Jude - Seventh in a series
Three rebellious types are outlined in Jude 5-7, and verse 8 pegs each of the types. This is a history lesson to refresh the memories of those who "once knew this" (Jud 1:5), that is, Jews who would recall their Scriptures, so it seems likely that Jude wrote to fellow Jews who had claimed Jesus Christ as their Messiah.
It is important for any with prior Bible knowledge to remain mindful of truths he or she has known and to build on them daily; otherwise we will become as those who forget and shrink back (Deut 4:9, 23; 6:12; 8:11, 19). But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (Heb 10:39)
The three rebellious types are:
- The Israelites of Exodus who "believed not"
- The angels who broke from their appointed realm
- The Sodomites of Sodom and its surroundings.
In reverse order, verse 8 describes each type: they
- defile the flesh
- despise dominion
- speak evil of dignities.
These descriptions are like "Wanted" posters for the rebels who have crept in to the church. If we can identify the outlaws in our midst, we can avoid being taken as their hostages. So, let's take a close look at each one.
Jude 5: I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
Israel's exodus from Egypt was accomplished by a series of miraculous judgments, ranging from swarms of frogs, lice, flies, locusts and grievous hail to massive darkness, and worse, that did not affect the Jews but only the Egyptians. Then, their journey across the dry river bed of the Red Sea whose waters engulfed the pursuing army; the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night that led their way; heavenly food rained down for sustenance; water pouring out of a rock for their refreshing — what privilege!
Even so, while Moses was on Mt. Sinai communing with God for forty days, they turned to worship a golden calf made from jewelry they had been given by the Lord as their plunder of the Egyptians for repayment after serving as their slaves. For this rebellion, 3,000 were killed, and none of the generation that continually doubted were permitted to enter Canaan. (Num 14:22, 23; 1 Cor 10:1-5)
Jude is saying that these Jews are analogous to those who witnessed the miracles of Jesus and either saw Christ or knew those who encountered him after his resurrection. How many miracles does one need to experience to secure his faith? Those who have stood near to Wisdom and Light will be judged more severely. (Mat 12:42) This is pointed at the intruders and to any believers who might be drawn away by their provocations.
In Jude 6 we read: And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
This verse may refer to Genesis 6 where the extreme evil in the world that was wiped clean by Noah's flood is explained thus: And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose… (Gen 6:1-4) There are varying views on this passage. Some commentators state that the "sons" referred to were Seth's lineage, but others point out:
- Cain's progeny could not have had all the good-looking gals,
- the same term is used in Job to describe the angels including Satan (Job 1:6),
- the unions produced giants, and
- the wickedness on the earth became so massive so quickly that a nearly universal elimination of humankind was necessitated.
We cannot know how the angelic intrusion into earth's marriage beds was "fleshed out" so to speak, but Jude makes plain that God has power to put an end to all such rebellion. Likewise, for any Jew or Gentile who either grew up or came to understand the boundaries of God's laws and then broke away and began tempting others to depart from God's dominion and join in their rebellion, condemnation is assured.
Some commentators explain that Jude 6 refers to the angels who accompanied Satan in his rebellion. (Isaiah 14:12-14; Rev 12:4). On the other hand, the Revelation passage could have reference to Genesis 6. In the Bible, some mysteries are not fully explained.
The connection to Genesis 6 is supported by 2 Peter 2:4, 5, For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast [them] down to hell, and delivered [them] into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth [person], a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly... This seems to associate the chaining of the rebellious angels to the time period prior to the great flood.
Jude 7 states: Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
This reference makes plain that the infiltrators of the Christian fellowship were sexual offenders in some aspect. They are described as lascivious (Jude 1:4) and as filthy dreamers (Jude 1:8).
All sexual sin explodes in a flood of tears for the repentant, and a raging, eternal fire for the reprobate.