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The Book of Jude

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the apostate gentiles just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. (7) 1. For his third illustration of past divine judgment on apostates, Jude reminded his readers about Sodom and Gomorrah. • The wicked people who lived in those cities, and the cities around them, engaged in sins equally as shocking and horrific as those of the angels. • Genesis 18:16–19:29 recounts the sordid details, with 19:1–11 giving particular focus to the debauched actions of their unrepentant residents: Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. And he said, “Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant’s house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” They said however, “No, but we shall spend the night in the square.” Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.” But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.” But they said, “Stand aside.” Furthermore, they said, “This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.” So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door. But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway. • Somewhat like the perverted angels before them, the Sodomites in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh. • They too perverted God’s intended design for them by soliciting sexual favors from His holy messengers. • Gross immorality translates a compound word (ekporneuō), which suggests that their homosexual behavior and attempted fornication was especially deviant from the God-ordained design for human sexuality (cf. Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:26–27; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:9–10). • That they went after strange flesh indicates that, like the apostate angels, the men of Sodom pursued creatures (angels) outside of what was proper for them. 2. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah are exhibited as an example that God will certainly and severely punish apostates (Matt. 11:23; Rom. 9:29; 2 Peter 2:6; cf. Isa. 1:9–10; Amos 4:11). a. They will finally be sentenced to the punishment of eternal fire, the burning hell of horrific torment, where punishment lasts forever (Matt. 3:12; 13:42, 50; 25:41; cf. Ps. 9:17; Prov. 5:5; 9:17–18; 15:24; Isa. 33:14; Matt. 5:29; 8:12; 10:28; 25:46). b. It is God’s final, permanent judgment on the unregenerate, especially on those who scorn His truth or defect from it (cf. Rev. 19:20). c. The apostle John described hell this way: “The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev. 20:10; cf. Isa. 30:33). 3. This powerful passage, with its three dramatic illustrations of apostasy, is a sobering reminder of the ultimate fate that awaits those who defect from the faith. a. As such, it provides a fitting motivation for believers as they continue to contend for the truth. b. And it also serves as a solemn warning to anyone who knows the truth but, for whatever reason, is inclined to walk away from the gospel (Heb. 6:4–8). c. After all, if Jude’s admonition is ignored, the consequences are terrifying: d. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Heb. 10:29–31) 4. Thus the severest eternal suffering will belong to those who know and reject the truth. 5. Even more terrible will judgment be to those who, having done that, go on to teach demonic lies as if they are true (cf. James 3:1). Apostates Illustrated (Jude 8–13) Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed. Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever. (8–13) • Terrorism has always existed in various forms. From political assassinations to high-profile kidnappings to guerrilla warfare, history is full of men who have tried to enact change through violent means. • But on the watershed date of September 11, 2001, terrorism reached a new level, when mercenaries from the Al Qaeda terrorist network hijacked four jetliners and used them as missiles. • The resulting destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City and damage to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. (along with the crash of the fourth plane in rural Pennsylvania), killed more than three thousand people and dealt a severe blow to the American economy, raising the threat of international terrorism to an unprecedented height. In response, strict security precautions were put in place, especially for airline travel, vital industries, and high-profile public events. • Prior to September 11, the United States seemed blissfully immune to terrorist attack. But after the incredible collapse of the twin towers, Americans gained firsthand knowledge of terrorism’s deadly tactics. • In contrast to conventional warfare, terrorism presents a uniquely serious threat for two primary reasons. First, terrorists operate clandestinely. They are relatively few in number, remain hidden, and certainly do not wear uniforms. Their plans stay secret until after they strike, making their attacks very difficult to counteract. Second, terrorists are usually willing to die for their cause (often by suicide as they carry out their objectives). They are eager to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their mission. Thus the prospect of even the severest human punishment, such as the death penalty, does not deter them. If they are to be thwarted, they must be unmasked and apprehended before they act. Otherwise it will be too late. • The same features that make political terrorists so dangerous in the world make apostate teachers even more dangerous in the church. • Because they often come disguised as angels of light (2 Cor. 11:14) or wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15), apostates are difficult to identify. • And, because of their own self-deception, they willingly (albeit unwittingly) embrace their own eternal ruin for the sake of their poisonous lies. • In destroying souls, they themselves commit spiritual suicide. • Since it is important for freedom-loving nations to fight ideological terrorists, it is infinitely more crucial for believers to expose and reject spiritual terrorists. Political terrorists can inflict material damage and physical death, but apostates disguised as genuine teachers can subvert God’s truth and entice people to believe damning lies. • Jude realized the immense danger that apostates pose to divine truth. Therefore, he exhorted his readers to “contend earnestly for the faith” (v. 3), to keep battling for the pure doctrine of “our common salvation” against those who would undermine the gospel. But because the false teachers had “crept in unnoticed” (v. 4), the challenge came in recognizing and exposing them before they inflicted harm. 6. With that in view, this passage continues to depict the true face of the apostates. They were so ungodly and so spiritually dangerous that Jude used the most stinging and condemnatory language to describe them. In so doing, he presented three characteristics of the apostates’ nature, three correlations to past apostates, and five comparisons to natural phenomena. 7. Characteristics of the Apostate’s Nature 8. Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed. (8–10) 9. In the same way is an important transition, further unlocking the significance of the previous passage. Apostates typically exhibit ungodly character traits, just like the apostate Israelites, the fallen angels, and the debauched population of Sodom and Gomorrah. The wicked behavior of these men often derives from their dreaming, a term that Jude used to identify the apostates as phony visionaries. The New Testament normally uses the noun onar to refer to dreams (Matt. 1:20; 2:12, 13, 19, 22; 27:19), but here Jude chose a form of the verb enupniazō, which is used only one other place in the New Testament, Acts 2:17. In that passage, Peter (preaching on the Day of Pentecost) declared, “But this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘that I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (2:16–17). 10. Joel’s prophecy (Joel 2:28–32) and its affirmation in Peter’s sermon show that the dreams in question may refer to revelatory dreams (rather than normal dreams). During the tribulation, prophecies, revelations, and visions that have now ceased will return, along with divine revelation. God will speak to people through dreams, just as He did earlier in biblical history (e.g., Joseph in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, and others). 11. False teachers often claim dreams as the authoritative, divine source for their “new truths,” which are really just lies and distortions. Such claims allow apostates to substitute their own counterfeit authority for God’s true scriptural authority. 12. Dreaming surely also includes apostates’ perverted, evil imaginations. Rejecting the Word of God, they base their deceptive teachings on the misguided musings of their own deluded and demonized minds. In the Old Testament, the term “dreamer” was virtually synonymous with false prophet, as in Moses’ warning: 13. If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, “Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,” you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you. (Deut. 13:1–5; cf. Jer. 23:25–32) 14. Along those lines, the apostle Paul cautioned, 15. Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. (Col. 2:18–19; cf. 1 Tim. 4:1–2) 16. Having identified the apostates as false dreamers, Jude went on to outline three characteristics of their nature: immorality, insubordination, and irreverence. 17. their immorality 18. defile the flesh, (8b) 19. Flesh (sarx) refers here to the physical body, not the essence of depravity. Had Jude intended the latter, he would have used sarkinos, as Paul did in Romans 7:14. The word translated defile is from the verb miainō, which means to dye or stain something, such as clothing or glass. In addition, it can mean “to pollute,” “to contaminate,” “to soil,” or “to corrupt.” When linked with sarx, the reference is to moral and physical defilement, or sexual sin. 20. Apostate teachers are inevitably immoral, even if their immorality is not publicly known. After all, they have no ability to restrain their lusts, and they are generally characterized as those who live in the passion of lust because they do not know God (cf. 1 Thess. 4:5). Later in this letter, Jude wrote that false teachers are “devoid of the Spirit” (v. 19), as is evidenced in their abandonment of the truth (cf. 1 John 2:19–23). Thus they have no divine power to control their own sinful impulses (cf. Rom. 6:20–21; 8:7–8; Gal. 5:19), left instead to “indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires” (2 Peter 2:10; cf. 2:18; see the commentary on these verses in chapter 7 of this volume). In time, the truth about their immorality will inevitably emerge (cf. 2 Tim. 3:1–9). 21. their insubordination 22. and reject authority, (8c) 23. Since apostate teachers love their immorality, it follows that they reject authority. Reject is from the verb atheteō, which refers to destroying something established, such as existing authority. The word rendered authority (kuriotēs) is related to the more familiar term kurios (“lord”). Because they demand to rule their own lives, apostates refuse to submit to Christ’s lordship over them (cf. v. 4). 24. The reality, however, is that they are much like the scribes and Pharisees whom Jesus confronted in Matthew 23:27–28: “You are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” 25. their irreverence 26. and revile angelic majesties. But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed. (8d–10) 27. The unusual phrase they revile angelic majesties introduces Jude’s third indictment of the apostates’ character. Revile is from blasphēmeō, “to slander,” or “to speak evil of,” especially to speak profanely of sacred matters, including God Himself (cf. 2 Kings 19:22; Ps. 74:22; Isa. 65:7; Ezek. 20:27; Matt. 12:31–32). The false teachers were not just irreverent in some mild sense; they were blasphemers, and specifically of angelic majesties. 28. The New American Standard translates the single Greek word doxa (“glory”) as angelic majesties. Although it is possible to interpret the word as a reference to God’s majesty, the translation angelic majesties is best in light of the parallel passage in Peter’s epistle (2 Peter 2:10). In his letter, Peter used the same word to identify angels as the objects of such blasphemy (see the discussion of that verse in chapter 7 of this volume; cf. Dan. 10:13, 20). 29. Throughout redemptive history, holy angels, who are devoted to God’s holy glory, have had a special role in establishing God’s moral order. For instance, God gave them the ministry of helping communicate His law (Deut. 33:2; cf. Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19; Heb. 2:1–2). The holy angels will also be involved in the ultimate judgment of the wicked: “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” (Jude 14b–15). By their lawless immorality and insubordination, apostates not only blaspheme the holy angels; they also blaspheme God Himself. 30. Jude further demonstrated the seriousness of the apostates’ irreverence by contrasting their behavior with that of Michael the archangel. As God’s most powerful angel and the protector of God’s people (cf. Dan. 10:13–21; 12:1), Michael did not demonstrate irreverence when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses. Michael knew that God could grant him power over Satan (cf. Rev. 12:7–9), yet he also understood that he was not to act beyond God’s prescribed limits. Out of respect for Satan’s status and power as the highest created being, Michael did not dare pronounce against him (Satan) a railing judgment as if he possessed sovereign dominion over him. In fact, he did nothing more than utter the words, “The Lord rebuke you!” 31. Michael’s response anticipated the example of the Angel of the Lord in Zechariah 3:2: “The Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?’ ” In the prophet Zechariah’s vision, Joshua the high priest—who along with Zerubbabel led the first group of Jews back from Babylonian captivity—was standing in heaven before the Angel of the Lord. The devil was also there, at the right hand of Joshua, accusing Joshua and the nation of Israel whom he represented. 32. Satan’s argument, based on Israel’s sinfulness, was that God should break His covenant promises (cf. Gen. 12:3, 7; 26:3–4; 28:14; Deut. 5:1–21; 2 Sam. 7:12; Ps. 89:3–4; cf. Rom. 9:4; Gal. 3:16). In response, the Angel of the Lord (the preincarnate Christ) defended Israel by deferring to God the Father and asking Him to rebuke Satan (cf. 1 John 2:1). And the Father honored the preincarnate Son. Instead of breaking His covenant with His chosen people, God reaffirmed His commitment to Israel’s future justification, promising to forgive Israel’s sin and clothe her with garments of righteousness (Zech. 3:3–5). 33. When Michael contended for the body of Moses, he did just what the Angel of the Lord did. His appeal to the Lord as sovereign apparently ended the dispute with Satan. Interestingly, this is the only place Scripture mentions this incident; the Old Testament provides no details about Moses’ death other than to say, “So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows his burial place to this day” (Deut. 34:5–6). Because God did not want anyone to preserve Moses’ body and venerate it, He gave Michael the responsibility of burying it where no one—including Satan—could find it. False teachers exercise no such restraint but pretend to have personal power over Satan and angelic beings. 34. To conclude this section, Jude wrote that these men [the apostates] revile the things which they do not understand. Their behavior evidenced their incredible ignorance and presumption. (See the exposition of 2 Peter 2:10b–13a in chapter 7 of this volume for commentary on Peter’s parallel statement; also cf. 1 Cor. 1:18–31; 2:11–16.) 35. Like the apostle Peter, Jude compared the apostates to unreasoning animals, who know the things which they know by instinct. They operated from intuitive musings, out of their own unholy instinct and lusts. They did not soundly interpret the truth of special revelation. The term translated unreasoning (alogos) literally means “without a word.” That is, the apostates were like dumb animals who cannot speak reasonably because they cannot reason. No matter how highly educated apostate teachers are, how profoundly philosophical they think their teaching is, or how many mystical visions and insights they claim to have had, they still are like brute animals. Like the rest of reprobate humanity, “professing to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:22; cf. 1 Cor. 3:18; 2 Cor. 10:5, 12; Gal. 6:3; Eph. 4:17; 2 Tim. 3:2, 4). In the end, they are destroyed by means of their own lying and deceiving heresies, which bring upon them the judgment of God (cf. Gen. 6:17; 19:24; 2 Kings 22:17; Jer. 30:16; Matt. 7:22–23; 13:40–42; 25:41; Heb. 10:27). 36. Correlations to Past Apostates 37. Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. (11) 38. It was George Santayana (1863–1952), American poet, philosopher, and literary critic, who said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Such was certainly true of the false teachers in Jude’s day. 39. Like Santayana, Jude understood the crucial importance of learning from history. He had already drawn from biblical history in sketching his portrait of the apostates in verses 5–7 (see the discussion of those verses in the previous chapter of this volume). He did so again in this section as he compared them to three influential, familiar examples from the past: Cain, Balaam, and Korah. 40. cain 41. Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, (11a) 42. By exclaiming Woe to them! Jude followed the example of Christ (cf. Matt. 23:13, 14, 15, 16, 23, 25, 27, 29) and the prophets (cf. Isa. 3:9, 11; 5:8–23; 29:15; 30:1; 31:1; Jer. 13:27; 23:1; Ezek. 13:3; 16:23; 34:2; Hos. 7:13; Zech. 11:17) in pronouncing ultimate spiritual judgment on apostates. The word translated woe (ouai) is an interjection or emotional cry that is essentially like exclaiming, “Alas, how horrible it will be!” 43. Cain was the prototypical model of one who departed from God’s truth. He was the first child of Adam and Eve, having been born after the fall. Genesis 4:1–15 contains the familiar story: 44. Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord.” Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is too great to bear! Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” So the Lord said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him. 45. The fact that Cain’s sacrifice was unacceptable demands that God had previously told him what constituted a proper sacrifice. Cain knew God required a blood sacrifice, but instead of obeying he invented his own form of worship. His inappropriate offering revealed the irreverent blasphemy of his heart, as he rejected God’s revelation and operated by his own self-styled instinct and pride in what he had produced. 46. In light of their similarities, Jude could refer to proud, self-willed apostates as those who have gone the way of Cain. Cain was religious but disobedient, and when God did not accept his offering, he responded in jealous anger—even murdering his obedient brother Abel. The writer of Hebrews offered this commentary on the tragic episode: “By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks” (Heb. 11:4). 47. balaam 48. and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, (11b) 49. Here Jude unmasks the fundamental motive behind the religious interests of false teachers: They do so for pay (cf. Ps. 10:3; Mic. 3:11; 1 Tim. 6:10; 2 Peter 2:3). Unlike God’s true shepherds (cf. 1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 5:2), these ministry mercenaries follow in the error of Balaam, rushing headlong into envy and greed. 50. Numbers 22–24 relates the story of Balaam, with some additional references occurring in chapter 31. Balak, king of Moab, hired Balaam to curse Israel. So Balaam devised a plan by which he would lure Israel into idolatry and immorality—and ultimately God’s judgment. But God used an angel along with Balaam’s own donkey to prevent him from carrying out his plan. (For a fuller discussion of Balaam and his sin, see the exposition of 2 Peter 2:15–16 in chapter 7 of this volume.) As a prophet-for-hire, Balaam is a prime illustration of false teachers—those who love wealth and prestige more than faithfulness and obedience (cf. Rev. 2:14). 51. korah 52. and perished in the rebellion of Korah. (11c) 53. Numbers 16 presents the story of Korah, a cousin of Moses. As a Levite and a Kohathite, Korah had significant duties in the tabernacle (Num. 1:50–51; 3:6–8; 18:3; Deut. 10:8; cf. 1 Chron. 15:2). However, when he was not chosen to be a priest, he became irate. To show his contempt, Korah enlisted Dathan and Abiram (along with 250 other men) to join him in a rebellion against Moses’ leadership. 54. The book of Numbers records Korah’s disingenuous indictment against Moses: “You have gone far enough, for all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is in their midst; so why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?” (Num. 16:3). In his pride, Korah disputed the idea that the people needed a leader and mediator, someone who could speak for God and teach them His truth (Ex. 4:10–17). He openly rebelled against the authority that God had given Moses, and he actively rallied others to support his spiritual mutiny. 55. God, however, responded by terminating the rebellion of Korah in an abrupt and decisive fashion, such that all the apostate rebels perished. Numbers 16:32–35 says, 56. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged to Korah with their possessions. So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. All Israel who were around them fled at their outcry, for they said, “The earth may swallow us up!” Fire also came forth from the Lord and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering the incense. 57. Tragically, the consequences of the rebellion extended beyond the families of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and the 250 men. In the aftermath of God’s judgment, many of the Israelites—having grown sympathetic to Korah’s position—grumbled against Moses and Aaron. As a result, God sent a plague that killed an additional 14,700 Israelites (Num. 16:41–50). The plague’s widespread devastation marked Korah’s extensive influence among the people. Many of today’s false teachers also have significant followings, composed of people who will share their judgment (cf. 1 Tim. 1:1–4). Yet, like Korah and his supporters, all apostate rebels will eventually experience God’s wrath (cf. Mark 3:29; John 15:6; Heb. 10:26–31; Rev. 20:10–15). 58. 1
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