There is a very interesting passage in the book of Jude concerning the Deity of Jesus, as it pertains to how modern critics view him. Jude 1:4 calls for our attention, and we need to pause to take in the full impact of what Jude is saying. Notice what the Scripture says:
Jude 1:4 NASB For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (emphasis: mine)
Does the word only describe Master or Lord or both? If it describes Lord, then Jude 1:5 continues to describe our only Lord as Jehovah, who led Israel out of Egypt. In verse-9 Jehovah (Lord) is asked to rebuke Satan, and finally in Jude 1:14, Enoch prophesied of the Lord (Jehovah) coming with his holy myriad to execute judgment upon the ungodly. This last mention of the Lord is a clear reference to Jesus. Notice, Revelation 19:11-21 where Christ returns to earth with “the armies that were in heaven” and “judges and makes war in righteousness” (Revelation 19:11, 14). Compare this with the Scripture where Enoch prophesies:
Jude 1:14-15 NET. Now Enoch, the seventh in descent beginning with Adam, even prophesied of them, saying, “Look! The Lord is coming with thousands and thousands of his holy ones, (15) to execute judgment on all, and to convict every person of all their thoroughly ungodly deeds that they have committed, and of all the harsh words that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
In each of the above references to the Lord in Jude 1:5, 9 & 14 the Greek word is Kurios (G2962) in the Greek. This is the very same word translated into the word Lord in Jude 1:4. Therefore, if the word only refers to “…Lord, Jesus Christ” in verse-4, the same Greek word translated into the Lord in verses 5, 9 and 14 must be ascribed to the “only…Lord, Jesus Christ” as well. In other words Jesus and Jehovah (the Lord) are one and the same Being. The Scriptures do not reveal a promise that our Father in heaven will manifest himself to us in any way other than in his Son (cp. John 14:7-9 and John 15: 24). Considering this argument alone, Jude 1:14 would have to indicate that the Lord (Jehovah) is Jesus regardless of what we find concerning the word only in Jude 1:4.
On the other hand, does the word only, used in Jude 1:4, describe the word, Master? The word master means: “one who has absolute ownership and uncontrolled power.” [W.E. Vine’s An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words – G1203, under the word: master] It is despotes (G1203) in the Greek, from which we get our word despot. If the word, only, describes the Greek word despotes, then Jesus is described in the following scriptures:
Luke 2:29 NET. “Now, according to your word, Sovereign Lord (G1203 – despotes), permit your servant to depart in peace. (Simeon’s prayer of praise to God).
Acts 4:24 NET. When they heard this, they raised their voices to God with one mind and said, “Master of all (G1203 – despotes), you who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them, (Cp. Colossians 1:15-17).
2 Timothy 2:21 NET. So if someone cleanses himself of such behavior, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart, useful for the Master (G1203 – despotes), prepared for every good work.
2 Peter 2:1 NET. But false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. These false teachers will infiltrate your midst with destructive heresies, even to the point of denying the Master (G1203 – despotes) who bought them. As a result, they will bring swift destruction on themselves. (Matthew 13:44-46; cp. my study on Acts 20:28 above where it is claimed that Jesus ,God, bought us with his own blood).
Revelation 6:10 NET. They cried out with a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Master (G1203 – despotes), holy and true, before you judge those who live on the earth and avenge our blood?” (cp. Revelation 19:11; Jude 1:14; John 5:22 – our Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to be in the hands of Christ). [parenthesis mine throughout]
In the Scriptures quoted above, not only is Jesus seen as our Master (G1203 – despotes) and therefore our only Master (Jude 1:4), but some of them indicate that Christ, (our Master) is worshiped. The first Christians prayed to him as their Master – the One who bought them (Acts 4:24); the prayers of the saints in heaven are directed to the Master and Judge of all (Revelation 6:10, cp. John 5:22 and 2Peter 2:1).
The fact that Christ is worshiped is evident in the New Testament. The Greek word for worship is proskyneo and means to bow down, worship. It is always used in the New Testament in relation to a divine object [Bromiley’s Theological dictionary of the New Testament; proskyneo; C. The New Testament, page 949].
We are to worship (proskyneo) God and God alone (Matthew 4:10). Satan desires worship (proskyneo) (Matthew 4:9); and succeeds to cause the world to worship (proskyneo) the beast and his image (Revelation 13:4, 15). Jesus received worship (proskyneo) and never rebuked anyone for doing so (Matthew 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 20:20). After his resurrection his followers worshiped (proskyneo) him (Matthew 28:9) including his apostles (verse-17), but some others with the disciples doubted. When Thomas saw him, he called him both Lord and God (John 20:28)! In all of this Jesus never once told his worshipers that they shouldn’t do this. Yet, when Peter was receiving the same worship (proskyneo), he demanded the man to stop at once (Acts 10:25-26). When John, the apostle, began to worship (proskyneo) the angel speaking to him, he was told to stop (Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9) for only God is to receive worship (proskyneo), yet Jesus was worshiped (proskyneo) and never once rebuked the one who worshiped him!
In conclusion, the word only can describe either the word: Master or Lord, or even both, because both titles belong to Jesus. The Scriptures seem to demand that all God’s children bow down to Christ as our only Master and Lord (Jehovah)!