Two Classes of Fallen Angels
Extract from "Lectures on Jude"
It appears there were at least two falls of angels; one was he whom we call Satan — when man was made, Satan tempted man through Eve. Those ordinary evil angels, of which we read in the Bible from Genesis down to Revelation, are not under everlasting chains at all. They are roving about the world continually, and so far from being in chains of darkness, in “tortures” as it is called here, they are allowed access to heaven.
You will see that in a very marvellous way in the history of Job. A great many believers do not believe in the book of Job. You will see there “the sons of God” referred to. What is meant by “the sons of God” there? Why, the angels of God. The angels of God appeared before God. We learn from this that they have access, and include not only the good angels but also the Satanic angels.
Satan was a fallen angel, but still he was an angel, and when “the sons of God” came, Satan was there too. So that it is evident, from the Book of Revelation more particularly, that Satan will not lose that access to the presence of God until we are actually in heaven. It has not come to pass yet. People have an extraordinary idea in their heads that whatever access Satan had before that time, he lost it—either when our Lord was born, or when our Lord died—but there is nothing of this in the Epistle to the Ephesians, where, on the contrary, it is expressly stated that our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against wicked spirits in the heavenlies. We are not like the Israelites fighting against Canaanites. Our Canaanite is a spiritual enemy in heavenly places, that is, Satan and his host of demons or angels.
But, as we have seen, these are not at all the sins that are referred to here. There is a marked difference. There is a character of iniquity that these angels fell into on earth, and so a distinct difference in their doom. These angels fell into a very peculiar iniquity, which is in a general way spoken of in Peter, but in a special way in Jude. They were put under chains of darkness and not allowed to stir out of their prison. They are not the angels that tempt us now. They did their bad work just a little time before the flood. That fact gives the matter a very solemn character. If people want to know how it was done, that I do not know; but you are called upon to believe, just as much as I am. What Genesis 6 does say is that there were “sons of God” upon earth at that time who acted in a way contrary to everything in relation to God, and which was so offensive to Him that He would not allow the earth to go on any longer, and this is what brought on the flood. No doubt too there was also a general iniquity in mankind that brought the flood upon them. Man was very corrupt and man was vile, but besides that there was this awful violation of the marks that divide the creatures of God in some mysterious manner. Hence God completely destroyed the whole framework of creation, and put an end to them and their offspring, so that every one of them perished. That is what took place then. Of course, you will tell me that they could not perish absolutely. No, I admit that these angels could not perish any more than men such as you; but this is what God did with those angels that behaved in that tremendously wicked manner. They became prisoners, they were put under confinement, not like Satan and his host that tempt us to this day, but these particular angels were not allowed to tempt men any more. They had done too much, and God would not allow these things to go on any longer, therefore there was this mighty interference at the time of the flood, and not only the things that generally inflict men.
These are the words, “Angels that kept not their first estate.” Their falling was a departure from their first estate. In this very case Satan had not done so, nor had the angels that fell with Satan. But it was quite another kind of iniquity that caused the flood. These angels left their own habitation and preferred to take their place among mankind to act as if they were men on earth, and accordingly, God has now reserved them in everlasting chains under darkness until the judgment of the great day. Nobody can say that this is true of Satan and his host, but if people should think this, I do not see how they can read these verses and give such a meaning to them. Satan will be cast into the bottomless pit for a thousand years, but their years do not run out until the judgment of the great day comes. Then they will be judged everlastingly.