Pastor David B. Curtis


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Apostates vs Michael

Jude 8-10

Delivered 08/30/15

We are continuing our study of the little book of Jude. Which consists of just 25 verses, but inside those verses is enough to keep a theologian busy for a year or two. This little book is packed with doctrine. That is why it has taken us 11 weeks to cover 7 verses.

It is a very important book, warning the Church to battle for the truth in a world of apostasy and spiritual defection. The word "apostasy" is from the Greek word apostasia, which means: "defection from truth." Apostasy is a falling away, a withdrawal or a defection from the truth.

Titus chapter 1, gives us the qualification of an elder:

holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, Titus 1:9-10 NASB

This is the bottom line qualification for leadership in the Church. You have to be able to explain the truth and to defend the truth and to unmask those who counterfeit it. This is an essential function of shepherding because not only do we feed the flock, but we protect the flock from the wolves who would destroy them. We must guard the Church against apostates.

The Bible speaks very strongly about the judgment of apostates. John the Baptist in Matthew chapter 3:7 lashes out at the apostates of his day:

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Matthew 3:7 NASB

That is maybe too strong for our politically correct, over sensitive, you hurt my feelings society, but apostasy is a serious matter, and it must be dealt with. The Lord Yeshua purchased the Church with His blood, and we must protect it from apostates.

After discussing how these apostates had crept into the church unaware, Jude goes on to speak about the example of Yahweh's people who were in Egypt. He speaks of how Yahweh delivered them by a great deliverance, yet afterward, destroyed many of the Israelites in the wilderness because of unbelief. Then He speaks of the angels who also had a great privilege—they were in the very presence of Yahweh in Heaven. However, they left their habitation; they kept not their first estate, and God brought judgment upon them. After that, He speaks of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. This gives us three examples of Yahweh's judgment of apostates.

Jude's history lesson was also a reminder to the Church itself. An incentive for them to steer clear from these men and their influence. In our passage for this morning the Holy Spirit, through Jude, brings his readers back to the present, back to those who were troubling God's people. And the reason which required his readers to "earnestly contend for the Faith."

Jude now turns from the Old Covenant examples to a description of the characteristics of the abusive infiltrators (Jude 1:8-16). The thrust of Jude 1:8-10 is to compare the behavior of the apostate's with the archangel Michael:

Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. Jude 1:8 NASB

In order for us to understand whom God is referring to here, we have to go back and read verse 4 again. That verse says:

For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Yeshua the Christ. Jude 1:4 NASB

Jude says that these ungodly men turned the grace of God into lasciviousness. Then in verse 8 Jude writes, "Yet in the same way these men"—the word "yet" is mentoi which is usually a particle of affirmation but sometimes of opposition. This word expresses the idea that even though there are those tragic examples of apostasy from history as object lessons, "nevertheless," "these men" brazenly continue on in similar offenses. Their arrogance blinds them to the warnings of history. "These men"—that is, the men that have crept into the church unawares.

"In the same way"—is the Greek adverb homoios, meaning: "in a similar manner, likewise," and this is actually saying: "In a similar manner to the Exodus generation, In a similar manner" to the angels of Noah's generation, In a similar manner to the people of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. In spite of the fearful punishments just referred to, the creepers, though they know these things they are still defying the Lord God.

"Also by dreaming"—this is the Greek word enupniazo, which comes from enupnion which is en, meaning: "in" and hupnos, meaning: "sleep." It means to have the impression of seeing something while one is sleeping. This was the manner in which God brought His revelation to the prophets of old. In Numbers 12:6, we read:

He said, "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream. Numbers 12:6 NASB

This is how Yahweh spoke with the prophets of old; this is how He gave His revelation to Jeremiah and to Daniel and to Ezekiel and to Isaiah—they saw visions. As a matter of fact, the book of Isaiah begins with these words in verse 1:

The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem, which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Isaiah 1:1 NASB

"By dreaming," probably is a reference to their claims that some of their revelation they got from dreams that they claim that the Lord gave them. It is notable that the participle (enupniazomenoi) modifies all three verbs, and the dreams are understood as the basis for the moral baseness of the opponents. They appealed to their dreams as a source of revelation. These apostates justified their immorality by appealing to dreams, which they believed functioned as divine approval for their behavior. The ESV translation emphasizes this association:

Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. Jude 1:8 ESV

They are led astray by relying on their dreams, thus mistakenly following subjective experiences that they claim are from God, but that lead them to disobey God's written Word.

You don't hear much about dreams today, but you often hear, "The Lord told me to do this or that." If what the Lord supposedly told you is against the Scripture, it is not the Lord, and if it lines up with Scripture, why would He specifically tell you what He has already said in His Word?

Dreaming and the 3 following verbs are all in the present tense indicating that this is not a passing practice, but their lifestyle, their continual practice.

While relying on their dreams, they, "Defile the flesh"—the word "defile" here is miaino, which according to Thayer, means: "to defile, pollute, sully, contaminate, soil….used in both a physical and moral sense." (Thayer, p. 414). The word flesh here is sarx and here refers to the human body. Those described here were engaged in immoral conduct, which tells us that they were out of the will of God:

For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NASB

When you have men claiming to be teachers of God's Word who are living in immorality, they are apostates. They have morally forsaken the faith.

While relying on their dreams, they "Reject authority"—this is "atheteo kuriotes" in the Greek. Thayer writes that atheteo means: "to act toward anything as though it were annulled. It is translated in other passages as "reject," "bring to nothing," "frustrate," "disannul," and "cast off." What do they reject? The NASB says, "authority," which is from the Greek word kuriotes, which means: "mastery or rulers."

One commentator writes, "'Reject authority,' obviously, it seems to me, the reference is to the statement in verse 4. 'They turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.' What we are talking about is the rejection of the authority of God." I agree that they reject the authority of God, but I don't think that is what this verse is saying.

Kuriotes, occurs in only three other passages, Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16; 2 Peter 2:10. And in all of these passages the reference is to angelic dignities:

far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:21 NASB

These "rulers and authorities and powers and dominions" were an angelic hierarchy that intertestamental Jews had come up with so that they could rank the differing "powers" that they thought may be helping or hindering them as they went throughout their day.

Paul piles up four different words, "rule, authority, power, and dominion," to encompass all spiritual powers. But whatever levels of spiritual power exist, Yeshua is over them all.

Jude is saying that these men "reject," "bring to nothing," "frustrate," "disannul," and "cast off" angels. Strong says that "reject" means: "to set aside, i.e. (by implication) to disesteem, neutralize or violate." It is interesting that two of the stories that Jude just used about the judgment of apostates involved angels. But these apostates set them aside, they reject them.

While relying on their dreams, they "Revile angelic majesties"—the word "revile"is the Greek word blasphemeo, which has the general sense of speaking reproachfully or injuriously of someone. Perhaps they scoffed at the very existence of transcendent powers.

The Greek here reads "blasphemeo doxa"; angels is not in the text. The word doxa is often translated glory and means: "to give a proper opinion or estimate of something and thus the glory of God expresses all that He is in His Being and in His nature, character, power and acts."

You may be thinking," Why do the translator here take the liberty to insert angelic majesties, when the word is simply doxa?" I think the answer is found in the parallel text of 2 Peter:

and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. 2 Peter 2:10-11 NASB

Here "revile angelic majesties" is the same phrase we saw in Jude, "blasphemeo doxa," but then Peter says, "whereas angels." Peter clearly here refers to angels. These apostates will blaspheme angels when even angels who are greater in might and power than men do not blaspheme other angels. That's what Peter is saying. And even though the text literally says, "revile glories," "glories" was a term that was used for the angelic beings who were regarded as rays from the grace of God. So one of the things that these apostates did was to attack the angelic world, they reject and blaspheme angels.

That's certainly what Sodom and Gomorrah did, didn't they? Sodom and Gomorrah blasphemed angels.

So these apostates, even though there are those tragic examples of judgment on apostasy from history, "nevertheless," "these men" brazenly continue on in similar offenses. They are led astray by relying on their dreams and they"disannul" angels. And they blaspheme angels. These apostates attacked the angelic world. Keep this verse in mind as we look at the next verse:

But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" Jude 1:9 NASB

"But Michael the archangel"but is a dramatic contrast. Jude contrasts their arrogance with the behavior of the archangel Michael. The name Michael is from the Hebrew Miykael and means: "(one) who is like God." Jude says that Michael is an archangel. The Greek word archangelos means: "chief of the angels, or one of the princes and leaders of the angels" (Thayer). Wuest says it means: "first in rank, chief of the angels."

There are some who believe that Michael is the pre-incarnate Christ. I argued for this view in my teaching on Daniel 12. Here is what I said: "Some say that this can't be Yeshua in Jude 1:9, because he says, 'Yahweh rebuke you.'" Yeshua is Yahweh, so why would He say, "Yahweh rebuke you"? Does that sound like a good argument? It might until we look at:

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?" Zechariah 3:1-2 NASB

Here we see that Yahweh says, "Yahweh rebuke you!" The exact phrase we saw in Jude, but here it is clearly the Yahweh who says it. And here the angel of Yahweh is called, "Yahweh." So Michael is the angel of Yahweh, He is Yahweh, and He is Yeshua. That is what I said in Daniel 12.

Let me show you where I was wrong. In Zechariah we see Yahweh rebuking Satan. And the angel of Yahweh, who is Yeshua, and Yahweh are used interchangeably here as they are in other Scriptures. So here Yeshua as the angel of Yahweh is rebuking Satan. But in Jude Michael refuses to rebuke Satan but says, "Yahweh rebuke you."

Jude makes an argument that the apostates blaspheme "glorious ones" or angels who are beings of higher status themselves. To drive the point home he argues that Michael did not dare pass judgment on Satan. If Michael is actually Yeshua, the eternal glorious second person of the trinity upon whom all fullness of God dwells, then how could it possibly be so that he lacked authority to judge the devil? It is logically incoherent! The view that Michael is Yeshua looks good until you look at Jude 9 in context.

So who is Michael the archangel? We see Michael three times in the Tanakh:

"But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. Daniel 10:13 NASB

The context here demands that this "prince" be considered a supernatural being rather than a royal human individual. The literature from Qumran also uses the title "prince" as a reference to chief angels.

I believe that this prince of the kingdom of Persia is the deity given custody of Persia when the 70 nations were divided up among the watchers in Genesis 10. In the Book of Sirach, which is part of what is considered the Apocrypha and appears in the Catholic Bible, it says: "He appointed a ruler for every nation, but Israel is the Lord's own portion." Sirach 17:17

We see this prince of Persia battling with Michael who is one of the chief princes:

"However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince. Daniel 10:21 NASB

Again we see Michael called a prince. Let's look at the only other use of Michael in the Tanakh:

"Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. Daniel 12:1 NASB

Here we see that Michael is the "great prince" who stands guard over Daniel's people. Michael is the patron angel of Israel. Michael is depicted as warring on behalf of Israel and is called "Israel's protector." This is one of Yahweh's council members. So in Daniel we see two of the gods battling over Israel. The prince of the Kingdom of Persia and Michael the prince.

When we come to the New Testament, we see Michael again battling a Prince, but now it is Satan:

And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, Revelation 12:7 NASB

What nation is Satan the prince over? Rome! Satan is the spiritual power behind Rome (the beast). Satan has moved from adversary in the Divine Council to the spiritual power behind Rome.

Rome was predicted to be one of the four kingdoms to rule over Judea in Daniel chapters 2 and 7 (Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome). Daniel said that the Jews who were in league with Rome (that was the clay mixed with iron in Dan. 2:40ff) would persecute the saints, but eventually be crushed by the Messiah's kingdom (Dan. 7:19ff; 11:40ff).

We saw in Daniel that Persia and Greece had a "prince" or Watcher behind them (in Dan. 10). Wouldn't it make sense that a Watcher or chief angel would be behind Rome also? And that is exactly what the book of Revelation presents. The Beast represents Rome and the Dragon that gives power to the Beast is Satan.

And what did Paul tell the saints at Rome?:

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Yeshua be with you. Romans 16:20 NASB

Satan, the enemy of Yahweh's people, was destroyed in AD 70. The spiritual power behind Rome was crushed:

"But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. Daniel 10:13 NASB

Here the word "princes" (plural); how can there be more than one chief prince if Michael is Christ Himself? Who are the other chief princes? Some try to argue that this plural "princes" is a reference to the trinity. But that's not a good argument.

In Jewish tradition, Michael is the leader of archangels who dwell in the presence of God (Ascension of Isaiah 3:16). In this capacity, he functions in a number of roles. He is "the patron angel of Israel … fighting for Israel" against her enemies, he is "an intercessor for Israel before God."

The very fact that Michael is described as an archangel indicates that there are different ranks or orders of angels. In other apocryphal books the number of archangels is given as 7 (Enoch 20:1-7; Tobit 12:15).

Jude goes on to say, "when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses"—this is a difficult text, in part because this incident is recorded no where else in Scripture. This passage, according to most modern authorities, is derived from the apocryphal book, Assumption of Moses. Supposedly, Clement of Alexandria (150-211 AD), Origen (third century) and Didymus (313-398)—early church fathers— claimed that Jude 9 was a quotation from the Assumption of Moses, but there is no surviving portion of it containing the passage from which to validate or even investigate their claims. The first part of The Assumption of Moses, was lately found in an old Latin translation at Milan. This is why the authority of this Epistle was questioned in early times, because of the apparent citations of apocryphal writings.

In The Assumption of Moses it is supposedly stated that God gave the archangel Michael a message, a command, to take the body of Moses and bury the body of Moses, but also in the book it is said that Satan disputed the right of Michael to do what he was going to do. This is interesting because Deuteronomy says that it was Yahweh who buried Moses:

So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows his burial place to this day. Deuteronomy 34:5-6 NASB

So it was Yahweh who buried Moses, not Michael. There is a rabbinical comment on Deuteronomy 34:6 where Michael is said to have been made guardian of Moses' grave. The Jews had an enormous amount of tradition regarding the death of Moses.

Jude doesn't give us the back story on this story, because he knew his Jewish readers knew what he was talking about. The Jewish apocryphal literature was widely read in Jewish society and everyone knew this account.

We can be assured that whatever the source of this quote, the ultimate source was the Holy Spirit Who inspired Jude to write this Epistle. It follows then that this incident between Michael and Satan arguing over Moses' body is true!

Let's break down the language in this phrase. The word "disputed" is from the Greek diakrino, which literally means: "to judge between" and in this context means: "to contend or strive with another." Disputed is a present tense participle and points to a continuing altercation between these two adversaries.

Devil—is from the Greek word diabolos, which is from diá, meaning: "through, between" and ballo, meaning: "to cast, throw." So it means: "a false accuser, slanderer one who utters false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another's reputation."

Argued—isfrom dialegomai ,which means: "to engage in an interchange of speech in order to convince (by reasoning)." In Mark 9:34 where the disciples were arguing about who was the greatest, it conveys the sense of a discussion, which was also a dispute, much like here in Jude 1:9.

It is not surprisingly that we see Michael engaged in a form of "warfare" as all the other passages that mention him allude to some aspect of spiritual/angelic warfare. Jude does not say when this occurred nor exactly why it occurred, so we need to be careful to avoid excessive speculation.

What were they arguing about? The "Body of Moses"—as we have already seen in Deuteronomy 34, Moses died on Mt Nebo after seeing the Promised Land and Yahweh buried him. Many have understood this verse in Jude to indicate that Michael and the devil had an argument over the disposal of Moses' corpse. It is easy to see why many have reached this conclusion since when Scripture uses the phrase "the body of" followed by a proper noun, it often refers to the man's corpse:

all the valiant men rose and walked all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. 1 Samuel 31:12 NASB
Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Yeshua. Mark 15:43 NASB

See also 1Ch 10:12, Matt 27:58, Mark 15:43, Luke 23:52, 24:3, John 19:38, 19:40, 20:12.

But what exactly did Satan want to do with Moses' corps? Josephus (Antiquities) suggested that Satan would've used it as an idol or object of worship. Prop the stiff corpse up, and the people fall down at its feet.

Perhaps because of the secretive nature of Moses' burial recorded in Deuteronomy, many have understood Jude 9 as a reference to a dispute over Moses' corpse. But, viewing Jude 9 as a reference to Moses' physical body raises many questions. There is no evidence elsewhere in Scripture of a dispute over Moses' corpse, and it is not clear why the devil would want Moses' body in the first place.

I think that the way to understand Jude 9 is to recognize that Scripture sometimes uses the term "the body of" followed by a proper noun to describe a corporate body. Paul repeatedly refers to the Church as the body of Christ: (1Cor 12:27, Eph 4:12):

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions. Colossians 1:24 NASB

While Michael was given the task of defending Israel, the devil is constantly accusing Israel. So it's not surprising that Michael and the devil would have a dispute between them. Their argument is not over Moses' corpse, but over Satan's endless accusations against believing Israel, the body of Moses:

For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 NASB

This text speaks of Israel's baptism into Moses; this baptism occurred as the people left Egypt. It was part of their exodus experience. In this baptism the Jewish people were brought into a covenant relationship with Moses, who became their representative before God. Israel became the body of Moses:

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Yeshua have been baptized into His death? Romans 6:3 NASB

Paul talks about being baptized in Moses and Christ. This shows us that the physical people of Israel who made up the Old Covenant were the body of Moses.

Since Michael was the great prince who stood guard over Israel (Dan.12:1), and Satan was the spiritual power behind Rome, Israel's captor and enemy, it's easy to understand how they battled over Israel, the body of Moses.

Jude goes on to say that Michael, "Did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment"—the word "judgment" here is krisis, which means: "accusation, condemnation, damnation." It comes from krino, which means: "to judge." Krisis means: "to decide a question of legal right or wrong, thus determine the innocence or guilt of the accused." Krisis denotes the expression of a verdict. Michael refused to pass sentence on the devil on his own authority.

Michael is the archangel, but Satan was a cherub, according to Ezekiel 28:

"You were in Eden, the garden of God…"You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. Ezekiel 28:13-14 NASB

"Anointed cherub"—anointed is the word mashach ,which may means: "anointed," but it may come from a Semitic homonym, "to shine" (The shining cherub). Cherubs are the highest form of angelic being. Cherub and Seraphim are the same, in Assyrian it is a throne guardian. Brown-Driver-Briggs definition is: "an angelic being, a guardian of Eden." The "cherub" serpent figure is in "midst of the stones of fire," which is the divine counsel.

Satan was a fallen throne guardian, a cherub, and Michael was an archangel (Michael is the chief angel, but he's still a lower creature than a cherub) so he did not damn Satan, but said, "Yahweh rebuke you." So even though Michael was powerful enough to cast Satan out of heaven, (Rev 12:7,8,9) he left it in God's hands to pronounce judgment on another angel, rather than do it himself.

Michael said to Satan, "The Lord rebuke you!"—the point is that if a mighty archangel had respect for celestial powers, how much more should these apostates?

The words "the LORD rebuke you" occur in Zechariah 3 where the angel of the Lord replies to the charges of Satan. Michael was there. Michael knows that story, knows that text, knew that scene. Michael did just what the pre-incarnate Son did. He didn't say, "I rebuke you, Satan." He said, "That's up to the Lord to do."

Jude's argument is: The creepers insult angels, but the archangel, Michael, did not even presume to blaspheme the devil himself, but left his judgment to God. If Michael as an angel with high authority did not even presume to judge Satan, how can the opponents be so filled with pride that they insult angels who have a certain glory:

But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed. Jude 1:10 NASB

Peter puts it this way:

But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, 2 Peter 2:12 NASB

But these men revile the things which they do not understand—"but" shows a contrast. These men belittle and criticize things that they do not understand. Anything outside of their experience they discard as worthless and irrelevant.

They continuously (present tense) revile, slander, and rail against that which they have no knowledge. They have no more knowledge than the brute beasts and make a lot of noise about things they know nothing about!

"And the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals"— by instinct is the Greek phusikos, which means: "instinctively or naturally." Phusikos is used only one other time in 2 Peter 2:12, and means: "natural or that which is produced by and belongs to nature or is governed by the natural instincts."

These false teachers act like instinct driven animals, guided not by true intelligence, but only by their animalistic cravings and base passions.

"Unreasoning animals"—is the Greek word alogos. The alpha privitive negates the word logos, which means: "word, speech, or thought." Keep in mind that "words, speech, or thoughts" are based on thinking. So alogos actually means: "no thinking, unreasonable, absurd, no thought."

"By these things they are destroyed"—"are destroyed" is from phtheiro, which means: "to cause harm to in a physical manner or in outward circumstances." Phtheiro is in the present tense, passive voice, indicating that they are in a state of continual destruction.

The false teachers Jude is dealing with act "in the very same way" as those apostates that Yahweh judged (8). The implication is that they deserve the same fate. Their rejection of authority and slanderous speech is contrasted with Michael, one of the archangels, who would not even slander the devil (presumably because of his former authority) (8-9). Yet these false teachers slander all authority, revealing their lack of understanding and triggering the natural consequences which "are the very things that destroy them" (10).

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