The book of Jude says a lot towards false teachers. In verse 11, it’s interesting that he makes a lot of references to Israel’s history so they must have had a strong knowledge of it. He makes three claims about false teachers: (1) they were following in Cain’s example, (2) they had chosen profit above integrity, like Balaam, and (3) like Korah, they had rebelled against God.
Recall that Cain brought an offering to the Lord that was unacceptable (Genesis 4:3). Cain’s brother, Abel, brought an offering, a blood sacrifice offered in faith (Hebrews 11:4). Cain’s offering was rejected (Genesis 4:4-5). In the spirit of Cain’s example, Jude compares these false teachers in that they despised Jesus’ blood sacrifice and devised their own system of corrupt worship. It’s possible that Jude is implying some level of jealousy as well, that the false teachers may have had a level of jealousy for those who are truly following the path of the Lord.
Balaam was a heathen prophet who lived during the time of the Israelites’ journey through the wilderness. Balaam was offered rewards by Balak, the king of Moab, if he would curse the Israelites. Balaam refused to curse them, but offered Balak an alternative: corrupt the Israelites by convincing them to marry pagan Moabite women (Numbers 22-25). Jude accuses the false teachers for being eager to be profitable, rather than to preach the truth. They valued financial gain more highly than God’s word.
Korah and his followers, also during the Israelites’ journey through the wilderness, rebelled against Moses’ authority and refused to accept God’s authority with Moses as the Israelite leader (Numbers 16). Korah assumed the role of a priest at a time when Aaron was the appointed priest. As a result, God destroyed these rebels. The false teachers that Jude speaks of rejected the authority of the Scripture and those appointed to teach it. Jude is so certain of their destruction that he speaks of it in the past tense.
These comparisons help illustrate how Jude desired to encourage the first-century believers. He wants them to be reminded that the defenders of the truth will be victorious in the end!