Beware Infiltrators

Jude of Nazareth

Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ, and a brother of James (Jude 1).

The author of this short letter identifies himself as the brother of James. He is identified as a brother of both James and Jesus in the gospels (Matt 13:55; Mark 6:3). Jude grew up with Jesus in the town of Nazareth, early in the 1st century AD.


Beloved, while I was making every effort to write to you concerning our common salvation . . . (Jude 3)

The tondo on this red-figure kylix depicts a young man with a stylus writing on a wax-covered wooden tablet. It is not difficult to envision Jude or his amanuensis writing in a similar way. This kylix was photographed at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Unbelieving Generation

Jesus, after saving a people from Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe (Jude 5).

Kadesh Barnea is the place where the Israelites rebelled against entering the land, resulting in that entire generation of adults being condemned to die in the wilderness, denied entry to the Promised Land (Num 13–14; Heb 4). This photo was provided by Gary Pratico.

"Hidden Reefs"

They are hidden reefs at your love feasts (Jude 12).

There are two possibilities for the word “hidden reef” (Gk. spilas), which appears in the New Testament only here and in 2 Peter 2:13. One is a rocky hazard hidden just below the surface of the sea. This understanding is illustrated here by a reef just off the island of Malta, in the place where some believe Paul may have been shipwrecked (Acts 27:41ff). It is also possible that the word could instead be understood as a spot or stain.


These are grumblers, complainers, following after their own lusts (Jude 16).

The ungodly that Jude describes are characterized by grumbling and complaining. These vices recall the repeated instances of the Israelites grumbling in the wilderness, the first of which occurred at Marah (Exod 15). This picture shows Ayun Musa, thought to be a possible site of Marah, in the eastern Sinai Peninsula.

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