“Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, 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.” — Jude 7
Jude’s three historical examples of apostasy and its punishment are from the church world, the angelic world and the heathen world. We render the text: “Now I intend to remind you . . . how Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them, in similar manner to these (fallen angels and destroyed Israelites, because of) having out-fornicated and went after flesh of a different kind, lie before (the eyes) an example of undergoing vengeance of everlasting fire.”
The people brought to the judgment of destruction were those of Sodom, Gomorrah and the cities round about them, including Admah and Zeboim (Deut. 29:23). These places were totally destroyed together with their inhabitants. Originally, they were within the borders of the Canaanites (Gen. 10:19), a people notorious for their vileness.
The sin of these people is that of “giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh.” In general, fornication may be said to be illicit sexual intercourse of an unmarried person with a person of the opposite sex, whether married or unmarried. But this sin had been indulged to an extreme in which these wretched people had out-fornicated the fornicators of the world, having gone awhoring after flesh of a different kind from that of the natural male-female carnal relationship. That is, men burned in their lust toward one another, men with men doing the unseemly; the women changing the natural use to that which is against nature (Rom. 1:26, 27). So this particular sin is sodomitish fornication.
The example of the judgment to be expected on sodomitical sins is expressed in this, that these cities and their sodomies lie before the eyes of the whole world as an illustration of all perverts undergoing the divine vengeance of everlasting fire. (Matt. 25:46). In Genesis 19 and in Jude’s epistle, the whole world has a notable documentation of such instruction as to keep men within the bounds of God’s law.
The judgment inflicted is the vengeance of everlasting fire. The sodomites not only had their cities burned up, but they were thrown down into hell, where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched (Mk. 9:44). Hell is the place of everlasting punishment. God is there upholding the sinner with one hand and punishing him with the other for ever and ever. If we think the pastoral prayer is long, the sermon long, how unbearable hell must be! Some nights when we cannot sleep seem long. But what of those “tormented night and day for ever and ever”? (Rev. 20:10). The pleasures of sin are short-term thrills, but the punishment in hell never ceases.
The degenerates exemplified here are condemned under penalty of death. “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is an abomination … If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” (Lev. 18:22; 20:13). In Sodom, men of every age, old and young, were slaves to this lust; the young having been at it for some time, the old not past it, regardless of their years. The whole town, men in every quarter were involved, including the civil authorities. There are today sodomites on the police forces, in the armed forces, in the prisons (most notoriously), in the ministry, in the teaching profession, in the entertainment world. Many churches abandon preaching for drama and the dance by which the people are taught such horrifying corruptions as rape, abortion, nudity, prostitution, profanity, obscenity, homosexuality and lesbianism. The people in those cities of the Dead Sea oasis were the “Rock’n’Roll” set of the day. What were they like? The same as they are today. We ought to be aware of some of their language. At the “super” market, pick up at random a “rock’n’roll” record. That could have on the front of it a picture which blatantly advocates the sodomite way of life. One has a front-cover caption that reads, “Church of the Poison Mind,” absolutely unacceptable to Christian value-judgments. What sort of words are expressed in current “Rock music”? Would you believe such topics as anarchy, bestiality, free-love, Marxism, revolution, homosexuality, sadism, masochism, necrophilia, Satanism and suicide? Check it out. Do our Protestant Reformed young people listen to such vileness? If they ought not to be taken off to jail for playing or listening to such wickedness, at least they ought to be taken out to the wood-shed!
Sodomy today: why does it exist world-wide in this “enlightened”, scientific age? Partly because of the late “sex craze” fomented by unwarranted emphasis on and the playing up of sex as in popular television so full of pornography and sex perversion. Another great contributing factor is that the government, news media, public schools, courts and American society in general, are all in their flaccid thinking, non-judgmental and permissive. The word of man has been substituted for the Word of God. Consequently, the willfully wicked sodomite mentality of our whorish age goes hurtling steeper down the bottomless abyss of degeneration, disease and chaos under the inescapable wrath and judgment of God. It is all a mark of the end of the age. Scripture is clear on this point: II Tim. 3:1, 3, 13; II Pet. 2:6-8, 12, 18; Jude 7, 8, 10, 18.
Antichrist. “Then Jehovah rained brimstone and fire upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah” (Gen. 19:24). People everywhere increasingly see how fitting it is to refer to the wicked cities of the world by the names of these Canaanite cities. For world-wide Canaanitish sins increase in lurid lewdness. But these names may more appropriately apply to the church of the antichrist, the synagogue of Satan. See Isa. 1:10 and Rev. 11:8. The true church in the latter passage is represented by the two witnesses, which are the two olive trees, the two lampstands, the ministers Antichrist removes from the churches, from the Civitas Dei. The church of antichrist is so great that it houses all the hierarchy of Romanism under its little antichrist, the Pope; all the apostate Protestant Modernism with its Unitarian-Universalism, religion of the lodges, the secret societies, ecclesiastical unionism (as in the one-world church of Bahaism), the old and the more recent cults, as the Hare Krishna, the Zen Buddhists, Scientology, the “Children of God,’’ the Black Muslims and the gurus, avatars and mahatmas of East-Indian pantheistic mysticism. These form Antichrist’s Civitas Diaboli. It is all Sodom and Egypt.
Infants innocent? “Since God declared that for but ten righteous in Sodom, He would have spared the whole city for their sake, may we not well suppose, if infants are perfectly innocent, that He would have spared the old world, in which there were many hundred thousand infants, and, in general, one in every family, whose perfect innocence pleaded for its preservation? Vast care is taken to save Noah and his family, that they might not be involved in that destruction. If the perfect sinlessness of infants had been a notion entertained among the people of God of old, in the ages next following the flood, handed down from Noah and his children, who well knew that vast multitudes of infants perished in the flood, is it likely that Eliphaz, who lived within a few generations of Shem and Noah, who have said to Job, ‘Whoever perished being innocent? And when were the righteous cut off?’ (Job 4:7).
“When God executed vengeance on the ancient inhabitants of Canaan, not only did He not spare their cities and families for the sake of the infants therein, but often with particular care repeated His express commands that their infants should not be spared but should be utterly destroyed without any pity; while Rahab the harlot (far from innocence) was preserved, and all her friends for her sake. God executed His wrath on the Egyptians, slaying their first born; though the children of Israel, most of them wicked men, were wonderfully spared by the destroying angel, yet first born Egyptians were not spared. They not only were not rescued by the angel, and no miracle wrought to save them, but the angel destroyed them by his own immediate hand, and a miracle was wrought to kill them.’’
God commanded through Moses the destruction of the infants of the Midianites (Num. 31:17). Saul was commanded to destroy all the infants of the Amalekites (I Sam. 15:3), and, concerning the Edomites, a people against whom the Lord hath indignation forever, (Mai. 1:4), it is said, “Happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones” (Ps. 137:9). “And if any should suspect that such instances as those were peculiar to a more severe dispensation, under the Old Testament, let us consider a remarkable instance in the days of the glorious gospel of the grace of God, Luke 23:29, ‘Behold the days are coming in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the womb that never bore, and the paps which never gave suck.’ ” The verses in Deut. 32:21-25 have special respect to this very time. “They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat and bitter destruction. The sword without, and terror within shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also, with the man of gray hairs.” Also the last destruction of Jerusalem, as far as Scripture is concerned, is to the point, being a fulfilment of Deut. 28:53-57, where parents ate their children in the siege, and the tender and delicate woman ate her new-born child. In executing His holy wrath on the actual and original sin of man, the Judge of all the earth does right. “Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man.) God forbid! For then how shall God judge the world?” (Rom. 3:5, 6). — Condensed from Jonathan Edwards’ Works on Original Sin, (II, 378-381) and on the question Why Wouldn’t God Spare Those Cities for the Sake of the Infant Children?
Bunyan had portrayed Christian and Hopeful fearfully observing a wretched sinner being taken out of this life and hurried off to eternal judgment. Christian thought he knew the man, one Turn-Away, from the town of Apostasy. But his face was partly covered, partly turned away, like a thief taken into custody. Going past them a placard on his back bore the words in thick black letters, HYPOCRITE AND DAMNABLE APOSTATE. May we never be so branded but be preserved by grace to the end!