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Summary: The Joyful benediction (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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Reading: Jude verses 24-25.

As a guess, I don not think I am too far wrong to say that the letter of Jude;

• Is one of the least read and therefore least known parts of the New Testament!

• Certainly one preachers avoid (when did you last hear a sermon - me neither!)

• Ill: Right now I can see little puffs of dust rising up, out of your Bibles!

• Quote: Jude has been called 'the most neglected book in the New Testament'.

• There are a number of reasons for this:

(1). IT'S SMALL

• Along with Philemon and 2 and 3 John,

• It is one of the smallest books in the New Testament.

• These New Testament postcards often get overlooked;

• Either they are too hard to find or in this case; “maybe size does matter!”

(2). IT'S STRANGE

• As you read it you encounter puzzling references;

• e.g. The Archangel Michael arguing with Satan over Moses' body.

• What does that refer to?

• There is certainly no mention of that happening in the Old Testament account.

• e.g. There are references to 'the sons of Korah' and to angels locked in a dungeon;

• Once again to the casual reader they seem similarly obscure.

• So as you read it you encounter puzzling references;

• If you do not want to strain your brain too much – it is easier just to ignore this book!

(3). IT'S SUSPECT

• Some Christians take exception to the fact that Jude quotes the Apocrypha.

• The Apocrypha is the name given to some extra Jewish books (14 in total);

• The name ‘Apocrypha’ simply means ‘Hidden books’.

• Written in the 400 year period between our Old and New Testaments.

• (i.e. Between the end of Malachi and the beginning of Matthew).

Ill:

• At the time of Jesus Hebrew was a dead language (unless you were a scribe or Pharisee);

• The people spoke Aramaic and the language of literature was Greek.

• The Hebrew Old Testament had been translated into Greek (called The Septuagint);

• And it was in this edition of the Old Testament that these books appear.

• Note: That although Paul and the apostles quote from the Septuagint;

• They never quote from the apocryphal books (only Jude does that).

• And we will look at why in a minute.

• Ill: When Jerome was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382;

• To make a revision of the old Latin translations.

• He revised the Latin Bible to produce a version called ‘The Vulgate’ (i.e. ‘Common’);

• He rejected from the Old Testament all books that were not in Hebrew.

• Today these Apocryphal books are included in the Catholic version of the Bible;

• They are called ‘Duetero-canonical’ meaning ‘belonging to the second cannon’

• The word ‘Cannon’ simply means ‘measuring rod’;

• But the Apocrypha is not found in the Protestant Bible.

Ill:

Bible Expo in Southern Ireland.

• First panel started with 66 books in the Bible.

• When you asked the Catholic students the answer was always 76 (some say 75).

Note:

(a).

• These apocryphal books never claimed to be the word of God;

• They never claimed to be inspired;

• e.g. They never include the phrase “Thus says the Lord”

• Which occurs 3,808 times in our Old Testaments.

• The Jewish people never saw these books as being inspired;

• For example like the other Old Testament writings.

(b).

• These books were never acknowledged as sacred Scriptures by the Jewish Church,

• And therefore were never sanctioned by our Lord.

(c).

• They were not allowed a place among the sacred books,

• During the first four centuries of the Christian Church.

Now although they are not inspired (‘The Word of God’):

• Quoting from the apocrypha in New Testament days;

• Would be like a preacher quoting from Shakespeare today.

• It may illustrate a point;

• But you would not view the writings of Shakespeare as you would the Bible.

Ill:

• In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene II,

• Caesar asks Brutus, "What is't o'clock"?

• Brutus replies, "Caesar, "its strucken eight.?

• The great Bard had forgotten;

• That mechanical clocks were not invented until 14 centuries after Caesar's death.

Well, because it quotes the Apocrypha, some Christians treat it as suspect:

• And it is one of the least read and therefore least known parts of the New Testament!

• Certainly one preachers avoid (when did you last hear a sermon - me neither!)

Note:

• Yet despite the fact it is an overlooked book;

• It contains two verses which are very well known by Christians.

• It contains in verses 24-25:

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