The past becomes the present
In the same way these people—relying on their dreams—defile their flesh, reject authority, and slander glorious ones. Yet when Michael the archangel was disputing with the devil in an argument about Moses’s body, he did not dare utter a slanderous condemnation against him but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these people blaspheme anything they do not understand. And what they do understand by instinct—like irrational animals—by these things they are destroyed. Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, have plunged into Balaam’s error for profit, and have perished in Korah’s rebellion. Jude 1:8-11 CSB
After sharing those past examples of apostates, Jude ties that into the present danger that the church is facing. These individuals are using dreams to “reject authority”, God’s authority. Essentially, they are making bold claims that are contradictory to God’s Word using their dreams to bolster their false doctrines, which are sinful and are “defiling their flesh.” This is a very sneaky maneuver, which can be seen in many modern-day false teachers. God spoke in Deuteronomy 13:1-4 on how to test such claims, especially if one is claiming a doctrine apart from God. “These people” also “slander glorious ones,” meaning that they have no boundaries and even go directly against heaven and the beings there, the angels. Jude illustrates this in verse 9 with Michael the archangel. In Jewish tradition, the devil was arguing about what to do with Moses’ body, saying that he had the right to dispose of it. What is fascinating, though, is that Michael “did not dare utter a slanderous condemnation” but instead said “the Lord rebuke you!” On the flipside, when we get to verse 10, “these people” immediately “blaspheme anything they do not understand.” Jude doesn’t mince his words and calls these individuals “irrational animals.” Animals follow their instincts. In the same manner, they followed their sinful nature and went against God, by which, they fall under condemnation in judgment (“by these things, they are destroyed”). So, the false teachers immediately slander anything against what they deem as right, which is in direct opposition to God, while Michael, with all his power and authority, does not even utter a cruel word against Satan, but calls upon God to rebuke him. Finally, Jude, after laying out the gravity of what these false teachers are doing and what their actions will lead to, he pronounces woe on them. The way of Cain can mean many things, such as that they were disobedient, they were envious of others, or they hated other people and had murderous intentions (all bad things). Balaam was a false prophet who was paid to place a curse upon the Israelites (Num. 22:21-31; 2 Pet. 2:15-16), meaning that these false prophets spoke these things also for money. In the end, like Korah, who rebelled against Moses and Aaron, and was swallowed up in the earth (Numbers 16), they too shall perish. The price of sin and rebellion against God is a heavy toll that leads to destruction. When we are confronted with such false doctrines, we cannot succumb to our sinful nature and lash back with slanderous words, but rely on God to fight our battles and rebuke them in His name (see 1 Peter 3:13-17). Our battles in this present time are against “principalities… and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). We are to follow the example of Michael so we can stir clear from apostasy, will not give in to temptations that could lead to immorality, and always mindful that we are under God’s authority.
Isaac De Guzman