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Letter of St Jude

It has been ques­tioned whether “Jude, the ser­vant of Jesus Christ and the broth­er of James” who wrote the let­ter of St Jude is the “Judas, the broth­er of James” (Lk 6:16, Acts 1:13), one of the twelve apos­tles, “not Iscar­i­ot” (Jn 14:22). In the Tra­di­tion of the Church, the two have usu­al­ly been iden­ti­fied as the same person.

The let­ter of St. Jude is a gen­er­al epis­tle which the author “found it nec­es­sary to write to those who are called,” appeal­ing to them “to con­tend for the faith which was once for all deliv­ered to the saints” (1–3).

For admis­sion has been secret­ly gained by some who long ago were des­ig­nat­ed for con­dem­na­tion, ungod­ly per­sons who per­vert the grace of our God into licen­tious­ness and deny our only Mas­ter and Lord Jesus Christ (4).

These “scoffers,” some of whom the faith­ful may be able to save “by snatch­ing them out of the fire” (23), are those who “defile the flesh, reject author­i­ty and revile the glo­ri­ous ones” (8). They are those who fol­low their “ungod­ly pas­sions … [and] set up divi­sions, world­ly peo­ple devoid of the Spir­it” (18–19) who have entered the Church,

Jude com­mands those who are faith­ful to resist the ungodly.

But you, beloved, build your­selves up on your holy faith; pray in the Holy Spir­it; keep your­selves in the love of God; wait for the mer­cy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eter­nal life. … (21).

Of spe­cial inter­est in the let­ter, which is some­times read in Church, is the men­tion of the archangel Michael (9), as well as the evil angels “that did not keep their own posi­tion but left their prop­er dwelling (with God) and have been kept by Him in eter­nal chains in the nether gloom until the judg­ment of the great day” (6). Gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, there is a def­i­nite apoc­a­lyp­tic tone to the let­ter of St Jude.