DIG: In what sense was Jesus Christ before all ages? Who is our Savior? Through whom? How is God majesty? What does God’s power emphasize? How does He have the authority to carry out what He decrees?
REFLECT: When the world (First John 2:15-17) crowds in around you, and Satan’s schemes seem overwhelming in your life at times, how does God’s Word in general, and Jude’s message in particular, give you hope? What does the fact that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever mean to you personally?
To the only God our Savior are glory, majesty, power, and authority, through Yeshua the Messiah our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Why does Jude speak of the only God our Savior through Yeshua the Messiah our Lord? Here, he emphasizes for the last time the great truth denied by the apostasy – the fact that God is the Savior only for those who come to Him through Jesus Christ. No one comes to the Father but through [the Son] (John 14:6b). Anyone who thinks that believing in God means that they are eternally saved apart from the cross of Messiah is sadly mistaken. The LORD is Savior only through Christ. Untold millions may express belief in one God, and they may seem very sincere. But they are sincerely wrong. They cannot claim Him as Savior because they deny His Son. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Jesus Christ (First Timothy 2:5). Jude makes this point perfectly clear in the fifteenth triad.
First, to the only God our Savior (Jude 25a). This is a statement against the polytheism of that day; there are not many gods there is only one God – the God of the Bible (see my commentary on Exodus Dk – You Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me). He is the only Savior, so there is no salvation apart from Him. From the perspective of the TaNaKh, God is the only Savior. Truly you are a God who has been hiding Himself, the God and Savior of Israel (Isaiah 45:15). In the B'rit Chadashah, the word is used eight times of God the Father and sixteen times of the Son, indicating that Jesus is God since only God can save: the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared . . . through Jesus Christ our Savior (Titus 3:4a and 6b).
In saying that ADONAI is the only God, Jude did not counteract any form of Gnosticism. He merely shared the common Jewish worldview that there is only one God, over the polytheism of the Gentile world.131 The appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which ADONAI will bring about in His own time – God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and the Lord of lords (First Timothy 6:15-16). To the false teachers’ denial of the doctrine of total depravity, and their rejection of the substitutionary sacrifice of Messiah on the cross, Jude says: To the only God our Savior. ADONAI saves us from our sins only through the blood of His Son. “Giving thanks to the Father who has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of His Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14 NKJV).
Second, all glory, majesty, power, and authority are His (Jude 25b). God is glory, which is a reference to the Shechinah glory, the unique glory that belongs to ADONAI alone. It emphasizes the LORD in all His fullness and brightness. This is the same Shechinah glory that filled the Tabernacle in the wilderness (Exodus 40:34), and the Temple of Solomon (Second Chronicles 5:14). When the Lord Jesus had tabernacled among us, the glory of God was visible in a different sense, and we have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). During the Eternal State (see my commentary on Revelation Fs - The Eternal State) the Tabernacle of God, Yeshua the Messiah, will finally be dwelling with His people (Revelation 21:3), and His Shechinah glory will illuminate the New Jerusalem forever more (see my commentary on Revelation Fu – The New Jerusalem had a Great, High Wall with Twelve Gates).
God is majesty, which points to His greatness and how worthy He is of honor given His exalted position. Moses tells us: I will proclaim the name of ADONAI. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! (Deuteronomy 32:3; also see First Chronicles 29:11; Psalm 144:3 and 6 150:2; Daniel 2:20). This emphasizes the greatness of ADONAI and states that He is the royal God. When Christ returns He will wear a banner on His long robe and hanging down across His thigh, and on it He will have this name written: Melekh Ham’lakhim, KING of kings and LORD of lords (Revelation 19:16).
God is power, which emphasizes His rule. The term majesty emphasizes the LORD as the KING of kings, but the word power emphasizes God as LORD of lords. He rules over His entire creation and everything under His control. Nothing happens outside His control. Many things that occur do so because of His directive will. Many other things happen merely because of His permissive will. However, whatever happens, whether it is by His directive will or His permissive will, is part of His control. He is never out of control.132 He sustains all things by His powerful word (Hebrews 1:3b).
The apostates turned the grace of God into lust, and denied the only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ, the very One whose absolute sovereignty is expressed in His power.
God is authority. He has the authority (exousia) to speak reality into existence and to carry out what He decrees. It points to His omnipotence. Our Lord Jesus said to His disciples just prior to His ascension: All authority (exousia) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-19). The Scriptures make it clear that as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son also to have life in Himself. And He has given Him authority (exousia) to judge because He is the Son of Man (John 5:26-27). The Lord will have the absolute authority (exousia) to rule and reign during the messianic Kingdom: Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say, “Now have come the salvation and the power and the Kingdom of God, and the authority (exousia) of His Messiah. For the Accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down” (Revelation 12:10).
The imposters did not fear Him and continued to mock and reject the truth. They refused correction, and made their faces harder than rock, refusing to repent (Jeremiah 5:3). However, their scoffing denials of the Lord Jesus Christ will eventually bring them face to face with Him: When the Son of Man comes in His glory, accompanied by all the angels, He will sit on His glorious throne and judge all the Gentile nations (Matthew 25:31-32a).
Third, through Yeshua the Messiah, our Lord (Jude 25c). He is the means of salvation; it is only through Him that we are saved. This emphasizes that Christ is the only means of salvation, and condemns the false teachers who were denying this. The apostates were denying the Master who bought them; they were denying both His person and His work on the cross, and this statement refutes their lies. The force of the words through Yeshua the Messiah, our Lord are directed against those who reject the sovereign lordship of Christ with their denials of His pre-existence, deity and bodily resurrection. One day every knee shall bow . . . and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10b-11a).133
Before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen (Jude 25d). He is the God of eternity. Concerning the past, ADONAI is before all time. He has always existed. Concerning the present, He still exists now. He still exercises control, concerning the future, and forevermore! He will always exist for all eternity future. The writer to the Hebrews put it this way: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
So, we end with the great and comforting certainty that when all is said and done, there is a God whose name is Savior. We have the joyous certainty that in this world we live in the love of the LORD, and in the next world we go to that love.134 Amen. Which means in Hebrew, He is faithful. Amen!