By Nathan Jones
Would God really send the wicked to Hell?
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will continue our study of the little book of Jude from a prophetic perspective.
Jude, Reminding of Judgment on the Wicked (Verse 7)
Nathan Jones: Satan works to wear down a person's faith is God so that our morality becomes so compromised to the point where we become like verse 7 describes — Sodom and Gomorrah and their surrounding towns. As verse 7 reads, "as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."
The people of these towns were horrifically evil, known for their homosexual rape gangs. Homosexuality was their defining sin. The abuse they put on people visiting was equally deplorable. The people of Sodom were the most evil, perverse, and sexual immorality of all people of all times. They were perverse against the natural order of things. And so, they became an example of what God will do against those who are so depraved that God has to finally step in and remove them.
Verse 7 says, "They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fires." And that is what God did. God sent an incredible, sulfuric fire down upon Sodom and Gomorrah and literally wiped them off the map. I've been to the Dead Sea a few times and the Dead Sea is just that — it's dead. There's no life in the waters. The sulfur and salt content are so high that nothing can live in it. The hills are also covered in salt. Nothing can grow in the Dead Sea region except barely a little scrub brush here and there. It is by all accounts totally dead.
When people rebel against God and turn their hearts against Him, their lives get darker and more corrupt and more perverse. At some point God will decide to remove them from the world before they destroy any more people's lives.
What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah scares me, because we are seeing as a culture, and not just in the United States but around the entire world, that as the world gets more immoral and accepts more perversion and glorifies and promotes its perversion, we have finally descended to the level these towns had sunk. Society has now reached the point where mankind has become so evil that God has to step in and deal with us, because He is a just judge. I believe we are getting really close to God's judgment.
Vic Batista: The signs are all around us. We see Romans 1:27-28 right before us:
"In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done."
Nathan, that is very scenario you are describing. That is the scene that we are living in today.
Nathan Jones: Exactly, I do believe so. Romans 1 is probably one of the best chapters on the subject of the moral decline of mankind. As men grow more perverse, these godless men will continue to fall deeper and deeper into their sin. They think that God is never going to do anything about it. He's never going to stop them from hurting themselves and other people. They live more lewdly with each passing day until they destroy themselves.
That condition is really sad, for these terribly lost people attempt to fill their lives with ever more sin in order to fill the hole that God should fill. These people just can't fill the God-shaped hole in their hearts.
And so, these lewd people become so perverse and so evil that God inevitably will step in. He promises He will be patient, for He is waiting for everyone who is meant to come to salvation to come to Him.
All these examples of the fallen nature that Jude gives us here concerning fallen men and celestial beings explains how they pollute their bodies because they reject the authority of God. That rejection is the common characteristic of these beings.
Vic Batista: God is so good and so gracious, and there's always hope even for those people who are struggling in these sinful types of lifestyles. Paul reminded the Corinthian church about how some of their numbers had come out of the homosexual lifestyle, so there is hope. That hope comes through repentance. It comes through acknowledging their sin and then turning away from their sin. Then God can offer them the opportunity to be forgiven and cleansed.
Nathan Jones: Yes, that is exactly right. God hasn't given up on anybody who has adopted a gay lifestyle. Anyone who lives in homosexuality, who lives in adultery, who continues to have sex outside of marriage which is called fornication, anyone who lives constantly lying all the time, anyone who is a gambler or a drug addict or an alcoholic or a prostitute, and everyone who's hardened their lives in rebellion against God can be saved. God sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer and die for their sins. God loves us so much that He sent His own Son to die for our sins, and when we accept Jesus Christ in faith as our Savior and repent of our sins, we can be cleansed and purified. God offers that free gift to all people, including those whom the Bible describes here as the worst of the immoral.
Remember when the Angel of the Lord was traveling to Sodom and Gomorrah with Abraham? Abraham was following along with the preincarnate Christ and Abraham was interceding on behalf of the townspeople. He pleaded, "Lord, if there are 50 people in the city, will you destroy it?" The Lord said, "No, I won't." Abraham asked, "Well, what about 25 people?" The Lord replied, "No I won't." Again, "How about ten people?" He answered, "Even for ten people I won't destroy it."
I believe because we have so many believers in Christ in the world today that God has held His wrath back from destroying the world. The fact that the Church remains on this earth is what's keeping God's wrath from annihilating the planet. But, there will be a time coming, called the Rapture, when Jesus will remove the righteous off this planet and do to this earth just as He did to Sodom and Gomorrah. God promises that fire and destruction will eventually fall to punish mankind's rebellious heart.
Vic Batista: That is why I believe God has called Christians to sound the alarm in these last days. Thank God for the Church of Jesus Christ, and for Lamb & Lion Ministries as well, and for those who are being salt and light in their communities trying to make a difference. We are fighting to the end for the souls of men.
Nathan Jones: Christians have indeed been given a Great Commission. Jesus in Acts 1:8 ordered His followers to go out into Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and all the earth to share the Gospel of the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Church is the body of Jesus Christ. We are the hands and feet that go out and share the message for the head, which is Christ. We need to share the Good News with people in hopes that they will accept Jesus as Savior, for our time is short. And that time is very short, for the signs of the times point to the fact that Jesus is coming back really soon.
We've got to be ready for Jesus' return. For those who have not given their lives to Jesus Christ, they should ask themselves, "Are you ready?" Are you ready to accept Jesus as your Savior? Or, if you continue to reject Him, do you want to face the fire of punishment that is coming, not only on the earth, but which Jude says is an eternal fire? This is the reality of such a decision. We need to accept what's real and believe. Deal with these questions now while their's time left.
Vic Batista: Judgment is coming. I often at times say that anybody who goes to Hell is trespassing, because Hell was meant for Satan and his demons. But, when we turn our back on God and choose lifestyles that reject God's moral law, then in a sense we don't leave ourselves any alternative. We choose to go to Hell.
Nathan Jones: Exactly, the choice is ours. Mankind is born in rebellion against God. People are born in sin. The Gospel has been given to us to provide the rescue from sin's punishment, which is Hell.
God has made His existence so obvious, which is called general revelation, for not only did He create the universe, but through Jesus Christ He has given specific revelation about who He is and how we might be forgiven of our sins so we don't have to go to Hell. God loves us so much that He sent His own Son to die to make salvation happen. He's given us everything, including His own death, so that we don't have to go to Hell.
These lewd people that Jude is explaining have rejected God's authority. They want to live their own lives apart from morality. God allows them to do just that, but still the judgment of Hell hangs over them. If they don't deal with that condition then when they die they will face the eternal fires of Hell, as Jude calls them.
Jude, Warning Dreamers to Face Reality (Verse 8)
Vic Batista: Looking at Jude verse 8, what I hope is that people will recognize the severity of the situation their eternal souls are in. We don't always mention Hell in our churches. That is not our main focus even in this study. But, the Bible does speak about an eternal fire that's waiting for all those who die without their sins forgiven and their punishment exonerated by Jesus Christ.
Verse 8 speaks to us why this judgment came about, right? "Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries."
Nathan Jones: Right, people are destined to go to Hell as long as they continue to reject the authority of God. There is an order to the universe. God created it. God is in charge of it. He's the owner of it. He sets the rules. He's not a terrible task master, nor is He trying to burden us or hurt us. God loves us, for He wants to spend eternity with us. He even died for us and beat death by being resurrected so that we could be forgiven and come to salvation.
And yet, many people still refuse Christ's love. They don't want it. They want to hold onto their sin like some rusty old penny. They don't want to accept the billions of treasures that are the spiritual riches of God, so instead they hold onto the sin in their lives. They want to be in control, but such control is an illusion, because they are still headed down that road to Hell. That is the destination of all those who reject salvation, sadly.
Vic Batista: That is right, Nathan. Jude verse 8 again reads, "Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries." We find that people have lots of issues with authority, whether that authority is pastors and ministers, or civic leaders, the police and government. Such anarchy is also a sign of the spirit of the Antichrist.
Nathan Jones: Remember when we were kids we would say, "Dream on. Dream on"? And that is what these people are doing. They've convinced themselves that they're going to wink out of existence when they die. They hope they'll be annihilated. Or, they misguidedly believe they can talk God into letting them get into Heaven. Or, they cling to the false conception that there is no Heaven and they'll just become one with the cosmic universe. They "dream on." They are dreamers.
God gave us the Bible to tell us exactly what reality is. People reject that divine knowledge. They "dream on." Sadly, they are willingly missing the purpose of life. By rejecting the authority of God, they reject the very lifeline to eternal life. That is so tragic.
Vic Batista: That is sad, because such self-deluding dreams will soon turn into a nightmare for anyone who dies without Christ.
Nathan Jones: Yes, that dream will become a nightmare, but people can avoid that nightmare by submitting to God's authority. That can be hard to submit to, for the sin nature in us burns with rebellion. But, remember that God loves you so much that He sent His own Son to die so that you could have that freedom.
To accept Jesus as your Savior and so be forgiven of your sins, pray from your heart something like, "Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Savior." Jesus promises that He will forgive you of your sins. He will give you a brand new life here on earth, and He will give you the promise of life with Him everlasting. No longer will you be under the judgment of Hell. You have been saved from it.
In the seventh segment of our study of the book of Jude, we'll look the world from a spiritual warfare perspective.