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Author Topic: Jude 1:22-25  (Read 1061 times)

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Hidden In Him

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Jude 1:22-25
« on: February 28, 2016, 04:04:48 PM »
Removing "Blemishes" From The Bride Of Christ

     Jude portrayed the Gnostics who were infiltrating Christian churches to pray upon the unsuspecting as being "blemishes in the midst of your Agapes." The Agapes were meetings where richer Christians provided, out of love in their hearts, a festive meal which everyone including less fortunate brothers and sisters in Christ could enjoy. It was communal in a sense, but with a full meal provided rather than just the breaking of bread. The Gnostics, however, were sometimes present at such meetings, despite not being truly part of the flock of God:

     Woe be unto them, for they were led down the path of Cain, and were dispensed with due to the waywardness of Balaam for pay, and perished in the dispute of Korah. These are blemishes in the midst of your Agapes, shepherding themselves while fearlessly feasting together among you. (Jude 1:11-12a)

     By "blemishes" he meant blemished sheep. Blemishes represented sin, which is why every animal sacrifice presented unto God in Old Testament times needed to be without blemish. Likewise, believers were to be "living sacrifices," and therefore needed to be purified from sin so as to be made acceptable unto God (Romans 12:1). But the sins the Gnostics were practicing made them abominable in the eyes of the Lord, and unfit to be received by Him (Deuteronomy 17:1, Leviticus 22:20). Thus, the way Christ was cleansing His church of blemishes in New Testament times was by removing such people, since their sinfulness might influence others to do likewise. As Paul stated in Corinthians, a little leaven would leaven the whole lump, so those who openly practiced sin therefore needed to be removed:

     Sexual immorality is commonly being reported among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles, such as for one to have sex with [his] father's wife. And here you are having become inflated with pride, and rather did not mourn because the one having done this deed might [soon] be removed from your midst!  For, indeed, I being absent in the body but present in the spirit have already judged regarding the one having done this thing as being present: In the name of the Lord Jesus, when you have been gathered together in the power of the Lord Jesus, and with my spirit, you are to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved on the Day of the Lord Jesus. (1 Corinthians 5:1-5)

     It is to be remembered here that Christ's relationship with His bride during New Testament times was a close one. When necessary, He was bringing judgments against believers as a form of discipline to purify them. But the early church wanted this spiritual discipline because they wanted closeness with their Lord. Because of this, the power of Christ was present to remove blemishes from their midst. They understood that the desire of Christ was that the church corporately become His spotless bride:

     Husbands, love your own wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her with the washing of water in [His] word, that He might present her unto Himself a glorious church, having no spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27)

     Thus His judgments were a way of keeping the church spiritually sure-footed, as our final passage in Jude now states. The words "you" below were in the plural, meaning they were addressed to the entire church, and were a command that they collectively maintain spiritual purity against the corruption the Gnostics were trying to bring in:

     And have pity on some, making a distinction. Yet others save in fear, snatching them from the fire, hating even the undergarment stained by the flesh. But to Him who has the power to keep you surefooted, and present you without blemish before His glory amid exultation, to God alone be glory, majesty, dominion and authority through our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, both now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:22-25)

Snatching Some From The Fires Of Judgment

     So what did Jude mean by "snatching them from the fire," and where did he get this symbolism from? It appears he borrowed the expression from the prophet Amos, whom the Lord used to chastise the Israelites when they were rebelling against Him and refusing to repent of their sins:

     "I sent pestilence among you… Yet not even then did you return to me," says the Lord. "I overthrew some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you became like a firebrand snatched from the fire. Yet not even then did you return to Me," says the Lord. "Therefore, thus will I do unto you… Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!" (Amos 4:10-12 LXX)

     When the Lord here said, "I overthrew some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah," He was referring to a great earthquake that took place during the time of Amos, which archeological evidence suggests was the most severe earthquake to have occurred in the region in the last 4,000 years. The earthquake is mentioned in Amos along with numerous references to the immense damage it caused.
     According to an article from the Institute For Creation Research:

     [The prophet] Amos of Tekoa delivered an extraordinary speech at the Temple of the Golden Calf in the city of Bethel in the northern kingdom of Israel just "two years before the earthquake" (Amos 1:1). Uzziah was king of Judah, and Jeroboam II was king of Israel. Amos spoke of the land being shaken (8:8 ), houses being smashed (6:11), altars being cracked (3:14), and even the Temple at Bethel being struck and collapsing (9:1). The prophet's repeated contemporary references to the earthquake's effects is why it bears his name.
     The distance from the epicenter (north of Israel) to the region of "significant damage" to well-built structures... was at least 175 kilometers, but could have been as much as 300 kilometers... the earthquake in question was at least magnitude 7.8, but more likely was 8.2. This magnitude 8 event of 750 B.C. appears to be the largest yet documented on the Dead Sea transform fault zone during the last four millennia. The Dead Sea transform fault likely ruptured along more than 400 kilometers as the ground shook violently for over 90 seconds. The urban panic created by this earthquake would have been legendary. (The Scientific And Scriptural Impact Of Amos' Earthquake,

     Thus, the words "you became like a firebrand snatched from the fire" therefore meant that the Israelites were lucky to have escaped with their lives, as if snatched from a fire. The expression referred to God sparing them from destruction, similar to how He spared Lot and his family when the entire region of Sodom and Gomorrah was overthrown.
     Thus, the teaching was of God would refine His people through the fires of judgment, something mentioned repeatedly in scripture, such as here in Malachi:

     "But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. "He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness. "Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years. (Malachi 3:2-4)

     The crucial questions are asked in the first few sentences. Who would endure His coming, and who would stand when He appeared? Those who could not withstand His judgments would burn up in the flames and fall away, not having been able to endure the fires of His discipline.

Saving The Sinner Involved Potential Danger

     Why did Jude say to "save others in fear, snatching them from the fire, hating even the undergarment stained by the flesh"? For starters, the tunics worn by people in ancient times could easily get stained by such things as semen or vaginal fluids, and because clothing was not mass-produced it was not nearly as easy to replace back then. So those engaging in sexual licentiousness ended up with stains on their clothing that wouldn't come out. "Hating" such stains meant hating the sin they had been given themselves to, and having no desire for it.
     But the temptations were there, and this is why Jude said to "save them in fear"? Look again at the influence Jezebel and her followers were having at the church in Thyatira. The suggestion is that the congregation there was attempting to save her by allowing her to continue among them, but her presence was instead seducing some of them into sin:

     “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God... I have this against you: You tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and teaches and misleads my servants into committing sexual immorality and eating meat sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time that she might repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will cast her on a [sick] bed, and those committing adultery with her into great affliction if they will not repent of their ways. And I will strike her children with death, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches hearts and minds, and will repay to each of you according to your deeds." (Revelation 2:18-23)

    This is again why Jude warned his readers to "hate the undergarment stained by the flesh." They needed to be on guard against the possibility of becoming tempted themselves. As the apostle Paul warned the believers in Galatia, those seeking to deliver others from sin always needed to stay mindful of the dangers involved:

     Brothers, if any man be taken in some offense, you, the spiritual ones, restore such a one in a spirit of meekness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)

     But in saving these sinners distinctions sometimes also needed to be made. Some were truly repentant, and without the judgments of God or "fear" on the parts of others ever being necessary. This is why Jude said, "And have pity on some, making a distinction." Such was the case in the following account of a 2nd century Christian woman who returned to her husband and the church after having been seduced into a lifestyle of sexual immorality by a Gnostic magician named Marcus. Such women were usually too sorrowful over their victimization to present temptation to anyone:

     [In confirmation] that this Marcus compounds philters and love-potions to insult the persons of some of these women, if not of all, those of them who have returned to the church of God - a thing which frequently occurs - have acknowledged, confessing too, that they have been defiled by him, and were filled with a burning passion for him.
     A sad example of this occurred in the case of a certain Asiatic, one of our deacons, who had received him [Marcus] into his house. His wife, a woman of remarkable beauty, fell victim both in mind and body to this magician, and for a long time travelled about with him. At last, when with no small difficulty the brethren had converted her, she spent her whole time in the exercise of public confession, weeping over and lamenting the defilement she received from this magician. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, XII, 5)

The Modern Church: A Flock Of Blemished Sheep

     As has been revealed by the Spirit of God, Satan is now passing off a host of superficial, sin-excusing versions of "Christianity" as the true faith, and many do not even know they are being deceived. Without the discipline of God to reveal His real attitude towards sin, many are now destined to go to Hell rather than Heaven. This was revealed clearly in the visions granted to Harold Pittman, who was taken to Heaven back in 1980. While standing alongside one of his angelic escorts before the gates of Heaven, Pitman observed the following:

     Instead of allowing me to enter, the angel stationed me before the gates, slightly to one side. He instructed me to stay there and watch as the saints were permitted to enter into Heaven. As the saints were allowed into Heaven, I noticed a strange thing. They were permitted to enter only one at a time. No two were permitted to enter those gates at the same time… [but] I missed the whole point of what I saw. This point was so important that the Holy Spirit told me Himself. I watched the fifty saints enter Heaven but the point I missed was the time frame involved. It was explained to me that at the same time those fifty saints died on earth, 1,950 other humans also died or only 50 out of 2,000 made it into Heaven. That other 1,950 were not there. Where were they? That was only 2 1/2 percent going to Heaven! Ninety seven point five percent did not make it! Is that representative of the entire world today? If so, ninety seven and one-half percent of the population of this world is not ready to meet God. (Placebo, P.29-30)

     With thirty-three percent of the earth's population still identifying themselves as Christian, this means only 1 of every 13 of them were actually making Heaven at the time he saw this vision. This deception was made possible because the means by which God kept the early church from giving into sin and being condemned with the world is now gone. Today, we are in some ways also a flock of blemished sheep fearlessly shepherding ourselves, assuming everything is well with the Great Shepherd when in fact we are in grave spiritual danger.
     This is obvious from what the Spirit Himself is saying to the churches in other accounts as well. As He is now prophesying to those with ears to hear:

     The holy people of God have been led away by flatterers. Do not be deceived; God is not mocked. Understanding will come to you if you will open your ears and listen to Me. This is the Lord's message to the churches: Beware of false prophets who stand in My holy place and deceive with flatteries. O earth, My holy people have fallen asleep to the sound of false doctrine. Awake, Awake! I tell you that all unrighteousness is sin. Cleanse yourself from all sins of the flesh and the spirit. (Baxter, A Divine Revelation Of Hell, P.138) 

Prophecies Of The Return Of God's Judgments

     In the following excerpts from Rick Joyner's The Call, the Spirit of God prophesied that His judgments are about to be restored to the body of Christ in coming years. The church and the world will once again know Him as He truly is, and that He does not tolerate or overlook sin when He is truly present:

     I am about to reveal Myself to the world as the Righteous Judge. First I must reveal My judgment to My own household. My people are about to know the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. They will know His power to convict of sin. They will also know that He will always lead them into the truth that will set them free. This is the truth that testifies of Me. When My people have come to know Me as I AM, then I will use them to testify of Me. I am the Judge, but it is better for you to judge yourself so that I will not have to judge you. Even so, My judgments are about to be restored to My people. I will judge My own household first. After that I will judge the whole world. (Joyner, The Call, P.30)

     He repeats these same promises later in the vision, warning that those who will be chastised must not harden their hearts against Him. His chastisement will be for their good so that they not be condemned with the world:

     In My mercy, I am giving you this warning. Warn My people that in My mercy, I will no longer let them presume upon My mercy. In My mercy, My discipline will be upon them. Warn them not to harden their hearts, but to repent and turn to Me… When I have finished judging My own household, I will then send My judgments upon the whole earth. In My righteous judgment, I will show a distinction between My people and those who do not know Me." (Joyner, The Call, P.54)

     As stated previously, many of His people in our times have been deceived into allowing sin into their lives. They are like the Corinthians were when Paul addressed them as follows, and chastised them for likewise being deceived:

     Oh that you were bearing with me a little in some foolishness, but indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with a jealousy from God, for I betrothed you unto one Man, to present you a pure virgin unto Christ. But I fear lest by some means just as the serpent deceived Eve in his craftiness, so should your thoughts be corrupted from simplicity unto Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:1-3)

     But the return of God's judgments will expose Satan's deceptions, and protect the end-time church from them. False Christs and false prophets are prophesied to emerge eventually and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive if it were possible even the very elect (Matthew 24:24-25). But despite the success he will have, Satan's attempts to completely corrupt the church will ultimately fail. The Spirit of God will succeed at eventually removing every blemish from the bride of Christ, and purify her from all spiritual uncleanness.

« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 08:27:23 PM by Hidden In Him »