Jude - Tenth in a series
Throughout his letter, Jude draws comparisons to Scriptural examples of those who turned from God and led others astray, but whether leaders or followers, all suffered the same consequences.
In verse 12 the ungodly men are described as spots: These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear… (Jud 1:12)
In the Greek, a spot is "a rock in the sea, ledge, reef; a metaphor for men who by their conduct damage others morally, wreck them as it were." (from Thayer's Greek Lexicon or bluletterbible.org) Peter uses a similar word, but his "spots" are related in the Greek to gluttonous men. (2 Pet 2:13) On comparisons between 2 Peter and Jude there is more to come in the next post.
Jude is warning that some who share in communion are impostors. In the early church the communion service was a larger meal than our current practice of tokens enjoyed within the confines of worship. Perhaps it could be likened to a church fellowship dinner.
The fellowship meal is the easiest place for believers to develop friendships with "spots." In a milieu of trust and love that follows common worship, people enjoy conversation and openness; but what if the common worship was not really held in common?
Yet, the impostors, or those claiming identity with Christ for deceptive motives, are very convincing, because they show no fear. In other words, they are without a conscience— or are they? Has God left any without a sense of what is right and what is wrong? When people call evil good, and good evil, (Isa 5:20), are they really convinced of their own lies?
Only God knows the answer to that question, but from the standpoint of living with others in an imperfect world, the answer is yes, they appear and act totally convinced, and it is not possible to reason with such people. Perhaps that is why Jude does not urge his readers to explain God's Word to the deceivers.
Instead, he simply advises believers to stay strong in Christ, and repeats Enoch's words to the faithful: 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 1:14, 15)
The person without a conscience will, in the end, become convicted of his or her wrongs. But before that time, he can take away the righteousness of the righteous from him. (Isa 5:23 KJV)
Let us value Jude's warning, for anyone who falls under the spell of the charismatic sociopath will be judged, too. Wrong is wrong. So, stay strong, or become strong, because the Lord is coming!
And when He comes, a host will accompany him. Jesus told his disciples that his angels would be with him for the purpose of gathering his children. (Mat 24:30, 31; 25:31) Saints in the context of Enoch's prophecy, probably refers to angels as Holy Ones, not to people sanctified in Christ. At that time, departed believers will not yet have bodies, but soon thereafter, they will have. We can trust that a resurrection awaits. Stand firm in this belief, hope for the return of Christ, and be on the alert for ungodly, sociopathic fraudsters.
Note, Paul also uses the term saints to describe those with Christ at his return, however, he makes clear they are angels, not departed human souls (1 Thess 3:13; 2 Thess 1:7)