Apostasy of the Past – Exegesis of Jude 1:5-6

Last week Jude revealed three facts about false teachers:

  • They sneak into the church disguised as Christians.
  • They are sexually immoral people. The have uncontrollable sexual appetites. Lust is the foundation of licentious behavior and is not just limited to sex, but also to money, honor, position, possession, etc… They have no moral compass.
  • They deny that Christ is both Master and Lord. As such, they will pervert and twist all of God’s word.

Knowing this, we will move onto verses 5 and 6 as Jude begins to reveal the character and schemes of these vile people. Going forward we will see that Jude reflects on past examples of apostasy, and does it in groups of three. The first group of three is Israel’s apostasy (V5), Angel’s leaving their natural domain for the unnatural (V6), and Sodom and Gomorrah (V7).

“Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.” Jude 1:5

The Greek for “I desire” is “boulomai” and means “to will deliberately”. This is important because “I want/I desire in Greek is “thelo”. If I wanted water I would say, “Thelo nero” (I want water). Thelo denotes a desire that is more like wishfulness, and not resolution. While boulomai denotes a plan that you are fully resolved to carry out. If I see a false teacher on Twitter misquoting scripture, then I will have a strong intentional desire (boulomai) to confront their error. Boulomai expresses a deliberate exercise of the will. Jude is desiring strongly to remind them of apostates from the past and they are going to have to listen to it whether they like it or not. He is resolved to tell them about apostasy of the past.

“After saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.” God had rescued the Israelites from Egypt and as they entered the land of Canaan in Numbers 13:25-14:4 they began to grumble. Twelve men were sent out to spy the land. Only Caleb and Joshua brought back favorable reports while the other 10 lamented that they could never defeat the peoples in this land. These 10 men frightened the people so much that all Israel grumbled. “All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, ‘Would that we died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?’” So they said to one another, ‘Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.’” Numbers 14:2-4

The Israelites whom God freed from Egypt by smiting them with plague after plague, parting the Red Sea, and then collapsing the walls of water down on Pharoah and his army, now had no faith. Suddenly, God wasn’t strong enough. He wasn’t strong enough to keep His promises and deliver the peoples in Canaan to them. It truly shows that trials do reveal whether one is a believer or not. Will they fall away or endure? In this case, the Israelites rebelled and wanted to appoint a new leader to take them back to the land of their slavery. The Israelites (except for Moses, Aaron, Caleb, and Joshua) strongly desired to go back to Egypt and no one was going to stop them, except God. God granted Israel’s request and let them wander and die in the wilderness. This excludes those above, including the families of Caleb and Joshua and the children of all the Israelites. This generation of adults would be punished for their apostasy and would never see the promised land as they wandered for 38 more years. Thank God that He does not give us what our crooked hearts desire. The things that we say and ask for in emotion or out of selfish desire would only seek to ruin us.

One last thing I would like to interject here. Verse 5 is not about losing salvation. I had someone say to me recently that Jude 1:5 is about losing one’s salvation. Quite the contrary, it is about the judgment false teachers will face if they do not repent. Verse 5 applies to verses 6-7 too because that is how context works. You just can’t pull a verse out of the context it is written and make assumptions that the author clearly was not making. That is called eisegesis, which is reading one’s own bias into the text. As you will see in verse 5, the Israelites wanted to go back to their old life showing that they never were redeemed by God. Israel is one of three examples Jude gives about those who will receive God’s judgment. They did not lose their salvation, they never had it, just like demons never had salvation in Jude’s second example, they were eternally damned, but received a harsher punishment for something they did while already in their evil state. Sodom and Gomorrah’s judgment didn’t come because they were believers who lost their salvation. The city represents the lowest depths of man’s depravity. It was a city of sexual perversion, violence, unbelief and pride, a city that never had anything to do with God. God leveled it in judgment. These 3 judgments were judgments rendered in the past, but there is a future Great White throne judgment, and even a judgment of angels (1 Cor 6:3) to come.

“And the angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day.” Jude 1:6

What I am about to say is my firm belief and I will use scripture to back it up. My desire is to show you the sin committed by these angels, God’s immediate punishment for this disobedience, and how this applies to false teachers/apostasy. This is a bit of a rabbit trail, but it will all make sense when I am done, so keep your bible handy.

Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Then the Lord said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” Genesis 6:1-3

The sons of God are referred to in scripture as angels. See Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7. This term is used in scripture in speaking of angels and demons. These were fallen angels, otherwise known as demons. These demons intermarried with women. There are a couple of differing views within this view that I will elaborate on. The first is that demons possessed these men and began having relations with women. The second is that these demons took on a physical form. In either case it is believed that these demons intermarried with the specific intent of breeding out any chance of Christ coming to save man. Let’s not forget that in either scenario man was complicit with the actions of these demons. The demons were trying to defile the gene pool of man. If the demons could corrupt mans seed or more specifically the line of Seth, they could effectively stop Christ’s return with these demonic half breeds. Of course, no one can thwart the plans of God.

In terms of demons taking on physical form, we know in Hebrews 13:2 that angels can appear in human, physical form. We know that it was two angels in human form that came to rescue Lot and his family before judgment. These two angels were in the physical form of men. In Genesis 19:10-12, the word used for these two angelic men is “iysh”. This word denotes the male gender. Note that these men pulled Lot into the house to protect him from being raped by the Sodomites. The angels physically touched and pulled him in. In fact, in Genesis 18:8 these angels ate physical food with the pre-incarnate Christ even though they didn’t need it. Mark 16:5 also tells us that angels take on human form. Of these two views I am undecided. Though I am starting to lean to demons taking on actual human form and mating with women because of the grammar usage and the historical and contextual basis there is in scripture for possessing a physical body.

There are some who quote Matthew 22:30 as a refutation for demonic intercourse. “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of Hod in heaven.” The problem with this is that the verse doesn’t say that angels are sexless. Keep in mind Christ is talking about faithful angels, not demons who hate God.

So, how do we know that Jude 6 alludes to demons being imprisoned for violating God’s order for sexual relations? By putting the pieces of the puzzle together. In 2 Peter 2:4-5, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;” And if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter.”

Peter goes on, but let’s stop and look at these passages quickly. The demons were cast into “Hell” is actually the word “tartaroo”. In Greek it is the deepest abyss of Hades that was meant to incarcerate and punish the wicked dead. In Greek mythology Tartarus was a dark place of punishment under the earth for which the Titans were cast into. These demons have not been thrown into the Lake of Fire. This is a prison cell where they are being tormented in some way and awaiting judgment. These angels while in their fallen state violated a command of God from Genesis 6:1-3 and brought on a strong punishment that revoked their freedom to roam on the earth and in the spiritual realm. They were confined in this place that we call the abyss. In fact, the demonic horde known as “Legion” begged Christ not to cast them into the “abyss” and asked to be cast into the pigs instead (See Luke 8:31). “Abyss is “Abussos” it combines the negative “a” (alpha) meaning “without” and “bussos” (akin to Buthos) meaning “depth” or “bottom”. Properly, it means “bottomless” or “unfathomable depth”. In this sentence the demons use Abussos as a noun. In doing so they are stating that this is a literal place.

This abyss that is the holding cell for these demons is also mentioned in these passages:

“In which He (Christ) went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.” 1 Peter 3:19-20

Christ proclaimed his victory to these demons who were locked up in this dark prison (abyss). Adding to this:

“Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them having triumphed over them through Him.” Colossians 2:14-15

Christ obviously did not go to the rulers and authorities in the human realm. In Daniel 9:19-20, Gabriel speaks of being opposed by the “Prince of Persia” and “The Prince of Greece”, demons that seem to be inspiring evil in those kingdoms. They have authority in those kingdoms. In Ephesians 6:12, Paul says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” These rulers and principalities are none other than Satan and his demons. Satan usurped Adam’s throne in Genesis 3 becoming the ruler of this world, yet still under God’s sovereignty. This is a picture of Christ right after His death but before His resurrection (See 1 Peter 3:18-19) going to these demons in the abyss and the other recesses of the spiritual realm and proclaiming His victory. The demons locked up in the abyss got a reality check as Christ revealed himself to let them know that their plan to stop Him had failed. Evil was defeated at Calvary.

Now turn with me to one more section of scripture…Revelation 9:1-2.

“Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless (abussos) pit was given to him. He opened the bottomless (abussos) pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit.”

We know from this passage that 200 million demons that had the body of locusts, a human face with a gold crown, long hair like a woman, teeth like lions, and tails like scorpions were released from the abyss/prison. These evil creatures have been locked up for thousands of years and are filthy and angry, looking to take out their wrath on something with this freedom (In context, they were allowed only to torture those that did not have the seal on their heads).

How does all of this apply to the text of Jude? In Genesis 6:3 God announces that he will bring about his judgment (flood) presumably for what these demons were doing and had done. In 2 Peter 2:5 we see Peter addressing the judgment of the ancient world by flood. In 2 Peter 2:6 we see God’s judgment against Sodom and Gomorrah. We all know that Sodom (as you will see in the next verse of Jude) acted like the demons and left the realm of natural sex (as ordained by God) for that which is unnatural. I don’t find it a coincidence that Jude and Peter are speaking to these judgments and what brought these judgments on. I believe that God is revealing several things about the characteristics of apostates from the past:

  • Apostates cross boundaries. Like those demons in Genesis 6 they leave the realm of the natural for that of the unnatural. False teachers look for opportunities to corrupt both believer and unbeliever alike. They are actively looking to defile any and all of God’s creation. The New Apostolic Reformation has crossed a line by marrying Hinduism and Christianity, creating an unholy religion.
  • They love their sin, so they rejoice in doing evil. Every immoral act is an exhilarating act of defiance.
  • They willfully oppose the will of God. They, like these demons, are trying to thwart the will of God becoming gods among men in their own right.
  • Apostates never had saving faith to begin with. Did those fallen angels have saving faith? No. The fact that Jude compares demons, which are unredeemable, to apostates should show you that apostates aren’t going to change. They never had and never will have saving faith. There are some Christians who stray, but if they are redeemed they will come back to the truth because sin will not please them like an unbeliever. It will make them miserable. I am living proof of one of those who came back after straying. Believers are called “overcomers” (nikao) in Revelation. Nikao translates as “victors”. They will persevere to the end because we do not hold onto Christ, He holds on to us (John 10:29). God’s gift of salvation to the redeemed can never be forfeited. As John MacArthur said, “If you could lose your salvation, you would.”
  • These two verses are a warning to the apostate of the harsh judgment that will await them if they do not repent.

Next time we will start in verse 7 with Sodom and Gomorrah as I want to take my time opening up these profound truths in Jude.

Soli Deo Gloria!


Author: thomascoutouzis

I was born in the United States as a second generation Greek. My family comes from the Island of Kalymnos which is the island next to Patmos (Where the apostle John wrote Revelation). My wife Kathy is of Korean descent and we have two wonderful children, Chloe and Micah. We live in a small town outside of Raleigh, North Carolina called Fuquay Varina. The Lord redeemed me as a young boy as my mother (who was a believer) shared the Gospel with me. If I had to categorize my denomination I would most likely fall into the Reformed Baptist realm with some differences over non-essential doctrine. I am an expositional bible teacher who attends Fellowship Baptist Church in Willow Springs, NC. For the last few years I have been taking God's word and teaching it on outlets like Twitter and Wordpress. I am also a fan of both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis' fantasy novels. As such I am writing a fantasy series full of adventure, while weaving deep theological truth into the story and characters. My first book, "Athanasia: The Great Insurrection" is available in both ebook and paperback currently. I am hoping to release the second book in the series, "Athanasia: The Unknown Lands" around September of 2018.

3 thoughts on “Apostasy of the Past – Exegesis of Jude 1:5-6”

  1. Wow. So much new things I learnt from this. And i saw your exchange on twitter with that person and i find it interesting that the exact verses were the topic you discussed.

    Looking forward to the next post.

    May God continue to give you wisdom!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Tlani! These are very challenging verses full of so many nuggets. That is why I can only write on 1-2 verses at a time. The guy on Twitter was eisegeting his beliefs into that passage so I had to say something. I didn’t think it was coincidence either. As you saw, if you had an opposing view he was not very kind about it, nor did he really want to understand what it said. Crazy stuff 🙂 Glad the Lord revealed some new things to you.

      Liked by 1 person

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