Jude 1:8-10, “Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.”
Jude now focuses our attention back to the subject of apostates and specifically pin-pointing their sins. Specifically Jude points to three main areas of sin, as dreamers or fantasizers, they defile and pollute the flesh. They reject authority, any authority and they speak evil of dignitaries. We are to assume due to its inclusion that dignitaries are different in kind than the authorities that Jude lists. I will get to dignitaries in a bit.
First of all let’s consider the dreamers or fantasizers. This is a direct indication of their thought processes. First and foremost, we can assume that their “feet are not firmly planted on the ground,” but more importantly that they do not control or tame their thoughts, but rather their thought life is polluted. Their very thinking is vile and they entertain many wicked imaginations. In their thinking and thus in their actions, they end up following in the footsteps of Sodom and Gomorrah and its surrounding cities.
It’s no wonder that the day we live in today is fraught with all sorts of sexual immorality and perversion for it is thrown at us from almost every direction and every medium. It is not wonder that even Christians, true followers of Christ have to “die daily” to the onslaught that wants to overpower the spirit within and give rise to the carnal nature!
Thankfully we have many weapons and “tools” with which to use to overcome this daily fight. Paul wrote to the Philippians this now popular and powerful command; “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:8-9.
Paul gives us straightforward advice on where to place our thoughts. He is also not afraid to point out that we should follow after his teachings and deeds so that God’s peace will reign in our lives. But before anyone gets a little riled and starts saying that I am teaching others to follow after man, remember it was Paul who also stated this, which any TRUE follower of Christ Jesus can also state, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 11:1. This statement, as bold as it sounds is the real qualifier of following after another. It is Christ and His character and nature we are to follow. If we do, the world will see Christ in us and we will be living testimonies to the Gospel of Christ Jesus!
Second and a very evident sign of the age we are living in today is that these apostates reject authority. These are people whose very lives are taken up with trying to DENY the authority that God in His sovereignty has placed over them. These aren’t simply those who disagree with and try and change things through established lawful means, no, on the contrary, these are those who believe and are filled with lawlessness and anarchy! These people are dedicated to the overthrow of the government. Thus praying for the leadership, asking God Who is ultimately on the Throne to give the leadership wisdom and grace is far beyond their imaginings.
It was the Apostle Paul who advised a young Timothy under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and thus for generations to follow:
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” – 1 Timothy 2:1-2.
The Apostle also wrote to the Romans in no uncertain terms and even stronger command to follow:
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” – Romans 13:1-2.
There is nothing that tells us in the Word of God that we have to LIKE or agree one-hundred percent with the authority that is over us, but when we subject ourselves to it and try to change it within the Biblical and godly guidelines, that is surrendering to GOD’S authority and admitting that He truly knows best for His people.
Remember, it was the religious of Jesus’ day, the Teachers of the Law that tried to trip Him up and His wise words did not allow them an opportunity to argue! And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” – Matthew 22:21.
Let’s consider now the third characteristic of apostates. The New King James Version (NKJV) says they, “speak evil of dignitaries.” Lest you confuse this with those in authority, most specifically in the natural, the leaders appointed by God to rule, I want to give you a few renditions from other translations.
The New American Standard Bible (NASB) and the Amplified Bible (AMP) translates “dignitaries” to “angelic majesties.” The New International Version (NIV) translates “dignitaries” to “celestial beings.”
The New Living Translation (NLT), depending on the newest version translates “dignitaries” to “supernatural beings”, or “glorious ones.”
The English Standard Version (ESV) and Berean Literal Bible (BLB) translate “dignitaries” to “glorious ones,” as well.
Understand, that some of these modern versions are being updated as new texts and information becomes available. This is why STUDY of the Word is so important and to NOT restrict oneself to just one study Bible. I KNOW all the controversy concerning what some believe to be “legitimate” translations, I have studied the origins of many translations for years, yet when you consider why the Bible was given to man under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and you realize the inspiration of the Holy Spirit has NOT ceased, you can take comfort in going into depth with the Word of God! Remember, it is the Holy Spirit that teaches us today. He STILL leads and guides God’s children into ALL truth!
Okay, I laid that foundation so that you will understand that when we discuss the “dignitaries” of Jude’s writing, we are not just speaking of natural authority that is appointed over us by a sovereign God. In fact it is most assuredly angelic beings and specifically the “fallen” angels that Jude is speaking of.
But this leads to the question of why should we be concerned about those that “speak evil of, slander, scoff, or blaspheme” fallen angels? A similar passage as what Jude writes is found in the Apostle Peter’s writing, “The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord. But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption,” – 2 Peter 2:9-12.
Apostates and false teachers do not hesitate to make light of and even speak evil of those things they do not easily understand. Sadly, it is within their unregenerate and rebellious nature to scoff at those things that are greater in power and might than even themselves. Should we take JOY in the fact that any of God’s glorious creation are going to perish in eternal judgment? I dare say we are treading a very fine line even rejoicing in the plight of the fallen angels. We can rest assured in the fact that the victory over evil HAS been won through the work of Christ Jesus, but to glory in another of God’s creation’s downfall? No, that borders on arrogance and self-pride.
The truth is, we have nothing to fear because of the victory that Christ Jesus has wrought in the lives of all of His disciples. But we need to humbly remember, it was and IS, His victory. We have no stake in that. Remember this clearly before becoming too haughty, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.” – Ephesians 1:3-6.
ALL the work, and thus any and all glorying belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. A true apostate does not appreciate the work of the Lord’s hands even concerning the creation he doesn’t see. But as true children and heirs of the Lord, we need to meditate and contemplate in awe and wonder, His true majesty!