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The Scriptorium

Angels in Chains

2 Peter 2.4
For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment…

The Story: We should be warned against following false teachers by the example of the fallen angels. They allowed themselves to be persuaded by Satan that following him was to be preferred to clinging to the truth of God. As a result, a third of the angelic host was cast out of heaven, deprived of eternal privileges, and sealed for doom forever (cf. Rev. 12.1-9). Note, too, that Peter says these angels have been “committed to chains of gloomy darkness.” This is an accomplished fact, not something yet to be. It seems to me there are two aspects of this.

First, these angels no longer have the privilege of dwelling in the light of Christ or the glory of God. They have permanently deprived themselves of the very thing for which they were created. Second, they are restrained from preventing the Lord’s purposes coming to pass; they cannot stand against Him as He plunders Satan’s holdings and builds His Church (Matt. 12.22-29; 16.18). They are defeated, though still dangerous. We should learn from their condemnation what awaits all those who forsake the truth to follow the slick and sensual teaching of false prophets. As surely as God condemned them, He will condemn all who turn away from His truth.

The Structure: The intense spiritual warfare in which we are engaged in this age of restoration (Eph. 6.10-20) does not typically take the horrifying and spectacular form frequently depicted in film and Christian fiction. Most of the time we are simply being wooed away from truth by persuasive voices that appeal to self-interest and the opportunity to, in effect, be like God. The same charmer who deceived our first parents is still at work today, and though he and his followers are restrained by grace and the progress of the divine economy, we still need to be alert to them, testing every spirit and every voice that claims to be teaching the Word of truth.

Suggest some broad outlines of a test for anything you might hear or read which claims to be the truth of God.

Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Truth and Consequences: 2 Peter 2.1-11,” simply click here.

T. M. Moore

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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