2Pe 2:4-8 “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; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)”
I realize there are different views on this fourth verse. It is with much prayer that I share my understanding of what is being said here. There are many brethren who believe that there was a war that took place in the eternal realm of God and that celestial beings sinned and were cast out of eternal heaven. However, if I keep this in context with the scriptures around it, I cannot come to that conclusion here.
Keep in mind that Peter has been warning us about false prophets and false teachers. Also note that the Strong’s definition for the word translated as “angels” is as follows: “a messenger; especially an “angel”; by implication a pastor: – angel, messenger.” Since Peter was has been warning us about the false teachers and false prophets that deny the Lord that bought them, I am persuaded that these are the angels (messengers) that continue to be dealt with here. This is a strong warning, and further corroboration of the fact that God’s judgement upon those that teach falsely about His son is swift and sure. The result of such teaching is being cast down to hell.
Regardless of how much men may esteem false teachers (and they are highly esteemed of men; 2Pe 2:2), God delivered them in Peter’s day, and does so in our day, into chains of darkness. If something is delivered somewhere, then its point of origin was different from its point of delivery. Remember that Peter has already told us these false teachers were bought by Jesus. As a result of them willfully teaching false doctrines, God moved (delivered) them from the joy of that understanding to a place (spiritually) where they are bound in chains of darkness.
We understand that when men are bound in chains, they are powerless to deliver themselves from this condition. False teachers are bound up in a darkness they cannot deliver themselves from and are held there by God where they are condemned by divine law. I humbly confess that I have a sure hope of being one of His children, and at the same time I confess that I have found myself, over the course of my life, condemned by His divine law. Thankfully, such condemnation does not always mean that we are separated from the love of God, but rather, as David expressed it, from the joy of His salvation.
Even though it may appear on the surface that false teachers and those that follow them go about life untouched, we have to turn again to our like precious faith. I have full confidence in all that God has said and done. God spared not the old world, but did see fit to rescue a faithful preacher of the truth from the destruction of the ungodly. I believe He is the same God today. While I don’t expect the world to ever again be destroyed by water (Gen 9:11), I do believe that God still judges the ungodly acts of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18). Again note that He is not speaking to those who don’t have the truth, but to those that hold that truth in unrighteousness. To me, this is a good description of false teachers.
While God made a covenant not to destroy the earth anymore with a flood, He did not intend that unrighteousness should go unpunished in the world. Peter reminds us of the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrha as an example to them that choose to live ungodly. If He opens our understanding, I believe that we still see His warning hand at work among His people to this day, reminding us that there are consequences to ungodly living. The wicked behavior (filthy conversation) that goes on around us is an oppression from which it pleases God to deliver us. This is the peace that passes all understanding that in a world where we are oppressed by those who speak falsely concerning God and godliness, we can rest in the work and presence of our Lord and Redeemer. That does not mean that we cease to be concerned with the unrighteousness that is around us, but that we remember to take these concerns to Him and put our full confidence in His righteousness.
May we be always thankful that God has both given us examples of His judgment against the unrighteousness of false teachers and those that follow them while assuring us of His protecting grace on those that love the truth as it is in Christ Jesus!