Look again with me at Jude 5-7:
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.
Notice how Jude teaches his people: he does not simply tell his people about these and say, “Watch out for them!” He takes time to give examples from the Old Testament to reinforce the consequences for the denying the authority of Almighty God. He speaks of three specific examples: the unfaithful Israelites in the Exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land, the disobedient angels, and the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah. Out of all the examples contained in the Old Testament that warn the readers about pursuing the wrong master, why would Jude bring forth these particular examples? Here, we can refer to 2 Peter 1:12 in which the Apostle Peter says, “Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.”
In verse 5, Jude reminds the his people about the unbelieving Israelites who, though they were the direct recipients of God’s gracious deliverance from Pharaoh and saw firsthand God’s leadership as he led them through the desert, continually grumbled about their situation. As a result of their unbelief he “destroyed those who did not believe” (Jude 5, ESV). God shows the nature of this verdict in Numbers 14:32-38:
But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last of your dead bodies lies in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, a year for each day, you shall bear your iniquity forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’ I, the Lord, have spoken. Surely this will I do to all this wicked congregation who are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall come to a full end, and there they shall die.”
And the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation grumble against him by bringing up a bad report about the land— the men who brought up a bad report of the land—died by plague before the Lord. Of those men who went to spy out the land, only Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive (Numbers 14:32-38, ESV).
In verse 6, Jude moves on to discuss the disobedient angels. We do not know which angels sinned nor how they sinned, although verse seven certainly sheds light on this when in describing Sodom and Gomorrah “which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire.” When Lucifer and his followers rebelled against God who in turn cast them out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12), some of these deviant angels engaged in sexual immorality outside of their domain. In Genesis 6:1-4, we see what the possible infraction was.
When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown (Genesis 6:1-4, ESV).
Second Peter 2:4 articulates exactly what happened to these angels: “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment” (2 Peter 2:4, ESV).
The last example is the example of Sodom and Gomorrah, as we may read through in Genesis 18-19. Rather than pursuing what Creator God and his order, they “pursued natural desire” (Jude 7, ESV) or as other versions better put it, they “went after strange flesh” (Jude 7, NASB).
Do you see the similarities? They all left the boundaries which God, who made them and had sole authority over them, drew for them. These examples serve as real-life illustrations to teach us a lesson of never straying from God’s authority. Unbelief leads to condemnation. Sadly, some never learn that lesson. Do not find yourself counted among that number.