More about the Infiltrators

Jude 4


False prophets are cunning infiltrators. Jude identifies apostate preachers as men who slither into churches “in unawares.” Their plan is to subtly infiltrate the kingdom of Christ. The Greek verb translated “crept” is never used anywhere else in the New Testament. It is a very rare word that has to do with cunning speech and clever debaters.


For instance, the word is used in extrabiblical literature in a legal sense to speak of someone who pleads a case very cleverly, with guile. It is used to represent a lawyer who plants a thought in the minds of a judge or a jury by trickery. It is used to describe a criminal who secretly slips back into the country after being exiled from it.


The word “crept’ means “entered in secretly.” That is precisely what false prophets do. Deceivers have a real problem with truthfulness, openness, and honesty. They never come in announcing, “I am a messenger of Satan, and I would like to join your church.” This word “crept” literally means, “to go down into and alongside.” False prophets go down into the church and get alongside believers. They pretend to believe; but they are Satan’s counterfeit prophets. As his servants, it is their determination to destroy the work of God. Such infiltration had already begun in Jude’s day. False prophets had moved into the church and were beginning to sow lies about who Christ is, what he has accomplished, and how he saves sinners. That form of attack is nothing new. It has gone on through the centuries, is still going on today, and will continue to go on until Christ comes again. The Puritan Thomas Manton wrote…


“When the Christian church began…there were adverse powers without ready to crush it, and Libertines who, like worms bred within the body, sought to devour the entrails and eat the very bowels of it. The first ringleader was Simon Magus, and there followed many…who, being once turned aside from the truth and the fellowship of the faithful, lost all awe of God, and were given up to a sottish judgment to believe all kinds of fables and fancies....In succeeding ages the devil hath often played over the old game, sometimes oppressing the church by the tyranny of other times corrupting the truth by error, or rendering it suspicious by the divisions about it. Heresies revolve as fashions, and in the course of a few years antiquated errors revive again.”


They are like those adversaries of Israel described in Ezra 4:2, who came to Zerubbabel saying, “Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him,” though it was their intent to disrupt the work. They are like Simon Magus in Acts 8, who wanted to be baptized and acknowledged as a follower of Christ, though he was an enemy to Christ. Peter’s words have come to pass. — “There were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1).




Don Fortner



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