Thursday, April 3, 2014

Who and What Were the Nephilim?

Genesis 6:4 - The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
The Lord spoke to Moses and told him to send one son from each of the tribes of Israel to go as spies into the land of Canaan. After 40 days of exploring the new land, the spies returned to give a report to Moses and Aaron. The spies reported the good news that land was flowing with milk and honey. They also reported some bad news -there were giants in the land! They saw the Nephilim and they feared them.
Who were the Nephilim and why did God’s people fear them?
The Nephilim are one of those intriguing mysteries of the Bible. The existence of the Nephilim is first revealed in Genesis 6:4. The Nephilim are introduced prior to Noah and the great flood. The implications are that the Nephilim and their offspring were evil and the earth needed to be cleansed of them.
Despite the flood wiping out everything on earth, the Nephilim supernaturally reappear and become an obstacle for the Israelites. Causing them to disobey God for not taking possession of the land.

There Were Giants in the Land

Theologians have been debating since the first century of the early church as to what the Nephilim were. Some consider the Nephilim to be nothing more than a race of mighty men. The late, Dr. J. Vernon McGee, in his classic radio series, Thru the Bible, held the opinion that the Nephilim were merely men.
These were not monstrosities; they were men. The record makes it clear that the giants were in the earth before this took place, and it simply means they were offspring of outstanding individuals.[1]
Another age old argument is that the Nephilim literally are a race of giants. Encounters with giants occur throughout the Old Testament. The most notable giant being the Philistine Goliath could very well have been a descendant of the Nephilim.
Other giants appeared in the Old Testament, the Rephaites (Rephaim), the Anakites (the sons of Anak are a part of the Nephilim, Numbers 13:33), and the Zamzumites. In the book of Genesis, chapter 14, the War of the Kings, King Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him defeated the Rephaim, the Zuzim and the Emim. Deuteronomy 2:10 describes the Emim as people as great, as numerous, as tall and as powerful as the Anakim (the offspring of the Nephalim). These race of giants were all genetically related.
Deuteronomy 2:11 - 11 Like the Anakim, they are also regarded as Rephaim, but the Moabites call them Emim.
The significance of this battle with the kings, in the book of Genesis, reveals that the Nephilim were roaming the earth at the time of Abraham. Reading the scripture as the infallible word of God we have an enigma on our hands. In Deuteronomy, we have King Og, the last of the remnant of the Rephaim, who had a burial bed 13 1/2 feet long (9 cubits x 1.5 ft/cubit = 13.5 feet).
Deuteronomy 3:11-11 (For only Og king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim. Behold, his  bedstead was an iron bedstead; it is in Rabbah of the sons of Ammon. Its length was nine cubits and its width four cubits by ordinary cubit.)
The question arises, where did these giants come from?

The Sons of God and the Daughters of Men

There is significant evidence in the Bible that there were a race of giants in the land. The giants existed with Abraham and were wiped out of human history probably around the time of King David. The giants weren’t genetic anomalies there were races of them. Genesis 6:4 doesn’t shed any light on the matter at all. The scripture explains the Nephilim came into existence when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Who were the sons of God?
Theologians have two differing beliefs regarding who the sons of God are. The first account is that the sons of God are actually the descendants of Seth and the daughters of men are the descendants of Cain. The weight of the argument is that this intermarrying is in violation of the Law.
Deuteronomy 7:1-4 - 1“When the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For [they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you.
The basis of this argument doesn’t readily explain as to why the descendants were physical giants.
The second theological belief is that the sons of God refers to fallen angels. The foundation of this belief is in the context that “the sons of God “ are used in the scripture. The Hebrew  translation is Ben Elohim, which literally is, the sons of God.  Theologians who are of the point of view that the sons of God are angels, provide the argument using the context the sons of God are mentioned in the book of Job,  Job 1:6, 2:1, and 38:7. Again, the Hebrew contextual translation here is ben elohim, the sons of God.
Job 1:6 - Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.
In this context, the sons of God are referring to angels in heaven, before the throne of God.
Job 2:1 - 1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord.
And in Job 38:7,  the contextual reference is angels.
Job 38:7 - When the morning stars sang together
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
In each of these scripture verses in the book of Job, ben elohim, is referring to angels. The scripture alludes to the sons of God as being angels.  Now we’ll examine what the early church believed.

Accepted Belief in the Antiquities

Who or what did the early church believe the sons of God to be? Some clues surface in early writings and in New Testament scripture that the accepted belief was that the sons of God were in fact angels. The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus writes in his works, about Genesis 6:4,
NOW this posterity of Seth continued to esteem God as the Lord of the universe, and to have an entire regard to virtue, for seven generations; but in process of time they were perverted, and forsook the practices of their forefathers; and did neither pay those honors to God which were appointed them, nor had they any concern to do justice towards men. But for what degree of zeal they had formerly shown for virtue, they now showed by their actions a double degree of wickedness, whereby they made God to be their enemy. For many angels of God accompanied with women, and begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all that was good, on account of the confidence they had in their own strength; for the tradition is, that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants. But Noah was very uneasy at what they did; and being displeased at their conduct, persuaded them to change their dispositions and their acts for the better: but seeing they did not yield to him, but were slaves to their wicked pleasures, he was afraid they would kill him, together with his wife and children, and those they had married; so he departed out of that land.
William Whiston, who provided this translation in, The Works of Josephus, in 1736, made the comment, “This notion, that the fallen angels were, in some sense, the fathers of the old giants, was the constant opinion of antiquity.”.[2]
In Terry Law’s book, the truth about Angels, he writes that the “sons of God” was accepted as referring to angels by the ancient Jewish synagogues and by Hellenistic Jews at and before the time of Christ. The Christian church also accepted that the sons of God referred to fallen angels until the fourth century.[3]
An early church Christian author, Tertullian of Carthage, cited 1 Enoch, in his works, Of Idolatry, (around the year 190 AD),
Enoch had before foretold that the “the daemons and the spirits of angels fell away, would change into idolatry all the elements, the whole gear of the world, the things which are contained in heaven, in the sea, in the earth, so that they should be consecrated in the stead of God, in opposition to the Lord.”[4]
Tertullian is quoting an ancient book, 1 Enoch, which was not included in the 66 books of the Canonical Bible.
In the New Testament, books 2 Peter and Jude, also make reference to the angels who left their habitation and took earthly wives. These writings also illuminate the notion that the early church believed the sons of God were fallen angels in the book of Genesis.
2 Peter 2:4-5 - 4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;
The author of Jude writes,
Jude 1:6-7 - 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, 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.
Tertullian knew that the epistle of Jude was specifically quoting the book 1 Enoch. Bruce Metzger cites in his works on, The Canon of the New Testament: It’s Origin, Development and Significance, that the epistle of Jude appealed to Tertullian because of its testimonial to the authority of Enoch.[5]  As you can see, the book of 1 Enoch was well known in the first and second century churches and was in the synagogues at the time of the ministry of Jesus Christ.
Both in 2 Peter and the book Jude, the authors are referring to angels already in chains in eternal darkness, awaiting their judgment. We know Satan and his demons are roaming the earth causing chaos until their time of judgment when Jesus Christ returns. So who are these angels in chains? It seems to have been common knowledge in the synagogues and early church who these angels were. Many theologians believe the two authors are quoting another book, then common to the synagogues and churches, the book of 1 Enoch. The book of Enoch raises more questions then answers and was obviously not included in the 66 canonical books of the Bible.  To muddy the waters here, it is no mystery that the Peter and the author of Jude are referencing the book of 1 Enoch. This book is presumed to be authored by the same Enoch who appears in Genesis 5.
Genesis 5:18:21-24 - 21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. 22 Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
In the book of 1 Enoch, in chapter 6,we see a similar passage to the scripture in Genesis 6:4.
1 Enoch  Book 1 Ch. 6-  1 And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters.
2 And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: 'Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men 
3 and beget us children.
Keep in mind here the book of 1 Enoch is not the smoking gun that proves these were angels. It only provides some evidence that the common belief in Jewish antiquity is that the sons of God were angels and that we have some evidence the angels may have attempted pro creation with earthly women. We leave the book of 1 Enoch as nothing more than that. I believe the book of 1 Enoch raises more questions than answers, which is why it was probably left out of the canonical books of the Bible. But we must also keep in mind it was in the synagogues and quoted in our New Testament in the book of Jude.

Can Angels Procreate with Man?

That is the question of which we’ll never receive a true answer to until we go to our glory and sit through the new arrival 101 presentation in Heaven. From an earthly stand point and from the frontlines of battle in our ministry – I do believe this is possible. Our ministry has been involved in ministering to satanic ritual abuse survivors and people dealing with incubus-succubus (raping demon) manifestations. It is through these ministry experiences that I know demons are a part of rape, oppressive spiritual rape and ritual rape. In these cases, demons manifest and rape individuals. A female looking demon, a succubus, can collect genetic material from a man. Demons can manipulate DNA, look at horrific illnesses and cancer. Angels under Satan possess supernatural God given wisdom beyond the scope of our brightest men. What we Christians don’t consider is not if this can be done, but how horrific it is when it is done. In ritual abuse, some women are used as nothing more than breeders. The raping by demons is violent and is commonly done on children during these rituals.

Demons and the Nephilim

There are several common beliefs out there as to the origin of demonic spirits. I strongly subscribe to the belief that the demons are in fact fallen angels who rebelled with Lucifer. However, there are theologians who believe that demons are the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim that died in the great flood. Those who subscribe to this belief cite the book of 1 Enoch.
1 Enoch Book 1 Ch 15 - 8 And now, the giants, who are produced from the spirits and flesh, shall be called evil spirits upon
9 the earth, and on the earth shall be their dwelling. Evil spirits have proceeded from their bodies; because they are born from men and from the holy Watchers is their beginning and primal origin; 
10 they shall be evil spirits on earth, and evil spirits shall they be called. [As for the spirits of heaven, in heaven shall be their dwelling, but as for the spirits of the earth which were born upon the earth, on the earth shall be their dwelling.]
11 And the spirits of the giants afflict, oppress, destroy, attack, do battle, and work destruction on the earth, and cause trouble: they take no food, but nevertheless 
12 hunger and thirst, and cause offences. And these spirits shall rise up against the children of men and against the women, because they have proceeded from them.
The late Dr. Tom Hawkins, of Restoration in Christ Ministries, where he and his wife Diane, have made incredible contributions to the ministry of Satanic ritual abuse survivors and ministering to dissociative identity disorder, did a significant amount of research on the topic of the Nephilim spirits being demons. In Dr. Hawkins work on Cosmic Hierarchy, he writes,
We began examining the whole concept of two realms of spiritual beings. One was the usual demonic realm, which seems to include the lower level spiritual beings. Another was the higher level fallen angels, called celestial beings in Jude 1:8-10 (NIV). Over time we have begun to understand that celestial beings are a subcategory of the overall designation “cosmic beings”. While, admittedly, we don’t know the origin of demons, I now believe they are not “fallen angels”, but more likely the offspring of the Nephilim.[6]
The theological argument that follows here, and Dr. Hawkins addresses it subtly, is, who are the principalities, powers, and rulers with Satan? We now have two distinct spiritual beings. Terry Law, comments on this in his book, The Truth About Angels,
The only explanation that fits all the facts seems to be that some fallen angels transgressed by not only by taking on human bodies –as we know fallen angels sometimes do- but by operating in all the functions of those bodies, including sex. This transgression was much worse than even rebelling against God that they were chained in darkness before the flood or at the time of the flood.[7]
Like other magnificent mysteries of the Bible we’ll have to wait for our Glory 101 New Arrivals class in Heaven to get all the answers we now seek. I am sure the early church were having the same Theological arguments.  God is sovereign and doesn’t owe us an answer. Just remember, it is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings!

Rev. Mike

For further reading on the topic of spiritual warfare get your copy of,
A Field Guide to Spiritual Warfare - the Power to PULL the IMPOSSIBLE from the HEAVENLY REALMS

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[1] McGee, J. Vernon. Thru The Bible Commentary Series: The Law - Genesis Chapters 1-15. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991. Pg. 120

[2] Whiston, William. The Works of Josephus. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006, pg. 32.
[3] Law, Terry. the truth about Angels. Lake Marry: Charisma House. 2006 pg. 204-205
[4] Dodgson, Rev. C. Tertullian. London: Oxford. 1842. Pgs 223-224.
[5] Metzger, Bruce M. The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1987. Pg. 159
[6] Hawkins, Dr. Tom. Cosmic Hierarchy, Restoration in Christ Ministries, 2008, pg. 29

[7] Law, Terry. the truth about Angels. Lake Marry: Charisma House. 2006 pg. 206
©2014 Michael J. Norton

1 comment:

  1. That was great read thank you for that !! Fascinating subject matter