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Jude in his tirade against the teachers of false doctrine has compared them to Sodom and Gomorrah in verse 7, promising they will suffer the same fate as those wicked cities. In verse 8, he continues lambasting them, calling them filthy dreamers who defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. This same evil is taking over churches today, as filthy dreamers devise ways to introduce lukewarmth to God’s people. Dignity is something the Lord wants us to bring to His house, but people have so little respect for the temple that they dress like slobs and then claim that God only cares about their hearts. We have degraded church into a casual environment; how we treat His house demonstrates how much we love Him.
Verse 9, however, brings us into a totally different subject. Most of Jude has been about exposing false doctrine, but this verse unlocks an entire network of prophecies that ties together both the Old and New Testaments.
Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
On the surface, this is a simple concept. It declares that Michael fought Satan over the body of Moses but defeated him by rebuking him. As Jesus demonstrated, we don’t have to wrestle or debate the devil, but when he comes against us, merely resist him. James 4:7: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Since Jude is speaking about false prophets in the church, we can safely assume he is stating that we can drive them out not with force, but by fighting their deceit with the truth in the Word.
But this image of Michael battling the devil over Moses’ body is not found anywhere else in scripture, and that is why it is so intriguing. To what exactly is Jude referring, why did he bring it up for this example, and how does it connect with end times prophecy?
God would not allow Moses to enter the Promised Land for smiting the rock; but he did allow him to climb Mount Nebo to see Canaan before the Israelites took it. Deuteronomy 34:4-5: And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord (verse 5). Moses was alone on the mountain, so God Himself buried him; if we understand Jude correctly, Michael was the one to guard his body. Where God and the angel laid the body to rest was hidden and unknown, even to this day. Verse 6: And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.
But why would Satan care so much about the body of the prophet, that he would challenge Michael the archangel over it? Moses was dead; surely he was no longer a threat to the devil. And why was it so important that the most powerful angel had to guard it while the Lord whisked it away to an unknown location?
Revelation 11:3-12 tells us that two witnesses will begin preaching during the Tribulation. Verse 3: And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. The Antichrist will hate these two prophets because they speak the truth, and will send soldiers with his mark to try to kill them. However, God will have a hedge of protection around them and if any tries to harm them, fire will proceed out of their mouths to consume them. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed (verse 5).
On top of such great power, these two prophets will also be able to call plagues upon the earth to punish those who worship the Beast. No one will be able to stop them until he is given power to destroy them. Verse 7: And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. Sinful humanity the world over will rejoice and even treat the event like a holiday, exchanging gifts. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth (verse 10).
The Antichrist will be so boastful of his victory over God’s witnesses that he will put their bodies on display and force the world to watch. Verse 9: And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. This kind of technology, for the entire human race to watch one even, was impossible in Bible days; but in our age of satellites and the internet, the stage is set for prophecy to be fulfilled.
The devil will think he has won, but it is all a setup for God to reveal his power. After three and-a-half days, God will resurrect the two witnesses while the world is watching. Verse 11: And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. Great fear will shake those with the Mark of the Beast as they watch the One True God resurrect His servants and carry them into Heaven. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them (verse 12).
The two witnesses are actually Moses and Elijah. Verse 6 describes their powers: These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. Holding back rain was a power given to Elijah: And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word (1 Kings 17:1). Moses, on the other hand, could turn water into blood. Exodus 7:20: And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.
Deuteronomy 18:18 spells out that Moses would one day return: I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. Elijah’s appearance in the end times was also prophesied: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: (Malachi 4:5).
In Matthew 17, Jesus took Peter, James and John to the top of the Mount of Transfiguration, where they were privileged to see Jesus in His glorified state. Verses 1 and 2: And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. But Jesus wasn’t the only one there: Moses and Elijah were with Him, in Heaven, as witnesses to His glory. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him (verse 3). What were they talking about? According to Luke, His soon-coming crucifixion. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:30-31).
Elijah was taken up into Heaven. 2 Kings 2:11: And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. Few dispute that Elijah is one witness, but some believe Enoch is the other witness, as he also never died. And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him (Genesis 5:24). This, however, is irrelevant. Enoch was not a Jew, and therefore he does not qualify as a witness to redeem Israel during the Tribulation.
So why was the body of Moses so precious? Because God will resurrect him during the Tribulation as one of the two witnesses. He did not need to protect the body of Elijah, because Elijah was raptured to Heaven. The devil knows God’s plan and desperately tried to steal the body; he is well aware what damage Moses will do to the kingdom of the Antichrist. But thank God, Michael showed us that we merely have to rebuke Satan, and he will flee from us.
And just like the two witnesses, if we have the Holy Ghost baptism, then when the enemy comes against us to destroy us, the fire of God will proceed out of our mouths and destroy him. Isaiah 59:19: When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.