Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. Jude 1:5-7 NIV
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” –George Santayana
You have probably heard of this quote in some shape or another, but it speaks a valuable lesson on learning from both the positive and negatives from the past, history. In the previous verses (3-4), Jude warned the church of the present danger looming within their midst sharing false doctrines about Christ and about sinful behavior (continuing to sin with the excuse that you are saved by grace already). Jude then provides evidence from the past warning that the same can befall them if they listen to these false teachers. From the text, Jude reminded them when the Lord freed the Israelites from the Egyptian bondage, yet, shortly after, when Moses went to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments (Exodus 19-24), the people became restless and decided to create the golden calf (Exodus 32:1-8). Those that worshipped the golden calf died shortly after when Moses returned (Exodus 32:26-35). This incident, unfortunately, was not the only case when Israel strayed away from the Lord, leading to a whole generation passing away without seeing the promised land. Then, Jude speaks on how some of the angels rebelled against God, being enticed by Satan (“the prince of demons” Matt.12:24). Due to this rebellion, God had chained them in darkness awaiting the eternal judgment in the end times. Also, Jude retells to them the story of Sodom and Gomorrah from Genesis 19:1-26. Due to their sinful behavior, they were destroyed by fire raining from the heavens. These examples are jarring, but all share an important lesson: nothing escapes God’s judgment, everything from the heavenly beings to mankind. Romans 6:23 lays it out simply, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jude shares these past events for the hope that the readers of his letter would heed this warning to not follow the teachings of these false teachers and continue sinning, for the end result is death, both physical and spiritual. On the other hand, to avoid such judgment is to be a follower of Christ. Though these believers to whom Jude was addressing “already know all this” for they have the Word of God, they seemed to be ignoring its teachings. We cannot just ignore God’s warning and think that everything will turn out fine. “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:11-12).
Isaac De Guzman