It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgement on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favouritism to gain advantage.
Before we get into the meaning of the passage, our minds go on a rabbit trail. Enoch is mentioned here, but this quotation does not come from Genesis. In Genesis we just read that Enoch was one who walked with God and did not die. God took him to heaven without the necessity of passing through death. One preacher I heard growing up at Underwood Chapel said it well when he said that Enoch walked so long with God that when it came time for them to part at the end of one day, God said, “How about if we go home to my house today?” Enoch was a righteous man, so where do these words of his come from. Jude was familiar with other books that described the life of Enoch, not least among these was 1 Enoch. In that book there is a passage that describes the words that Jude quotes here. 1 Enoch 1:9 reads, “And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones to execute judgement upon all, and to destroy the ungodly: And to convict all flesh of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
If we know that it is not biblical, how can Jude quote it? A couple of explanations come to mind. The most likely is that he was inspired to validate this part of a text which is in other parts uninspired. Another explanation is that he uses it as an illustration in just the same way that a modern preacher might refer to a quotation in a well-known movie in order to support his main point. In either case, the fact that this is not biblical does not invalidate its truth. The truth is that there are ungodly people in the church who come together for social support, or financial support, or to bolster their own egos. Some people do not come to church because of God, they come to church because of themselves. As the church seeks to teach and grow, it has to distance itself from such people. How do you spot them? They grumble and complain that nothing goes right for them. They see their problems as located outside of themselves. They do not see their need for change. Bad things just happen to them. Then they grumble and complain. Their children don’t behave rightly, their worship service doesn’t cater to them, and the wrong people are leading in the wrong ways. In their own minds they are committed, faithful and diligent, but even the casual onlooker can see that they blame others when the problems are close to home.
May I not be one of the ungodly who pursue church fellowship to manipulate the crowd. May I not be one who sees all their problems as circumstances that can’t be avoided. May I see hardship as opportunity for growth. May I enter into community for the sake of the community.
- How do you solve the problem that Enoch quoted a book that isn’t scripture?
- What does this say about the truth in books that aren’t in the Bible?
- What were the recipients of the letter faced with?
- How would you respond to Enoch?
- How might it be possible that the reason life seems so difficult is because of your own attitude?
I recognize that the authors of Scripture quote non-biblical sources within their writings. Since truth is anything that God says about a matter, there is no reason to create a problem about this quote. God’s truth was made clear in this particular verse of 1 Enoch to be used in Jude’s writing. No assumption has to be made about the rest of 1 Enoch it is not dealt with in Jude’s writing. There is truth outside of Scripture that aligns with Scripture or does not contradict the teaching of Scripture. I may quote D.L. Moody in a paper that is also quoting Scripture to prove a theological point, and although D.L. Moody’s word are not the inspired word of God, they are based on/in alignment with it.
A continuation of the the frightening. Perhaps I shouldn’t say that. This is a good thing- a great thing that God is coming with ten thousandS (not just ten thousand mind you) of His people to judge the people of this world. It sounds like we’re going to definitely play a part in this some how. Be behind Jesus in white on a white horse? And all the ungodly- including these people who have tried to corrupt God’s church- will be convicted for their ungodliness, not convicted to repentance, but judgment. Sentenced to judgment. “Ungodly” appears in my translation four times. Four times in verse fifteen alone! The emphasis is on the fact that these people are not like our LORD. They have denied Jesus as their God (verse 4), and so they do not seek to conform to His image. They live out their sinful nature, “conducting themselves according to their own lusts.” They are a slap in the Creator and Savior’s face. The deception that goes into “showing favoritism to take advantage” saddens me. May I not do that.
Well, I had written a post two days ago and hadn’t sent it until now, only to have it say that there was an error posting…So here is attempt number 2.
First it is important to recognize the fact that Jude is not the only New Testament writer to quote someone’s words who was not considered inspired. The apostle Paul quoted at least one pagan philosopher in his epistles. Truth is not dependent on its express origin in the people of God who are inspired. Truth is something which finds its origin in God because it is from God that things can be true. Pythagoras was a pagan whose religion surrounded the math and numbers of which he discovered many important relations which have been useful theorems in describing the world. These are true, because God authored the logic and relationships from which Pythagoras’ theorems were derived. God is the author of scripture, and He can draw from any source He chooses to present the truth.
The recipients were faced with false believers/teachers in their midst and they were not sure how to correctly handle them. It also seems that they may not have been obvious as some of the analogies which Jude uses in describing them are of things in nature which are false/destructive but not seen or recognized for what they are (reefs, waterless clouds, wandering stars). Some indication as to the identifiers for these are related to their attitude. Overall, they seem indicative of a selfish and prideful disposition. Things are not good enough for them and people are not as good as them–their actions toward others stem from this subversive attitude. Attitudes are easy to mistake as the result of circumstance and idiosyncratic personality. They are really a result of a heart which is sinful.
We know that Jude was inspired by the Holy Spirit so that the words he wrote were both his and God’s. Therefore, whatever he quotes of Enoch must be true or encapsulate that which is true. In similar form, my youth pastor would quote Braveheart or Gladiator often in order to show the truth he was teaching.
All truth is God’s truth, however, what surrounds truth in some writings may not be as valid. Someone could claim that God is sovereign in one sentence and the next write that we are his puppets and that he created us to be his slaves. So, the first statement is true, but the second is not–that is of the ilk of Marduk–Yahweh is not so.
The recipients were faced with people who infiltrated the church in order to seek their own gain. They wanted to see what they could get out of the body of Christ other than eternal salvation. (Sounds a lot like consumerism).
It sounds like Enoch is describing the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the Age. Seem fair.
When I am frustrated and have a poor attitude, everything seems to make me more frustrated. This is because I have a bad attitude and need to focus on someone outside of myself–namely, Jesus Christ.