The First Wave of Fallen Angels
Chapter 2 – The First Wave of Fallen Angels
What about the other Fallen Angels?
There are other fallen angels besides Satan. God made many angels on the first day of creation. We know that about 1/3 of the total number of angels became sinful under Satan’s influence, before Jesus Christ was born.
“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” Rev 12:3-4
The tail of the dragon Satan casting these stars down to earth shows that they became sinful under Satan’s influence. The timing shows that this occurred before Jesus was born. That the angels are compared to the stars of heaven demonstrates that there are many angels, but only a third of the total number of angels became fallen.
The Bible details that the angels who fell did so in two waves.
The first wave occurred before the flood, and they were imprisoned in the Abyss.
The second wave fell after the flood, and these were cast down to earth with Satan after they lost the battle in heaven.
The first wave of fallen angels
“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast [them] down to hell, 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; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned [them] with an overthrow, making [them] an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly” 2 Pet 2:4-6
“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. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” Jude 1:6-7
The first angels who sinned did so by ‘not keeping their own domain and abandoning their proper abode’. This is directly compared to the sins of Sodom, in which the men sinned by going after strange flesh and fornication. What happened in Sodom is that the men were not only seeking homosexual relations, but were trying to have homosexual relations with angels sent by God (Gen 19). And so it can be gathered that the first wave of angels that sinned did so in a sexual way. 2 Pet 2 indicates a chronological order of events, first the time of this sin, then the flood of Noah’s time, and then the time of Sodom. And so this sin can be gathered to have occurred before the flood. It should also be noted that the term used here for these sinning angels is “aggelos”, meaning that they were of the “messenger” type of angel. As we have covered, messenger angels looked human, and were also known as “watchers” or “sons of God”.
This all seems to parallel a story found in Gen 6:
“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 afterwards, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare [children] to them, the same [became] mighty men which [were] of old, men of renown.” Gen 6:1-4
This story details that some messenger type angels, who are always described to look like men, took human women as wives, even in polygamy. When did this start happening? When men began to multiply and have daughters, which would indicate as early as when Adam had daughters, perhaps within 200-300 years after the fall into sin. This story also details that these fallen angels and the women had children who were giant men, the term used for them is “Nephilim”. And so these giants were on the earth from the time of those days when Adam had daughters, and after that time, up to the time of the flood when only Noah and his family were spared.
We are going to cover more on these “Nephilim” in more detail later, but for now will stick to the first wave of fallen angels.
2 Pet 2 indicates that these sinful messenger angels, these sons of God, who went after strange flesh, were punished shortly before or at the time of the flood, chronologically. It is also made clear that these sinful angels were imprisoned in chains, in darkness, until the time of the “judgment of the great day”. The term “hell” here for the location of their prison is actually “Tartaros”, which means the “deepest abyss of hell”, and this word is only used here in the New Testament. However, a synonymous term “Abyss” is used several times in the book of Revelation, in the phrase “bottomless pit”. This is the same place Satan will be imprisoned for 1000 years according to Rev 20. As such, it seems that the bottomless pit or Abyss is a place that a fallen angel could be imprisoned in, as Satan will be. And also we know that Tartaros is a place where fallen angels are said to now be imprisoned. As the terms have synonymous meanings, it makes sense that this is the same place. Currently the first wave of fallen angels are imprisoned in Tartaros, which seems to be the same place that is called the Abyss. Later, Satan will be imprisoned there. But before Satan is imprisoned in the Abyss, several other events take place.
“Then the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen to earth from the sky, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. When he opened it, smoke poured out as though from a huge furnace, and the sunlight and air were darkened by the smoke. Then locusts came from the smoke and descended on the earth, and they were given power to sting like scorpions. They were told not to hurt the grass or plants or trees but to attack all the people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were told not to kill them but to torture them for five months with agony like the pain of scorpion stings. In those days people will seek death but will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee away! The locusts looked like horses armed for battle. They had gold crowns on their heads, and they had human faces. Their hair was long like the hair of a woman, and their teeth were like the teeth of a lion. They wore armor made of iron, and their wings roared like an army of chariots rushing into battle. They had tails that stung like scorpions, with power to torture people. This power was given to them for five months. The have before them a king, the angel from the bottomless pit; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon–the Destroyer.” Rev 9:1-11
Here we see that “locusts” come out of the Abyss after the 5th trumpet sounds. The term “locusts” may be symbolic, or be how these creatures look. But these “locusts” have human faces, as do messenger angels which look like men, and long hair, like someone who hasn’t had a haircut in a very long time. Right now the only entities that seem to currently be bound in the prison of the Abyss are the “sons of God” mentioned in Gen 6, 2 Pet and Jude. If the key to this prison were to be given to a fallen angel, and the prison of the Abyss was to be opened, it makes sense that what would come out would be these same “sons of God”. And so it is possible that these “locusts” with human faces and hair, may be the same messenger-type angels that have been imprisoned in the Abyss since the time of the Flood.
Looking at the Greek, these locusts have before them, in their presence, a king described to be a fallen messenger-type angel, who also comes from the Abyss. This angel’s name is Abaddon or Apollyon, which means the Destroyer.
More is said on this fallen angel called the Destroyer who comes out of the Abyss.
“When they complete their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit will declare war against them. He will conquer them and kill them.” Rev 11:7
This fallen angel, the Destroyer, is also called a “beast”. In context, he kills the two witnesses of Revelation.
“Why are you so amazed?” the angel asked. “I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns. The beast you saw was alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon come up out of the bottomless pit [the Abyss] and go to eternal destruction. And the people who belong to this world, whose names were not written in the Book of Life from before the world began, will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died.” Rev 17:7-8
Here it is made clear that this fallen angel, the Destroyer, is confirmed to be the same one who comes out of the Abyss. This is the same Beast who this woman rides, the same Beast who has seven heads and ten horns. However, this also identifies this fallen angel as the Beast out of the Sea:
“And now in my vision I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God. This beast looked like a leopard, but it had bear’s feet and a lion’s mouth! And the dragon gave him his own power and throne and great authority. I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery–but the fatal wound was healed! All the world marveled at this miracle and followed the beast in awe. They worshiped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they worshiped the beast. “Is there anyone as great as the beast?” they exclaimed. “Who is able to fight against him?” Rev 13:1-4
There may be more about this angel the Destroyer in the Bible, in a section of prophecy with 2 meanings, much like Satan is addressed in Isa 14 and Eze 28. This section is Ezekiel 31, and it also seems to parallel and give more detail about the “sons of God” who were imprisoned in the Abyss. It seems to tell the general story of the events of Gen 6, and their imprisonment.
“Son of man, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude; Whom art thou like in thy greatness? Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs. The waters made him great, the deep set him up on high with her rivers running round about his plants, and sent her little rivers unto all the trees of the field. Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long because of the multitude of waters, when he shot forth. All the fowls of heaven made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations. Thus was he fair in his greatness, in the length of his branches: for his root was by great waters. The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chestnut trees were not like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty. I have made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him.”
Here we have a reference to the time before the flood, when Eden was still known in location. This Assyrian was a king, and he is compared to a very tall tree, with many long branches and thick boughs or foliage. He is described as the tallest tree, with many fair branches. The heavy repeated emphasis here on height may be a parallel to what the sons of God are known for in Gen 6, that their children were tall giants. There does seem to be a parallel. As such the Assyrian may be the Beast, the king of the time before the flood, and the leader of the sons of God who all had giant tall offspring. The “fair” branches mentioned here may be his wives, the “daughters of men” who were “fair” of Genesis 6. And the “boughs who were multiplied” and “thick boughs” or foliage, leaves, may refer to the many giant children had by this angel, in the time before the flood.
The Assyrian is said to have been in Lebanon, and by the waters, which is perhaps where the 4 rivers branched out from the river that flowed out of Eden. (Gen 2) Yet other trees are mentioned, some of the field, and some are said to have been in Eden, in the Garden of God, and are said to have envied him. This may refer to all the angels of God, both those which had also taken wives as seen in Genesis 6, and also those who had not participated in taking wives. So all the other “sons of God” of Genesis 6 seem to be referenced here as other trees, who also had branches (wives) and boughs (giant children), but they envied the Assyrian tree, who had more wives and children than them, and greater success. The Assyrian tree, the family of this fallen angel, seems to have had a kingdom in the time before the flood, and all other “great nations” “dwelt under his shadow”. Probably each “tree” here is a “son of God of genesis 6, a sinning angel, who each took wives and had families of giant children, and each family composed their own “nation” or tribe. But they all dwelt under the shadow of the Assyrian tree, this one particular “son of God” who has a larger family and greater success.
“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast lifted up thyself in height, and he hath shot up his top among the thick boughs, and his heart is lifted up in his height, I give him into the hand of a god of nations, He dealeth sorely with him, In his wickedness I have cast him out. And cut him off do strangers, The terrible of nations, and they leave him, upon the mountains and in all the valleys his branches are fallen, and his boughs are broken by all the rivers of the land; and all the people of the earth are gone down from his shadow, and have left him.”
While this passage also applies to the Egyptians, it may also shed some light on the flood. Here the “god of nations” who deals sorely and casts out the Assyrian for his wickedness and pride may be more self-referential to actions that God took Himself. The “cut him off do strangers, The terrible of nations” in the Hebrew reflects the concept, “to be alienated terrifyingly, cut off from nations, forsaken”. And so the action that is referred to here may be God imprisoning these sinning angels and their leader, the Assyrian, in the Abyss, and bringing the flood. It says that this tree is destroyed by all the rivers of the land, his branches (wives) and his boughs (their children), along with everyone in the shadow of his kingdom. Whether they are in the mountains or the valleys, they all are destroyed by the rivers of the land. And it says that all the people of the earth have “gone down” which also means to sink, and “left” which means to be forsaken.
“Upon his ruin shall all the fowls of the heaven remain, and all the beasts of the field shall be upon his branches:”
The picture given here may be one of birds and beasts clinging to wood pieces of trees floating in water, because the land has disappeared.
“To the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves for their height, neither shoot up their top among the thick boughs, neither their trees stand up in their height, all that drink water for they are all delivered unto death, to the nether parts of the earth, in the midst of the children of men, with them that go down to the pit.”
Here there is a definite parallel that all involved are going to drink water and go down to the nether, or lowest, parts of the earth, and to the pit. The “pit” here is a word for a dungeon, a prison, well, or cistern. This all gives the same general description of the Abyss, the bottomless pit. The children of men dying in the flood have death, but in the midst of that, the fallen angels involved go down to the Abyss. And the stated purpose of this is “to the end that none of all” the other trees (angels) will repeat these actions. The action of growing to these great heights, with long branches, seems to be symbolic for the sinful events of Genesis 6 in which angels fell by taking wives and having giant tall children. This is all the more confirmed to refer to the flood in the next couple of verses:
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day when he went down to the grave I caused a mourning: I covered the deep for him, and I restrained the floods thereof, and the great waters were stayed: and I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the trees of the field fainted for him.”
This places the time that the fallen angels and their leader went down into the Abyss to be the same day that God restrained the floods and the great waters were stayed. And apparently, all the angels who were left who had not participated in their sins, these angels mourned for him and actually fainted over them being imprisoned in the Abyss. In the history of angels, this was a major event which they all seemed to be aware of, even found terrifying to the point of fainting, and would remember. Again, the point was “to the end that none” of the other “trees”, other angels, would repeat these actions of being as “tall trees with long branches and high boughs”; and this representing the actions of the fallen angels in Genesis 6 or taking wives or having children.
“I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth. They also went down into hell with him unto them that be slain with the sword; and they that were his arm, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen. To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth: thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised with them that be slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord GOD.”
There are a couple of interesting points here. The first is that the word for “nations” is “gowy”, of which one definition listed in the Strong’s Concordance is “a swarm of locusts, other animals (figurative)”. This term is used throughout this passage, and it raises the question if Revelation may refer back to this passage in reference to the locusts which come out of the Abyss. It may be what is said here in Eze 31 is that the “locusts shook at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them (the locusts) who descend into the pit (Abyss)”. If so then this does parallel the locusts of Revelation very closely. Eze 31 does seem to refer to the first wave of fallen angels being imprisoned in the Abyss. It sets the time of their imprisonment to have started at the end of the Flood, when God restrained the waters.
The second interesting point is that it says that they “shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth”. This again refers to the “lowest” parts of the earth, the Abyss, the prison of these fallen angels. The word here “comforted” can mean to be comforted, to comfort oneself, and also it means to be sorry and repent.
It seems that Jesus Christ went to the Abyss after the resurrection, to these fallen angels who were imprisoned in the Abyss. That Jesus went to the Abyss is confirmed in Eph 4, that he descended into the lower parts of the earth, which is synonymous with the bottomless pit, Abyss, or Tartaros.
“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.” Eph 4:7-10
“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 unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” 1 Pet 3:18-20
It is spelled out very clearly that Jesus preached to the angels in the Abyss.
It is important to note that the term here “sometime” means “once” or “formerly”, and implies that these spirits might no longer be disobedient. The same word used here for “preach” is also used in Luke 4:18.
“The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Why did Jesus go to preach to these fallen angels imprisoned in the Abyss? What seems to be indicated by these passages is that Jesus was preaching “deliverance to the captives”. If these fallen angels would stand no benefit from being preached to, why would Jesus bother to go preach to them? Could they be repent and be forgiven? Much more about them seems to be pointing that direction than not, as far as I can tell. The word here for “deliverance” does mean pardon or forgiveness, and release.
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil 2:8-11
It seems likely in this verse that those “under the earth” refers to these angels imprisoned in the Abyss. The word here for “should bow” is in a subjunctive mood; “The subjunctive mood is the mood of possibility and potentiality. The action described may or may not occur, depending upon circumstances.” Eventually every knee will bow and tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Isa 45:23) at the latest by the judgment. However, this verse seems to refer more to everyone having the opportunity to choose to follow and obey Jesus Christ, before the judgment. The mood may express the concept of allowing a choice during the time prior to judgment. Some angels in heaven chose to follow Him, the holy angels. Some people on the earth choose to follow Him, the Christians. And perhaps also some angels under the earth chose to follow Him, these angels imprisoned in the Abyss.
This brings us back to Revelation.
“Then locusts came from the smoke and descended on the earth, and they were given power to sting like scorpions. They were told not to hurt the grass or plants or trees but to attack all the people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” Rev 9
If these fallen angels are the locusts, then whose side do they appear to be on? They are given power to attack only the unrepentant people, who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They are attacking the people who have taken the Mark of the Beast, and who are worshipping the dragon Satan, and the Beast. In other words, these angels seem to be working for God in punishing the enemies of God. It very well may be that during their imprisonment, after being preached to by Jesus, that they have repented, and upon their release, they go about working for God. It may be that they have repented and been pardoned…?
Most translations of Revelation say that the Beast from the Abyss is the king of the locusts. However, another equally valid reading of the Greek is that “they have in their presence a king, the angel of the Abyss”. It is possible that while the Beast, the Assyrian, the Destroyer, comes out of the Abyss with them, that they no longer consider him to be their king. There is no mention of them working for him at any point in the book of Revelation. He may come out of the Abyss along with them, but the Greek allows for it to be the case that they are not on the same side or working together any longer. In fact these “locusts” or angels seem to be working for God.
This fallen angel, the Beast from the Abyss, is going to be given power by Satan, and the world is going to follow him in awe, worshipping these two fallen angels: Satan the dragon, and the Destroyer who is the Beast from the Sea. This fallen angel, the Beast, is thrown into the lake of fire:
“And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast–miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.” Rev 19:20
This occurs right after Jesus returns, and right before Satan is bound in the Abyss for 1000 years. (Rev 19:19, 20:1)
It is not mentioned that the “locusts” are cast into the lake of fire, after tormenting those who have rejected God. We do know that the lake of fire is for the devil and his angels. “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” Matt 25:41
However, there seems to be very little tying this first wave of fallen angels to Satan, and very little to nothing that actually identifies them as Satan’s angels; especially considering their only mention in the book of Revelation is of attacking the enemies of God, and apparently of working for God. Other angels working for God are mentioned in Rev 16, pouring out bowls of wrath which cause plagues and sores on those who worshipped the Beast. These locusts seem to be doing something similar, having the same role as holy angels working for God. If they were working for Satan or the Beast, it wouldn’t make much sense they would be torturing the enemies of God.
“And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?” Matt 12:25-26
As such it seems unlikely they are working for Satan or the Beast.
So what becomes of them, these angels, these “sons of God” from Genesis 6?
Going back to Isaiah 14 which is about Satan, after he is bound for 1000 years the earth is at rest. Then there is an interesting tidbit in which some trees start rejoicing over this and talking, in particular, the cedars of Lebanon.
“The whole earth is at rest, [and] is quiet: they break forth into singing. Indeed the cypress trees rejoice over you, And the cedars of Lebanon, Saying, ‘Since you were cut down, No woodsman has come up against us.”
And so while Satan is bound for 1000 years in the Abyss, the “cedars of Lebanon” say no woodsman has come up against them to cut them down. And these trees are rejoicing that Satan has been imprisoned. Altogether, if these cedars are the fallen angels of Gen 6 who are mentioned as the cedars of Lebanon in Eze 31, and then come out as locusts in Rev 9, then it seems that they are still free during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. It seems they are rejoicing with the people of God and Holy angels at Jesus Christ’s victory over Satan.