Selected Studies from Jude Part 2: An Exposition of Jude 12-16 -- By: D. Edmond Hiebert

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 142:567 (Jul 1985)
Article: Selected Studies from Jude Part 2: An Exposition of Jude 12-16
Author: D. Edmond Hiebert


Selected Studies from Jude
Part 2:
An Exposition of Jude 12-16

D. Edmond Hiebert

[D. Edmond Hiebert, Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, California]

These men are those who are hidden reefs in your love-feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever. And about these also Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage (Jude 12–16).

Following the epistolary salutation (vv. 1–2), Jude indicated that his present communication was prompted by the intrusion of immoral persons into the churches, requiring that his readers contend earnestly for the revealed faith in the light of this dangerous situation (vv. 3–4). In verses 5–7 Jude cited three examples to establish that these men were subjects for the certain judgment of God. Beginning with verse 8 Jude launched his devastating attack on these insidious intruders. In verses 8–11 he set forth their daring conduct, establishing that they were eminently worthy of divine judgment. Having depicted their evil deeds, Jude continued his assault on “these men” with a figurative portrayal of what they were (vv. 12–13), the prophetic verification of their doom (vv. 14–15), and a summary portrayal of their true nature (v. 16).

The Figurative Description of Their Character

The character of these apostates, already glimpsed in the picture of their daring conduct, is depicted in verses 12–13 in a series of five pointed metaphors, all drawn from nature. As Moffatt observes, “Sky, land, and sea are ransacked for illustrations of their character...

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