2 Peter 2:4 MEANING

2 Peter 2:4
(4-8) Three instances of divine vengeance, proving that great wickedness never goes unpunished.

(4) For if God.--The sentence has no proper conclusion. The third instance of God's vengeance is so prolonged by the addition respecting Lot, that the apodosis is wanting, the writer in his eagerness having lost the thread of the construction. The three instances here are in chronological order (wanton angels, Flood, Sodom and Gomorrha), while those in Jude are not (unbelievers in the wilderness, impure angels, Sodom and Gomorrha). Both arrangements are natural--this as being chronological, that of St. Jude for reasons stated in the Notes there. (See on 2 Peter 2:5.)

The angels that sinned.--Better, the angels for their sin: it gives the reason why they were not spared, and points to some definite sin. What sin is meant? Not that which preceded the history of the human race, commonly called the fall of the angels--of that there is no record in the Old Testament; and, moreover, it affords no close analogy to the conduct of the false teachers. St. Jude is somewhat more explicit (Jude 1:6); he says it was for not keeping their own dignity--for deserting their proper home; and the reference, both there and here, is either to a common interpretation of Genesis 6:2 (that by "the sons of God" are meant "angels"), or, more probably, to distinct and frequent statements in the Book of Enoch, that certain angels sinned by having intercourse with women--e.g., Enoch vii. 1, 2; cv. 13 (Lawrence's translation). Not improbably these false teachers made use of this book, and possibly of these passages, in their corrupt teaching. Hence St. Peter uses it as an argumentum ad hominem against them, and St. Jude, recognising the allusion, adopts it and makes it more plain; or both writers, knowing the Book of Enoch well, and calculating on their readers knowing it also, used it to illustrate their arguments and exhortations, just as St. Paul uses the Jewish belief of the rock following the Israelites. (See Note on 1 Corinthians 10:4.)

Cast them down to hell.--The Greek word occurs nowhere else, but its meaning is plain--to cast down to Tartarus; and though "Tartarus" occurs neither in the Old nor in the New Testament, it probably is the same as Gehenna. (See Note on Matthew 5:22.)

Into chains of darkness.--Critical reasons seem to require us to substitute dens, or caves, for "chains." The Greek words for "chains" and for "caves" here are almost exactly alike; and "caves" may have been altered into "chains" in order to bring this passage into closer harmony with Jude 1:6, although the word used by St. Jude for "chains" is different. (See Note there.) If "chains of darkness" be retained, comp. Wisdom Of Solomon 17:17. There still remains the doubt whether "into chains of darkness" should go with "delivered" or with "cast down into hell." The former arrangement seems the better.

Verse 4. - For if God spared not the angels that sinned; rather, angels when they sinned ; there is no article. St. Peter is giving proofs of his assertion that the punishment of the ungodly lingereth not. The first is the punishment of angels that sinned. He does not specify the sin, whether rebellion, as in Revelation 12:7; or uncleanness, as apparently in Jude 1:6, 7, and Genesis 6:4. Formally, there is an anacoluthon here, but in thought we have the apodosis in verse 9. But cast them down to hell. The Greek word, which is found nowhere else in the Greek Scriptures, is ταρταρώσας, "having cast into Tartarus." This use of a word belonging to heathen mythology is very remarkable, and without parallel in the New Testament. (The word τάρταρος occurs in the Septuagint, Job 40:15. Compare also the Septuagint rendering of the name of Job's daughter Keren-Happuch, Ἀμαλθαίας κέρας, the horn of Amalthaea; and the word σειρῆνες in Isaiah 43:20.) Apparently, St. Peter regards Tartarus not as equivalent to Gehenna, for the sinful angels are "reserved unto judgment," but as a place of preliminary detention. Josephus, quoted by Professor Lumby in the 'Speaker's Commentary,' speaks of the oldest heathen gods as fettered in Tartarus, ἐν Ταρτάρῳ δεδεμένους ('Contra Apion,' 2:33). And delivered them into chains of darkness. The Revised Version "pits" represents the reading of the four oldest manuscripts; but the variations in two of them (the Sinaitic and Alexandrine have σειροῖς ζόφοις), and the fact that σειρός seems properly to mean a pit for the storage of corn, throw some doubt upon this reading. The other reading σειραῖς, cords, may possibly have arisen from the parallel passage in Jude 1:6, though the Greek word for "chains" is different there. The chains consist in darkness; the pits are in darkness, Παρέδωκε, delivered, is often used, as Huther remarks, with the implied idea of punishment. It is simpler to connect the chains or pits of darkness with this verb than (as Fronmuller and others) with ταρταρώσας, "having cast them in bonds of darkness into Tartarus" (comp. Wisd. 17:2, 16, 17). To be reserved unto judgment; literally, being reserved; but the readings here are very confused. St. Jude says (verse 6) that the sinful angels are reserved "unto the judgment of the great day." Bengel says, "Possunt autem in terra quoque versari mancipia Tartari (Luke 8:31; Ephesians 2:2; etc.) sic ut bello captus etiam extra locum captivitatis potest ambulare." But in the case of a mystery of which so little has been revealed, we are scarcely justified in assuming the identity of the angels cast into Tartarus with the evil spirits who tempt and harass us on earth.

2:1-9 Though the way of error is a hurtful way, many are always ready to walk therein. Let us take care we give no occasion to the enemy to blaspheme the holy name whereby we are called, or to speak evil of the way of salvation by Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. These seducers used feigned words, they deceived the hearts of their followers. Such are condemned already, and the wrath of God abides upon them. God's usual method of proceeding is shown by examples. Angels were cast down from all their glory and dignity, for their disobedience. If creatures sin, even in heaven, they must suffer in hell. Sin is the work of darkness, and darkness is the wages of sin. See how God dealt with the old world. The number of offenders no more procures favour, than their quality. If the sin be universal, the punishment shall likewise extend to all. If in a fruitful soil the people abound in sin, God can at once turn a fruitful land into barrenness, and a well-watered country into ashes. No plans or politics can keep off judgments from a sinful people. He who keeps fire and water from hurting his people, Isa 43:2, can make either destroy his enemies; they are never safe. When God sends destruction on the ungodly, he commands deliverance for the righteous. In bad company we cannot but get either guilt or grief. Let the sins of others be troubles to us. Yet it is possible for the children of the Lord, living among the most profane, to retain their integrity; there being more power in the grace of Christ, and his dwelling in them, than in the temptations of Satan, or the example of the wicked, with all their terrors or allurements. In our intentions and inclinations to commit sin, we meet with strange hinderances, if we mark them When we intend mischief, God sends many stops to hinder us, as if to say, Take heed what you do. His wisdom and power will surely effect the purposes of his love, and the engagements of his truth; while wicked men often escape suffering here, because they are kept to the day of judgment, to be punished with the devil and his angels.For if God spared not the angels that sinned..... By whom are meant the devil and his angels; who are spirits created by God and as such were good; their first estate which they left was pure and holy, as well as high and honourable; they, were at first in the truth, though they abode not in it; they were once among the morning stars and sons of God, and were angels of light; their numbers are many, and therefore are here expressed in the plural number, "angels", though it cannot be said how large; a legion of them was in one man; one at first might be in the rebellion, and draw a large number with him into it, at least was at the head of it, who is called Beelzebub, the prince of devils: what their first sin was, and the occasion of it, is not easy to say; it is generally thought to be pride, affecting a likeness to, or an equality with God; since this was what man was tempted to by them, and by which he fell, as they are thought to do; and because this is the sin of such who fall into the condemnation of the devil; 1 Timothy 3:6 and is the sin, that goes before a fall in common; as it did before the fall of man, so it might before the fall of angels, Proverbs 16:18. The passage in John 8:44 seems most clearly of any to express their sin, which was "not abiding in the truth"; in the truth of the Gospel, particularly the great truth of the salvation of men, by the incarnate Son of God; and which they could by no means brook and which might spring from pride, they not bearing the thought that the human nature should be exalted above theirs; hence the Jews, in opposing Christ as the Messiah and Saviour, are said to be of their father the devil, and to do his lusts; and Judas that betrayed him, and fell from his apostleship, and the truth, is called a devil; and the heresies of men, respecting the person and office of Christ, are styled doctrines of devils; and men that have professed this truth, and afterwards deny it, are represented in the same irrecoverable and desperate case with devils, and must expect the same punishment, John 8:44, and also it may be observed on the contrary, that the good angels that stand, greatly love, value, esteem, and pry into the truths of the Gospel; particularly the scheme of man's salvation, by the incarnation, obedience, sufferings, and death of Christ: now these

God spared not; or "had no mercy on", as the Arabic version renders it; he did not forgive their sin, nor provide a Saviour for them; but directly, and at once, notwithstanding the dignity and excellency of their nature, in strict justice, and awful severity, without any mercy, inflicted due punishment on them; wherefore it cannot be thought that false teachers, who, as they, abide not in the truth, but deny and oppose it, should escape the vengeance of God:

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 or into the deep, the abyss, the bottomless pit, 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:

and delivered them into chains of darkness: leaving them under the guilt of sin, which is the power of darkness, and in black despair; shutting them up in unbelief, impenitence, and hardness of mind; being holden with the cords of their sins, and in the most dreadful state of bondage and captivity to their lusts, in just judgment on them; and in the most miserable and uncomfortable condition, being driven from the realms of light, deprived of the face and presence of God, in the utmost horror and trembling, and fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation to consume them; and in utter darkness, without the least glimmering of light, joy, peace, and comfort; and where there is nothing but weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth; and being also under the restraints of the power and providence of God, and not able to stir or move, or do anything without divine permission; and being likewise, by the everlasting, unalterable, and inscrutable purposes and decrees of God, appointed to everlasting wrath and destruction; by which they are consigned and bound over to it, and held fast, that they cannot escape it:

to be reserved unto judgment: to the day of judgment, to the last and general judgment; the judgment of torment, as the Syriac version here calls it; the words may be rendered, "and delivered them to be kept at judgment, in chains of darkness"; when they will be in full torment, which they are not yet in; and then they will be cast into the lake of fire prepared for them, and be everlastingly shut up in the prison of hell from whence they will never more be suffered to go out; till which time they are indeed under restraints, and are held in by Christ, who has the power of binding and loosing them at pleasure; and who then, as the Judge of men and devils, will bring them forth, and pass and execute sentence on them. The Jews give an account of the dejection, fall, and punishment of the angels, in a manner pretty much like this of Peter's, whom they speak of under different names; so of the serpent that deceived Adam and Eve, whom they call Samael, and because of that sin of his, they say (k) that the Lord

"cast down Samael and his company from the place of their holiness, out of heaven;''

and of Aza and Azael, angels, who, they say, sinned by lusting after the daughters of men, they frequently affirm, that God cast them down from their holiness (l), and that he , "cast them down below in chains" (m); and that God cast them down from their holiness from above; and when they descended, they were rolled in the air--and he brought them to the mountains of darkness, which are called the mountains of the east, and bound them "in chains" of iron, and the chains were sunk into the midst of the great deep (n): and elsewhere they say (o), that God cast them down from their holy degree, out of heaven--from their holy place out of heaven--and bound them in "chains" of iron, in the mountains of "darkness".

(k) Sepher Bahir in Zohar in Gen. fol. 27. 3.((l) Zohar in Gen. fol. 25. 3.((m) lb. fol. 32. 3.((n) Midrash Ruth in Zohar in Gen. fol. 45. 1. 2. vid. fol. 77. 3.((o) Zohar in Numb. fol. 84. 1. vid. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 6. 4. & 9. 4. & Raziel, fol. 14. 2. & 18. 2.

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