Friday, August 5, 2016

The "angels that sinned" of 2Pet 2:4 is an allusion to Korah and his company of Numbers 16.

Dear in Christ,

I have written about the fallen angels previously. This one is totally different from what I have written previously, and also vastly different from the writings of well known writers like brothers Duncan Heaster and James R Brayshaw, both of whom have written extensively about the non existence of a celestial monster called Satan/Devil.

Both Biblical Hebrew and Greek do not have separate words to indicate heavenly angels and human messengers. It is common knowledge that the angels of the seven churches of Asia to whom the book of Revelation is addressed were the elders of the respective churches and not heavenly angels. (In fact the book of Revelation castigates a couple of these angels for their failures - Rev 2:20; 3:3, 15-18. Heavenly angels would never fail in their carrying out their duties - Psa 103:20-21; 148:2; Heb 1:14)

Angels that sinned.

2Pe 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hellG5020, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
This is the only scripture in which the Greek word ταρταρόω (G5020 in Strong's, read as tar-tar-o'-o) appears. Also, this is the only scripture which mentions "the angels that sinned".

Biblical scholars believe that the allusion here is about the days before the Biblical flood, where it is said that the sons of God sinned by marrying daughters of men (Gen 6:2). They arrived at this conclusion because of the fact that this verse is followed by an allusion to Noah and the Biblical flood.

According to Jude, angels didn't sin, nor were cast into hell!

Jud 1:6 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.
Someone relinquishing their position or leaving their dwelling places cannot be termed as sinning by any standards. Biblical scholars presume that the narrative is about angels leaving their heavenly abode, though the context doesn't warrant such an interpretation.Interestingly, unlike Peter, Jude follows up this verse with an allusion to Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, instead of Noah and the Biblical flood, so, the talk is not about angels (sons of god) marrying daughters of men (Gen 6:2)!

Do we study the epistle of Jude frequently? No! We consider the epistles of Peter to be "more inspired" than the epistle of Jude. Many are not even aware of the fact that there are many things common between 2nd Peter and Jude. (Based on the Apocryphal book of Enoch, people have created a lot of myths around the epistle of Jude.)

The context is the king!


Whereas 2Pet 2:4 is not preceded by any Old Testament passages, Jud 1:6 is preceded by an allusion to Israel coming out of Egypt.
Jud 1:5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
Jud 1:6 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.
The word "And" in the beginning of Jud 1:6 definitely associates it with the preceding verse. So, the context is of Israel coming out Egypt. (In fact, Peter also obliquely mentions the false prophets of Old Testament in 2Pet 2:1).

Please note that the pet peeve of both Peter and Jude is their contemporaries acting in evil ways and both of them use the allusions from the Old Testament to show them as to how such evildoers were punished. Citing the examples of Noah and Lot, respectively, they also point out that God delivered just and righteous men while he punished the evil ones. Both the writers mention the evil deeds of their contemporaries:
2Pe 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
Jud 1:8  Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion (reject authority - ESV), and speak evil of dignities.
There are a few allusions from the Old Testament in both the epistles, but the faults of the people are almost same. (The one involving Michael and Satan is the most interesting one.)

Let's see whether there are anyone among the Israelites who came out of Egypt who rejected authority and spoke evil of dignitaries, and consequently, ended up in "hell". Do you remember the narrative of Korah, Dathan, Abiram and their company rejecting the authority of Moses, the dignitary?
Num 16:1 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men:
Num 16:2 And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:
Num 16:3 And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?
Obviously, Korah was the leader of the company, because, Moses addresses Korah in the passage that follows. Being the great grandson of Levi he was a Levite and that was his first estate (Jud 1:6). As a Levite, he was entitled to several privileges like share in the tithes offered by Israel, rights to serve in the tabernacle / temple, no mandatory military service, houses and fields in cities and many more. Despite the fact that such privileges are available only to Levites like him, he desired to overthrow Moses and Aaron and to occupy their position (estate).

Korah and his company are the only ones who went into Sheol!



Though the Hebrew word Sheol (H7585 in Strong's, generally thought to mean hell) is used 65 times in the Old Testament, and though the word is translated as grave 30 times (in KJV), it is never mentioned that anyone was buried in Sheol. The word is used twice in Numbers 16, both to mention the end of Korah's rebellion.

Num 16:30 But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pitH7585; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD.
Num 16:31 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them:
Num 16:32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.
Num 16:33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pitH7585, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.
It is obvious from the passage that they went down into a pit in the ground and not into hell.

So, if our understanding that both 2Pe 2:4 and Jud 1:6 are allusions to the rebellion of Korah and his company, the hell mentioned in 2Pe 2:4 is the same as the pit (Sheol) mentioned in Num 16:30, 33. Interestingly, the Greek word ταρταρόω, (tar-tar-o'-o, G5020 in Strong's) translated as hell in 2Pet 2:4 is not used elsewhere in the scriptures, be it New Testament or the Greek text of Old Testament.

Irrespective of what lexicons may say, tar-tar-o'-o (G5020) doesn't appear to be anything more than a pit in the ground.

I do acknowledge that I am not a good writer. My inefficacy as a writer won't make hell real or make heavenly angels to sin :)

In Christ,
Tomsan Kattackal