St. Irenaeus Ministries
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This is a direct continuation of the series on 2 Peter and Jude.

Apocalyptic literature refers to writings that reveal the hidden things of God. It is a new term, not one that apocalyptic writers applied to themselves, and there is some debate as to which works are apocalyptic and which are merely prophetic. It is found in canonical and extra-canonical writings of both the Old and New Testaments, mainly after the Babylonian Exile, usually in times of persecution, especially the time from 200BC to 200AD, and deals with the end times (eschatology).

Apocalyptic visions are dramatic and often wild and highly symbolic, and often mediated through an angel. There is no definitive list of apocalyptic literature, but commonly cited as examples are Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zephaniah, Revelation, 2 Thessalonians, The Olivet Discourse (found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke), as well as the extra-canonical books of 1 and 2 Enoch, Jubilees, Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, 4 Esdras, 2 Baruch, The Testament of Abraham, and the Apocalypse of Abraham. The extra-canonical books are called pseudepigrapha (or falsely ascribed writings) to distinguish them from the deuterocanonical books sometimes called apocrypha by Protestants.

Apocalyptic eschatology differs from prophetic eschatology in a few ways, but one difference is that some see prophetic eschatology as more personal and more naturalistic, while apocalyptic eschatology is more obviously supernatural and deals with God breaking into history in cataclysmic ways coming from above. Others would note that even in prophetic eschatology, it is God's will which the prophecy follows. Apocalypse is often less well-accepted into the mainstream than other prophecy, but none of these criteria should be viewed as absolute; there is much room for dispute.

Some believe these apocalyptic writings were composed in part to give an answer to why the pious were continuing to be persecuted and the end of prophecy. This is probably true of the pseudepigraphal works, though it must be clear that apocalyptic prophecy is given by God, and not brought down by man. There was a rise in apocalyptic writing in the 19th century in an attempt to understand why some Christian sects were becoming more liberal.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: ChristianApoc1a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:49am EST

In verses 6 and 7, Jude identifies the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah as unnatural lust, and not just in-hospitality. Although the ancient world had no real equivalent to the modern conception of sexual preference, it cannot be said that the Bible has no preference regarding sexuality.

Throughout the passage here and later on in verse 14 there is a reference to the apocryphal book of Enoch (verse 14 goes as far as quoting the book) and the ''sons of God'' in Genesis 6. It is unclear what Jude thinks of the book as a whole (the Church eventually rejected it from the canon), but he seems to think the verse he cited was a prophecy.

Jude then speaks against those false teachers who have ''reviled whatever they do not understand,'' and who ''follow their own lusts'' and flatter ''people to gain advantage.'' These worldly people are devoid of the Holy Spirit.

It is notable that Jude refers to Moses and Enoch, both of whom were assumed into Heaven, and that both Sodom and Gomorrah and Korah's rebellion are cases where the Earth opened up to swallow up something into Hell. Much of the language here is similar or identical to that in 2 Peter, suggesting that these authors are consulting a common source (an apostolic memo, perhaps).

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: Jude_b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:49am EST

This short lesson on Jude and the one that follows it are a direct continuation of the series on 2nd Peter.

The epistle of Jude is very short, but Jude does not shy away from controversy. Jude is the English translation of the Greek name Judas, which ultimately derives from the Hebrew word Judah. We translate it this way to avoid the association with Judas Iscariot, though the name was common in that time. Jude is identified as the brother of James, the bishop of Jerusalem, who is often identified as James the Less (though this identification is difficult to support in the light of 1 Cor 15).

Also noteworthy in the introduction: Jude appears not to see himself in the role of apostle, since he does not identify himself as one, unlike most of the other epistles. Jude appears to be writing while James, who died in the early 60s, is still alive, thus dating this epistle very early. The fact that the issues of false teachers were pressing and were being dealt with at such an early time should be a comfort to those of use who see false teachings today.

Jude says that these false teachers were bound to be, and thus we should not to be scared, since our Lord expected this. The manner in which Jude describes these false teachers is very similar to the way that this is described in 2 Peter, suggesting that there was some collaboration, possibly by a now-lost rubric for dealing with these errors.

Jude then states that the faith has been imparted once for all, implying that there will be no new doctrines, and that those teaching new doctrines are false teachers who have crept into the Church. Jude then goes on to explain that the Hebrews leaving Egypt were likewise fully informed and many fell away, which puts an end to the concept of ''once saved always saved.''

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com

Direct download: Jude_a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:05pm EST

Peter discusses the teaching of some who claim that Jesus will not come again and deliberately ignore what Jesus has said concerning this. The people Peter is writing about are unhappy with spiritual power and turn not only from the teaching on the end times but also the prophets and the commandments. God created the world out of nothing, and He covered it in the Flood, so He is surely powerful. What is more, God is not slow in His coming, but rather in His mercy has delayed His return to give us time to repent, and some have chosen to see this mercy as a sign of aloofness. This is not out of ignorance but rather a deliberate denial of certain inconvenient facts.

To the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, but when the end comes, it will be like a thief coming in the night. If we are looking forward to that day, we may hasten it by living godly lives. When the end does come, God will take care of His people, not by preserving them from death, but in some cases reserving them for martyrdom. These people will receive their reward in the resurrection of the body.

How much are we and even some teachers in the Church exhorting our fellow Christians to be mindful of these facts today?

Peter then reminds the people to be without spot or blemish and to consider this time of delay as salvation. He tells them that some of Paul's writings have been twisted by the ignorant and unstable to their own destruction. In doing this, Peter tells us two things. First, Paul's epistles are scripture to Peter, and second, though there may be tensions between the apostles, there was never any rivalry or animosity. Peter then concludes by returning to the themes of growth, knowledge and journey.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: 2Peter3b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:55pm EST

Peter concludes his message which he was probably writing in the final days of his life, racing to give his fellow Christians a final exhortation before he joins the Church Triumphant. In chapter 2, Peter spoke at length on the false teachers and schismatics, and in the third chapter, he narrows his focus to those who were concerned that Jesus had not yet come again. Peter addresses two issues that the people scoff at, namely the words of the prophets and the teachings of Christ, and we can see the same issues today in the people. People can be uneasy with supernatural religion, since it is not on their terms.

Some in the ancient Church were claiming that since the Second Coming had not yet happened, it would never occur, and they were using this to follow their own passions. Peter denounces this by first stating that the statements of the apostles and the prophecies of the Old Testament are both equally the word of God. These scoffers existed in the ancient Church, Peter tells us that they will be with us in the last days, and they are with us today because the people are extraordinarily resilient and desire to go back to normalcy, even in an abnormal situation. Peter echoes Jesus in noting that this is much like the people in Noah's time.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: 2Peter3a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:25am EST