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.

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