[In his book] Jude is calling us to engage in the war on spiritual terrorism, to engage in a war that is far more important than any war on political terrorists, or military terrorists or any other kind. We are to be vigilant, we are to be alert, we are to be discerning, we are to be observant, we are to be loyal in exposing the terrorists and defending the truth and defending the true church.

Now similar warnings, in fact very similar warnings are give in 1 Timothy chapter 4 where the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. And there will be hypocritical liars or false teachers seared in their own conscience, that is they have no conscience about what they do as with a branding iron. Beware of them in these days. Now 2 Peter chapter 2 also says, verse 1, “False prophets also arose among the people in the past, just as there will also be false teachers among you who will…and here’s the operative term…secretly introduce destructive heresies.” They set off their spiritual bombs of destruction in a secret fashion, including denying the master who bought them and bringing swift destruction upon themselves. That’s what I said, they don’t mind blowing themselves up at the same time that they’re creating destruction in the souls of others. Verse 2 says, “Many will follow their sensuality, they are driven by the sensual. They are driven by the fleshly. They are driven by the sinful. And because of them, the way of truth will be maligned. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their judgment from long ago is not idle and their destruction is not asleep.”

Now we can stop there in 2 Peter. But if you were to read further in 2 Peter chapter 2, you would find that it is a very close parallel to our text in Jude. In fact, Jude says virtually the same things that Peter says. Peter says they’re coming, and Jude writing a little later says they’re here…they’re here. So whenever you study the epistle of Jude, you have to study 2 Peter along with it and we’ve been making those comparisons and will do so again tonight.

Now Jude t hen writes this epistle to serve as a warning and to give for us a portrait of these apostate terrorists. These are people who have been exposed to the faith, exposed to the truth, who have defected from the truth, who have denied the truth, who have rejected the truth. But who have kept the name Christian, kept some identification with the person of Jesus and with God and therefore remaining within the framework of Christendom have become subtle, hidden deceivers. And unless the church has acute powers of discernment, unless the church is willing to pay the price of exposure, unless the church can get over its sappy sentimentalism about not wanting to say anything that offends anybody, it’s going to allow itself to be devastated by these imbedded satanic Al Qaeda.

Now Jude gives us an unmistakable portrait of these apostate false teachers in verses 5 through 16 and we’re working our way through this which is really the heart of the letter, verses 5 through 16. And I’ve been telling you the last couple of weeks, actually three weeks we’ve been looking at these verses, in verses 5 to 11 is a series of three threes, a series of three threes describing the apostates who misrepresent the Lord and the church. And I don’t want to go through all of this but, first of all, we saw three cases of past apostates who were judged, verses 5 through 7 remind us how God judged an apostate Israel after saving them out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed them who did not believed. Having been exposed to the power of God and the work of God and the goodness of God and the deliverance of God, they rejected God and therefore were destroyed in the wilderness. The second case of apostate judgment from history past is in verse 6, the angels who didn’t keep their own domain, abandoned their proper abode, have been placed in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of that great day. Holy angels who apostatized and turned from serving God, believing in God to rebel against God in a rebellion led by Lucifer, were thrown out of heaven, took their rebellion down to earth, even went further as described in Genesis 6 in a kind of twisted perverse way, inhabited men who married women and you had demon-dominated families which shows the horror of that particular world, the world which God drowned in the Flood. The third past illustration of apostate judgment is Sodom and Gomorrah. You have then Jews in verse 5, angels in verse 6, and Gentiles in verse 7. Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, the cities of the plain all obliterated in a holocaust of fire and brimstone because they indulged in gross immorality, namely homosexuality, went after strange flesh and they too set themselves on a course to undergo the punishment of eternal fire. Three cases of apostate judgment.

Then in verses 8 to 10 you had three characteristics of apostate nature. When you look at an apostate, what do you see? Three things mark them; immorality, insubordination, and irreverence. They are immoral, verse 8, they defile the flesh. The are insubordinate, they reject authority. And they are irreverent, they revile angelic majesties or glories. And there’s an illustration in the case of Michael and his battle with Satan over the body of Moses. So, they are irreverent in the way they speak about angels. They are insubordinate in the fact that they reject divine authority. And they are immoral in that they defile the flesh.

Now we come to verse 11, this is the third three in this little series, three cases of apostates in history who were judged, three characteristics of apostate nature, now we have three connections to apostate examples…three connections to apostate examples. And here, in order to help us recognize apostates, we are given the opportunity to compare them with some apostates of the past and to show that in reality they have followed the path of these past apostates. Verse 11, “Woe to them for they have gone the way of Cain and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam and perished in the rebellion of Korah.”

Three historic apostate judgments: Israel, angels, and Sodom and Gomorrah. Three characteristics of apostate nature: immorality, insubordination and irreverence. And now three connections to apostate examples: Cain, Balaam and Korah. Three who model what these current contemporary apostates do. These current ones have gone the way of Cain, they have rushed into the error of Balaam, they have perished in the rebellion of Korah. They have followed the path that Cain followed. They have followed the path that Balaam followed. And they have followed the path that Korah followed.

You will notice here there is a progression. They have gone the way of Cain. They have rushed into the error of Balaam. And they have perished in the rebellion of Korah. First there is a path they take, then there is an escalation of their speed, and ultimately their disastrous end. They start out in the way, they go into the error and they perish in the rebellion. It starts out with Cain. He is a model of one who disobeyed God. It goes to Balaam, he is a model of one who tries to influence others to disobey God. It ends up with Korah who led a full rebellion. Apostates are the spiritual children of Cain and Balaam and Korah. (Apostates Illustrated: Jude 11-13)

Dr. John MacArthur

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