Though the Epistle of Jude is a short book (25 verses), it has many profitable lessons for its students, one of which is the controversial issue of exorcism.
o Do not “speak evil of dignities”
Many churches today practise healing and exorcism. Jude warns us particularly against the casting out of demons. It is not only presumptuous, but also dangerous to declare war on the devil. As finite human beings, we have no knowledge of the spiritual realm and should not “speak evil of dignities” (demonic forces) which are intelligent beings (v. 8).
Jude tells us that even the archangel Michael exercised great caution when contending with the devil (v. 9). If the archangel in his high office was content, in his dispute with Satan, to deliver him to the judgment of God, who are we to dabble with the powers of darkness? Let us not be like the apostates who “speak evil of those things which they know not” (v. 10). Rather, let us be mindful not to rail at or revile others as it reflects our pride and passion, and is contrary to the spirit of Christianity.
o Deliverance through the Gospel of Christ
One may then ask: How can we, as Christians, minister to tormented souls? We can pray for them and share the Gospel with them. Our gracious God will, in His own special way, cause the “light of the glorious gospel of Christ” to shine upon them (II Cor. 4: 4), and cleanse them by the blood of Christ. When the Holy Spirit enters a person, the evil spirit leaves.
The Gospels record many accounts of the Lord’s gracious deliverance of demon-possessed souls (Matt. 12: 22; 15: 22-28; Lk. 4: 33-35, 41; 8: 26-39). We thank God that the Gospel of Christ has the power to save, and to deliver even those who are under demonic power: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1: 16).
o The body of Moses and Enoch’s prophecy
I found it interesting that Jude wrote about “the body of Moses” (v. 9) as well as Enoch’s prophecy “to execute judgment” upon the wicked (vv. 14-15). When reading the epistle, some questions arose in my mind – “How did Jude know about the dispute between the archangel Michael and Satan?” Beyond Deuteronomy 34: 6, there is no other information regarding the body of Moses. How did Jude know about Enoch’s prophecy? Genesis 5: 22-24 and Hebrews 11: 5 speak of Enoch as a man of faith, but there is no mention in Scripture of his prophecies.
I am glad that I found the answer in this course:
“As Bible-Presbyterians, we believe in the divine inspiration of Holy Scriptures (II Pet. 1: 21 cf. II Tim. 3: 16-17). To say that Enoch’s prophecy of the return of Christ (Jude 14-15) is taken from an external source like the uninspired Book of Enoch (which is a claim made by some liberals) is to demean and question God’s Word.
When on earth, our Lord had taught His disciples many things from the Old Testament. As one of the Lord’s disciples, Jude must have remembered what had been taught, and recorded it in his epistle.”
This is supported by Jesus’ words to His disciples before He left them – that the Holy Spirit “will bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (Jn. 14: 26). Two clear examples are recorded in the Gospel of John of the disciples remembering what Christ had earlier told them: “When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said” (Jn. 2: 22); “These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him” (Jn. 12: 16).
I am glad that I spent a whole semester studying this little epistle. Contrary to my expectations, I found the course both interesting and enriching. It was well worth my time, and I learnt many precious lessons. It is my prayer that the Lord will grant me grace to apply them diligently in my walk with Him.
(Assignment submitted by Mrs Helen Wee for the Epistle of Jude online course on 19th April 2010.)