In this post we learn that Jude is talking about the world in which we live today. (This will be a long post, but there was no good point at which to make a break.)
Jude 1:17-18 “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
Jude reminds his audience that the apostles said that Jesus told them that in the “last times” there would be “mockers”; the Greek defines this as false teachers. I think every generation of believers since the time of Christ has felt they were in the “last times” and that Christ would return in their day. Christ said that He could come at any time and it would be soon. Soon, of course, is a relative term.
The key factor in defining that time as now is the fact that Israel has reemerged as a nation on the world scene. Daniel’s prophecy specified that the last seven years on planet earth would be a time during which, among other things, God would purify Jerusalem and a remnant of the Jewish people.
Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”
The prophet Zechariah declared that Jerusalem would become a burdensome stone for all people.
Zechariah 12:3 “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”
No one can honestly deny that this is a unique description of the truth of our day.
Because Satan is the god of this world and the sin nature is in all of us, there have always been and will continue to be scoffers and people who follow their ungodly desires. I think that as the time nears, these characteristics will become more predominant throughout the world. Paul warned Timothy of this very truth.
2 Timothy 3:1–5 “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.”
“Lovers of their own selves” speaks of selfishness. Who can deny that today the focus is on the right to please self without regard as to how it may impact others. Marketing is based on presenting products based on fulfilling the desires and needs of the flesh in support of this love of self. The primary motivating factor for most people today—What’s in it for me?
The Greek for “covetous” is connected to avarice, the love of money and greed for wealth. Again, can we deny that the desire for more money as evidence of one’s success and to provide the ability to fulfill selfish desires is an apt description of the overall culture of today?
A “boaster” is a braggart, someone who shows excessive pride in his/her accomplishments, possessions, or abilities. This type of unhealthy pride is evidenced by basking in recognition of one’s accomplishments, possessions and abilities without regard to God and thinking that this places you in an elite status compared to others. In Christendom it would be evidenced by an attitude analogous to the Pharisees of Jesus’ time.
Being “proud” is a reference to haughtiness, considering oneself as superior to others and looking down with contempt on those you consider unworthy of your attention.
“Blasphemers” are those who speak out with slander and disrespect against God. This is especially obvious among the new atheists of today. It is also prevalent in so-called art and entertainment today in America and other parts of the world. Sadly, however, it is also true of many who profess themselves to be Christian, but call God’s word a lie and/or twist or manipulate its truth to support their own objectives.
“Disobedience to parents” means what it says. The Greek included the idea of being unpersuadable. This seems to reference having a stubborn heart that is not teachable or open to reasoning. The youth of today are more likely to respond to their peers and/or be led by the example and/or expressed beliefs of popular cultural figures than to parents.
“Unthankful” is the equivalent of ingratitude and, I believe, again ties directly to selfishness. Kids today are growing up with an attitude that indicates they feel they are deserving without regard to their treatment of others or their own work ethic.
To be “unholy” is to be wicked (from the Greek). Webster states that to be wicked is to act contrary to the moral or divine law. One only has to look at the Ten Commandments to conclude that unholiness is an apt description of the culture in most of the world today. God is certainly not acknowledged as Lord. Taking God’s name in vain has become part of everyday speech—at least in America. Killing the unborn is excused as the woman’s right to choose. Sexual immorality is an accepted lifestyle. There is a growing attitude of “the ends justifies the means” when it comes getting what we want.
The Greek defines being without natural affection as being hard-hearted towards your relatives; it is showing cruelty and lack of pity (from the Greek). Again, this falls right in line with being “lovers of self.” Parents and relatives are often placed in nursing homes and then forgotten or pitifully neglected by their “loved ones.” I also believe this attitude is manifest by most women that choose abortion; relatively speaking, very few women choose abortion for life-threatening medical considerations. These women do not have the “natural affection” you would expect to go with expectant motherhood.
The Greek for “trucebreakers” stated “literally, without libation….” When I looked up the root word, this was a reference to devoting one’s life as a sacrifice. My definition: Making a deal or promise without true commitment to fulfill it at point of sacrifice to self. Scripture is clear in stating that we should honor our word.
“False accusers” are those that tell lies about someone to destroy their reputation. I think that the media in general in America today is full of people who are willing false accusers in pursuit of promoting their own agendas, and the public as a whole seems to be willing to believe their lies. In politics it has become the norm for candidates to lie about their opponents in order to gain a political advantage. These are but a couple of examples that evidence a growing lack of integrity that permeates our culture today.
“Incontinence” is a reference to lack of self-control. Again, this is an outworking of selfishness. One who lacks self-control is obviously not concerned about how his/her actions may affect others. The growing lack of self-control goes hand-in-hand with the use of drugs and alcohol and is the foundation for the success of the porn industry. Sadly, this lack is also the motivating factor behind the horrendous crimes of rape, sexual abuse of children and human trafficking, among others.
One who is “fierce” is aggressive and characterized by uncontrolled violence. Frankly, I believe the great increase in aggressive and violent behavior evidenced in society today is spawned by the entertainment industry. Movies and video games have caused people to become desensitized to aggression and violence and made them much more likely to emulate such actions without feeling guilt. This type of behavior is also directly connected to lack of self-control.
The phrase “despisers of those that are good” is basically self-explanatory. This too is becoming more dominant in the news today. The persecution of Christians is growing throughout the world. Christians in America are being categorized by public officials with radical terrorists and characterized as intolerant (implied—and therefore dangerous). Those who live in disobedience to God’s word are always going to despise those that are obedient to God’s word. Jesus predicted this hatred.
Matthew 10:22 “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake….”
John 15:18–19 “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
A “traitor” is one who betrays or violates the confidence or trust of another. In today’s society this often goes hand-in-hand with the love of money. The tabloids and increasingly the mainstream media produce headlines and make profit by seeking out people who are willing to betray friends, lovers, bosses, etc. A traitor is almost always motivated by selfish purposes of some type.
One who is “heady” is rash; he/she is prone to acting before thinking. Sometimes I think that must be an unwritten qualification for running for office in Washington D.C. I was totally appalled to learn that our congressional leaders think it is normal and reasonable to pass legislation that they have not read. How can we possibly expect the people to be careful, deliberate and reasonable in making decisions when those who lead us operate with such rashness. Webster adds that “heady” actions affect the head and are intoxicating. I believe that is what affects those in leadership in our government today. They become intoxicated with power and lose all sense of reason.
One who is “highminded” is inflated with self-conceit and lifted up in pride (from the Greek).
As Paul gets to the end of his list, he gets to the main problem in the lives of the types of people being referenced in this list—they love pleasure more than God. Scripture acknowledges that sin results in pleasure—but only for a season.
Hebrews 11:24–25 “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season….”
Scripture is also clear in declaring that those who love God will suffer in this world, but it also declares that our obedience will be well rewarded in eternity.
John 16:33 “….In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Acts 14:22 “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
1 Corinthians 2:9 “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
Matthew 5:10–12 “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:”
Those that “have a form of godliness” appear to be Christians; they are professors of faith but not possessors of faith; they are hypocrites. These people deny the power of God to save souls and change lives. This is the most discouraging aspect of the “church” today. It is the most telling trait on this list in my opinion regarding the “last days.” The “church” today is in the process of “emerging” and morphing into the ecumenical church of the end times. The word of God is being misused. The focus of the church is more on social work than on spreading the gospel and equipping believers. Pagan practices are being incorporated into worship. Tolerance and unity among faiths are being promoted in disregard of the exclusive truth of scripture.
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Matthew 7:13–14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
The power of God is being disregarded for the power of men and evil spirits. Many popular “Christian” books promote the wisdom of the author—not the wisdom of God as revealed in scripture. Others present God and/or spiritual teaching according to their own imagination and desires rather than as instructed and defined in scripture. Many “new age” beliefs are being promoted and marketed in writings openly identified as revelations from spirit guides. Visions of the Virgin Mary and mysterious phenomena are identified as “from God” when it is obvious that they are contrary to scripture and, therefore, are occurring according to the powers of the “god of this world”—Satan. I am reminded that scripture warns us that our fight is with evil spirits and that Satan has the ability to work lying wonders within the parameters that God allows him (as evidenced by Job).
Ephesians 6:11–12 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
2 Thessalonians 2:9 “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders….” [speaking in context of the Antichrist]
Deuteronomy 13:1–3 “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Matthew 7:22–23 “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” [“wonderful works” = miracles in the Greek]
(to be continued…)