In the recent revised article on Apostasy, we briefly mentioned the increasing presence of "false christs," of which Jesus so clearly warned. They are becoming so prevalent that if we are going to speak of the glorious reality of "Christ in us, the hope of glory," we must make it clear that we are speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, and soon coming King. Those who are promoting the false christs will use the words "christ in me", but they deny the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ and the fact that He is coming back again. Jesus said that we are not to believe those who say "christ is here" or "christ is there." It is the antichrist spirit that is behind these deceivers. There is a day coming when they will learn the truth about the true Lord Jesus Christ, but it will be a sad day for many.
With that being said, there is another danger in our midst, also from the antichrist spirit, that is just as destructive, if not more so. This danger has been around for so long that millions have become desensitized to it. Instead, the danger has been welcomed with open arms by the masses. And that is why we must sound an alarm. We must plead with the blasphemers, and those they deceived, to come to repentance before it is too late.
A few weeks ago, while in conversation with another believer in Christ Jesus, I was suddenly struck with the reality of the spiritual condition of those I refer to here as "blasphemers." Grief and sadness overwhelmed me at the picture of countless men and women who seem oblivious to the fact that they will soon face a Holy God. The question that stayed with me for several hours was "Don't they even believe that the God they speak of is real, and that they will be held accountable to Him for the words they have spoken?" Then the Lord led me to the main passage He wanted me to use here.
Who are these blasphemers, and how can we recognize them? Does the bible clearly describe them, and warn against such? Oh, yes; most definitely! In both Old and New Testaments we read of them, as we will discover.
According to Strong's Greek dictionary, the word blasphemos means "impious against God." Webster's 1828 dictionary defines blaspheme as: "To speak of the Supreme Being in terms of impious irreverence; to revile or speak reproachfully of God, or the Holy Spirit." And regarding the word "impious," Webster uses the word "profane" and shows an illustration of its use: "The scoffer at God and his authority is impious."
Keep these definitions in mind as we go through the scripture passages that speak so clearly of these blasphemers--the false teachers/prophets who are everywhere, including where we would least expect to find them. One such name used to describe them is . . .
Jude used several words to describe the blasphemers. In verses 12-13, he said,
These are they who are hidden rocks in your love-feasts when they feast with you, shepherds that without fear feed themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; wild waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the blackness of darkness hath been reserved for ever.Yes, he is speaking of shepherds or any "ministers" of the "gospel"; be they standing in a pulpit, on television, on the Internet or preaching any place they find an audience. But what exactly are they preaching? And why are they still in business, unless people have been deceived into receiving their messages as truth?
Jude is saying that they come disguised as a "reef of rock," waiting to cause shipwreck in those seeking to put their faith in the true and living God. They are fearless, as they feast (revel together) with the people; clouds with no water; fruitless autumn trees, having been plucked up by the roots, and therefore Lifeless; fierce sea billows that exhibit disgrace, and erratic teachers for whom is reserved the gloom of obscurity for ever. (Note: The KJV translators mistakenly used the wrong Greek word, and some versions use "spot/blemish" [spilos], when "hidden rocks" or "hidden reef of rock [spilas] was the correct one).
Numerous passages of scripture use very strong language when describing the false teachers and false prophets that we find so rampant today. But how often do we skim over those passages, not realizing the fact that these imposters are so embedded in our midst that we fail to recognize them? There has never been a time when we need to exercise discernment as much as in this day. We must be in daily communion with the Lord Jesus Christ, through His Spirit. We must submit daily to His working in us, and listen closely to His leading in all we do. Remember Jesus' words: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28).
Do we understand the strong words we read of these blasphemers of whom Paul spoke? "But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron;" (1 Timothy 4:1-2 ASV). There are some who have deserted the faith because of teachers in their midst--whether on TV, on the Internet, in books, or even in small groups. They have been deceived by "imposter" spirits with their demonic instruction, speaking through those who have become liars and deceivers whose own consciences have been rendered insensitive to the Spirit of Truth. At that particular time Paul was warning Timothy of those who would promote the legalistic beliefs such as abstaining from eating meat, etc. But the two verses quoted above would apply also to the antichrist teachings that exist today, which are every bit as damning as placing ourselves under the Law, or any man-made New Testament law, with the thought that we are pleasing our Lord. "For without faith it is impossible to please Him."
Then we have Peter's warning:
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily [Greek: 'surreptitiously/without authority'] shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ['destructive'] ways; by reason of ['through'] whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of ['blasphemed']. And through covetousness shall they with feigned ['fictitious'] words make merchandise ['trade'] of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not. 2 Peter 2:1-3.
Jeremiah prophesied the words the Lord God gave him to speak, many centuries before the time of Paul and Peter. His prophecies were fulfilled in the early New Testament times; and now, today, we see much more of the prophesied blasphemies being spewed out of the mouths of self-serving ministers, whether they call themselves "prophets" or not. This is one of the messages spoken through Jeremiah: "Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you; they teach you vanity: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say continually unto them that despise [Hebrew: 'reject'] me, The LORD has said, You shall have peace; and unto every one that walks in the stubbornness of his own heart they say, No evil shall come upon you." (Jeremiah 23:16-17).
These blasphemers have no reverence for the God they claim to serve, speaking out of their own fleshly minds, making empty promises to the hearers, telling them they are "saved" and "on their way to heaven." The same Word of God they "preach" from makes abundantly clear the message of the Cross of Jesus Christ, yet they have rejected the Truth--Jesus Christ. A.W. Tozer described them very well: "The flesh, smiling and confident, preaches and sings about the cross; before that cross it bows and toward that cross it points with carefully staged histrionics--but upon that cross it will not die, and the reproach of that cross it stubbornly refuses to bear."
Paul the apostle used the words "profane babbling" when teaching young Timothy of the need to avoid the pitfalls of such as those of whom Jeremiah warned. Here is what he told Timothy: "Give diligence to present yourself approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed, expounding correctly the word of truth. But shun profane babblings: for they will proceed further in ungodliness, and their word will eat like gangrene:" (2 Timothy 2:15-17a). The words of self-serving blasphemers do not offer Life to the hearers. Instead, their words cause the onset of mortification, which is what gangrene does, eating away at the raw flesh until the eternal death that ultimately results.
The main passage
What could be more explicit than the passages we just quoted? The short, and to the point, book of Jude describes unequivocally the ungodliness of the blasphemers who are among us. And at the end of his letter he makes the call to those who will heed, to be faithful and willing to reach the yet reachable before it is too late.
Let's go back to the beginning, to discover the full message that Jude so eloquently penned.
In the first two verses Jude is addressing the true saints of God, "sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called." Then he goes on to say how it was needful that he " exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (vs. 3).
Why was it necessary for Jude to give such exhortation? Because there were "certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (vs. 4). If it was bad then, it should be obvious that it is much worse today--in this age of apostasy. The use of the word "lasciviousness" has a spiritual meaning, describing with strong language the unfaithfulness of the apostate preachers who deny both Father and Son the Lord Jesus Christ. It is similar to Paul's use of "fornication," which he often used in speaking of "adultery" against God.
Jude then reminded the saints how after the Lord saved the people out of the land of Egypt, they turned from their trust in Him (unbelief), and He destroyed them. (vs. 5). There is a dreadful price to pay for turning our back on the Lord, by entering into unbelief. And even more so for those who lead others astray.
In Jude's opening description of what will befall those who have crept in unawares, the sixth verse tells how the angels, who were once a part of the heavenly host, followed Lucifer in his self-exaltation. And like Lucifer, they were cast down and have since been "reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."
In verse 7, Jude speaks of the eternal fire the blasphemers will suffer, as in the example he gave, likening their evil to that of Sodom and Gomorrha. It's not that the blasphemers necessarily gave themselves over to literal fornication or ran after strange flesh, although there is a lot of that too. It is God who used such strong language whenever He spoke of the unfaithfulness of Israel, and here, it is descriptive of the blasphemy against Him by the false teachers. The eighth verse says, "Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities[Greek: 'blaspheme glory']."
In the ninth and tenth verses Jude tells how even the archangel, Michael dared not "bring against him a railing accusation" when he contended with the devil over Moses' body. Instead he simply said "The Lord rebuke you." Yet the blasphemers speak blasphemy of those things they don't know: "but what they know naturally, as brute beasts ['instinctively, as creatures without reason'], in those things they corrupt themselves."
"Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core." (vs. 11) We can understand Jude's exclamation of "Woe," when we consider that Cain offered an offering from the works of his hands; Balaam was willing to take money for misleading God's people, and Korah (Core) was swallowed up by the earth for his rebellion against God.
"These are they who are hidden rocks in your love-feasts when they feast with you, shepherds that without fear feed themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; wild waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the blackness of darkness hath been reserved for ever." (vs. 12-13).
Could there be any stronger language than Woe! for the blasphemers who are actually speaking against God? If there truly is a book of Enoch, it was not included in the "Canon of Scripture," yet Jude quoted Enoch, saying "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." (vs. 14-15).
Even before the flood of Noah's day, Enoch prophesied of all those who would come on the scene and utter blasphemies against the Lord God with whom he walked so closely. In his use of "ungodly" he was saying "blasphemers," as we can see from the definition of "ungodly." Strong's Greek dictionary shows it as "irreverent, that is, (by extension) impious or wicked." And earlier we noted that impious means "blasphemer."
Jude continues his description of these blasphemers in verse 16: "These are murmurers ['grumblers'], complainers ['blaming fate'], walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaking great swelling words, flattering people for their own benefit."
"But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, how they told you that in the last time there would be mockers [Greek: 'false teachers'], walking according to their own ungodly lusts. These are they who set themselves apart, sensual, having not the Spirit." (vs. 17-19). The use of ungodly lusts shows that they were "destitute of reverential awe towards God"--they did not have the Holy Spirit--they were not born from above, but spoke out of store of self--the natural man.
After his blistering message about the most sinful among mankind, Jude speaks to the true saints of God.
But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, anticipating the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And on some have mercy, who are in doubt; but others save with fear, snatching them out of the fire, hating even the garment having been stained by the flesh.
Now unto him that is able to guard you from stumbling, and to set you before the presence of his glory without blemish in exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Jude 20-25.
When we stand before our Lord and King to give account, will the words we have uttered be His words or the words of self and flesh? This is very serious, dear people. If David, the man after God's own heart, felt the need to pray this prayer, how much more should we? "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: and see if there be any way of wickedness in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24).
In closing, here is a quote from Andrew Murray; another man who knew His God and wrote many challenging messages:
I pray you, let us learn to believe that God has a blessing for us. The Holy Ghost, into whose hands God has put the work, has been called "the executive of the Holy Trinity." The Holy Ghost has not only power, but He has the Spirit of love. He is brooding over this dark world and every sphere of work in it, and He is willing to bless. And why is there not more blessing? There can be but one answer. We have not honored the Holy Ghost as we should have done. Is there one who can say that that is not true? Is not every thoughtful heart ready to cry: "God forgive me that I have not honored the Holy Spirit as I should have done, that I have grieved Him, that I have allowed self and the flesh and my own will to work where the Holy Ghost should have been honored! May God forgive me that I have allowed self and the flesh and the will actually to have the place that God wanted the Holy Ghost to have."
Oh, the sin is greater than we know! No wonder that there is so much feebleness and failure in the Church of Christ!
~ Separated Unto The Holy Ghost
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