2 Peter & Judeby Eileen Poh
Jude's reference to Enoch, ″the seventh from Adam″, and his prophecy of God's judgment on the false teachers (Jude 1:14-15) might seem puzzling. Certainly, we cannot find an Old Testament prophet named Enoch–but we can find a man called Enoch in Genesis 5:21-24, who was the seventh generation from Adam (see Genesis 5:3-24).
The Jews in the first century AD were familiar with Enoch and a book which was ascribed to him. 1 Enoch was part of a collection of more than 60 books from the period between the Old and New Testaments, some of which were written in the names of ancient Jewish heroes.23 The prophecy in Jude 1:14-15 is quite close to 1 Enoch 1:9: ″Behold, he will arrive with ten million of the holy ones in order to execute judgment upon all. He will destroy the wicked ones and censure all flesh on account of everything that they have done, that which the sinners and the wicked ones committed against him.″24
Jude is not the first New Testament writer to cite extra-biblical sources. When Paul addressed the men in the Areopagus in Athens, he also cited writings from the pagan philosopher Aratus (Acts 17:28). Jude could have chosen to quote from 1 Enoch because he knew that his readers were familiar with this book and regarded it highly.25 He does not consider 1 Enoch as Scripture because he does not use the word graphe which usually refers to Scripture.26 He also does not use the usual formula for introducing Old Testament quotations, ″as it is written″. He uses ″prophesied″ in verse 14, which refers to the utterance of a prophecy. Clearly Jude agrees with the content of the prophecy regarding the coming of the Lord and His judgment on the ungodly (see Isaiah 66:15; Zechariah 14:5).
Jude could also have chosen this prophecy from 1 Enoch because of its emphasis on God's judgment on the ungodly; the word ″ungodly″ appears three times in this prophecy (Jude 1:15). Jude is linking the ungodly people being judged here to the false teachers described in verse 4: when the Lord comes, He will judge them for all their ungodly acts.
God will also judge the false teachers for their ungodly speech (v. 16). They grumble and complain against God; they live to satisfy their own evil desires like sexual lust and greed (see vv. 8, 11); and they speak arrogantly, cosying up to certain people for financial gain.
Jude has gone into great detail to help his readers identify the false teachers in their midst. We, too, need to know the characteristics of false teachers so that we can identify them. We must not be complacent and accept everything we hear or read, especially from online sources.
How do you think you can safeguard yourself from false teaching?
Are you aware of any ungodly acts or words in your life? Ask God to open your eyes to them, ask Him for forgiveness and repent, and take hold of God's promise in 2 Peter 1:3-4.