2Pe 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;

The context of 2 Peter 2:1-3 suggests that the subject up to that point in the chapter is the swift destruction of "False teachers".

In verse four the angels had already been judged by being cast into Hell, Mt 25:41.

Mt 25:41 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:

Jesus was created lower than angels so He could "suffer death", Heb 2:9.

Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Angels, therefore, are not subject to Death. As we are told being alive in the fire is the punishment of the Angels that sinned, Rev 19:20.

Re 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

  • 1
    If "In verse four the angels had already been judged", then why does it say they are "reserved unto judgement"? — And if if it's so obvious that they have been judged, why is that the Title question? — "Angels, therefore, are not subject to Death"; I don't see how that conclusion follows. — "being alive in the fire"; I see nothing that says this either. Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 20:22
  • 1
    First - The angels are reserved for our judgment, as in "instruments of God's indignation, refer to Ps 78:45. God incorporated them into our judgment/discipline, 1 Cor 11:32. Second - I used the feature on this site with which you can ask and answer your own question. Thirdly, the angels were cast "alive into the fire" in Rev 19:20.
    – brmicke
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 3:20
  • 1
    the angels were cast "alive into the fire"” — You could cast me alive into a great fire, but it doesn't mean that I would remain alive for more than a few seconds. Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 13:20
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    The verse is referring to Angels, not you. Jesus said a person's body and soul could be destroyed in Hell. Thus He agrees with you. You would not survive in that fire. Mt 10:28,
    – brmicke
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 15:10
  • Good question! I like your answer too. Upvotes for both. Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 10:11

3 Answers 3


I think that 2 Pet 2:4 has two distinct parts.

Part one tells us that the Evil Angels had been judged and "darkness" was their punishment.

Part two tells us that Evil Angels are instruments that are "reserved" or "kept in store" (Strong's 5083) for the judgment of others.

The angels that sinned are being used as instruments. As if exposure to them as they exist in their already condemned state "of darkness" is God's judgment that is to be inflicted upon the "false teachers".

As examples of this, I would cite 2 Cor 12:7 and 1 Sam 16:14-23.

2Co 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

1Sa 16:14 ¶ But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

  • Are suggesting that the evil angels are used by God to punish the wicked??? If so, that makes them part of God's work?? I think many would find such an idea repugnant.
    – Dottard
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 20:55
  • @Dottard God's plan included Judas.
    – Mary
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 0:04
  • @Mary - That ios true but when he rejected Christ, he was destroyed by his own hand.
    – Dottard
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 0:27

I understand from scripture that "Evil angels" are among the disciplinary tools employed by God, 1 Cor 11:32.

Jude 1:6 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.

Joel 1:15 KJV — Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.

Psalm 78:49 He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them


  • You now have 3 from me!!! Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 10:25

Messengers (ἀγγέλους) also, even them who had not kept their own principality (ἀρχὴν), but had forsaken their proper dwelling (οἰκητήριον), unto the judgment of the great day in perpetual bonds under thick gloom, hath he reserved.

Jude verse 6 Rotherham

ἀρχὴν : archēn
Initial position of authority.

οἰκητήριον : oikētērion
Abode or dwelling, i.e. home.

ἀγγέλους : aggelos
Used variously in the NT to refer to celestial or human messengers.

Examples :

And he sent messengers (ἀγγέλους) on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him ...

Luke 9:52 NIV

In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies (ἀγγέλους) and sent them off in a different direction?

James 2:25 NIV

Both plainly referring to human messengers.
A circumstance not confined to the NT :

... he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came ...

John 10:35 NIV

Respectable translators will be aware of the employment of ἀγγέλους, aggelos, as with elohim, to signify celestial or human messengers, and use context as a guide.

The context from the preceeding verse :

Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.

Jude verse 5 NIV

Examples :

And the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.

Exodus 32:36 NIV

Aaron’s sons ... took their censers ... and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.

Leviticus 10:1-2 NIV

The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the Lord’s fierce anger may turn away from Israel.”

Numbers 25:3-4 NIV

All leaders in Israel, and messengers of deity, who had abandoned that initial position of authority and all bound in darkness in the grave awaiting the judgement reserved for them.
As were the generation that perished in the wilderness because they believed not.

But, there's one more.

One that fits ideally.

Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—became insolent and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council.

Numbers 16:1-2 NIV

Korah's initial position of authority was as head of Levi, i.e. he was the agent or messenger of god to his tribe and the tent of meeting and Israel generally. Likewise, their associates and 250 community leaders.

Moses also said to Korah, “Now listen, you Levites! Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the Lord’s tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too.

Numbers 16:8-10 NIV

Again addressing Korah, and the Levites generally, and their intent to forsake their initial position of authority and usurp the priesthood.

So each of them took his censer, put burning coals and incense in it, and stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

Numbers 16:18 NIV

They abandoned their proper dwelling, to stand at the tent as priests, where they did not belong.

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to the assembly, ‘Move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.’”

Numbers 16:20-21,23-24 NIV

Their tents having a special significance not only in the law itself, but especially in the wilderness wanderings.
At various points Israel were commanded to remain in their tents, e.g. the sabbath, etcetera. It was only at the command of the priest or when the law allowed they were to do so.
In this instance, they left their tents or proper dwelling in an attempt to abandon their initial position of authority as Levites at the tent of meeting.

The inevitable result :

So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents.

Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.”

Numbers 16:27,28-30 NIV

As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, “The earth is going to swallow us too!”

Numbers 16:31-34 NIV

Left their tents or proper dwelling, and their initial position of authority as agents of deity or messengers, to Israel, in an attempted rebellion to usurp the priesthood, swallowed up into the ground alive ... a.k.a. bound in darkness instantly both literally and spiritually, in metaphorical chains in the grave, and there awaiting a resurrection to judgement and the condemnation which is reserved for them.

An idea for idea facsimile of Jude verse 6.

Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.

Jude verse 5 NIV

And the very next verse, verse 6 :

Messengers also, even them who had not kept their own principality, but had forsaken their proper dwelling, unto the judgment of the great day in perpetual bonds under thick gloom, hath he reserved.

Jude verse 6 Rotherham

Jude points to this in verse 11 :

Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

Jude verse 11 NIV

There's a reason Jude points to Korah in his summary ... and that reason is verse 6.

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

Daniel 12:2 NIV


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