Warnings from Israel’s Past: Angels (Pride)

“And the angels who did not hold to their own office, but deserted their own dwelling place to enter judgment on that great day, are kept, chained eternally in gloom.”

(Jude 6)

 

Secondly, Jude describes the pride of the fallen angels, who looked to increase their own power and authority above the position that they had been set to by God himself.  They have been cast out of their original place, which is heaven, and have been kept chained in darkness for judgment.  This is a verse that has brought many a misinterpretation because we know that demons, which are fallen angels, travel the earth seeking to destroy.  Two things that we must remember.  First, while Satan and his minions are working to attack us, they are like a lion on a tether.  They are chained and can only go as far as God allows them to go.  God allows them to roam for many reasons (judgment on unbelievers, testing the faith of believers, restraining the pride of believers, etc…), but they can never go further than God allows.  Secondly, these fallen angels once lived in Heaven in the very presence of God.  When you have seen the glory of God face to face, even the brightest day on earth is as black as pitch. 

We don’t know a lot about the fall of the angels, for scripture does not tell us much.  We know of Satan’s fall from Revelation 12 and how he took one-third of the stars (a symbol regularly used to describe angels) with him.  These are his minions.  And, there is no forgiveness for fallen angels.  You see, the angels understood the full glory of God and chose to reject it.  Our rejection is a rejection based on sin and ignorance, not full knowledge of the truth.  Even Adam, who walked with God, did not quite understand the fullness of God’s glory—that would be revealed in Christ’s work.  As Augustine wrote, “more is gained in Christ than was lost in the fall.”

If we understand Ezekiel 28:11-19 as a statement of the fall of Satan, as many hold, then we understand that reason that was underlying the fall of Satan and his angels was pride.  Jude builds on this when he says that the angels “did not hold to their own office…”  The word that we translate as “hold” is the Greek word, thre÷w (tereo), which means “to keep”, “to hold”, “to guard”, or even “to cherish.”  The word that we translate as “office” is the Greek word aÓrch\n (archan), which refers to a sphere of influence (note that the word also can mean “from the beginning” and is the word we get “arcane” from). 

These angels demonstrate for us what pride looks like.  They were unsatisfied with the place in the created order that God had given them, thus they despised that place, and sought to elevate themselves above God.  This was also the sin of Adam and Eve.  And, as Paul writes, it is the pride of a debased mind that leads to unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, mean-spiritedness, gossip, slander, God hating, insolence, arrogance, boastfulness, inventions of evil, disobedience to parents, covenant breaking, lacking of affection, and lacking the ability to show mercy (Romans 1:29-31).  Friends, pride gives birth to this.  This is the result of the fall and these things reflect the general disposition of the Devil.  When we chase after sin, choosing it over righteousness, we chase after these things.  Christian, seek the righteousness of God and the fruit of the Spirit; reflect God in your daily living and not the devil.

 

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