January 6 – Understand, Don’t Underestimate

Read Jude 1-25

Warning!  That’s what this one-chapter letter is.  It is a warning that false teachers attempt to infiltrate the ranks of believers.  They want to pervert grace and deny Christ.  They pervert grace by seemingly using it as a license for sin.  They deny Christ by failing to honor Him as master.  As a result, believers must sit up and take notice.  In fact, in the face of their attempts to lead people astray, Jude does more than warn believers.  He invites them to “contend for the faith.”  Like those entrusted with a sacred, precious treasure, we are to seek to protect and retain the sound teaching of God’s word.

The outcome for those who pervert grace and deny Christ is not pleasant.  Theirs is a future of condemnation.  While Jude develops that idea extensively by citing numerous Old Testament examples, it is particularly the angelic references that I want to highlight.

Their future condemnation is similar to that of angels who “abandoned their proper dwelling.”  This mysterious reference seems to be a reference to Genesis 6 where “sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose” (Gen. 6:6).  Many theologians agree that this refers to odd intermarriages between angelic beings and humans.  Clearly, this was outside of God’s plan.  Just as these angelic beings await judgment, so too, the false teachers will experience eternal sentencing.

Their current foolishness is depicted in the fact that they “revile angelic majesties” (v. 8 NASB).  Michael, the archangel, understood that one cannot stand alone against satanic power and influence.  Although this incident is cited nowhere else in Scripture, it seems that Michael and Satan argued over the body of Moses.  Michael was wise enough not to pronounce judgment on the devil.  Instead, he said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (v. 9)  False teachers, you see, do not have a proper respect for the reality of the unseen world.  They underestimate the power of angels and demons and exaggerate their own!

As we continue to round out our understanding of angels and demons, keep in mind that they are also moral beings that will one day be judged (1 Cor. 6:3).  And don’t underestimate the power of this invisible realm.


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