Blasphemers (chapter 1)

This Jude said that those dreamers who defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the holy ones should be punished.  The archangel Michael fought with the devil about the body of Moses.  He wanted God to rebuke the devil.  However, these blasphemers slander whatever they do not understand.  They are like irrational animals, who only know anything by instinct.  Have you ever slandered anyone?

Blasphemers (Jude 1:8)

“Yet in the same way,

These dreamers also

Indeed defile

The flesh.

They reject authority.

They blasphemed

The glorious ones.”

Ὁμοίως μέντοι καὶ οὗτοι ἐνυπνιαζόμενοι σάρκα μὲν μιαίνουσιν, κυριότητα δὲ ἀθετοῦσιν, δόξας δὲ βλασφημοῦσιν.

This author Jude said, “Yet in the same way (Ὁμοίως μέντοι), these dreamers also (καὶ οὗτοι ἐνυπνιαζόμενοι) indeed defile (μὲν μιαίνουσιν) the flesh (σάρκα).  They reject (ἀθετοῦσιν) authority (κυριότητα δὲ).  They blasphemed (βλασφημοῦσιν) the glorious ones (δόξας δὲ).”  Jude implied that some dreamer visionaries had defiled the flesh or their bodies, just like the people in Sodom and Gomorrah.  They had rejected or set aside the authority of the apostolic leaders with their own personal visions.  They also had made fun of, slandered, or blasphemed the glorious ones, possibly God’s messengers or angels.  In short, they were creating chaos in the developing Christian community.  Do you know people who are always disruptive?

The Spirit of God (Wis 1:6-1:11)

“Wisdom is a kindly spirit.

Wisdom will not free blasphemers

From the guilt of their words. God is witness

Of their inmost feelings.

God is a true observer of their hearts.

He is a hearer of their tongues.

The Spirit of the Lord

Has filled the world.

What holds all things together

Knows what is said.

Therefore those who utter unrighteous things

Will not escape notice.

Justice,

When it punishes,

Will not pass them by.

Inquiry will be made

Into the counsels of the ungodly.

A report of their words

Will come to the Lord.

It will convict them of their lawless deeds.

A jealous ear hears all things.

The sound of grumbling does not go unheard.

Beware then of useless grumbling!

Keep your tongue from slander!

No secret word is without result.

A lying mouth destroys the soul.”

Wisdom (σοφία) is a kindly or philanthropic spirit (φιλάνθρωπον πνεῦμα). There is almost equivalence between wisdom and the Spirit. The blasphemers (βλάσφημον) will not escape the guilt of their words. God is a witness (μάρτυς ὁ Θεὸς) to their innermost feelings. He knows their heart (τῆς καρδίας αὐτοῦ ἐπίσκοπος ἀληθὴς). He hears their tongues (τῆς γλώσσης ἀκουστής). The Spirit of the Lord (πνεῦμα Κυρίου) has filled the world. Thus this creative spirit knows all things. Thus those who utter unrighteous things will not escape notice. A just punishment will not pass them by. An inquiry will be made and a report will be given to the Lord (Κΰριον). They will be convicted of their evil and lawless deeds. A jealous ear hears all things. Thus the Lord hears this useless grumbling. You should keep your tongue from slandering. Even secret words are known, so that a lying mouth destroys the soul (ψυχήν).

The prayer of Judas Maccabeus (2 Macc 15:22-15:24)

“He called upon God in these words.

‘O Lord,

You sent your angel at the time of Hezekiah king of Judea.

He killed fully a hundred and eighty-five thousand

In the camp of Sennacherib.

So now,

O Sovereign of the heavens,

Send a good angel to spread terror and trembling before us.

By the might of your arm

May these blasphemers

Who come against your holy people

Be struck down.’

With these words he ended his prayer.”

This prayer is a reminder to God of what the angel of God did to King Sennacherib and Assyrians in 2 Kings, chapter 19, when he killed 185,000 men in one night during the time of King Hezekiah of Judah. Judas Maccabeus wanted a similar good angel to spread terror and trembling to these blasphemers who were coming to attack these holy people.

The death of Timothy (2 Macc 10:32-10:38)

“Timothy himself fled to a stronghold called Gazara, especially well garrisoned, where Chaereas was the commander. Then Judas Maccabeus and his men were glad. They besieged the fort for four days. The men within the town, relying on the strength of the place, kept blaspheming terribly. They uttered wicked words. But at dawn on the fifth day, twenty young men in the army of Judas Maccabeus, filled with anger because of the blasphemies, bravely stormed the wall. With savage fury, they cut down every one they met. Others who came up in the same way wheeled around against the defenders. They set fire to the towers. They kindled fires and burned the blasphemers alive. Others broke open the gates. They let in the rest of the force as they occupied the city. They killed Timothy, who was hiding in a cistern, and his brother Chaereas and Apollophanes. When they had accomplished these things, with hymns and thanksgivings they blessed the Lord who shows great kindness to Israel. He gave them the victory.”

In 1 Maccabees, chapter 13, the attack on Gazara was led by Simon, much later after the death of Judas Maccabeus. Here it takes place under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus. There Simon just deported the citizens, not killed them as here. Chaereas, the brother of Timothy, was the commander at Gazara, where Timothy had fled. They besieged the fort for 4 days. During that time, the men inside blasphemed against the Jewish God. On the fifth day, 20 young men from the army of Judas Maccabeus stormed the wall, killing everyone they men. They set fire to the towers and opened the gates. After they occupied the city, then they killed Timothy and his 2 brothers, Chaereas and Apollophanes. Finally they blessed the Lord with hymns and thanksgivings for the victory. So ends the story of Timothy, the enemy of the Jews. Notice that they praise God before and after they kill their enemy.