Jude has no kind or comforting words to say to these wolves in sheep’s clothing.  “Woe unto them!” is his fierce denunciation.  And then he proceeds to compare them to some of the greatest villains in the history of God’s people.  They have first of all “gone in the way of Cain.”  That wicked man became the first murderer, because he could not abide that God would accept of his brother’s offering while rejecting his own.  These too are filled with spite and enmity against the true people of God.  They know nothing of true communion with heaven such as God’s people enjoy.  They are religious, like Cain, but their services are no more acceptable than were his.  If they do not quickly recognize that the Lord has no respect to their offerings, then they will be expelled from His gracious presence forever, even as Cain was.

These men are also belly servers, who use religion as a means of fattening their wallets.  This seems to be Jude’s thrust in declaring that they have “rain greedily after the error of Balaam for reward.”  Though Balaam was compelled by God to speak several glorious prophecies concerning the future of Israel, and even hinted at the coming Messiah, his heart was always after the reward which King Balak was offering.  When he found that God would not permit him to curse the people that He had blessed, he instead devised a plan by which he could bring God’s curse upon them, by seducing them into fornication and idolatry.  These men likewise will use whatever turn suits their needs in order to fleece God’s people of their money.  They are not servants to the word of God, but will say whatever they think the people want to hear in order to gain their applause and their coin.  Ezekiel was commanded to speak the words of God to the people, “whether they will hear or whether they will forbear.”  These men only speak what is convenient for them, and will place them in the best light.  Their aim is not the glory of God, but providing themselves a living, using religion as the means.

Jude’s final comparison is with Korah, who led the rebellion against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, as recorded in Numbers 16.  These men have “perished in the gainsaying of Core.”  This appears to be a prophecy of what will happen to these men.  I suppose it is also possible that God had suddenly smitten some of these men with death, as a striking judgment to show the church how serious He is about the purity of His worship.  At any rate, this comparison is an obvious one.  Just above, we saw how Jude condemned these wicked men for despising authority.  This was precisely the crime of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.  They resented the authority and the honors God had bestowed upon Moses and Aaron, and insisted that they had as much right to lead as did the men God had appointed.  The false teachers, it appears from this and other passages, resented the apostles because of the great spiritual authority conferred upon them by Jesus Christ, and railed upon them even as Korah railed upon Moses.  Their end, though perhaps not as openly dramatic as those ancient rebels, will be just as calamitous.

Advertisements