Deep and satisfying feast from God
These people are dangerous reefs at your love feasts as they eat with you without reverence. They are shepherds who only look after themselves. They are waterless clouds carried along by winds; trees in late autumn—fruitless, twice dead and uprooted. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shameful deeds; wandering stars for whom the blackness of darkness is reserved forever. Jude 1:12-13 CSB
In verse 4, Jude directly speaks about the two actions that “these people,” the false teachers, were enacting in the church: “turning the grace of our God into sensuality and denying Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord.” Jude showed how “these people” aren’t a new phenomenon, and that they have existed throughout history (Jude 5-7). Now, Jude decides to describe them with metaphors associated with nature to relate more to his audience so they don’t miss the point. They are described as “dangerous reefs,” areas of shallow water that can ground ships if the captain is not careful and discerning of the ocean depths. These false teachers invaded the “love feasts,” when the believers gathered together to have the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7-11), and they did this “without reverence” (2 Peter 2:13). They appear as “shepherds,” meaning “pastors” or “church leaders.” They have infiltrated the church and are only looking out for themselves, the complete opposite of what a shepherd is tasked to do. “Waterless clouds” are a disappointment to travelers of the desert, for they give a sense of false hope. Autumn is the expected time when trees would bear fruit. Not only that, but they are “twice dead and uprooted,” meaning they are spiritually dead. Verse 13’s beginning parallels to Isaiah 57:20 saying, “But the wicked are like the storm-tossed sea, for it cannot be still, and its water churns up mire and muck.” They are relentless and destructive and offer up only garbage. In the final illustration, stars have been used throughout human history for navigation, for they never move, and yet, Jude describes these false teachers as “wandering,” meaning that they are unreliable and untrustworthy and can also mean that if a Christian were to follow their leading, they would be led to destruction, “the blackness of darkness.” Jude is very thorough in his descriptions and use of history. We are all different and respond to different communication methods, with some whose focus are on data and analytics, while others may enjoy artistic and abstract. Jude covers all the bases because he wants to emphasize what is at stake for following these false teachers who are absorbed with promoting themselves which is destruction. Instead, we need to follow Christ’s leading (John 14:6) and His Word (Psalm 119:105) instead of these “wandering stars.” We need to draw ourselves to the deep and satisfying waters of God. “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so I long for you, God. I thirst for God, the living God” (Psalm 42:1-2).
Isaac De Guzman