Jude 1 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Jude 1 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.

3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

(4) "Who were before of old ordained to this condemnation"
God pre-ordained that certain "ungodly" men would deny Jesus.
Do humans have free will?
What the Bible says about determinism and free will
If we read this verse correctly, we will see that first these men crept in, secretly, not revealing their motives, and only then follows the condemnation of God. So God's condemnation and the way in which he executes them is indeed from eternity, but it is judicial punishment already in this life upon those who deny the Lord Jesus Christ. They are given over lasciviousness. So sin comes first, then judgement, which can include hardening of the heart, so people will sin even more boldly.

5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.

(5) "The Lord ... destroyed them that believed not."
The apostle refers here to the time the Israelites had send spies into the land God had promised they would inherit. When the spies returned, ten of the twelve said that they would never inherit Canaan. Thereupon, the Israelites would have killed Moses, see Num. 14:10. So this is not simply a case of unbelief: these people had seen the miracles, and chosen to harden their hearts. And more could be mentioned. The destruction mentioned here is that they would not come into Canaan, but would have to live out the remainder of their natural lives in the desert, see Num. 14:30-34. When hearing this judgement they tried to fight their way into Canaan, but were defeated (Num. 14:44-45). God's punishment was just.

6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

(6-7) "The angels which kept not their first estate"
The angels that Jude refers to here are the "sons of God" that had sex with human females to produce a race of giants. (See Gen.6:4)
Is the devil free to roam?
What the Bible says about giants
Do angels have sex?
In this verse Jude talks about fallen angels, angels who became devils. But in the next verse Jude talks about humans. Without any warrant the author of the SAB merges these two verses, making it appear angels were fornicating in Sodom. That doesn't make any sense at all.
Jude's topic is that there are many examples of those who first received God's grace, but “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness (verse 4).” And God seeks and punishes sin. Jude starts his list (verse 5) with “I will therefore put you in remembrance.” His first example is God's own people, the Israelites who fled Egypt, but did not reach Canaan. His second is God's angels, this verse, the angels which were in heaven, but stood up against God. His third example is God's own creation, the next verse (verse 7), the people in Sodom and Gomorrha. Jude shows here that no one is excluded from God's righteous judgement.
On the “sons of God” and the supposed intercourse between angels and humans, see Gen. 6:4.
On if the devil is free to roam, see 2 Pet. 2:4.

7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

(7-8) "Giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh ... these filthy dreamers defile the flesh."
God sent "eternal fire" on the people of Sodom and Gomorrah for "going after strange flesh."
What was Sodom's sin?
The author of the SAB reads right. No amount of denying, wriggling and reinterpretation will make the scripture say anything else on homosexuality. It is a grave sin.

8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.

9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

(9) "Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses."
This story is taken from the non-canonical book, The Assumption of Moses.
Readers who will follow the supplied link will learn that this non-canonical book, at least the extant manuscript, does not contain this dispute...
But John Gill explains that with the body of Moses the works of Moses are meant: his books, the body of the Scriptures. Michael the archangel is Christ himself. And the reference is to Zech. 3:1 where we find the story of Joshua the high priest:

Now the law of Moses was restored in the time of Joshua the high priest, by Ezra and Nehemiah. Joshua breaks some of these laws, and is charged by Satan as guilty, who contended and insisted upon it that he should suffer for it; so that this dispute or contention might be said to be about the body of Moses, that is, the body of Moses's law, which Joshua had broken; in which dispute Michael, or the angel of the Lord, even the Lord Jesus Christ himself, durst not bring against him a railing accusation; that is, not that he was afraid of the devil, but though he could have given harder words, or severer language, and which the other deserved, yet he chose not to do it, he would not do it; in which sense the word "durst", or "dare", is used in Rom. 5:7; but said, the Lord rebuke thee; for thy malice and insolence; see Zech. 3:2; and this mild and gentle way of using even the devil himself agrees with Christ's conduct towards him, when tempted by him in the wilderness, and when in his agony with him in the garden, and amidst all his reproaches and sufferings on the cross. And now the argument is from the greater to the lesser, that if Christ, the Prince of angels, did not choose to give a railing word to the devil, who is so much inferior to him, and when there was so much reason and occasion for it; then how great is the insolence of these men, that speak evil of civil and ecclesiastical rulers, without any just cause at all?

10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.

11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;

13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

(14-15) "Enoch also, the seventh from Adam"
Jude says Enoch, "the seventh from Adam", prophesied that God would come with 10,000 of his saints "to execute judgment upon all." But this prophecy is from the Book of Enoch (which the author considered scripture and believed was written by Enoch), not from the Bible.
Was Enoch the seventh from Adam?
The author of the SAB asks: “Was Enoch the sixth or the seventh from Adam?“ The Bible never claims that Enoch was the sixth of Adam. It's the author of the SAB who does this counting. The issue is resolved easily it we take into account that the Jews counted inclusive, so the author of the SAB should count Adam as well. As literally Jude says: "the seventh", counted "from Adam".
Other examples of this is "the seventh day", counted from the first day. Or in the months: "the third month", counted from the first. Jews always include the first thing in the count.
The number seven hold a special meaning for the Jews, so that might be another reason why Jude mentions the number seven.
A third reason we find in Genesis. There we see two family lines: Seth and Cain. The seventh is singled out in both cases. On the one hand we find Enoch, on the other we find Lamech. One following its own ways, the other walking in the way of God.

15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

(15) "To convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
(Ungodly was the author of Jude's favorite word.)
The word ungodly occurs six times in the translation of this epistle. Although I haven't done a word count if it is not the most popular word, it certainly is among the most used words in this epistle.
But in the translation much is lot. In Greek it's quite a nice combination of word play and alliteration.

16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.

(16) "These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts."
Really, this is foul language?

17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

(17) "Remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles"
Jude was written in post-apostolic times, so it's author could not have been the apostle Jude (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13; cf John 14:22) as believers sometimes claim.
The reasoning of the author of the SAB is faulty. Of course one can use the words “spoken before of the apostles” with reference to specific words spoken by certain apostles, Paul and Peter in this case, and be an apostle yourself. As John Gill has it:

these words mean not the doctrines of the apostles in general, but particularly the prophecies delivered out by them, as by the Apostles Paul and Peter, concerning the false teachers that should arise; and these being spoken of before, and by apostles, even by the apostles, of our Lord Jesus Christ, were worthy of regard, and deserved to be remembered; a remembrance of which is a preservative from error, and a relief in the worst of times, whether of persecution, or heresy.

18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

(17-18) "Remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles" ... that they told you there should be mockers in the last time."
The author of Jude thought he was living in "the last time."

19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.