Jude 1:6 MEANING

Jude 1:6
Verse 6. - The second instance of Divine judgment is taken from the angelic world. The copula connects it closely with the former, and gives it some emphasis: "angels, too," i.e., angels not less than the people selected by God to be a people for himself, have been examples of the terrible law of Divine retribution. The particular class of angels are defined as those who kept not their first estate; or better, their own principality. The idea conveyed by the term here is that of lordship rather than beginning. It is the term which is held by most commentators to be used as a title of angels in such passages as Colossians 1:16; Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12, etc., where mention is made of "principalities." In the present passage Tyndale, Cranmer, the Genevan and our Authorized Version agree in rendering it "first estate." But the Rhemish gives "principality," and Wickliffe has "princehood." Those seem right, therefore, who take the reference to be to the Jewish idea of a peculiar dignity or lordship held by the angels in creation. The sin alleged as the reason for the penalty which the writer recalls to the minds of his readers is that they failed to keep this lordship, and left their proper habitation; by which latter clause a descent to a different sphere of being is intended. The penalty itself is this - that God hath kept them in everlasting chains (or, bonds, with the Revised Version) under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. It is well to retain the rendering "kept" in this clause, instead of the "reserved" of the Authorized Version. For the verb used in describing the sin and that used in describing the penalty are the same. As they "kept not their lordship," God has "kept them in everlasting bonds." The word by which the idea of the everlasting is expressed is a peculiarly strong one, occurring only once again in the New Testament, viz. in Romans 1:20, where it is applied to God's "eternal power." It designates these bonds as bonds from which there never can be escape. The place of this present penal detention is declared to be "under darkness." The term selected for the darkness, again, is an unusual one, occurring only here, in verse 13, and in 2 Peter 2:4, 17, and possibly Hebrews 12:18. It means the densest, blackest darkness, and is used both in Homer and in the apocryphal literature (Wisd. 17:2) of the darkness of the nether world. This darkness, as Dean Alford observes, is "considered as brooding over them, and they under it." But this present penal detention is itself the prelude to a still more awful doom - "the judgment of the great day" (cf. Acts 2:20; Revelation 6:17). There is a similar, but less definite, statement on the subject of angelic sin and penalty in 2 Peter 2:4. But these representations differ greatly from others (e.g., Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 6:12), where the air or the heavenly places appear as the scenes occupied by evil spirits, and these spirits possess freedom. In the New Testament, indeed, there are no passages, except those in Peter and Jude, which speak of fallen angels as at present in bonds. Even in Matthew 25:41, the statement is of a fate prepared, and nothing more. The difference in the two representations is due probably to a difference in the subjects. Other passages refer to the devil and his angels. But in the present passage there is nothing to indicate that the fall of Satan is in view. The sin suggested by the context is not the sin of pride, but a sin against nature. The reference, therefore, is taken to be to the Jewish idea that amatory passion is not limited to the creatures of earth, and that some angels, yielding to the spell of the beauty of the daughters of men, forsook their own kingdom, and entered unto unnatural relations with them. The Jewish belief is seen in the story of Asmodeus in the Book of Tobit; it is found by Josephus (who has been followed by not a few modern interpreters) in Genesis 6:1-4; and it is given with special distinctness in the Book of Enoch.

1:5-7 Outward privileges, profession, and apparent conversion, could not secure those from the vengeance of God, who turned aside in unbelief and disobedience. The destruction of the unbelieving Israelites in the wilderness, shows that none ought to presume on their privileges. They had miracles as their daily bread; yet even they perished in unbelief. A great number of the angels were not pleased with the stations God allotted to them; pride was the main and direct cause or occasion of their fall. The fallen angels are kept to the judgment of the great day; and shall fallen men escape it? Surely not. Consider this in due time. The destruction of Sodom is a loud warning to all, to take heed of, and flee from fleshly lusts that war against the soul,And the angels which kept not their first estate,.... Or "principality"; that holy, honourable, and happy condition, in which they were created; for they were created in perfect holiness and righteousness, stood in the relation of sons to God, and were, for the lustre of their nature, comparable to the morning stars; they were among the thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers; were a superior rank of creatures to men, and who beheld the face, and enjoyed the presence of God; but this estate they kept not, for being mutable creatures, one of them first sinning, the rest were drawn into it by him, and so were not what they were before, nor in the same estate, or place:

but left their own habitation; by attempting to rise higher; or by quitting their station and posts of honour, being unwilling to be subject to God, and especially to the Son of God, who was to assume human nature, and in it be above them, which they could not bear; and by gathering together in a body, in another place, with Satan at the head of them; though this may be considered as a part of their punishment, and they may be said to do what they were forced to; for they were drove out of their native habitation, heaven; they were turned out of it, and cast down to hell; see 2 Peter 2:4. And this their habitation, which they left, or fell from, or they were cast out of, is by the Jews frequently called the place of their holiness, or their holy place (g),

He hath reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness; by these "everlasting chains" may be meant the power and providence of God over them, which always abide upon them; or their sins, and the guilt of them upon their consciences, under which they are continually held; or the decrees and purposes of God concerning their final punishment and destruction, which are immutable and irreversible, and from which there is no freeing themselves:, the phrase, under darkness, may refer to the chains, as in 2 Peter 2:4; where they are called "chains of darkness"; either because the power, providence, and purposes of God are invisible; so the Syriac version reads, "in unknown chains"; or because horror and black despair are the effects of sin, and its guilt, with which their consciences are continually filled: or it may denote the place and state where they are, either in the darkness of the air, or in the dark parts of the earth, or in hell, where is utter darkness, even blackness of darkness; or that they are under the power of sin, which is darkness, and without the light of God's countenance, or any spiritual knowledge, or comfort: and they are "reserved" in these chains, and under this darkness; or "in prison", as the Arabic version renders it; which denotes the custody of them, and their continuance in it, in which they are kept by Jesus Christ, who can bind and loose Satan at his pleasure; and it shows that they are not as yet in full torment, but are like malefactors that are kept in prison, until the assize comes: so these are laid in chains, and kept in custody

unto the judgment of the great day; that is, the future and last "judgment" of men and devils, which is certain, and will be universal, and executed with the strictest justice: this is called "a day", which is fixed by God, though unknown to men and angels; and because of the evidence and quick dispatch of things, the matters judged will be as clear as the day, and finished at once; and a great one, for the Judge will appear in great glory; great things will be done, the dead will be raised, and all nations will be gathered together, and the process will be with great solemnity; the thrones will be set, the books opened, the several sentences pronounced, and, all punctually executed; the judgment of the great day is the same the Jews call , "the day of the great judgment" (h). This account shows the imprisoned state of the devils, that they are not their own lords, and cannot do as they would; they are under restraints, and in chains, and not to be feared; which must be a great mortification to their proud and malicious spirits: and since this is the case of fallen angels, what severity may be expected from God against the opposers of the truths of the Gospel?

(g) Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 73. 1. Pirke Eliezer, c. 14, 22, 27. Zohar in Gen. fol. 28. 1. & Sepher Bahir in ib. fol. 27. 3.((h) Targum in Psal. l. 3.

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