2 Peter & Judeby Eileen Poh
My husband Philip proposed to me in a letter. I had gone back to Singapore for my summer break while studying in England, and Philip knew that there was someone in Singapore who was not keen on our relationship. So he wrote a three-page proposal letter (there was even a footnote in it!), in which he piled on argument upon argument why I should marry him and not listen to anyone else. He did not want to lose me.
Jude did not want to lose his readers to the false teachers who had stealthily crept into their midst. Perhaps he feels that the three examples from the Old Testament and Jewish tradition (Jude 1:5-7) are not enough, so he cites three more Old Testament examples (v. 11).
The first example is Cain, who murdered his brother Abel (Genesis 4:1-8). Jude is not accusing the false teachers of murder, but is probably referring to Jewish tradition which portrays Cain as ″the archetypal sinner and the instructor of others in sin.″21 So Jude warns his readers that the false teachers are following Cain in sinning and teaching others to sin.
The second example is Balaam, whom the king of Moab offered a generous fee to curse Israel (Numbers 22:4-19). Jewish tradition portrayed Balaam as a man of greed; Jude is implying that the false teachers are profiting financially from their false teaching.
The third example is Korah, who with several others led a rebellion against Moses (Numbers 16:1-14). God judged them by opening up the ground under them, and the earth swallowed them up (vv. 31-33).
Jude applies these three examples to the false teachers, who are portrayed as those who ″lead other people into sin.″22 Once again, he makes the point that their sins will not escape God's judgment (Jude 1:13).
In verses 12-13, Jude uses a number of metaphors to reinforce his point about the false teachers: like rainless clouds and fruitless trees, they promise something but do not fulfil them (v. 12). They seem to introduce a life of liberation, but there is only darkness and shame (vv. 12-13). These false teachers eat with the Christians in their love feasts, but show no shame or repentance for their false teaching and immoral lifestyle (v. 12). Jude exposes them for what they are: shepherds who feed only themselves (v. 12).
We must not underestimate the impact of false teachers and their false teachings. We must learn to discern truth from error. It is a matter of life and death.
There are many people today who reject God's authority and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. How can you equip yourself to defend against such people and their teachings?
Jude describes the false teachers as ″shepherds who feed only themselves″ (Jude 1:12). Compare this to what Jesus Christ says about Himself as the good shepherd in John 10:11-18. What can you learn from Him?