And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to [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... -2 Peter 2:3-5We first note that those in Tartarus are "reserved for judgment" and they are connected with the flood of Noah's day. At the least, they are put in context with the judgment of the ungodly, which was, of course, by water. We also know these were "angels that sinned."
We now turn to an epistle very similar to 2 Peter, the Book of Jude.
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation [Young's Literal: those who did not keep their own principality, but did leave their proper dwelling], he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. - Jude 6This hearkens back to to the pre-flood contamination of mankind when the "Sons of God" took wives of human women. This study is not about this event directly, I will thus only suggest that these spirit beings (angels) possessed human men and produced a race of "giants."
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... 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 to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. -Gen 6:1-2,4Fallen angels are referred to as "sons of God" in Job (1:6; 2:1; 38:7). Again, this not being the thrust of our argument or topic, we will move onto the idea of water.
We've seen in our studies that water is often associated with judgement. We have the flood of Noah's day and the water that destroyed the original creation at the time of the "overthrow" between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 (see our study on the Gap Theory). We'll just quickly look at two passages along that line.
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men... -2 Peter 3:5-7
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth [became] without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. -Gen 1:1-2
Again we see water connected with judgment and destruction.
These angels in Tartarus are reserved for judgment. They are in "everlasting chains" (note "everlasting" does not always mean without end). So, we have fallen angels awaiting judgment in Tartarus. In Greek mythology and in most of Christendom, Tartarus is said to be a place of fire (in one form or another).
The name of the subterranean region, doleful and dark, regarded by the ancient Greeks as the abode of the wicked dead, where they suffer punishment for their evil deeds; it answers to Gehenna of the Jews. -The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon
To this lake the souls of most of the dead go and, after remaining there the appointed time, which is for some longer and for others shorter, are sent back to be born again into living beings. The third river flows out between these two, and near the place whence it issues it falls into a vast region burning with a great fire and makes a lake larger than our Mediterranean sea, boiling with water and mud. -Plato (Phaedo 112e)In both Greek Mythology and Roman Catholic (Aquinas, etc.) the fires are either without end or cleansing (purging). The concept of Purgatory is in both faith systems.
The AbyssThis is not an exhaustive study on the "abyss" or "bottomless pit" in scripture, but we will take a look at it in regard to our study here.
We started in 2 Peter and the disobedience of the fallen angels in Noah's day. We now turn to 1 Peter and the flood of Noah again.
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. -2 Pet 3:18-20
Here we have the Lord preaching to these angels "in prison." We can only speculate as to the content, but we know their intent was corrupt all mankind and thus the seed which from which the Messiah would arise. So, perhaps it was an announcement that their plan had failed. In any case, let us look at how he handled demons he encountered in his earthly ministry.
Jesus asked him, saying, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him. And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss. Now a herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain. So they begged Him that He would permit them to enter them. And He permitted them. Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned. -Luke 8:30-37
These demons did not want to be cast into the "abyss" ("bottomless pit" etc.). In the Hebrew canon ("Old Testament"), the equivalent of the Abyss (Gk: ábyssos) us the Hebrew word "tehom." This word is connected to water. Tehom is used 34 times in scripture. Here are just a few examples:
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. -Gen 1:2
The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. -Gen 8:2
The depths have covered them; They sank to the bottom like a stone. -Ex 15:5
The waters harden like stone, And the surface of the deep is frozen [Literally: imprisoned] -Job 38:30
He split the rocks in the wilderness, And gave them drink in abundance like the depths. -Ps 78:15
Whatever the Lord pleases He does, In heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places. -Ps 135:6
Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. -Rev 9:13-15These angels bound in water.
Earlier in the Revelation (fifth angel), it is said to be a place with smoke rising out of it.
And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. -Rev 9:1-2As this is all speculation, let me continue to speculate. Perhaps it could be that the abyss was emptied at the time the angels were placed in the Euphrates. We see later in the Revelation 20:3 another angel takes a chain which he uses to bind Satan and lock him in the Abyss (bottomless pit).
In Revelation 16:12 we see that the Euphrates is dried up.
SummationPutting all this together (very much in pencil), it seems as thou water was in the Abyss from the time of the overthrow (foundation) in Genesis. Out from these waters flowed some of the waters of Noah's flood. The Angels who married the daughters of men and produced the giants (Nephilim) were chained and cast into the Abyss. A few are loosed during the Great Tribulation out of the River Euphrates. The Abyss (and the Euphrates) dry up. These angels who left their first estate are now reserved in the empty pit awaiting judgment.
This is all FWIW. I do these things to force myself to forsake any preconceived doctrines of tradition so I may "study to show [myself] approved unto God, a worker who needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth." This not being a central doctrine of the faith, it is still useful to display how we cannot blindly trust tradition even on lesser issues.