JUDE’S DOXOLOGY – PART 9
We have seen previously that the word doxology comes from two Greek words – doxa which means glory or honour and logos which means words. So a doxology consists of words which ascribe or assign words of praise and in the case of the Bible this praise is given to God. We have also seen that the character of God will not be altered by such ascription but a doxology is instead a heartfelt acknowledgement of what already exists.
We have also seen that Jude felt that this acknowledgement of the character of God could not adequately be described by the use of one word. In his case he felt that four were more appropriate though no doubt he would have considered more and that might well be a useful exercise for us – to add a word or two extra to what Jude has already given.
Listen to the worship that originates from heaven and the words used,
11. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God.
12. Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
And here on earth are the words David uses.
10. And David blessed Jehovah before all the congregation. And David said, Blessed are You, Jehovah, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever.
11. O Jehovah, Yours is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty. For all in the heavens and in the earth is Yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Jehovah, and You lift up Yourself to all as Head.
Gracious hearts should have such a sense of God’s worth and perfection as would want to give Him as much praise as is possible. We should want to adore Him with the highest ascriptions of praise.
But going back to the words Jude uses, namely glory and majesty, dominion and power. We have already discussed the first two words and it is interesting to note how Jude brackets these words. I would describe the first pair as the passive side of the doxology. They are words used to primarily describe the person of God. They refer in particular to Who God is, Someone to be honoured and Who is glorious and splendid in appearance
In today’s lesson I want to consider the second pair of words which I am going to refer to as the active part of the doxology, the part that describes what God does. He exercises dominion and power.
These two active words are closely linked so I am sure that as the lesson develops there will be a considerable degree of overlap between the issues raised by these two words. Of course this pair of words is closely linked to the first pair as well because the truth is, that, for the present, not all of God’s creation acknowledge Him and Who He is. They do not acknowledge that He is a Being Who deserves to be honoured and accredited as being majestic. Therefore, they also do not accept His dominion and power either.
But before we get too far into the discussion we need to acknowledge, that Jude, in his unique way, does not use the words we would expect him to use. What we would expect would be the Greek words kuriotes meaning lordship and dunamis meaning power or energy but instead we find the words kratos and exousia.
kratos, the word Jude uses for dominion, means strength or a manifestation of power. It refers to the ability to achieve or perfect something. The verb form krateo means to capture, to grab hold of, to hold on to or to retain. It indicates that the power being described is superior to another. The word is also closely linked with our English word creation.
exousia indicates a person’s right or authority rather than to an exercise of energy.
So we are talking about ‘might and right,’ power and authority.
However, having indicated that there is a difference in our expectations and Jude’s use of words, it would appear from the way that commentators seem to ignore the differences, that the differences are small and that the words one would expect and what Jude uses are in fact very much synonyms much like the words “help” and “assist” might stand in relationship with each other.
So having, hopefully cleared that up, let us move on.
The Bible opens with a bold but simple statement.
1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And then in Revelation we also read the following.
11. O Lord, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You created all things, and for Your will they are and were created.
But note that the word for power here in Revelation is dunamis and not kratos.
This is what the Psalmist said –
5. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.
And here in Revelation again.
6. and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created the heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it, that there should no longer be time.
And He did this through the agency of Jesus. Jesus was the Creator.
9. and to bring to light what is the fellowship of the mystery which from eternity has been hidden in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ;
And when we think of creation we usually think of our material world, the natural world, but creation went far beyond that as this verse in Colossians tells us.
15. Christ is exactly like God, who cannot be seen. He is the first-born Son, superior to all creation.
16. Everything was created by him, everything in heaven and on earth, everything seen and unseen, including all forces and powers, and all rulers and authorities. All things were created by God’s Son, and everything was made for him.
7. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil. I the LORD do all these things.
So creation is a clear demonstration, and provides observable evidence of God’s great power.
20, For since the creation of the world God’s invisible attributes—his eternal power and divine nature—have been understood and observed by what he made, so that people are without excuse.
But not only did He create but He sustains that creation.
26. Look up at the sky! Who created the stars you see? The one who leads them out like an army, he knows how many there are and calls each one by name! His power is so great— not one of them is ever missing!
And at creation different sectors of the new order had power and authority dispensed to them. But note that the source of all their power was Jesus.
He retained overall control. As we have often said, “He is sovereign.” All other power exists only because He allows it.
12. All riches and wealth come from you; you rule everything by your strength and power; and you are able to make anyone great and strong.
13. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and we praise your glorious name.
The Psalmist says this –
19. Jehovah has prepared His throne in the heavens; and His kingdom rules over al
This is what Jesus Himself said –
18. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority is given to Me in Heaven and in earth.
And again in Colossians.
10. and you have been given full life in union with him. He is supreme over every spiritual ruler and authority.
His power to protect us, and His desire to show us love is also absolute.
38. I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love–not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future,
39. and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!
But let us consider where delegated power was assigned and what the results were. It would seem that this is of importance to the full acknowledgement of God’s dominion and power in both heaven and on earth.
Firstly we see assigned rule in the heavens.
17. He placed the lights in the sky to shine on the earth,
18. to rule over the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God was pleased with what he saw.
How has that turned out? Well, these are inanimate objects without a will of their own so every morning we get up and there is the sun and at night we look up and there is the moon, kept in their place by God’s sustaining power. This assignment has worked without a hitch. We would have to give the result of this assigned power a healthy tick.
Then there was power given to angels.
Angels are not female infants as they are often portrayed but are strong powerful beings described as being male and taking a male form when appearing as humans.
The archangel, Michael, is described as a prince having great power.
13. But the guardian angel of Persia opposed me for twenty-one days. Then Michael, who is one of the strongest guardian angels, came to rescue me from the kings of Persia.
Angels are more powerful than humans. This is what we are told in Genesis.
24. After he sent the man out, God placed angels and a flaming sword that turned in all directions east of the Garden of Eden. He placed them there to guard the way to the tree of life.
In fact heavenly spiritual beings are called rulers and powers.
10. so that now to the rulers and powers in the heavenlies might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
Some of the specific powers given to angels are outlined in Revelation.
18. And another angel came out from the altar, who had authority over fire. And he spoke with a great cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.
Angels are described as ministering spirits.
14. What are the angels, then? They are spirits who serve God and are sent by him to help those who are to receive salvation.
Jesus said this
53. Don’t you think that I could call on my Father to send more than twelve legions of angels to help me now?
In the Psalms we read this.
11. God will command his angels for you, and they will protect you wherever you go.
So was the distribution of power to angels successful? I think the evidence says, “Yes.”
20. Angels, praise the Lord! You angels are the powerful soldiers who obey God’s commands. You listen to God and obey his commands.
But wait, that is only part of the picture. Certain angels did abuse their power, notably Lucifer, whom we recognise as Satan. He wasn’t satisfied with the considerable power he was given and wanted more.
And note in this passage how often the phrase “I will” is recorded. This phrase is indicative of rebellion, rebellion against God’s dominion and power.
12. How you are fallen from the heavens, O shining star, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!
13. For you have said in your heart, I will go up to the heavens, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.
14. I will go up above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.
15. Yet you shall be brought down to hell, to the sides of the Pit.
Listen also to this.
15. You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you.
16. By the multitude of your goods they have filled your midst with violence, and you have sinned. So I cast you profaned from the height of God, and I destroy you, O covering cherub, from among the stones of fire.
17. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you have spoiled your wisdom because of your brightness. I will cast you to the ground; I will put you before kings, that they may behold you.
And it would seem that there were other angels who also rebelled and were condemned to the same fate as Satan. In Revelation we read about a future war and it involves Satan and his angels.
7. And there was war in Heaven. Michael and his angels warring against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels warred,
Jude tells us about some of them.
6. You also know about the angels who didn’t do their work and left their proper places. God chained them with everlasting chains and is now keeping them in dark pits until the great day of judgment.
But though God dealt with Satan’s original rebellion, He allows him to retain much of his power and assume the role of an evil spiritual prince.
18. to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
2. in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
He, together with the other fallen angels have formed a rebellious kingdom of darkness, an evil challenge to the dominion and power of God.
13. He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
This is what the Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians.
12. For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age.
But the extent of even Satan’s power is determined by God. Job’s experience is an example of this.
12. “All right,” the LORD said to Satan, “everything he has is in your power, but you must not hurt Job himself.” So Satan left.
6. So the LORD said to Satan, “All right, he is in your power, but you are not to kill him.”
With regard to us he is allowed to accuse but apparently not to act.
10. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
And this verse also indicates that God is not yet finished with Satan but we will have to discuss that at some other time.
So, how should we assess angelic use of the power granted them? It would need to be both a tick and a cross. And we will look at humans next time.
So to sum up God is sovereign. He does have dominion and power as demonstrated in creation. For that one reason alone we should therefore acknowledge that dominion and power.
God shares power with other parts of creation. But He retains overall control and expects that the application of that assigned power will adhere to the principles of His character and be exercised in righteousness, justice and goodness. Where the assignment of power is abused or misused God will reserve the right to exercise His sovereign power to rectify the rebellion but again only in accordance with aspects of His Divine nature – things already mentioned such as righteousness and justice, and also according to His own timing.