by Robert Brow


The problem with this Epistle is not a question of the right exegesis, but of trying to see what Jude is about, and why it should be part of the canon. A first step is to note the model of impending judgment around which the Epistle is structured:

-kurios laon ex gys Aiguptou sosas to deuteron tous my pisteusantas apolesen- having saved a people out of Egypt the Lord (see v.4) later destroyed those who did not believe (Jude 5).

Sodom and Gomorrah -prokeintai deigma puros aioniou dikyn upechousin- undergo punishment to serve as a model of eternal fire (Jude 7). -ty plany tou Balaam misthou exechthysan kai ty antilogia tou Kore apolonto- abandoned themselves for gain to the error of Balaam and were destroyed in the rebellion of Kora ( Jude 7).

-asteres planytai, ois o zophos tou skotous eis aiona- wandering stars, for whom the deepest darkness has been reserved forever (Jude 13). -poiysai krisin kata panton- to execute judgment on all (Jude 15). -ep' eschatou tou chronou- (Jude 18). -sozete ek puros arpazontes- snatching them out of the fire (Jude 23).

The question then is what time period did Jude have in mind? There is no indication of this in the Epistle, but the depraved situation that is pictured is surprisingly similar to 2 Peter. In both we find false teachers (Jude 3- 4), people entangled again after the Exodus (Jude 5), licentiousness and the sins of Sodom and Gormorrah (Jude 7. 18), slander (Jude 8), irrational behaviour (Jude 10), the way of Balaam (Jude 11), scoffers (Jude 18).

Under 2 Peter it seemed that the most plausible model for the destruction by fire was a metaphor (among many others used in Matthew 24, Mark 13) for the end of Jerusalem. If that was the expected judgment in 2 Peter, then it seems that Jude was also writing under the shadow of the imminent end of the Jewish civilization in AD 70.

 Revelations .....