Jude continues his trip down memory lane with verses 11-13. Jude is continuing to “contend for the faith” against the false teachers that “have crept in” the body of believers and leading some astray. We can rest assured that the people Jude is writing to know Jewish history and can draw the logical conclusions in Jude’s comparisons. The reason we can assume this, as we seen in part 1, Jude refers to these events and people without giving any background information. Jude assumes or expects his readers to know the stories and the background as well as all the undertones that go with the stories. Let’s jump right into it.
The Way of Cain
When we think of Cain we immediately think about him murdering Abel out of jealousy. But is that the way of Cain that Jude is referring to here? I believe Jude not only wants us to think about what Cain did to Abel, but he also wants us to see how Cain came to God. If you read the narrative again in Genesis 4 we see that Abel brought an animal sacrifice and Cain brought an offering to the fruit of the ground. So what was the deal? Why was Cain’s offering rejected? Abel came to God in “the way” that was prescribed by God, animal sacrifice. Cain came to God in his own way. Many believe that animal sacrifice was instituted in the Garden when God clothed Adam and Eve. Cain and Abel’s parents passed this on to them, and from the beginning we have man attempting and inventing his own ways to get to God.
The way of Cain is manmade religion, man inventing their “own way” to God and denying the “only way”, grace through faith in Jesus. These false teachers were prescribing their own way to God, and in so doing rejecting the only way to God, Jesus. In proclaiming their false gospel they were in effect spiritually murdering their brother by leading them down a false way. Throughout the Old Testament we read many time “obedience is better than sacrifice.” We must in obedience to God, come to Him in the way He has prescribed. There is only one open door to the Father and it is through Jesus.
Jude pronounces that “these people” are not only like Cain, devising their own ways to God but they are like Balaam. Balaam is another infamous apostate in Jewish history. Balak, The king of Moab, wanted to hire Balaam to curse the Israelites, but the Lord had different plans, even using a talking donkey to get Balaam’s attention. Through the Lord’s intervention Balaam had no choice but to speak the word of the Lord to Balak and bless the Israelites. So instead of speaking curses against the Israelites, Balaam and Balak devise a plan to get the Israelites to intermarry with the Moabites and follow after false idols. In the book of Revelation we read this about Balaam;
But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. (Rev. 2:14)
You can find Balaam’s account in Numbers 22-25.
Balaam was a greedy prophet for hire influencing others in the wrong way and Jude is pronouncing these false teachers are just like him. The false gospel they are propagating and teaching others to follow was for their own profit or gain. False teachers were and still are selfish by nature, they will promote teaching that elevates man’s wants and needs over the Glory of God.
From walking in the way of Cain, to influencing others in the wrong path for selfish gain like Balaam, we move to an all-out rebellion against the truth and its leaders. Korah lead a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, and it was not just a few people, he led thousands in rebellion, a movement against God and His plan that he put in place through Moses. Korah’s cry “All the people are holy”. Korah was saying we don’t need you Moses or Aaron, forget all this, we don’t need leaders, we are all leaders. Korah in his rebellion led thousands to their death because God in His judgment caused the ground to open up and swallow them all (Numbers 16). God takes false teaching serious and will bring them all into judgment.
The Way, The Truth and The Life
Notice the progression Jude uses when speaking of the false teachers of his day. They walk, involving only themselves, then it moves to abandoning themselves in error for gain, and finally it leads to all out rebellion and ultimately perishing in God’s judgment. False teachers will attack the true way, will pervert the truth and ultimately perish in God’s judgment. On this Good Friday we must remember Jesus claim “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). It is solely through Jesus life, death and resurrection that we have any hope at all. All those who walk in the way of Christ, believe in the truth of Christ, live in dependence in the life of Christ are required to stand up to the false teachings that pervert the truth.
Until Next Week
Rejoice in your Salvation as we Celebrate all that Christ has done for us this weekend.