In the struggle to resist false, self-aggrandizing teachers, familiar stories about God’s authority provide encouragement.
The unnamed villains in the book of Jude are called “intruders” and “dreamers.” One of the main criticisms against them is that they reject the authority of both God and reliable teachers. The book then reviews several stories that illustrate the folly of such a position. First, summarizing a story that was likely once part of a Jewish writing called the Testament of Prophet who led Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land and received the law at Sinai More, Michael the archangel refused to listen to the devil’s attempt to slander Moses after his death. Next the book cites The elder son of Adam and Eve, Cain murdered his brother Abel. More, the Bible’s first murderer, who turned away from God (Genesis 4:1-16); then A soothsayer who blessed Israel at the end of the wilderness wanderings. More, who misled the Israelites (Numbers 31:1-20; 25:1-9); then Korah, a man who rebelled against Moses’ leadership (Numbers 16). All of these people refused to cooperate with God’s intentions and showed themselves deserving of judgment.
The short rogues’ gallery urges the book of Jude’s audience to learn from the past. False teachers and rebellious leaders have always been with us and always will be, but those who are faithful will respect God’s authority and align themselves with God’s purposes.