Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying “a little rebellion now and then is a good thing.” The thought may have applied to the idea of the American Revolution, but rebellion against God is another thing altogether.
Jude reminds us of three examples of rebellion in the Old Testament – the people of Israel, fallen angels, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working through the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel and one thing is certain. Israel was disobedient again and again even after experiencing God’s mercies first hand. The angels mentioned here had been in the presence of God, yet they chose to rise up in mutiny over the Creator. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah defied God’s creation through sexual immorality.
In each instance, the examples of rebellion above were judged by a just God and His judgment was timely and total. Not one unfaithful Israelite who rebelled against God entered into the Promised land. The rebellious angels are kept in “eternal chains” and according to the Jewish philosopher, Philo, smoke was still rising from the site of Sodom and Gomorrah in the first-century a.d.
We live in a world that has been in rebellion since the Garden of Eden, yet God has provided redemption for those who will believe. Let’s learn from these negative examples and be counted among the redeemed, not the rebellious.