Snakes Around the Water - Part 3

by Wayne Barber

Wayne BarberIt's amazing how similar the traits of a false teacher are when compared to a believer who simply chooses to walk after their flesh.

Of course a false teacher is the epitome of uncontrolled flesh, but I find it interesting that flesh is flesh no matter which side of the cross you find it on. We are saved by the blood of Christ and do not have to fear His wrath that will be unleashed upon this earth one day, but we might learn from watching the characteristics of these evil false teachers.

A false teacher, which I call a snake around the water, has a certain judgment ahead of him. In Jude 14-15 Jude says, "It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.'"

Their judgment is for deeds done-and words spoken. Now, in verse 14 he speaks of Enoch. He mentions Enoch in the seventh generation from Adam. The lineage of Jesus Christ in Luke 3 beginning with verse 23 shows this. Starting with verse 37 it reads, "The son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God." Adam is counted as number one in the Jewish way of counting the generations (so it is seven generations). Now, when Jude says in verse 14 "It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy one,'" he was quoting from a well known non-canonical book in their day called the "Book of Enoch". Jude uses this familiar prophecy from the "Book of Enoch" to seal his argument of the future judgment of these false teachers.

Enoch had prophesied that the Lord would return in great glory, bringing with him "ten thousands of his holy ones" to judge the ungodly. He continues in the prophecy of Enoch in verse 15: "to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.'"

Notice how that the word ungodly appears four times in this sentence, underlining the true character of false teachers. This refers to the unrighteous, lawless, and sinful conduct of people who have no respect for God as he refers to back in verse 4. Their character, actions, and words will result in a guilty conviction on the day when the Lord returns to judge everyone. This judgment will be in contrast to the Godly who will live with God forever.

These false teachers will face judgment for the ungodly things that they have done and for the ungodly things that they have said. Now, we are going to begin to see three faces of this ungodliness in verse 16: "These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage."

Each of the three faces of ungodliness that we will see frames a lifestyle because the tense of the verb is the present tense. So, the first face of these ungodly snakes is that of a grumbler. Jude says that "These are grumblers, finding fault." The word for grumbler is the goggustes: one who complains and grumbles with a contentious attitude, a murmurer. The word for finding fault is the word mempsimoiros, which means to blame others. It describes a discontented, complaining person, who finds fault with everyone but himself. A grumbler is a malcontent who complains and grumbles and finds fault with everyone but himself. He is an ungodly person. The root word for grumblers helps us describe this ungodly trait of these malcontent people. We see first that these people grumble at the teaching of Christ. We see the Jews grumbling at what Jesus said in John 6:41, "Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, I am the bread that came down out of heaven.'"

But, we also see those who were supposed to be His disciples grumbling at the very same teaching in John 6:61 "But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, Does this cause you to stumble?'" The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. It translates the same word as "grumbling" in several Old Testament passages. We see Israel grumbling at the Lord and the leaders He appoints because of their difficult circumstances wishing they were still back in captivity. In Exodus 16:7, "And in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, for He hears your grumblings against the Lord; and what are we, that you grumble against us?," and again in Numbers 11:1 "Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp." It is interesting that ungodliness is seen in one's grumbling and complaining at God's Word and at life's difficult circumstances, isn't it? It is the "woe is me" syndrome that is totally devoid of trusting God and His Word. Though we are talking about false teachers, doesn't this reflect our flesh when we are not trusting God? It makes you think of how grumbling must look to God doesn't it? When you look into a mirror in the morning do you see the face of a grumbler?

Wayne Barber is senior pastor of Hoffmantown Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico

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