We will take up where we left off in Jude verse 7 but first a quick review for those that missed last week. All of this teaching is in the section that is the main body of teaching. Jude’s focus in this section was broader as he presented “three truths about truth” in these illustrations. To do this Jude pulled from three different groups or “corporate departures” from truth. Each of them is different from the others and all illustrate why the reader of this letter need to be very diligent to contend for the faith:
- Vs. 5 Israelites “Truth Cuts both ways: The example is taken from the history with regards to Israel who all were under the blood of the Passover yet after they were saved by obedience to God’s word at the Passover but afterward many of them in the wilderness were destroyed because they refused to obey.
- Vs. 6 Fallen angelic Knowing truth doesn’t guarantee obedience to it: The fallen are the second example in a difficult passage that Jude uses to illustrate that these fallen angels were in the constant proximity to ALL TRUTH didn’t that proximity didn’t guarantee obedience to it.
We will now move on to the last of these three and the:
3. Vs. 7 Residents of Sodom and Gomorrah Ignorance of the truth is no excuses; “Sodom and Gomorrah…given themselves over…gone after strange flesh..” The final illustration is that of two worldly cities that were ignorant of truth so much so that Lot was sent there to try to bring truth into these wicked cites and there were not 10 righteous and it appears that wickedness had a greater impact upon righteousness then righteousness had upon wickedness.
Vs. 7 Ignorance of the truth is no excuses
Vs. 7 The third corporate example must have been a rather humbling one for the church to receive. I can only imagine what it was like for believers to receive instruction from the example of Sodom and Gomorrah found in Genesis 13-19. The context of this is found at the end of the 6th verse where Jude wrote of the fallen angel’s judgment of being “for the judgment of the great day”; then Jude writes in verse 7 “as Sodom and Gomorrah”. There appear to be two things that are being linked in the illustration with fallen:
- First, it is clear that their final judgment is something both the rebellious angels and the rebellious inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah share, even though the exact manner of that judgment differs:
- The fallen angels are “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for judgment of the great days”.
- The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah are going to “suffer the vengeance of eternal fire.”
- The second thing these two illustrations have in common is the manner in which their rebellion manifested as both went after “strange flesh”. This is more visible in the Greek then it is in the translation but as I mentioned last week it is what further clarifies the biblical reference of verse 6 of Jude with the Genesis 6:1-7 passage. For instance, notice the phrase “similar manner to these” in verse 7 as the similarity between theses two illustrations is NOT upon the cites of Sodom and Gomorrah but that of the “going after strange flesh”. The Greek word for “strange” means of a “different kind” which clarifies the interpretation of the Genesis 6:1-7 as the fallen angel’s rebellion was fornication with a different kind then what they were created with. They were in some way having sex with women of the human race and that is why I believe that this involved demonic possession on men as angels do not procreate according to the words of Jesus in Matt 22:30.
With that said the question we need to ask is what biblical examples can the church learn from Sodom and Gomorrah? I believe that that Jude will points out four lessons we can learn from the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah as it relates to false teachers:
- Vs. 4 Their practice “They turn the grace of God into lewdness”
- Vs. 8 Their attitude “They defile the flesh”
- Vs. 10 Their nature “They like brute beasts corrupt themselves”
- Vs. 16 Their appetites “They walk according to their own lusts”
A quick scan of the Bible will allow the student to see the connection with Sodom and Gomorrah and the apostasy in last days. Jesus spoke of it in Luke 17:28-30 saying, “Likewise as it was also in the days of LOT …” The conditions of that time and the time of the apostasy will be similar. It is for this reason that Jesus used these two fallen cites as an illustration and why it is beneficial for us to look at this story in greater detail. To do so we will need some basic information specifically “the setting and timing of the story found in Genesis 13-19.” One of the dangers of knowing a story as well as most do in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is that we fail to dig deeper. The first clue we have is found in Jesus words concerning the great apostasy just prior to His second coming when he used two historical references to paint a picture of the setting and timing. Again, we need only go back to that passage of Luke 17:28-30 and look at verse 27 as Jesus places these two historical events next to each other… “They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” Here we are given an interesting truth with regards to these two historical events and that is that they were connected! What we need to realize is that the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were not ignorant of truth they were disobedient to it! I present two facts that support this position:
- God’s revelation of His holy character was not unknown to that generation as we assume that it took Lot to bring the truth to them and then the angels to rescue Lot. The chronological history the Bible sheds light on this as from the time of Noah and the destruction of the world except for 8 people preserved in the ark was only 450 years. In those 450 years the world had already began to repopulate and all of those that lived in Sodom and Gomorrah were direct descendants of those 8. In fact, we can deduce that Shem, Noah’s middle son who was born when Noah was 503 would still be walking upon the earth for another 50 years at the time of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The people who lived in those two cites had recent history of what happens when as society has as its core “every intent of the thoughts of their heart only evil continually.” Gen. 6:5. Shem was 98 when the flood started and 100 when his first-born son Arphaxad was born according to scripture. Shem was their when his younger brother Ham uncovered their father Noah. Shem saw the repatriation of the land and witnessed that sin lay at the door of this early family. Could have spoken of the destruction of the first civilization and warned the growing population of continued disobedience.
- The second fact that supports this reality is found in the commentary of Ezekiel in 16:49-50. It is Ezekiel’s words that we find out that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was not what we naturally assumed as Ezekiel writes, “Look this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: she and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before me.. ” The reality is that sexual immorality was only the by-product of what Ezekiel writes about. Sodom and Gomorrah became what Paul warned about in his letter to the Romans in 1:18-32 where he writes that men who once knew God failed to glorify Him, and they became vain in their reasoning and that left hearts foolish and darkened.
The seduction of Sodom and Gomorrah must not be underestimated in light of our fallen flesh as we can see it’s lure to even a righteous man such as Lot.
- Gen. 13:10 Here we see that given the confusion Lot “Lifted his eyes and saw the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere….like the garden of the Lord…like the land of Egypt..” Clearly Sodom and Gomorrah had an attraction to the flesh, but I also see that it also caused a confusion between what the Lord offered and what the world offered as Lor describes it as like the garden of the Lord…like the land of Egypt and those are two very different things!
- Gen 13:11 Next we see the choice of Lot, “The Lot chose FOR HIMESELF all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. AND THEY SEPARATED FROM EACH OTHER.” Lot’s choice appealed to his flesh and the lust of his eyes, but the choice came at the price of separation from Abraham the man of God to pursue the things of the flesh.
- Gen. 13:12 Next we see Lot’s further progression towards Sodom and Gomorrah as we read that “Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom”. Here we see that the seduction of these cities was drawing Lot further and further into their grasp.
- Gen. 19:1 Finally we see Lot “Sitting in the gate of the city” as he has become a leader in a community ruled by the flesh.
What can we learn from Lord as it relates to the illustration?
- First, when God’s Word is neglected and resisted it won’t be long before it is rejected. And this darkness will lead to our blindness to truth.
- Second, Lot’s slide began when he didn’t understand the grace of God. Progression towards sin is always a result the setting aside of the grace of God.
Lot chose to live a life of the boarder (a borderline life) that was as close as to the wickedness in the world while trying all the time to have one foot in God’s kingdom. But his life proves that if we choose to live with one foot in the world we will never be able to maintain one foot in the kingdom of God! Furthermore, we look at the outcome of his choice as we see what Lot LOST by this choice:
- Gen. 19:19 He lost his friends when he tried to stand for righteousness after living a compromised life.
- Gen. 19:14 He lost his testimony as his witnessed seemed to be a joke to those he tried to speak to.
- Gen. 19:26 He lost his wife as she turned into salt as she was gazing back with fondness at the life lost if Sodom.
- Gen. 19:31-38 He lost his family as his daughters proved that it easier to leave Sodom and Gomorrah than it is to have Sodom and Gomorrah leave you.
In the illustration of Sodom and Gomorrah we see that the ignorance was not only of the truth but also of our own fallen nature… no wonder that Jude started this section with the exhortation of “I want to remind you, though you once knew this..”!