Arlen L. Chitwood
Behold, the Lord Comes
Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,
to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds that they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. (Jude 14-16).
The prophecy of Enoch, recorded by Jude, is one of the oldest prophecies in all Scripture; and there is no mention of this prophecy elsewhere in Scripture (Enoch is only mentioned four other places in Scripture [Genesis 5:18-24; 1 Chronicles 5:1; Luke 3:37, 38; Hebrews 11:5]).
There does exist a non-canonical, apocryphal book, the Book of Enoch, which contains a prophecy similar to the one Jude records; but this is of no moment whatsoever. Jude derived his information, not from apocryphal writings, but from the same source where he derived his information in all other portions of his epistle — from the Lord.
And the Lord has seen fit to reveal Enoch’s prophecy by and through Jude at this exact juncture in His Revelation to man in order to continue the same line of teaching seen thus far in Jude — drawing from events in the lives of individuals in the Old Testament in order to teach Christians different facets of deep spiritual truths.
Enoch, as all the other prophets in the Old Testament, received that which he proclaimed from the Lord. He prophesied about an event concerning that which he himself, apart from God, could know nothing — an event that would occur over 5,000 years in the future. Furthermore, the prophecy had to do with judgment upon a particular group of people who would not even be brought into existence for over 3,000 years removed from Enoch’s time. Both Enoch’s prophecy and the record of this prophecy in the epistle of Jude are, as “all Scripture,” supernatural in origin.
(Note that Jude also called attention to another historic event not recorded by any other writer of sacred Scripture — the contention between Michael and Satan concerning the body of Moses [v. 9].)
It is commonly taught by most interpreters of Jude that Enoch’s prophecy concerns judgment befalling the unregenerate earth-dwellers when Christ returns to the earth at the end of the Tribulation. However, that is not at all what the text states. Enoch “prophesied about these” (vv. 14-16). The reference is to individuals in the preceding verses, to apostates. The scope of judgment in Enoch’s prophecy is “on all” Christians, but he particularly singles out the apostates “among them” (v. 15).
Attention has been called in past chapters to the fact that 2 Peter and Jude are companion epistles, paralleling one another in a number of places. The parallel section to Jude 14-16 is 2 Peter 2:18, 19. These verses in 2 Peter, as the verses in Jude, refer to the ones who have corrupted themselves through apostate acts, outlined in the preceding verses. These are the ones for whom the “blackness of darkness” is reserved (2 Peter 2:17; Jude 13), rather than the “inheritance” to which Christians have been called (1 Peter 1:4).
Second Peter 2:18, 19 leads immediately into the thought of having escaped “the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (v. 20), though being “again entangled in them [again entangled in these pollutions] and overcome” (vv. 20b, 21, 22). The same individuals are in view throughout all these verses. Note the expressions:
“For when they . . . .” (v. 18)
“While they . . . . (v. 19)
“For if, after they . . . . (v. 20)
“For it would have been better for them . . . . (v. 21)
The entire section refers to individuals who escaped “the pollutions of the world,” and then apostatized — stood away from “the faith.” They had come into a knowledge of “the way of righteousness,” and then turned from that revealed through this knowledge (cf. v. 15).
The words “knowledge” and “known” in verses twenty and twenty-one are translations of a word in the Greek text that means “mature knowledge” (epignosis, the noun form, appears in v. 20; and epiginosko, the verb form, appears in v. 21). And escaping the pollutions of the world through a mature knowledge (epignosis) of the Lord Jesus Christ is impossible for unsaved individuals. They do not possess a saved spirit into which the Word of God can be received (1 Corinthians 2:14); nor do they possess the indwelling Holy Spirit to lead them into “all truth” (John 16:13).
Consequently, a mature knowledge of this nature is completely out of the question. Accordingly, it is also completely out of the question to think that Peter and Jude are referring to any group of individuals other than Christians.
The Seventh from Adam
The record is given of only two individuals in the antediluvian world who carried God’s message to man. There were undoubtedly many (cf. Genesis 4:26), but God has seen fit to reveal only the one prophecy that Enoch uttered and the fact that Noah was a preacher of righteousness.
Both of these accounts are passed over without mention in the Old Testament and are revealed only by Peter and Jude in the New Testament. Noah’s preaching is mentioned in 2 Peter 2:4, 5, and Enoch’s prophecy is recorded in Jude 14-16. The parallel section to 2 Peter 2:4, 5 in Jude (v. 6) does not refer to Noah’s preaching; only Peter records this. And the parallel section to Jude 14-16 in 2 Peter (2:18, 19) does not refer to Enoch’s prophecy; only Jude records this.
“Enoch,” in typology, has to do peculiarly with Christians; and “Noah,” in typology, has to do peculiarly with Israel. Enoch was removed into heaven before the Flood, while Noah, remaining here on earth in a place of safety, passed through the Flood.
The “Flood” coming upon the world in the Genesis account typifies the Tribulation that is to come upon the world yet future (Luke 17:26-30); “Enoch” being removed before the Flood typifies the Church being removed before the Tribulation; and “Noah” passing through the Flood in a place of safety typifies the nation of Israel passing through the Tribulation in a place of safety (Luke 17:26ff).
This is the order set forth in the Genesis account, the book wherein the roots of all biblical doctrine lie (cf. Hebrews 11:4-7); and the Word of God clearly states:
And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man. (Luke 17:26)
During the days of Noah, preceding the Flood, one man was removed from the earth alive and taken into the heavens. During the days of the Son of Man, preceding the Great Tribulation, one man — the one new man “in Christ” — will be removed from the earth alive and taken into the heavens.
Then, as Noah passed safely through the Flood during his day, Israel will pass safely through the Tribulation during that coming day.
In view of the place that Enoch occupies in biblical typology, it was only natural that God chose this man, millennia before the Church was even brought into existence, not only to be the one to typify the Church being removed but also to be the one to prophesy concerning judgment upon Christians following their removal. Enoch’s prophecy is a warning, not to individuals during his day, but to individuals during our day. It is a warning concerning judgment awaiting all Christians throughout the present dispensation at the time of the Lord’s return, with severe consequences awaiting apostate Christians at that time.
In the type dealing with Enoch in Genesis chapter five, the genealogy in this chapter moves through ten generations — from Adam to Noah. Within this genealogy, Enoch was the seventh from Adam, and Noah the tenth.
“Seven” and “ten” are two of several numbers used in Scripture to show completeness, with each showing a different aspect of completeness. “Seven” shows the completeness of that which is in view, and “ten” shows numerical completeness. In each case, at a terminal point in each of the two sets of generations — seven generations extending to Enoch, and ten generations extending to Noah — divine intervention into the affairs of man is seen.
At a terminal point in the first set of generations, a man was removed from the earth alive; then, at a subsequent terminal point in the second set of generations, a man (along with his family) passed safely through a time of destruction, with the remainder of the world perishing during this time.
That to which this introductory, overall type points (the antitype), as previously seen, is simple and easy to see, though this type only presents particular facets of the complete picture.
“Enoch” being removed from the earth preceding the Flood typifies Christians being removed from the earth preceding the coming Tribulation; and “Noah” passing safely through the Flood typifies Israel passing safely through the coming Tribulation, with Gentile world power, in the end, destroyed, and Israel then occupying the nation’s proper place in relation to the remainder of mankind (cf. Genesis 9:26, 27; 10:10; 11:1-9).
The things seen in Genesis 5-11a form a foundational type upon which all subsequent Scripture dealing with the subject must rest (similar to Genesis 1:1-2:3 forming a foundational framework upon which all subsequent Scripture rests). And, in complete accord with that which is established in this foundational type, the things that are foreshadowed by events in the type will occur in the antitype when matters have been brought to completion relative to both the Church and Israel.
The Church at this time, typified by “Enoch,” the seventh from Adam, will be removed; and Israel at this time, typified by “Noah,” the tenth from Adam, will pass safely through the worldwide destruction that will follow the Church’s removal. At a future time, God will intervene in the affairs of man once again, supernaturally bringing matters foreshadowed by events in this complete, overall type to pass.
This is the first part of the picture presented in Scripture. Then, from here, to complete the picture, an individual has to move to subsequent types dealing with the subject. Each subsequent type presents a different facet of the picture and further adds to that which, in the end, sets forth a complete word picture, given to shed light upon and help explain the antitype.
Coming with His Saints
1) “Holy Ones”
At the time of the Lord’s return for Christians, as set forth in Jude 14, He will be accompanied by “ten thousands [lit., ‘myriads’ (an innumerable multitude)] of His saints.” The word “saints” is a translation of the Greek word hagios, meaning “holy,” or in its plural form as used here, “holy ones.”
The word hagios is used in the New Testament to refer to individuals, places, and things that are “separated to the service of God.” It is used of Christians, Jewish prophets, angels, the city of Jerusalem, the Holy of Holies in the temple, the Scriptures, etc. (cf. Matthew 4:5; 24:15; Luke 1:70; Romans 1:2; Ephesians 1:1; Revelation 14:10). This is also the word used throughout the New Testament referring to the Spirit of God — the Holy Spirit. Thus, the manner in which this word is used in New Testament passages must always be shown by accompanying, identifying words or textual considerations.
Jude used the word hagios four times in his epistle (vv. 3, 14, 20). In verse three the reference is to Christians; in verse fourteen the reference is to angels (shown by textual considerations, along with related passages); and in verse twenty the reference is to the faith of Christians and to the Holy Spirit. Enoch’s prophecy in verse fourteen has to do with the Lord coming with His “saints [‘holy ones’ (angels)],” to execute judgment upon His “saints [‘holy ones’ (Christians)],” referred to in verse three. These two groups of individuals, both called “saints [from hagios],” must be kept separate and distinct.
Many individuals among those who do not understand that Jude 14 has to do with the return of Christ for Christians (bringing Christians into judgment preceding the Tribulation [in keeping with the place Enoch occupies in biblical typology], rather than judgment befalling the earth-dwellers when He returns at the end of the Tribulation) believe that the word hagios in this verse is a reference to Christians accompanying the Lord at the time of His revelation.
However, the thought of Christians returning to the earth with Christ at this time is not at all in accord with Scripture. Christ will be accompanied by angels, not Christians, when He returns to deal with Israel and the nations. He will be revealed at this time with “His mighty angels,” “the armies” of heaven (2 Thessalonians 1:7; Revelation 19:14; cf. Job 25:3; Psalm 103:20; Zechariah 14:5; Revelation 12:7)
Christians at the time of Christ’s return, those retaining their birthright, will constitute the bride of Christ. And, as biblical typology plainly reveals, Christ’s bride (about to become His wife at this point in time) will not accompany Him to the earth when He returns to deal with Israel and the Gentile nations.
Moses’ wife, Zipporah, did not accompany him when he returned to Egypt to deal with his brethren, followed by the destruction of Gentile power in the Red Sea. She remained behind and was reunited with Moses, appearing with him only after these events (Exodus 4:19-26; 18:1ff).
Joseph’s wife, Asenath, in the same fashion as Zipporah in relation to Moses, was not with Joseph when he dealt with his brethren. She was in another part of the palace at this time (Genesis 45:1ff).
Thus will it be when Christ returns to the earth at the end of the Tribulation. His bride, comprised of those Christians called out of the called, will apparently remain behind in the New Jerusalem and be reunited with Him as His wife, appearing with Christ in the antitype of Zipporah in Exodus 18:1ff, only after He deals with Israel and the nations.
(For an explanation of the preceding, how Christ’s bride will become His wife and when this will occur, refer to the author’s book, The Time of the End, Chapters 8, 9.)
Deuteronomy 33:2 provides a similar reference to the subject under discussion in Jude 14. In this passage, “ten thousands of saints [lit., ‘myriads of holy ones’],” are said to have accompanied the Lord at the time He gave the Law through Moses at Mt. Sinai. These saints were instrumental in giving the law and are identified in Psalm 68:17 as “angels” (cf. Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 2:2).
Angels (“saints,” “holy ones”) will accompany the Lord when He returns for His Church before the Tribulation and again when He returns to deal with Israel and the nations following the Tribulation (cf. Matthew 16:24-27). Enoch prophesied concerning the former, and his prophecy must not be confused with events surrounding the latter.
(The Hebrew word translated “saints” in Deuteronomy 33:2 is kodesh, a Hebrew equivalent of the Greek word hagios used in Jude 14. See also Psalm 89:5-7; Daniel 8:13; Zechariah 14:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:13 where angels, called “saints,” are referred to by the Hebrew word kadosh [a cognate of kodesh] and by the Greek word hagios
Also note that the angels at Sinai acted under fixed laws, as will the angels accompanying Christ when He returns to the earth. And with angels exercising delegated power and authority in this manner, their actions become the Lord’s actions.
For more information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, By Faith, Chapter 9, pp. 151, 152.)
2) “Ministering Spirits”
Angels were instrumental in God’s dealings with Israel in the Old Testament (cf. Genesis 18:1ff; 1 Kings 19:5; Psalm 103:21; 104:4; Daniel 8:16, 17; 9:20ff); they were instrumental in events surrounding the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ at His first coming (Matthew 4:11; Luke 2:9ff; 22:43; John 20:11ff); they are instrumental in God’s dealings with the Church today (cf. Hebrews 1:7, 13, 14; Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14); they will be instrumental in events affecting Israel and the nations during the Tribulation (cf. Revelation 7:1ff; 8:1ff; 9:1ff; 10:1ff . . .); and they will be instrumental in events surrounding Christ at His second coming.
Angels are “ministering spirits” who execute the will, purpose, judgments, etc. of the Lord; and angelic accompaniment at the Lord’s return will be for this purpose. Angels who accompany Christ when He returns to the earth after the Tribulation, for example, will be instrumental in re-gathering Israel and in removing from Christ’s kingdom “all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 13:41; 24:30, 31).
To Execute Judgment
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
Now if the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:17-19)
1) Upon Christians
When the words “ungodly” and “sinner” appear, as in 1 Peter 4:18 and the text in Jude 15, the normal reaction among Christians is to think in terms of unsaved individuals and of eternal verities. However, neither the unsaved nor eternal verities are in view in these passages. Thinking along these lines is a shift from the subject matter at hand to things that are not being dealt with at all. These passages concern judgment upon those in the house of God, and this judgment is with a view to a salvation placed in the future, having to do with the Messianic Era.
Not only is it evident from the futuristic aspect of judgment awaiting Christians that the salvation that we presently possess is not in view (judgment relating to one’s presently possessed salvation occurred, in its entirety, in past time), but the words “scarcely saved [lit., ‘with difficulty be saved’]” also make this fact clear. No one who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ is saved “with difficulty,” for eternal salvation is based entirely on the finished work of Christ at Calvary. And viewing a person as having come into possession of this salvation “with difficulty” could only emanate from a complete misunderstanding of salvation by grace through faith.
Eternal salvation is the simplest thing in the world:
What must I do to be saved?
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. (Acts 16:30, 31)
Nothing on man’s part involves difficulty. It can’t, for unsaved man is “dead in trespasses and sins,” totally incapable of operating in the spiritual realm. All he can possibly do is receive that which has already been done on his behalf. And he does this by simply believing, putting his trust in the One who did everything on his behalf.
The epistles of 1, 2 Peter and Jude, as all other epistles, deal specifically with the salvation of the soul. The salvation that Christians presently possess has to do with the spirit, not the soul (John 3:6). The epistles though, both Pauline and General, deal with those who already have eternal life — salvation of the spirit, wrought by and through believing on the Lord Jesus Christ — and pertain to things surrounding a salvation to be revealed. Each epistle has its special and particular emphasis in this area; and when studied together, in the light of one another, the epistles present a complete, composite revelation concerning this future salvation.
The special and particular emphasis in the epistle of Jude is upon exhorting Christians to earnestly strive with reference to “the faith,” with attendant warnings against standing away from “the faith,” apostatizing. The issues pertaining to the unsaved, eternal damnation, do not, in any way, enter into this subject matter. It is not the unsaved who are called “ungodly,” “sinners,” “murmurers,” “complainers,” etc. NO! These are words that Jude used to describe individuals from among the saved. These were apostates, those who had stood away from “the faith” and will, before the judgment seat of Christ, experience the loss of their souls.
First Peter 4:17-19 begins with a reference to judgment, which “must begin at the house of God” (v. 17), and there is then an exhortation to suffering Christians to “commit their souls to Him [God] in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (v. 19). Then, placed squarely between these two verses lies a question, having to do with two groups of Christians:
Now If the righteous one is scarcely [with difficulty] saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear? (v. 18)
First Peter 4:18 MUST be understood and interpreted in the light of its context — the judgment of Christians (v. 17), and issues surrounding the souls of Christians (v. 19). The salvation in verse eighteen is in connection with both a future judgment in verse seventeen and suffering according to the will of God and committing the keeping of one’s soul to the Lord in verse nineteen. To understand this verse in any other fashion is to ignore the context and, in this manner, obscure teachings that the Spirit of God, through Peter, is setting forth.
As evident from 1 Peter 4:17-19 and Jude 15, the words “ungodly” and “sinner” are used in a broader sense in Scripture than many realize. These words are used of those in the world in relation to eternal salvation, the salvation of their spirits (Romans 5:6, 8, 19); but, as in both 1 Peter 4:17-19 and Jude 15, these same two words are also used of Christians in relation to salvation for the coming age, the salvation of their souls (cf. 2 Timothy 2:16; Titus 2:12; James 4:8; Jude 4, 18). Scriptures dealing specifically with the salvation of the soul in the epistles (Pauline or General) MUST be understood and interpreted in the light of their subject matter.
In James 5:19, 20, a brother who wanders “from the truth [truth revealed in the message of James]” is called “a sinner.” This sinning brother is in danger of losing his soul, and the only thing that will prevent this from happening is his conversion (his being turned about, turned back to the truth expounded in James).
There is nothing in this passage about eternal verities. James, in his epistle, deals with an entirely different subject. James expounds on works, emanating out of a Christian’s faithfulness, which bring faith to its proper goal (James 2:14ff; cf. 1 Peter 1:9). And a man who turns aside from the truth expounded in James places himself in danger, not of suffering eternal damnation, but of experiencing the loss of his soul. Faith will not have been brought to its proper goal. James 5:19, 20 must be understood and interpreted in this light.
Thus, always follow the text, context, and message of the book when interpreting Scripture. Making certain basic errors through erroneous interpretations one place in Scripture will, more often than not, open the door to other erroneous interpretations elsewhere in Scripture; but, realizing certain basic truths one place in Scripture will always, at some point, open the door for one to see and grasp other truths elsewhere in Scripture. Then, once a person begins to build upon these basic truths, he begins moving from gnosis (knowledge) to epignosis (mature knowledge); and the great truths of Scripture throughout the Word of God begin to unfold before him.
2) Future Judgments
For over 1,900 years Christ has been exercising the office of High Priest in the Holy of Holies of the heavenly tabernacle on behalf of Christians. Although all judgment has been committed into His hands (John 5:22), He has not been judging during this time. Judgment has been deferred to a future date. Christ will execute judgment only after He comes forth from the tabernacle at the end of the present dispensation.
Following the present high priestly ministry of Christ, when He comes forth as Judge, Christians will come under His judgment first. This will be followed approximately seven years later by judgment of Israel and saved Gentiles; and then, 1,000 years later, the unsaved from all the ages will stand before God’s Son to be judged (Isaiah 1:18-31; Ezekiel 20:33-44; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:11-15).
Every person who has ever lived or ever will live MUST, at some point in time, appear before God’s Son in judgment. There is no escaping this fact; for, in connection with “death,” either in Christ or outside of Christ, this is an appointment that MUST be kept (Hebrews 9:27).
The principle that judgment must begin at the house of God establishes a certain order for future judgments. God is today dealing with the Church, during which time Israel has been set aside. And God will conclude His dealings with the Church, which include both Christ’s present high priestly ministry and Christ’s future appearance upon the judgment seat, before resuming His national dealings with Israel.
Then, once God resumes these national dealings, the principle concerning judgment beginning at the house of God will hold true relative to Israel. In a respect, the Tribulation itself will be a time of judgment upon all who dwell upon the earth — Israel first, and then the nations. This period of time is specifically called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7).
After the Tribulation, when Israel and the Gentiles stand before God’s Son in judgment (those Gentiles saved during the Tribulation, both resurrected martyrs and those surviving the Tribulation), Israel will still retain priority. Though both could be viewed as the house of God, Israel will, at that time, be judged first.
There are a number of parallels between the judgment of Israel and the judgment of Christians that should not be overlooked, for one will cast light upon the other. Preceding both judgments, Christ will come forth accompanied by angels. Preceding both judgments, the dead will be raised and, together with those who are alive at that time, will be taken to designated places to be judged. Christians, before the Tribulation, will be taken into heaven; Israel, after the Tribulation, will be taken into “the wilderness of the people” (Ezekiel 20:34-37), which is possibly a reference to the Sinai area (the new covenant to be made with Israel could very well be instituted in the same place that God brought Israel into the bonds of the old covenant).
Both the judgment of Christians and the judgment of Israel have to do with the house of God. These constitute judgments upon the people of God, and both judgments are for the same basic purpose. The Church and Israel constitute two separate and distinct groups of individuals that are about to assume positions of power and authority over and on the earth, and these individuals must first appear in judgment before God’s Son to either be apportioned or be denied positions in the kingdom.
At the time Christ judges Israel, following His return to the earth, there will be two classes of individuals: the faithful, and the unfaithful. At this time He will “purge out” the rebels and transgressors, “and they shall not enter into the land of Israel.”
One Scripture passage showing exactly what is involved concerns God’s judgment upon the Levites at this time (Ezekiel 44:10-16). Among the Levites there will be those singled out who had previously involved themselves with idolatry and, in this manner, had led other Israelites astray. These individuals will, during the coming age, bear their “shame” and “abominations” by being servants rather than priests in the Lord’s house (cf. Ezekiel 20:37, 38).
The judgment of Christians, preceding Israel’s judgment, will be identical in nature. There will be a division between the faithful and the unfaithful, and only the faithful will be apportioned positions of power and authority with Christ in the kingdom. In the coming age, the lot of unfaithful Christians in the heavens will be comparable to that of unfaithful Israelites on the earth. They — the “murmurers, complainers . . . .” — will bear their shame, occupying no place among the “kings and priests” reigning with Christ (Jude 16; cf. v. 13; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15).
Then, following Israel’s judgment, there will be a judgment of saved Gentiles coming out of the Tribulation — both those slain for their faith (resurrected) and those surviving the Tribulation. And two classes of individuals, both faithful and unfaithful, will appear at this judgment as well. (Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 7:9-17; 20:4-6).
(For additional information on saved Gentiles coming out of the Tribulation, refer to the author’s books, Prophecy on Mount Olivet [Revised Edition], Chapters 22-24, and The Time of the End, Chapters 26, 33.)
Decisions and determinations rendered at the judgments of the Church, Israel, and saved Gentiles precede and anticipate the kingdom to follow. Out of these judgments will come the ones who are to exercise supremacy — from the heavens, and on the earth. And in that day, following these judgments, God’s complete purpose pertaining to the existence of both the Church and Israel will be brought to pass.