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Did Angels Marry Women Before Noah's Flood?
Is it -- or was it ever -- possible for angels to have sexual
William F. Dankenbring
In the book of Genesis, we read a most mysterious passage of Scripture which has mystified, befuddled, and baffled theologians and Bible students for ages. Controversy rages over the question: Did the angels of God, or some of them, actually come down and have sex with women, producing unusual babies, including the "giants" of olden times? Notice the scripture in question:
""And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were GIANTS in the earth in those days; and also, after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children unto them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown" (Gen.6:1-4).
Who were these "sons of God"? What is this strange passage referring to? Adam, who was created by God, is called the "son of God" in Luke 3:38. However, in the book of Genesis he is referred to as "Adam," or "man." We read, "This is the book [scroll] of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created" (Gen.5:1-2). Man was formed of the dust of the ground (Gen.2:7). His name "Adam" is in the Hebrew adam meaning "ruddy." It comes from the word adam which means "to show blood, i.e., flush, to turn rosy."
The "Sons of God" Identified
Adam was a "son of God" by creation. He alone of all men was directly created by God Himself. All other men have been born of a woman. However, God had other "sons" also by His act of Creation. We read in the book of Job, "Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up thy loins now like a man: for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof? When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:1-7). Moffatt translates this passage in verses 6-7, "What were its pedestals placed on? Who laid the corner-stone, when the morning-stars were singing, and all the angels chanted in their joy?"
We also read in Job, of the heavenly court: "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them" (Job 1:6). And again: "Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD" (Job 2:1). It is plain that in these Scriptures the term "sons of God" refers to angels and not to human beings. Human beings, on the other hand, throughout the Old Testament Scriptures, are referred to as "sons of men" (see Psa.4:2; 31:19; 33:13; 57:4; 58:1; 145:12; Eccl.2:3, 8; 3:10, 18, 19; 8:11; 9:3,12, etc.).
A "Close Encounter" of an Unusual Kind
Clearly, angels of God are also called "sons of God." The Scriptures also tell us that angels of God have the ability or capacity to appear in the flesh, as human beings. In fact, three angels, appearing as human beings, came to Abraham. We read of the "close encounter" of an unusual kind in Genesis:
"And the LORD appeared unto him [Abraham] in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; and he lift up his eyes and looked, and lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, and said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant" (Gen.18:1-3).
Abraham recognized one of them. Evidently the Lord, the one who became the Christ or Messiah, appeared to him in a form in which he had seen him before -- as Melchisedek, "king of Salem," who was "priest of the most high God" (compare Gen.14:18-20). Abraham recognized him and prepared a feast for them. At this juncture the Lord promised that Sarah would have a son -- by a miracle -- within the year (Gen.18:4-15).
These angelic beings, in human form, are called "men" in verse 16. Notice! "And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham stood yet before the LORD" (Gen.18:16-22).
These two angels, disguised as men, went to Sodom, where they encountered Abraham's nephew, Lot. We read in Genesis 19:
"And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; and he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat" (Gen.19:1-3).
Notice! This event occurred right around Passover, in the spring. Lot was observing the Feast of Unleavened Bread, about 400 years before God revealed this Feast to Israel during the time of Moses, after their lengthy sojourn in Egypt as slaves. Evidently, the knowledge of the annual sabbaths, together with the weekly sabbath, had become LOST while Israel was enslaved in Egypt! The annual holy days of God, however, like the weekly Sabbath, go back to Creation! We read in the book of Jubilees, a very important book in the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, "And the Lord set the sun as a great sign upon the earth for days, sabbaths, months, feast (days), years, sabbaths of years, jubilees, and for all of the (appointed) times of the years" (Jubilees 2:9).
In the New Testament, too, we find that angels can appear disguised as human beings. The apostle Paul wrote in the book of Hebrews, alluding to Lot's entertaining the two strangers, who were actually angels, when he declared: "Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" (Heb.13:1).
But Can Angels "Marry"?
But can angels mate with women? Is it possible? Jesus Christ once said of those in the resurrection, "For in theresurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven" (Matt.22:30). Some think this disproves the idea of angels marrying women. But wait a minute. Notice carefully what Jesus exactly said. He said the "angels of God in heaven" do not marry! That is to say, He was referring to the righteous, obedient agnels of God, who dwell in heaven! He was not talking about the wicked, unrighteous angels who rebelled against God -- the "fallen angels" of Satan, who left heaven to come to the earth, at all!
If angels can appear in human form, and look just like a human being, in all respects, then it would seem a small thing that they would also be able to perform as a human being, while in the flesh! And the seed of their copulation would be able to join with the ovum of a woman, and produce a child! Did this really happen?
The Testimony of the Ancients
What really happened in those days of yore -- those bygone ancient times? Josephus, the Jewish historian of the first century, tells us in his epic work The Antiquities of the Jews:
"Now this posterity of Seth continued to esteem God as the Lord of the universe, and to have an entire regard to virtue, for seven generations; but in process of time they were perverted, and forsook the practices of their forefathers, and did neither pay those honors to God which were appointed them, nor had they any concern to do justice towards men. But for what degree of zeal they had formerly shewn for virtue, they now shewed by their actions a double degree of wickedness, whereby they made God to be their enemy; for MANY ANGELS OF GOD accompanied with women, and begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all that was good, on account of the confidence they had in their own strength, for the tradition is that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants. But Noah was very uneasy at what they did; and, being displeased at their conduct, persuaded them to change their dispositions and their acts for the better; -- but, seeing that they did not yield to him, but were slaves to their wicked pleasures, he was afraid they would kill him, together with his wife and children, and those they had married; so he departed out of that land" (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, I,3,1).
Further testimony of this fact is recorded in the book of Jubilees, written by a priest about 150 years before the present or common era, in which much very interesting information is given. The author, concerned about apostasy in general among the people of God, gives a history of the human race, back to the time of Adam and Eve, evaluating history from the viewpoint of a priest of the Levitical priesthood. Notice what he says concerning the time of God's servant Enoch:
"And he [Enoch] wrote everything, and bore witness to the Watchers, the ones who sinned with the daughters of men because they began to mingle themselves with the daughters of men so that they might be polluted. And Enoch bore witness against all of them" (Jubilees 4:22).
The author of Jubilees continues:
"And when the children of men began to multiply on the surface of the earth and daughters were born to them, that the angels of the LORD saw in a certain year of that Jubilee that they were good to look at. And they took wives for themselves from all of those whom they chose. And they bore children for them, and they were the giants. And injustice increased upon the earth, and all flesh corrupted its way; man and cattle and beasts and birds and everything which walks on the earth. And they all corrupted their way and their ordinances, and they began to eat one another. And injustice grew upon the earth and every imagination of the thoughts of all mankind was thus continually evil.
"And the LORD saw the earth, and behold it was corrupted and all flesh had corrupted its order and all who were on the earth had done every sort of evil in his sight. . . And against his angels whom he had sent to the earth he was very angry. He commanded that they be uprooted from all their dominion. And he told us to bind them in the depths of the earth, and behold, they are bound in the midst of them, and they are isolated. And against their children a word went forth from before his presence so that he might smite them with the sword and remove them from under heaven. . . . And he sent his sword among them so that each one might kill his fellow and they began to kill one another until they all fell on the sword and they were wiped out from the earth. And their parents also watched. And subsequently they were bound in the depths of the earth forever, until the day of great judgment in order for judgment to be executed upon all of those who corrupted their ways and their deeds before the LORD. And he wiped out every one from their places and not one of them remained whom he did not judge according to all his wickedness" (Jubilees 5:1-11).
The Scriptures themselves tell us more about this judgment of the angels. In the second epistle of Peter, we read, "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell [Greek, Tartarus], 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" (I Pet.2:4-5). The apostle Jude adds: "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day" (Juke 6).
A related commentary on this is found in I Peter where we are told that Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, was raised to life again by the Holy Spirit; but also by the power of the Spirit during the days of Noah, He had preached to the fallen angels, who had been imprisoned. Peter declares, "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached to the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient [in the generation or so before the Flood, when they married with women], WHEN once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water" (I Pet.3:18-20). In other words, Christ, as the Logos, had preached to these rebellious angelic spirit beings during the time they had been chained and imprisoned, while Noah was building the Ark. He was warning them of the results of their sins and transgressions.
Evidence in Other Ancient Jewish Sources
Further evidence that angels mated with human women, is found in a variety of ancient accounts. An ancient Jewish commentary states:
"From them were born the giants who walked about haughtily, and indulged themselves in all manner of theft and corruption and bloodshed" (Pirqei deR. Eliezer 22).
In another book of the Apocrypha, the Wisdom of Sirach, we also read of the offspring of the angels and women:
"He did not forgive the giants of old, who rebelled in their strength" (Sirach 16:7).
The same message is found in the book known as 3 Maccabees, where we read:
"You destroyed men for their wicked deeds in the past, among them giants relying on their own strength and self-confidence, upon whom you brought an immeasurable flood of water" (3 Maccabees 2:4).
Similarly, in the apocryphal book of Baruch, we read the following:
"There were born the giants, famous of old, tall in stature, expert in war, God did not choose them or give them the way of knowledge. So they perished, because they had no understanding; they perished through their own folly" (Baruch 3:26-28).
Another ancient Jewish source declares:
"The interpretation [pesher] concerning Azazel and the angels who went in to the daughters of men and bore them giants, and concerning Azazel [who turned them astray to deceit, to the love of] evil and to pass along wickedness . . ." (Pesher of the Periods 7-9, from 4Q180, quoted in The Bible As It Was, by James L. Kugel, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1997, p.111).
In the ancient world of the Hebrews, it was common knowledge that in the dim recesses of history, angels had come down from heaven, leaving their proper abode, and cohabited with women, producing a race of giants before the Flood.
The Book of Enoch
A great deal more insight is provided into the subject of angels mating with women in the book of Enoch. The apostle Jude himself, in the New Testament epistle which bears his name, quotes from this ancient book. Enoch was the man of God who "walked with God" "after he became the father of Methuselah for three hundred years" (see Gen.5:21-24). This implies that he did not walk with God before the birth of his son Methuselah. In the Wisdom of Sirah, we are told of Enoch, "Enoch pleased the Lord and was taken up from the earth, a pattern of repentance for all generations" (Sirach 44:16).
Jude, inspired by the Spirit of God, quotes from the book of Enoch, "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him" (Jude 14-15).
Although the book of Enoch as we have it today is not "scripture," Jude found it worthy to quote from -- much as I quoted from a similar book, the book of Jubilees, earlier in this article. Scholars believe much of the book of Enoch which has come down to us, preserved primarily in Ethiopia, dates to the pre-Maccabean period, before 165 B.C.E. (before the common era). Latter parts of it appear to be additions made in the post-Maccabean period, down to about 104 B.C.E. It is therefore a composite book representing numerous periods and writers. Portions of it must go back to the time of Enoch himself, since Jude quoted him directly.
The text of the book of Enoch from the Ethiopic, literally translated by Richard Laurence, LL.D., Archbishop of Cashel, professor of Hebrew at the University of Oxford, in 1821, states in this passage: "Behold he comes with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon them, and destroy the wicked, and reprove all of flesh for every thing which the sinful and ungodly have done, and committed against him" (The Book of Enoch, chapter 2).
This ancient compilation of history and tradition gives us a great deal of insight regarding the fall of angels and their rebellion, and their decision to marry women. None of the account regarding the fall of angels contradicts Scripture, but adds to the total sum of knowledge presented in the Scriptures. The book of Enoch is also translated by James Charlesworth and prionted in the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Notice! It gives us these fascinating details:
"In those days, when the children of man had multiplied, it happened that there were born unto them handsome and beautiful daughters. And the angels, the children of heaven, saw them and desired them; and they said to one another, 'Come, let us choose wives for ourselves from among the daughters of man and beget us children.' And Semyaz, being their leader, said unto them, 'I fear that perhaps you will not consent that this deed should be done, and I alone will become (responsible) for this great sin.' But they all responded to him, 'Let us all swear an oath and bind everyone among us by a curse not to abandon this suggestion but to do the deed.' Then they all swore together and bound one another by (the curse). And they were altogether two hundred . . ." (Bk. of Enoch 6:1-6).
"And they took wives unto themselves, and everyone (respectively) chose one woman for himself, and they began to go unto them. And they taught them magical medicine, incantations, the cutting of roots, and taught them (about) plants. And the women became pregnant, and gave birth to great giants whose heights were three hundred cubits [evidently a textual error; more probable, 30 cubits, based on other evidence]. These giants consumed the produce of all the people until the people detested feeding them. So the giants turned against the people in order to eat them. And they began to sin against birds, wild beasts, reptiles and fish. And their flesh was devoured the one by the other, and they drank blood. And then the earth brought an accusation against the oppressors" (Enoch 7:1-6).
These evil angels taught women in the ways of witchcraft! They taught them to forget God, and His ways, and to worship the forces of nature -- which is witchcraft. The size of these giants, we are told, was humongous. The figure of 300 cubits is probably an error, however, as other evidence indicates a maximum height of about 30 cubits, or about 45 feet.
Is this where the ancient legends of huge giants in the earth originated? What about the child's fable about Jack and the Beanstalk? Obviously, these huge giants completely disrupted the ecosphere, and became a curse to habitat earth. Fear, dread and terror would have been rampant, as their appetites turned from fleshly animals to cannibalism -- human flesh and blood itself! As the giant in the nursery rhyme said: "Fee, fie, foe, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman!"
There may be more to this old "legend" than we have been told!
The book of Enoch goes on:
"And Azal-el [Hebrew, meaning "strong one or goat who goes away, or disappears", another name for Satan the adversary] taught the people (the art of) making swords and knives, and shields and breastplates; and he showed to their chosen ones bracelets, decorations, (shadowing of the eye) with antimony, ornamentation, the beautifying of the eyelids, all kinds of precious stones, and all coloring tinctures and alchemy. And there were many wicked ones and they committed adultery and erred, and all their conduct became corrupt" (Enoch 8:1-2).
The people of the earth groaned under the oppression which resulted from the tyranny and brutality of the new "overlords" of the earth. They cried out to God, "You see what Azaz-el has done; how he has taught all (forms of) oppression upon the earth. And they revealed eternal secrets which are performed in heaven (and which) man learned. (Moreover) Semyaz, to whom you have given power to rule over his companions, co-operating, they went in unto the daughters of the people on earth; and they lay together with them -- with those women -- and defiled themselves, and revealed to them every (kind of) sin. As for the women, they gave birth to giants to the degree that the whole earth was filled with blood and oppression" (Enoch 9:6-9).
According to the story, God then sent an angel to warn Noah, "Hide yourself!" He told him of the coming deluge to destroy all life that had corrupted its way upon the earth. God instructed Noah what he needed to do to preserve his life, and his progeny. And then, we read:
"And secondly the Lord said to Raphael, 'Bind Azaz-el hand and foot (and) throw him into the darkness!' And he made a hole in the desert which was in Duda'el and cast him there; he threw on top of him rugged and sharp rocks. And he covered his face in order that he may not see light; and in order that he may be sent into the fire on the great day of judgment" (see Enoch 10:1-6).
What will the punishment be of the wicked angels who followed Azal-el or Satan into rebellion and lawlessness? God says:
"And give life to the earth which the angels have corrupted. And he will proclaim life for the earth: that he is giving life to her. And all the children of the people will not perish through all the secrets (of the angels), which they taught to their sons. And the whole earth had been corrupted by Azaz-el's teaching of his (own ) actions; and WRITE UPON HIM ALL SIN. And to Gabriel the LORD said, 'Proceed against the bastards and the reprobates and against all the children of adultery; and destroy the children of adultery and expel the children of the Watchers from among the people. And send them against one another (so that) they may be destroyed in the fight [Civil War among the giants!], for length of days have they not . . . . And to Michael, God said, 'Make known to Semyaz and the others who are with him, who fornicated with the women, that they will die together with them in their defilement. And when they and all their children will have battled with each other, and when they have seen the destruction of their beloved ones, bind them for seventy generations underneath the rocks of the ground until the day of judgment and of their consummation, until the eternal judgment is concluded. In those days they will lead them into the bottom of the fire -- and in torment -- in the prison (where) they will be locked up forever. And at that time when they will BURN AND DIE, those who collaborated with them will be bound together with them henceforth unto the end of (all) generations. And destroy all the souls of pleasure and the children of the Watchers, for they have done injustice to man. Destroy injustice from the face of the earth. And every iniquitous deed will end, and the plant of righteousness and truth will appear forever and he will plant joy" (Enoch 10:7-16).
The First Rebellion of the Rebellious Angels
The original rebellion of wicked angels occurred long before there were men on the earth. God had appointed Lucifer, one of the arch-angels, and a mighty cherub, to rule the earth, and gave him a throne. But eventually he rebelled, and turned against God. We read in the prophecy of Isaiah, "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations [of angels]! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most high" (Isa.14:12).
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen.1:1), and the angels. But sometime after that original creation, Lucifer, who was to be a "light bringer," as his name implies, became dissatisfied with God's restrictions, and His form of government. He plotted sedition and treason. This wicked cherub influenced and led one third of the angels to rebel against God (Rev.12:3-4). But God cast them down to earth. As a result of that rebellion, a great destruction was wrought in the earth, and stars -- the earth became tohu va vohu -- "waste and desolation" (Gen.1:2). It was not originally created that way, however (Isaiah 45:18). But it became chaotic, leading God to perform a new act of "creation" as recounted in Genesis 1.
The prophet Ezekiel tells us more about this ancient rebellion -- the first true historic episode of the original "Star Wars." He wrote:
"Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus [a type of Satan or Lucifer], and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou has been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering . . . the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast CREATED. Thou art the ANOINTED CHERUB that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
"Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with VIOLENCE, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will DESTROY thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire" (Ezek.28:12-16).
How will the Eternal God, the Ever-living, Almighty Majesty of heaven, destroy this wicked but powerful angel who became vain and self-centered, whose heart was lifted up with vanity and pride and arrogance (verse 17)? What will be the fate of the original "Rebel without a cause," and his minions of rebellious angels?
The Final Fate of Satan
God inspired Ezekiel to write the epitaph of this creature of the night as follows:
"I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall DEVOUR thee, and I will bring thee to ASHES upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more" (vs.17-18).
The prophet Malachi describes this awesome day of divine vengeance. He writes: "For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud [including Satan/Lucifer, the "king of pride"], yea, and all that do wickedly [the wicked angels, as well as men], shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall BURN THEM UP, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch" (Mal.4:1).
The wicked angels will perish in the flames of Gehenna fire, at the end of this age, along with all the incorrigible wicked among men, and Satan the devil himself. Jesus Christ foretold it when he declared, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire [that is, aeonian or age-ending fire which has an everlasting, permanent result!], prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt.25:41).
At that time the devil himself will be destroyed. At that time, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, will fulfill the prophecy and "DESTROY him that had the power of death, that is, the DEVIL" (Hebrews 2:14). The word for "destroy" here is kartageo and literally means "to reduce to inactivity." Anything which is completely "motionless," and totally "inactive," is DEAD! The word is translated "abolish" in Ephesians 2:15 and II Tim.1:10. It is rendered "is abolished" in II Cor.3:13. It means to annul, abolish, render useless.
At that time, all who rebel against God, all who have chosen the way of Cain and the path of Balaam, will perish. As David wrote in the book of Psalms, "Or, I say, though you are gods, all sons of the Most High, YET, LIKE MERE MEN, YOU SHALL DIE, you shall DIE LIKE A DEMON " (Psalm 82:6-7, Moffatt translation).
Now notice the Scripture in Revelation 20:10, which describes Satan's fate: "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone . . . and [they -- the devil and his demons -- see the Englishman's Greek interlinear] shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Rev.20:10). They shall be tormented forever, until they completely die -- and perish -- and are totally consumed and destroyed and are rendered totally inactive and motionless -- without a thought, idea, or any activity of any kind that presuposes "life."
This final fate of Satan and his rebellious angels was also revealed to Enoch himself. We read further in the intriguing Book of Enoch:
"Enoch, scribe of righteousness, go and make known to the Watchers of heaven who have abandoned the high heaven, the holy eternal place, and have defiled themselves with women, as their deeds move the children of the world, and have taken unto themselves wives: They have defiled themselves with great defilement upon the earth; neither will there be peace unto them nor the forgiveness of sin. For their children delight in seeing the murder of their beloved ones" (Enoch 12:4-6).
The imprisoned fallen angels besought Enoch to intercede for them to God. But God told Enoch to tell them, "Accordingly he has created me and given me the word of understanding so that I may reprimand the Watchers, the children of heaven. I wrote down your prayers -- so it appeared in vision -- for your prayers will not be heard throughout all the days of eternity; and judgment is passed upon you. From now on you will not be able to ascend into heaven unto all eternity, but you shall remain inside the earth, imprisoned all the days of eternity" (Enoch 14:3-5). That is, they will be imprisoned for the ages, until the final day of Judgment!
God further tells Enoch,
"Do not fear, Enoch, righteous man, scribe of righteousness; come near to me and hear my voice. And tell the Watchers of heaven . . . 'It is meet (for you) that you intercede on behalf of man, and not man on your behalf. For what reason have you abandoned the high, holy and eternal heaven; and slept with women and defiled yourselves with the daughters of the people, taking wives, acting like the children of the earth, and begetting giant sons? Surely you, you [used to be] holy, spiritual, the living ones, [possessing] eternal life; but (now) you have defiled yours- selves with women, and with the blood of the flesh begotten children, you have lusted with the blood of the people, like them producing blood and flesh, (which) die and perish. On that account, I have given you wives in order that (seeds) might be sown upon them and children born by them . . . Indeed you, formerly you were spiritual, (having) eternal life, and immortal in all the generations of the world. That is why (formerly) I did not make wives for you, for the dwelling of the spiritual beings of heaven is heaven" (Enoch 15:1-7).
Enoch was also given a vision of the final fate of the rebellious angels, and the demon spirits, which are allowed to exist until the end of this age. Of the final time of great judgment, Enoch wrote:
"And I saw a deep pit with heavenly fire on its pillars; I saw inside them descending pillars of fire that were immeasurable (in respect to both) altitude and depth. . . . (Then) the angel said (to me), (This place is the (ultimate) end of heaven and earth: it is the prison house for the stars and the powers of heaven. And the stars which roll over upon the fire, they are the ones which have transgressed the commandments of God from the beginning of their rising because they did not arrive punctually [or, marginal footnote, 'because they did not come in their (allotted) time']. And he was wroth with them, and bound them until the time of the completion of their sin in the year of mystery" (Enoch 18:10-16).
Indeed, they will be tormented "forever" -- until they die! Until they lose consciousness, and perish! Remember, the Greek word "aeonian" can and often means "age-lasting," or "so long as the conditions exist." Similarly, in the Old Testament God said that a man could be another man's slave "forever" -- that is, until his DEATH, or until he ceased to exist. God says the heathen in the land could be the bondmen of Israel "for ever" (Lev.25:46, KJV). The New International Version has God saying to Israel, "you can make them slaves FOR LIFE." See also Deuternonomy 15:17.
The King James translates the Hebrew "olam" as "FOREVER," but the New International Version has "for LIFE." The Hebrew word means "concealed, ie., the vanishing point." It can mean eternal, everlasting, perpetual, or till out of mind, till vanished, gone, lasting, long time.
What, then, about Revelation 20:10? In this verse we read that the devil will be cast into the Gehenna fire, "and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." What does this actually mean?
Obviously, the wicked will be tormented, and in torment and anguish, gnashing their teeth, FOR LIFE -- that is, UNTIL THE MOMENT OF DEATH! -- till they VANISH AWAY and are GONE! Day and night, their final penalty of sin will hang over them, tormenting them, until their judgment arrives, and their fate beckons, and they are finally CONSUMED in the flames which destroy them!
They will experience the same sort of anguish and torment which grips murderers on "Death Row," as they wait until their final moment of judgment, and their rendezvous with the electric chair, and that final surge of electricity jolts their flesh and burns and terminates their life! They will hang in torment as long as God allows, until that final moment comes.
The Greek Word "Eis"
Thayer's Greek English Lexicon shows that the word "for" in Revelation 20:10 is actually the word "eis" and would more properly be translated as "to, toward, or into." The Greek word "eis" is a preposition and denotes "entrance into, or direction and limit: into, to, towards, for, among." It can simply be rendered "to" or even "towards," Thayer says, "as if it indicated merely MOTION TOWARDS A DESTINATION." Says the Lexicon, "If the surface only of the place entered is touched or occupied, eis, like the Latin in, may (often) be rendered on, upon, (sometimes by unto . . . to mark the LIMIT REACHED, or where one sets foot." The Lexicon adds, the word "eis" has the sense "of motion into the vicinity of a place; where it may be rendered to, near, towards."
Therefore, the punishment of Satan, his demons, and all the wicked, will last up to a point, up until the limit or destination is reached -- that is, total annihilation and termination of being, the end of life itself. In this case, the usage of the word eis shows that the torment of Satan will be up to the beginning point of "eternity," that is, the New Heavens and New Earth, which will be created AFTER this present system is totally consumed in a final fiery holocaust. In that age-ending, final conflagration, Satan and his demons will also be "terminated" -- destroyed -- and left utterly abolished, cancelled out, obliterated. They will be destroyed completely, till nothing is left, as Malachi says -- "neither root nor branch." The smoke of their torment will rise up "to" the beginning of the new Age to Come -- as God re-creates the Universe!
Consider this analogy. An earthly traveler goes along a road and comes to the outskirts of a city. He comes to a sign marking the city limits. The sign says "Welcome to Pocatello, Idaho." He has reached the city. He has come to Pocatello. He has been proceeding toward it, and now he has reached it -- but he has not entered INTO it. He has reached the edge of the city ("eis"), but he has not gone into it or through it or passed through to the center or gone on through to the other side!
Even so it is with the Greek word "eis." In Revelation 20:10, where it describes the fate of Satan and the beast and false prophet [remember, the Greek says "THEY" all suffered the torment], this word means they suffered UP TO THE THRESHOLD OF "FOREVER." IT DOES NOT MEAN THEY WILL SUFFER THROUGHOUT ALL ETERNITY, but up to the "edge" or outer limits of eternity. They will suffer up to the BORDER of eternity, at which point their suffering, anguish and torment will cease because they themselves will "cease" to exist -- they will die, be destroyed, suffer total annihilation. When the elements melt with fiery heat, and the stars and galaxies, and everything physical, is destroyed, the wicked also -- including Satan and his demons -- will likewise be destroyed.
New Heavens and a New Earth!
The apostle Peter wrote clearly, "But the day of the lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein [including the DEVIL AND HIS DEMONS] shall be BURNED UP. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation [conduct] and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevetheless, we, according to his promise, look for a NEW HEAVENS and a NEW EARTH, wherein dwelleth RIGHTEOUSNESS" (II Pet.3:10-13).
Jesus Himself said the wicked among men would PERISH along with Satan and his demons. He declared, "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory, and all nations will be gathered in front of him; he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, setting the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left. . . . Then he will say to those on his left [the goats, symbolizing the wicked among men], 'Begone from me, accursed ones, to the eternal fire which has been prepared FOR THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS" (Matt.25:31-41, Moffatt). This final age-ending fire will destroy all the wicked, root and branch!
Notice! This fire is prepared for -- who? -- "for the devil and his angels"! This great holocaust will be created precisely in order to destroy SATAN and his demonic hordes who followed him in rebellion -- as well as all the incorrigibly wicked among men!
Triumph Prophetic Ministries (Church of God)