But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. Jude 1:10-11
The American Heritage Dictionary defines ‘woe’ and ‘calamity’ as:
woe n. 1. Deep distress or misery, as from grief; wretchedness. 2. Misfortune; calamity. –woe interj. Used to express sorrow or dismay.
ca·lam·i·ty n., pl. ca·lam·i·ties. 1. An event that brings terrible loss, lasting distress, or severe affliction; a disaster. 2. Dire distress resulting from loss or tragedy.
‘Woe to you’ doesn’t mean that ‘something good is going to happen to you?’ It’s a phrase that Jesus loved to use when He cursed, not blessed, His antagonists and said to them:
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. Matthew 23:13-15
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. “Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. “Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Matthew 23:23-28
Jesus Christ, the epitome of love or Love personified, called his antagonists fools, blind guides, hypocrites, blind Pharisees, brood of vipers, sons of hell, dead men, etc. He didn’t say nice things about them publicly? And Jude the half brother of Jesus talks about certain men” have gone in the way of Cain and also said Woe to them! David Guzik, the director of Calvary Chapel Bible College, Germany, in his commentary on the book of Jude and ‘woe to them’ states:
a. The way of Cain: Cain’s story is found in Genesis 4. There, we find that each of the sons of Adam and Eve brought an offering to the Lord. Cain (being a farmer) brought an offering from his harvest. Abel (being a shepherd) brought an offering from his flocks. God accepted Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s.
i. Many people assume that because Abel brought a blood sacrifice and Cain brought a grain sacrifice, that the difference between the two offerings was sacrificial blood. But the real difference was between faith and unbelief.
ii. Hebrews 11:4 makes this plain: By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
iii. Cain’s sacrifice was probably more pleasing to the senses than the carcass of a dead lamb. But his sacrifice was offered without faith, and therefore it was unacceptable to God. You can give to God whatever you have, or whatever you are, but you must offer it in faith.
b. Genesis 4:5 says that after God rejected his sacrifice, Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. He became angry because he knew he was rejected by God. In a fit of anger Cain murdered Abel, and then he lied about it to God.
i. 1 John 3:12 tells us that Cain murdered his brother because Abel’s works were righteous (by faith), while Cain’s own were wicked. Cain’s lack was not in works, but in faith.
c. The way of Cain: Jude says that Cain typifies a way that the certain men follow in. It is the way of unbelief and empty religion, which leads to jealousy, persecution of the truly godly, and eventually to murderous anger.
i. There is no greater curse on the earth than empty, vain religion; those having a form of godliness but denying its power. (2 Timothy 3:5) No wonder Paul added, and from such people turn away!
ii. Many Christians are deathly afraid of “secular humanism” or atheism or the world. But dead religion is far more dangerous, and sends more people to hell than anything else! These certain men were in the way of Cain.
It appears the both Jesus and Jude disliked certain men who followed in the way of unbelief and empty religion, which leads to jealousy, persecution of the truly godly, and eventually to murderous anger causing Jesus and Abel to be murdered. Jesus warned these certain main that they would pay for their foolishness even in the current time of life. The bible records:
Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus. And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. “For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ “Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ‘ “For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?”
There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots. Luke 23:26-34
It is very foolish in any generation to reject God’s true apostles and prophets who usually are not dressed in fine line and drive luxury cars (1 Corinthians 4:0-13). Jesus as the Chief Apostle and Prophet, judged the false ones of His day and He publicly did not say nice things about them but told them that their end would be worse than their beginning. He told them they were hypocrites, blind guides, serpents, brood of vipers, and lawless ones, who would not escape the condemnation of hell and there would be a day of judgment for them. He told them,”Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, “that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. (Matthew 23:34) And because God was with Him, God would honor His words and they would not fall to the ground. The Jewish religious and political leaders of Jesus day along with their followers would not escape the condemnation of hell in the speedy ensuring judgments that followed in 70 AD for whatsoever a man sows so shall He reap! Flavius Josephus in writing about “The Siege of Jerusalem, AD 70” testified:
Throughout the city people were dying of hunger in large numbers, and enduring unspeakable sufferings. In every house the merest hint of food sparked violence, and close relatives fell to blows, snatching from one another the pitiful supports of life. No respect was paid even to the dying; the ruffians [anti-Roman zealots] searched them, in case they were concealing food somewhere in their clothes, or just pretending to be near death. Gaping with hunger, like mad dogs, lawless gangs went staggering and reeling through the streets, battering upon the doors like drunkards, and so bewildered that they broke into the same house two or three times in an hour. Need drove the starving to gnaw at anything. Refuse which even animals would reject was collected and turned into food. In the end they were eating belts and shoes, and the leather stripped off their shields. Tufts of withered grass were devoured, and sold in little bundles for four drachmas.
There is a real price to be paid for rejecting truth and doing injustice, even in the current time of life, as the people of Jerusalem who murdered Jesus could testify. By 66 AD Life in Jerusalem had become a nightmare, it was so full of violence and misery. Famine and food shortages become an everyday problem.
Then in 70 AD Titus marched against the city with four legions of the Roman army. They laid siege to Jerusalem and using their battering rams they breached the walls of the city. Fleeing citizens of Jerusalem were caught by the Romans and were tortured and crucified. Later the whole city was destroyed and the people of Jerusalem paid the price for ignoring Jesus warning about what would happen to them. These kinds of things do happen even in the current time of life!
TITUS now promised that the Temple should be spared if the defenders would come forth and fight in any other place, but John and the Zealots refused to surrender it. For several days the outer cloisters and outer court were attacked with rams, but the immense and compact stones resisted the blows. As many soldiers were slain in seeking to storm the cloisters, Titus ordered the gates to be set on fire. Through that night and the next day the flames raged through the cloisters. Then, in order to save the Temple itself, he ordered the fire to be quenched. On the tenth of August, the same day of the year on which Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple built by Solomon, the cry was heard that the Temple was on fire. The Jews, with cries of grief and rage, grasped their swords and rushed to take revenge on their enemies or perish in the ruins.
The slaughter was continued while the fire raged. Soon no part was left but a small portion of the outer cloisters, where 6,000 people had taken refuge, led by a false prophet who had there promised that God would deliver His people in His Temple. The soldiers set the building on fire and all perished. Titus next spent eighteen days in preparations for the attack on the upper city, which was then speedily captured. And now the Romans were not disposed to display any mercy, night alone putting an end to the carnage. During the whole of this siege of Jerusalem, 1,100,000 were slain, and the prisoners numbered 97,000.
If we examine the Jewish people and their religious leaders, they were sincere and arrogant in that they were right to crucify Jesus. After all Jesus was in their opinion and according to their theology a false prophet and their leaders told them so. As a matter of fact their leaders told them that Jesus was a Samaritan and had a demon. They were God’s chosen people who thought they had surrendered to Him but in reality denied Him. They refused to see the plain truth that surrender is more than lies. It is a deep desire to surrender all the lies. Most men look how they can carry on without surrendering their will to God. They seek a sign rather than the truth. That is why Jesus told them:
Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven.
He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; “and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’
Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed. Matthew 16:1-4
Jesus called them hypocrites and a wicked and adulterous generation. They thought they could see what they cannot see at all. They heard what they desired to and refused to surrender all. They thought and therefore god has spoken. They thought it went that way. They forgot the lilies of the valleys were created before them. They could not see the winds of change were blowing and sweeping across their land. They thought they were secure and continued in their traditional ways not know that the strong winds would be blowing and devastating the land. It was coming nearer and nearer to the hour of their demise. They mindlessly went on in life thinking themselves very spiritual and assuming that sincerity and presumption where a guarantee of salvation. They did not tune their heart and mind and spirit to God’s s still small Voice. They did not take action in their limps and heart toward God’s intentions and not theirs. They assumed they knew everything and did not turn it all to the Lord. They were proud of what they had achieved. After all, it was theirs? They never anticipated that the word of the prophets would come to pass just as Jesus prophesied and there were real consequences to their sin, rebellion and deeds. As a result of the Romans laid siege to Jerusalem in 70 AD. The number of people who perished by famine were enormous and the miseries they underwent were unspeakable. Finally on the order of Titus Caesar the entire city of Jerusalem and its temple were demolished except for three towers.
It did not pay to reject and murderer God’s true prophet and Son. A whole nation and its capital were destroyed in the ensuing judgment of God that followed. As God’s word is true even this day:
‘I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. ‘And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him. Genesis 18:18-19
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen. Jude 1:24-25