Jude and Peter (in 2 Peter) employed some of the same imagery to warn their audiences regarding the danger of apostasy and God’s certain judgement on those who opposed the gospel. Jude exhorted his readers, saying, “Dear friends, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, expecting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life” (Jude 20-21). Jude wished for his readers to live in a distinctly Christian manner, seeing Scripture as a storyline of God’s power to condemn those who rebelled while saving His people through the Lord Jesus Christ and the work of the Spirit.
(1) In Jude 5, Jude recalled God’s salvation and judgement of Israel to persuade his readers to remain steadfast in their faith. God heard the cry of His people in slavery in Egypt (Exod 2:23-25) and sent Moses to redeem Israel. God demonstrated His power in removing Israel from the grip of the Egyptian king, as Moses described in his song in Exodus 15. But after the exodus, Israel complained because they lacked food and water (Exodus 16-17). Israel constructed the golden calf and worshipped it when Moses delayed on the mountain with God (Exodus 32). And the people failed to trust God at the southern edge of the Promised Land, with the result that only Joshua and Caleb would enjoy habitation in Canaan (Numbers 13-14). Jude wanted his audience to contend for the faith knowing that just as God judged the wicked in Israel, He would also judge the wicked surrounding them.
(2) In Jude 7, Jude portrayed God’s judgement of Sodom and Gomorrah in Gen 19:1-29 as an example of how God punishes those who continue in sin. After the three visitors prophesied to Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son in their old age, the men departed to look out over Sodom (Gen 18:1-16). Abraham joined them and pleaded for the Lord to have mercy if even ten righteous could be found in the city (Gen 18:22-33). Only Lot, his wife, and his two daughters escaped, and the Lord rained sulfur to destroy the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness (Gen 19:1-30). Jude reminded his readers that the Lord destroys those who continue in debauchery.
(3) In Jude 9, Jude referenced the Archangel Michael’s humility in spiritual warfare to illustrate the arrogance of the false teachers threatening his audience. In Dan 10:13, 21 and 12:1, the Archangel Michael is referenced as a powerful angelic being who courageously helped other angels and stood watch over Israel. Jude understood the portrayal of Michael in Daniel and assumed his audience did as well. Though Michael was such a great figure, he was humble and would not directly rebuke the Devil saying only, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 9). Those who opposed Jude and his audience demonstrated their arrogance by blaspheming what they did not understand. Though the opponents in view were weak in comparison to Michael, they acted as though they were greater.
(4) In Jude 11, Jude connected the greed and selfishness of Cain, Balaam, and Korah to illustrate the behavior of those who blasphemed God. In Gen 4:8, Cain killed Abel because he was jealous that the Lord accepted Abel’s sacrifice and not his. In Num 22:1-21, Balak king of Moab hired Balaam to curse Israel and the Lord confronted Balaam’s greed to ensure that the prophet would speak only what the Lord required (Num 22:22-41). In Num 16:1-4, Korah and 250 Israelite men opposed Moses and Aaron saying that all the people were just as holy as Israel’s leaders. Jude pronounced judgement on those who imitated the arrogant behavior of Cain, Balaam, and Korah.