A number of lectures related to the archaeology of Jerusalem have now been posted from the Cambridge Symposium held in March 2019. The official title of the gathering was “The Ancient City of David: Recent Archaeological Exploration of Jerusalem. An Academic Symposium co-organized by Megalim: The City of David Institute and Von Hugel Institute of…Cambridge Symposium Lectures Online — BiblePlaces.com
Jude 6 is a parallel reference to 2Pet. 2.4. Both of these passages refer to angelic judgment without any idea of human/angel sexual union. I reject any Jewish myths about angel/human cohabitation, and both Peter and Jude reject this notion as well. Also, only scripture is without error and not Jewish legendary texts, which some want to reference as authoritative, but are not.
While not conclusive, Lk. 20.35 seems to point to no cohabitation of any kind in the angelic realm, But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage (NIV). Therefore, I would argue that no reproduction or sexual desire is possible in the heavenly state. Further, it was through and for Jesus that all the heavenly hosts were created, For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him (Col. 1.16 NIV). If He created all angelic persons, then, they could not cohabit to create other spiritual beings by themselves. The origin of spirits rests with God.
Exposition of Jude 4-7
For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. (NIV)
Those who want to see sexualized angels in this text will have to link all of Jude’s examples together to show a consistent description of sexual sin. But that cannot be done since Jude’s first example is of disbelief. The Israelites who came out of Egypt were discouraged by the spies’ bad report and wanted to choose a leader to go back to Egypt, and consequently were judged to die in the wilderness (see Num. 14. 1-4, 20-23).
The next problem for those who see a sexual connotation in Jude 6 is the smuggling of homoion (the Greek word meaning “similar”) to the first part of verse 7. Hos occurs instead which is an adverb meaning “like manner.” They may retort that hos means the same thing but they miss the flow of the text. First, homoion (an adjective meaning “similar”) is inextricably and clausal in connection to the cities who were like Sodom and Gomorrah. The adjective cannot be moved.
The second reason that Sodom’s sin cannot be connected to the angels is that what “like manner” (hos) refers to is not the sexual sin of Sodom but of the same judgment. Jude begins by speaking about the infiltrator’s judgment (condemnation-vs.4). Jude then gives examples of other groups who will be judged for various things. The overriding common theme is the condemnation these groups are facing. Sodom will be judged in like manner as angels but for different reasons.
The infiltrators in Jude’s day exhibited the same type of sin as Sodom in that they were immoral (vs.4) and polluted their bodies, and therefore Jude, again, uses homoion, in vs. 8, to indicate their sameness. Therefore, only the present infiltrators were similar to Sodom. Neither the people who disbelieved, nor the angels who were separated into darkness have any record of sexual sin.
Brief Angel Definition
Angels can be thought of as God’s assistants, Who makes his angels spirits, His ministers a fire (Ps. 104.4). Often a military aspect is observed as a vital role given angels, For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways (Ps. 91.11 NRSV). Also, Michael and his angels conduct war, Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. (Rev. 12.7 NIV).
The Septuagint was a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible (O.T.) translated as early as 3rd century BCE (Torah) and 2nd century BCE (Prophets and writings). It translates the Hebrew term for angel (mal akh) into the Greek angelos. Both Hebrew and Greek terms denote the concept of “messenger.” Therefore, the good angels seem to be messengers of words or deeds from God. Angels are also divided into ranks, which involve hierarchical relationships that can be seen by the term “archangel” in places like Jude 9.
Replacing Fallen Ranks
Peter was resurrected Jesus’ initial spokesperson of the nascent Church. He recognized the need to fill the post that Judas deserted among the Twelve to make up that number, Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us (Acts.1.21 NIV). Peter quotes Ps. 109.2 to make the point that a formal and established office existed of those whom Jesus had chosen, Let his days be few, his office, let another take (Acts 1.20b). In the scriptures, it seems that some ministries and offices are meant to be filled up to a certain number.
Therefore, it seems that since some angels have fallen, their ranks need to be filled. This concept aligns well with what Jesus describes as the believer’s afterlife in Lk. 20. 35-36a, But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels (NIV). I have argued elsewhere https://beliefspeak2.net/ that the imprisonment of evil angels that Peter speaks about in 2Pet. 2.4 is best fulfilled by the first day of creation (re-creation) in Gen. 1. 2-4. If I am correct in my reading, then what we see in Genesis, from the first day onward, is a divine plan to raise up replacements for the angels who have fallen. Of course, this is not the only purpose of God in redemption, but one to praise our Savior forever.
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment…
2Pet. 2.4 NIV
(A personal note) Several unusual bible issues feature in some of my writings. I did not choose them, they chose me, if you will. On this issue of the angelic Fall, I was challenged in my conception of a pre-Edenic Fall by another theologian many years ago. He insisted that the devil’s Fall happened in the Garden of Eden when he tempted Adam and Eve. I had nothing to claim as a counter argument, and so had to remain silent. I never completely bought into this notion, however, and now feel I can retort. In actuality, the theologian’s argument was from silence. He stated that no where else prior to the Garden of Eden does scripture record the devil’s Fall. I can now provide him the scripture.
Simon Peter, in warning his readers of false teachers, writes about others who were judged for their wickedness, all to encourage them to stay true to the faith since judgment was sure to come. Peter lists angels first as a group that faces judgment for evil (sin). The problem of identifying the event that Peter refers to is seemingly the most difficult task for interpretation, but it’s fairly easy. Recently, many Christian and Jewish commentators have identified this angelic judgment with the mythical human and angel cohabitation of Gen. 6. It did not happen at that point, however, since no connection occurs with the elements of Peter’s account. The angels were imprisoned somewhere dark which doesn’t feature in the Gen. 6 passage.
The sons of God in Gen. 6 were the human righteous such as Enoch who walked with God. Before the Flood, peoples were divided into families and social groups who either longed for a better homeland with God, or were the rebels and scoffers. These are the two groups mentioned in Gen. 3.15: the seed of the woman and seed of the serpent. God divides the two groups differently in the span of history. Later, God would call one group of people, and only one, the Jews, to be his witnesses. God has revealed Himself and His plan in various ways and at different times (see Heb. 1.1). In our age, where the Spirit has been given, the righteous and wicked are practically intermingled. An example of intermingling is the Church in the world, not of it. Also, the wicked pretending to be righteous within the Church is an infiltration. This is what Peter was warning about: be careful not to fall into the false teachers’ trap since their intermingling is a reality (2Pet. 2.1).
Where do the specific elements of imprisonment in darkness which Peter speaks about occur? They happen at the first day of re-creation, the separation of “good” light and darkness recorded in Gen. 1.2-4: Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness (NIV). I say a re-creation since Gen. 1.1 has a prior creation. God doesn’t create a flawed creation in the beginning. Instead, darkness seems to invade it. It was the later addition of light that dispelled the darkness, The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (Jn. 1.5 NIV). Also, by recognizing God’s prior creation, His people comprehend why the earth and universe appear so old and chaotic. It appears old probably because it is old, billions of years. It appears chaotic because the devil has been active spreading darkness for a long time.
This separation of darkness from light in Gen. 1.4 connects with what Peter says about the sinning angels in 2 Pet. 2.4: that they are bound in darkness. Peter will again reference creation and flood in ch. 3. 5-6, as he does in 2. 4-5, But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. Therefore, since Peter speaks about creation, and subsequent flood, in almost one breath in chapter 3, he probably states the same in 2.4-5.
One of the arguments Traditionalists employ for holding to their view that the unredeemed are tortured forever, is that the church has always believed such. This is not true. Justin Martyr writing about 160 C.E. clearly rejects notions of human immortality both in his introduction and 5th chapter of his Dialogues.
Jesus plainly taught human extinguishment in at least two places. Mt. 10.28 explicitly affirms body and soul destruction, Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (NIV). This certainly sounds like requisite punishment and then destruction. I say requisite since the bible is clear on the timeframe for which the person is judged: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (2Cor. 5.10 NIV). Though, here in 2 Corinthians it is speaking about the experience of Christians, the timescale for judgment would be the same for the lost. Therefore, the retribution would be only for bad things done while on earth in their physical bodies. Some philosophers, such as Jonathan Edwards (I count him not as a theologian but more a philosopher), makes up the idea that, in the afterlife a sinner gets worse and worse, and so is infinitely punished. Edwards is wrong, however, since the scope and scale of the judgment encompasses only what occurred in their lives while on earth. Both the righteous and wicked are recompensed proportionally to their earthly life. Neither will the saint gain more in glory eternally nor the sinner lose in perdition any more than what earth’s deeds deserve.
Also, Jesus describes the Christian’s eternal state as one of everlasting life, such as the angels, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection (Luke 20.36 NIV). The previous verse limits this blessing only on those “worthy” (vs. 35), therefore, the unworthy will not have immortality. This passage further tells us that the angels were created with native immortality. This native immortality fits the idea of those who will suffer the everlasting torment of Rev. 14. 10-11 and Rev. 20.10. It is true that both references of Revelation involve humans who are assigned the same place as the evil angels. The difference with the wicked humans is that their durability in the flames is commensurate with their sin while they were on earth.