Recently, a woman told me that hell does not exist, and after I told her that the Bible strongly states that hell exists, she urged me to listen to a teacher on the Internet that would help me understand that hell does not exist. I responded by sending links to a number of articles on NeverThirsty.org about hell and warned her that she was listening to a false teacher. She quickly replied claiming that she was not a heretic. I was surprised that she said she was not a heretic. Eventually, she became insulting and the conversation ended.
I told you about this event because our study is about judgment and hell. Our study will begin with Jude 14. It is about the judgment of apostate teachers, or false teachers. But first I want you to understand seven facts about judgment and hell before we start our study.
First Fact — Judgment is Certain
The first important fact about judgment and hell is that they are certain. They are going to happen. Jesus referred to hell eleven times in the gospels. The first time he mentioned hell is mentioned is in Mathew 5:22.
But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, “You good-for-nothing,” shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, “You fool,” shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Matthew 5:22 (NASB)
Notice that Jesus refers to hell as a fiery place. This reveals Jesus believed in a literal hell, fiery place, where some people will be sent for eternity. Then, as if that was not enough, He referred to hell two more times in verses 29-30.
If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell. Matthew 5:29-30 (NASB)
Then Jesus affirms the existence of hell and that some people will go there (Matthew 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:45, and Luke 12:5). Jesus believed in a literal Hell. There is no doubt that hell is a real place.
In all four gospels, Jesus also warns us that judgment will occur twenty-two times. These statements affirm that Jesus believed in judgment and in hell or He would not have referred to them so many times. In Hebrews 9:27, the sobering statement is made that after we die we will be judged. Jesus clearly tells us that judgment is certain and hell is certain.
Second Fact — Judgment Is Determined Using Impartial Standards
The second fact about judgment is that God uses impartial standards when He judges. Romans 2:11 states,
For there is no partiality with God. Romans 2:11 (NASB)
The Greek words that are translated as “no partiality” literally mean “to not accept a face.” That is, God does not look at a person’s face before He makes a decision. He does not consider your bank balance or if you are great or small. All of God’s decisions are holy and just. I want to encourage you to read Ephesians 6:9 and 1 Peter 1:7 which also state that God is impartial.
But by what standards does God judge people? Jesus gives us one standard in Matthew 12:36 when He says,
But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matthew 12:36-37 (NASB)
Jesus is very clear here! Jesus said the words people have spoken in this life will be used to condemn them or justify them. In 1 Timothy 5:24 we are also told that God will use a person’s sins to condemn them. Romans 2:6-8 says it this way,
. . . who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS . . . Romans 2:6-8 (NASB)
Romans 2:16 gives another standard when it tells us that people cannot hide their secret thoughts, attitudes and desires, whatever they are. For He knows your secret sins and what you do when no one is looking.
. . . on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. Romans 2:16 (NASB)
At this point, if you are a believer, you might be concerned. You may be wondering, “Will God judge my sins? Will I have to stand trial?” If you are concerned, then Romans 8:1 will give you comfort. It says,
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 (NASB)
This verse should encourage you. Believers will never be condemned. You might wonder why. Romans 5:1 answers the question. It tells us that every believer is declared to be righteous at the moment they believed in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. That is, believers are legally declared to be righteous or holy, even though believers may not be in practice. When a believer does sin, 1 John 2:1 tells us that Christ defends us against any condemnation. Jesus is our Advocate. The only reason believers will not go to hell is because Christ died for our forgiveness.
Therefore, believers will not go hell, but unbelievers will go to hell. God will judge with impartial standards—both believers and unbelievers. But the judgments have different results.
Third Fact — Judgment Will Be Public
The third fact about judgment is that judgment will be done in public. For the believer the judgment is an awards ceremony. It will be a time of rejoicing, but for unbelievers the judgment will be embarrassing and fearful. That is the message of Luke 11:29-32.
As the crowds were increasing, He began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. The Queen of the South will rise up with the men of this generation at the judgment and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. Luke 11:29-32 (NASB)
Notice that we are told on Judgment Day the Queen of the South and the men of Nineveh will stand up and tell the people who were living during the time that Jesus was present on earth that they deserved hell. This verse also reveals that everyone will hear about the sins every unbeliever has committed. This means that everyone will hear every horrible sin every unbeliever has committed. So, judgment is certain, is impartial, and will be public.
Fourth Fact — Judgment Will Be Given In Various Degrees
The fourth fact about judgment is that it will result in various degrees of punishment. Luke 10:13-15 paints a clear picture.
Woe to you Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades! Luke 10:13-15 (NASB)
Notice the phrase “more tolerable.” The Greek word for this phrase has the sense of being more bearable. It implies some unbelievers will receive a severer punishment than other unbelievers. This seems difficult to imagine since hell is described as a place of torment (Luke 16:23, 28), a place of unquenchable fire (Mark 9:43), a fiery place (Matthew 5:22; 18:9; Mark 9:43; James 3:6), a place of darkness (Matthew 8:12), and a place where no one dies and the fire never ceases to burn (Matthew 9:44). I do not know how this will happen. Maybe God will turn up the flames in different parts of hell. So, judgment is certain, is impartial, will be public and will result in varying degrees of suffering.
Fifth Fact — Judgment Will Be Eternal
The fifth fact about judgment is that it is eternal. Maybe the clearest statement in the gospels is found in Matthew 25:46,
These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. Matthew 25:46 (NASB)
Here we are told that everyone will live forever. The only question is where will you live forever? Every unbeliever will suffer eternal punishment, but since there is no condemnation for believers, they will have eternal life. So, judgment is certain, is impartial, will be public, will result in varying degrees of suffering and be eternal.
Sixth Fact — Judgment Has A Fixed Day
The sixth fact about judgment is that God has determined a fixed day for judgment to occur. Listen to Acts 17:31.
. . . because He has fixed a day in which He will judge . . . Acts 17:31 (NASB)
The location of the judgment of unbelievers is described in Revelation 20:11-15.
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. Revelation 20:11-12 (NASB)
It is called the great white throne judgment. If you want to know how the trials for the unbelievers will be conducted, read Revelation 20:11-15. It tells us that God will open the books and review their every deed. So, judgment is certain, is impartial, will be public, will result in varying degrees of suffering, will be eternal, and the judgement day is fixed. It is coming!
Seventh Fact — Christ, Angels, and Believers Are The Judge
The seventh fact about judgment is found in our study which begins with Jude 14.
It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” Jude 14-15 (NASB)
Here Jude refers to “these men.” Verse 8 also refers to these men. They are the apostates referred to in verse 4. In verse 4 Jude calls them “certain persons” who have crept into our churches unnoticed or secretly. We discovered in our study of verse 4 that these are not men and women who once were saved and then lost their salvation.
Apostates are tares. In the Parable of the Tares and the Wheat, Jesus explained that tares, which are weeds, symbolize unbelievers whom Satan has placed into our churches and wheat are believers. Tares look like believers. They have learned how to behave to impress others. Satan has deceived them into thinking they are believers or Christians. By their own efforts they will look very good, but they are not real and were never real believers. At some point the apostate becomes a pastor or a Bible study teacher and starts teaching false doctrine. So, “these men” refers to apostates.
The Prophet Enoch
Jude tells us that the Enoch about whom he wrote is the Enoch who was in the seventh generation from Adam. This helps us identify the man Enoch. He is the Enoch we find in Genesis 5:1-24.
But the puzzling part about Jude’s statement is that a search of the Old Testament reveals that there are no prophecies in Genesis 5 or in any other part of Scripture that were given by Enoch. You can do a search for Enoch. He only appears in Genesis 4:17-18; 5:18-24; 1 Chronicles 1:3; Luke 3:37; Hebrews 11:5 and then here in Jude 14. Yet, we cannot find in Scripture any prophecy that was given by Enoch.
The Book of Enoch
Therefore, I want to take a few minutes and alert you to a problem with this verse. Many people claim that Jude copied the prophecy from a Jewish apocryphal book which we believe was written in either the first century B.C. or in the first century A.D. The Greek scholar R. H. C. Lenski states the date is problematic (p. 640). That is, there is great debate. Do not let some critic deceive you into thinking the date is certain—it is not. This means the Book of Jude may have been written before or after the Book of Enoch. It is also important to know that the Book of Enoch was rejected by the early church as not being inspired.
Sadly some with a low view of Scripture claim that Jude copied this prophecy from the uninspired Book of Enoch and included it in the Book of Jude. But such claims miss the point that Jude did not copy from the Book of Enoch for three reasons.
First, if we compare the Greek texts of the prophecy in the Book of Enoch to that in the Book of Jude, we find that Jude did not quote the Book of Enoch because there are significant differences. For example, the Greek word kurios, which means Lord, occurs in the quote in the Book of Jude but is missing in the Book of Enoch. Second, there are significant differences between three important words in the prophecy. Third, the most important point is that the prophecy in the Book of Jude has only 29 words but the prophecy in the Book of Enoch has 36 words. That is significant. That means Jude did not copy from the Book of Enoch.
Now this leaves us with another question. Where did Jude get this prophecy? One answer that has been suggested is that Jude knew of some oral Jewish tradition and borrowed it. But that cannot be proven. But whatever the answer, we know that the prophecy is authentic since the Holy Spirit directed Jude to put it into the Book of Jude. We must remember that 2 Peter 1:20-21 tells us that the Holy Spirit moved the authors of Scripture to write what they wrote. This means the Book of Jude is inspired and without error.
Meaning of Enoch’s Prophecy
Now we are ready to discover the meaning of verse 14. The prophecy says,
Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all . . . Jude 14 (NASB)
Who are the holy ones? The answer is they are all the angels of heaven and the believers of all the ages. For example, Jesus said in Matthew 25:31,
But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Matthew 24:29-31 (NASB)
Notice that all the angels will be coming with Jesus at His Second Coming. Revelation 4:11 tells us that there are myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands of angels in heaven. That is a lot of angels. What an incredible army! In 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 we read,
. . . the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 (NASB)
Here we learn that angels will come with Christ to deal out retribution or punishment on the unbelievers. Verse 9 seems to suggest that the angels will be the ones tossing unbelievers into hell or the lake of fire. You will find similar statements in Matthew 13:30, 40-43, 49-50.
His holy ones also include believers since Revelation 19:8-11 describes the Second Coming of Christ and tells us that believers are holy ones who will be coming with Christ.
Description of Apostates To Be Judged
Verse 15 describes those whom the holy ones will judge. I want you to notice that the word “all” is used four times in this verse.
- Execute judgment on all
- Convict all the ungodly . . .
— of all their ungodly deeds
— of all the harsh things spoken against God.
The apostates are being described. Notice they will be judged for all their ungodly deeds and all their ungodly words. Jude emphasizes the ungodliness of the apostates. He says, “convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly—deeds and words.” All the harsh things references words spoken against God. The Greek word for “harsh” literally means “hard.”
For example, in our lifetime some have said, “God is dead.” Jesus had sex with the prostitute Mary Magdalene. Jesus married and had a family. Jesus was homosexual. Yahweh was a pagan god. Yahweh does not answer prayer! God is not fair! Jesus and John were homosexual lovers. God is evil.
Wow! The judgment is going be terrible and embarrassing when they stand before a sovereign, powerful, and holy God! Jesus said that we need to fear Him who can destroy both body and soul (Matthew 10:28).
Some of The Apostates Deeds & Words
Verse 16 may seem to be an odd verse and out of place. But it is not out of place. It further describes some of the apostate’s ungodly deeds and words in verse 15.
These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage. Jude 16 (NASB)
The first sin says that apostates are “grumblers.” The Greek word for grumblers is goggustes. The word sounds like its meaning. It refers to someone who unintelligibly mutters—maybe quietly. They are unhappy, but do not speak very loudly. The same word was used of Israel when they muttered against God in the wilderness. This helps us understand the apostate who asks, “Why doesn’t God help me?” They constantly grumble, but usually not publicly. That would affect their reputation.
The second sin says the apostate is a fault finder. The Greek word actually refers to “blaming.” That is, apostates blame God. The apostate is unhappy with life and they will find someone to blame for their every unhappiness, especially God. Can I ask? Are you like an apostate? Do you always blame others for your unhappiness?
Following After Their Own Lusts
The phrase “following after their own lusts” means that their lusts drive them. Their real problem is that they are enslaved to their own desires. They are not committed to obeying the Word of God. Today 70% of men and 33% of women watch porn. Gluttony is also a major issue today. Just watch the advertisements about dieting and exercise. The television and pop-up ads on the iPhone, iPad, or computer tell us how people spend their money—or businesses would not advertise. The self-centeredness of some people has been revealed during the current pandemic. They only cared about themselves. Their hoarding has resulted in some people having trouble finding food and other supplies. That is a characteristic of the apostate. He does not love others.
The meaning of the next sin, “speaking arrogantly,” literally means someone who is “loud mouthed,” “bombastic” or “pompous.” That describes many false teachers—apostates. They are bombastic in the pulpit. We can hear the amens during his or her shouting. Oh, he is impressive, but he lacks grace, dignity, humility and the Holy Spirit.
Flattering People for the Sake of Gaining an Advantage
The last sin of “flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage” refers to someone who tells people what they want to hear in order to gain something. For the apostate, this means he or she teaches what the congregation wants to hear. The truth is not important. The misapplication is not important. They are like the priests in Malachi 2 who adjusted their teaching to please the people. 2 Timothy 4:3 describes a congregation that wants their ears tickled, so they accumulate teachers according to their own desires.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NASB)
So, judgment is certain, is impartial, will be public, will result in varying degrees of suffering, will be eternal, has a fixed judgment day and will be executed by Christ and His holy ones. Our God is holy and just and will not allow evil to go unpunished.
I want to close by asking why are these 3 verses included in Jude? This is always a good question. It helps us understand the purpose of a chapter or a verse.
The answer to the question is found in the holiness and justice of God. Let me explain.
In Hosea 4:6, 8-9 we find that God told the false priests who did not teach the Word of God and sinned that he would repay them for their deeds. They would not go unpunished. Why did He say that? The answer is that He is holy and just. He judges evil. That is the message to apostates in Jude 14-16.
It reminds us of Romans 12:19. It quotes God, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” It also reminds us of Deuteronomy 32:3-4 where Moses praises God.
For I proclaim the name of the LORD;
Ascribe greatness to our God!
The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He. Deuteronomy 32:3-4 (NASB)
When Jude 14-16 describes the future judgment on apostates, it comforts believers that God does not wink at sin, and it gives glory to God. It glorifies God.