On Making Sense of Jude v.24-25

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cybrwurm
Spawn of Epicurus
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On Making Sense of Jude v.24-25

Post by cybrwurm » 12-17-2011 09:43 PM

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In the ancient Greek script long compound sentences were common, and some could easily include several hundred words before coming to a belated stop. In Jude v.24-25 we have an example of a relatively short compound sentence, but even so it is able to produce a massive amount of confusion that seems out of proportion to its size. This confusion is reflected in the wide variety of translations available in the different English versions of the book of Jude. But rather than examine all these versions, and their various merits and demerits, let us start with the literal translation that is nearest to the actual Greek text:
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"Now to the one being able to guard you without stumbling and to set [you] before the glory of him blameless, with exultation, to [the] only God [the] savior of us through Jesus Christ the Lord of us [be] glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all the age and now and into all the ages, amen." [Jude 24, 25 / New Greek-English Interlinear New Testament]
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So what the heck is going on here anyway? Is this a doxology? A blessing? A desperate plea for recognition? A vain hope for a better future? Just what is the prophet Judas trying to say here? ... Well, one way to try and make some sense out of this literary mess is to reduce the sentence to its most essential elements. And we can do this by carefully removing the unnecessary literary embellishments and flourishes that fog up the core message, and generates so much confusion for the bible translators:
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"Now to the one being able to guard you without stumbling and to set [you] before the glory of him blameless, with exultation, to [the] only God [the] savior of us ... [be] glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all the age and now and into all the ages."
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And reduce again:
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"Now to the one being able to guard you without stumbling and to set [you] before ... [the] only God [the] savior of us ... [be] glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all the age and now and into all the ages."
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And reduce again:
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"Now to the one being able to guard you without stumbling and to set [you] before ... God ... [be] glory, majesty, dominion, and authority ..."
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Now this puts us in a much better position from which we can begin an approach towards the author's intention. Let us start by paraphrasing the sentence into something more intelligible to modern readers:
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"As for the one who is able to guard you [from errors and heresies], and sets you before God without [you] stumbling [along the way], grant that one glory, majesty, dominion, and authority."
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Here then is the meaning of the sentence. It is a plea for authority. The author wants believers to recognize and approve the authority of "the one" who guards you, and sets you before God. And who is this 'one'? Is it the pope? No, for there was no such animal in the second century. Is it the scriptures perhaps? No, for the scriptures can be easily abused and misunderstood by foolish believers who twist the scriptures to conform to their own preconceived notions and theologies. Is it then the priest, who is the nominal leader of the assembly? No again, for the priest is merely the dispenser of the sacraments, a specialist in rituals and priestcraft (which cannot save anyone). So if the one is none of these, and is neither bishop nor council nor Neo, then who remains? The saints maybe? Well, no; for sainthood is not so much a vocation as a rather vague measure of holiness (whatever that is). So now we are left with only one remaining possibility ...
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For Judas 'the one' is the "slave" of God and JC (see v.1, Jm 1:1, 2Peter 1:1), who is none other than the Christian prophet. Now Judas' plea for authority came at a time (mid-second century CE) when the priests were taking control of the churches, and forcing the prophets out. By the end of the third century they had pretty much succeeded in their quest to take the churches for themselves, and henceforth the prophets were seen as obsolete, or worse, as dangerous heretics. And this view remains in force even today, despite the fact that the Word of God is sufficiently clear in stating that the prophet's authority goes "into all the ages". It's no wonder then that so many christians would much prefer it if the book of Jude was quietly removed from the canon, and quickly forgotten; for today's post-modern believers are obviously so much more superior to the early greek-speaking christians that they no longer need any one to guard them from errors and heresies. Oh so obviously ... :rolleyes:
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- the destroyer of pious worms - cybrwurm ;>
"Anyone who thinks that the truth is simple has got another think comming!" -- Grandpa Walton

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