Y’hudah (Jude)

An Introduction

As I stated in my last post, I was not sure which way the Lord was leading me. We finished our journey through the Brit Hadashah on the life and letters of Kefa (Peter). Kefa referred to Y’hudah several times in his second letter to the saints. So, it seems fairly logical to me to explore this writing of Y’hudah (Jude).

Y’hudah is classified as a “general” letter to the saints. As we will see, there is no specific audience geographically to which the letter is written as is the case with Sha’ul’s letters.

From: Y’hudah, a slave of Yeshua the Messiah and a brother of Ya’akov: To: Those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept for Yeshua the Messiah: May mercy, love and shalom be yours in full measure. ~ Y’hudah 1-2

Who Was Y’hudah?

The author’s name is Y’hudah in Hebrew, Judas in Greek, and Jude in English. In Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3, he is mentioned as one of four half-brothers of Yeshua.

Who was this Y’hudah? Three possibilities exist. The author may be either:

Y’hudah, a half-brother of Yeshua and the brother of Ya’akov, or

Y’hudah, the Emissary, or

Y’hudah, a leader in the early church of Yerushalayim.

This latter Y’hudah was sent to Antioch with Sha’ul, Bar-naba, Y’hudah, called Bar-Sabba, and Silas (Acts 15:22). Bar-Sabba could have been a brother of Yosef Bar-Sabba, who was one of two “nominees” to replace Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:23). Thus, he would have been known in the church. But little other evidence points to this individual as the author of this epistle.

As to whether he was the Emissary Yehuda, verse 17 in his letter seems to indicate that he did not consider himself to be an emissary, though modesty could have led him to write as he did. However, the important subject that he wrote about would probably have called for his identifying himself with the other emissaries, for authority’s sake, if he really was an emissary.

The most probable identification is that the author Y’hudah was a half-brother of Yeshua, a son of Yosef and Miryam after Yeshua[1]

Date of Writing

Since Y’hudah addresses a situation similar to that addressed by Second Kefa and exhibits a literary relationship (probably as a source) to Second Kefa, the two letters are commonly dated in fairly close proximity. Therefore, while external evidence is sparse, Y’hudah is best dated in the mid-60s CE.  [2]

Why Did He Write This Letter?

He was eager to write to the recipients about their salvation but changed his mind and instead wrote them to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints. Y’hudah, then, was open to the Ruach’s adjustment of his plans so he could address something urgent that came up. He wants believers to energetically keep contending earnestly for the faith, that is, for the body of scripturally based doctrine that is to be the authoritative guide for our belief and practice. Believers are to wage battle on behalf of the true faith as deposited in God’s inerrant Word (see 2 Tim 3:14-17).

Y’hudah wrote with a heart of love and understanding, but with a note of concern and authority. He wanted to write on a joyful theme, about the salvation we share (v. 3), but was compelled to write a much more somber epistle. Like Kefa his love for Believers whom he saw endangered by encroaching adversaries moved him to turn from the more pleasant theme to sound a solemn warning about the false doctrine and teachers creeping into the community.

Canonical History

Y’hudah’s heavy use of apocryphal writings retarded its canonical status in some quarters, but its relation to Second Kefa indicates the high prestige it enjoyed elsewhere. In the 4th cent. Y’hudah overcame most of its opposition and was listed without qualification in Athanasius’s festal letter, 367 CE.  [3]

In my next post, we will pick up our exploration of Y’hudah’s letter beginning in verse 3.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures.

[2] The ESV Study Bible.

[3] The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised.

1 thought on “Y’hudah (Jude)

  1. Pingback: Y’hudah (Jude) – Talmidimblogging

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