"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." Jude 1:6 KJV

ἀγγέλους τε τοὺς μὴ τηρήσαντας τὴν ἑαυτῶν ἀρχὴν ἀλλὰ ἀπολιπόντας τὸ ἴδιον οἰκητήριον εἰς κρίσιν μεγάλης ἡμέρας δεσμοῖς ἀϊδίοις ὑπὸ ζόφον τετήρηκεν

The word εἰς means "into", and when concerning time, it means duration through or until a certain period of time. But according to translations, certain messengers are "kept in everlasting/eternal (aidios) chains unto the judgement".

How are these messengers kept in eternal chains until a certain period of time? Or does ἀϊδίοις actually mean something other than eternal?

  • No one expects them to be set free of their chains on Judgement Day, so...
    – Lucian
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 7:04
  • @Lucian Unless they are freed from the chains and cast into the "lake of fire". Or do you mean they are already there?
    – Cannabijoy
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 7:59
  • That's not exactly an improvement of their condition.
    – Lucian
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 8:22
  • @Lucian Maybe not or maybe so. But it does seem that being bound to chains will eventually come to an end one way or another.
    – Cannabijoy
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 9:08
  • Not if the second condition is simply the next stage of the first.
    – Lucian
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 9:14

2 Answers 2


ἀϊδίοις is an adjective (here in the dative). It is derived from ἀεί (an adverb meaning "ever; always").

Hence this word means "everlasting" or "perpetual"—these chains are not going anywhere, in other words. One might also render it 'imperishable' for this context.

Even though treated as largely synonymous in English, eternal and everlasting do not have the same meaning. Everlasting means perpetual, or having no end, not being terminated. Christians will have life everlasting, but not eternal (never having a beginning) life, for example. Whereas eternal means absent the throws of time altogether—outside time and therefore unchanging.

There is a parallel in 2 Peter which ought not to be overlooked when considering your question.

2 Peter 2:4

εἰ γὰρ ὁ Θεὸς ἀγγέλων ἁμαρτησάντων οὐκ ἐφείσατο ἀλλὰ σειραῖς ζόφου ταρταρώσας παρέδωκεν εἰς κρίσιν τηρουμένους

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but delivered them, [bound in] infernal chains to the lower hell, to be reserved unto [the] judgment,

Jude 1:6

ἀγγέλους τε τοὺς μὴ τηρήσαντας τὴν ἑαυτῶν ἀρχὴν ἀλλὰ ἀπολιπόντας ἴδιον οἰκητήριον εἰς κρίσιν μεγάλης ἡμέρας δεσμοῖς ἀϊδίοις ὑπὸ ζόφον τετήρηκεν

And the angels who did not keep their former state, but forsook their proper dwelling, He has reserved under deep darkness in everlasting chains, unto [the] judgement of the great Day.

Jude and Peter are both taking from the same source, or one of them is that source, without doubt. John also writes along the same lines in Revelation 20:1-3.

Revelation 20:1-3

καὶ εἶδον ἄγγελον καταβαίνοντα ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἔχοντα τὴν κλεῖν τῆς ἀβύσσου καὶ ἅλυσιν μεγάλην ἐπὶ τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ · καὶ ἐκράτησεν τὸν δράκοντα ὁ ὄφις ὁ ἀρχαῖος ὅς ἐστιν Διάβολος καὶ Ὁ Σατανᾶς ἔδησεν αὐτὸν χίλια ἔτη · καὶ ἔβαλεν αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν ἄβυσσον καὶ ἔκλεισεν καὶ ἐσφράγισεν ἐπάνω αὐτοῦ ἵνα μὴ πλανήσῃ ἔτι τὰ ἔθνη ἄχρι τελεσθῇ τὰ χίλια ἔτη μετὰ ταῦτα δεῖ λυθῆναι αὐτὸν μικρὸν χρόνον ·

And I saw an angel descend from heaven, with the key to the Abyss, and a great chain in his hand. And he seized the dragon, that old serpent (who is the devil, and Satan), and bound him for a thousand years. And he cast him into the Abyss, and shut and sealed it over him, that he should not decieve the nations any longer, until the thousand years had past: after which it is necessary that he be released for a short time.

Since the devil being released on the nations again would be a judgement on us, if the highlighted portion is taken to be for our judgement near the last Day, then εἰς could be taken to mean "until" in all instances. I think it should be regardless.

In Elizabethan English (KJV), "unto" can mean "until" in this context (both of its syllables having the same meaning—'up to/as far as [the point]').

  • Thanks for the answer. Do you mean to say that God keeps the messengers bound to "everlasting chains because of the judgement of the great day"? Are they bound before or after the judgement?
    – Cannabijoy
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 5:05
  • I edited my answer slightly. The 'chaining' is all past tense. Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 13:42

‘. . . . until a certain period of time.’

Jude uses αιονιος in writing of the vengeance of eternal fire in v7, and of ‘the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life, v21. But in writing of everlasting chains (I am staying with the use of eternal and everlasting as used in the KJV, for now) he uses this word αιδιοις, its only other use in the New Testament scripture (the Stephens 1550 text) being Romans 1:20 regarding the nature of God, himself, his eternal power.

Strong (126) states eternal, so also does Young and I had to revert to my one thousand page Liddell & Scott, American Edition, 1854, to get any further. There I find that the word is either derived from, or equivalent to, αειδελος which is linked to, or derived from, αειδης.

These two words convey meanings of ‘unseen’, ‘without form’ and ‘immaterial’.

I notice that the AV, Young's Literal and JND link αιονιος only to 'power' in Romans 1:20. The EGNT, however, correctly renders the Greek word order and states :

. . both eternal his power and divinity . . . . η τε αιδιος αυτου δυναμις και θειοτης

It appears to me that αιδιοις emphasises, in Romans, the immaterial, invisible perpetuity of him who is spirit and, therefore, when applied, in Jude, to the chains binding spirit-beings - who have no bodily manifestation - that their state of captivity, which will have no end, is being emphasised as formless, insubstantial and invisible. This state is also attributed to souls, who will experience the ‘blackness of darkness for ever’ having lived as Jude describes in v8 to v16.

But Jude also describes the eternal fire of those men of Sodom and Gomorrha, which fire is also described, as a lake of fire by John in Revelation 19:20 and which is stated to eventually contain Diabolos and his demonic followers.

Both states, of angels who kept not their first state, and of men, who turned the grace of God into lasciviousness, are described by words which emphasise the bleak isolation of their deserved plight; a state which does not change, and continues - eternally - to be punctuated, but not altered, by the judicial process of judgment.

Prisoners on remand, who are clearly and unequivocally guilty, are captive before, during and after their trial. So also, I understand, are angels and men who have rebelled against the word of God and so made themselves unworthy of an existence of any other kind than scripture here describes.

  • Thanks for answering. I think I agree that "imperceptible" is the best translation of this word. I'm a bit confused by the rest of your answer. Are you saying the prisoners have been held captive eternally in the past, now, and eternally into the future? Also, is Jude saying that Sodom and Gomorrah are also suffering this same eternal punishment, and judgement day is just a reminder of their sentencing?
    – Cannabijoy
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 5:20
  • @anonymouswho I thought today of the word 'transcendental' to translate aidiois as the meaning in OED is 'relating to a spiritual realm'. But its use in the 1960s has somewhat contaminated the meaning.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 15:46
  • @anonymouswho I understand that the prisoners are the 'sons of God' who kept not their first estate and were the cause of nephilim in the antediluvian age. Part of the judgment, at the time of the Flood, involved angelic powers and this, I believe, is what Jude is referring to.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 16:28

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