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Did God Kill the Fallen Angels in 2 Peter 2:4
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TOPIC: Did God Kill the Fallen Angels in 2 Peter 2:4

Did God Kill the Fallen Angels in 2 Peter 2:4 4 months, 2 weeks ago #5030

A Traditionalist (ECT) friend of mine challenged me to compare 2 Peter 2:4 to Jude 13. He writes...

2 Pet. 2:4 - "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;

...About angels being 'reserved' in gloom until judgment- they are certainly conscious and active.

Jude 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

...here false human teachers are said, in the same language to have 'gloom' of darkness 'reserved' for them forever. If same punishment, then same conscious experience of gloom forever.


After just a cursory reading of 2 Peter 2, it is not as obvious to me as it is to my friend that these unspared angels are conscious and active. After a warning to the false teachers of Peter's day, he launches into three historical examples of judgment, beginning with these fallen angels...

4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment... (2 Peter 2:4 ESV)


The word translated "hell" in this passage is the Greek "Tartarus."

The two examples that follow are clearly of judgment of death/destruction: the world during the time of Noah, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Given that the angels are listed in a string of examples in which those judged are condemned to death, is it a plausible reading of 2 Peter 2:4 that the angels referenced here were likewise killed?

Any other thoughts on how I might answer my friend's objection?
Last Edit: 4 months, 2 weeks ago by RichlyBlessed.

Re: Did God Kill the Fallen Angels in 2 Peter 2:4 4 months, 2 weeks ago #5032

  • webb
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If your friend is a premillennialist, you can explain that the phrase "forever," Greek εἰς αἰῶνα, in Jude 13, literally "for the age," refers to something that lasts for the whole age or for the whole coming age, i.e. the millennium (Rev. 20:1-10). Premillennialists believe that all the unrepentant dead will spend the age to come unresurrected in Hades, the underworld, whose deepest caverns are called Tartarus.

I'm not sure what to say if they are not premillennialist.

Re: Did God Kill the Fallen Angels in 2 Peter 2:4 4 months, 2 weeks ago #5033

  • webb
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Another part of this is that in the worldview shared between the ancient Hebrews and the NT authors and Jesus, rebellious humans and angelic beings are sent to the prison of the underworld...a kind of timeout from participation in the living creation. Conceptually, the fate of angelic and human beings is closely analogous when they are banished from participation in the living world, the "land of the living." So you could say that God "kills" the rebellious angels if you understand that this is not their final disposition, but a kind of pre trial custody. See Isa. 24:21-23; Mt. 25:41, 46; Rev. 20:1-10.

An entirely different reading of these texts may be required if one subscribes to an amillennial eschatological model.

Re: Did God Kill the Fallen Angels in 2 Peter 2:4 4 months, 2 weeks ago #5041

  • Singalphile
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I don't think the angels that sinned were destroyed/killed. According to Jude, they are kept in "eternal/aidiois chains" in darkness for judgment. That is not literal language, I suppose, but the imagery is one of forced imprisonment, I think. But that doesn't seem as relevant to the "hell" debate as it is to the debate about the intermediate state or the soul.

I'm not entirely sure what you guys are debating. If you're arguing that the lost are unconscious between now and the resurrection, then I might agree with him on that.

Jude 13 is interesting. Actually, the whole little letter is unusual, what with the quote from Enoch and another apocryphal book and "Tartarus" (what is that and will humans be in "Tartarus" too?) and all.

I have thought that it contains the only few words in the Bible that sound more like eternal consciousness for the lost. But when you read the rest of the letter, that seems unlikely to me, and then when you look at the Greek, it's much less clear.

As webb may have been pointing out, the word translated as "ever" is not the usual adjective that's usually translated as "everlasting" or "eternal" (as in Jude 7 - "eternal fire" and 21 - "eternal life"). It's a noun, which is very often translated as "age", and it's singular and has no article (as far as I can tell). So as best as I can tell, it reads "darkness to an age" or "to an age kept". Which age is that? I'm not sure. Perhaps it's what webb said, or perhaps it's just between now and the final judgment, which would fit with his earlier reference to the angels. Both seem more likely than that this is a reference to final judgment, I think.

In the parallel statement in 2 Peter (the two letters had some common source, it seems), the reference to "an age" is not there, so that doesn't help.

Granted, I don't know Greek, so I can't go very far with that, but neither can anyone else without more expertise.

So in the language in many translations, it does sound to me a bit more like EC[something], if taken by itself. But it's very, very far from a case-closer, and it can fit with CI too.
"Singalphile" - Name chosen (hastily) to indicate being on a narrow path, pursuing the love of God. Male, upper-30's, USA.
Last Edit: 4 months, 2 weeks ago by Singalphile.
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