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Last week Jude reminded his readers that they need to remember the disobedience of the generation of Israelites that were delivered out of Egypt. Even after the miracles God performed, He subsequently destroyed them because they did not believe. That was Jude’s first example of God’s judgment; now let’s check out the second and third examples in Jude’s exemplarific trifecta.
Jude 6-7 says, “And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.”
We saw Jude’s first example last week, now let’s check out his second example of God’s judgment. We covered this same event when we were in Peter’s second letter, but Jude attacks it from a different angle. Interest in angels has grown over the years. From movies like Angels in the Outfield and Heaven Can Wait to TV shows like Touched by an Angel and Highway to Heaven. We have the city of Los Angeles which is Spanish for the angels and is home to the baseball team called the Angels. We have girls named Angel, Angela, Angelia, Angelica, Angelina, and Angeline. We have angel tattoos and Curtis Sliwa’s Guardian Angels. The stereotypical angel has rosy cheeks, is somewhat plump, wears a white flowing robe, carries a harp, has white feathered wings, and of course the real identifier is the golden halo. Angels are hugely popular, but Jude talks about some angels that did something they should not have done. Jude presents a parallel verse to the one we looked at in 2 Pet. 2:4 and says there are, “angels that did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode.” These angels were supposed to keep their own domain, but did not. They were supposed to stay in their proper abode, but did not. Remember Jude is explaining and reminding his readers by way of example why God’s judgment will occur to the creepers because they, “Were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation.” Jude and Peter came to the same conclusion about Gen. 6:1-4. Let’s review what happened in Genesis. Here’s the condensed version. Sons of God refer to angels and daughters of men refer to women. These angels looked at the daughters of men and saw that they were beautiful. Beautiful literally means good. Sound familiar? It’s the same word used to describe how Eve felt about the fruit of the tree that led her to take it. So these angelic beings took humans as their wives and engaged in activity reserved for husband and wife. They crossed over the boundaries established by God. Just prior to this event in Genesis, we see a new character introduced by the name of Noah. So if you keep reading, you have the flood account; a story of worldwide judgment.
Back in Jude 6, the word “domain” is used. It means a sphere of influence or authority. The angels Jude refers to did not stay within the authority or sphere of influence God established for them. The angels, “abandoned their proper abode.” They left where they were supposed to be as ordered by God. As a result of their disobedience God, “kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day.” There’s more here than meets the eye. Don’t think of these angels as sitting in a dungeon somewhere waiting until the judgment comes. God created these angels to enjoy His presence. These angels were able to freely move about in the shining light of God’s presence. Now they are in darkness. While they have been judged for leaving their domain and abandoning their proper abode, this is not the final judgment. They have been stripped of the power and authority they once had. Are you ready for Jude’s third example? Many people have heard of Sodom and Gomorrah. Peter talked about the preservation of Lot who lived in Sodom. But Peter’s focus was on Lot’s salvation and not necessarily the judgment for Sodom’s sin although we did see that. Let’s quickly review. We saw from 2 Peter that these cities were reduced to ashes because of the ungodliness of the people living there. The details are found in Genesis 18-19. While this is a story of salvation for Lot, it is a tragic story of wickedness, ungodliness, and death for the rest. Gen. 13:13 tells us that the, “Men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord.” If you go back to Genesis, you’ll see Abraham bargaining with the Lord to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of the righteous. First for 50 righteous men, then 45, 40, 30, 20, and finally 10. It is important to mention that Abraham was Lot’s uncle. For all the ungodliness and sin that was going on in Sodom and Gomorrah, God still made a way to deliver people committed to Him. Abraham prayed the city would be spared for the sake of 10 righteous and yet the city was destroyed. There weren’t 10 righteous people there.
Jude gives us a detail not included in Peter’s second letter. Look at v. 7. The clause, “just as” links the activities of the angels and the activities of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Notice that the cities around Sodom and Gomorrah were engaging in the same activities that brought destruction upon them. Deut. 29:23 tells us those cities were Admah and Zeboiim. They, “indulged in gross immorality.” Sexual sin was rampant but was not their only issue. Ez. 16:49 tells us that Sodom was arrogant and had abundant food, yet they showed no concern for the poor or needy. Jewish historian Josephus criticized Sodom for its pride and hatred of foreigners. Not only did they indulge themselves in gross immorality, Jude says they, “went after strange flesh.” This refers to the same sin that dominated Sodom. So why does Jude talk about Sodom and Gomorrah? Peter wanted his readers to know that God will always deliver His children. Jude wanted his readers to know that sin will always be judged. He concluded Sodom and Gomorrah are, “An example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.” The people of those cities stood in opposition to the things that are right and godly and holy and pure and moral. Because of their behavior, judgment occurs. They behave in a certain way because they have no relationship with Christ. Not only do Sodom and Gomorrah serve as a historic example, they also serve as a prophecy of what will occur on that day. Jude is not saying that the creepers engaged in the exact same sin as that of Sodom, but we’ll see in coming verses that they did engage in activities reserved for husband and wife within the confines of marriage. Jude’s point is that sin will be judged. Just because the evidence of judgment may not be apparent to our eyes, it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t care. We’ve seen from John’s first letter that we should not choose to sin.
We’ve heard Jesus say that the proof our relationship with Him is in obedience to His commands. Jude is providing concrete examples where God does exactly as He says He will do. He judged sin then and He will judge sin today.