“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;” ‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭2:4‬ ‭

This is referencing a collective sinning, a plurality of aggelos sinning. When did this happen? What past event is Peter referencing?

Is this the same event that Jude is alluding to also?

“And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—” ‭‭Jude‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭

Day of judgment implying breaking of rules or sinning.

  • 2
    Both Peter and Jude quote certain references from out of the book of Enoch (Enoch 1). And, Enoch 1 clearly links this to the times of Noah, as that is the context of Enoch 1.
    – Dave
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 17:29
  • 2
    Correct. Both scriptures are in reference to the angels that took wives for themselves prior to the flood.
    – agarza
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 17:30

5 Answers 5


Peter 2:4 when did the angels sin?

In the days of Noah before the flood.

The Bible tells us that "God’s Grief over Humankind’s wickedness" in the days of Noah before the flood, the account states that the sons of God took for themselves wives from the attractive daughters of mankind. In verse 3 we read, "nevertheless his days shall be 120 years". God in other words set a limit of 120 years in which the pre-flood humans would continue to live until the time of the flood.

Genesis 6:1-4 (NASB)

The Corruption of Mankind

6 Now it came about, when mankind began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of mankind were [a]beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not [b]remain with man forever, because he is also flesh; nevertheless his days shall be 120 years.” 4 The [e]Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of mankind, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.

Is this the same event that Jude is alluding to also? (Jude 1:6)

Yes ,Jude is alluding to Genesis 6:1-4

Day of judgment implying breaking of rules or sinning.

Yes, the angels sinned because they put on fleshly bodies, and they came to earth to have sexual relations with beautiful women. This was an act of disobedience. The Bible indicates that what they did was just as wrong as the homosexual acts of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Jude 6, 7)

What resulted?

As punishment for their improper, unnatural conduct, they were thrown into “Tartarus,”

2 Peter 2:4 (NABRE)

4 For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but condemned them to the chains of Tartarus and handed them over to be kept for judgment;

  • What kind of place do you understand Tartarus to be? [Mat 25:41 KJV] 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
    – Ruminator
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 2:40

2 Peter 2:4 seems to have 1 Enoch 10 in mind, which speaks of judgment against fallen angels known throughout the book as "The Watchers" (1 Enoch 10:7 is an explicit reference of "The Watchers" as angels). The book provides an extended "behind the scenes" account of Genesis 6:1-7, telling of an angelic fall, the fallen angels having sexual relations with human females to create the Nephilim, and the subsequent proliferation of immorality in the antediluvian world.

For more on the influence of the Book of 1 Enoch in Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity, Michael Heiser is a great resource. He has a new commentary on 1 Enoch and a few related podcast episodes.

Micael Heiser's 1 Enoch Commentary

Michael Heiser's "Naked Bible" podcast on 1 Enoch allusions in Galations 3-4


An early example of angel sinning is in Daniel 10:

12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”

The Prince of Persia, a bad angel, fought against Michael, a good angel.

By the time of Jesus, angels sinning seemed rampant.

Mark 5:6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”

9Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.”

That's a lot of demons in one human being. They were afraid of Jesus' judgment on them.

  • 2
    Demons are not identical to angels. Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 18:42
  • I agree with Der Übermensch but didn’t want to go into the details of why that’s not an accurate statement. Second point Tony is even if the Prince (singular) of Daniel sinned, no where does it say that he was placed in chains. So I don’t see how Peter is speaking of the event in Daniel or at least including it. Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 19:07
  • 1
    The prince of Persia was not ‘sinning’ when he held up the angel delivering the message to Daniel. He (the prince of Persia) had a ‘legal’ right to, and over that land.
    – Dave
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 19:50
  • 2
    Dave : This hostile ‘prince of Persia’ is an agent of the Devil, that is, a demon who was given control over the realm of the Persian Empire. The angel delivering the message was from God. Commented Jan 26, 2021 at 7:03
  • @Ozzie Ozzie Firstly, the prince of Persia was not a demon, but rather an angel being. Second, Genesis 10 and Deuteronomy 32 explain how nations were set boundaries, and who was give authority over those nations. We see this exampled previously in Egypt, and now here in Babylon. (And as explained elsewhere in Daniel.)
    – Dave
    Commented Jan 26, 2021 at 17:46

The first consideration is the definition of the word "angel", and the next consideration is of the context of the chapter in 2 Peter 2.

The word "angel" was transliterated from the Greek "aggelos" and simply means a messenger, or envoy; one who was sent. (1) The English translations of this word should have just been "messenger".

Messengers can be either human or celestial. The Hebrew word for messenger was "malak" and that is where Malachi got his name. Malachi's name means "my messenger". (2) (3) (4) Malachi was a man, a prophet of God.

The translators made decisions based upon common beliefs of the day as to when to use "messenger" and when to use "angel". They made several assumptions which need to be discussed further.

For instance, in Matt. 11:10 which speaks of John the Immersor (Baptist), it is properly translated as "messenger".

"For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee." (KJV)

This "messenger" is the same Greek word "aggelos", Strong's Gr. 32 which is used in 2 Pet. 2:4. But, in 2 Pet. 2:4 the translators use the word "angel". They attribute celestial "angels" where they wish, and human "messengers" where they wish based upon their beliefs.

We must be more careful as some early mythology of Babylonian origin crept into 1st & 2nd century BC Jewish writings of the Babylonian Talmud with the dual theology of Persian Zoroastrianism as well as the angelology of the pseudepigrapaha and apocryphal books . (5) (6) These myths of dual gods have caused much of the confusion we have today over 2 Peter 2 and Jude.

So, whenever it appears in the texts we need to first think "messenger" and then look to see how the Holy Spirit is using it so that we can determine whether that particular messenger was a celestial one or a human one.

The context of 2 Peter chap. 2 continues from the discussion in 2 Pet. 1 of staying true to the faith and the gospel of Christ, to not depart from that faith. And, in 2 Pet. 1:1 he warns them of false prophets and false teachers. The chapter is concerned with "men" who are causing trouble in the assemblies. Peter then lists instances from history when other "men" were judged for their sins.

Every one will agree that verses 5, 6, 7, and 8 were discussing men who had been judged. But they want to make verse 4 about celestial messengers. The reason we can know that vs 4 was also about human messengers is the distinction made in verse 11.

"11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord." (2 Pet. 2:11, KJV)

"whereas messengers, in strength and power being greater, do not bear against them before the Lord an evil speaking judgment;" (2 Pet. 2:11, YLT)

The messengers in vs. 11 being of greater strength and power are the celestial "angels". Verse 4 is about human messengers who disobeyed God, and were cast down to the grave (tartarus). As human messengers were the prophets who were sent by God to warn of coming judgment, and as human messengers were also the Levitical priests who were to teach God's word to the people, and as human messengers included those selected by God such as Moses, then we must consider that the use of messengers in vs. 4 were most likely early prophets (Enoch was a prophet) who were leading others astray.

They are not named in 2 Peter 2:4. There is speculation about who these men were. But, as vs. 11 makes the distinction for heavenly messengers then vs. 4 cannot be speaking of heavenly messengers. As it appears in a list before those of Noah's flood it appears to be a logical time sequence that places them earlier than the flood.

Other than that we are not told. The Bible doesn't say who they were, only that they were judged and sent to the grave. Peter was warning against false teachers, and listed the consequences. The context is still about holding fast to the faith.

Additionally, the scriptures tell us that heavenly, celestial messengers know who God is, and do His will.

"Bless Jehovah, ye His messengers, Mighty in power -- doing His word, To hearken to the voice of His Word." (Psa. 103:20, YLT)

There is too much confusion about this issue, and it all stems from false teaching, pagan mythology, and a belief in dual gods which is no where taught in the scriptures.


  1. Strong's Gr. 32, "aggelos" at Biblehub

  2. Malachi - BehindTheName

  3. Malak: Messenger - HebrewWordStudies

  4. Untranslated words - here

  5. Talmud & Middle Persian Culture - JewishVirtualLibrary

  6. Excerpt from Angels & Angelology:

"A special category are the so-called Fallen Angels, frequently mentioned in post-biblical literature. This concept is also common to all Semitic peoples; the idea of vanquished gods or demons, who then appear as accursed and damned, is one that prevailed among all the peoples of antiquity. It is found in a special form in earlier versions of the story of the creation, in which Rahab appears in the role of the vanquished god. Although for a variety of reasons little trace has remained of the ideas upon which the Rahab legends are based, the dualistic concepts of paganism have nevertheless exerted a profound influence upon Judaism, and the concept of the existence of good and evil powers, contradicting as they did the idea of monotheism, found their way into Judaism through the story of the Fallen Angels. It must be pointed out, however, that the passage Genesis 6:1 ff., although usually quoted as the basis of all subsequent legends of Fallen Angels, has in fact little to do with this concept, as it later developed. Not only is the interpretation of "Nephilim" as Fallen Angels of a doubtful nature (see Num. 13:33), but the text contains no denouncement of the "Benei Elohim" who had married the daughters of men; on the contrary, it stresses that the children of these connections were "the heroes of days gone by, the famous men." It was only at a later stage, when the dualistic belief in the existence of evil demons had become a firm component of popular religion, that attempts were made to find biblical authority for this concept, contradictory as it was to monotheism." Source: Jewish Virtual Library here


To answer this, let's first find out: What is the definition of sin? (I John 3:4 GNB)

"Whoever sins is guilty of breaking God's law, because sin is a breaking of the law."

What is the definition of sin? John explained, "a breaking of the law". Which law? John clarified, "God's law". Hence, to go against God's will is to commit sin.

What is one such commandment of God? (I Pet. 5:9 ERV)

"Refuse to follow the devil. Stand strong in your faith. You know that your brothers and sisters all over the world are having the same sufferings that you have."

What is a commandment of God? Peter said, "Refuse to follow the devil".

Who are guilty of transgressing this will of God, and instead were found siding with the devil? (Rev. 12:7-9 NKJV)

"And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."

Who were found siding with the Devil? John said, "angels". This was a transgression of God's will and a sin in His sight.

  • Sorry but that is a fallacious answer. It does not say that some angels sided with the dragon and consequently they sinned. It says the dragon and his angels, meaning he already possessed them, they were already on his side. So if by siding with the dragon that was their sin, it wasn’t during a rebellion. Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 23:50
  • @NihilSineDeo I used the past continuous tense to indicate that those angels were only presently sided with the Devil during the Rebellion, not necessarily that they had only just joined with him at that time.
    – carsonfel
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 8:02
  • @NihilSineDeo Sin is the breaking of God's law: "Whoever sins is guilty of breaking God's law, because sin is a breaking of the law." (I John 3:4 GNB) God commands that we resist the Devil: "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." (James 4:7 GNB) Ergo, don't join with him.
    – carsonfel
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 8:16
  • And the question is when did they sin AND get sent into chains? Read the verse in question. It’s not asking to find examples of times angels sinned but when they sinned and then also chained afterwards. Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 13:02
  • 1
    @NihilSineDeo Ah, my mistake.
    – carsonfel
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 13:11

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