"Speaking evil of dignitaries" in Jude 8

Jude says that these false teachers “slander glorious ones” (KJV has “dignities,” NKJV, “dignitaries,” NASB, “angelic majesties,” its literal meaning is as I have rendered it: “glorious ones”).  

This expression, “glorious ones,” is used most often in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in apocalyptic and Gnostic literature to refer to angels.  While it does not appear that these false teachers explicitly and openly blasphemed God or Christ, they did disparage angels.  This behavior is, however, unique in the NT (except for the parallel passage in 2 Pet. 2: 10) and so probably indicates a “specific and actual case of false teaching and not a generalized caricature of heresy” (Bauckham, WBC, 57).

A modern Christian might wonder about this point.  But one must remember that the ancients during this time had come to believe that angels assisted the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai.  This belief is referenced elsewhere in the NT in Hebrews 2:2 which refers to the law as “the word spoken by [or though] angels.”  So this slandering of angels is merely another example of the false teachers’ disparaging of God’s law.

About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
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2 Responses to "Speaking evil of dignitaries" in Jude 8

  1. Tara says:

    Hello Michael,Can you elaborate on your point in this entry, please? Was this part of a series you were doing on false teachers and detailing what to watch out for, or a teaching on angels? Thank you,Tara

  2. Hey Tara:This is part of my exegesis of Jude for a series I am preaching through Jude on Sunday mornings.One characteristic of the false teachers was that they despised angels which the Jews had come to believe had helped give the law at Mt. Sinai (I believe there is another post that elaborates on that).The false teachers did not want to revile God directly, since they were making a living by claiming to be Christian teachers so they reviled angels as a way of supporting their lawless views.Hope this helps.MRJ

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