Condemning Fake News
Jude had told his readers the purpose of his letter (Jude 3-4). His readers were well aware of the men and possibly women that he was writing about. He now turns to the specific condemnation that has been written beforehand by providing his readers with several illustrations. In verses Jude 5-7, he takes his readers on a short review of three Old Testament stories to illuminate the prophetic condemnation.
The following are some Frist Testament stories to illuminate the fake prophetic condemnation.
The Condemnation Illustrated Jude 5-16
First Testament Illustration #1 Jude 5-7
Jude says that the condemnation of the false teachers is like…
The People Of God In The Wilderness Jude 5
Though you already know all this. This phrase indicates that the readers already knew the meaning of the histories to which Jude was referring. The function of Jude was to remind them of what they already knew. He only needed to refresh their minds about these events. Wouldn’t it be tremendous if the church today knew what it should know about the story of the Bible instead of a few fragments here and there? It would be simpler for teachers to remind than to have to instruct from the bottom up.
Several years ago I was taking a group of folks through a survey of the First and Second Testament. In the course, there was a young man who had recently become a follower of Jesus. He simply knew nothing about the Bible. He was like a fresh canvas that had not yet received any paint from the artist. The others in the course had been Jesus followers for years. They had already come to conclusions about what they believed the Bible taught. What a contrast! In his case, I was having to instruct from the bottom up. It was delightful. With the others, I had to tear down presupposition after presupposition that had built up over the years in their lives and really hindered them from hearing the story of the Bible. They simply had layers of Fake News! that caused them to resist what I was sharing with them. Their questions came with some arguments. His questions did not.
What Fake News! are you holding on to that prevents you from hearing the story of the Bible?
I want to remind you. One could translate this phrase like this: bring again to your attention or cause you to remember. This phrase told the readers of Jude that they should bring back to their minds the events of the past so they could see the judgment of God on apostasy. His reminder was to focus his readers on the circumstances in which they found themselves. Remembering was a feature of the First and Second Testament writers. The saints have always been called on to remember the redemptive acts of God. Recalling these acts and their meaning allows Jesus followers to firmly understand and freshly experience the truths of God’s story. The implication left unsaid in the NIV translation is that Jude was doing this once for all. This little phrase means that all the essentials of the faith were delivered to the believers after their conversion.
How much do you know really about the faith with which you align yourself? How much of your belief system is built on Fake News?
The first reminder was that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt. Being delivered out of Egypt is a definite reference to the story of the Exodus of the children of Israel in the First Testament. The story of the Exodus is found in Exodus 12-15. His first readers needed to remember that it was the same God, who they signed up to follow, who had brought about the miracle of the Exodus in the lives of his children. He alone is credited for their deliverance from the hand of their oppressors. The readers did not have to hear the whole story—they were well aware of the miraculous and marvelous acts of God to benefit his children. This story had been told around the campfires of Israel for hundreds of years. They were ingrained in the story and its implications.
But later destroyed those who did not believe. With these words, Jude desires his readers to remember that the deliverance of God was to be contrasted with the judgment of God on his children. Judgment was what happened to the entire population of adult Israelites who left Egypt with the exception of the families of Joshua and Caleb (Num. 14.26-35; see 1 Cor. 10.5; Heb. 3.16-4.2). The children of Israel were faced with the decision to take God at his word, i.e., that he would deliver them to the land of promise. However, after surveying the land, they chose not to believe that God would give them victory over the inhabitants of the country they were about to invade. Jude demonstrates how God dealt with his rebellious people. Even though he had saved them in the Exodus, he destroyed those who were unfaithful to him. The destruction of his people was not a pretty sight. God allowed them to perish in the desert. These people had seen God’s power and provision in their deliverance. Yet, they still chose to disbelieve. They were saved, i.e., delivered, but God still judged them for their unbelief. Saved out of Egypt, but destroyed! To be destroyed could mean to be separated from the presence of God. These people lost all relationship with God until the final day of judgment.
What security does the believer have? Is it eternal or not?
Jude’s second illustration is that these fake news broadcasters were like…
The Angels’ Rebellion Jude 6
And the angels who did not keep their position of authority. This is a reflection of the story of the sons of God and the daughters of men that is told in Genesis 6.1-4. Angels rebelled and had sexual relations with human females. These rebelling angels were not content with the place of power that God had given them. They did not observe the proper limits of that authority. They did not attend carefully to the business for which God had created them. Their rule or authority was in heaven in serviceable affiliation with God. Again, Jude does not have to go into detail about these angels. His readers would have been familiar with their story just as they were with the above story.
For a fuller grasp of this story, click here to go to AskDrWinn: Episode 6, “Who were “the sons of God” that married daughters of men in Gen 6:1?”
But these angels abandoned their own home. The angels had a home that conformed to their distinctiveness. Their desertion was of their own free will. They could have stayed, but they chose to leave. Things haven’t changed much. God still prepares a place for us which conforms to our own distinctiveness and yet we often choose to leave it because things look brighter on the other side. The situation with the angels is being contrasted by the use of the connective but. By not keeping their proper place, they abandoned that place for a place of their own choice. You might give consideration to staying in the place that God has placed you that conforms to your unique distinctiveness. What a blessing that is. On the other hand, leaving it will cause problems for you and those you are around.
These angels he has kept in darkness. Jude uses the word kept as a play on words with the fact that the angels did not keep their place, so God keeps them in complete darkness. Darkness means utter blackness. This picture suggests that the angels are under the brooding of the blackness. The darkness hovers over the angels and no light can penetrate the darkness. These angels are bound with everlasting chains. Bound indicates that God placed the angels in confinement in the past and they are still in the confinement today. Everlasting chains suggest that the binding of these angels is completely escape-proof. In short, there are some of the fallen angels who have no possibility of doing any further damage to God’s work. God has incarcerated them for judgment of the day of judgment. The fate of these rebellious angels is described vividly. God has bound them with eternal chains and placed them in a dark region below, where they will stay until they are condemned on the great day of judgment. The dark region below is Sheol, the world of the dead. The darkness and chains will be eclipsed by the disastrous catastrophe yet in their future.
I find myself praying two things these days: Lord, don’t let the insanity of the Fake News! that surrounds me cause me to be entrapped. Lord, help my friends who may be entrapping themselves with the latest and sometimes a continual dose of Fake News! not be entrapped beyond repair!
The point that Jude is driving home is: Even the angels, which God had created, were not beyond his judgment. When they made up their minds to disobey and commit immoral acts, God hurled them into a black confinement from which there is no escape. While being presently punished, they still await their future punishment. If God would not hesitate to judge his own angels for their corruption and dishonesty, he would not hesitate to judge these Fake News! teachers. It is a simple message: God still judges sin today.
The Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah Jude 7
The account of this story is told in Genesis 19.1-25. The surrounding cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were Admah and Zeboim (Deut. 29.23). In a similar way, that is, like the rebellious angels acted, so did the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns who gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. This most likely means acts of homosexuality (cf. Rom. 1.26-27, 1 Cor. 6.9), and perhaps beastiality (Ex. 22.19; Lev. 20.15-16). They serve as an example. Sodom and Gomorrah are the paradigms for divine judgment in the First Testament. The destruction of these cities and their inhabitants is an example of how God punishes rebellious and immoral people. This illustration is a warning to others of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. It was thought by the ancient Jew that the fires were kept burning ever since Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction.
It is not a big move from “sexual immorality and perversion” to any kind of lateral sinful behavior. Remember, Jesus saw sin not as the actual act but as the very thought of the act. This idea is recorded in the so-called Sermon on the Mount proclamation. (Matt. 5.27-48)
These three examples cover the gambit of where any created being can belong.
- The first example uses the children of Israel. God did not hesitate to punish them for their unbelief. Jude may have heard that the Fake News! teachers were saying that they were children of God and were under his grace and protection. To that possible position, Jude says, No way! The precedent has already been set. God will judge even his own children for which he has paid a price. Think about that when you decide to “go off” on a litany of accusations against a person with whom you disagree.
- The second example is about angels, another set of beings created by God. When they made their wrong choices, God judged them also. Could it be conceivable that some of the false teachers were heralding that they were incarnate angels, not unlike those who had come to meet Abraham? Jude says that even if they were angels, God would not hesitate to punish them. He had already set the precedent.
- The third example deals with Gentiles, those who are not the chosen ones. The example demonstrates that God is consistent. If a person sins, judgment occurs. Whether a child of God, an angel, or a Gentile, sin begets judgment. These Fake News! teachers were using their status as Gentiles as an excuse for being outside of the punishment of God. Jude puts a halt to such nonsense.
In our present society, where we are particularly susceptible and bombarded with Fake News! on a daily basis, we should take heed to Jude’s admonishment that we are not outside of the ever-seeing eye of God and his punishment. We should be discerning of Fake News! and our own participation of passing it along freely via social media.
Jude reminds his readers that, regardless of which category they fall into, judgment follows sin. The point for his readers and for us is that if we choose to follow Fake News! teachers, our judgment is already forecasted.