Clouds Without Water

Since early 2020, so many things have gone wrong:

  • A global pandemic 
  • Economic hardship and job losses
  • Racial unrest, protesting and violent riots
  • A more-than-usual divisive Presidential election 
  • Increasing political and moral decay in our nation

But one problem that caused heartache and destruction through our western states last year were wildfires. Many people found ways to argue about the nature of these fires, but we can all agree on the one thing these locations lacked last summer was RAIN!

Clouds formed and looked promising, but then, no rain. Clouds without water.

Jude uses this phrase in a list of several illustrations to describe those who lead believers astray with their false teaching.

In verse 11, Jude begins with the words “Woe to them!” Everywhere this word is used in the Bible, it means an indignation, denouncing misery and pitying it, or calling out calamity. As I LOOK, I can see Jude compare these people to Biblical characters who received judgement and strange acts of nature.

Examples from the Old Testament

By tapping on the Cross References button, I can read more about these people Jude’s readers already knew all about:

  1. Cain, who killed his brother Abel out of anger. I can read two sections of Scripture to help me learn about Cain: Genesis 4:1-16 and 1 John 3:10-12.
  2. Balaam, a false prophet who lead Israel to go against God’s commands. His story is found in Numbers 22-25, 31 and in Deu 23:3-6 and again in Rev. 2:14.
  3. Korah, who led a rebellion against  Moses, found in Numbers 16:1-35 and Numbers 16:41-50.

In verses 14-15, we read how Enoch prophesied against such false teachers. We can read more about Enoch in Gen. 5:18-32 and Hebrews 11: 5-6.

Enoch’s prophecy reminds me that “Woe” is not only for the false teachers of the Old and New Testaments, but also judgement for false teachers in the church today.

And how do we recognize them? Again, Jude gives another list of examples from the world around us.

Examples from Nature

These false teachers disguise themselves the form of:

  • Hidden reefs. While we go about our feasts and traditions, they are hiding underneath, waiting to wreck our foundations like reefs will rip apart the keel of a boat.
  • Clouds without water. They promise rain in the form of riches and healing, but their promises are empty.
  • Autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead and uprooted. Once the cold and windy storms of life hit, their teachings are found to falter and die.
  • Wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam. Their false teaching causes chaos and brings shame upon themselves and all who buy into their lies.
  • Wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever. Their lies that misguided journeying Christians will lead them into eternal destruction.

While Jude gives us this guide to identify false teachers, he also tells us how we should live among them.

God's Word

Remember God’s Word

Jude closes his letter by encouraging believers to remember the words spoken by Jesus’ apostles, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own godly lusts.”

We certainly hear the voices of mockery in this day of progressivism, don’t we? Those who mock our faith or our stand on TRUTH of Scripture, these are the ones who divide, says Jude in verse 19. They are “worldly-minded and devoid of the Spirit.”

So what are we to do? In his closing verses (v.21-23), Jude gives us a little list:

  • Keep yourselves in the love of God
  • Wait anxiously for the mercy of Jesus to eternal life
  • Have mercy on some who are doubting
  • Save others, snatching them out of the fire

We are not to stand idly by, but with loving action, try to rescue those who are being deceived, as much as God allows us a voice with them. Do so with fear, always remembering this great benediction from Jude 24-25:

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

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