Guilty of Misconduct

guilty of misconduct (3)

b) Jude 8: In this verse, Jude applied the examples from Jude 6–7 to the church’s situation.[1]

He wrote, “But in the same way, these [people] also by dreaming defile flesh, and reject authority, and speak irreverently of glories.”

Jude named the sins of the false teachers. By their sexual misconduct, mistreatment of angels, and defiance of God’s authority, they committed the same sins as some men in Sodom (Gen 19:1–9).[2]

It appears that the false teachers cited prophetic revelations to justify their behavior. Although the Lord can use dreams as a means of authentic disclosure (Gen 40:5–8, 20–22; Dan 2:27–29), more often the Old Testament (OT) denounces those who appealed to their dreams as false prophets (Deut 13:1–5; Jer 23:25–32; Zech 10:1–2).[3]

Claiming to have experienced a dream from the Lord cannot validate what someone teaches,[4] particularly when that revelation contradicts Scripture (Col 2:18–19; 1 Thess 5:19–21).[5]

Evidently, these teachers appealed to their dreams for permission to indulge in sexual immorality. They asserted that God himself granted them sexual freedom, rather than recognizing that their behavior defiled them. This viewpoint enabled them to transcend the morality which applied to others.[6]

Even today, we see this on occasion: “God told me to divorce my wife and marry my girlfriend.”

In keeping with that attitude, the false teachers rejected authority. Jude did not employ the typical word for “authority” (exousia) here, which can refer to human governance, such as that of church officials.[7]

Instead, he used the term kyriotēs, which derives from the same root as “Lord” (kyrios).

Hence it signifies that these debauched people despised the majestic authority of God.[8] They denied the lordship of Christ by the way they lived (Jude 4).[9]

By writing that the false teachers “speak irreverently of glories,” Jude employed jargon familiar to his readers.

Since they participate in the majesty of God, “glories” serves as a euphemism for angels (Heb 9:5).[10] Indeed, the Greek word doxa means both “glory” and “a transcendent being deserving of honor.”[11]

The apocryphal Testament of Judah states, “For he saw in a vision concerning me that an angel (doxa) of might followed me everywhere, that I should not be overcome.”[12]

Jude did not mince words: these people blasphemed (blasphēmeō) angels. “Blasphemy” carries the nuance of “slander, revile, defame, speak irreverently/impiously/disrespectfully of or about.”[13]

A person can blaspheme the Spirit by attributing the work of God to the devil (Matt 12:22–32) and the Bible by acting as if it endorses sin (Tit 2:3–5).[14]

Only here and in 2 Pet 2:10 did New Testament (NT) authors apply this concept to angels instead of to the Lord or the Word of God (Rev 13:3–6).[15]

These false teachers failed to give angels the honor due to them.[16] Due to the context of Jude 9, the author was referring specifically to demons.[17] Thus, their sin consisted of belittling the supernatural forces of evil.[18]

Even though participation in evil deforms the majesty of demonic forces, some of that glory remains.[19] One can indeed slander Satan (2 Pet 2:9–11).[20]

Notably, throughout Jude 6–8, the author never claimed that angels engaged in sexual activity with human women.[21]

Consequently, even in light of this passage, most NT scholars reject that “the sons of God/the gods” in Gen 6:1–4 consist of fallen angels. They conclude that Jude did not endorse 1 Enoch as truth but cited popular tradition to make his point about the false teachers.[22]

As a result, the NT does not contradict predominant view of OT scholars that “the sons of the gods” were human rulers.[23]

Image via Wikimedia Commons

 

Read Jude 8. How were the false teachers similar to the men of Sodom? What would happen to those leaders? When is it dangerous to accept a person’s claims of inspired revelation as true? Why do most current NT scholars reject the idea that “the sons of God” were angels?

 

 

 

 

Go to God Grieves

 

[Related posts include Rebellious Angels (Jude 6–7); Sons of God or Sons of the Gods? (Gen 6:1–2); Fallen Angels as the Sons of God (Gen 6:1–2 cont.); Kings as Sons of the Gods (Gen 6:1–2 cont.); Taking Wives for Themselves (Gen 6:1–2 cont.); Nephilim in the Land (Gen 6:4); God Grieves (Gen 6:5–6); and Ancient Literature]

[Click here to go to Women and Marriage throughout Redemptive History; or to Chapter 5: Groaning and Grieving (Genesis 5:28–6:8)]

 

[1]Moo, 2 Peter, Jude, 243.

[2]Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, 454–5.

[3]Bauckham, 2 Peter, Jude, 55.

[4]Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, 455–6.

[5]Bauckham, 2 Peter, Jude, 56.

[6]Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, 456.

[7]Werner Foerster, “ἐξουσια” (exousia), TDNT 2:560–75, 566.

[8]Werner Foerster, “κυριοτης” (kuriotēs), TDNT 3:1096–7.

[9]Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, 456.

[10]Bauckham, 2 Peter, Jude, 57.

[11]Arndt, Danker, and Bauer, “δοξα” (doxa), BDAG, 256–8, 258.

[12]Rutherford H. Platt Jr., trans., “The Testament of Judah,” in The Forgotten Books of Eden (New York: Alpha House, 1926), 1:25, http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/fbe/fbe277.htm.

[13]Arndt, Danker, and Bauer, “βλασφημεω” (blasphēmeō), BDAG, 178.

[14]Moo, 2 Peter, Jude, 244.

[15]Hermann Wolfgang Beyer, “βλασφημεω” (blasphēmeō), TDNT 1:621–5, 621–2.

[16]Moo, 2 Peter, Jude, 244.

[17]Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, 457.

[18]Bauckham, 2 Peter, Jude, 57–8.

[19]Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, 458.

[20]Moo, 2 Peter, Jude, 245.

[21]Walton, Genesis, 297.

[22]Moo, 2 Peter, Jude, 249.

[23]Walton, Genesis, 297.