Picking up where we left off in part (a) of this Part IV we showed that the Hebrew word “satan” was not properly translated but simply transliterated as though it were a proper noun, or name. The word “satan” simply means adversary. The translators made an assumption based upon their beliefs. It is not a proper noun, nor a name, but a job function, or role, or position that is taken on.
As pointed out in the comments to Part III of this series, we do not use the definite article “the” when calling someone’s name. We do not say “the Bill,” or “the Joe,” or “the Mark.” But, we do say “the doctor,” or “the District Attorney,” or “the President.” Those are positions with certain duties or skills for job functions, or positions of authority. When speaking of the old devil, the serpent in the garden of Eden that twisted God’s word, and turned God’s word into a lie, it is proper to use “the” and capitalize Adversary as the main adversary that stood against God’s people and twisted God’s word.
Peter was an adversary of Christ for a moment in time when he challenged Christ’s statements in Matt. 16:23 when Christ said to Peter, “Get thee behind me, adversary…”, which is the correct translation in Young’s.
I have heard people try to say that the Adversary, or “Satan” took Peter over at that moment and caused Peter to speak against Christ. This is the bias of the learned pagan idolatry that was floating around in the 1st century AD, and has ever since.
Peter was not taken over by the devil. This was not some demonic possession. He spoke words – his spirit – that denied Christ’s words – Christ’s spirit. In essence, Peter called Christ a liar. At that moment in time, Peter spoke falsely and stood as an adversary to Christ because of Peter’s lack of understanding. Christ very quickly corrected Peter.
We must be careful to stay in the context of the scriptures to be able to determine which adversary is being discussed.
Just as the word “satan” was transliterated, the word “angel” is also a problem. It was not translated from the original Hebrew or Greek scriptures in many instances. In the NT, it was transliterated and then Anglicized from the Greek “aggelos” which simply means a messenger, or envoy; one who was sent. (1) It is translated correctly as messenger in Matt. 11:10 where speaking of John the Immerser (Baptist). The English translations of this word should have just used “messenger” in all cases.
This failure has lead many people astray about the celestial angels. 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.
Anyone who was sent to deliver a message is a messenger. The earthly, human messengers that God sent included some of the patriarchs (Enoch and Noah), the prophets, the Levitical priests, the judges of Israel, Moses, etc. They also included John the Immerser (Baptist), Christ in His incarnation, the disciples and apostles whom Christ sent to preach the gospel in the 1st century AD. All of these earthly messengers were “angels” of God who spoke the spirit of truth, the words of God’s truth.
We only know which messengers were celestial and which were earthly from the context of the scriptures. And, we have a clue. Those celestial angels are of greater power and strength.
“Bless Jehovah, ye His messengers, Mighty in power — doing His word, To hearken to the voice of His Word.” (Psa. 103:20, YLT)
The mightier, stronger celestial messengers are with our Father in heaven every day, and they hear His voice, and do His will. They see Him face to face. They know His power and His authority first hand. That means the celestial messengers do not sin. Therefore the celestial messengers have not and are not ever rebelling against God, and were never thrown out of heaven.
Excerpt from Angels & Demons 5: What Law Did the Angels Break by Stan Lindsay –
“Fallen Angel Stories are typically justified on the basis of some perceived Law that the angels broke. Look through the Ten Commandments. Do you see any commandment targeted at angels? I do not. The Law was given to humans, not angels…..“Why did we consider whether angels broke any of the Ten Commandments? Because, some sort of justification is needed for a Fallen Angel Story. Usually, that justification is found in some perceived “sin” of the angels.” (5)
The translators made decisions based upon their taught beliefs and biases as to when to use “messenger” and when to use “angel”. They did not stay true to the scriptures but added in their own beliefs about when a messenger was a celestial one.
The “messenger” used in Matt. 11:10 of John 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 used the word “angel”. Why? Was it because they bought into the mythology of fallen angels?
In a discussion about the pernicious ways of false prophets (2 Pet. 2:2), the translators chose to list celestial angels as one of the categories of rebellious people who disobeyed the Father.
“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 Pet. 2:4, KJV)
Young’s translates it correctly.
“For if God messengers who sinned did not spare, but with chains of thick gloom, having cast [them] down to Tartarus, did deliver [them] to judgment, having been reserved,” (YLT)
Then how do we know from the context that the messengers of vs.4 are earthly messengers? Because a distinction is made in 2 Pet. 2:11.
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. Their spirits / words were false.
2 Pet. 2 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 vs. 5, 6, 7, and 8 were discussing men who had been judged in the past. But they want to make vs. 4 about celestial messengers. The reason we can know that vs. 4 was also about human messengers is the distinction made in vs. 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 who spoke falsely (spirits of error) and 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 to wait for that same “last day” in which Daniel stood in his lot at the fall of that temple in Jerusalem in AD 70 (See Part III).
Peter was warning against false teachers, and listed the consequences. The context of 2 Pet. 2 is still about holding fast to the faith against the false teachers.
The myth about fallen angels is based upon pagan beliefs, and it has been inserted into God’s word by false teachers and translators who were indoctrinated into those pagan beliefs. The idea of fallen celestial messengers (angels) is no where taught in the scriptures. Saying that celestial “angels” rebelled against God is slandering those celestial messengers who obeyed God and delivered His Spirit in Truth.
Strong’s Gr. 32, “aggelos” at https://biblehub.com/greek/32.htm
Malak: Messenger – https://hebrewwordlessons.com/2018/12/16/malak-messenger-sent-one-angel/
Untranslated words – https://www.rebuildingthefoundations.org/bible-transliteration.html
Angels & Demons 5 – http://www.stanlindsay.com/2010/04/angels-demons-5-what-law-did-angels.html
Talmud & Middle Persian Culture – https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/talmud-middle-persian-culture
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
1. Excerpt from Angels & Demons 2: The Prometheus Connection: – http://www.stanlindsay.com/2010/04/angels-demons-2-prometheus-connection.html
2. Angels & Demons 3: Where Have All the Fallen Angels Gone – http://www.stanlindsay.com/2010/04/angels-demons-3-where-have-all-fallen.html
3. Angels & Demons 4: “The Great Satan” of Iran – http://www.stanlindsay.com/2010/04/angels-demons-4-great-satan-of-iran.html