7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (2 Thess. 1:7-9, NKJV)

Is it possible that 'those' in vs. 8 and 'these' in vs. 9 refer to fallen angels in contrast to the mighty angels who come with Jesus?

  • 2
    What leads you to that conclusion?
    – user862
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 0:14
  • 1
    There is a sharp distinction in the punishment. The first is "God will repay" which could refer to trouble in this life. The second, AFTER Jesus comes with the angels, is about eternal doom. If Paul was referring to the Book of Enoch, then perhaps his passage was telling the readers that their human persecutors would be repaid in trouble (perhaps only in this life) and reminding the readers of the invisible war that rages, and that the invisible powers behind their persecution are doomed. This assumes οἵτινες ("who" will suffer the penalty) are non-human beings. Is this a valid reading?
    – user14423
    Commented Jun 19, 2016 at 13:24
  • Critical scholarship dates this text quite late, so it might reflect an eschatology similar to that of Rev.12:7–13. The 'War in Heaven' also seems to have been a popular motif in the Dead Sea Scrolls and late Enochian literature. It's my understanding that within that tradition, after the Angels of Light defeat the Angels of Darkness in heaven, they join the battle on earth. It's worth exploring whether this is the eschatological drama envisioned by the author of this epistle. Good question!
    – Schuh
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 4:35

2 Answers 2


"...Taking vengeance on those who obey not the gospel..."

No, It is not possible that these could be fallen angels, according to 2 Peter 2:4. Those whom vengeance finds in Thessalonians do not obey the gospel.

Angels have no provision for salvation, mentioned anywhere in scripture, and for that reason, it can also, not be said, that they obey, or have any opportunity to obey the gospel, seeing that they have been reserved in chains, under darkness, against the day of judgment; or, the time appointed, for their judgement.

It should also be noted, that these angels do have, an apprehension of that day, as we see in Mathew 8:29.

(Mat. 8:29) "What do you want with us, Son of God?" they shouted. "Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?"

(2 Peter 2:4) "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."

One reasonable, argument of opposition; 'How is it then, that they appear to exercise liberty, if they are bound in chains, under darkness; to Hell, reserved unto judgement?'

I see no difficulty, in reconciling what we know from scripture about those fallen angels, with respect to these terms of chains, under darkness, reserved for judgement, or even Hell, as it is stated. For, what do we really know? about any of these concepts, other than what our imaginations frame for them, from concepts that we borrow of our own reality. Or that can be derived from a knowledgeable source. (See Gill, on The Jews below.)

For all we can possibly know, of that 'condition', there may be no exception whatsoever; to the idea that Legion was fully bound, in chains, under darkness; speaking to Jesus, and referring to regions, such as "do not send us out of this country", or "allow us rather, to enter the heard of swine..." At least, it does not trespass, on any of the arguments required, to fully answer this question; in my mind, based on scripture.

Gill's remarks pertaining to this.

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, ...appointed to everlasting wrath and destruction; by which they are consigned and bound over to it, and held fast, that they cannot escape it: (Gill, John, D.D., John Gill's Exposition of the Bible, 1697-1771). Pub (1746-1766), 1816; public domain)." (See (2 Peter 2:4) this commentary.)

And here also, of this; "..to be reserved unto judgment...", as the tradition of the Jews.

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 אפיל לון לתתא, "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" (Gill) ref. same.

Letter Index:

(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.

  • (-1) Too chatty.
    – user10231
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 13:51
  • In defense of WoundedEgo, this was too chatty. I pared it down to essentials. Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 0:47
  1. The author of 2 Thessalonians is providing solace to a church under persecution. There's no indication that this persecution is anything but physical.

  2. Nothing in the syntax suggests a contrast between angels and demons. The contrast is between believers and non-believers.

  3. v.9 suggests that these non-believers have not yet been shut out from God's presence. Fallen angels (nearly by definition) have been.

  • Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics SE, thanks for contributing! Be sure to take our site tour to learn more about us. We're a little different from other SEs. Our community looks for answers to reflect a good degree of research and references. Typically, we like answers that cite scholarly references and/or explain how your interpretation arises from the text. Don't just tell us what you know, tell us how you know it. Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 14:32
  • 1
    Sorry about that. I'll adjust as time permits. However, thank you for your constructive -- and polite -- criticism. It's quite the (refreshing) contrast from some other SE's. Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 20:18
  • @CodyRudisill I would only add that answers that don't show their work here may be deleted.
    – Dan
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 10:59
  • (-1) The first sentence is an assertion with no supporting evidence.
    – user10231
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 13:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.