Tartaros and Demons – Part 2

In Tartaros and Demons – Part 1, we learned that the demon prison of tartaros is not so much a tahum under or within the depths of the earth as it is a dimensional region farthest away from the third heavens, the abode of father Yahweh.

We will now address the sinning angels, the Watchers, and their grievous sin of mating with human women and producing children who became giants.

Sinning Angels
The angels that sinned became known in Scriptures as demons and those angels who sinned most egregiously were placed in the prison of tartaros. For example, besides the act of setting themselves up to be worshiped,67 another blatant sin committed by the rebellious angels in the days prior to Noah’s Flood was adultery with human women.

The book of Genesis informs us:

The sons of eloahim saw the daughters of mankind (ha-adam), that they were beautiful; and they took them for themselves, wives from all those whom they chose. And Yahweh said, “Not will my ruach strive in adam in their erring; he is flesh; and his days will be a hundred and twenty years.” The Nephalim (giants) were on the earth in those days, and even afterwards, when the sons of the eloahim came to the daughters of mankind and they bore (offspring) to them; these (offspring) were valiant warriors who were of the old world, men of fame. (Gen. 6:2-4)

The marriage of these angels with the daughters of mankind was a sin because it is forbidden for the angels of the heavens to marry.68

The book of Jubilees, composed about 100 B.C.E., states the following regarding some angels in the days of Jared, the father of the prophet Enoch (who lived in the pre-flood world):

For in his (Jared’s) days angels of Yahweh descended on the earth, those who are named ‘Watchers,’ so that they could instruct the children of men, and so that they could do judgment and uprightness on the earth. (Jub. 4:15

Just prior to Enoch’s being carried into the Garden of Eden and out of the reach of men, Jubilees states:

And he testified to the Watchers, who had sinned with the daughters of men, for these had begun to unite themselves, so as to be defiled, with the daughters of men. (Jub. 4:22

The name “Watchers” is applied to a class of angels described in Daniel 4:13-23, whose duty is to watch over the people of the earth. The book of Psalms, for example, tells us:

For he (Yahweh) orders for you (mankind) his malaki (angels) to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot on a stone. (Psalm 91:11)

These particular Watchers, unfortunately, ignored their mandate, or as Jubilees points out:

The Watchers against the law of their ordinances went a whoring after the daughters of men, and took themselves wives of all which they chose: and they made the beginning of uncleanness. (Jub. 7:21

Keph (Peter) also refers to these ruach beings saying:

Who then disobeyed when once they were awaiting the longsuffering of the deity in the days of Noah, while he was preparing the ark. (1 Pet. 3:20

The determination to destroy mankind and to prepare the ark was subsequently made 120 years before the Flood of Noah.69

The descendants of the marriages between the sons of eloahim and the daughters of Adam were the giants called Nephalim. The Hebrew name Nephalim refers to the sons of the fallen ones, i.e., sons of the fallen angels.70 These Nephalim, being the descendants of these eloahim (angels), were giant men.

This fact is shown by the discussions regarding some of their offspring: the sons of Anak (the Anakim) who lived in Kanaan, and the sons of Repha (the Rephaim), whose family lived in Moab and were also called the sons of Em (the Emim). In the book of Numbers, for example, we read the statement:

And we saw there (in Kanaan) the Nephilim, the sons of Anak OF THE NEPHALIM; and we were in our eyes as grasshoppers, and so we were in their eyes. (Num. 13:33

Therefore, one branch of the Nephilim were the sons of Anak. The book of Jubilees,71 which notes that the “Nephidim (Naphidim, Nephalim)” were all “dissimilar” or “unlike” each other, divides them into “giants” (a gloss for “Rephaim),72 Naphil (Naphilim), and Elyo (a form of the name Emim).

Meanwhile, in Deuteronomy we read:

The Emim formerly lived in it (the city of Ar), a people great and numerous and רם (rum; high, very tall)73 like the Anakim. They are reckoned to be Rephaim, like the Anakim; but the Moabi call them Emim. (Deut. 2:11

Therefore, these Rephaim, also called Emim, were “high” (i.e., very tall) like the Anakim, to whom the Israelites were considered to look like grasshoppers in size (i.e., much smaller). The sons of Anak, the Anakim, therefore, were one branch of the Nephalim, men who like the Rephaim were “high” (i.e., very tall).

An example of their size comes with the description of one of the most famous men from the Rephaim, who were like the Nephalim in their size, i.e., “high.” This man was Goliath. He and his brothers were called the sons of the Repha (father of those called Rephaim).74 Goliath is said to have been “six cubits and a span” in height,75 or in English terms at least ten and one-half feet tall.

King Og of Bashan, who was one of these giants, had a bed that was nine cubits long and four cubits wide, i.e., thirteen and one-half feet long and six feet wide.76 To this information we should add the fact that those who translated the name Nephalim into the Greek Septuagint used the term γίγαντες (gigantes), meaning “giants.”77

That these Nephalim or giants were the hybrid offspring of angels and human women is verified by the following:

In the Alexandrian text of the LXX at Genesis 6:5, the Hebrew expression “sons of eloahim” is translated to be “angels” of the deity.

The ancient Jewish priest Josephus tells us of this event, “For many angels of the deity now consorted with women and begat sons who were overbearing and disdainful of every virtue, such confidence they had in their strength; in fact the deeds that tradition ascribes to them resemble the audacious exploits told by the Greeks of the giants.”78

Jubilees (c.100 B.C.E.) informs us that from these relationships between the Watcher “angels” of eloahim and the daughters of men, the women “bore to them sons, and they were giants” and, “they begot sons, the Naphidim (i.e., Nephalim).”79

The book of 1 Enoch (about the 1st century B.C.E.) also relates the story of how “the angels, the children of the heavens” consorted with the daughters of men and produced “great giants” as offspring.80 This text refers to them as the “giants who are born from the (union of) ruach beings and the flesh,”81 that is, they were half ruach being and half human. The Greeks referred to such hybrids as “ἡμιθέους (hemi-theous),” i.e., half gods, demigods.”82

In the 2nd century C.E. a certain group of Jewish rabbinic Pharisees, but by no means all of the Jewish rabbis, decided on their own authority that all of these ancient accounts were unseemly. Simeon Ben Jochai (c.130-160 C.E.) pronounced a curse on all those who would say that “the sons of eloahim” were angels.83

These rabbis concluded that these sons of eloahim were the sons of aristocratic families descended from Seth, the son of Adam, while the daughters of mankind were the descendants of sinful Cain, the son of Adam. Many neo-Christian groups today have followed the lead of these rabbis and have abandoned the original Christian view, adopting this false doctrine which, in effect, absolves these angels from their sin.84

The absurdity of this late rabbinic opinion is revealed on several fronts.

First, in Genesis 6:2, the “sons of eloahim” are clearly listed separately from the “daughters of mankind,” which distinguishes the sons of eloahim from mankind.

Second, no ancient authority prior to the 2nd century C.E.—the time when some of the Pharisees originated the concept that these sons of eloahim were not angels—ever suggests anything except that these sons of eloahim were originally heavenly beings.

Third, it is unreasonable to believe that, based upon the late rabbinic view, Seth’s descendants (which these rabbis claimed to have been the sons of eloahim) could produce giants as offspring from the daughters of Cain (which they claimed to be daughters of mankind in the story) yet they were not able to do so with their own wives. Neither would it explain why the sons of Cain would not be able to produce giants with their own women.

Fourth, according to Genesis 6:4, these sons of eloahim produced offspring who were giants both before and after Noah’s flood. This fact is confirmed by the existence of the Rephaim and other such giants, the Nephalim, who continued to exist until the days of King David. It was David who killed a Rephaim, the giant Goliath while other Israelites shortly thereafter slew Goliath’s giant brothers.85

Also, the Anakim existed in the days of Moses and are specifically called Nephalim.86 Yet the posterity of Cain had been totally wiped out centuries earlier by Noah’s Flood. If only the sons of Seth were meant as the “sons of eloahim,” then who would still stand as the daughters of “mankind” in the post-Flood world?

Marriage Forbidden
Another argument advanced by those wishing to absolve the fallen angels of their sin is their interpretation of Matthew 22:30, speaking of those of the resurrection being like angels of Yahweh in the heavens in that they will neither marry nor should they be given in marriage. This verse is interpreted to mean that angels are sexless, thereby unable to produce children.87

Yet this view is without any historical foundation. Just because angels are not given in marriage does not mean that they are incapable of procreation by some form or another with human women. The legal reason that the angels are forbidden to marry and have sexual relations is that they have entered into a marriage covenant with father Yahweh and therefore are presently married or united with him.

As such, it is an act of sin for them to marry and have sexual relations with anyone. This act of marriage with human women, therefore, is counted as a high crime. For this reason, those angels who married human women are described as sinning angels,88 i.e., angels who had transgressed a law they agreed to keep.89

Next, Matthew, 22:30, also speaks of both human males and females as not being permitted to marry after the Resurrection. With our death two factors come into play: (1) the wages of sin is death,90 and (2) our present marriage covenants come to an end.91 Accordingly, the sins of our present life are absolved when we die.

As a result, upon our resurrection from the dead we are counted as having paid for our sins. Nevertheless, since humans can sin again after their resurrection (which results in the second death),92 it is manifest that all humans are bound to Yahweh by a new legal contract and that this new contract forbids them to marry each other.

Yet these men and women do not become sexless beings at that time. Indeed, they will still be referred to as sons and daughters.93 Some humans will even be found committing acts of πόρνοις (pornois, sexual crimes) during the Millennial Judgment Day.94

Further, in Scriptures ruach angels are often referred to as males,95 but never as females. That makes them a counterpart to the human females, just as described in Scriptures.

Finally, the passage from Matthew 22:30, only speaks of the angels of Yahweh dwelling “in the heavens,” as those not marrying. Quite to the contrary, the angels cast out of the heavens and living on the earth, as well as those who have been imprisoned in tartaros, are by this very definition not included. They either left or were cast out of the heavens, which leaves open the possibility that when they left the third heavens they did marry humans.

Indeed, Jude points out that the sinning angels “kept not their first-state, but left their own dwelling,”96 i.e., they left their heavenly abode.97 So we have no reason to doubt that the ruach angels are capable by some means to produce offspring with human women.

The concept of sinning eloahim (angels) being imprisoned in a great dark tahum until the Millennial Judgment Day is clearly pronounced in the Scriptures in 2 Peter.

This passage states:

For if the deity did not spare the angels who sinned, but thrust them into tartaros, keeping them in chains of darkness (var. “dark dens”)98 unto a judgment, and the ancient world was not spared, but the eighth (of those saved on the ark), justified Noah, a herald, he preserved, the flood upon the world of the wicked having brought in; and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah having reduced to ashes, condemned, having set them as an example to those who are about to live wickedly; and righteous Lot, oppressed by the conduct in licentiousness of the lawless, having delivered . . . . (2 Peter 2:4-7)

This above quote shows that these angels sinned before the Great Flood in Noah’s time—the events being listed in chronological order: angels sinned, Noah’s Flood occurred, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, and so forth.

Jude similarly reports:

And angels who did not keep their first-state, but left their own dwelling, unto the judgment of the great day (i.e., the Judgment Day), he keeps in ἀϊδιοις (aidiois; everduring)99 bonds under darkness. (Jude 1:6)

Notice that the bonds or chains are “everduring,” that is, eternally unbreakable, not the imprisonment. Therefore, there is no expectation that these sinning angels will remain in bonds eternally. That these demons will not be eternally held in tartaros is manifest by the fact that all of them—just before the Millennial Judgment Day100—will be released from tartaros.101

Even Satan will be released from the everduring chains holding him in the abyss of tartaros after his own 1,000-year imprisonment, which began at the commencement of the Millennial Sabbath Day.102 The above passage from Jude parallels the account given in 2 Peter 2:4, which shows that these wicked angels are being kept in a dark place until their judgment. Subsequently, those demons will be destroyed, leaving tartaros empty of prisoners.

The book of Jubilees similarly documents the history of the imprisonment of the fallen angels. After recording the fact that Yahweh had seen the lawless condition into which the earth had fallen and had determined to destroy all flesh which had been created, the story continues:

And against the angels (Watchers) whom he had sent upon the earth, he (Yahweh) was exceedingly angry, and he gave commandment to root them out of all their dominion, and he bade us (the sacred angels) to bind them in the tahum of the earth, and behold, they are bound in the midst of them, AND ARE (KEPT) SEPARATE. And against their sons (the Nephalim) went forth a command from before his face that they should be smitten with the sword, and be removed from under the heavens. And he said, “My ruach will not always abide in man; for they are also flesh and their days will be one hundred and twenty years.” And he sent his sword into their midst so that each should slay his neighbor, and they began to slay each other until they all fell by the sword and were destroyed from the earth. And their fathers (the Watchers) were witnesses (of their destruction), and AFTER THIS they (the Watchers) were bound in the depths (tahum) of the earth for the world-age, until the day of great condemnation (Judgment Day), when judgment is executed on all those who have corrupted their ways and their works before Yahweh. (Jub. 5:6-10)

What the evidence shows is that some of the sons of eloahim, i.e., some of the ruach angels, sinned by marrying the daughters of men. For these and other such crimes, they were cast down into a deep place, an abyss identified by the Greek translators of 2 Peter 2:4-7, with their concept of tartaros.

The sequence of events shows that the first imprisonment took place at Noah’s Flood. Here they remain imprisoned and are kept separate from humans and the other angels until the Millennial Judgment Day.

Neither should we conclude that the placement of these sinning angels in the prison of tartaros to await their judgment happened only once or twice in history. This process is a continuous one and can happen at any time throughout history up until the Millennial Judgment Day.

The Abyss
To demonstrate the continuous imprisonment of demons, in Matthew, Mark, and Luke we read the story of how Yahushua had cast out a legion of unclean spirits or demons from a man. Before doing so these demons begged Yahushua not to cast them “into the abyss.” Instead, they made a request to order them to possess a herd of pigs feeding nearby. Taking possession of these pigs, they rushed headlong into the sea killing all of the swine.103

An example of a future event comes in the book of Revelation, where we read that after the defeat of Satan and his rebellious angels, Satan will be cast “into the abyss,” shut up, chained, and sealed there for a thousand years, after which a short time later, the Millennial Judgment Day begins.104

Likewise, this detail is also found in the parables of the seven-headed, mythical, fire-breathing, dragon-like sea monster called “Leviathan.”105 This seven-headed demon beast was used in prophecies from Psalms, Isaiah, Job, and Revelation to represent the anti-messiah, who will come up from the abyss. Yahweh will slay Leviathan at the time of the Great Tribulation, when he delivers the Israelites from evil.106

In the LXX this symbol of a great demon creature is said to regard “the tartaros of the abyss even as a captive place” and “reckons the abyss as a place to walk about,”107 i.e., he rules tartaros and the demons therein. To this passage we might add that Hebrews 2:5, notes that angels will not hold in subjection the world to come,108 and according to 1 Corinthians, the saints will judge angels.109

Yahushua Spoke to Demons
Some argue that the messiah went to the abyss and spoke with the demons and the dead during the three days in which he laid dead in his tomb, invoking the story given by Keph as proof that the dead continue to live as immortal souls. Yet Keph’s text says nothing of the sort.

Rather, Yahushua went to the angel prison of tartaros but only after his own resurrection (as the text clearly states), not while he was dead in the grave as many neo-Christians falsely assert. Yahushua made this visit and proclaimed, among other things, the good news of the coming government of Yahweh to the sinning angels:

For it is better, if wills the will of the deity, that you suffer for doing well than for doing evil. Indeed, because messiah suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, so that he could bring us to the deity; having been put to death in the flesh, BUT QUICKENED BY THE RUACH, IN WHICH (form, i.e., by his quickened state) HAVING GONE TO THE RUACH BEINGS IN PRISON, HE PROCLAIMED, who then disobeyed when once they were awaiting the longsuffering of the deity in the days of Noah, while he was preparing the ark. (1 Pet. 3:17-20

In the book of Jubilees, as an extra-biblical source, we also notice that sheol, the depths (tahumuth), and “the place of darkness” (i.e., tartaros) are made to be three different things.110 Sheol is the state of a deceased human. Angels, to the contrary, at least until their final mortal disposition and judgment, are immortal and cannot die while in their present heavenly form.111

Therefore, sinning angels in our present time have no need for sheol, only the necessity of being imprisoned in a dark abyss by dark chains or dens of confinement. While in the prison of darkness, absence from the divine light lessens their ruach form, allowing them not only to become physical but to become capable of death and destruction.

The evidence proves that by using the word tahum the Scriptures mean “the deep” or “a deep place,” as with the great depths of the oceans and underground water reservoirs. A tahum does not only refer to waters that lie deep in the earth but also refers to the place where dead men lie.112 In this latter case, tahum (the deep) merely refers to the upper levels of depths in the earth, the seas, and the oceans where sheol is located (i.e., where humans lie dead).

The deepest tahum is an entirely different place. We must keep in mind that, according to the Greek view of tartaros, it is a region classified as the “deepest” abyss, not just an abyss, located far below hades (sheol), or in the lowest portion of greater hades.

The difference between the state of sheol and the region of tartaros (deepest tahum) is that there is no consciousness in sheol. It exists as a mindless, unconscious state of the experience referred to as the sleep of death.

On the other hand, the region of tartaros contains living, conscious ruach beings to whom Yahushua in his quickened ruach form went and proclaimed, among other things, the good news of the coming kingdom after he had been resurrected from the dead.

These facts bring us to the true meaning of tartaros as used in 2 Peter 2:4. Tartaros is not just a deep abyss; it is much more. It is the deepest tahum in the earth, an abyss far below or beyond sheol, a place where demons or sinning angels are restrained in prison. As already shown, there are several regions of tahum in Scriptures.

If the tahum (deep place) where a dead man would go to rest in death (e.g., lying dead in sheol while in the sea) was meant, there would have been no need to use a word which the Greek translators found necessary to render as “tartaros.” If a single tahum which contains both dead men and imprisoned demons existed and was the original thought, the Greek term “abyss” would have sufficed as a proper translation.

Tartaros was used to express a specific tahum (abyss)—the one used as a prison for sinning angels. It is located in the deepest places of the earth, far beneath, or at least in a separate condition from the tahum (oceans) where a man might lay in a death sleep of sheol.

That tartaros is a dark dimensional realm standing opposite to the light of the dimensional realm of the third heavens, where father Yahweh dwells, is certainly indicated.

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Click for Bibliography and Abbreviations

67 1 Cor. 10:19-21; Col. 2:18; Rev. 9:20.
68 Luke 20:27-37.
69 Gen. 6:3.
70 The Hebrew term נפלים (Nephalim), plural of נפל (nephal), means, “fall, fell down . . . was thrown down . . . descended”(HEL, p. 170); “to fall . . . something fallen, i.e. an abortion” (SEC, Heb. #5307, 5308, 5309); “be inferior . . . let onesf. fall (intentionally), throw onesf. down” (CHAL, pp. 241-242) i.e., the fallen or descending ones.
71 Jub. 7:22.
72 Cf., LXX at Josh. 12:4, 13:12; 1 Chron. 20:4, 6, 8.
73 SEC, Heb. #7311, 7410.
74 See 1 Chron. 20:4-8; 2 Sam. 21:18-22.
75 1 Sam. 17:4.
76 Deut. 3:11.
77 LXX at Gen. 6:5 and Num. 13:33.
78 Jos., Antiq., 1:3:1.
79 Jub. 5:1, 7:22.
80 1 Enoch 6:1-10:22, 15:8-12.
81 1 Enoch 15:8. This passage continues by stating their belief that evil ruach beings that subsequently plagued the earth came from the dead bodies of these hybrid beings. Such a belief is not found in Scriptures.
82 GEL, p. 352; GEL, 1996, pp. 771f.
83 Bresh. R. on Gen. 6:2.
84 E.g., SRB, p. 13, n. 1.
85 1 Sam. 17:22-51; 1 Chron. 20:4-8.
86 Num. 13:33.
87 SRB, p. 13, n. 1.
88 2 Pet. 2:4; cf., Jude 1:6.
89 1 John 3:4.
90 Rom. 6:23.
91 1 Cor 7:39, “the wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will, only in the sovereign.”
92 E.g., Rev. 20:11-15, 21:5-8.
93 2 Cor. 6:14-18.
94 Rev. 21:8.
95 E.g., Gen. 19:1-27, cf., vv. 1, 5, 12, 15, 16; Gen. 32:24-32, cf., vv. 24, 30.
96 Jude 1:6.
97 Clement Alex., Frag. 1:2, Com. Jude, defines the words “left their own dwelling” to mean, “the heaven and the stars.”
98 For variant texts, see ILT, p. 604, n. c.
99 The Greek term ἀϊδιοις (aidiois) means, “everduring” (SEC, Gk., #126); “everlasting, eternal” (GEL, p. 19; ILT, p. 3); cf., Rom. 1:20.
100 The Millennial Judgment Day is the approximate thousand-year period that shortly follows after the thousand-year period during which Satan is placed in tartaros.
101 For an in-depth discussion see The Millennial Judgment Day.
102 Rev. 20:1-3, 7-10.
103 Matt. 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39.
104 Rev. 20:1-3.
105 Leviathan is also found on a cylinder seal at Tell Asmar in Mesopotamia and called Lotan in the Kanaanite Ras Shamra texts, see The Biblical Archaeologist, 11.3, pp. 61-68. Cf., Ps 74:14, which speaks of the “heads” of Leviathan.
106 E.g., Job 3:8, 41:1-25; Isa. 27:1; Rev. 13:18-14:17, 17:1-18; and see The Biblical Archaeologist, 11.3, pp. 61-68.
107 LXX Job 41:1-25, esp. v. 22ff.
108 Cf., Rev. 9:1-12, 20:1-3.
109 1 Cor. 6:2-3.
110 Jub. 5:14.
111 Luke 20:34-36.
112 E.g., Ps. 71:20; Rom. 10:7.

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Bibliography and Abbreviations
CHAL = A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. William L. Holladay. Based upon the Lexical Work of Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1971.

GEL = An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon. Founded upon the seventh ed. of Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon. At the Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1961.

HEL = Hebrew-English Lexicon. Zondervan Edition, 1970. Catalog #6264. Samuel Bagster & Sons, LTD., London. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

ILT = Lex. Greek–English Lexicon to the New Testament. This lexicon is located in the back of The Interlinear Literal Translation of the Greek New Testament. George Ricker Berry. Zondervan Publishing House, Michigan, 1958.

Jos. = Flavius Josephus (37–ca. 100 C.E.)
— Antiq. Jewish Antiquities
— Wars History of the Jewish Wars Against the Romans

LXX = The Greek Septuagint.

SRB = Scofield, C. I. The Scofield Reference Bible. Oxford Press, New York, 1945.

SEC = Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, together with Dictionaries of the Hebrew and Greek Words. Riverside Book and Bible House, Iowa.
– Heb. = A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Hebrew Bible.
– Gk. = A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament.

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