“Look! Jehovah Came With His Holy Myriads”
“Look! Jehovah came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment against all, and to convict all the ungodly concerning all their ungodly deeds that they did in an ungodly way, and concerning all the shocking things that ungodly sinners spoke against him.”—Jude 14, 15.
1. As the Supreme Judge, how should Jehovah be viewed?
JEHOVAH, the Supreme Judge, deserves to be respected. (Isaiah 33:22) Yet many treat him with great disrespect. Among such arrogant wrongdoers were the “ungodly men” about whom the disciple Jude wrote in his divinely inspired letter. However, no one can disregard God with impunity, for there is no doubt about ‘Jehovah’s coming to execute judgment against the ungodly.’—Jude 14, 15; Job 9:1-4.
2. (a) Thus far our consideration of Jude’s letter has brought what points to our attention? (b) Jude’s further counsel should do what for us?
2 Our earlier discussion of Jude’s letter emphasized the need to resist false teachers and would-be flesh defilers, but to heed Scriptural warnings and respect divinely constituted authority. (Jude 1-10) Now may Jude’s further counsel heighten our respect for the Supreme Judge so that we will stand firmly among his witnesses with eternal life in view.
‘Too Bad for Them!’
3. Of what was Cain guilty?
3 Concerning the “ungodly men” who defied Jehovah, Jude wrote:
“Too bad for them, because they have gone in the path of Cain, and have rushed into the erroneous course of Balaam for reward, and have perished in the rebellious talk of Korah!” (Jude 11)
In saying “too bad for them,” Jude indicated that woe would befall the “ungodly men” who had crept into the congregation of Jehovah’s people. (Compare Luke 11:42-47, 52.) Those men had “gone in the path of Cain.” Whereas God’s approval came upon Abel and his sacrifice of animal flesh and blood, Cain’s bloodless offering, made with an improper spirit, was rejected. Cain lacked faith and did not respect the glory or dignity that God bestowed on Abel. In envy and hatred, Cain even disregarded a divine warning and murdered his brother.—Genesis 4:2-8; Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12.
4. (a) What was “the path of Cain”? (b) Why should you avoid ‘Cain’s path’?
4 Primarily, Cain showed disrespect for Jehovah, and his disrespectful course was called “the path of Cain.” Just as his defiant action and wicked motive were all wrong, so it is today with any person professing to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses but who seeks to turn God’s undeserved kindness into an excuse for loose conduct. Any such person pursues Cain’s “path.” Like Cain, who hated and killed his brother, such individuals are ‘manslayers’ because they hate faithful Christians whom Jehovah has dignified with His service. (1 John 3:15) God cursed Cain, and during the Flood his offspring were wiped out. Similarly, it will be “too bad” for those who follow ‘Cain’s path,’ for it displeases Jehovah and leads to destruction.
5. (a) What course did Balaam pursue? (b) In Jude’s day who ‘rushed into Balaam’s erroneous course’? (c) What will happen to any who now seek to corrupt Jehovah’s people by false teaching and indulgence in animalistic passions?
5 The ungodly flesh defilers also had “rushed into the erroneous course of Balaam for reward.” Yielding to Moabite King Balak’s repeated offers of reward, Balaam tried to curse the Israelites three times, but Jehovah always turned the curse into a blessing. Therefore, greedy Balaam suggested to Balak that if Israel could be seduced into false religion and indulgence in animalistic passions, God would curse even His own people. This evil counsel was followed, and because of the Israelites’ loose conduct, 24,000 of them were killed by a God-sent plague and direct execution. (Numbers 22:1–25:9; Revelation 2:14) Later, Balaam himself died at the hands of those he had tried to curse. (Numbers 31:8) Similarly, disaster will befall any claiming to be Jehovah’s Witnesses but who are greedy and seek to corrupt Jehovah’s people by false teaching and indulgence in animalistic passions. There have been instances of this in modern times, and faithful dedicated witnesses of Jehovah should beware!
6, 7. (a) Of what was the Levite Korah guilty? (b) What happened to Korah and those who joined him? (c) How should we view “rebellious talk”?
6 Another warning example cited by Jude was that of the Levite Korah, who resorted to “rebellious talk.” Driven by ambition, he falsely charged Moses with having selfishly arranged for his own brother, Aaron, to become high priest, and accused Aaron of having grabbed the honor of the priesthood for himself and his family. Korah did not respect the glory or dignity God conferred upon Aaron and his sons, but rebelled against God’s appointments.
7 Though Korah and certain Reubenites drawn to his side had been saved out of Egypt, they never entered the Promised Land. Instead, the earth opened up and some of them were buried alive, whereas others were burned to death by fire from Jehovah. Next, 14,700 Israelites that murmured at this judgment from God died by a scourge from Jehovah. (Numbers, chapter 16) So certain was the execution of God’s judgment against the rebellious “ungodly men” that Jude said they “have perished.” It was as good as done! How all of this should prompt us to avoid “rebellious talk”!
8. The warning examples of Cain, Balaam and Korah have what import today?
8 Yes, woe is sure to befall any pursuing a course of rebellion against Jehovah and his organizational arrangements. Jude showed that it would be “too bad” for those who lacked love and faith (as did Cain), who (like Balaam) were eager to be paid for teachings that promoted loose conduct, and who (like Korah) disrespected divinely conferred authority. And surely Jude’s words provided strong warning concerning any who profess to be Jehovah’s Witnesses and yet have a critical or disrespectful attitude toward God’s theocratic arrangement for our day.
Warnings in Comparison
9. What was the significance of likening the ungodly false teachers to “rocks hidden below water”?
9 Continuing to give warning, Jude said in comparison:
“These are the rocks hidden below water in your love feasts while they feast with you, shepherds that feed themselves without fear; waterless clouds carried this way and that by winds; trees in late autumn, but fruitless, having died twice, having been uprooted; wild waves of the sea that foam up their own causes for shame; stars with no set course, for which the blackness of darkness stands reserved forever.” (Jude 12, 13)
Among other things, the false teachers were like “rocks hidden below water.” Those men made a pretense of love for believers and therefore were like jagged underwater rocks that could rip and kill swimmers or wreck ships. Unless Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to “put up a hard fight for the faith,” such deceptive teachers could lead unstable individuals to “shipwreck concerning their faith.”—1 Timothy 1:19.
10. (a) The early Christian “love feasts” may have been what, and with what motive did the “ungodly men” attend them? (b) What must be avoided at social gatherings among Jehovah’s Witnesses?
10 Those “ungodly men” frequented the Christians’ “love feasts.” Such occasions may have been banquets to which materially prosperous Christians invited poor fellow believers. But the would-be flesh defilers attended with base motives. (Compare 2 Peter 2:13.) Likewise, there are some today who try to turn social events among Jehovah’s Witnesses into occasions for excesses in eating, drinking and worldly song and dance. Let faithful Christian witnesses never allow this to occur at their social gatherings.
11. (a) The ungodly false teachers were shepherds of what kind? (b) What attitude should loyal Christians have toward such false teachers today?
11 The ungodly false teachers also were like shepherds that fleeced and sacrificed the flock to dress and feed themselves. They tried to lead the unsteady into a wayward course and did not feed them proper spiritual food. (Compare Ezekiel 34:7-10.) How vital that loyal Christians reject the views of any such false teachers today!
12. How were the false teachers of Jude’s day like waterless, windblown clouds?
12 The false teachers of Jude’s day also were like deceptive clouds promising much-needed rain, but that were really waterless and driven by winds. Those men were carried about by winds of error, and because of being like “waterless clouds” they were spiritually empty and unprofitable. Let Jehovah’s Witnesses beware of all such presumptuous false teachers.
13. Why were the false teachers like fruitless trees that had “died twice” and were “uprooted”?
13 Lacking the fruitage of God’s holy spirit, those vile men also were as trees without fruit in the fall, at the end of the fruit-bearing season. They were like trees that had “died twice,” or were “completely dead.” (Today’s English Version) Those men “slipped” into the congregation by pretending to be alive spiritually after being formally baptized in water. But since they bore no fruit to God’s glory, they had to be dealt with as were unproductive fruit trees in ancient Palestine. These were uprooted and destroyed so as to escape the tax on fruit trees. Being “uprooted” clearly indicated that those unrepentant apostate teachers faced destruction.
14. How were the false teachers like “wild waves of the sea”?
14 Because those false teachers were without God’s holy spirit, they also were like “wild waves of the sea.” They were as wild as turbulent sea waves that stir up mire and seaweed. Comparably, those restless, animalistic men apparently were loud in making professions of faith, but their ungodly acts and teachings identified them as filthy wrongdoers with reason to be ashamed.—Isaiah 57:20, 21.
15. The false teachers were like stars of what kind, and what was reserved for them?
15 Since those false teachers did not maintain a steady course in righteousness, they were like “wandering stars.” (Authorized Version) Of course, navigation by the stars would be impossible if these unpredictably wandered about. Accordingly, like stars having no “set course,” those apostates could not be depended upon for sound spiritual guidance. For those false lights God “reserved” nothing but the “blackness of darkness” eternally, and this signified their everlasting destruction. For many reasons, indeed, faithful Christian witnesses of Jehovah completely reject false teachers and their doctrines.
Jehovah Acts to Execute Judgment
16. Who was Enoch, and what did he prophesy?
16 In proof that Jehovah acts against the ungodly, Jude said:
“Yes, the seventh one in line from Adam, Enoch, prophesied also regarding them, when he said: ‘Look! Jehovah came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment against all, and to convict all the ungodly concerning all their ungodly deeds that they did in an ungodly way, and concerning all the shocking things that ungodly sinners spoke against him.’” (Jude 14, 15)
Counting Adam, the first human, Enoch was “the seventh one in line.” Those in between were Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel and Jared. (Genesis 5:3-18) ‘Enoch walked with God,’ pursuing a course in harmony with Jehovah’s revealed truth. (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5) Spiritual corruption surrounded Enoch, but he courageously served as God’s prophet.
17. How may Jude have learned about Enoch’s prophecy?
17 How Jude learned about the prophecy of Enoch is not revealed. It does not appear earlier in the divinely inspired Scriptures. Perhaps Jesus quoted Enoch’s prophecy in a sermon and it was handed down orally. But there is no evidence that Jude quoted a similar statement found in the apocryphal Book of Enoch. Since Jude wrote under divine inspiration, the inclusion of Enoch’s prophecy in his letter establishes the genuineness of those words.
18. (a) Why could it be said that Enoch prophesied also regarding the false teachers of Jude’s day? (b) According to Enoch’s prophecy, how would the Supreme Judge deal with those treating Him with disrespect?
18 Enoch “prophesied also regarding [the false teachers of Jude’s day]” apparently in that what he foretold concerning early wrongdoers also applied to them. Jehovah, the Supreme Judge, toward whom the ungodly or irreverential men showed disrespect, would execute his adverse judgment upon them. In doing so, Jehovah would come with his “holy myriads,” or “holy ten thousands,” that is, righteous angels in vast numbers. (Compare Deuteronomy 33:2; Daniel 7:9, 10.) The chief One of those “holy myriads” is the Messiah, by whom Jehovah comes and renders judgment.—Luke 1:35; John 5:27; Acts 17:30, 31.
19. (a) Like the wicked of Enoch’s day, how did the “ungodly men” speak “shocking things” against Jehovah? (b) What was sure to come upon ungodly defilers of the flesh? (c) So how should Jehovah’s Witnesses conduct themselves?
19 Jehovah allowed those ungodly or irreverential persons ample opportunity to show their guiltiness, as by their “loose conduct.” By their vile deeds and words their ungodliness was made evident and on that basis they were proved guilty, were ‘convicted’ by God. As the wicked of Enoch’s day spoke “shocking things” against God, so those “ungodly men” disregarded lordship and spoke abusively of those upon whom Jehovah had conferred a degree of glory. (Jude 8-10) Thus they were speaking “shocking things” against Jehovah and were condemned. In keeping with Enoch’s prophecy, God executed judgment against the ungodly during the flood of Noah’s day. Hence, execution of divine judgment against the ungodly defilers of the flesh was certain, and Jehovah’s Witnesses can expect to see similar execution of judgment in this day. Surely, then, we should guard our acts and speech so as to please God and escape destruction.
Shun Murmuring and Swelling Speech
20. How should Jehovah’s servants view the murmuring and complaining of the “ungodly men”?
20 Referring to other ungodly traits, Jude wrote:
“These men are murmurers, complainers about their lot in life, proceeding according to their own desires, and their mouths speak swelling things, while they are admiring personalities for the sake of their own benefit.” (Jude 16)
Christian witnesses of Jehovah are admonished to “keep doing all things free from murmurings.” (Philippians 2:14, 15) But those “ungodly men” were “murmurers” like the Israelites who murmured against Moses and Aaron and consequently had to die in the wilderness because of actually murmuring against God. (Numbers 14:1-38; 1 Corinthians 10:10) The animalistic men also were “complainers about their lot in life,” even as the worldly poor may complain because they are not wealthy, and so forth. Of course, like true Christians of Jude’s time, Jehovah’s Witnesses today rely on heavenly wisdom and the help of God’s spirit in bearing difficult circumstances. May we never be like the ungodly murmurers of Jude’s day!
21. (a) In what way did the “ungodly men” ‘proceed according to their own desires’? (b) How did those wayward individuals ‘admire personalities for their own benefit,’ and why was that wrong?
21 Those wayward men ‘proceeded according to their own desires,’ being governed by their immoral sensual cravings but not by the commandments of God or his Son. (Compare James 4:1-3.) And while ‘their mouths spoke swelling things,’ or were “full of boastful talk” (Jerusalem Bible), they singled out some for whom they made an insincere show of admiration. (Compare Psalm 140:11; Titus 1:10, 11; 2 Peter 2:18, 19.) Those immoral men ‘admired personalities for the sake of their own benefit.’ They cultivated the favor and support of the rich, the prominent, or others, hoping for material or social gain. But this was grossly selfish and blinded those wrongdoers to the much higher godly aim of cultivating Jehovah’s favor. Hence, they failed to respect the Supreme Judge and so came under his sentence of destruction.
22. As considered so far, what has Jude presented for our benefit, and what do his concluding words include?
22 Jude was forthright in urging fellow believers to “put up a hard fight for the faith.” He pointed to Scriptural warnings against immorality, rebelliousness and murmuring, and he left no doubt about the execution of divine judgment. How timely that Jehovah’s Witnesses reflect on these matters! As we shall see, Jude’s concluding words, which include heartfelt entreaty, also have great meaning for Jehovah’s worshipers.
Can you answer these questions?
□ What was the “path of Cain,” and why must Jehovah’s people avoid it?
□ Who “rushed into the erroneous course of Balaam,” and why would you shun it?
□ What warning example do we have in the case of the Levite Korah?
□ How were the “ungodly men” Jude discusses comparable to fruitless trees that had “died twice” and were “uprooted”?
□ What did Enoch prophesy, and what should his words move us to do?
□ On the basis of Jude’s counsel, what attitude should we have toward murmuring and ‘admiring personalities for our own benefit’?
[Picture on page 15]
Unrepentant apostate teachers faced destruction, even as unproductive fruit trees were uprooted