Let’s read Jude 8-10, “Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, REJECT AUTHORITY, and SPEAK EVIL OF DIGNITARIES. Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not to bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’ But these SPEAK EVIL OF WHATEVER THEY DO NOT KNOW” (NKJV).

In verse 4 Jude warned his readers that “certain men have crept in unnoticed…ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (NKJV). These men were literally sneaking into the assemblies of God’s people pretending to be teachers of His Word, but in reality they were false teachers who were trying to destroy the truth of Christianity. Throughout this epistle Jude exposes their evil character and in the verses before us he reveals two of their greatest sins; they REJECTED AUTHORITY and they SPOKE EVIL OF THOSE IN AUTHORITY. These two go hand in hand, for if one has no respect for God (the “ultimate authority”) and for the governing authorities He has ordained, they will manifest this disregard for authority by speaking evil of those in authority. This would include speaking evil of all in positions of government on earth, as well as angelic beings who are in positions of power in heavenly places. These men had no respect for the truth of Romans 13:1, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Because of this, they were guilty of breaking God’s commandment in Exodus 22:28, “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.”

In verse 9 Jude sets before us an example that illustrates the respect we should have for all in authority, for even Michael the archangel refused to speak evil of the devil. Though Michael surely knew the devil was a fallen angel who is in rebellion against God, he still recognized him as one having authority in the realm of other fallen angels. And thus we read that Michael “dared not to bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you’!” I trust that all believers reading these lines will learn the lesson this is meant to teach us, for if Michael, the highest and most powerful of all God’s holy angels refused to slander the devil, we too should “guard our tongues” and refuse to speak evil of him. It is true that Satan is a defeated foe and will one day be cast into the lake of fire, but until that time God has allowed him to remain in a position of power and we would do well to acknowledge that power. There may be someone thinking, “Are we to let Satan have his way with us?” Absolutely not! The apostle Peter tells us in 1st Peter 5:8-9, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: WHOM RESIST STEDFAST IN THE FAITH.” In James 4:7 we have the same exhortation, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. RESIST THE DEVIL, and he will flee from you.” We can’t meet and defeat the devil in our own strength; we must submit ourselves to God and allow Him to give us the victory through faith in His Word (just as Jesus defeated the devil when He was tempted of him for 40 days). But as we find ourselves in conflict with the devil, we must apply the lesson we’ve had before us; we can RESIST HIM, but we should NOT SPEAK EVIL OF HIM.

I have purposely avoided the question that many may be entertaining, “Why were Michael and the devil arguing over the body of Moses?” We know from Deuteronomy 34:5-6 that God buried Moses in the land of Moab, but Scripture doesn’t reveal why Satan wanted the body of Moses. Many have speculated that Satan desired to build a shrine at Moses’ tomb so people would worship it instead of God. But this is mere speculation and we would be wise to accept the silence of Scripture. If God had wanted us to know, He would have told us.  (200.7)  (DO)