Our God is not the author of confusion, 1 Corinthians 14:33. When we find difficult passage, keep working on them. God will eventually reveal truth to you. When there is confusion, it is often because we are not “properly dividing the word of truth,” 2 Timothy 2:15. Somewhere there is a disconnect, and this is the case with the two verses under our consideration. God did not toss in 2Peter 2:4 & Jude 6 just to puzzle Christians until eternity. Somewhere in Scripture there must be an explanation of these events.
We have heard many times, “All Scripture is for us, but not all Scripture is to us.” Reading the introduction to 1 Peter, it is apparent that he was writing primarily to Jewish believers. 2 Peter is a follow-up…written just before his execution…to the same audience. Similarly, Jude 5 clearly indicates that he was primarily addressing Jewish Christians who should be able to recollect (things they were taught as Jews) the things he is about to address – historical Jewish things. Historical incidences that they, as Scripturally educated Jews, would be familiar with. He is NOT introducing a mystery or enigma, but an historical fact they well know. Jude says, “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this….” His point is that “denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Vs 4) has grave consequences. Just as in the past, sin will be dealt with. Then, he proceeded to give historical examples they would be familiar with.
Jude 5, “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this…”. 2 Peter 1:12, “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.” Peter’s point is the same as Jude – sin has dire consequences. It is obvious that the Holy Spirit influenced both Peter and Jude, as they cover…almost “word for word…” the same subject.
Since the beginning of Biblical exposition, these two passages (always taken out of CONTEXT) have baffled western minds. Think Contextually and critically about what these passages are relating: Is there anywhere in the Scriptures that speak of a second rebellion against God Almighty by any of the heavenly hosts? Is it reasonable to believe that, after watching God deal with Satan, and knowing his ultimate fate, that another band of rebellious spirit beings would have the audacity to arise against God? Is God giving us a puzzle or hiding something from us? No, not at all. These verses He wanted the Jewish converts to understand and take to heart – and for us all to learn a lesson.
Confusion comes several times in Scripture from the misunderstanding of the words. Here, it is “angels.” The Hebrew is Strong’s – H4397 מֲלְאָךְ mălʼâk mal-awk’. from an unused root meaning to dispatch as a deputy; a messenger; specifically, of God, i.e., an angel (also a prophet, priest, or teacher), and is translated in the KJV—ambassador, angel, king, messenger. The Greek is Strong’s – G32 ἄγγελος ángelos ang’-el-os (179) from ἀγγέλλω angéllō (probably derived from G71 – to bring tidings); a messenger; especially an angel; by implication, a pastor, [minister] and translated in the KJV—angel, messenger.
We should understand that the angels of the Churches in Revelation 2 and 3 are the pastors of those Churches – as are the “stars” and “angels” of Revelation 1:20. This is not always apparent to the Western mind and our way of thinking.
Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies defines angel: messenger of God, an angel, prophet; a name of office, not of nature, given generally to the ministering servants of God, to prophets, and holy men acting under the divine direction, or in service of religion.
The Greek word tartarus, Strong’s G5020, to incarcerate in eternal torment, and is translated as “hell” in 2 Peter 2:4. As Homer describes it, it has the meaning of the lowest place in the earth – a better description of their end could not be imagined. Peter used this word because it is exactly what he wanted to express. He did not want to say hell or hades, the grave. He did not mean Gehenna, the fire. He meant exactly what he wrote – tartarus, the depths of the earth.
Searching the Old Testament Scriptures, can we find any incident where there was rebellion against God by His appointed ministers or princes? Is there any place where His princes were discontent in their positions and wished to advance beyond their “first estate” and above those God appointed? Can we find any incident where any such occurrence happened, and where God sent them into the depths of the earth and fire? The answer is an absolute YES!
PLEASE! Take the time and read all 36 verses of Numbers 16!
Numbers 16:9-11 “Seems it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? And he has brought you near to him, and all your brethren the sons of Levi with you: and seek you the priesthood also? For which cause both you and all your company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that you murmur against him?”
Numbers 16:29-35 “If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited with the fate of all men; then the LORD has not sent me. But if the LORD makes a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth, and swallows them up, with all that belongs unto them, and they go down alive into the pit; then you shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground split asunder that was under them: And the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men that belonged unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that belonged to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also. And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.”
Proper understanding of His Word, especially these verses, eliminates the error so many have about Genesis 6. Understanding who the Nephilim are (big bullies-violent men) and who the angels really are in Peter and Jude, gives us clear understanding that it wasn’t fallen angels who cohabitated with humans – which is impossible and contrary to God’s design.
See also Numbers 26:9-11. Paul also chooses the case of Korah and company in 2 Timothy 2 to illustrate the sin of rebellion and how it should be dealt with.
Although we Westerners and moderns have trouble understanding these passages, the Jews to whom Peter and Jude were addressing well understood that Peter and Jude were referring to the rebellion in Numbers 16, and that “They were delivered into “chains of darkness”” when they were swallowed alive by the earth – all 250 of them, until the Judgment.
If we trust God to open our eyes, Scripture becomes clearer each-and-every day. God wants us to learn and to develop an intimate relationship with Him. He loves us beyond measure.
While we wait for Christ’s soon return, take any opportunity that avails itself to, “Preach the word; be diligent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they draw to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto myths.” 2 Timothy 4:2-4
Exploring Scripture~because it matters-it really does!