Q Who are the “saints” who return with the Lord at His Second Coming as written in Jude 1:14?
ANSWER: Jude 1:14 states, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of His saints.” Many pastors and Bible teachers will tell you that the “saints” in this verse refers to the saved that the Lord brings with Him when He returns to earth. I think the Scriptures point to another answer.
The Body of Christ?
Due to the fact that this is a prophecy that Enoch prophesied before there was even an Israel, the “saints” cannot be the Body of Christ, which is an “unsearchable” (untraceable) group not mentioned in prophecy (Eph. 3:1-9). We shouldn’t use I Thessalonians 4:14 (“even so them also which sleep will God bring with Him”) to help us understand this verse; the coming in Thessalonians is a unique set of circumstances. Jude is discussing the Second Coming of Christ, not the Secret Coming (a.k.a. Rapture) spoken of in Thessalonians and only revealed in the Mystery.
Many consider the saints to be Kingdom believers, like those mentioned in Revelation 6:9. Yet, Revelation 20:6 tells us that the Kingdom saints will be resurrected to enter the Millennium, not descended (cf. Dan. 12:2). Remember, Enoch died almost 1,300 years before Abram was born, so he did not have a direct covenant with God. Enoch’s understanding was not to come back with the Lord; rather, he would have had an outlook like Job who said in Job 19:25- 26: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” Job and Enoch looked forward to being bodily resurrected to stand before the Lord on earth when He returned with “ten thousand of His saints to execute judgment upon all.”
So, if it is not the Body of Christ and doesn’t seem to be the Old Testament believers or the Kingdom saints, who is left? Are there any correlating verses that would help us understand who is coming with the Lord here? Let’s break it down.
“Ten thousands” is the word for myriad. Deuteronomy 33:2 says, “The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; He shined forth from mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints: from His right hand went a fiery law for them.” Moses described the Lord coming with holy myriads. Other verses point to angels having a part in delivering the Law on Sinai (See Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19; Heb. 2:2). Psalm 68:17 praises, “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels.” The psalmist declares God has a myriad of chariots for His angelic hosts. These are the same myriad of angelic forces that are returning with the Lord at His Second Coming as recorded in Revelation 19:11-18 which tells us that a myriad of holy angels will be returning with Christ to wage war against His opposition.
The word “saints” in Jude 1:14 means sacred, holy, consecrated, sanctified. This same Greek word is used elsewhere in the Scriptures to describe the Holy Ghost (Matt. 1:20), Jerusalem (Matt. 4:5), sacred things (Matt. 7:6), angels (Matt. 25:31), people (Matt. 27:52), Jesus (Mark 1:24), John the Baptist (Mark 6:20), name (Luke 1:49), prophets (Luke 1:70), covenant (Luke 1:72), firstfruits (Rom. 11:16), bodies (Rom. 12:1), kiss (Rom. 16:16), children (I Cor. 7:14), and many other things designated holy and consecrated. As you can see, the word has a wide use, so a verse’s context will define the word’s use.
Most of the time it is used as an adjective so the assigned meaning is not usually difficult to determine (e.g., Jude 1:20 has “holy faith” and “Holy Ghost”; also, Jude 1:1 “sanctified” is in the same family and 1:3 “saints” is the same exact word), but Jude isn’t assigned a word to modify. Many times, the KJV translators used the word “saints” in these occasions. The problem is that our church tradition has taught us to treat the word saints as it applies to those persons who have been made holy. Yet, the original Greek word here is not as specific—it simply refers to consecrated or holy ones.
Believers are not the only created beings that God has consecrated or made holy. Which begs the question: Are there any verses speaking of the Lord returning with thousands of consecrated ones?
Matthew 16:27 reveals, “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels.” Later, Matthew records “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory” (25:31). The word “holy” in the preceding verse is the same word translated “saints” in Jude 1:14.
Speaking of the consequence for those ashamed of Christ, Mark 8:38 preserves Jesus warning, “…of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Again, the adjective “holy” is the same word “saints” in Jude 1:14. Then, as a word of comfort, II Thessalonians 1:7 reminds, “…when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels.”
I believe the Scriptural evidence points to the verse in Jude 1:14 quoting Enoch prophesying of the Lord returning to earth with myriads of His holy angelic hosts to reclaim the earth. The next verse in Jude fits well with this conclusion “to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed….” This also fits perfectly with what we read of the events foretold in Revelation 19.
by Pastor Matt Ritchey
Take me to Question One of this BABQ edition: Will Gentile believers come back from heaven and live on earth?