A Short Study of Jude 1:11
“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.”
“The Error of Balaam”
Balaam’s error was greed, the love of money. As all false prophets crave praise and are motivated by envy, so all false prophets are greedy for gain. They fleece the Lord’s sheep to line their own pockets.
Running “greedily after the error of Balaam,” men who have abandoned the gospel of God lead poor, deluded souls under their influence into idolatry, teaching them to mix law with grace, works with mercy, and logic with revelation.
Make no mistake. — These deceivers know exactly what they are doing. Balaam knew that God’s people were blessed of God and could never be cursed. Yet, he took Balak’s money, prayed, acted very pious, and sought the destruction of God’s church, teaching Israel to worship idols and call it worshipping Jehovah. — God’s servants are not like them (2nd Corinthians 4:5-7).
“The Gainsaying of Core”
All false prophets are also mimics of Korah. Korah sought to overthrow both God’s prophet Moses and God’s priest Aaron. The Korahs of our day are exactly like them. They oppose God’s faithful servants, seek to turn the people they serve against them and the gospel of God’s rich, free grace in Christ.
Again, their behavior is not a matter of ignorance. They know full well that the men they oppose are God’s servants, and that the gospel they oppose is the gospel of God. But false prophets are, as God the Holy Ghost describes them by Jude’s pen, men of insatiable lusts, sensual, and ungodly. They will stop at nothing to get your smile and pick your pocket. They think no more of destroying a faithful man’s name or destroying a church than they do of stepping on a roach. — God’s servants are not like them (2nd Corinthians 4:5-7).
“The Way of Cain”
The way of Cain represents all who follow the path of freewill/works religion, all who attempt to find acceptance with God upon the basis of something they do.
The way of Cain always involves envy, the envy that motivates false prophets. Cain envied Abel’s acceptance by God. Cain envied his brother because God accepted Abel and his sacrifice.
Jude here tells us that such is the root of all heresy. False prophets, envying the gifts of God bestowed upon His servants and envying the honor put upon faithful gospel preachers by God and His people, seek to draw away disciples after themselves. Like Diotrephes, they love to have the preeminence. They so crave the attention and applause of men that they are willing to destroy immortal souls with their damnable doctrines. — God’s servants are not like them (2nd Corinthians 4:5-7).