The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to
observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
July 24, 2011
1) 2 Peter 2:4-11 (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
2 Peter 2:4-11
by Tom Edwards
After making mention of the false teachers and those who would follow
them (2 Pet. 2:1-3), Peter then adds more to the warning: "For if God
did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and
committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not
spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of
righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the
world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and
Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an
example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He
rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled
men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living
among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their
lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from
temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of
judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt
desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble
when they revile angelic majesties" (2 Pet. 2:4-10).
These angels who were cast down are also mentioned in Jude 1:6: "And
angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper
abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of
the great day." So we infer that if the Lord will not spare even
the angels who sinned, neither will He spare us. Paul used a
similar analogy in Romans 11:20-22, but with Gentiles to Jews: "...Do
not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural
branches [the Jews], He will not spare you [the Gentiles],
either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those
who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His
kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off."
Even Satan was not made to be the evil being that he is; but he, too,
fell because of his transgression. Consider, for instance, 1
Timothy 3:6: "and not a new convert, so that he will not become
conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil."
The KJV renders this as, "Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride
he fall into the condemnation of the devil." Though this
might sound to some as if the devil, who is the accuser of the
brethren, is the one who would be condemning these new converts who
would fall into pride as elders, the NASB makes it
clearer with the phrase "condemnation INCURRED by the devil." For
the word "incur" is the key, which means "to bring upon oneself."
So it is not the case of the devil doing the condemning of others; but,
rather, the condemnation that the devil has brought upon himself
through the sin of his pride.
Thinking more about these fallen angels, some have wrongly interpreted
Genesis 6:1-4 to apply the "sons of God" to angels who had come to
earth to marry "the daughters of men." But they could not be
angels because angels do not marry (cf. Matt. 22:30).
Rather, the phrase, "sons of God," represents the righteous.
Whereas the phrase, "daughters of men,"
the unrighteous. (Many also take a specific view on this that the
"sons of God" would be the righteous lineage of Seth, whereas "the
daughters of men" would be the unrighteous descendants of Cain.)
So it is a case of the
godly marrying the ungodly -- and isn't that the idea of the
contrasting phrases, "of God" and "of men," respectively? For we
would naturally think of those who were "of God" to be godly, whereas
those who are without that godliness can be said to be only "of
men." And though there is nothing wrong with a godly man marrying
a beautiful woman (as these "daughters of men" were), if that external
beauty is her only quality then
that had been a vain choice. For in speaking of the "excellent
wife," in Proverbs 31:10-31, Solomon mentions various good virtues; but
he also says that "beauty is vain" (v. 30).
The phrase "cast...into hell" (2 Pet. 2:4), which these fallen angels
have been thrown into, is from the Greek verb "tartaroo." It is
not talking about the eternal hell (Gehenna); but, rather, "Tartarus"
-- a temporary abode where all lost souls go at
death, to await the Judgment Day. It is seen in Luke 16:19-31, as
that place of torment to which the rich man went, while Lazarus went to
a great place of blessing (Paradise). 2 Peter 2:4 is the only
place in all the NT where the
Greek word "tartaroo" is used, and six of the versions I looked this
up in transliterate it as "Tartarus." The
fact that Tartarus will be experienced by those in it, who are awaiting
the final judgment -- rather than the deceased being in a type of
"soul-sleep," oblivious to all -- can also be
seen in 2 Peter 2:9. For this verse states
that, "...the Lord knows how to...keep the unrighteous UNDER PUNISHMENT
for the day of judgment." Jude also makes mention of this, by
saying that the fallen
angels are "kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of
the great day" (Jude 1:6).
Peter also points out that God "...did not spare the ancient world..."
(2 Pet. 2:5). This, of course, is referring to the world in
Noah's day; and Noah is spoken of in the same verse as having been a
"preacher of righteousness." But not only was Noah a
preacher of righteousness, he was also one who lived that
kind of life. For notice the three things said about him in
Genesis 6:9 that each express his relationship with the Lord: "...Noah
was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God."
In the global flood of Noah's day, we are again made aware of how
serious a matter sin is. To think that just 8 souls were spared,
while the rest of the world was utterly destroyed because of their
iniquity, well illustrates God's attitude toward sin.
Based on the genealogical records, and the fact that the flood did not
come until Noah was 600 years old, the flood came 1,656 years after
Adam had been created. Noah was the tenth generation from Adam,
but most of those antediluvians (in the genealogical record of Genesis
5) lived to be more than 900 years old. So there was plenty of
time for the world to become a very populated place. But out of
all those people, it was just "Noah...with seven others" who were
Another example of God pouring out His wrath on the wicked is seen in 2
Peter 2:6: "and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to
destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to
those who would live ungodly lives thereafter[.]" The account of
the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is in Genesis 19. It was a
place so wicked that only 4 people were initially saved from it; but
when Lot's wife looked back in violation of God's word, then there were
just 3 -- Lot and his 2 daughters -- that survived. God would
have spared these cities if there had been just 10 righteous people
dwelling there; but, alas, there was not even that few.
Notice the word "thereafter" in 2 Peter 2:6. Though some people
feel that we shouldn't even study the OT today because we are not under
it, what do we conclude from that little word "thereafter"? It
indicates that the account of Sodom and Gomorrah should continue to
serve as an example to the ungodly in all future ages to come. In
it, we see God's abhorrence toward sin -- and specifically
homosexuality. And not only is the account of God's wrath toward Sodom
and Gomorrah an example for anyone who would choose to live ungodly
"thereafter" -- but also for those of us who are striving to live
godly, as well, that we might be reminded of God's ways, the need for
righteous living, and have the proper reverence for the Lord.
So Peter gives these three examples to warn of God's judgments on the
wicked: 1) the angels who sinned, 2) the world of Noah's day, and 3)
Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord's wrath befell all of these.
Though some people might feel that Lot must have not been a very godly
man to live in such a terrible place, let us remind ourselves of what
the Bible says about him. He is called "righteous Lot" in 2 Peter
2:7, and the context states that he felt oppressed and tormented by the
ungodly things his neighbors were involved in. Lot, therefore,
appears to have had the right attitude toward these sins.
Though Lot was often vexed by the immoral conduct and wickedness of the
world, his righteousness could help him look to the Lord for strength
and deliverance. As Peter states in 2 Peter 2:9, "...the Lord
knows how to rescue the godly from temptation...." Similarly,
Paul encouragingly declares, "No temptation has overtaken you but such
as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be
tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide
the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it" (1 Cor.
We need to take this to heart. God is there to help us, and Jesus
wants us to ask for that help, as He taught His apostles in that model
prayer in Matthew 6. Notice the last words of that prayer in
verse 13: "And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us
from evil. [For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
The Lord not only knows how "to rescue the godly from temptation," but
also how "to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of
judgment" (2 Pet. 2:9). Though sinful man can sometimes be pretty
this world and think that he is getting away with much, he is not
hiding anything from God. Eternal punishment will be unavoidable
for the one who rejects the Lord Jesus Christ.
This verse also refutes the misconception that many have today that
hell is merely the suffering a person undergoes in this life. For
Peter shows that there is a Judgment Day coming, which leads to the
great hereafter, whether in heaven or hell. Actually, there is
nothing in this world, no matter how terrible, that can even come close
to the suffering of hell.
After speaking of the Lord being able "to keep the unrighteous under
punishment for the day of judgment," Peter then says in 2 Peter
2:10, "and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt
desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble
when they revile angelic majesties."
Some have wrongly assumed that this means that the Lord will render
greater punishment to these individuals; but there will not be
different degrees of punishment in hell (as depicted in Dante's
"Inferno"). Rather, as the Lord shows in Matthew 25:41-46, those
who did not feed the hungry, nor give the thirsty drink, nor invite in
the stranger, nor clothe the naked, nor visit the sick or the
imprisoned, will receive the same punishment that the devil and his
angels will -- the "eternal fire."
The idea that these ungodly people in 2 Peter 2:10 "despise government"
(KJV) is rendered "despise authority" in the NASB. It is not
talking about corruption in government that these people oppose.
For they even "revile angelic majesties." Rather, these ungodly
souls are simply given over to rebellion and wickedness of various
kinds. The Greek word for "government" or "authority" in this
verse is "kuriotes," which Thayer defines as "1) dominion, power,
lordship. 2. in the NT: one who possesses dominion." The
same Greek word is also used in Jude 1:8 in referring to these who
Some translations refer to these ungodly ones as being "bold" (2 Pet.
2:10); but as Bullinger points out, the Greek word is used only "in a
bad sense" in the NT. It is also rendered in some other Bible
translations, in this verse, as "presumptuous," "reckless,"
"audacious," "darers," and "Fool-hardy."
They are also described as being "self-willed" (2 Pet. 2:10), from the
Greek word "authades," which Thayer defines as "self-pleasing,
self-willed, arrogant." The only other place where we find this
Greek word used in the NT is in Titus 1:7 where it speaks of one of the
qualifications of the elder being that he is not "self-willed."
For if that be the case, it would obstruct from his being able to work
together with the other elders. The dictionary defines the
English word "self-willed" as "stubborn or obstinate willfulness, as in
pursuing one's own wishes or aims."
These wicked people Peter speaks of "do not tremble when they revile
angelic majesties." Jude also brings this out in Jude 1:9, "Yet
in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and
reject authority, and revile angelic majesties." How rebellious,
disrespectful, and callous their hearts! They can be so wrong --
and without any compunction.
The KJV renders this phrase "angelic majesties" as "dignities" (2 Pet.
2:10). The Greek word is "doxa," and the most common translation
of it in the NASB is "glory" (more than 150 times). Commentators
seem to be divided over to whom these "dignities" are. Some take
the position that they are men in the higher authorities who should be
respected; others, that it is referring to angels; and still others,
that it could be referring to anyone who would be of an exalted
rank. In 2 Peter 2:11 mention is then made of angels "who are
greater in might and power [but who] do not bring a reviling judgment
against them before the Lord," which appears as a contrast to what
these ungodly revilers were doing. This also tends to indicate
that these "dignities" were angels. Jude 1:8,9
also portrays these ungodly ones as those who "reject authority, and
revile angelic majesties"; and goes on to say, "But Michael
the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the
body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment,
but said, 'The Lord rebuke you!'" Some Bible translations render
as "glorious beings in heaven" (CEV), "the glorious ones" (ESV, RSV),
"the glorious beings above" (GNB), "the Lord's glory" (GW), "glorious
beings" (ISV), "glories" (LITV), and "celestial beings"
(NIV). But these revilers appear to be rebellious toward all
authority -- whether earthly or heavenly.
So we have seen in 2 Peter 2:4-11that sin is a serious thing -- and
the sinner who is not willing to turn to God will not go unpunished.
But in spite of the corruption of the world, the Lord is able to help
the one who wants to strive to live that righteous life, as Peter sets
forth. May that, therefore, be the desire of each of us.
For then, when life is over, we can enjoy a better world -- and forever
-- where there is not even a trace of evil or wickedness!
News & Notes
For those of us who are Christians, let us continue praying for the
Danny Holton, who has
pancreatic cancer in the 4th stage.
R.J. Evans, who will be
undergoing radiation treatments for prostate
cancer, which was recently diagnosed. On a positive note, this
was detected during its
early stage and is also said to be a very slow developing
Jackie Evans (R.J.'s wife), who
has been experiencing backpain for about the last 3 years. Her
neurosurgeon told her recently that to solve her problem her last two
vertebrae will have to be fused. She had an x-ray on her back and
will also have an MRI August 11 so her doctor will have even more
information before a final decision is made. This type of surgery
is painful and will require about a 3-day stay in the hospital.
Bill Barfield, who also has
cancer, is 85 and not doing very well physically.
Holt, who is now out of
the hospital (after spending about 2.5 weeks there), but
will probably need several more weeks to recuperate.
Cheryl Crews, who
undergo various health problems.
Ed St. Clair, who has not been
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel,
for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ
(Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water
for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith;
CHURCH OF CHRIST
9923 Sunny Cline Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70817
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 6 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)