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Jude 1:5-7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
5 Now I want to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep to their own domain but deserted their proper dwelling place, he has kept in eternal bonds under deep darkness for the judgment of the great day, 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross sexual immorality and having gone after other flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.
SAD LESSONS FROM HISTORY Jude 5–7
Jude then sensitizes his readers, and especially the seducers, to the history of unbelief and rebellion by writing, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe (v. 5). God’s mercy and deliverance in the past does not release us from future accountability (Num. 13, 14, 32). As John Wesley stated,“ Let none therefore presume upon past mercies, as if he was now out of danger.” Therefore, contend for the faith.
Jude reviews several stories that were familiar to the Jews among the readers and instructive to the Gentile believers. God delivered the Israelites from slavery and the wrath of the Egyptians. It was an enormous display of God’s power and protection. He provided them with a new place to live, a land with immense promise. But they were all afraid to enter the land God had provided because of the obstacles and their fear of its notorious inhabitants. Their fear overcame their faith, in the very shadow of God’s miraculous deliverance from their longtime captors. Because of their unbelief, in spite of overwhelming evidence that deserved their faith, many of them died in the wilderness. Even though the people knew the story, Jude retold it. As believers, we often need to be reminded of stories like these.
We Need to Be Reminded of Truth We Constantly Forget
That is the nature of people; we know that there is a better way to speak, think, act, and react, but how easy it is to forget and return to old attitudes and ways! That is why one of the main tasks of preaching and teaching is to constantly remind people of what people are constantly forgetting.
Unbelief Is Disastrous for Any Generation
We are called to live by faith. John repeatedly told his readers to believe (1 John 3:23). Active faith is the primary part of our salvation at any level of spiritual development. We must be serious about teaching others to embrace the faith that was once delivered and to trust that it is still good and fresh.
Those Blessed with Great Privilege Have Great Responsibility
During His life on earth, Jesus said that to whom much was given, much would be required. The greater the opportunities, the greater the responsibility one has. Such was the case with the Israelites and their leaders. Joshua and Caleb passed the test; the others failed. Jude is probably even helping the seducers to realize that what they conceive as special and privilege comes with great accountability.
The Justice and Judgment of God Will Not Always Be Delayed
One of the frightening messages of this letter is that of the wrath and judgment of God. In our love of God’s grace, and the grace that flows from God’s love, we dare not forget that He is a God of justice, and all of us are finally accountable.
The second example Jude gives is about the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home (v. 6). Barclay reminds us that the Jews had highly developed doctrines about angels. They even believed that every nation had its presiding angel. Much is said about these views in the apocryphal book of Enoch, which Jude cites (vv. 14–15). There seem to be two storylines regarding these fallen angels.
First are the angels that fell due to their pride and rebellion. We have biblical traces of this story in Isaiah 14:12 and Luke 10:18. The second stream of teaching comes from Genesis 6:1–4. In this account, the angels were attracted to the women of earth. Female beauty drew them to come to earth, seduce the women, and sin against their purpose in life, against themselves, the women, the men, and God. The two deadly inclinations about which Jude is reminding us are pride and lust. Each of them can go from being a tendency and an inclination to a passion for rebellion against principles, people, and God. Eventually, they become our own worst enemy.
The fate of those angels, says Jude, was grim: these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. Once again, Jude’s comments almost mirror those of 2 Peter 2:4.
The third example is that of Sodom and Gomorrah. These ancient cities were notorious for their sexual sins and became the object of obliteration by fire from God (Gen. 18, 19). Their sad example was fixated in the minds of the ancient Jews, for they made frequent reference to the occasion (Deut. 29:23; 32:32; Isa. 1:9; 3:9; 13:19; Jer. 23:14; 49:18; 50:40; Lam. 4:6; Ezek. 16:46, 49, 53, 55; Amos 4:11; Zeph. 2:9).
Jesus mentioned Sodom and Gomorrah in various ways (Matt. 10:15; 11:24; Luke 10:12; 17:29) along with other authors (Rom. 9:29; 2 Pet. 2:6; Rev. 11:8). Jude seems to be thinking of a particularly debasing situation when he says that Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion (v. 7). The occasion likely indicated was the time the men of Sodom desired to commit homosexual rape against Lot’s male visitors. Peter says of them, “With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood” (2 Pet. 2:14). Even today, the sin of “sodomy” is named after this infamous city.
These are dreadful examples of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. The particular Greek word for “suffering” is found only here in the New Testament. If this is an accurate description of hell, then we must beware and spare no effort to seek purity and avoid such consequences.
By David A. Case and David W. Holdren