The End Times Man
Evangel Tabernacle | On 20, Oct 2015
Scripture Reading: Jude 1-7; 12-13
Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you. Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.
These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.
Jude is the brother of James. James and Jude are both half-brothers of Jesus. James was the first leader of the Early Church. From here we learn something about God. When Mary submitted to the will of God to become the channel through which Jesus was born of the Holy Ghost, God the father knows how to bless that family. God too will treat your family favourably when you serve the LORD. This has been proven true time and again. From that family of Joseph and Mary, came James, who not only became the first leader of the early church but also he was the writer of the epistle, James. Jude, his brother, wrote the book of Jude to which we are touching on this morning. 1 Corinthians 9:5 offers a tantalizing piece of information, noting that the Lord’s brothers (including James and Jude) and their wives took missionary journeys. I Corinthians 9:5 says, ‘Do we not have the right to the company of a believing wife, like the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?’ Well Jude, when he was in his father’s house and in the early years of Jesus’ ministry lived in scepticism for a time. He started badly but ended gloriously. Some of us started well but ended badly; so bad that we wonder whether we can make it to heaven after all. In the Christian life it is not how well you started but how you end. This was a picture which haunted the mind of both Paul and the writer to Hebrews. It is the proof that even the man with the greatest privilege can meet disaster before the end, if he falls away from obedience and lapses from faith. Johnstone Jeffrey tells of a great man who absolutely refused to have his life story written before his death. “I have seen,’ he said, ‘too many men fall out on the last lap.’ John Wesley warned, ‘Let, therefore, none presume on past mercies, as if they were out of danger.’ In his dream John Bunyan saw the even from the gates of heaven there was a way to hell.
Jude eventually came to a powerful faith in Jesus. And as he travelled on behalf of the Gospel, telling the story in city after city he would stand as a living example of faithfulness.
The book of Jude is written for us today. It is written for the end times, for the end of the Church Age. We are definitely living in the end times and at the end of the Church Age. The church is going to be raptured soon. The beginning of the Church Age was, of course, the Acts of the Apostles. However sad to say, the church is in the threshold of the Laodicea Age. The end of the Church Age might be called the Acts of the Apostates. Apostasy is not just backsliding but becoming an enemy of the Cross. Paul says in Philippians 3:8 ‘For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ’. Jude is the only book devoted entirely to the Great Apostasy. The theme of Jude is Apostasy. Jesus said in Luke 18:8 ‘When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?’ Jude is the vestibule (passage way or the door) to the book of Revelation. It includes the oldest prophecy uttered by a prophet (Enoch) of the Second Coming of Christ, declared before the Great Flood. The Church today must understand a few things:
a. We know the Lord’s coming is sure
b. We know who will accompany the Lord (the church)
c. We know the purpose of His coming (judgment)
d. We know the result of the Lord’s coming (setting up His kingdom)
Jude’s sole reminder is Sin and Judgement go hand in hand. Jude’s favourite literary device are triplets (he likes to give examples in sets of three). For emphasis Jude often writes using triplets. There are two sets of triplets in this sharing. What can we learn from this portion of Scripture?
1. The immorality of Man in the End times
Jude 3-4 ‘Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.’
Jude was written because of this phrase ‘turn the grace of our God into licentiousness’. Something is happening to the church today and Jude is sounding the alarm.
Amazing Grace is one of the most beloved hymns of the Christian Church. God’s grace is amazing but it is not an excuse for indulging in sin. The letter to Luke was written to warn against misusing the Grace of God and to denounce those who twisted the doctrine of Grace, to teach that people could do whatever they wished. Grace is not a ticket to gross immorality. If you study the characteristic of the 7 churches in the book of Revelation, it is very interesting that the teaching of the Nicolaitians was mentioned twice; at the church in Ephesus and the church in Pergamos. It inferred that the churches struggled with this teaching that threatened to destroy the Church. Isn’t that, what is happening to the church today? The Nicolaitans held the belief that the spirit of man is good and pure (because of the Holy Spirit), but his body is fundamentally forever evil. But the spirit is by no means affected by the body’s activities because the spirit is pure and holy forever. Therefore one’s spirit is not affected harmfully even though one lives an unrestrained life of indulgence, drinking and eating as one wishes, and living immorally. Put it correctly it means the spirit cannot sin but the body can sin. And the finality is that the person will still go to heaven. We classify these people that believes such doctrine libertine. Libertine is a person who is morally or sexually unrestrained, especially a dissolute man, rake. That is where you get the word licentious, uncontrolled, and unrestrained.
Before we misuse the Grace of God, we have to understand our position in Christ. Christians are those who are called by God. Verse 1 says we are ‘the called’. The Greek for ‘to call’ is ‘kalein’ and ‘kalein’ has three great areas of use. (a) It is the word for summoning a man to office, to duty, and to responsibility. The Christian is summoned to a task, to duty, to responsibility in the service of Christ. (b) It is the word for summoning a man to a feast or a festival. It is the word for an invitation to a happy occasion. The Christian is the man who is summoned to the joy of being the guest of God. We are summoned to a great banquet. It definitely refers to the marriage supper of the Lamb mentioned in book of Revelation. (c) It is the word for summoning a man to judgment. It is the word for calling a man to court that he may give account of himself. The Christian is in the end summoned to appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
The first triplet.
Jude 5-7 ‘I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.’
Jude gives examples of apostasy in the past which will also take place in the last days. It is worth noting that Jude gave the first triplet to three groups of people in the Old Testament and all three of them were involved in sexual sins.
They are those:
Who left Egypt
The angels who kept not their first estate
The people of Sodom of Gomorrah.
First was those who left Egypt. They were actually the children of God. But they stayed on the borders of Egypt. Egypt has always represents sin. Therefore it probably refers to those who died on the border of the Promised Land, on the plains of Moab at Shittim, where some of the Israeli people participated in fertility worship with the women of Moab. What happened to them? They were destroyed. Actually the word ‘destroyed’ is a frightening word. It implied physical death and eternal death.
The second dreadful example is the fallen angels. The Jews had a very highly developed doctrine of angels, the servant of God. In particular the Jews believed that every nation had its presiding angel. In the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew scriptures, Deuteronomy 32:8 reads, ‘When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God.’ That is to say, to each nation there was an angel. Here in Jude we are told of those angels who kept not their first estate. Here we are told the followings about these angels:
1. They did not keep their own domain
2. They abandoned their proper abode
3. They will be kept in eternal bonds under darkness for judgment day
II Peter gave additional details concerning these angels.
4. They “Sinned” (2 Pet. 2:4)
5. They “Committed them into Tartarus” (2 Pet. 2:4)
6. They “Committed them to pits of darkness reserved for judgment” (2 Pet. 2:4)
Please understand that there are many parallels between 2 Peter and Jude. It is believed that Jude was written immediately after the book of Peter, in A.D 77 to A.D 80.
Now who are these angels in the OT who rebelled and sinned? Theologians have given a few clue as to who they are. I personally believed (note: my personal belief) that these Angels are those mentioned in Genesis 6. I read to you from Genesis 6:1-4, ‘And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.’
They are angelic beings, called by specific demonic names in the OT. They are known as the “sons of God”. The phrase ‘Sons of God’ is mentioned in the apocryphal book of Enoch, Baruch and Jubilees. Jude quoted from two apocryphal Jewish works, the Assumption of Moses and the Book of Enoch. If you have the book of Enoch, you should go and read it. Because Jude mentioned it often times. Moses wrote the book of Genesis. Moses’ first hearers have had additional historical insight or Moses used oral or written tradition from the Patriarchal period that he himself did not fully understand. Note:
1. The phrase “sons of God” is used consistently, if not exclusively, for angels in the OT
2. The Septuagint (the Greek translation of the bible) translates “Sons of God” as “angels of God”
3. The book of I Enoch is very specific that ‘the sons of God’ refers to angels. Jude was definitely quoting from the book of Enoch when he says ‘And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.’
4. 2 Peter 2 and Jude speak of angels who sinned and did not keep their proper abode
5. In Greek mythology we are familiar with half human/half superhuman giants called Titans who are imprisoned in Tartarus, this very name used only once in the Bible (2 Peter 2) for the holding place of the angels that kept not their proper abode. In rabbinical theology Hades was divided into a section for the righteous (paradise) and a section for the wicked (Tartarus).
Fallen angels, demons are connected with the immorality of man today.
The third group of people are the people of Sodom and Gomorrah
I believe the word Sodom speaks for itself. When we say a person is sodomized, we know actually what it meant; sex between man and man and anal sex. We are told that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah go after strange flesh (man with man). The consequence of Sodom and Gomorrah is they will suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. When we have Jesus Christ as our personal saviour, we shall have eternal life. The exact opposite of Sodom and Gomorrah is that is they will have eternal fire. Hailstones mixed with fire came down from Heaven. The men of Sodom were bent on was homosexual intercourse with Lot’s two visitors. They wanted to sodomize Lot’s two visitors which are actually Godly Angels. In Genesis 6, the fallen angel saw the beauty of human women, left their estate and lusted after the human women. The sins of Sodom had become so corrupt that the evil spirit (fallen angels) took possession of human that man became so possessed of the evil spirit that there is no more difference between evil spirit and human. And when these possessed evil man saw of angel of God in lot’s house they wanted to corrupt them by having homosexual intercourse with them, to corrupt these two godly angels. I believe that is the reason why Sodom and Gomorrah suffered such consequences and it is felt until today. I also believed that fallen angels (demons) are involved in homosexual sins. Homosexual sin is a spirit sin. Genesis told us that when the fallen angels got involved with human kind, the children became man of renown. Don’t you notice gay people are very smart people (man of renown)? Starbucks and Apple CEOs are both openly known gays.
There is much modern cultural pressure to accept homosexuality as an appropriate alternate lifestyle. The Bible lists it as a destructive lifestyle, out of the will of God for His creation. Why?
1. It violates the command of Genesis 1 to be fruitful and multiply
2. It is judged in Genesis 19 (cf. 2 Pet. 2:6-8; Jude 7) and Judges 19
3. It characterizes pagan worship and culture (cf. Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:18-28; and Jude 1:7)
4. It reveals a self-centred independence from God (cf. 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Tim. 1:10)
God loves people and desires the long term health, happiness, and vitality of all those made in His image and likeness. A church leader said this, ‘I know that a percentage of Christians struggle with this issue. The problem is not the propensity but the act. Those who choose to limit their desires (i.e., abstinence) are surely candidates for ministry. For those who struggle with homosexual tendency the act (doing it), not the thought, is the real issue. Why some are drawn to others of the same sex is a mystery. I believe it is a demonic spirit, not the genes. The immorality of the End Times involved the spirit world.
2. The Acts of Man in the End Times
Jude 11, ‘Woe to them because they walk in the way of Cain; they fling themselves into the error of Balaam; they perish in Korah’s opposition to God.’
The Second Triplet
They have followed
1. The way of Cain
2. The error of Balaam
3. The opposition of korah
What are the ways of Cain? First, there is Cain, the murderer of his brother Abel (Genesis 4:1-15). Many of us have actually murdered our brothers and sisters in Christ by our deeds and works towards them. Have you in your life, murdered your brothers and sisters in Christ by your acts towards them that they never fully recovered. You destroyed their innocent faith in God. Jesus said, ‘It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.’ Unknowingly we destroyed someone’s faith and life. We must not. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We must never murder our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ by our works and deeds. You only murder someone when you are in fury. And Jude is very clear. You will perish in the fury wherewith you murder your brothers and sisters in Christ. The Wisdom of Solomon has it, ‘he himself perished in the fury wherewith he murdered his brother.’ Second, in Hebrew tradition Cain came to stand for selfishness. To the Hebrew thinkers Cain was the cynical, materialistic unbeliever who believed neither in God nor in the moral order of the world and who, therefore, did exactly as he liked. He defy God and denying the moral order of the world with impunity.
What is the error of Balaam? Balaam is the great example of those who taught God’s people to sin. He is more shadowy, but much more terrible. Out of this composite story Balaam stands for two things. (a) He stands for the covetous man who was prepared to sin in order to gain reward. (b) He stands for the evil man who was guilty of the greatest of all sins–that of teaching others to sin. So Jude is declaring of the wicked men of his own day that they are ready to leave the way of righteousness to make gain; and that they are teaching others to sin. To sin for the sake of gain is bad; but to teach another to sin is the worst of all.
Then we have the opposition of korah. Korah rebelled against the guidance of God. He wished to exercise a function or a role to which he had no right to exercise. Korah represents the man who refuses to accept authority and reaches out for things which he has no right to have.
3. The doom of Man in the End Times
Jude 12-13 ‘These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.
What is the consequences of the two sets of triplets that I have just mentioned? They are people that are:
1. Waterless clouds
2. fruitless, uprooted trees
3. Foaming sea waves (an image of scum carried by the waves)
4. Wandering stars or dying stars who give no light
Clouds without water focus on the promise of something, but without fulfilment; no water. They are people who continually made many empty claims. Likewise autumn trees without fruit, also focus on the promise of something but without fulfilment; no food. I shared a message many years ago; on nothing but leaves. Jesus while leaving Bethany, being hungry seeing at distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it. And when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves. This man is like cloud blown past by the wind, which drop no rain and like trees in harvest time which have no fruit. These two phrases go together, for they describe people who make great claims but are essentially useless. Additional detail is given concerning this person. He is doubly dead. It means that seemingly he has the apparent physical life, but in reality, he has a dead spiritual life. Doubly dead is also a reference to the second death. Do not be afraid when you have the first death, because everyone has to die one day, but be fearful when you have the second death; eternal fire. Doubly dead also means being both unfruitful and uprooted, thereby doubly dead. It is bad to be unfruitful, it is terrifying to be uprooted and left on the ground; it has no way of bearing fruit anymore, thus, the phrase doubly dead. The autumn tree are barren but it is worse because of winter, it is uprooted by storms; thus the meaning twice dead.
“Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame means this person promises a powerful ministry, but are quickly exposed as wreakers of havoc and workers of worthless shame The phrase ‘casting up their own shame like foam’ actually means this man has debris (scum) left after a fierce storm. A disaster strike and he is left with nothing but debris (scum) and laying there doubly dead, with no hope of recovery. The picture is this. After a storm, when the waves have been lashing the shore with their frothing spray and their spume, there is always left on the shore a fringe of seaweed and driftwood and all kinds of unsightly litter from the sea. That is always and unlovely scene. Likewise, for this man, after a storm (the storm of life) the deed of this wicked man are like the useless and unsightly litter which the waves leaves scattered; a picture vividly portrays the ugliness of the deeds of this man.
Wandering stars refers to meteors or planets which had no regular orbit like our solar system. The earth, a star, has a regular orbit. But these wandering stars has no regular orbit and therefore, came to be metaphors for waywardness or lostness. In 1 Enoch this metaphor relates to seven fallen angels. Actually it implies leaders of the church who give out brilliance like the stars, the shooting stars, in his ministry but in the end, he is wayward and lost. His words are empty. He appears bright for a few moments, and shoots across but he offered no hope. For this person, ‘black darkness’ is reserved for them. It refers to eternal judgement as ‘black darkness’. It is said that hell will be so dark that you cannot see anything and this darkness is eternal, forever. Try to experience brown out for 4 days; I think people will go hysterical, irritable, filled with rage and helpless. No direction and no light.
At this End Time there will be another man; and His name is Jesus. Jesus is totally different from the End Time man. He did not have the characteristics of Cain, Balaam and Korah. He is totally different from the End Time man, the fallen angels and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. When He came two thousand years ago, he was full of grace of full of the favour of God. His acts and works are always holy and clean. He followed the ways of God, not the ways of Cain. He teach people to follow God, not like Balaam who teach the people to sin. He submitted to the authority of God, not like Korah, who assumed authority and rights that is not rightfully his. What happened to Jesus? God has given him everything. He is right now seated at the right hand of God the Father. He will reign forever and forever. And he will forgive you of your sin today and shows you that with the power of the Holy Spirit, you can do greater things than what he has done 2000 years ago. All that is needed for you to succeed is already made possible because of the Cross. We need to respond and be different from the End Time man of today. And Jesus knows the times of Age is closing and there will be the rise of fallen angel and demonic activities, increasing the sins of the end time man. Just as the sons of gods (demons) look down on earth to have sexual union with the daughters of man, Jesus has sent the third person of the godhead, the Holy Spirit to come and have union with us and dwell within us. The bible calls it the Day of the Great Outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The more bondages you see among the End Times man, the greater will be the need of the Outpouring to energize and empower us (follower of Jesus) to wage warfare against the End Time Spirit, so that we are totally different from the way of Cain, the error of Balaam and Korah’s opposition to God.