Sunday, July 22, 2012

Jude pt. VIII section A: Jude's reminder of what the apostle's said

In verses 17 and 18 Jude reminds his readers of what the apostles Paul and Peter had said. Although the apostle John's epistles were written after Jude's epistle, John is an apostle nonetheless and he does have some words of warning to give so he ought to be included along with the other two. Starting with Paul, he issued a warning to the church at Ephesus regarding apostasy in Acts 20:29,30: "For I know this, that after my departure grievous wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and out of you yourselves will rise up men speaking perverted things, in order to draw away the disciples after themselves." Here, the warning is two-fold - false prophets from within and without the flock would rise up among the believers to draw some away after themselves and their own peverse doctrine. If this warning was applicable when the body of Christ was in its infancy, it is much more so today after two millenia. We still have men and women rising up, teaching sensual, alluring doctrines to draw away would be disciples of Christ to be disciples of themselves. We see teachers such as Norman Vincent Peale and talk-show queen Oprah Winfrey drawing believers away from Christ to rely on themselves through positive thinking. We also see teachers within the flock such as Rick Warren whose P.E.A.C.E. plan that thousands of churches across the U.S. have adopted as their own method of reaching out to unbelievers albeit without the gospel is not a major component in Warren's five point plan. 

Paul gives further warning to his son in the faith, Timothy in 1 Timothy 4 and 2 Timothy 3. In his first letter, he warns Timothy of how in the latter times many would depart from the faith. 
1 Timothy 4 describes the seducing spirits, doctrines of demons, and hypocritical lies taught by those who depart from the faith. 1 Tim. 4:1-3: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

This scathing description brings to my mind one theologian in particular: Augustine of Hippo. Augustine has over the centuries had a far-reaching influence on both the Roman Catholic and Protestant Church. Before professing faith in Christ, Augustine was a well known philosopher in throughout North Africa. He was at first a Manichaeist, and then a Neo-Platonist - both philosophies are gnostic and ascetic in doctrine and practice and Augustine borrowed much from these worldly teachings when his understanding of God took shape. Lawrence Vance writes: "In the dualism of the Manichaean system, the world was a struggle between Light and Darkness. The Manichees were to assist in the separation of Light from the world by asceticism, celibacy, poverty and vegetarianism - all practiced later by Augustine. It is also interesting to note that the Manichees divided into two groups: a minority, termed the Elect, and the majority known as Auditors or Hearers."(1) 

Augustine not only practiced these ascetic customs that Paul clearly warned would happen, he also justified persecution of the Donatists, dissenting believers who seperated from Constantine's catholic state church. "I would not believe the gospel if I were not commanded to by the catholic church." Augustine is known to have said. It has been said that Augustine is responsible for the three biggest controversies the Church has ever faced: Roman Catholicism, Calvinism, and amillenialism. More could be said about the travesties done by Augustine, but I digress. Perhaps this will provide fodder for a future post.

Paul gives yet another warning in his second epistle to Timothy in the third chapter. We read 2 Tim. 3:1-9:  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 
  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 
  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 
  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 
  For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 
  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  
  Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

When broken down, we can see that the people who profess Christ as their Savior that Paul is describing here in 2 Timothy are blatantly disobedient to commands given throughout scripture. They shall be lovers of themselves -  unlike the character of Christ who did not please himself as it is written, "The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me." (Rom. 15:3). In these last days, men will love themselves more than the local body of believers. And if there is no love for the local body of believers, how will there be love for the unevangelized? The Church is like a family, all who call Christ their Savior are united as brothers and sisters in the Lord. If we do not love our spiritual family as we ought, I doubt there will be any desire to bring more people into the family of God. 

Men will also be covetous - the greek verb: φιλάργυρος- translated philarguros, literally means "fond of silver, to love money, avarice." Notice that the first two descriptions here are about love; first for one's self, and second for money. When Gehazi conversed with Naaman and asked of him a talent of silver, and two changes of clothing, it was out of a fondness for silver. So great was his avarice that he preyed on Naaman's generosity - generosity that was no doubt a fruit of his new condition. Gehazi, like a modern day false teacher preyed on this new convert to rob his pockets. As a result, Gehazi inherited the leprosy of Naaman. Gehazi's leprosy, a type of sin leprosy is, had its cause in the love of money (1 Tim. 6:10)

 The next two descriptions seem to go together: boasters, and proud. To boast speaks of being a braggart, while proud in the third verse speaks of one who holds themselves in higher esteem than others, considering themselves to be pre-eminent. Diotrephes was guilty of this kind of pride, so much so that he refused the apostle John. The word for boast is similar in meaning to the word for "glory" or "rejoice" which Paul uses in numerous verses throughout his epistles. When making use of this word for "glory", he always points out that if we are to glory, then we ought to glory in the Lord. In 2 Corinthians, Paul speaks with an air of ironic wit of how he has been compelled to be made a fool through his glorying. The end times however, will see an increase in men glorying of themselves, and they won't think twice about looking foolish. 

The Greek word for blasphemers in the third verse is transliterated as blasphemos and it literally means to speak evil of. It appears elsewhere in scripture in Acts 6:11,13 as well as 2 Peter 2:11. It is similar to the word used in Jude 1:9 in the context of Michael contending with Satan over the body of Moses and "durst not bring against him a railing accusation". The word "railing" in this verse is the noun form of the adjective blasphemos that is used here in 2 Timothy. 

Disobedient to parents is a unique description of those who depart from the faith in this passage in that this is something even pagan nations did not think highly of. In his Notes on the Bible Albert Barnes writes “Disobedience to parents was punished by the Jewish Law with death, and with the Hindus it is attended with the loss of the child’s inheritance. The ancient Greeks considered the neglect of it to be extremely impious, and attended with the most certain effects of divine vengeance. Solon ordered all persons who refused to make due provision for their parents to be punished with infamy, and the same penalty was incurred for personal violence toward them.”

The next to last description in the second verse of 2 Timothy 2 is unthankful, which literally means being unthankful, or ungrateful. But the meaning carries much more than merely describing one who is not thankful. The word is transliterated as acharistos; the prefix "a" connotes the absence or non-existence of some quality in this case, the quality of gratefulness, but also graciousness as the second part of this word is the verb "charizomai" and is derived from the noun "charis" meaning "graciousness". This word "charis" appears as the word "grace" in many well-known verses such as John 1:14, Romans 4:4, 11:5-6, Ephesians 2:7-8, et. al. It is used as "thank" or "thanks" in 1 Corinthians 15:57, 2 Corinthians 2:14, 9:15, 1 Timothy 1:12, and 2 Timothy 1:3. The word "charizomai" is used for a form of the word "forgive" in verses such as Luke 7:42-43, 2 Corinthians 2:7 & 10, Ephesians 4:32, and Colossians 3:13. In these last days professing believers will more and more be not only thankful to God for His unspeakable gift, but they will also be unforgiving to one another.

The very last description of this verse is "unholy". Like the word "unthankful", the Greek word has the prefix 'a' to indicate that the meaning of this word carries the idea that it is the absence of something - that is, holiness through divine character made possible only by the Spirit of God. The word without the 'a' is found in Titus 1:8 in Paul's description to Titus of what a shepherd of the flock must be. 

Footnotes: quoted by Gerald Bonner, "St Augustine of Hippo" in "The Other Side of Calvinism" by Laurence Vance.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

mostly spiritual musings: Jude part VII

mostly spiritual musings: Jude part VII: When Michael withstood the Devil over the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a railing accusation against him. Instead, he simply respon...

Jude part VII

When Michael withstood the Devil over the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a railing accusation against him. Instead, he simply responded with an appropiate "The Lord rebuke thee.". This is the same response the Angel of the LORD gave to the Devil according to the book of Zechariah when Satan stood at the right hand of Joshua to resist him. An interesting pattern is shown here. First, the chief prince of Israel, the archangel Michael rebukes Satan through the authority of the Lord. Then, the Angel of Jehovah, the pre-incarnate Christ does not even dare to rebuke Satan of his own power but by his Father's. Our Lord knew the day would come when the Devil, the accuser of the saints throughout the ages, would be cast into the lake of fire. But until then, we can only rely on the authority of the Lord and not on our own strength. Whether the Devil, the world, or the flesh is striving with our spirits, we must rebuke any of the three enemies of the believer through the authority of the Lord. Michael's example of not bringing an accusation against the Devil is in direct contradiction to the behavior of those who have abandoned the faith. For in verse 10, they who depart the faith are described as speaking evil of what they do not know. While the Lord was being crucified on the cross, he beseeched His Father to forgive those who reviled Him "for they know not what they do." This too is a fine example of how to deal with those leaving the faith for lasciviousness. In contending for the faith, we must rebuke them who have left in the name of the Lord, but also forgive them for speaking evil for what they do not know, as they know not what they do. 

Jude gives an appropiate exclamation of grief over these brute beasts who have corrupted themselves. He uses three Old Testament examples of unbelief and outright rebellion to describe those who have crept into the Church. Of Cain, it is said that they have gone in the way of him. This means that they have ordered their lives after the manner of Cain. Why is Cain used as an example?
Genesis 4:1-12 gives the account of Cain and Abel: "And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.  And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?  And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth." 
1 John 3:12 sheds some light onto this example: "Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous."

Five things can be said of "the way of Cain": 1. They come to God on their own terms. 2. They see the fruits of their works to be sufficient to obtain God's favor. 3. They are angry with God. 4. They are despise those who have obtained God's favor through faith in a blood sacrifice. 5. They prefer to be a vagabond and a fugitive than to endure God's chastening hand.

To go "in the way of Cain" is to reject God's free gift of grace, and to despise any who accept it. It is to be filled with so much pride that they think grace is owed to them for all the good they have done, and to not receive it is a crime. Cain as a false worshipper refused the acknoweldged way to God through blood sacrifice. He did not see any value in the shedding of blood for the remission of his sins. Apostates likewise, turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, denying the Lord who bought them, the only Lord Jesus Christ. 

The second example given is Balaam of which "they have ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward.". Balaam's account covers Numbers 22-24 and his influence is seen in the seceding chapters. Balaam's error was that the people who God has willed to bless could be cursed. Using enchantments, Balaam sought to curse Israel through the power of Satan. Eventually he realized that this was futile, but he did not give up on seeking to bring judgement on the Israelites. While Israel could not be cursed, they could be chastised for sinful acts that Balaam counseled them to do (Numbers 31:16). While Jude's epistle makes mention of Balaam's error, 2 Peter records his way. 2 Peter 2:15,16 says: "Who have forsaken the right way and have gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, but had reproof of his lawbreaking, a dumb ass speaking in a man's voice, held back the madness of the prophet. If Balaam's error was that he could curse that which can not be cursed, his way would be characterized by love for unrighteous wages. His way must have been a source of motivation for him to determine to make such a grievous error. 

It is interesting that the Angel of the Lord used such an animal as a donkey to rebuke Balaam as a donkey is a picture of a meek and humble servant of an animal. Observe the conversation the lowly animal had with Balaam in Numbers 22:28-30: "Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, What have I done to you that you have struck me these three times? And Balaam said to the donkey because you have made a fool of me: I would there were a sword in mine hand for now I would kill thee And the ass said unto Balaam am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay." The donkey and the words the Lord put in her mouth could be set along side Michael the archangel and his example in rebuking Satan not by his name but by the Lord's. When we deal with false teachers it we must allow the Lord to open our mouths and speak in a meek and humble spirit. 

The final description in verse 11 is in reference to Korah who along with 250 men of reknown challenged the authority of Moses and Aaron. The sons of Korah were Levites who held a honorable post as ministers to the sanctuary, were not content to hold this position and desired the priesthood. In Numbers 16:3, Korah accuses Moses and Aaron of the very thing that he was guilty of. Fausset's Bible Dictionary says that "Korah's sin answers to that of sacerdotalist ministers who, not content with the honor of the ministry... usurp Christ's sacrificing and mediatorial priesthood; also to that of all men who think to be saved by their own doings instead of by His mediatorial work for us." Moses put some perspective on Korah and the men confederated with him in vv. 8-11: "And Moses said to Korah, 'Hear now you sons of Levi: is it a small thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to do service in the tabernacle of the LORD and to stand before the congregation to minister to them, and that He has brought you near Him, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? and would you seek the priesthood also? Therefore it is against the LORD that you and all your company have gathered together. What is Aaron that you grumble against him?' " Korah should have been satsified to minister to the Lord and to Israel, but he and his men despised the dominion God placed them under. C.H. Mackintosh writes "This principle is of great importance in every assembly, where Christians are called to work together. It is a mistake to suppose that all the members of the body of Christ are called to places of prominence, or that any member can select his place in the body." 

Cain is the example of the false worshipper who denies the grace of God, Balaam, a false prophet with a desire to lead God's chosen people astray and into idolatry and fornication; Korah then, would be the type of false priest who revolts against the authority of Christ and His office of high priest. The Roman Church is most well known for assuming the priestly work which belongs only to Christ. But, we do see traces of the sin of Korah germinating in Protestant churches as well. 

The gainsaying of Korah rears its ugly head in Revelation 2:15 at the church at Pergamum. Here, the saints at that assembly tolerated those who hold the doctrine of Nicolaitism, which is the ultimate result that Korah coveted. The word "Nicolaitine" literally means "victory over the people". Korah sought to be victourious over the congregation of Israel. Korah gathered the congregation against Moses and Aaron at the door of the tabernacle (Num. 16:19). But when the Lord showed that He was ready to consume Korah as well as the congregation, the congregation immediately repented of their sin. Thus, Korah perished in his gainsaying; the false teachers described here in Jude while they may not have been put to death as of yet, God who is eternal sees their fate as occurring in the present.  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

When I was returning to the United States from my trip to Colombia back in 2009, the itinerary was to fly out of Barranquilla for Panama City, and from there to Houston, and then on to my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. The fog was so heavy in Barranquilla the morning I left that my flight was 45 minutes late taking off. I arrived in Panama City with just 5 minutes until my connecting flight was scheduled to take off. Anyone who has ever experienced the joys of traveling by plane knows that 5 minutes is not enough time to get off one plane and go to another gate perhaps a quarter mile away to get on your connecting flight. Even if it were, it would be a futile attempt as the tarmac usually closes approximately 15 minutes before takeoff. Needless to say, I was stuck in Panama City and although I refused to admit it, I knew in my heart as I raced to the terminal where my connecting flight houston that I would never make it on the plane.

 I was not the only person on that flight out of Barranquilla whose itinerary was to fly to Houston out of Panama. There were two older women, sisters who grew up in Colombia. There was a young man about my age who had also spent his childhood in Colombia. There was a native of Ecuador who had moved to Seattle, and a college age girl who was visiting a Colombian friend. The college age girl and myself were the only two out of the six of us who spoke no Spanish. Since we were all in the same boat, we decided to stick together as much as we could. I found this to be very helpful and I can imagine the other girl who spoke no spanish would concur!

 The two sisters had done an extensive amount of traveling, so they took it upon themselves to seek out representatives of this particular airline and demand that we all be taken care of while we were grounded in Panama. The representatives agreed to give us several hundred dollars worth of food and lodging vouchers. We took great advantage of the vouchers given to us and went out to eat at one of the airline restaurants. Since we were grounded at the airport for several hours at a minimum, we took the time to get to know each other and what we had visited Colombia for. Everyone took great interest in hearing about my trip to Colombia for a short term mission stay. An open door to preach the gospel!

 As the day wore on, a representative from the airline set each person in our little group with a new itinerary to reach their destination. When they got to me however, all I received was bad news. My luggage had been left in Barranquilla and it would have to reach Houston on a different flight than the one I would be taking. This was very discouraging. Being epileptic, I take great care in making sure I always have medication with me when i am gone for a long time. When I travel by plane, I have learned to put at least a week's worth of medication in my carry on bag. so I had enough medication to last me a week as well as a change of clothes and some deodorant. I was told by the representative that I would be given some vouchers for a hotel and food for the night, so I did not need to worry about what i would do for food or where to sleep. But because I was never given any vouchers despite repeated attempts I did worry!

 Finally around 9 or 10 at night, an employee told me they were ready to give me some vouchers and take me to a hotel for the night. As I was escorted out of the airport, no vouchers were handed to me still. I gave up, walked out of the airport and approached a cab driver to see if he knew of a way to help my situation. I tried explaining to him that i had no vouchers or money. That did not deter him; his response to me was : "that OK." I should have known that his English was worse than my Spanish but I just wanted to get out of there. 

When we got to the hotel, there was a man working behind the front desk who the cab driver seemed to know fairly well. From what I gathered, the cabbie was explaining my situation to the hotel clerk. But then to my dismay, the hotel clerk told me how much they charge and asked me if I would like to pay with cash or credit. ARRGH! now i was really frustrated, but I tried to contain myself and slowly explained to the clerk and the cabbie that I had no money or vouchers. I noticed the cab driver's reaction was much like mine: he sighed and shook his head. "He understands me now, why didnt he understand me at the airport?" I thought. I was able to work out a deal and told the hotel clerk that I did have an emergency credit card on me that I could use. The clerk informed me that he would write up a receipt and I could present the receipt to a airline rep in the morning to receive a refund. Everyone was happy again.

 As I was getting ready for bed, I thought about my horrible luck and all the things that had happened to me in that single day. I started to fear about what could happen in the next 24 hours. What if I got robbed, or missed my flight? Would I have to stay another night in Panama and be forced to pay once again out of my own pocket? To be honest, I felt like crying. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the verse Joshua 1:9 came to the front of my mind. I thought about the positive side of the command to be strong and courageous. I thought about the negative side of the command to not be frightened or dismayed. I thought about how the LORD was with me the entire time in Panama and how all things work together for good. I realized I had a bad attitude when I was reviewing the day's events. I repented of my doubt and lack of faith and confessed my sin of unbelief before the God. I decided to review them again, but with these truths in mind that everything works together for good for those that love the Lord, and that God is with His children wherever they go, in whatever circumstance they find themselves in. Now I began to realize that this horrible day was for the glory of God. Everything that happened was for the purpose of teaching me something. For example, when the plane leaving Barranquilla was delayed from taking off because of the fog, I had to learn patience because as I would soon find out, that day would turn out to be the longest day of my life. Throughout the day, I was frustrated with the language barrier and my inability to effectively communicate with any of the representatives. I had to learn to be patient with other people who are just doing their job. I realized that I was given the oppurtunity to witness to five people during my time at the Panama airport; I had to learn to look for oppurtunities to spread the gospel. 

When I arrived at the airport the following morning I took the receipt the hotel clerk had given me and presented it to a represenatative like he advised. It took almost a half-hour for them to give me a refund, but when they did, I started to feel better. Instead of flying straight to Houston, I was re-routed to fly to Mexico City and then to Houston. When I arrived in Mexico City, I went straight to an airline official to talk to them about my luggage. Unfortunately, my luggage was just then reaching Panama even though it had a full day to catch up with me. With a renewed frame of mind, I did not let this discourage me. My face set like a flint, I continued on towards Houston. 

I weighed my options when I arrived in Houston as to whether or not I wanted to check and see if my luggage had caught up with me. Given the amount of time I had until I had to board my final flight, I made the risky decision to leave Houston without checking to see if my luggage arrived. I especially felt the weight of the decision I was making when I got to the checkpoint and a security guard asked me where my luggage was at. "It's not with me... it's on another flight." I stammered. The security guard looked at me like I was crazy and waved me along. So I flew from Houston to Omaha with only my carry-on bag, believing that God would eventually in good faith deliver my luggage to Omaha in His own time. I arrived in Omaha pretty late, around 11:30 at night. I was exhausted and did not feel like looking for my bag. But I felt that if God was faithful to bring my luggage and I did not bother to at least check, then I would not be faithful to Him and not fully believing on Him. I went to the conveyor belt where your luggage is put on to be picked up and patiently waited for it to appear as other people picked up their bags with no anticipation. After a while, I decided I might as well go to the customer service desk and let them know my luggage had not made it yet. They were closed, which was a good thing, because as I was walking back towards the baggage claims area, I saw my luggage sitting on the conveyor belt directly behind the one that I was originally searching for my bag at. It had been a long 36+ hours but I learned many things about myself. Looking back in hindsight, I realize now that the time I spent in Panama City was one of the most awesome adventures I will probably ever have. If I were given the chance to go back in time and do things differently, I think I would probably decline. 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Jude 7-9

If marriage is God's beautiful picture of Christ's love for His bride, the Church, then any perversion of marriage must be a manifestation of self-love. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Body; and He is the Savior of the Body. This verse taken from Ephesians presents God's view of what marriage is to look like. From Genesis 4 onward, the institution of marriage has been twisted to man's liking. Where Christ has but one betrothed wife who He is the head of, Lamech had two wives subject to him. The patriarch Abraham under the suggestion of his wife Sarai, took her handmaid Hagar to be his concubine, thus putting a strain on his relationship with Sarai. If polygamy, adultery, etc. is a departure of God's ideal plan for displaying His Son's relationship to the Church, then homosexuality goes one step further.

The eighth verse gives a summary of how these false teachers behave according to each OT example. It is important to note that it seems to go in reverse order. starting with the example of Sodom and Gomorrah, and finishing with the mixed multitude who believed not that were destroyed by the Lord. The people at Sodom and Gomorrah defiled the flesh through immoral activity. The angels who left their habitation despised the dominion, the Lordship of Jesus Christ. They despised the fact that He is Lord. The mixed multitude who did not believe the honest report of Caleb and Joshua, who caused all the congregation to murmur against Moses spoke evil of dignitaries. The false teachers that Jude is warning about do each of these things and much more according to his epistle.

It was pointed out in my previous post that the verb for 'kept' in verse six is used for the verb 'reserved' in the same verse. I have thought about the implications of this recently and how the angels who kept not their first estate did so out of pure contempt to their Lord and King Jesus Christ. What they came to realize however, is that Christ's dominion extends throughout all creation, seen and unseen. This includes hell and the lake of fire. They left their habitation, Heaven and all it splendor. For what we do not know. What we do know is that the Lordship of Christ is inescapable. Even on that horrible day when all of hell will be cast into the lake of fire, the inhabitants thereof shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

The next example Jude uses is unique for many reasons. Jude present Michael the archangel, contending with the Devil over the body of Moses as an example for believers in dealing with apostates, but primarily as a contrast with verse ten in showing how those who have made a departure of the faith make railing accusations. What makes this and Enoch's example so unique is that neither are mentioned anywhere else in canon of scripture. Because of this, many coentators have questioned whether it is divinely inspired, or if Jude appealed to apocryphal writings, such as The Assumption of Moses, or The Book of Enoch. However, if Jude went to an uninspired book for authority then that book would be taking the place of the Holy Spirit as inspiration and authority of scripture. The Holy Spirit, in His perfect wisdom knows exactly when and how to reveal certain details and facts to the human authors that dictated what He told them to say. So if a divinely inspired human author of God's word supplies his audience with deatails on an event that happened 1500 years previously, that should come as no surprise to uninspired commentators of any generation.

But Michael, the archangel, when contending with the Devil, he argued about the body of Moses, he dared not bring a judgement of blasphemy, but said: "The Lord rebuke you!" (Jude 9). This response Michael gave to Satan is the same response the Angel of the Lord gave to Satan in the book of Zechariah when Satan stood at the right hand of Joshua to resist him. An interesting pattern is shown here. First, chronologically speaking, the archangel Michael rebukes Satan through the authority of the Lord. Then, the Angel of Jehovah, the pre-incarnate Christ, though rebuking Satan by His authority as Lord, He does not exalt Himself lest He would say "I rebuke thee.". Our Lord knew the day would come when the Devil, the accuser of the saints throughout the ages, would be cast into the lake of fire. But until then, He would only rebuke Satan. We can only rely on the Lord when battling Satan and not our own strength. The same goes for the other two enemies of the believer: the flesh, and the world.

Oftentimes, one might hear a believer speak about how we must bind Satan. This concept of binding Satan is not just entirely unscriptural, it is a tactic employed by the Devil himself. The word of God nowhere states anything of the sort that believers are to bind Satan. Christ, who ought to be our example, never bound Satan at any time in His earthly ministry, nor has He done so today as part of His heavenly ministry. To present believers with the notion that it is possible, even acceptable for us to bind Satan gives us a false sense of security. What's worse is that it gives the believer confidence in the flesh.

The archangel Michael is understood to be a guardian for God's earthly people the Israelites. When Gabriel came to visit the prophet Daniel, a prince of Persia, withstood Gabriel for twenty-one days. According to Gabriel, Michael was a chief prince who came to help him (Daniel 10:13). In Daniel 12, the prophet records a great vision of the 7 year tribulation period. In the first verse, he refers to Michael as the chief prince who stands for the people of Israel. So it would appear that Michael would have a vested interest in protecting the body of Moses. It has often been conjectured that Satan wanted the body to cause the Israelites to worship and revere his body. While this is conjecture it is plausible conjecture for man is known to be superstitious and to desire to worship objects and icons. What is certain is that "there has not arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face." (Deu. 34:10). My own personal belief is that the Lord having known Moses so intimately, an Moses still having vision and strength within him, desired to preserve his body for future service.