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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;

2 Peter 2:4

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 6

The idea that angels that sinned against God were sent to hell to be chained until judgement comes directly from the Book of Enoch.

And the Lord said unto Michael: Go, bind Semjaza and his associates who have united themselves with women so as to have defiled themselves 12 with them in all their uncleanness. And when their sons have slain one another, and they have seen the destruction of their beloved ones, bind them fast for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth, till the day of their judgement and of their consummation, till the judgement that is 13 for ever and ever is consummated.

1 Enoch 10:11-13

There are many other passages like this in the first part of the Book of Enoch, with some references to it in other parts as well. The concept of angels being bound in chains until the time of judgement does not appear in the Old Testament, and so this idea must have taken from either the Book of Enoch or a similar book.

The Book of Enoch, however, contradicts the Bible many times, and contains scientifically false information on astronomy and geography, and do the book must be false.

We know that Jude quoted from the Book of Enoch in Jude 14-15, and it is commonly said that Jude quoted the book because what it says in Enoch 1:9 supported his argument, although Jude wasn't necessarily affirming the book to be true. Jude most likely quoted the Ascension of Moses, another Apocryphal book, in Jude 9, and we wouldn't say that this book is true.

Is it possible, then, exegetically and theologically, to say that 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 didn't actually happen, based on the fact that they take their information from the Book of Enoch?

Thank you.

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    "...and so the book must be false." Mac's Musings addresses this implicitly but I just wanted to call it out explicitly: just because the book is uninspired, and demonstrably false on many points, does not mean that EVERYTHING in the book is false. You're running into what's called "the fallacy of summation." – JDM-GBG May 28 '19 at 23:37
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    Short answer: yes. – AngelusVastator May 30 '19 at 10:06
  • @AngelusVastator Please explain your answer. – CMK May 31 '19 at 11:28
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    @JDM-GBG This is an inordinately technical point, no offense. Most people that I have spoken to equate the word "false" with uninspired when it comes to writings. – CMK Jun 7 '19 at 2:27
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    @CMK, thanks, I didn't realize 'false' in that usage was a common thing. – JDM-GBG Jun 8 '19 at 13:18
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The fact that an inspired writer quotes from an uninspired source does not make the quoted statement false. There are dozens of places in Scripture that quote from uninspired sources such as:

  • 2 Chron 2:11-16 - King Hiram’s Order (in a letter) to provide materials for Solomon’s temple
  • Ezra 4:9-16 - Rehum’s Letter to King Artaxerxes
  • Ezra 5:7-17 - Tattenai’s Letter to King Darius
  • Neh 6:6-7 - Sanballat’s letter to Nehemiah
  • Dan 3:28-29 - King Nebuchadnezzar’s Decree after the fiery furnace
  • Acts 17:28 - Epimenides the Cretan, 6th Cent BC, “In him we live and move and have our being”
  • Acts 17:28 - Aratus of Cilicia, Didactic poem, Phaenomena, (An Invocation to Zeus), line 5, 270 BC, “We are his offspring”.
  • Titus 1:12 - Epimenides the Cretan, 6th Cent BC, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.”

There are many, many more. I fully agree that the "first" book of Enoch (the so-called "Ethiopic Book of Enoch") cannot possibly be described as inspired - it has far too much patently wrong, contradictory and Biblically inconsistent material in it. However, as shown above, the fact that an inspired writer elects to use some phrase out of such a work does not render the quoted passage wrong.

Therefore, I see no need to doubt the veracity of the inspired record of what Jude and Peter record for our benefit. How we interpret those tricky passages in Jude and Peter is a completely separate matter and might be the subject of a separate question.

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  • Jesus himself quoted the book of Enoch. The cosmological argument would render the Bible as uninspired. Plus the first book of Enoch is actually three books in one. But I agree with your premise that quoting uninspired text does not make the quote false – Nihil Sine Deo May 29 '19 at 0:21
  • @Autodidact When did Jesus quote the Book of Enoch? – CMK May 31 '19 at 11:02
  • You can't conflate the recording of a letter actually written by a human being for the purpose of recording history with saying that an event between angels only spoken of in an uninspired book truly happened. In the poem that Paul quotes from in Acts 17:28, the "him" is Zeus. Obviously, Saint Paul didn't believe in Zeus; he applied the line of the poem to God, and so only used the line to make a point, without affirming the truth of it. The second quotation in Acts 17:28 also refers to Zeus, and so the same thing applies to it. – CMK May 31 '19 at 11:13
  • Agreed - that is the point - inspired writers used/quoted uninspired writings in various ways. The uninspired source may be fiction but when used by an inspired writer in a different context it teaches something true. – user25930 May 31 '19 at 11:17
  • Saint Paul in Titus 1:12 made it clear that he was quoting someone. You would have to show verses in Scripture where someone affirms as historical a supernatural event only spoken of in an uninspired book, and the same question would be asked, in fact. You can't prove this by precedent at all, in my opinion. One would have to answer the question theologically. – CMK May 31 '19 at 11:27
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The short answer is "yes". Those judgments mentioned in 2 Pet. 2:4 and Jude 1:6 really happened. But, they were not the judgments most people assume.

The true author of the Bible is the Holy Spirit. He used the agency of men to put His word into the world. The men wrote His words on mediums of papyrus scrolls, and then on vellum parchment. The "authors" we like to argue over... who wrote the book of Hebrews, etc... were God's secretaries, his agents. The Holy Spirit spoke to the men, and the men wrote for Him.

"20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Pet. 1:20-21, KJV)

The men were the recipients of the words of the Holy Spirit, the messengers that He chose to use, to speak through. Jude was also moved by the Holy Spirit, and he did not quote from that so-called Book of Enoch that so many people seem to find thrilling.

The Holy Spirit knew that Enoch had prophesied of wicked men who would face God's judgment. Just because He named a real man who prophesied, the seventh son from Adam, does not mean that He quoted from a work of fiction.

May I suggest that a piece of fiction most likely picked selected passages from the word of God to use as props for the purpose of convincing people that the book men created... the Book of Enoch... was true? The Adversary has always seduced men into believing a lie by mixing truths with false information (Gen. 3:1-5).

When we credit the true source of the word of God, the Holy Spirit with having known of Enoch, of having personal knowledge of the seventh man from Adam, is it even necessary to have to justify the mention of Enoch as a prophet of God? The Holy Spirit knew Enoch, and the Holy Spirit is the source author of the book of Jude. Jude was the secretary speaking on behalf of the Holy Spirit.

"And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these,..." (Jude 1:14, KJV)

It is a simple statement by the Holy Spirit that Enoch prophesied. It is not a quote from the Book of Enoch.

However, the context of both 2 Pet. 2:4 and Jude 1:6 are within the discussion of the judgments that came upon wicked "men".

"For there are certain men crept in unawares,..." (Jude 1:4, KJV)

"...having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not." (Jude 1:5, KJV)

"Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them..." (Jude 1:7, KJV)

So, in vs 6, between vs 5 and 7 the subject suddenly jumps from wicked men to wicked "angels"? Not hardly. The translation is at fault, and the many commentaries have been deceived by the mysticism injected into the Babylonian and the Jerusalem Talmuds, the Midrash and Mishnah, the mythologies of Greek and Roman paganism, Milton's fictional "Paradise Lost"; in other words the writings of men who ran with their imaginations of "fallen angels" from heaven.

The word "angels" in the English translation is not a translation. It is a transliteration of the Greek "angelos" which means messenger. (See my answer to this question here.) In the OT the original word is the Hebrew "malak" which means messenger. It is the root of Malachi's name, which means "My messenger". Messengers can be either from heaven, or those men who carried God's word to the people on earth... the prophets, the Levitical priests, the judges, the apostles and disciples of the NT. These were all messengers of God.

2 Pet 2:1-3 begins with the false prophets and false teachers among the people....men. 2 Pet. 2:5 - Noah and the old world of the flood...men. 2 Pet. 2:6-8 - Sodom and Gomorrah, ungodly men. 2 Pet. 2:10 - men speaking evil of dignitaries.

But, in the middle of these verses, vs. 4 suddenly changes the context, the subject to heavenly messengers? Again, not hardly!

Notice what happens at 2 Pet. 2:11:

"Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord." (KJV)

Let's translate that verse correctly...

"Whereas [messengers], which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord."

Why is the verse stressing those messengers that are greater in power and might? Could it be because they are different from those "messengers" (angels) that are in 2 Pet. 2:4? Yes, they definitely are.

The messengers that are greater in power and might are those that are in heaven who face God every single day and know His authority.

"Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word." (Psa. 103:20, KJV)

The angels / messengers that excel in strength are those that are in heaven! As 2 Pet. 2:11 distinguished those heavenly messengers from those in 2 Pet. 2:4 as being greater in strength, then those messengers in 2 Pet. 2:4, just as those in Jude 6 were speaking of messengers that were of lesser strength...men!

Now, we have the subject matter the same. Both 2 Pet. 2:4, and Jude 1:6 were speaking of wicked men. Those wicked messengers who were supposed to be speaking God's word to the people were men who left their first estate, or their appointed office before God. The context was of old... in the OT. Jude 1:5 spoke of men coming out of the exodus from Egypt, the vs. 7 jumped back in time to Sodom and Gomorrah which came before the Exodus. So, these are not necessarily chronological.

Those men who held appointed offices to teach and speak the word of God.. the Law... were His priests in the temple. Those messengers fell away from God's word, and became insubordinate, and did not do their jobs. The left their first estate - their primary function and task. This is a collective of all those priests / messengers of the Mosaic temple who failed in their duty before God to properly teach His word to the people.

Some suppose this could have been the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram of Num. ch. 16 who challenged Moses' leadership. Korah was a Levite, but Dathan and Abiram were sons of Eliab (Num. 16:1).

"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:

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.

33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation." (Num. 16:31-33, KJV)

As 2 Pet. 2:4 and Jude 1:6 separate the earthly messengers as having been appointed to offices before God, then the only one of these that would qualify would have been Korah. And, as Korah and his company was set apart to be ministers in the tabernacle and ministers to the congregation (Num. 16:9), then this event is a possible answer.

However, I believe the fullness of 2 Pet. 2:4 and Jude 1:6 would include all of the Levitical priesthood who ever turned from God, and who led the people astray. They collectively would all fit into this judgment; and that all of them would have been assigned to the grave - Sheol.

2 Pet. 2:4, and Jude 1:6 did happen. The "angels" should properly be translated as "messengers" and the context governs the meaning as earthly messengers...men, specifically wicked men who turned from God and misled the people.

Yes, 2 Pet. 2:4 and Jude 1:6 did really happen.

The whole concept that the heavenly angels / messengers who face God every day, who know God's rule and authority is real; the idea that these "angels" could fall out of heaven, could be "fallen angels" is slandering those messengers of greater strength and power! It is the earthly messengers...men... who have problems following God's instructions. These earthly messengers are the subject of 2 Pet. 2:4, and Jude 1:6.

Supporting work regarding the book of Enoch and the translation of Enoch and Elijah at my blog ShreddingTheVeil here, here, here, and here.

All bold emphasis is mine.

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