|The First of Three Old Testament Examples
In Jude 5-8, which describes apostasy in the Old Testament, we find three examples of judgments and three descriptions of filthy dreamers.¬† In the last section when the apostates were described Jude pointed to the judgment that occurred in times past to others which the present day apostates would also suffer.¬† Now in verse 5-8 he reminds us of the judgments he was referring to and who these people really are.¬† The examples he uses are of judgments on corporate groups:¬† Israel, the angels that fell and the communities of Sodom and Gommorah.¬† They were dealt with collectively.¬† Later, in verse 11, he will deal with the judgments of three individuals.¬† Today we will look at the first of the three examples, Israel.
I will [boulomai, referring to a deliberate choice, showing purpose] therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this [Critical Greek texts have ‚Äúall,‚ÄĚ i.e. all these things], how that the Lord [God], having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
6 And the angels which kept [tńďreŇć] not their first estate [archńď, principality], but left their own habitation, he [the Lord God] hath reserved [tńďreŇć] in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
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.
8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.
Jude purposefully and deliberately reminds them saying, ‚ÄúI will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this.‚ÄĚ¬† ‚ÄúThis‚ÄĚ should be the word ‚Äúall‚ÄĚ (i.e. all these things) according to most critical Greek texts.¬† Jude knew he wasn‚Äôt telling them anything new.¬† This is the first indication that he was writing to believers from a primarily Jewish background.¬† They were already taught these examples, but they needed to hear it again and to apply it to their present situation.¬† Ideally, every believer should know exactly what these allusions from the Old Testament are.¬† If we aren‚Äôt familiar with them we need to widen our scope and deepen our understanding of the Bible.¬† Spurgeon and Calvin both speak to this point.
‚ÄúAs for the root facts, the fundamental doctrines, the primary truths of Scripture, we must from day to day insist upon them.¬† We must never say of them, ‚ÄėEverybody knows them‚Äô; for, alas!¬† everybody forgets them.‚ÄĚ¬† The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit: Seermons, Parts 309-320 By Charles Haddon Spurgeon, p. 194.
‚ÄúThe use of God‚Äôs Word is not only to teach what we could not have otherwise known, but also to rouse us to a serious meditation of those things which we already understand, and not to suffer us to grow torpid in a cold knowledge.‚ÄĚ¬† Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, John Calvin, p.434.
The first example he reminds them of is the deliverance of Israel from Egypt.¬† You can find the record in Numbers 14.¬† God delivered His people out of slavery in Egypt and they came to a place called Kadesh Barnea, on the threshold of the Promised Land.¬† But at Kadesh Barnea, the people refused to trust God and go into the Promised Land of Canaan.¬† Therefore, almost none of the adult population who left Egypt entered into the Promised Land.¬† Instead they wandered in the wilderness for forty years.¬† That allowed the unbelievers who refused to take the land and were over the age of twenty to die in the wilderness before Joshua, Caleb and the rest of the people who believed God to take the land, to enter into it.
‚ÄúAfterward‚ÄĚ is the Greek word for ‚Äúsecond‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúsecondly.‚ÄĚ¬† God‚Äôs deliverance had a second part.¬† Yes, he brought His people into the promised land, but only those who believed got to enter.¬† The second part entailed waiting around 40 years while the unbelievers all died off.¬† Psalm 95 describes how the Lord reacted to their unbelief.
Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.
Only Joshua Caleb and the rest of the people who were less than twenty years old at the time of the incident at Kadesh Barnea were allowed to enter into the Promised Land.¬† Those who refused to believe God and take the land when it was offered to them simply died off.¬† Their unbelief kept them from receiving the promise.¬† The years of wandering in the desert allowed the unbelievers who refused to take the land and were over the age of twenty to die in the wilderness before the rest enjoyed the promise of God.¬† Hebrews chapter three uses this example to encourage the believers to not similarly harden their hearts through unbelief and deny themselves God‚Äôs promised rest.
Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,
8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.
10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.
11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)
12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.
17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?
18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?
19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
If we learn from their example we can avoid the consequences they suffered.¬† Hebrews 4 verses and eleven further clarify the point.
Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief. . :
11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Let‚Äôs simply believe and receive all that God promises as soon as He promises it.