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Oct 21, 2019

EZEKIEL 18-19:
Yesterday in Ezekiel we read the riddle of the two eagles, portraying Israel’s king breaking his sworn covenant with Babylon. There is a lesson here for us. Normally Babylon would be considered the enemy, and getting free from the enemy would be considered a good thing. But NOT SO if the country has made a promise of loyalty sealed by a vow taken in God’s name! Faithfulness to oaths and promises in God’s name take precedence over ‘business as usual’.

These famous words from yesterday’s chapter in Isaiah bear repeating today:

Is. 2:2 GNT In days to come 
the mountain where the Temple stands
will be the highest one of all,
towering above all the hills.
Many nations will come streaming to it,
3 and their people will say,
“Let us go up the hill of the Lord,
to the Temple of Israel's God.
He will teach us what he wants us to do;
we will walk in the paths he has chosen.
For the Lord's teaching comes from Jerusalem;
from Zion he speaks to his people.”
4 He will settle disputes among great nations.
They will hammer their swords into plows
and their spears into pruning knives.
Nations will never again go to war,
never prepare for battle again.

We come today to the little epistle from Jude, the brother of Jesus. But, significantly, he doesn’t call himself Jesus’ half-brother. He calls himself the Slave of Christ Jesus. Jude wrote his letter around the same time as 2 Peter, sometime around AD 60-80. I think that Peter borrowed material from Jude, rather than the other way around. One thing that makes me think this is that Jude uses more material from extra-biblical sources than Peter does in 2 Peter 2. Jude and Peter were writing in a very difficult time for Christians, and Jude calls us to contend for the ‘faith’— the teachings that God has given to us to fully believe.

GNT Translation notes:
Jud. 3 My dear friends, I was doing my best to write to you about the salvation we share in common, when I felt the need of writing at once to encourage you to fight on for [our beliefs— the true teachings//the faith] which once and for all God has given to his people.
20 [PET But my beloved Brothers and Sisters, each of you should strengthen one another so that you continue to fully believe in the holy teachings you have received. Keep on praying with the help of the Holy Spirit.//GNT But you, my friends, keep on building yourselves up on your most sacred [beliefs//faith]. Pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,]

NLT Translation notes:
Jud. 1This letter is from Jude, a slave of [Christ Jesus//Jesus Christ] and a brother of James.
I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.
20 But  you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,
[Footnote: Faith = belief. Holy beliefs can be summarized as the content of the Gospel and all of God’s Word. These are the ‘healthy teachings’ that Paul spoke about in Titus and his other books.]