Lectures on Jude 24-25

Jude 24-25
In Enoch's prophecy, we may observe once more, that it is not exactly “the Lord cometh,” but, “Behold, the Lord came.” That is quite usual in the prophets, and that is the reason why they are called “seers.” What they described they saw as in a prophetic vision. John saw all the various objects which he describes in the Revelation. He saw the heaven opened and the Lord coming out, and the throne set. But it does not mean that all this was accomplished then. He saw it all before it took place. So did Enoch. He saw the Lord come—he presented it in that way. In Isaiah 53 we see the same thing. “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” It does not mean that there was any doubt about its being all future; but that he saw it before his eyes, the eyes opened by the Holy Spirit. It is the same thing here. He is seen at the close of the age coming with ten thousands of His saints to take judgment, to inflict judgment on these apostates, and the Spirit of God here intimates that the same family likeness of departure from God has been going on since the days of Enoch, and that is, that it was not only in Jude's day but it was to go on in the future till the Lord comes. It was all one in character hatred of God. And you see how entirely that falls in with what I have been saying, that man always departs from God. It is not only that he is rebellious, not only that he behaves himself badly, not only that he violates this and that, but turns his back upon God altogether and His truth. That is apostasy, and the spirit of it is already come. It will come out thoroughly, and then the Lord will come in judgment. But now the hope! What is that? Well, it is implied in what we saw. “Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his saints.” The question is, How did they come with Him? If the Lord comes with His saints, He must have come before to fetch them to Himself, and that is just what He will do. But that is a thing entirely outside the prophetic introduction of the Lord's coming. The Lord's coming for His saints is not a matter of prophecy at all. It is a matter of love and hope; we may say of faith, love and hope. They are all in full play in that wonderful prospect that grace has opened out before our eyes. Therefore it is that the Lord does not introduce that, except in a very general way, in any of the Gospels so much as in John. “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself” (John 14:2, 32In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2‑3)).
There is nothing about prophecy in that. It is future, but its being future does not make it prophecy. It is an abuse of terms to think that prophecy is essentially bound up with judging a wrong state of things and replacing it with a better. But in this case, as in John 14, the Lord, when He comes to put us in the Father's house, does not judge a wrong state of things. It is consummating His love to the dearest objects of His love, not merely on earth but for heaven, and it is in that way that the Lord speaks. It is the same thing in the Revelation. After He has done with all the prophetic part, He presents Himself as “the bright and the morning star.” And when the church has that before her, we find a new thing, “The Spirit and the bride say, Come.” That is not prophecy; that is the church's hope, and it is strictly the church's hope. Because when you say, “The Spirit and the bride,” it is not merely an individual, it is the whole-personified of the saints that compose the bride. “The Spirit and the bride!” What a wonderful thing that the Spirit should put Himself at the head of it! “The Spirit and the bride say, Come.” It might have been thought, Oh! that is only a sanguine hope that the bride has got. But, no; you cannot talk about anything sanguine in the mind of the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit and the bride say, Come.” Hence you see that the great object of the Lord, in that close of the Revelation, was to show that you must not mix up the hope of the Lord's coming to receive us to Himself with the accomplishment of prophecy. The hope is entirely apart from any prophetic events. It is not in the seals, it is not in the trumpets, still less is it in the vials. It is after all these things have closed that the Spirit of God, in the conclusory observations, there gives what the Lord had given, when Himself on earth, to His disciples, The Spirit of God takes up there what was suited to the then condition of the church. The church then knew that she was “the bride” of Christ. That had been clearly shown in more than one chapter of the Revelation. In chapter 19 the marriage of the Lamb had come, and the bride had made herself ready That could not be the earthly bride. How could the earthly bride celebrate a marriage in heaven? And how could the heavenly bride celebrate it there unless saints composing it had been taken there before? That is just what I am about to come to.
Well then, this coming of the Lord, which is “our hope” is exactly what Jude takes up here in the closing verses.
“But to him that is able to keep you without stumbling, and to set you with exultation blameless before his glory; to an only1 God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord2, [be] glory, majesty, might, and authority, before all time,3 and now, and unto all the ages. Amen” (vers. 24, 25).
“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling.” How appropriate when thus presenting the dangers, the evils, the horrible iniquity of apostasy from all Christian grace and truth that might have the effect of greatly dispiriting a feeble soul! No one ought even to be dispirited; not one. “Now unto him that is able to keep” that clearly refers to every step of the way, and there is power in Him to keep. It is we who fail in dependence. Never does He fail in power to preserve. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless.” Where? “Before the presence of his glory.” Where is that? Is not that the very glory into which the Lord has now gone? And does not He say, “That where I am there ye may be also"? Here we find that the hope of the Christian and the hope of the church is entirely untouched by all the ruin that had come in. Spiritual power remained intact. And not only that: this glorious blessed hope remains for our consolation and our joy in the darkest day.
“Now unto him that is able to keep you without stumbling and to set you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” There we have what falls in, not with Peter but with Jude. Jude, of course, entirely agrees with Peter, and confirms Peter as to the judgment that is to fall on those that were not only unrighteous but apostate. But then Jude does not forget that there are those that are true, that there are those that are faithful, that there are those that are waiting for Christ, that there are those that are even more appreciative of the blessing because of the unbelief of man. Therefore it is that He brings in this present power that entirely depends on the Holy Spirit's presence to keep us; and, further, the blessed hope depending upon Christ's coming to receive us to Himself, “and to present us faultless.” That will only be because we are glorified; that will only be because we are like Himself. He was the only one intrinsically faultless, and He is the one who, by redemption, and then also by the accomplishment for the body—for redemption is only as far as the soul is concerned now, but when He comes it will be for the body as well—will present us faultless both in soul and body “before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.”
(To be continued)