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Jude 1:6 (emphasis mine):

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

This verse references a topics that are not thoroughly covered in the Bible (Enoch, Michael, etc). I haven't found the term 'first estate' in the Bible anywhere else, and other translations don't provide much clarity for me.

What are we to understand by the phrase, 'first estate', and who are those angels that did not keep it?

Note:

Just so there's no speculation, I come from an LDS background. My motivation for asking this question is to know how those outside of my faith understand by this verse, but answers consistent with LDS theology are also welcome.

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+1 thanks for explicitly stating your background. It's quite clear this question stems from an LDS understanding of the passage, but it's a valid question for all. –  dancek Sep 13 '11 at 18:57
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10 Answers 10

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The Strong's for this is:

archē
ar-khay'
From G756; (properly abstract) a commencement, or (concrete) chief (in various applications of order, time, place or rank): - beginning, corner, (at the, the) first (estate), magistrate, power, principality, principle, rule.

Sounds like it means they gave up their rank or position, in addition to their "habitation" (residence) in exchange for some wicked thing they desired. Now, as a result, they are enjoying their 2nd estate--in chains.

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Interesting. Besides mention of an 'archangel', do we have any other notion of rank in angels? –  tjameson Sep 8 '11 at 3:23
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I don't think it was a particular rank within the angels, but in the overall ranking of God's created beings. The Bible doesn't define rank among angels, but it does distinguish rank between men and angels: Psalm 8:5 Hebrews 2:7. Men become like angels after death: Luke 20:36 –  The Preacher Sep 8 '11 at 3:37
    
@tjameson: At the least the Bible refers to at least one Archangel by name, Michael, in Jude and to an archangel in Revelation. Furthermore it talks about principalities over geographic areas in several places. In addition, Lucifer and Gabriel are held to be archangels. –  Lawrence Dol Sep 8 '11 at 6:50
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Looking at Blue Letter Bible, here "first estate" is written as archē (Strong's G746). The fifth definition is:

5) the first place, principality, rule, magistracy
a) of angels and demons

Thus, it would seem that the angels left where they were supposed to be, and as such, were cast out. This is made clear by the NLT version of the same verse:

Jude 1:6 (NLT)
And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment.

[Emphasis mine.]

Hence, these angels were told by God where to be, but they rebelled against God's authority and as such were put into Hell.

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Do we know where they were told to be? –  tjameson Sep 8 '11 at 3:22
    
@tjameson: I doubt that the Bible really tells us that, but the specifics of where don't matter as much as the fact that they left their post. –  El'endia Starman Sep 8 '11 at 3:23
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These verses looks like refer to fall of angels.

NIV renders the verse like this: Jude 1:6 "And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.". So it is clear that it is describing those angels.

So i think, "first estate" in KJV is the position of authority God granted to a group of angels who misused it and was thrown out. I believe the same thing referred here in Isaiah 14:12-15.

"How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.[a] I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit. "

KJV uses "O Lucifer, Son of the morning"

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Lucifer means "morning star" or "bright one"; it's the same word roots where we get the English "lucid", "illuminate", "luminescence" and similar. –  Lawrence Dol Sep 8 '11 at 6:53
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Revelation chapter 12 says there was a war in heaven.

Revelation 12:7-9 (NKJV)
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Satan and his angels, fought Michael and his angels, but could not win.

Before that, it said that Satan's tail swept a third of the stars.

Revelation 12:4 (NKJV)
His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.

meaning 1/3 of the angelic host fell with him in his rebellion, for they rebelled also. Thus scripture lets us know that they were thrown out with Satan, losing their First Estate. If they weren't chained in prison, they would be creating havoc among the people of the Earth. Thank God for this!

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never saw the link between the stars and angels before - interesting view –  warren Oct 10 '12 at 20:18
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I was reading in the Apocrypha and found something referring to the first estate in 1 Adam and Eve. This book was likely written around the 5th or 6th century AD and was first translated into English in 1882. 1 Adam and Eve 5:7 "But the wicked Satan who continued not in his first estate, nor kept his faith; in whom was no good intent towards Me, and who though I had created him, yet set Me at naught, and sought the Godhead, so that I hurled him down from heaven,--he it is who made the tree appear pleasant in your eyes, until you ate of it, by hearkening to him. 1 Adam and Eve 55:7-15 gives more details and is worth reading if you have the time to look it up. It is similar to Revelations 12. Satan and his followers were hurled down to Earth and are executing a backup plan. This is to make war against the righteous, to tempt and deceive man. Revelations 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

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Their own habitation that they left? The place in which they previously were: in "the household of God" - that place to which we all may return as referenced in Ephesians 2:19.....so long as we allow ourselves to be "builded together for a habitation of God, through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:22).

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Welcome to Christianity.SE. Please read our tour page and this post on how to write a good answer. It would help if you could expand your answer and maybe provide some references that show that your answer is more than just your personal interpretation. Thanks. –  crownjewel82 Nov 1 '13 at 15:57
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Their habitation was heaven their first estate was obeying God and not to marry.

But they did something that the other angels did not do that got them locked away till the judgement.

They may be the ones in Gen 6 that took earthly women to marry and had children by them.

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Welcome to C.SE. When you get the chance, please check out our tour and specifically How we are different than other sites. As it stands, this answer is high on opinion, but low on sources. –  Affable Geek Nov 26 '13 at 12:32
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Those angles probably are the ones that are talked about in Gen. 6 that went into the daughters of men" God never intended for Angeles to mate with humans " so in Jude were it States those Angeles which kept not their first estate " (meaning the purpose in Which God created them even the power they possessed " they used it not in the manner and which God created them to..

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Welcome to C.SE. When you get the chance, please check out our tour and specifically How we are different than other sites. This answer would be more persuasive if you could source people who hold to this. –  Affable Geek Jan 17 at 17:05
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A complete study in the scriptures is needed. Jude 6; 1 Peter 3:19 and 2 Peter 2:4 all provide a true picture of what is being referred to. So let the Bible answer it self! No debate is in Oder. It is clear looking at the complete bible record that demonic wicked angels took on materialized bodies and mated with women on earth. The result was the Nephilim. They were rightly punished and imprisoned in Tartarus. Why is this so hard for some to realized. Go back and look at the first biblical prophecy at Gen. 3:15-16. Satan was the behind this attempt to contaminate the earth with his Satanic seed making it impossible for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to come save us through a undefined woman Mary. Since this first attempt failed, Satan tried to annihale the Baby Jesus, again unsuccessful. Sine he can't undo God's perfect works, he his bent on causing as much turmoil here on earth before he is removed as the ruler of this world. Yes, I said it, Satan is the present God of this System of things. He and other mighty demons control every government on the face of the earth. Daniel2:4 tells why all governments are removed by the Kindgdom of God. Amen!

The Truth will Set You free.

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Angels in the Bible only appear to men when they are sent by God. The word Angel means messenger. Angels that fell are demons. They are not allowed to present themselves as they are, interfering in the lives of men. Demons are very wicked and escalated the violence mentioned in Genesis. If you really think about it, Satan is still walking around. Angels have come in bodily form. But, they do not have a body like you and I. Angels are spirits and they cannot produce sperm and semen. It serves no purpose for the to do so, since they never die.

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I'm not sure if you've answered this specific question. Can you make the link between what you've written and "the first estate" clearer please? –  curiousdannii May 31 at 0:40
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