â€œThese are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear.â€ (Jude 1:12)
The â€œspotsâ€ that the translators chose for this description by Jude may be better understood as â€œhidden rocksâ€ just below a lakeâ€™s surface or covered over by shallow sand in a pathway.Â SpilasÂ is the Greek word, not used elsewhere in the New Testament.
The feasts that Jude refers to are somewhat difficult to describe biblically since this is the only time the wordÂ agapeÂ is used in the plural. There is some evidence that the early churches were extending the time of celebration of the Lordâ€™s Supper improperly (1 Corinthians 11:20-21), and it is probable that his warning would apply to churches who are indifferent to maintaining purity (1 Corinthians 11:27-29).
But the imagery also appears to express the danger that the â€œspotsâ€ present amidst the loving environment of most churches. Jude gives several insights about the character of those who would resist â€œthe faith.â€ These people have established themselves as they feast and are â€œfeeding themselves without fear.â€ The word choices are powerful.
The spots areÂ suneuocheo, getting along very well with the rest of the church and shepherding themselves (poimaino) boldly (aphobos). This is bad! These evil men have become so entrenched that they lead their own faction with no fear of resistance or confrontation. The Lord Jesus has stern words to speak to those churches who allow biblical error to establish itself through false teachers and unconcerned leaders (Revelation 2â€“3).
Peter describes such people as â€œspots . . . and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you . . . that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable soulsâ€ (2 Peter 2:13-14). Not a pretty picture. God does not tolerate such ungodly behavior, and neither should we. HMM III