Arlen L. Chitwood
Defiling One’s High Calling
Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority [KJV: despise dominion], and speak evil of dignitaries.
Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. (Jude 8-10)
The message throughout the epistle of Jude is twofold:
1) Christians are exhorted to contend earnestly“ for [with respect to] the faith.”
2) Christians are warned concerning apostasy manifested in the lives of those who, instead, stand away “from the faith.”
Verses three and four introduce this message, verses five through seven form examples to illustrate that which has been introduced, and verse eight continues within the framework of teachings set forth in verses three through seven:
Likewise [in like manner to the individuals previously mentioned in the examples] also these dreamers [those in verse four] defile the flesh [cf.v. 7], reject authority [KJV: despise dominion, cf.v. 6], and speak evil of dignities [cf.v. 5]. (vs.8)
Proper and improper attitudes toward dignitaries are then given in verses nine and ten.
A basic teaching throughout the entire passage, beginning with verse three, has to do with the governmental administration of the earth and with apostasy in relation to this administration. Christians are to earnestly strive with respect to the faith in view of attaining the goal of their faith, the salvation of their souls (1 Peter 1:9).
The realization of this salvation will follow the issues of the judgment seat of Christ and involves the placement of Christians in positions of power and authority as joint-heirs with Christ in His coming kingdom.
Thus, Christians earnestly striving with respect to the faith is with a view to their occupying positions in the coming governmental administration of the earth following that time when “the kingdom of the world” has become “the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ” (Revelation 11:15, ASV).
Examples of Apostasy
Apostates depart from the faith through various, revealed forms. In the first ten verses of Jude, lessons concerning apostasy are drawn mainly from the three periods in Old Testament history referred to in verses five through seven; and within the spiritual lessons drawn from these verses, apostasy in Christendom, wrought through the deception of Satan and in connection with the doctrines of demons, is always directed toward one goal: to effect failure in the race of the faith.
1) Verse Five:
The Israelites under Moses were to enter the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and rule as God’s firstborn son over all the nations of the earth. Israel was not only to exercise national supremacy in this capacity but Israel was also to be a kingdom of priests by and through whom the nations would be blessed (Exodus 19:5, 6). The promise in Genesis 12:2, 3 was to be, and will yet be, fulfilled by and through Israel dwelling in her own land in this position.
Spiritual blessings were/are to flow out to the nations of the earth through God’s firstborn Sons from the lineage of Abraham.This is the order established in Genesis, and this order does not, it cannot, change. By and through sovereign grace alone God chose Abraham and decreed, “. . . in youshall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).
Beyond this point in Genesis chapter twelve, Scripture up to the time of Calvary could be summarized by two statements:
a) a) In the Old Testament God so loved the world that He called into existence and sent His son, Israel, the seed of Abraham.
b) b) In the New Testament God so loved the world that He both sent and gave His Son, Jesus,the Seed of Abraham.
(In actuality, both Sons were not only sent but given.
God sent His son, Israel. God then gave His son, Israel. His son, today, as Jonah, is pictured in Scripture as in the place of death, awaiting resurrection. And resurrection will occur “after two days . . . in the third day” [Genesis 23:1, 2; 25:1; Hosea 6:1, 2; John 11:6, 7, 25, 43, 44].
God’s son, Israel, in that coming day [after two days, after two thousand years], will be raised up to live in God’s sight. Then this son will carry the message of the one true and living God to the nations of the earth, with the nations being blessed through this son.
God sent His Son, Jesus. God then gave His Son, Jesus. And His Son was raised from the dead after two days, on the third day — foreshadowing that which is about to occur [John 1:14; 2:18-21; 3:16].
After two days, after two thousand years, God’s Son, Jesus, will be raised up to ascend David’s throne in Jerusalem [Psalm 2:6, 7; 110:1-4; Luke 1:31-33]. And the message that one son [Israel] will carry to the nations of the earth will be about the other Son [Jesus], dwelling in their midst. Then, in that day, the nations of the earth will be blessed through both Sons.
[Note that the account of Jonah forms a type of both Christ and Israel in the preceding respect].
Then, as the overall thought of death and resurrection pertains to God’s firstborn Sons, note Christians during the present dispensation [presently sons, but awaiting adoption into a firstborn status]. Christians are to be seen in the place of death throughout the two-day, the two-thousand-year, dispensation [cf.Matthew 16:24; John 12:24; 1Corinthians 1:18; Colossians 2:20; 3:3].
And Christians residing in the place of death throughout the two days is with a view to their being raised up on the third day [the third 1,000 years], following the adoption, with God’s other two firstborn Sons.)
And the purpose for the preceding, which will be worked out in God’s way and in God’s time, involves that which God desires for all mankind: Spiritual blessings, beginning with man’s salvation and continuing with “every spiritual blessing” (Genesis 12:2, 3; 22:17, 18; John 8:37; Galatians 3:16; cf.Ephesians 1:3ff).
In the working out of God’s plans and purposes, the Israelites during Old Testament days apostatized in the matter surrounding their calling. Under Moses they refused to go into the land and occupy the very position for which they had been called out of Egypt. This was done not only to their own detriment but to the detriment of the nations of the earth as well. The generation of Israelites who fell away at Kadesh-Barnea was overthrown in the wilderness; and the nations, consequently, remained alienated from God’s blessings.
A second generation of Israelites later entered the land under Joshua; but through continued disobedience lasting for hundreds of years, the nation never realized the goal of her calling. Because of this continued disobedience, God eventually, in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C., allowed Gentile nations to come into the land and uproot His people. The Israelites were then scattered among the nations and became subject to them, exactly as God had warned (Leviticus 26:1ff; Deuteronomy 28:1ff). And consequently, just as it was at Kadesh-Barnea centuries before this time, the nations have remained alienated from God’s blessings.
Since that time, conditions have continued relatively unchanged. Israel has remained scattered among the Gentile nations, subject to Gentile power. There have been partial restorations to the land (following the Babylonian captivity, and during modern times); but the Israelites, by large, have remained in the same subjective position for the entire period — over 2,500 years. And there will be no change in Israel’s present status among the nations until Israel’s Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, affects a change following His return.
As Israel was called out of Egypt under Moses for a purpose, the nation will be called out from a worldwide dispersion under her Messiah for the same purpose; as the old covenant was made with Israel following the nation’s removal from among the Gentile nations, a new covenant will one day be made with the nation; and as Israel was to enter into the land under Moses and exercise supremacy over the nations of the earth, and be a blessing to these nations, the restored nation under Jesus will enter into the land and occupy this position. In that day the nation will realize her calling, set forth 4,000 years ago through God’s promises to Abraham.
2) Verse Six:
The thought of “apostasy” is continued through the acts of angels in the kingdom of Satan. This, of course, is a different type of apostasy than is covered in verse five. It is standing away from the position in which one was created rather than standing away from the faith. Apostasy from the faith, the central theme of the epistle of Jude, is possible only for those in a position to stand away from “the faith,” i.e.,for the saved. However, as illustrated in verse six, spiritual lessons can also be drawn from other forms of apostasy.
Angels apostatized in the sense that they stood away from their positions in Satan’s heavenly kingdom. They took upon themselves the form of man; left their positions of power in the heavens, came to earth, and cohabited with members of the human race. God’s immediate judgment upon these angels resulted in their being confined with chains in a place of darkness — in Tartarus—awaiting final judgment by God’s Son at a future date.
3) Verse Seven:
The thought concerning angels entering into a form of “apostasy” in verse six is continued in verse seven by showing the inhabitants in the cities of the plain also entering into a form of “apostasy,” committing the same sin as the angels. Apostasy in relation to angels is easy to understand, for they had something from which they could stand away. But, from what did the inhabitants of the cities of the plain stand away? They were not part of a present existing kingdom in the same sense as were the angels.
Thus, since the underlying thought under consideration throughout these verses has to do with the governmental administration of the earth, the inhabitants of the cities of the plain were seemingly in no position to stand away from anything so related.
However, bear in mind that the very purpose for man’s creation in the beginning had to do with the government of the earth (Genesis 1:26-28);and the inhabitants in the cities of the plain, although fallen creatures and in no position to rule, were still of the creation that had been brought into existence to exercise this power and authority.
Note in verse seven that the sin for which they were judged had to do with “sexual immorality,” and going“after strange flesh [a different type of flesh — the flesh of angels].” The inhabitants in the cities of the plain entered into this sin “in a similar manner” to the angels. Both departed from a certain position for the purpose of going after a different type of flesh.
The angels who apostatized were of the fallen creation presently ruling, and the men who apostatized were of the fallen creation that had originally been brought into existence to assume this power and authority.
Thus, apostasy among angels was associated with a co-habitation among the creation that had been brought on the scene to usurp their positions, and apostasy among the inhabitants of the cities of the plain was associated with a co-habitation among the incumbent rulers that were to be replaced by man.
“Fallen ones” cohabiting with “fallen ones” — angels with men, men with angels — is associated with standing away from a certain position on the part of both. Standing away from this position had to do with a departure from the position for which both had been created, and this departure is dealt with in the epistle of Jude as a form of apostasy from which spiritual lessons are drawn.
Defiling the Flesh (v. 8)
Defiling the flesh refers back to the people in the cities of the plain going after strange flesh in verse seven. There is a parallel drawn in verses seven and eight between the inhabitants in the cities of the plain defiling the flesh and redeemed man today defiling the flesh. In both instances there is a departure from a certain position, and this position has to do with the reason for man’s creation in the beginning.
The old creation in Adam and the new creation in Christ were brought into existence for essentially the same purpose — man ultimately exercising governmental power and authority over the earth.And lessons are drawn from the former to teach spiritual truths in the latter. These truths concern Christians who defile the flesh by forsaking their high calling, departing from the revealed reason for their creation in Christ.
Warnings in the epistle of Jude, derived mainly from spiritual lessons taught by and through the use of Old Testament historical events, are directed to Christians alone.The admonition placed at the beginning of the epistle concerning contending earnestly with respect to “the faith” is directed only to Christians, and so are all of the subsequent warnings throughout the epistle.
God deals with unregenerate man and with regenerate man on two entirely different planes. Unregenerate man is dealt with, not on the basis of admonitions and warnings, but on the basis of Christ’s finished work on Calvary. Regenerate man, on the other hand, has already been dealt with on the basis of Christ’s finished work. He must now be dealt with in an entirely different manner. Only now do admonitions, promises, warnings, etc. come into view.
This dual aspect of God dealing with man is seen in Old Testament history by and through two means:
1) 1) God dealing with ALL in the land of Egypt the night of the Passover strictly on the basis of the death and proper application of the blood of the paschal lambs.
2) 2) God subsequently dealing, in an entirely different manner, with those who had appropriated the blood.
The vicarious death of the firstborn MUSTbe dealt with prior to anything else (Exodus 12:1-13). They had to FIRST appropriate the blood of a slain lamb. Nothing could be done until they had moved beyond this point. All warnings concerning sin in the lives of the people, especially relating to things pertaining to the land of Canaan beyond Egypt, would have been pointless prior to observing the Passover.
The putting out of the leaven (typifying that which is associated with sin, corruption) FOLLOWEDthe Passover (Exodus 12:14-20; cf.Leviticus 23:4-8), and it MUSTever be so. There is no such thing as God commanding leaven to be put out prior to the appropriation of the blood. It is always the blood FIRST, and then the leaven. This order has forever been established in the books of Moses, and it can never change.
The works of the flesh, associated with leaven that is to be put out following the appropriation of the blood, are reiterated in Galatians 5:19-21; and the warning concluding these words must be looked upon as directed to Christians alone. The list of the sins of the flesh in this passage concludes with the statement, “. . . those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” First Corinthians 6:9, 10, a very similar passage, states exactly the same thing:
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived.Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
Inheritance is strictly a family matter. One must be a child of the Owner to be in line for the inheritance: “if children, then heirs . . . .” (Romans 8:17).
The issue at hand in both Galatians 5:19-21 and 1Corinthians 6:9, 10has to do with an inheritance in the kingdom,not with eternal life. Thus, only the saved can be in view.
Contrary to what Scriptures such as the preceding teach concerning the sins of Christians, there is a widespread, false teaching in Christendom today that states that all of a Christian’s sins — past, present, and future — were taken care of by the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary; and, on the basis of the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice, a Christian can never come into judgment for any sin that he commits. Therefore, warnings concerning God’s judgment to be visited upon individuals indulging in the sins of the flesh cannot be directed toward Christians.
Romans 8:1 is one of the verses usually cited to support this line of teaching:
There is therefore now no condemnation to [a rendering of judgment against] those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
However, this verse, contextually, isn’t even dealing with eternal salvation. It is dealing with the existing warfare between the man of flesh and the man of spirit. That is what lies before the verse in chapter seven, and that is what lies after the verse in chapter eight. The context on both sides of this verse deals with problems thatthis body of death presents.
The latter part of the verse — “. . . who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” — has been questioned by numerous textual critics over the years. This part of the verse is in the TextusReceptus, which would account for it being in the Authorized Version. It is also present in a number of other manuscripts, though it is also absent in a number of different manuscripts as well.
This questioned section of Scripture fits perfectly within the text if one remains within context. However, the opposite of that will be true if one departs from the context and attempts to use this verse relative to eternal salvation.
Erroneously viewing this verse relative to eternal salvation possibly accounts for the absence of these words in many of the Greek manuscripts that we have today (copyists and textual critics over the years misunderstanding the verse and possibly thinking that the words were spurious, with the words gradually being left out of the text over time); and, with translators following later Greek texts (e.g., the Nestle text, a main Greek text used for translation work today, views these words as spurious and has them in the footnotes only), most of the modern-day translations (e.g., NASB, NIV) do not include this part of the verse in the text, though the NKJV does.
A Christian’s positional standing in Christ,which can never be subjected to judgment beyond Calvary, is one thing; but a Christian’s present existence upon this earth in a body of death,with a responsibility to expel the leaven, is something entirely different. And Romans 8:1, contextually, deals with the latter, not the former.
Because of the existence of this body of death, housing the old sin nature, Christians can and do sin. In fact, because of this body of death, Christians cannot live apart from sin, which necessitates Christ’s present high priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. Sin is wrought in the lives of believers through the old sin nature:
If we say that we have no sin[old sin nature], we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)
And the abiding presence of this old sin nature places believers in a position where they can and do sin, necessitating the promise seen in 1 John 1:9:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Sin manifested in the lives of believers will, without exception, be dealt with by the Lord in one of two ways:
1) 1) By and through the present high priestly ministry of Christ during the present day.
2) 2) By and through the issues of the coming judgment seat of Christ during that coming day.
Christians can either judge their own sins now, confessing them and receiving forgiveness, or they can await issues of the judgment seat of Christ and have their sins judged by the Lord (1Corinthians 11:31, 32; 2Corinthians 5:10, 11; 1 John 1:9; cf.1 Peter 4:17).
Christ is presently exercising the office of High Priest in the Holy of Holies of the heavenly tabernacle for the former, and he will exercise the office of Judge at the judgment seat of Christ for the latter. Confession now will result in cleansing, but waiting will result in chastisement.
Christ is exercising the office of High Priest to effect a present cleansing for the “kings and priests”that He is about to bring forth.These “kings and priests” will be manifested as “the sons of God” at the end of this dispensation and fill positions of power and authority as joint-heirs with Christ in the kingdom. The judgment seat will reveal their approval to occupy these positions.
However, there is another side to the judgment seat. Not only will certain individuals be approved, but other individuals, because of the sins of the flesh, will be disapproved. Christians who, today, refuse or neglect to avail themselves of the high priestly ministry of Christ will have their sins dealt with before the judgment seat; and this will be done, not by Christ as High Priest,but by Christ as Judge.Chastisement will then follow; and numerous Christians in that day, because of the sins of the flesh, will be shown to have forfeited their inheritance, resulting in their disqualification for positions as joint-heirs with Christ.
Rejecting Authority[Despising Dominion] (v. 8)
Despising dominionrefers back to the sin of the angels in verse six. The word “despise” [KJV] is from a Greek word meaning to “set aside,” “disregard.” Angels in the kingdom of Satan “set aside,” “disregarded” their positions of power in the heavens and came to earth in the form of man for the specific purpose of cohabiting with members of the human race. These angels set aside the positions for which they had been created and involved themselves in something completely alien to their very existence.
This account has been recorded in Jude, allowing the Spirit of God to draw spiritual lessons from Jude, showing how Christians can, in like manner, despise dominion; and this dominion is the very same dominion that the angels despised. The Church has been brought into existence to occupy heavenly places, to fill positions of power and authority in the heavens as God’s firstborn son during the coming age; and these positions are the same positions presently being occupied by angels ruling from heavenly places in Satan’s kingdom.
Angels holding positions of power and authority under Satan in the present kingdom of the heavens will continue to rule from this heavenly sphere until that day when they, along with Satan, are cast out of the heavens onto the earth. The Church will then be brought to the goal of its calling, and, as the bride of Christ, be placed in this heavenly realm and occupy these positions.
Christians have been saved with a view to their replacing the incumbent rulers in the heavens, and the warning in this passage concerns the present existing danger of Christians “setting aside” or “disregarding” their calling. Angels apostatized in the past by standing away from the position for which they had been brought into existence; and Christians can, in like manner, apostatize during the present time by standing away from the position for which they have been brought into existence. Corruption, followed by judgment, was the inevitable outcome of this apostasy by angels; and corruption, followed by judgment, will also be the inevitable outcome of the same apostasy by Christians today.
Speaking Evil of Dignitaries (vv. 8-10)
Speaking evil of dignitaries in verse eight refers back to verse five and moves forward into verses nine and ten. The same word translated “speak evil” in the Greek text of verse eight is also used in verses nine and ten (blasphemeo,the verb form, appears in vv. 8, 10; and blasphemia, the noun form, appears in v. 9). The word is translated “reviling [KJV: railing]accusation” in verse nine and rendered, once again, as “speak evil” in verse ten. This is the Greek word from which the English word “blasphemy” is derived; and the translation, “railing accusation,” in verse nine actually captures the thought expressed by the word somewhat better than the translation, “speak evil,” in verses eight and ten.
Railing accusations, emanating from unbelief on the part of the people of Israel in the historical account covered by verse five, were directed against Moses. However, by so doing, the people were actually directing these railing accusations against God Himself. Moses was the one whom God had chosen to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into the land covenanted to Abraham and his posterity through Isaac and Jacob. His power and authority were of divine origin; and, consequently, accusations leveled against the leadership of Moses were, in actuality, accusations leveled against God Himself.
The people of Israel who questioned Moses’ authority, seeking to appoint a new leader and return to Egypt, were questioning the very authority of God vested in Moses (cf.Numbers 14:2, 27). Because of this sin, resulting from unbelief concerning their ability to go into the land as God had commanded, judgment fell upon the people of Israel. They could no longer enter the land under Moses and realize the purpose for their salvation from Egypt. They had fallen away, apostatized, in such a manner that it was impossible to renew them again to repentance. As a result, during the next thirty-eight and one-half years, the entire generation — murmuring against Moses, and thus against the Lord — perished in the wilderness.
Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and those who followed them constitute another similar example (Numbers 16:1ff). They rose up against Moses and Aaron in matters concerning their authority — Moses as leader of the people, and Aaron as high priest in the camp. When this occurred, Moses “fell on his face” (v. 4). Moses knew that Korah and those with him were questioning, not just his and Aaron’s authority, but the authority of God.
This rebellion against authority led to unacceptable incense being offered upon the altar at the door of the tabernacle by two hundred fifty prominent men who had sided with Korah, Dathan, and Abiram against Moses. This, in turn, led to God’s judgment on the entire group. God exhibited his wrath upon Korah, Dathan, and Abiram by opening a chasm in the earth and causing them, along with “all those with them[their wives, children (save Korah’s sons; cf.Numbers 26:11, 58]),” to go down into Sheolalive:
and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods.
So they and all those with them went down alive into the pit[into Sheol];the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the assembly. (Numbers 16:32, 33).
A fire then came out from theLord and consumed the two hundred fifty men that had offered the incense upon the altar (v. 35).
Immediately after the destruction of Korah and those following him, the people of Israel again murmured against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the Lord.” Again, as before, this was a murmuring not only against Moses and Aaron but against God. God was the One who had performed the execution of Korah, Dathan, Abiram, their families, and the two hundred fifty men offering incense. And because of this same sin of murmuring against divinely established authority, God sent a plague into the camp of Israel. This was done so speedily that before Aaron had time to make“atonement for the people,” standing “between the dead and the living,” fourteen thousand seven hundred Israelites perished (vv. 41-50).
According to Scripture, it is a serious thing to murmur against, bring railing accusations against, those whom God has placed in positions of power and authority. Any rebellion against divinely established authority is a rebellion against the Lord. It was so during Moses’ day, and it is no different during the present day. The “authorities that exist” were during Moses’ day, and are today, “appointed by God.” All positions of power and authority are by divine appointment. And whosoever “resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves” (Romans 13:1, 2).
God rules in the kingdom of men and gives it “to whomever He will.” God is the One who establishes rulers, and He is also the One who removes rulers (Daniel 4:17, 25-32). As stated in Romans 13:1, “there is no authority except from God,” which today, in view of the coming age, is vested in His Son.
Jesus told His disciples, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). In view of this, any rebellion against existing ordained powers — whether in the heavens or upon the earth — is a rebellion against the power vested in God’s Son, which is simply a rebellion against Christ Himself.
Note the example given in Jude 9: Michael, the archangel, would not bring a railing accusation against even Satan. He, knowing that Satan held his position by divine appointment and that Satan possessed no power but that which emanated from God, would go no further than to simply say, “The Lord rebuke you.” Michael knew that any accusation against Satan would be an accusation against the One who had appointed him to this position, the One in whom all power and authority reside.
(The parallel section in2 Peter 2:11is expanded to include other angels and other dignitaries as well: “whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them[dignitaries] before the Lord.”)
Now, with all this in mind, the particular apostate element existing in Christendom in the latter days — with its parallel drawn from experiences of individuals during the days of Moses — should be clear. Bringing railing accusations against those whom God has placed in positions of power and authority is a form of apostasy.It is that simple. Such reviling or railing against divinely established authority is not only standing away from the God-ordained position that a Christian is to occupy, but, as well, it is moving into a position wherein the apostate, in actuality, brings these accusations against the Lord Himself. And through such accusations, these apostates, as “brute beasts . . . corrupt themselves” (Jude 10; cf.2 Peter 2:12).