For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell[a] and committed them to chains[b] of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgement; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;[c] 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,[d] and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgement, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
Casting Angels Into Hell
The most radiant of beings, angels of light, were created free. They were able to choose which way they want to live their lives. Many chose to dedicate their lives to the service of the one who created them. In so doing, they maintained their purity and radiance. Tartarus was the destination of those who rebelled against God. I do not believe this is literal, but figurative. In Greek mythology, Tartarus was as far below Hades as Hades is below the earth. It was an extreme banishment and was reserved for Titans and gods. Peter alludes to the mythological fall of the Greek mythologies to paint a vivid picture of the depths to which the angelic beings fell. God has exercised the power to cast angelic beings far from his presence. He has also pronounced judgment on the whole world and engulfed it with water. Why, then, do some people think that their self-centered teaching will bring about no consequences?
We need to have a fear of God. It is not the fear of what will happen to his own, it is a fear that comes about in the face of such power. We do not attribute changes in the weather to God, these days. The Philippines is not seen as a particular place of punishment because of the weather that tore it apart. I believe that is a good perspective. We do not know why such things are allowed to happen. Jesus, in Matthew 24/25 lets us know that horrible events will continue, but the end is yet to come. We are promised, though, that a holy God will bring a final day of judgment where all these catastrophes will appear like mere child’s play. If we believe in a God who has the right and the power to execute global justice, with all its implications, we should not respond with laughter and mocking. Our response to an almighty and powerful God is to live in obedience and reverence.
The mark of those who attend churches but don’t understand the God who is worshiped there, is that they indulge their passions and disrespect authority. We have taught the youth to rage against the machine, forgetting that we are part of the authority structure that we have had them dismantle. Disrespect and disobedience bring about their own terrible rewards in God’s world. We were not designed to be isolated, to be selfish, to satiate our senses, or to hate each other. We were designed to be in community, to serve others, to be self-controlled, and to love one-another.
I want a God who is a soft, understanding friend. I don’t have a drive for a hard, just, terrorizing God. Help me to see your power and to think about it rightly. Help me to live life trembling with reverence like electricity lines buzz when filled with power.
- Where were angelic beings cast?
- What other massive acts of judgment has God perpetrated?
- Why is Peter telling Christians about God’s terrifying power and judgment?
- How do people today need to respond to God in light of this passage?
- How do you respond to this passage?