Woe to them!
Do you remember as a child the warnings your parents would give you if you don’t straighten up? Do you remember the things your mom would say? “If you don’t act right I’m going to beat you into next week!” What a scary thought! “I’m going to knock you silly if you don’t quit that right now!” Or this one, “I’m going to beat you within an inch of your life if you don’t starting acting the way you should be acting!”
Jude gives a warning to his readers of the kind of behavior of those who are false teachers and ungodly men. He has already warned us in the previous verses and he continues his description of these men in verse 11 with examples and descriptions that paint a very vivid picture. Let’s expose the warning Jude gives. Jude says, “Woe to them!
- “For they have gone the way of Cain” – Obviously, Jude is referencing the wickedness as found in the life of Cain and how he murdered his brother in cold blood. 1 John 3:12 says, For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. John tells us that Cain was evil and slew his bother all because his deeds were evil and his bother, Abel’s deeds were righteous. Hebrews 11:4 makes a comparison between these two brothers by telling us that Abel worshiped God out of faith and implies that Cain lacked faith and that was the reason for his wicked ways. We should be warned about this kind of behavior. You may not kill your brother but wickedness can overtake your life because of lack of faithfulness and you metaphorically end up with blood on your hands.
- They have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam – The story of Balaam its found in Numbers 22-25 and 31. It was during the time of the Exodus and Israel had advanced to the land of Moab after defeating the Amorites. When the Israelites came near Balak, King of Moab, tried to get help from the prophet Balaam to defeat them. Balaam lusted after the riches of King Moab even after God told him not to have anything to do with the Moabites. Balaam gave in after several warnings from God, even the miracle of a talking donkey which he ignored. Balaam knew he had done wrong and even said to God, “I have sinned… I will turned back” (Numbers 22:34). But he did not turn back he continued on in sin. Balaam prophesied over Israel on four occasions but never cursed the nation to correct her behavior which then lead her into fornication and idolatry. Jude is telling us that the greed of Balaam still exist today in the error of false teachers who are not willing to correct and rebuke but just go along with whatever is the whim of the people.
- They have perished in the rebellion of Korah – We find this story in the recorded events of Numbers 16. Korah was a He was a prominent man in Israel, and one day came to Moses, saying, “You take too much upon yourself, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourself about the congregation of the LORD?” (Numbers 16:3) Korah and his followers resented the authority God gave to Moses and Aaron. When Korah said this to Moses, Moses fell on his face, knowing God’s judgment would soon come. Moses then proposed a test: each group took censers (for burning incense) and came before the Lord. The Lord Himself would choose which man He wanted to represent Him: Moses or Korah. When they both came before God, the Lord told Moses to step away. Then, the ground opened up and swallowed Korah and his followers. After that, fire came down from heaven and burned up all of his supporters. They all died! Korah needed to learn this essential lesson: we should work hard to fulfill everything God has called us to be. At the same time, we should never try to be what God has notcalled us to be. Stay in your lane, bro!
All three of these warning come from the lives of men who come from quite different backgrounds: Cain was a farmer, Balaam was a prophet, and Korah was a leader in Israel. Apostasy and false teaching is never confined to one group of people. There are false teachers in all kind of places and we should be willing to call them out. We also need to make sure that we are keeping ourselves in check, too. Check everything with the Word of God. Make sure that we are in line and in harmony with the Scriptures. It’s serious business!
Hey Jude! Keep telling us like it is. We need it!