The Book of Jude

Topic: Book

Type: Analysis

Author:   A. Allison Lewis

Jude [Greek=IoudaV] was one of the Lord’s half brothers [see MAT 13:55 and the reference to James in GAL 1:19]. During at least a part of the Lord's ministry, perhaps all of it, Jude was an unbeliever [JOH 7:5] and at one point even thought that He was crazy [MAR 3:2135; vs. 21 He is beside Himself].


JUD 1:1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to the called ones having been loved by God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ. JUD 1:2 May mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you.



JUD 1:3 Beloved, while making all haste to write to you about our common salvation,


I had necessity to write to you to instruct you to contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.


JUD 1:4 For certain men have crept in secretly. Ones of old having before been written about to this judgment. Impious men who turn the grace of our God into an excuse for immorality and thereby denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.


JUD 1:5 But I desire to remind you, though once you knew all these things,

Israel’s 40 years in the desert

that the Lord having saved the people out of the land of Egypt afterward destroyed those not believing.

Fallen angels

JUD 1:6 The angels, having not kept their proper role but having left their own place, He has kept in everlasting bonds under gloom to the judgment of the great day.

Sodom and Gomorrah

JUD 1:7 Even as Sodom, Gomorrah and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to sexual immorality and going after strange flesh, are set forth as an example suffering the punishment of eternal fire.


JUD 1:8 Indeed, likewise also these dreamers

defile the flesh,
reject lordship and
rail against majesties [glories].

JUD 1:9 Yet Michael, the archangel, when contending with the Devil, he disputed about the body of Moses, did not bring a railing judgment against him but said,

"The Lord rebuke you."

JUD 1:10 But these, on the one hand, rail at those things which they do not know. And on the other hand, by the things which they understand naturally as unreasoning animals, they are corrupted. JUD 1:11 Woe to them, because they

went in the evil way like Cain [GEN 4], gave themselves to the deceit of reward like Balaam [NUM 22ff. and REV 2:14] and perish in rebellion like Korah [Numbers 16 and see also 1SA 15:22, 23].

JUD 1:12 These men are

impostors [lit. rocks] in your love feasts, feeding themselves while feasting together with you without fear;
waterless clouds, being carried away by winds;
autumn trees without fruit, dead and uprooted;
JUD 1:
13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shames;
wandering stars, for whom the gloom of darkness has been kept forever.

JUD 1:14 Enoch, the 7th from Adam, also prophesied [This prophecy is not in the Old Testament. Some other things given in the New Testament are also not given in the Old Testament. See for example 2TI 3:8 and note some of the things in ACT 7] about these men saying,

"Behold, the Lord comes with many thousands of His saints; JUD 1:15 to make judgment against all, to convict all the impious about all their impious works which they have impiously done and about all the hard things which impious sinners have spoken against Him."

Their evil nature summarized

JUD 1:16 These are

fault finders,
followers of their own evil desires,
boasters and
flatterers trying to gain advantage.


JUD 1:17 But you, beloved, REMEMBER the words which were spoken before by the apostles [1TI 5:18; 2PE 3:2, 3, 15, 16] of our Lord Jesus Christ, JUD 1:18 that they told you:

Concerning the mockers

In the last time there will be mockers going according to their own evil desires after impious things. JUD 1:19 These are the ones causing divisions; natural ones, not having the Spirit.

Duties of the called to themselves

JUD 1:20 But you, beloved,

building up yourselves in your most holy faith [ROM 10:17],
praying in the Holy Spirit [1TH 5:17, 21]
JUD 1:
21 keep yourselves in the love of God [JOH 14:15; 15:10] and
waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life [PHI 1:6].

Duties of the called to others

JUD 1:22 To some who are doubting show mercy
JUD 1:
23 and save others, pulling them out of the fire.

To others show mercy in fear hating even the garment spotted by the flesh [i.e. be careful that you do not become polluted while showing mercy].


JUD 1:24 Now to the One Who is able to keep you from stumbling and to set you before His glory without blame in great joy, JUD 1:25 to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, might and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.



There can be no doubt that Jude knew and used at least two apocryphal writings, the Assumption of Moses and the Book of Enoch, and probably others as well, such as the Testament of Naphtali in verse 6, and the Testament of Asher in verse 8.

Jude quotes Enoch freely. It is a long apocryphal book probably composed at different periods from the first century BC to the first century AD. Jude cites Enoch 1:9 in verse 15, almost verbatim. In verse 14 he calls Enoch ‘the seventh from Adam’, a description which occurs in Enoch 60:8, and there is a good deal in Enoch which is drawn on in Jude’s description of the fallen angels in verses 6 and 13 [see Commentary].

Jude’s indebtedness to the Assumption of Moses (verse 9) is no less certain. Indeed it is openly asserted by Origen [De princ. iii. 2. 1.], Clement [Adumbr. in Ep. Judae] and Didymus [In Ep. Judae Enarratio], who knew the book, which now exists only in fragments: it was probably written at the very beginning of the first century AD. Both the Assumption and Enoch were highly esteemed in the Early Church, but we have no means of knowing whether Jude regarded these books as canonical. He quotes them as relevant to the situation for which he writes, and well known both to him and to his readers. It is surprising that the New Testament writers allude so rarely to the vast mass of extracanonical material which was circulating in the first century. Paul alludes to the rabbinic midrash on the Rock in 1CO 10:4; the author of Hebrews frequently echoes the works of Philo; in 2TI 3:8 we are told that Jannes and Jambres were the magicians who defied Moses before Pharaoh (a piece of Jewish haggadah based on EXO 7:11 and found in various extracanonical writings). Similarly the instrumentality of angels in giving the law [GAL 3:19, HEB 2:2], and the statements in ACT 7:22, JAM 5:17, and HEB 11:37 all allude to apocryphal material.

This should not dismay us. ‘We have no right to assume that inspiration raises a writer to the intellectual position of a critical historian’, wrote Plummer [Plummer, p. 424]. ‘St. Jude probably believed the story about the dispute between Michael and Satan. But even if he knew it to be a myth [!? - aal], he might readily use it as an illustrative argument, seeing that it was so familiar to his readers.’ Paul does not mind using a heathen poet in this way [ACT 17:28; 1CO 15:32, 33; TIT 1:12]. Chaine makes the good point that to believe in revelation does not imply a tabula rasa mind to all else. An inspired man might well use the contemporary ideas which were not contrary to revelation [Chaine, p. 279].

A curious thing happened over Jude’s use of this apocryphal material. At first some of these writings were accepted because they bore the stamp of Jude’s approval. Thus Clement of Alexandria writes ‘with these words he corroborates the prophet’ (i.e. Enoch), [Adumbr. in Ep. Judae] and again ‘here he confirms the Assumption of Moses’, and both Tertullian [Idol. xv, Apol. xxii] and Barnabas [Ep. iv. 3, xvi. 5] regarded these books as Scripture. But later on the climate changed, and it became apparent how much danger lay in the unrestricted use of apocryphal material. The Apocrypha and its ‘blasphemous fables’ were attacked by Augustine [City of God xv. 23. 4] and Chrysostom [Hom. in Gen. vi. i]. Not only was the authority of Jude insufficient to save the apocryphal writings; Jude himself came under suspicion, and we find, as we saw in section V above, Didymus of Alexandria having to plead that Jude’s citation of apocryphal books be not held against him [pp. 4850].


The prophecy of Enoch applies to them (1416)

14, 15. Jude now confirms this final analysis of his opponents with a prophecy of inescapable judgment, the judgment which will accompany the return of Christ. He quotes the Book of Enoch [1:9] to emphasize his point. Nowhere in the Old Testament, incidentally, is Enoch called the seventh from Adam (though this could be inferred from GEN. 5), but he is so called in Enoch 60:8, 93:3. Seventh is important, for seven is the perfect number in Hebrew thought [!!!!!?-NUTS-aal], and emphasizes the stature of this man Enoch who walked with God [GEN. 5:24]. A prophecy, for Jude, clinches the matter. There is nothing more to be said about the fate of the errorists. It is interesting that Jude applies this prophecy from long ago to the situation of his own day, much as the men of Qumran applied the writings of Habakkuk to their own time and situation. Although we have only a third of the text of Enoch in Greek, we do possess this fragment, and Jude sticks very closely to his original. Whereas Enoch was thinking of the Lord as God coming in judgment, to Jude, of course, the kurios is the Lord Jesus, and His coming is the parousia; the saints who accompany Him to judgment are the angels [cf. MAT 25:31] and judgment is exercised on the wicked in respect of both their words and deeds.

On the whole question of Jude’s explicit use of the Apocrypha, see the Introduction, pp. 48 ff. Whether or not he regarded Enoch as inspired is perhaps beside the point, for he is quoting a book both he and his readers will know and respect. He speaks to them in language which they will readily understand, and that remains one of the most important elements in the communication of Christian truth [pp. 177, 178]. [Green, Michael, The Second Epistle General of Peter and The General Epistle of Jude: An Introduction and Commentary. 1968, 1979, Grand Rapids: MI, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company].

XI. Did Jude really quote the Book of Enoch?–A simple comparison of the language of the apostle and that found in the corresponding passage of the extant book seems to settle this question conclusively in the affirmative, especially as the Scripture citation is prefaced with the direct acknowledgment of quotation: "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying," etc. The following are the words respectively:

Epistle of Jude, ver. 14, 15 (Authorized Version)

"Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment on 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."

Book of Enoch, chap. ii (Laurence’s Version)

"Behold, he comes with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment on them, and destroy the wicked, and reprove all the carnal for everything which the sinful and ungodly have done, and committed against him."

Some, however, are most unwilling to believe that an inspired writer could cite an apocryphal production. Such an opinion destroys, in their view, the character of his writing, and reduces it to the level of an ordinary composition. But this is preposterous. The apostle Paul quotes several of the heathen poets, yet who ever supposed that by such references he sanctions the productions from which his citations are made, or renders them of greater value? All that can be reasonably inferred from such a fact is, that if the inspired writer cites a particular sentiment with approbation, it must be regarded as just and right, irrespective of the remainder of the book in which it is found. The apostle’s sanction extends no farther than the passage to which he alludes. Other portions of the original document may exhibit the most absurd and superstitious notions. It has always been the current opinion that Jude quoted the book of Enoch, and there is nothing to disprove it. It is true that there is some variation between the quotation and its original, but this is usual even with the NT writers in citing the Old.

Others, as Cave, Simon, Witsius, etc., suppose that Jude quoted a traditional prophecy or saying of Enoch, and we see no improbability in the assumption. Others, again, believe that the words apparently cited by Jude were suggested to him by the Holy Spirit. But surely this hypothesis is unnecessary. Until it can be shown that the book of Enoch did not exist in the time of Jude, or that his quoting it is unworthy of him, or that such knowledge was not handed down traditionally so as to be within his reach, we abide by the opinion that Jude really quoted the book. While there are probable grounds for believing that he might have become acquainted with the circumstance independently of inspiration, we ought not to have recourse to the hypothesis of immediate suggestion. On the whole, it is most likely that the book of Enoch existed before the time of Jude, and that the latter really quoted it in accordance with the current tradition. Whether the prophecy ascribed to Enoch was truly ascribed to him is a question of no importance in this connection. See Jude [p. 229]. [M‘Clintock, John and James Strong, Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. Vol. III.–E, F, G., 1870, 1969 rpt., Grand Rapids: MI, Baker Book House].


Jude 14 stamps with inspired sanction the current TRADITION of the Jews as to E.’s prophecies. The language "E. prophesied, saying," favors tradition rather than the Book of E. being the source whence Jude drew. So Paul mentions Jannes and Jambres the Egyptian magicians, names drawn from tradition, not from Scripture [2TI 3:8]. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and others allude to the Book of E. Bruce the Abyssinian traveler brought home three Ethiopic copies from Alexandria, which Archbishop Lawrence translated in 1821. The Ethiopic was translated from the Greek, the Greek from the Hebrew. The Apostolic Constitutions, Origen [Contra Cels.], Jerome, and Augustine deny its canonicity. It vindicates God’s government of the world, spiritual and natural, recognizes the Trinity, also Messiah "the Son of man" (the name "Jesus" never occurs), "the Elect One" from eternity, before whom "all kings shall fall down, and on whom they shall fix their hopes," the supreme Judge, who shall punish eternally the wicked and reward the just. It the book belong to the period just before our Lord’s coming, it gives an interesting view of believing Jews’ opinions concerning Messiah at that time. No sure proof establishes its existence before the Christian era [p. 206]. [Fausset, A. R., Bible Cyclopaedia, Critical and Expository. 1914, Hartford: CN, The S. S. Scranton Company].



3. A descendant of Jared and progenitor of Methuselah. He lived 365 years, and walked with God. He is the only one of the line of whom it is not said that he died. He was not; for God took him [GEN 5:18-24]. He was translated, and did not see death [Ecclus. 44:16; 49:14; HEB 11:5]. In Jude 14, 15 there is a prophecy of Enoch’s in which he declares God’s just judgment of the unrighteous. The words of this prophecy are found in the pseudepigraphical Book of Enoch, which is an extravagant production, amplifying the antediluvian history, and even rendering it incredible. Jude has either made a citation from this book or else both he and the author of the book quoted an old tradition. The NT writers have several times quoted uninspired, and even heathen, authors [p. 209]. [Davis, John D., A Dictionary of the Bible. 4th rev. ed., 1898, 1903, 1911, 1924, 1927 rpt., New York: NY, George H. Doran Company].



Did Jude err when he cited nonbiblical sources?

Jude 9 and Jude 14 are the passages that raise this question. Verse 9 refers to a controversy between the archangel Michael and the Devil in regard to the disposition of the body of Moses after he had died on Mount Pisgah: "But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’ " This account is not found in the Old Testament but is thought to have been included in a Christian treatise (now lost) entitled "the Assumption of Moses" [cf. Buttrick, Interpreter’s Dictionary, 3:450], at least according to Origen [On the Principles 3.2.1].

It would be a logical fallacy to argue, however, that an inspired biblical author like Jude was strictly limited to the contents of the canonical Old Testament for all valid information as to the past. Both Stephen [in ACT 7] and the Lord Jesus [in MAT 23] refer to historical episodes not recorded in the Old Testament. Apparently there was a valid and accurate body of oral tradition available to believers in the New Testament period; and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they were perfectly able to report such occurrences in connection with their teaching ministry. We are to deduce from this passage, then, that there was such a contest waged by the representatives of heaven and hell over the body of Moses.

The same observation applies to Jude 14 and the quotation from the antediluvian patriarch Enoch. In this case the pseudepigraphical work has been preserved in which this same quotation is found (though the Book of Enoch is not extant in any translation as old as the time of Jude). Enoch is quoted as predicting: "Behold the Lord has come [probably the Greek aorist elthen represents a prophetic perfect in Hebrew or Aramaic, and therefore it can be construed as ‘shall come’] with His holy myriads, to execute judgment against all and to rebuke all the ungodly for all their deeds of ungodliness that they have perpetrated and for all the cruel things they have said against Him as the ungodly sinners that they are."

Here we have a remarkable example of a powerful prophetic utterance coming down to us from before the time of Noah. The mere fact that Genesis does not include this statement by Enoch furnishes no evidence against his having said it. This by no means demonstrates that everything in the Book of Enoch is historically accurate or theologically valid. Much of Enoch may be quite fictional. But there is no good ground for condemning everything that is written therein as false simply because the book is noncanonical. Even a pagan work could contain items of truth, as is attested to by Paul when he quoted Aratus’s Phaenomena 5 to his Athenian audience [Acts 17:28. p. 430]. [Archer, Gleason L., Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. 1982, Grand Rapids: MI, Zondervan Publishing House].

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This Page Last Updated: 11/08/08 A. Allison Lewis