Devils, had a contest with the Archangel Michael, concerning the body of Moses, at the time of his death and burial (Liber de Morte Mosis, p. 161, and the Rabbinical testimonies in Wetstein, p. 735, and Origen de princip. iii. c. 2, where he says that St. Jude is here citing a book called the "Ascension of Moses." Compare Ecumenius here). That the devil's design was to defeat God's purpose with regard to that body, may be concluded from Michael's words, as recorded by St. Jude, "The Lord rebuke thee!" words like those which God Himself addressed to Satan, when he stood at the right hand of the Angel to resist him, when he was about to clothe Joshua with fair raiment, instead of filthy garments (Zech. iii. 2, 3).