8 In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. 9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them. 11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. ~ Jude 8-11
The epistle of Jude has as its subject apostasy. The Greek word apostasia means to depart or to fall away. The apostate is someone who rebels against the faith they once claimed to believe. In 2 Corinthians 11 we learn that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. We should not be surprised when his ministers disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness.
In v.5-7 we learned of three cases of apostate judgments. Jude wrote of people destroyed by their unbelief in Egypt, and he wrote of the angels who followed the devil in his rebellion, and he wrote of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah which were reduced to ashes because they gave themselves to sexual immorality and perversion.
In today's text, v.8-11, we have the unmasking of the apostate. In these verses Jude wrote about the three characteristics of the apostate: they are immoral, they are insubordinate, and they are irreverent. Then in v.11, Jude gave us three Old Testament comparisons of an apostate's influence: Cain, Balaam, and Korah.
In v.8 of today's text we read, "In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings."
This verse begins with "In the very same way," which is to say, "Likewise." In this verse Jude reaches back into the Old Testament for examples, namely the lessons learned when the people of Egypt didn't believe, and, the rebellion of the demons that followed the devil out of heaven, and, the lessons learned from Sodom and Gomorrah.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we have been brought under the authority of the word of God. These false teachers that Jude addressed had as their authority, themselves. Jude wrote, "...on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute..." They saw themselves as an authority unto themselves, and, they developed their teaching on the basis of their dreams they had during their sleep. And, their dreams didn't match the teaching in God's word.
In v.9 of today's text we read, "But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, 'The Lord rebuke you!"'
It is a dangerous thing to parley with the devil because he desires to trick you and me into uniting with him in his warfare against God. As this verse underscores, even Michael the Archangel, the most powerful archangel around, did not dare dispute with the devil personally. He at least respected the authority structure, even though the devil is a fallen angel. To parley with the devil is to open oneself up, even more, to one of his devices, namely, slander.
There are those who find time to address the devil. They rebuke him. The Bible commands us to resist the devil. We should not talk to him, at all. In fact, it is quite arrogant of us to think that the devil is even mindful of us since he is not omnipresent and omniscient. It is okay to talk to God about the devil, but we must be careful to not talk to the devil.
In v.10 of today's text we read,"Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them."
When we parley with the devil, we heighten his opportunity to deceive us. This is what the subjects of this verse did, they opened themselves up to the devil and he had his way in their lives. And, slander is the mode of operation for the false teacher. The Greek word Jude used here for slander is blasphemy which is an open expression of the flesh or the evil desires within us. When we are not defined by God's word, the flesh or the evil desires within us, will rule over us, and we will end up as it's slave.
The people described by Jude here are the type that diminish the absolute reliability of God’s word, even when they have no idea of the depth it contains. They may be intelligent by the world’s standards, but they have no concept of the true knowledge which comes from God.
Since the Bible is no mere human writing, it has a unique power to transform the human heart or to "make us wise for salvation." The Bible enlightens our minds, unveils God’s plan of salvation, teaches us His ways, and shows us how to live as His people. In order to meet with confidence and wisdom the many challenges of our time, believers in the Lord Jesus must be renewed in our zeal to study and be defined by the very words of God.
In v.11 of today's text we read, "Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion."
Jude writes, woe to them, for they are controlled by their own passions like Cain, and, they are controlled by their own greed like Balaam, and, they are controlled by their own flesh like Korah.
The way of Cain is religion without saving faith. Cain brought his own little offering that he thought God should respect, and God did not. In the bowels of this approach with God is this thought: "I produced this. I did my best." It is religion without saving faith. That's the way of Cain.
Balaam was a prophet in the Old Testament who was hired by the King of Moab to curse the children of Israel. Balaam was money hungry, he was driven by his greed. And he figured out a way that he could tell Balak, the enemy of the Israelites, how to watch God judge Israel. But, Balaam ended up blessing Israel.
He said, "Listen, I don't need to curse them. Let's entice the young Moabite women, the prostitutes, to go into the camp of Israel, seduce the young men to have sexual relations with them. And then, they can bring out their little gods or little idols during that act. And that's idolatry. God will judge his people for idolatry."
The error of Balaam was he leveraged his influence as a faith leader to lead other people astray. He leveraged his own influence as a faith leader to get wealth from the enemy. That's the error of Balaam.
Then, there's the rebellion of Korah. And Korah rebelled against God's authority by rebelling against the authority of Moses and Aaron, he and a few other people suffered death for their actions.