Jude 1:5-7, “But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”
In the previous verses Jude explains what kind of person and leaders turn into apostates. Apostasy, the turning AWAY from the truth back into the darkness willingly is a serious circumstance that has eternal consequences. This is the reason Jude is writing this letter, this Epistle to the church body at the time and why the Holy Spirit inspired him for all posterity. The ongoing church, even up until today needs to be vigilant and take heed.
Now I am not going to go in depth in the circumstance of apostasy at this time. I am going to let Jude speak his mind as written under inspiration of the Holy Spirit and am not going to delve into what men following him through the ages have done with the concept of apostasy. Right now, we will avoid the controversies and let the Bible stand upon its authority!
Jude goes on from the previous verses to explain three distinct examples of what he is talking about. He uses these examples to confirm the eternal significance of falling away, once walking in the truth.
There is absolutely no question as to God’s attitude towards the sinful nature of apostates. The first example is based upon the children of Israel in the wilderness after their escape and salvation from the Egyptians. We see the Apostle Paul write in 1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” So these things were recorded as examples that we are to regard until Christ Himself returns!
You can see the full story in Numbers chapter 13 and 14, but it involved a rejection of God’s promises concerning the land of Canaan, in which God told the children He would go before them and give them the land. Rather than the Lord’s Word, they chose to believe what the Word describes as an evil report, by the spies of Kadesh concerning the inhabitants of the land and the children of Israel rebelled.
Now think of this. These men and women had just been witness to some of the greatest miracles wrought by the hand of God in their escape from Egypt! They had seen the waters of the Red Sea part and allow them passage on dry land only to witness the waters envelope the chasing Egyptians. Yet when God tells them that He will go before them into the land He promises to give them, they believe the testimony of the cowardly spies of Kadesh! As a result of this all those who were twenty and older when they left Egypt perished in that very wilderness without being witness to God’s promise EXCEPT the faithful warriors, Caleb and Joshua! These people in their rebellion, after witnessing the strength, might AND promises of God Himself perished without ever seeing the promise fulfilled. They were truly saved from Egypt, but yet rejected God’s promise of a new home!
The second example that Jude gives is of the angels that rebelled. Now in truth there are at least a couple of instances of this and I don’t want to get into the controversies of what is being implied other than to point out that God did NOT condone the rebellion that went on in Heaven.
Jude tells us there were angels that “left their own abode” and they “did not keep their proper domain.” Because of their actions being so immoral and horrific to the Father, He has reserved them, restrained them “in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.”
These angels are the ones thought to be in reference to the angels of Genesis 6:1-7, though they were identified in the Word as angels, but rather as “the sons of God.” They are assumed to be the angels that Jude describes for they left their heavenly abode and came down to mate with human women which was an abomination to God. Where the thought that these “sons of God” were angels actually comes from the Semitic language as found in Job 1:6 and 2:1.
Now understand, these are not the fallen angels, the demons that are left unbound to roam freely, tempting man. Whatever the historical incident that lies behind verse 6 does not belie the point that these angels left their assigned posts and heavenly home to do what God found horrific in rebellion and thus He chained them in darkness awaiting their final judgment. Even the very angels do not escape from the sin of apostasy and what makes it even more chilling is that they were in the presence of the Almighty and KNEW first hand His glory and yet turned their backs on it!
The third apostasy that Jude uses as an example is what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities. So often we believe that it was JUST Sodom and Gomorrah, yet the immorality was so widespread that it infected the cities around Sodom and Gomorrah as well. This example can be located in Genesis 18:16-19:29.
Now notice how Jude starts the 7th verse with the Word in the NKJV, as. In the New American Standard Bible the word is translated just. This is tying what he is writing about to verse 6 and the plight of the angels. In fact he goes on to say plainly that these people had “given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh” and he mirrors the Apostle Paul’s comment from 1 Corinthians 10 that they are “set forth as an example.” It was gross immorality that was utterly against God’s nature and thus absolutely abhorrent to Him!
The Apostle Paul goes in depth into the specific sin of perversion in Romans 1:26-27. The people, especially the men of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, as the Bible goes into detail were particularly addicted to homosexuality.
I will most definitely not be very popular by saying this but it seems that many of our modern day apostates are in the forefront of those who publicly defend this lifestyle and don’t just want it legalized but they DEMAND that it be accepted by the churches and other religious institutions or face the verbal charge of being hateful and divisive, harsh and unloving!
You would think that the historical example of Sodom and Gomorrah and the other cities would be enough to recognize the nature and character of an Almighty God. These cities, the angels that rebelled and the children of Israel that perished in the wilderness due to rebellion are all examples of what is in store for the eternal future of those who reject but especially those who have seen and walked in the light and turned their backs on it; and that is what Jude went on to write, “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”
The fire and brimstone that Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim experienced was a natural fire sent from above to destroy them cities as an example to generations that would follow, but the eternal fire that Jude is describing, is a death that will last for eternity. Separation from God’s Light AND Love forever and ever. What an eternal tragedy.
Apostasy is spoken of in the Bible by several writers, not to put fear into the saints, but to remind us that we constantly NEED the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit to walk in the spirit and to lead a holy life. We CAN’T do it on our own, no matter how well-meaning we are. We are given these warnings so that we may remain vigilant and that we may continue to keep our eyes on our TRUE salvation, God, our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ, our Lord and our King of Kings!