Jude Verse-by-verse Part 7 (series:Lessons on Jude)
by John Lowe
Under darkness. Alluding probably to those dungeons or dark cells in prisons where the most notorious culprits were confined.
The judgment of the great day. The final judgment, when both angels and men shall receive their eternal doom--"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;" (2 Peter 2:4).
C. Pagan Apostasy. 7.
7 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.
The third Old Testament apostasy which Jude mentions is that of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them (Gen.18:1–19:29). The introductory word ‘as’ shows that the sin of the Sodomites had features in common with that of the angels. For both, it was gross immorality that was utterly against nature and abhorrent to God.
The specific sin of perversion is discussed by Paul in Romans: “Their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due” (Rom. 1:26b, 27). The men of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboi im were greatly addicted to homosexuality. The sin is described here as having . . .gone after strange flesh, meaning that it is completely contrary to the natural order which God has ordained.
Is it mere coincidence that many modern-day apostates are in the vanguard of those who publicly defend homosexuality and campaign for it to be legalized as long as it is done between consenting adults? To all such libertines, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are exhibited as an example in suffering the punishment of eternal fire. That last expression eternal fire cannot mean that the fire which destroyed the wicked cities is eternal, but rather that in the thoroughness and vastness of its consuming power, it pictures the eternal punishment which will fall on all rebels.
Even as Sodom and Gomorrha. What their sin and punishment were may be seen in Genesis 19. This is the third example to illustrate what is laid down in Jude 4. The apostle Peter wrote this about what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah: “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
and the cities about them in like manner. The cities about them would be Admah and Zeboim,
• “That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.”
• “And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath:”
• “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together” (Deuteronomy 29:23).
There may have been other towns, also, that perished at the same time, but these are specifically mentioned. They seem to have taken on some of the same general characteristics, as neighboring towns and cities generally do.
In like manner. "In a manner like to these." The Greek word rendered ‘these’ indicates a plural number. There has been much diversity in interpreting this clause. Some refer it to the angels, as if it meant that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah committed sin in a way similar to the angels; some suppose that it refers to the wicked teachers about whom Jude was discoursing, meaning that Sodom and Gomorrah committed the same kind of sins which they did; some believe that the meaning is, that "the cities round about Sodom and Gomorrah" sinned in the same way as those cities; and some that they were punished in the same manner, and were set forth like them as an example.
I see no evidence that it refers to the angels; and if it did, it would not prove, as some have supposed, that their sin was the same sort as that of Sodom, since there might have been a resemblance in some respects, though not in all. It seems to me, therefore, that the reference is to the cities round about Sodom; and that the sense is that they committed iniquity in the same manner as the inhabitants of Sodom did, and were also portrayed as an example in the same way.
giving themselves over to fornication. Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities committed fornication and went after strange flesh according to Jude. The use of fornication, which occurs only here in the New Testament, with “strange flesh” refers to the distinctive and terrible sin of Sodom, homosexuality, for which God destroyed the whole area. The point in this passage is that the people of God were lured away from the true worship of God by the homosexual cities (see Gen 18–19) and therefore they were destroyed. In the Bible, the most serious sins are those which draw others away from the true worship of God or hinder others from believing in Christ (see *Deut 13:1–11; **Mk 9:42 ).
*(Deut 13:1–11) “1If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, 2And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; 3Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. 5And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee. 6If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; 7Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; 8Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: 9But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 10And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 11And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.”
**(Mk. 9.42) “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” To offend (cause to stumble) one of these little ones is so serious that immediate death would be better than further involvement, and thus, greater judgment.
and going after strange flesh. The reference seems to be to the particular sin which, from the name Sodom, has been called sodomy--“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet” (Romans 1:27). Homosexuality is the result of idolatry. Although today the world seeks to popularize and legitimize homosexuality, nevertheless it is despicable to God and condemned by Him. Increased homosexuality is a sign of the soon return of the Lord (II Tim 3:2). God never overlooks this blatant misuse of the body and consequently, those who have engaged in this perversion receive in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. The meaning of the phrase “going after” is that they were greatly addicted to this vice. The word “strange”, refers to that which is contrary to nature. Later on, the most enlightened heathen nations indulged in the sin of Sodom without regret or shame.
are set forth for an example. Jude continues to stress the seriousness of disobedience and rebellion by reminding them of two infamous cities renowned for their rampant wickedness—Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:1-25). Because of their sexual perversity, these cities became a barren wasteland--“And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath:” (Deuteronomy 29:23). What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities near them is an example for us of the punishment of eternal fire. The people of these cities suffered the same fate that God’s people and the angels did, because they committed sexual sins and engaged in homosexual activities.