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“Who were Before of Old Ordained to this Condemnation”
I will make no attempt to pry into things beyond me; but I will not make Jude’s words say less than they do. Here, God the Holy Ghost tells us that those apostate heretics who slither into local churches and lead spiritually ignorant souls away from the simplicity of the gospel are men “who were before of old ordained to this condemnation.”
I am fully aware that the word here translated “ordained” means “written beforehand.” Many use that fact to try to make Jude’s words less offensive or even to make it appear that Jude is not talking about God’s eternal decree. But that is exactly what Jude is talking about. Just as our Lord Jesus was betrayed and delivered up to the hands of wicked men by the purpose of God, so our trials, even those that come by the infiltration of false prophets and their heresies, are according to God’s eternal purpose and sovereign decree (Psalms 76:10; 109:7-8; Proverb 16:4; John 17:12; 19:11; Acts 2:23; Romans 9:17; 11:33-
Either “all things are of God,” as the Book says they are, or they are not! The condemnation of these men was written in a book, the book of God’s eternal predestination, before the world began. They were “of old,” that is from eternity, “ordained to this condemnation.” That is exactly how the words “of old” are used in Proverbs 8:22.
Jude is assuring us that though they creep in unawares to us, they do not take God by surprise. His purpose is not altered by their evil deeds, but perfectly fulfilled. They were written down in God’s book for judgment, or condemnation.
I am also fully aware of the fact that those who oppose God’s absolute sovereignty of God respond to what I have just stated (to what God the Holy Spirit here declares) like this. — “That makes God the author of sin.” James tells us that is not the case (James 1:13). Doesn’t he?
Others will say, “Well, if they were ordained to this condemnation, they had no choice in the matter.” But, again, the Scriptures tell us that while the actions of such wicked men are “by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,” they are the deeds of their own wicked wills (Acts 2:23), actions for which they alone are responsible.
To what does Jude refer when he speaks of “this condemnation”? Let the text itself answer that question. The condemnation to which they were ordained is the condemnation of the apostasy described in this Epistle.
Because they suppress the truth in unrighteousness, God gives them over to a reprobate mind (Romans 1:18-32). Because they receive not the love of the truth, God sends them a strong delusion that they should believe a lie that they might be damned (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). The condemnation to which all apostates, all who will not hear and obey the gospel, are of old ordained is the everlasting wrath of God spoken of by Enoch (Jude 1:14-15).