The Missouri Baptist Convention has published a new resource called The Last Apologist: A Commentary on Jude for Defenders of the Christian Faith. The 275-page book is available in print and Kindle editions on Amazon, and in print from the MBC. But we also want to make each of the 16 chapters available online. This post features the first half of Chapter 8: Kept With Eternal Chains: When Angels Desert.
Previously: What Is the Sin of Sodom?
… and He has kept, with eternal chains in darkness for the judgment of the great day, angels who did not keep their own position but deserted their proper dwelling. (Jude 6)
In a scene from the 1971 film Fiddler on the Roof, a Jewish peasant named Tevye, living in prerevolutionary Russia, mulls over the prospect of his daughter, Tzeitel, marrying an impoverished tailor, Motel. He watches the starry-eyed young couple from a distance, alternately scratches his neck and strokes his beard, and says to himself:
“He is beginning to talk like a man. On the other hand, what kind of a match would that be, with a poor tailor? On the other hand, he’s an honest, hard worker. But on the other hand, he has absolutely nothing. On the other hand, things could never get worse for him; they could only be better.”
“On the other hand” is Tevye’s way of expressing his uncertainty about the outcome of his daughter’s romance. Verbally, he weighs the evidence for and against his beloved Tzeitel’s happiness.
As we explore Jude 6, we may need a little of Tevye’s humble uncertainty about what lies before us, because the author’s reference to a particular class of angels has left biblical scholars scratching their necks (or more likely their heads) and stroking their beards for centuries. At the same time, Jude’s story of fallen angels offers an opportunity to hone our apologist’s skills in dealing with difficult passages of Scripture.