But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” These men, however, slander what they do not understand, and like irrational animals, (Jude 1:9-10a).
V. 9. The archangel Michael was sent to bury Moses’ body, but … the devil argued with the angel about the body, apparently claiming the right to dispose of it. But Michael, though powerful and authoritative, did not dare dispute with Satan, so he left the matter in God’s hands, saying, The Lord rebuke you! The false teachers Jude spoke of had no respect for authority or for angels. The apostates’ slandering of celestial beings (v. 8) stands in arrogant contrast to the chief angelic being, Michael, who would not dare slander Satan, chief of the fallen angels.
V. 10. Whereas Michael did not dare accuse the devil, these apostates, by contrast spoke abusively against what they did not understand. This abusive speech may refer to their slandering of angels (v. 8). Their understanding was debased, for it followed only natural animal instinct. The apostates’ only “reasoning” was like that of unreasoning animals. Rather than comprehending what was above them (the angels), they really understood only what was below them (the animals).
Pentecost, E. C. (1985). Jude. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 921). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
And yet today, how daringly some make claims and slander celestial beings. People prance around, “binding” satan, calling him names, asserting power over territory, and claiming to have understandings that only show their brutishness as unreasoning animals.
We (I) should be careful not to disrespect saints, pagans, or celestial beings of God’s order. Glimpses of angels holy and unholy in books like Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Revelation, and glimpses like this one in Jude of the archangel Michael, show how majestic and powerful they are. We don’t have the right to slander them, or each other, nor certainly Jesus. Yet we hear things all the time that impugn Jesus’ nature or His created order and His people.
Lord help me to mind the example shown to us here in Jude. I pray for your intervening help on matters involving satan, let me not rebuke him but rely on You and Your power only. Help guard my tongue, let me speak holy things, helpful things, hospitable things. In Your name I pray this.
N.A Abilgaard, L’Archange saint Michel et Satan se disputant le corps de Moïse, 1782, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Danemark.