Other than Sheol, Gehenna, and Hades, there is an additional incident of hell expressed only once in the entire Bible – and with considerable misunderstanding, “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment…” (2 Peter 2:4). This verse is closely related to Jude 6, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Young’s Literal Translation of 2 Peter 2:4 reads, “For if God messengers who sinned did not spare, but with chains of thick gloom, having cast them down to Tartarus, did deliver them to judgment, having been reserved.” These verses tell us that the fallen angels are being held for Judgment.
Hell, here, is the Greek word “Tartaroo,” Strong’s G5020: from Τάρταρος Tártaros (the deepest abyss of Hades); to incarcerate in eternal torment. As we will see, it is NOT where they are being held – It is their chains that are holding them.
Albeit true that the word Tartaroo is only employed once, the concept can be found throughout Scripture. Deuteronomy 32:22, “For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.” Psalm 86:13, “For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.” Isaiah 30:33, “For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.”
Tophet was a horrible place in the valley of Hinnom (Gehenna) where children were sacrificed to Molech while drumbeats obscured their screams. In Isaiah 30:33 the LORD is referring to it as a a “deep” place of burning (punishment) that God has prepared for the Assyrian king. It is a metaphorical reference, the equivalent of Tartaroo, the deepest part of Hades (context).
The first issue we have is, what sin did the fallen angels commit?
As diligently as one searches, the Scriptures only support one fall of angels. After seeing the fate of Satan, being thrown down from his prominence over all the angels, would you suppose that more angels would risk rebellion? Their sin was joining with Lucifer in his rebelled when he said, “. . . I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14). Their sin was rebellion against the constraints of a sinless and holy God. God granted them their wish. Satan (meaning adversary) is “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), which is, very obviously, ruled by him and his band of fallen angels, Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:7. The devil is the “prince of this world,” John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11.
All of God’s creations capable of procreation can only reproduce after their own kind, Genesis 1:11-21. This “God given ability” does NOT apply to angels. We learn in Matthew 22:30 that Satan and his fallen angels do not have the power, ability, or inclination to produce offspring, as they are sexless – they do not have the power or authority to recreate themselves into sexual beings. That idea is complete foolishness. All life is “God breathed.”
There is another, extremely important, lesson we learn in Job. The devil and his allegiances are not free to do as they may. They are confined…restrained…and can only operate within the parameters the Almighty permits them.
The error of believing that Nephilim are offspring of angels is complete nonsense. It comes from the lusts of man’s fallen nature. Why do expositors want to connect Jude 6 with Jude 7 instead of with Jude 5, which would be more natural? Because sensual lust is more satisfying to a carnal mind than tying their fall with their turning from God! Israel fell (Jude 5), the angels fell (Jude 6), Sodom-Gamora fell (verse 7)— because each of them followed their own course and turned from God. The same principal holds true for 2 Peter 2:3-6. In verse 7, It was the “the cities about them in like manner” who committed the same sin as Sodom-Gomorrah…NOT the angels.
“[There is another source for the misinterpretation of Jude and 2 Peter.] It is 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” Pulpit Commentary.
Please notice that this idea of “amorous angels” came from Jewish tradition and from non-canonical, extrabiblical sources. Seriously, why would glorious, nonsexual spiritual beings be interested forsaking their domain to cohabitate with a terrestrial creature made from the “dirt” of the Earth? It is always, CONTXT – CONTEXT – CONTEXT!
The second issue is, where are they now? Are they confined to Tartaroo (2 Peter 2:4)? And how do we deal with Jude 6?
The angels that “kept not their first estate,” or “principality,” are subject to Divine retribution the same as God’s earthly creatures. We saw earlier that these fallen angels followed Satan, leaving their first domain. The result, “. . . our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12 NASB). We find examples in the Old Testament: Daniel 10:20,“Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.” These princes are fallen angels under the control and authority of Satan. They manipulate powers and authorities here on Earth and are neither confined in the abyss nor Tartaroo. But they are, at present, restricted by God in what evils they are allowed perpetrate.
A most revealing question is asked by the “legion” of devils (vis-a-vis, fallen angels) who confronted Jesus when they ask Him, “And they cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” Matthew 8:29 (NASB). Paying attention, we read that it is “not the time” for them to be confined either in the abyss or in Tartaroo – remember, Tartaroo is the bottom of the abyss. The abyss is referenced in Luke 8:31 (KJV) “And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep [abyss].” Jude 6 agrees with Matthew 8:29 (NASB). in that their punishment is prepared.
We see in Ephesians 2:2; 6:12 that is the “air,” or “heavenly places” which are the abode occupied by evil spirits. These spirits exercise permissive freedom.
On 2 Peter 2:4, John Gill’s Exposition on the entire Bible explains: “but cast them down to hell; they were hurled out of heaven, from whence they fell as lightning, into the “lowest”, or inferior places, as the Syriac version renders it; either into the air, as in Ephesians 2:2 or into the earth; as in Revelation 12:9 . . . where they are detained, as in a prison, Luke 8:31 though for certain reasons, and at certain times, are suffered to come forth, and rove about in this earth, and in the air: and these, when removed from their ancient seats in heaven, were not merely bid to go away, as the wicked will at the day of judgment; or were “drove” out, as Adam was from the garden of Eden; but “cast down”; with great power, indignation, wrath, and contempt, never to be raised and restored again.”
It appears from Scripture that the occupation of Tartaroo by the evil spirits (fallen angels) is seen in Revelation 20:1-3. Although the text is talking about Satan, it is reasonable to believe that this is “the time set” for his forces as well to descend into the bottomless pit – when a general is defeated, so are his forces. The occasion is the reign of Christ…King of kings and Lord of lords…and the Kingdom age. No evil will be tolerated. Presently, 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 – “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it . . .” Revelation 20:11.
If all this is accurate – and it does appear to have strong Scriptural support – then who is in the abyss???
Exploring Scripture~because it matters-it really does!
Who is in the Abyss? Revelation 9:2