I was studying about the fallen angels God imprisoned as described in 1 Peter 3:19, 2 Peter 2:4, and Jude 6. I know when Christ died He made a spectacle of the demonic world by conquering them. My question is when did this imprisonment happen for these fallen angels? Were they imprisoned before the flood or when Christ died? I know the apocryphal book of Enoch alludes to this event, but I do not know if that should be used as evidence that it happened at the time of the flood.
Genesis 6:1-2; 1 Peter 3:18-20; 2 Peter 2:4-7; Jude 6-7 all refer to the angels who sinned and, were consequently cast into a prison called the abyss — a dark abyss. What follows is a brief explanation of who these angels were and what they did. A timeline of events is also provided.
Timeline of 2 Peter 2:4-7
2 Peter 2:4-7 provides the most information about the angels who sinned. While the sin they committed is not described, their punishment is explained. They were cast into the deepest pits of darkness within hell until they stand before God and are judged.
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 . . . 2 Peter 2:4-7 (NASB)
This explanation of the punishment of the evil angels is described before comments were made about Noah and his family being rescued from the worldwide flood, which is called Noah’s flood. Then God’s punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah is given, followed by comments about Lot. The pattern is that God punished the evil angels who sinned. God punished the entire world, except for Noah and his family and finally, God punished the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. The timeline is obvious. The evil angels sinned, before Noah’s flood and before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Timeline of 1 Peter 3:19-20
1 Peter 3:20 confirms that these evil angels disobeyed God.
. . . He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 1 Peter 3:19-20 (NASB)
Notice that we are told they sinned while God was patiently waiting while the ark was being built. This reveals these evil angels sinned before Noah’s ark was built.
Timeline of Jude 6-7
Jude 6-7 explains the sin of these evil angels. First we are told that they did not keep their “own domain, but abandoned their proper abode.” The Greek word for “domain” has the sense of “beginning.” That is, they left their original assigned abode. Why? The passage tells us.
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, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. Jude 6-7 (NASB)
The answer is that just as the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah went after strange flesh, these angels did also. What did the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah do? Genesis 19 describes what they did. The citizens sinned by committing homosexual acts. We are told they went after “strange flesh.” That is, the men of Sodom and Gomorrah wanted to engage in sexual activity with men and not women. Therefore, we now know the angels sought sexual activity with non-angels. Consequently, they will spend eternity in eternal fire.
The Sin of the Evil Angels
Genesis 6:1-2 explains the sin of these fallen angels.
. . . that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Genesis 6:2 (NASB)
This passage occurs just before Noah built the ark which is describe in Genesis 6:13-22. The flood occurred in Genesis 7 and 8. Genesis 6:5-12 describes God’s patience with the sins of the world. Now if we combine all of the passages together, we understand that the strange flesh in Genesis 6:1-2 are human women. Therefore, the fallen angels sinned before Noah built the ark. Their sin is described in Genesis 6:1-2.
We have discovered Genesis 6:1-2; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:4-7; and Jude 6-7 helps us understand the sin of the fallen angels who are now in prison in a dark abyss or section of hell. 2 Peter 2:4-7 and Jude 6-7 helps us understand when they committed their sin.
Suggested Links:Who were the sons of God and daughters of men in Genesis 6:2-4?
Where in the Bible does it speak of Jesus going to hell/hades after His death?
Where in the Bible are we told that Jesus descended into hell?
Did Jesus descend into hell?
The Grief of God
The Victory Of Christ Over Everything