The “new” false teachers of whom Jude writes, are just like the “old” false teachers from the pages of Scripture. In so many ways, falsehood dresses itself up in new clothes and passes itself off as “new” insight into “old” truth.
Having just reminded the believers of three Old Testament examples, namely 1) The people of God who had been delivered out of Egypt; 2) The angels who rebelled against God; and 3) The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Jude now describes the false teachers who are creating a ‘threat’ to the community as “dreamers,” “pollutants,” “authority rejecters,” and “celestial being slanderers.”
I’m sure as these false teachers secretly slipped into the group, they used the “right” words, they showed up for the “right” meetings, they acted the “right” way, but their lives were totally wrong.
“In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings.”
In a course I took from the University of Waterloo, several years ago now, I was directed to a book entitled “The Burnt Over District.” This book analyzes the origins of several “cults” following the “revival fires” that burned in the state of New York. The revival stirred up people to dig into the bible and several bible study groups launched a wave of students. Some of these groups began to “discover” new teachings, teachings never before seen in the history of the church, or rather “old” heresies began to appear in “new” clothing.
God calls leaders to be workers who are “not ashamed” and who “correctly handle the word of truth.” Biblical interpretation is not an easy task and misinterpretations abound. The issue in wrestling with a text is to understand it in its original context. DON’T ask – “What does the Bible mean to you?” but rather “What does the Bible mean?” The meaning rests in the text as the Spirit of God originally overshadowed the author and illuminates the reader and interpreter who presently reads it.
May we be preserved from error. May God enable us so that we are “not tossed about with every wind of doctrine.” May God raise up a host of qualified, Spirit-led leaders who will OBSERVE what GOD’s Word says; INTERPRET ACCURATELY what GOD’s Word means and APPLY CAREFULLY GOD’s Word from a different era into life applications for the 21st century!