Giants on the Earth
The Bible presents a history of the earth in the days of man that is at times astonishing. It is not surprising that many who reject the divine inspiration of the Scriptures view its narratives as nonsense. There are even those among professing Christians who stumble in unbelief when they encounter Biblical facts that cannot be explained rationally through accepted scientific dogma. The earth and all living creatures being formed in six days – ridiculous! A great flood that covered the entire earth, overtopping all the mountains – hogwash! Men before the flood living to nearly 1,000 years – preposterous! All the languages of humanity being created in a single moment of time at Babel – foolishness!
The truth is, the miraculous and incredible are present with us every day. Mankind has a tendency to put on blinders which keep him from perceiving the evidence that we live in a supernatural realm that cannot be explained by purely naturalistic laws. There is a divine presence that sustains, directs, and continually upholds order in the creation. This is a truth the Scriptures affirm.
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.
The God who made the universe and all the things in it, this God being the natural Lord of heaven and earth, does not take up His residence in sanctuaries made by hands, neither is He served by the hands of mankind as though needing any certain thing in addition to what He already has, and this in view of the fact that He himself is constantly giving to all life and breath and all things. And He made out of one source material every nation of mankind to inhabit the entire surface of the earth, having marked out the limitations of strategic, epochal periods of time which have been appointed and the fixed boundaries of their occupancy, in order that they should be seeking this aforementioned God, if so then they will grope after Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us, for in Him we derive our life and have motion, as also certain of your poets have said, For of Him are we also offspring.
[An Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest]
The folly of man is revealed in the feeble explanations of that which is called “science” as it attempts to describe how life arose, and order and complexity of infinite magnitude appeared, spontaneously out of chaos. The same minds that balk at the idea of an eternal, self-existent God, do not shrink back from suggesting that matter and energy have always existed. Where did matter originate? They cannot say. It simply always was. How did matter order itself into complexity, and how did the inanimate become animate? Surely it is a great, indeed a miraculous leap, for non-living matter, a garbled mass of elements, to arrange themselves into self-replicating life forms. Even more incredible is the suggestion that inanimate matter developed intelligence on its own. The greatest leap of all is to suggest that the highest life form (mankind) spontaneously developed self-awareness and personality.
The existence of the soul is truly inexplicable when mankind removes God from the equation. How remarkable that a man and woman can come together in sexual union and a new life be generated! This new life is not merely a functioning biological entity. It has awareness, emotion, will, and the ability to reason. The soul that comes into being is not a rubber stamp of its parents. It is likely to embrace very different values, beliefs, and desires than that of its ancestors. This is a great mystery, and science has no satisfactory answer to the existence of life, or the development of the soul. All theories that leave out an omnipotent, omniscient, eternal Creator fall flat. Life, indeed the very creation itself, is miraculous in nature.
Nevertheless, there are those even among Christians who stumble over the historical narratives of the Bible when there is a departure from what can be explained through scientific principles. They reject much of what seems improbable, extraordinary, and supernatural. In some cases they do not reject the Bible narrative entirely, but attempt to explain the Bible’s historical account through what they understand of natural phenomena. Some years back I came across an attempt at scholarly explication of the ten plagues of Egypt in the days of Moses. It was one of the most dissatisfying, inane, and contrived expositions of Scripture I had ever encountered. The authors, attempting to completely remove the aspect of the supernatural from the plagues of Egypt, reduced the Biblical narrative to a natural chain of events that was bereft of the power of God.
I believe this rejection of the supernatural is an attempt by Christians to not appear foolish to those who are acknowledged to be men and women of advanced scientific learning and wisdom. Christianity has been lambasted by those with scientific credentials as these respected professionals pretend that their theories do not require the same “blind faith” they accuse Christians of resorting to. To believe the immense complexity and order of the universe, the existence of life, intelligence, emotion, will, and the soul itself, all came about by “chance” is the greatest exhibition of blind faith manifested among humanity today. Evolution is not as much a science as it is a religion. The religion of evolution is based upon a denial of God, and a rejection of the supernatural.
I do not believe Christians should be anti-knowledge, or opposed to understanding. Nor do I believe it is error to seek explanations of the human condition and the world around us. Quite the opposite. I am a great proponent of “true knowledge.” I have been a life-long student in search of truth and understanding. Yahweh has Himself exhorted mankind to pursue wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.
“Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; A crown of glory she will deliver to you.”
One thing I have observed among Christians who are enthralled with the pretensions of science today as the repository of all truth and knowledge, is a tendency to reject, avoid, or denigrate any Bible doctrine that defies scientific explanation. This behavior seems especially pronounced among men of learning in the church who have attended Bible Colleges and Seminaries, who have earned degrees and have letters or titles appended to their names; Doctor of Divinity (D.D.), Doctor of Ministry (D.Min – a most unfortunate abbreviation), Doctor of Theology (Th.D.), Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Theology (Th.M.), etc..
Although not true of all who hold such “Christian” degrees, there is an inclination among Christian men and women of letters to pursue honor among other educated, degreed professionals, whether they be Christians or non-Christians. This desire to have standing and honor in the world has resulted in many Christians attempting to distance themselves from doctrines and beliefs that have an appearance of foolishness, or unsophistication. Learned men, whether Christian or not, often find it galling to be criticized as naive, anti-scientific, superstitious, or to be accused of some failure of intellectual rigor or skepticism.
Although what is written here could be applied to other topics already addressed in this series, it seems especially appropriate when embarking upon a discussion of giants in the Bible. Giants are often regarded as the fodder of myths, superstitions, and fables. They are lumped into the same categories as childhood monsters, dragons, unicorns, fairies, and leprechauns. It is difficult for someone who wishes to be held in high regard by those esteemed to be wise in this world to throw his/her support behind the Biblical accounts of a race of giants living concurrently with mankind. Yet, this is the reality the Scriptures present. I am unashamed to say I believe the Biblical narrative. The Bible, in fact, has quite a lot to say about a race of giants dwelling among men.
I intentionally use the expression “race of giants,” rather than treating giants as individual aberrations, for the Bible refers to them in this manner. There are a number of names given to the race of giants in the Bible. The variety of names are primarily the result of people of diverse languages having different words by which they referred to the giants. Some of the names are descriptive of characteristics of the giants, and others are related to ancestry. The Bible uses the names Nephilim, Anakim, Rephaim, Zamzummin, and Emim to refer to the race of giants. The term “Amorite” may also be a reference to giants. There were Amorites mentioned in the Bible who were not giants, but in certain Scriptures the word “Amorite” is clearly linked to giants. The name “Horites” may also be a reference to giants.
(The Emim lived there formerly, a people as great, numerous, and tall as the Anakim. Like the Anakim, they are also regarded as Rephaim (Giants), but the Moabites call them Emim. The Horites formerly lived in Seir, but the sons of Esau dispossessed them and destroyed them from before them and settled in their place, just as Israel did to the land of their possession which Yahweh gave to them.)
The passage above from the book of Deuteronomy does not tell us specifically whether the Horites were giants. The inclusion of their mention along with the Emim, Anakim, and Rephaim, all of whom were giants, does present the possibility, however. Interestingly, the name Horite means “cave-dweller or troglodyte.”
Choriy (kho-ree’); from OT:2356; cave-dweller or troglodyte
[Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible]
Perhaps there is some historic basis behind the mythology of giants living in caves, or giant trolls living in caves. A cave-troll, after all, is a tall, massive, and powerful human like being that is violent and wicked. Returning to the matter of there being a “race” of giants, this is borne out by the following Scriptures.
(That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims; A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; but Yahweh destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead…)
This verse indicates that the entire land in reference was populated by a race of giants. It was not a case of a few giants scattered among the people. The entire group of people were described as “great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims.” Yahweh, however, waged a war against these giants. The descendants of Abraham were instrumental in this warfare. Esau, the son of Isaac, and grandson of Abraham, slaughtered the Horites and occupied their territory. Jacob, the twin of Esau, also waged war against the giants (Genesis 48:21-22), as did his descendants when Joshua led them back to Canaan to conquer the land and its inhabitants. Before the Israelites even crossed the Jordan River to occupy the land between the river and the Great Sea (the Mediterranean), they fought against the Ammonites who were under the rule of Og, King of Bashan.
(For only Og king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the giants (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 Hebrew word “rephaim” is translated into English as “giants.” This word occurs 25 times in the Old Testament. At times it is understood to be the name of a people, while other times to be a reference to giants.
And the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, being the kingdom of Og, gave I unto the half tribe of Manasseh; all the region of Argob, with all Bashan, which was called the land of giants.
The translation of “rephaim” as “giants” is certainly appropriate. We are told that Og, King of Bashan, had a bed that was nine cubits in length, and four cubits wide. This equated to 13 feet by 6 feet. This bed size suggests that Og may have been between 11-12 feet tall. This bed size is calculated using the “ordinary” or “common” cubit, which equates to 18 English inches.
The land of Bashan was referred to as “the land of the giants (rephaim),” though by the time Joshua led the Israelites in to take possession of the land, only Og remained of what were formerly a great and numerous people.
All the kingdom of Og in Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth and Edrei, who remained of the remnant of the giants; for Moses had defeated and cast out these.
There were still a large number of giants across the Jordan in the land of Canaan whom the people of Israel would have to conquer. It was the presence of giants in the land that had so terrified the hearts of ten of the twelve spies that Moses sent into look over the land forty years earlier.
Numbers 13:27-29, 31-33
“We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan… We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
The term “Anakim” is a patronym denoting that the ancestor of this family of giants was Anak. The Anakim were a giant race of people, a sub-group of a broader race of giants known as “Nephilim.” The word “Nephilim” translates into English as “fallen ones.” (More on that later.) The Anakim were extraordinarily large people, giving rise to the comparison of the Israelites as grasshoppers. This was exaggeration, of course, for a grasshopper is no higher than a man’s foot. It was accurate, however, to describe the people of Canaan as bigger and taller than the Israelites, especially those who were of the family of the Anakim who were true giants.
Our brethren have made our hearts melt, saying, “The people are bigger and taller than we; the cities are large and fortified to heaven. And besides, we saw the sons of the Anakim there.”
The generation of Israelites who were afraid to face the giants died over the course of the next forty years as they wandered in the wilderness. When this unbelieving generation had passed away, Joshua led the next generation to take possession of the land of Canaan. Joshua did not deceive the people. He fully declared to them that there would be giants they would meet in battle. However, Joshua assured the people that Yahweh would fight for Israel, and the giants would be defeated.
“Hear, O Israel! You are crossing over the Jordan today to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, great cities fortified to heaven, a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the sons of Anak?’ Know therefore today that it is Yahweh your God who is crossing over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you, so that you may drive them out and destroy them quickly, just as Yahweh has spoken to you.”
We can be assured that the giants in the land of Canaan were much more than a marginally taller and stronger race of people. They were extraordinarily larger, taller, and stronger that the Israelites. There had to be such a mismatch in physical attributes that the glory for victory in battle necessarily went to Yahweh, rather than to Israel. The mismatch had to be so substantial that it would require faith in Yahweh’s divine intervention for Israel to triumph. Yahweh intended this as a test of His chosen people’s faith. If there was any chance of Israel triumphing through their own natural abilities, the people would not have looked to God to fight for them. They would have leaned upon the arm of the flesh, and when victory came they would have been puffed up in pride. No! This had to be a real test. Israel was facing much more than a marginally stronger and taller people. They were facing giants.
The victory of Israel was not obtained by their physical strength, or their cunning. Their victory was their faith. They believed that Yahweh would do what He said when He promised to fight for them. Yahweh had told Joshua that no enemy in the land would be able to stand against them. As Joshua and the Israelites reckoned on the promises of God, rather than on what their eyes beheld, they were made mighty in faith and found approval by God. The former generation were disapproved and rejected by Yahweh because they would not stand upon His word. They put sight before faith in Yahweh’s promises.
And Yahweh said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst?”
Because they did not believe in God, and did not trust in His salvation. Yet He commanded the clouds above, and opened the doors of heaven; And He rained down manna upon them to eat, and gave them food from heaven. Man did eat the bread of angels; He sent them food in abundance. He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens; And by His power He directed the south wind. When He rained meat upon them like the dust, even winged fowl like the sand of the seas, then He let them fall in the midst of their camp, round about their dwellings. So they ate and were well filled; And their desire He gave to them. Before they had satisfied their desire, while their food was in their mouths, the anger of God rose against them, and killed some of their stoutest ones, and subdued the choice men of Israel. In spite of all this they still sinned, and did not believe in His wonderful works. So He brought their days to an end in futility, and their years in sudden terror.
We must not think it was a small test that caused the people to stumble in unbelief. There truly were giants in the land the Israelites were commanded to go in and possess. These were a people of great height and power. They were terrible to behold. Only an overwhelming faith in Yahweh could induce the men of Israel to face such foes with any hope of victory. They had to believe Yahweh would remove the strength of their adversaries while giving skill, stamina, and strength to His own people. This is precisely what Yahweh did.
“Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, though his height was like the height of cedars and he was strong as the oaks; I even destroyed his fruit above and his root below.”
“And Yahweh drove out from before us all the peoples, even the Amorites who lived in the land.”
Just how tall and powerful were these giants that Israel faced? Other than Og, King of Bashan, there is no description given of their size and might until the days of David during the reign of King Saul. We are told that among the Philistines there was a family of giants, the most famous of whom was Goliath.
I Samuel 17:4-7
Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was clothed with scale-armor which weighed five thousand shekels of bronze. He also had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam. The head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron; his shield-carrier also walked before him.
Rendering these weights and measures into their English equivalents, we are informed that Goliath was 9 feet 6 inches tall. His armor weighed 125 lbs. and the head of his spear weighed 15 lbs.. It is little wonder that King Saul and all of his army were daunted by this giant. They were looking through physical eyes and recognized that they were overmatched. Only David, looking through eyes of faith, saw that the Philistine giant could be conquered, for Goliath’s strength was no match for that of Yahweh.
It is difficult to imagine how large Goliath actually was. It is inappropriate to describe Goliath as a large man. He was truly a giant. In modern times there have been some instances of men who grew to impressive stature. This is usually due to a physical defect such as the case of Robert Wadlow of Indiana in America. Robert Wadlow was born in 1918 and died in 1940 at the age of 22. He holds the record for being the tallest documented human in modern history. Robert had a tumor on his pituitary gland that caused his body to secrete excessive amounts of human growth hormone. By the time Robert graduated from high school he was 8 feet 4 inches tall. At his death he had obtained a height of 8 feet 11 inches.
The following photograph shows Robert standing next to a man who is 5 feet 11 inches tall, the height of an average American male.
Imagine now that Goliath was 7 inches taller than Robert Wadlow, and unlike most men who experience some form of gigantism today, Goliath was not crippled in any way, but was as strong and capable as he was tall. Less famous, but equally formidable, were giants by the name of Ishbi-benob Saph, and Lahmi the brother of Goliath. These giants were slain by David’s mighty men, along with other impressive giants.
II Samuel 21:15-22
Now when the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David went down and his servants with him; and as they fought against the Philistines, David became weary. Then Ishbi-benob, who was among the descendants of the giant, the weight of whose spear was three hundred shekels of bronze in weight, was girded with a new sword, and he intended to kill David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah helped him, and struck the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, “You shall not go out again with us to battle, that you may not extinguish the lamp of Israel.” Now it came about after this that there was war again with the Philistines at Gob; then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Saph, who was among the descendants of the giant. And there was war with the Philistines again at Gob, and Elhanan the son of Jaare the Bethlehemite killed [the brother of] Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. And there was war at Gath again, where there was a man of great stature who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he also had been born to the giant. And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David’s brother, struck him down. These four were born to the giant in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.
I Chronicles 20:4-8
Now it came about after this, that war broke out at Gezer with the Philistines; then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Sippai, one of the descendants of the giants, and they were subdued. And there was war with the Philistines again, and Elhanan the son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. And again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature who had twenty-four fingers and toes, six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot; and he also was descended from the giants. And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, killed him. These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.
I Chronicles 11:22-23
Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, mighty in deeds, struck down the two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion inside a pit on a snowy day. And he killed an Egyptian, a man of great stature five cubits tall. Now in the Egyptian’s hand was a spear like a weaver’s beam, but he went down to him with a club and snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand, and killed him with his own spear.
Nowhere else in the Bible do we read of a group of men who had more success in slaying giants than in the accounts of David and his mighty men. David led by example, being a man of great faith in Yahweh, and his men were greatly emboldened by David’s victories. Immediately after the account of the victory of David’s men over the giants in the book of II Samuel, there is recorded a magnificent psalm of David. In it he rightly ascribes the victory to Yahweh.
II Samuel 22:30-40
For by You I can run against a troop; By my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; The word of Yahweh is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except Yahweh? And who is a rock, except our God? God is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places. He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your gentleness has made me great. You enlarged my path under me; So my feet did not slip. I have pursued my enemies and destroyed them; Neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed. And I have destroyed them and wounded them, so that they could not rise; They have fallen under my feet. For You have armed me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those who rose against me.
David’s victory was not in his own strength or prowess as a warrior. His victory was in his faith in God. By faith David slew the giant Goliath.
I Samuel 17:45-47
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of Yahweh of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day Yahweh will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that Yahweh does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is Yahweh’s and He will give you into our hands.”
David with the Head of Goliath
One fact observed from the testimony of Scripture is that no giant is ever described as righteous. The giants are always the adversaries of God’s people. Yahweh Himself declared a war of annihilation against them. Why was this so? The answer lies in understanding the unique ancestry of the giants. The race of giants were the spawn of fallen angels who engaged in sexual intercourse with women. I realize the paternity of the giants is greatly debated among Christians. Many deny that angels are even capable of cohabiting with women and producing offspring. Consequently, I will be patient and thorough in setting forth the Biblical evidence supporting this view.
We read earlier that the Anakim, who were giants, were a subset of the giant race known as Nephilim. Let us revisit that verse.
“There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
The Bible does not leave us guessing as to the identity and origin of the Nephilim. As I stated previously, the name Nephilim means “fallen ones.” Nephilim is derived from the Hebrew word “naphal” which Strong’s Concordance defines in the following manner.
naphal (naw-fal’); a primitive root; to fall, in a great variety of applications
Following are some Scripture verses that include the Hebrew word naphal.
And Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall (naphal) upon Adam and he slept…
And the valley of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell (naphal) there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.
And Abram fell (naphal) on his face: and God talked with him…
“And if a man opens a pit, or digs a pit and does not cover it over, and an ox or a donkey falls (naphal) into it, the owner of the pit shall make restitution…”
I believe it is important to establish well the meaning of the word “Nephilim” as “fallen ones,” for it has a great bearing upon the identity of these beings. You can see from the examples cited above, and from many more Scriptures, that this word conveys the sense of falling, or declining downward. The action of climbing down off of a camel was described by the use of this word “naphal.”
Rebekah Dismounts a Camel
And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted (naphal) from the camel.
This word “naphal” is also used to describe the act of Yahweh casting down those who are workers of iniquity. Such a description is befitting the angels who sinned and were cast out of heaven.
There are the workers of iniquity fallen (naphal): they are cast down, and shall not be able to rise.
Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall (naphal) by their own counsels; Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against You.
Truly, the angels who fell are workers of iniquity. They are rebels against God. Therefore, they have been thrust out of heaven by violence. They have fallen to the earth. Speaking prophetically of the fall of Satan, the prophet Isaiah wrote:
How you have fallen (naphal) from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit.
Satan has fallen (naphal) from heaven. He is therefore a Nephilim, a fallen one. Although Satan is a Nephilim, a fallen one, we have no Biblical account of his having engaged in sexual activity with the daughters of men. It is very doubtful that he has done so, for the Scriptures declare that those angels who transgressed in this manner have been judged before the normal time of judgment and sealed away in chains (Jude 6). Not all Nephilim (fallen ones) have transgressed by engaging in fornication with women. There were many angels who joined Satan in his rebellion against Yahweh. These ones were cast from the heavenly realms where the throne of Yahweh resides. Like Satan, they too experienced a fall (naphal) from heaven. They are Nephilim, fallen ones.
And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
In a previous chapter I noted that Satan has been cast down in the past. This was at his original rebellion. At that time the earth was destroyed, made formless and void, and sealed in darkness. After a long season of unknown duration Yahweh began the work of re-creating the earth. This is described in Genesis 1:2, continuing to the end of the chapter. Satan was released at this time, along with those angels who fell with him. Thus we observe him in the garden in the form of a serpent deceiving Eve. This act reveals that the “Nephilim” were “on the earth” from the early days of man, for Satan is the chief of the Nephilim, or fallen ones. Satan and his angels will be cast down and judged two more times before their rebellion is thoroughly broken, three being a divine number of completion and fulness.
Satan and His Angels Cast Down
There is no Biblical reason to expect that Satan was the only fallen one among the angels to walk upon the earth and interact with humanity. Satan is the archetype. We can surmise that those angels who fell with him have followed his own pattern of wickedness. Is it not interesting to note that Satan approached the woman, Eve, and deceived her into engaging in forbidden behavior? It is no contradiction to suggest that the angels who fell with Satan have followed this same pattern of approaching women and enticing them to participate in behavior that is a transgression of the will of Yahweh. Indeed, the Bible tells us that this is what has occurred.
Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Then Yahweh said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” The Nephilim (fallen ones) 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.
Much of the debate as to the identity of the Nephilim has revolved around the phrase “the sons of God.” In the Hebrew, the expression is written as “bene ha Elohim.” To whom does this expression refer? This expression is found three times in the book of Job, which along with Genesis is considered to be among the oldest of the books of the Bible. We would expect that due to the close proximity in the time of their authorship, these books would find much correspondence in the usage and meaning of the Hebrew expressions found in them. In the book of Job the Hebrew phrase “bene ha Elohim” is used as a reference to the angels, including those who have fallen.
In an earlier chapter I wrote about the meaning of the expression “only begotten Son of God,” which is used as a reference to Yahshua the Messiah. “Only begotten” is in the Greek “monogenes.” That is to say, Christ is the only direct generation of the Father. Yahshua is the only being directly created by the Father. All other things were created through the agency of the Son. Yahshua created man, and He created the angels.
He [Yahshua] is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created by Him and for Him.
The words “thrones,” “dominions,” “rulers,” and “authorities” identify angelic beings. Paul, in another of his epistles identifies the fallen angels as being included in this group of powerful, ruling beings.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
The apostle Paul is describing here the fallen ones. These “spiritual hosts of wickedness” are the Nephilim. They are the adversary of the righteous. They were not created evil, but they turned to evil after they were created. In their original condition, they were all the holy sons of God (bene ha Elohim). Satan in his original condition was also a holy one.
You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you.
The Biblical definition of a son is “the male offspring, or generation, of another.” Yahweh directly generated Yahshua. In this relationship, Yahweh is Father and Yahshua is Son. Similarly, Adam was created by a direct act of Yahshua. Because of this, Adam is described as a “son of God.” An interesting thing is observed in the Gospel of Luke as the genealogy of Yahshua is given. Yahshua’s lineage is traced back through Joseph, whom people supposed to be His father. Each man named in the list is declared to be the son of another man. This pattern continues all the way to Adam where we are met with the only exception to this pattern. Because Adam was not descended from any other man, but was created by Elohim, he is described as “the son of God.”
And when He began His ministry, Yahshua Himself was about thirty years of age, being supposedly the son of Joseph, the son of Eli… the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
The angels, like Adam, are the creation of God. None of the angels came into being through the act of sexual reproduction. The reason for this is made plain as we compare the angels to Adam. Adam was created male. By himself, Adam was incapable of procreation. The Bible informs us of this in the second chapter of Genesis.
Then Yahweh God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” And out of the ground Yahweh God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place. And Yahweh God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. And the man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
Creation of Eve by Gustave Dore
If Yahweh had not fashioned for the man a helper, a sexual counterpart to his masculine nature, Adam, like the angels, would have been incapable of reproduction. Had Yahweh not formed woman for man, it might be said of Adam, as it is of the angels, that he does not marry. It would be error to derive from such a statement that Adam was without gender identity. He was created male. So too, we cannot conclude that angels lack sexual identity because the angels in heaven do not marry. Yahweh did not create for the angels a sexual counterpart. The holy angels abide contentedly in the condition Yahweh has appointed to them. The fallen ones, however, have given themselves to wickedness. They disregard the will of God, choosing to pursue their own will and desires. Some of the Nephilim have greatly transgressed the will of Yahweh by going after “strange flesh,” and committing acts of fornication.
And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in age-enduring bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day. 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 age-enduring fire.
Yahweh considers the actions of these fallen angels to be “gross immorality.” The actions of the Nephilim who took wives for themselves from among the daughters of men, is compared to the abominations committed by the men of Sodom and Gomorrah. These men abandoned the natural order established by Yahweh. They forsook the function, role, or utility of the woman as a sexual partner, and burned in their lust for one another (Romans 1:27). Jude conveys to us that some of the fallen angels followed a similar course by rejecting the natural order of Yahweh. They lusted in their hearts after the daughters of men, and engaged in sexual relations with them which was a transgression of the will of their Creator.
In four verses in the sixth chapter of Genesis, a wealth of information is conveyed to us. The motive of the angels is given. Some very popular writings exist today that suggest that the angels were motivated by a desire to corrupt the genetic purity of mankind. It is proposed that by mixing the seed of angels with the DNA of man that the promised Seed of the woman, Yahshua the Messiah, would be prevented from coming forth. This idea was set forth by E.W. Bullinger in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It has been greatly popularized by the writings of Tom Horn and others. Nevertheless, the Bible does not reveal this to be the angels’ motive. Let us review again what is written in Genesis.
Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.
Here the matter is stated very plainly. The bene ha Elohim, the sons of God (aka the fallen angels) SAW that the daughters of men were beautiful. Here we observe a plain statement of cause and effect. The sons of God saw the daughters of men were beautiful, consequently, because they had no regard for the will of God and sought only to fulfill their own will, they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.
Some deny that the angels are capable of lust, or other human failings. This is not true. The eyes have always been a portal through which evil enters. This is a fact that is as true for angels as it is for men. Yahshua stated:
“The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
The eye is capable of admitting both darkness and light. We must therefore be careful what we set our attention on. If we dwell too long on something while entertaining evil thoughts toward the object of our attention, we give sin room to take root and grow. Ultimately, if our eye remains evil, it will give rise to the fruit of disobedience and rebellion.
I John 2:16
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
The Scriptures reveal that Satan’s initial sin began with the eyes. He was beguiled with his own beauty and magnificence. As his eye remained upon his own glorious image, pride and conceit found place in his heart, ultimately leading to willful rebellion.
“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.”
The apostle Paul admonished Timothy not to appoint a new convert to a position of leadership among the body of Christ “lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil” (I Timothy 3:6). Satan became conceited by setting his eyes upon his own beauty. Is there not a perfect synchronicity between Satan’s fall and the angels who were enticed by the beauty of women? Both entered into sin by setting their eyes upon that which was beautiful while giving place to selfish thoughts.
It is no sin to look at a woman and acknowledge that she is beautiful anymore than it would have been a sin for Satan to recognize that Yahweh had created him to be a beautiful being. The sin was in setting one’s attention on that which was beautiful, allowing the imagination to suggest selfish actions that were contrary to the will of God. Rather than taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, Satan gave his mind over to entertain conceited and prideful thoughts regarding his own magnificence. Similarly, the fallen angels who beheld the beauty of women did not arrest their desires. They continued to gaze with desire at the women until lust had enticed them, conceived, and gave birth to sin. They went after flesh that Yahweh had not created for the angels. Woman was created for man. It was a gross violation of the order of Yahweh’s creation for angels to take wives to themselves from the daughters of men.
I believe we need look no further than what is declared in Genesis 6:2 to understand the motive for these angels’ transgression. We need not imagine that they were attempting to corrupt the genetics of humanity so the promised Deliverer could not come forth. The angels were tempted by lust as they observed the beauty of women. Compare the following two verses side by side.
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate…
The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.
The woman saw the forbidden fruit was attractive, and she ate. The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they took wives. Cause and effect. Temptation and sin. This is the simplicity of the narrative. We need not complicate it.
The Bible does not tell us why Yahweh chose for men to have a sexual counterpart, but He did not provide the angels with the same. Angels exist in vast numbers. Each one was brought into being by a creative act of Yahshua. In contrast, God created only two men.
I Corinthians 15:45-49
“The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”
Paul refers to Adam as “the first man” and Yahshua as “the second man.” Both of these sons of God are able to have myriads of other sons through the act of reproduction. The first man “is from the earth, earthy,” therefore the reproduction of this first man is carnal, or physical. The second man “is from heaven,” and His sons are born through means of spiritual reproduction.
Yahshua answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
We cannot observe the spiritual union that leads to the reproduction of the Spirit of Christ within us, but we can tell it has occurred as we look at the results. Even as the wind is invisible, yet it produces an effect upon all it touches, so too does the Spirit of Christ animate and bring new life to all whom He moves upon.
The angels have a different calling than the first and second man. Their number was established when they were created.
And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands…
At this time, I will endeavor to dispel some common misconceptions regarding angels. These false ideas about the nature of angels result from a lack of carefulness in studying the Scriptures. The first misconception is that angels are sexless, and therefore incapable of reproduction. This doctrine is largely the result of a misinterpretation of the following words of Christ.
For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
Some, in reading these words of Yahshua, mistakenly conclude that angels are asexual (without sex). This is NOT what Yahshua said. Yahshua said nothing about the angels’ gender. He spoke only of the act of marriage. Angels in heaven do not marry. Why is this so? One obvious reason is that all angels are masculine. Despite popular depictions of angels as female, there is not a single description of an female angel in the Bible. They always appear as masculine. The language used to describe them is also masculine. One well known example is the following.
Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. And he said, “Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant’s house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” They said however, “No, but we shall spend the night in the square.” Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.”
The homosexual men of Sodom perceived the angels to be attractive men. They desired to have sexual relations with them. The angels did not appear genderless, nor did they appear female. They were obviously perceived as masculine.
An objection may be raised to refute the identity of the “sons of God” as angels based upon Christ’s statement that the angels in heaven do not marry. A person might say this invalidates any possibility that it is angels being referred to in Genesis 6, for we are told “the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.” How can we reconcile Christ’s statement that the angels in heaven do not marry, and the statement in Genesis 6 that the sons of God took wives for themselves?
We must not overlook the fact that Christ added a very important qualification to His description of the angels. Yahshua did NOT say “angels” do not marry, or take wives for themselves. He specifically referenced “the angels in heaven.” This is a critical distinction, for the angels in heaven are holy angels. They live to do the will of Yahweh. They have not transgressed by going after strange flesh, and cohabiting with the daughters of men. The distinctiveness of the will of God being done by the holy angels in heaven is expressed in the very well known Scripture passage referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer.
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
In these words, Yahshua informs His disciples that the will of God is done in heaven. This is why Satan and the angels who rebelled could not remain there. Willful disobedience cannot abide in the presence of God.
Every word uttered by the Son of God was a manifestation of the will and wisdom of Yahweh. We would err if we concluded that the words “in heaven” appended to the mention of the angels is in any way superfluous. Yahshua was speaking of a very specific group of angels when He made reference to them neither marrying, nor giving in marriage. He did NOT have in mind the fallen angels. They are called fallen angels because they have been cast out of heaven. If Christ had meant to state that no angels married, or took wives to themselves, He would not have added the limiting words “in heaven” after naming the angels.
Let us move on to another common misunderstanding of the Scriptures that leads some to reject the mention in Genesis of “sons of God” as a reference to angels. This objection is based upon the following verses of Scripture.
When [Yahshua] had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You”?
Some point to this passage from Hebrews and say, “See, it says right here that God never calls the angels His sons.” Brothers and sisters, we must do better in applying ourselves to an understanding of the Scriptures. The apostle Paul has elsewhere admonished us to “rightly divide the word of God.” Many people are wrongly dividing God’s word. They are wresting thoughts and doctrines from the Scriptures that Yahweh never intended.
Even as we can easily arrive at a wrong understanding of Christ’s words in Matthew 22:30 if we ignore the words “in heaven,” so too might a person derive a wrong interpretation of Paul’s words above if they truncate the quotation. Paul is citing a specific Scripture (Psalms 2:7). Note that the words “You are My Son, today, I have begotten You” are in quotes. Paul’s point is that this Scripture quotation was spoken to Yahshua, and not to any other being. Only Yahshua was directly “begotten” of the Father. All other creatures were created by and for the Son. Paul is NOT denying that angels are called “sons of God.” He is saying that Christ has a higher, preeminent position than the angels due to His being the only begotten Son of the Father. Only to Yahshua did the Father say, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You.”
Let us look now to the testimony in the book of Job.
Now there was a day when the sons of God (bene ha Elohim) came to present themselves before Yahweh, and Satan also came among them. And Yahweh said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered Yahweh and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”
Do you perceive a harmony here with what is recorded in Genesis 6? Satan is chief of the Nephilim, the fallen ones. On a certain day the angelic hosts come before Yahweh to present themselves, and Satan is with them. Satan’s presence among the “bene ha Elohim” is not an aberration, for he too is one of them. What could be more natural than to state that the sons of God appeared before Yahweh on a certain day and Satan was with them?
Satan responds to Yahweh’s question by announcing that he has been “roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” This was obviously Satan’s habit in those days, for the very same words are repeated in the following chapter of Job when Satan appears once more before Yahweh. It may seem odd to us today to think of Satan and his angels walking about openly on the earth, even being seen of men and interacting with them, but this is what the Bible declares to have occurred.
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.
There is a perfect harmony between the testimony of Genesis chapter six and the book of Job. Both reveal that the fallen angels walked upon the earth in the days before and after the flood of Noah. Much could be written about the corroborating testimony of other peoples and nations regarding this matter. In the mythology and religions of many cultures there are stories of the gods coming down from the heavens, espying some beautiful woman, and taking her for a wife. In these stories, the offspring from these unions are mighty men, and famous, matching perfectly the testimony of Genesis. Those whom the Greeks, Romans, and other cultures called “gods” were actually fallen angels. They were Nephilim. When they took wives from among the daughters of men, their offspring were “mighty men of old, men of renown.”
Perseus, the first of the Greek heroes is an example of such a tale. He was reputed to be the son of Zeus and the maiden Danae. His exploits are legendary. He fits the description of a mighty man of old, and a man of great renown.
We read previously from Numbers the thirteenth chapter that the sons of Anak (the Anakim) were a part of the Nephilim. The Anakim were a race of giants. How could this race of giants be part of the Nephilim if the word Nephilim refers only to the fallen angels? The answer leads us to the discovery that both the fallen angels and their progeny were referred to as Nephilim. This was a very common occurrence in the Scriptures. Many nations of people were identified by their forebears. The most common example of this is observed in the name “Israelites.” The Israelites are the offspring of Israel, the son of Isaac, and grandson of Abraham.
The Canaanites were (at least partially) descended from Canaan, the son of Ham, and grandson of Noah. The Ishmaelites were descendants of Ishmael. Dozens of such examples could be cited from the Bible. Very frequently we see these nations described solely by reference to the name of the father. Thus, instead of Israelites, the nation may be referred to as Israel. Instead of Moabites, we read of Moab. In place of Edomites, the Bible speaks of Edom.
Thus Edom refused to allow Israel to pass through his territory; so Israel turned away from him.
The verse above reads like a conflict between two men named Edom and Israel. The truth, however, is that both Edom (Esau) and Israel had been dead for centuries. What is described is a conflict between latter generations of their offspring. So too we find that the word Nephilim is used to speak of the fallen angels and their offspring.
It is little wonder that Yahweh declared war on the race of giants descended from the fallen angels. They were conceived in an act of rebellion. The disobedience of the fallen angels required judgment. The unlawful seed they raised up had to be expunged from the earth. This was accomplished the first time at the flood of Noah. All who survived the flood were eight members of Noah’s family. After the flood the fallen ones continued their transgression, and more giants were born to women. In the Bible we read of the great majority of these giants dwelling in the land of Canaan. Yahweh’s chosen people Israel were given the task of wiping out this race of giants, removing them from the face of the earth. Thus Yahweh judged them a second time. Yahweh also judged the angels who transgressed His will by choosing wives from among the daughters of men.
II Peter 2:4-10
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… then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.
Do these words not describe perfectly the actions of the Nephilim? They indulged the flesh and despised the authority of God. Consequently, God has delivered them into chains and pits of darkness, awaiting the day of judgment.
I would like to address what is perhaps the most common alternative interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4. This interpretation suggests that the expression “sons of God” is a reference to the descendants of Seth, the son of Adam, while the expression “daughters of men” is a reference to the female descendants of Cain. The argument suggests that it was a violation of the will of God for these two lines to intermarry, for the Cain line was wicked, while the Seth line was righteous. However, there is no indication anywhere in the Bible that Yahweh had forbid the descendants of these two brothers to intermarry.
It is not too difficult to pick apart this interpretation of the Genesis account. One of the foundational errors upon which this view is predicated is the assumption that among the descendants of Adam there were two distinct lines that did not intermarry. I understand how such a view arose. The Bible names only three sons of Adam: Cain, Abel, and Seth. Cain murdered Abel, leaving only two descendants of Adam whose names are recorded for us in the Bible. Furthermore, the book of Genesis provides a partial genealogy of these two men. The Cain line is remarkable for its emphasis on earthly technology and arts. It also includes another murderer, this being Lamech, who is the fifth generation in descent from Cain.
By contrast, there are a number of godly men mentioned in the lineage of Seth. Among them are Enoch who walked with God and then was translated, not seeing death, and Noah who was declared righteous in his generation. The Bible, however, does not tell us that all of Cain’s descendants were evil, or that all of Seth’s were righteous. In fact, both lines had produced thousands of descendants by the time of Noah’s flood, Noah being the tenth generation of mankind with Adam being the first. Of all the multitude of descendants of Seth only one man was declared righteous in the generation of Noah. This leads to the obvious conclusion that the Sethite line was not as righteous as some would suggest.
A further chink in the argument is uncovered when it is recognized that Adam actually had many more sons than the three named, along with many daughters. All of Adam’s descendants were likely to intermarry with one another for the pool of available suitors started off small.
Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters.
Imagine how many sons Adam could have had in 800 years. The strength and vitality of man (and woman) was far greater in those days before the flood. It is not unreasonable to suggest that Adam had as many as 100 sons, possibly more. To do so Eve would only have had to be pregnant 75 years out of 800. Gideon lived a far shorter life and he had 70 sons (Judges 8:30).
The fact that Adam had other sons than Seth and Cain destroys the two lineage argument. In fact, the fallacy of the Sethite and Cainite argument is revealed when one asks “Where did Seth and Cain get their wives?” The only possible answer is that they married their sisters, who were all descended from Adam and Eve.
Those who make the argument for “the sons of God” being a reference to the lineage of Seth, face another obstacle when it comes to identifying the expression “daughters of men.” In the Hebrew the actual expression is “benot ha adam.” The word “Adam” is both the name of mankind’s first patriarch and the Hebrew word for “man.” It is quite difficult to wrest from the text any rationale that would justify rendering “daughters of Adam” as “daughters of Cain.” The argument is based strictly on the assumption that the descendants of Cain were all wicked and that the name “Adam” somehow described this wickedness, while the line of Seth was righteous, earning them the highly favorable expression of “sons of God.” This is all conjecture, however.
If we are to look to the Scriptures for evidence, there is a far better argument to be made for Seth’s line to be referred to as descendants of Adam than for the Cainite line. In the genealogy recorded in Luke we looked at previously, we find the phrase, “Seth, the son of Adam.” Furthermore, after Seth was born to Adam and Eve, the Scriptures provide the following statement.
When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth.
Since the Bible describes Seth as the image and likeness of Adam, it seems difficult to argue that Cain’s descendants should be called after the name of Adam, while the Sethite line should not. The plain and obvious meaning of the expression “benot ha Adam” is the daughters of Adam, or the daughters of men. There is no contextual justification to suggest that “benot ha Adam” refers only to the daughters of Cain. This entire argument is necessitated only because some Christians have rejected the more defensible interpretation that the fallen angels, referred to as “bene ha Elohim,” had sexual relations with women resulting in men of renown and great stature being born.
A further argument against the Seth/Cain view is that it would have been very easy for the author of Genesis to write that the sons of Seth saw that the daughters of Cain were beautiful, and began to take wives from them. Yet, neither Seth, nor Cain, receive any mention.
An additional, and equally problematic difficulty is describing why the sons of the Sethite line marrying the daughters of the Cainite line should have produced men of renown, much less have resulted in a race of giants. I have read some attempts to defend this view, and they are particularly weak on this point. One author suggested that the offspring of these inter-family marriages would have enjoyed a political advantage, being accepted by both lines. Consequently they would have risen to prominence. I do not find much merit in such an argument, and find it hard to imagine why such slight political advantages, if they did exist, should merit mention in the Scripture. In contrast, if the fallen angels took wives to themselves from the descendants of Adam, and through them sired men of immense stature and strength, this would certainly be worthy of mention.
A final difficulty I will mention that arises from the Seth/Cain view is that if we deny the transgression of the fallen angels described in Genesis chapter 6, we are left without any explanation for the passages in Jude and II Peter that describe the angels transgressing. I have read some attempts at explanation by those who hold to the Seth/Cain interpretation, but they were wholly dissatisfying as they deny there was any sexual transgression by the fallen angels warranting comparison with the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah, despite the linking of these events in these Scripture passages.
One of the popular advocates of the Seth/Cain view of Genesis 6 is J. Sidlow Baxter, a Baptist minister from England who wrote at some length on this subject. Mr. Baxter produced a book in the 1970s titled Studies in Problem Texts. In this book he devoted 40 pages to discussing Genesis 6:1-4. He wrote additional pages on this subject in his magnum opus Explore the Book, which ran to a length of 1,760 pages. I have found that many who espouse the Sethith/Cainite interpretation cite Mr. Baxter’s writings. A brother in Christ generously scanned and forwarded to me Mr. Baxter’s treatise on this subject from the book Studies in Problem Texts. Although I found the arguments set for by J. Sidlow Baxter to be faulty, and easily refuted, I deemed it a profitable experience to review his arguments. This exercise pointed out to me the various objections individuals have to the Biblical narrative of fallen angels cohabiting with women.
Toward the beginning of Mr. Baxter’s presentation of his arguments on this subject, he writes the following:
As for the suggestion that these evil angels somehow took human bodies to themselves and thus became capable of sex functions, it is sheer absurdity, as anyone can see. Both on psychological and physiological grounds it is unthinkable. We all know what an exquisitely delicate, intricate, intimate, sensitive inter-relation and inter-reaction there exists between the human body and the human mind or soul. This is because soul and body came into being together through the wonderful process of a human birth, and are mysteriously united in one human personality. Thus, and only thus, is it that the sensations of the body become experiences of the mind. This psycho-physical parallelism of the human personality is a mystery; but it is an absolute and universal reality.
Now if angels merely took bodies and miraculously indwelt them for the time being, their doing so could not have made them in the slightest degree able to experience the sensations of those bodies, even if those bodies themselves could have been capable of real sensations, which is greatly doubtful; for the angels and those temporarily occupied bodies, not having come into being together by a real human birth as one personality, there could not be any such inter-reaction as that which exists in the case of the human mind and body. Indeed, the bodies could not have been real bodies of flesh and blood at all, when we come to think of it; for without being inhabited by the human spirit, the human flesh-and-blood body dies. Bodies occupied by angels simply could not be normal human bodies of flesh and blood.
[Source: J. Sidlow Baxter, Studies in Problem Texts]
One thing the astute reader may notice in the argument above is that it is not based upon any Scriptural evidence. There is not a single Bible verse cited in support of the view that angels are incapable of “real sensations” including, but not limited to, sexual reproduction. Mr. Baxter states that the angels “could not have… in the slightest degree” been “able to experience the sensations of” the physical bodies they inhabited.
Such a claim must be considered a foundational precept of Mr. Baxter’s argument. All his other arguments arise out of this denial that angels can manifest in physical bodies that are capable of physical sensations and functioning. The primacy of this point in his argument demands some Biblical evidence to back it up. Yet, none is forthcoming. In fact. Mr. Baxter declares that no such Biblical support is necessary.
Let us be frank and explicit. The angels are bodiless, purely spiritual beings, and sexless. Being bodiless and sexless means that they are without sex organs, and that they are therefore absolutely incapable of sensuous experiences or sexual processes; nor are they capable of procreation or reproduction in any way whatever. There is no need to refer to this or that or the other text: the whole teaching of the Bible concerning the angels stands solidly behind that affirmation.
As a teacher called by Christ to instruct, reprove, correct, and edify His people, I am particularly troubled by the last sentence above. It is inappropriate for any Bible teacher to make confident assertions and dogmatic statements and follow them up by saying no specific texts are necessary to back them up. This leaves the reader with nothing more than the individual’s opinion to rest his belief upon. Opinion is an insufficient basis to establish any truth. The apostle Paul declared the following.
II Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness…
Mr. Baxter would have his readers to accept his statement “The angels are bodiless, purely spiritual beings, and sexless” without providing any Biblical evidence to support these claims. Alarm bells should go off whenever any Christian teacher starts making dogmatic claims while refusing to provide Biblical evidence to back them up. The Scriptures reveal that angels often manifest in human form. They have physical senses. They function as humans. They appear masculine, and are always referred to with masculine speech. They are absolutely NOT the “bodiless,” “sexless,” “purely spiritual” beings that Mr. Baxter declares them to be. I won’t ask you to take my word for this. I will provide you with Scriptures so you can test this matter yourself. Let us begin by revisiting the encounter between Abraham and his three heavenly visitors just prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Now Yahweh appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. And when he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the earth, and said, “My lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, please do not pass your servant by. Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree; and I will bring a piece of bread, that you may refresh yourselves; after that you may go on, since you have visited your servant.” And they said, “So do, as you have said.” So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour, knead it, and make bread cakes.” Abraham also ran to the herd, and took a tender and choice calf, and gave it to the servant; and he hurried to prepare it. And he took curds and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and placed it before them; and he was standing by them under the tree as they ate.
Abraham and His Heavenly Visitors
As this passage continues, it declares plainly that two of the visitors that Abraham met with that day were angels.
Genesis 18:22, 19:1
Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before Yahweh… Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom.
If angels manifesting in physical bodies are incapable of all physical sensation and function, it is remarkable that these angels could sit down and eat the cakes and meat that Abraham served to them. How could they even hold a plate of food if they had no sensory function? How could they see, touch, hear, smell, or taste? Yet, the Bible reveals repeatedly that the angels are exercising these physical senses as they interact with mankind. As Abraham was speaking with the angels, Sarah laughed inside her tent when the angels announced that Sarah would have a baby the following year. The angels asked “Why did Sarah laugh?” This is evidence of the exercise of sensory functions. They heard Sarah laugh.
When the two angels arrived in Sodom, Lot took them into his home. That evening the wicked men of Sodom surrounded Lot’s home and demanded that he send out the men (angels) who had entered there. The men of Sodom wanted to have sexual relations with them. When the men of Sodom pressed Lot, and were about to become violent, the angels reached out and drew Lot back into the house, closing the door behind him. They later took hold of Lot, his wife and two daughters by the hand and led them out of Sodom. How could they do these things if they did not experience physical sensation? How would they know they had hold of someone’s hand? How would they know they were not squeezing the hand too hard, or not hard enough?
When Elijah fled from the threats of Jezebel and lay down in the wilderness weary and despondent, the angel of Yahweh came to him, touched the prophet, and provided him with food to strengthen him for his journey.
I Kings 19:5-8
And he lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, “Arise, eat.” Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of Yahweh came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.”
We observe again that the angels are able to touch, hear, speak, and to interact with mankind while appearing in physical bodies. In Acts chapter 12 we read of an angel appearing to Peter in prison. The angel struck Peter on the side, awakening him and rousing him up. He then told Peter to follow him as he led Peter right out of the prison and past the guards on duty. In Mark chapter one we read of the angels ministering to Christ after He had not eaten for forty days and had been tempted of the devil in the wilderness. These encounters with angels reveal that they are capable of physical interaction with mankind. They can prepare food, serve it, offer words of comfort, and converse with mankind. In the book of Hebrews, we read a remarkable comment regarding the people of God interacting with angels.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.
What is included in the idea of entertaining angels? Certainly it would include sharing food with them, offering them a place to stay, possibly washing their feet. There may have been a handshake of greeting, or even the exchange of a holy kiss. There would certainly be occasions of conversation. A myriad of reputable examples of Christians encountering angels could be cited, including experiences of my own, but I will limit myself to Biblical examples.
Rather than portraying angels as bodiless, sexless, purely spiritual beings, the Bible reveals that the angels move about with equal ease among both the spiritual and physical realms. Why should this seem strange to any believer? The angels were created to abide with Yahweh in heaven, yet they were also created to serve as ministering spirits to mankind. It is error to judge angels by our own present constraints. Nor should we think that what mankind currently experiences will be his portion in the ages to come. Man at present is limited to experiencing life through a physical body. We cannot put off this body at will, or take on an ethereal body to enter into the heavens. Yet the day will come when the people of God will be able to do both.
A remarkable prophetic passage alludes to this ability of the overcoming sons of God in coming days. This passage is found in the book of Ezekiel. On one level, this word recorded by the prophet is forecasting an upcoming day when the righteous sons of God will, like the holy angels, experience what it is like to enter into the presence of Yahweh in glorified, holy bodies while also being able to put on other bodily forms that they might go out from the presence of God to mingle among the masses of humanity who have not yet been glorified.
“But the Levites who went far from Me, when Israel went astray, who went astray from Me after their idols, shall bear the punishment for their iniquity. Yet they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the house and ministering in the house; they shall slaughter the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them. Because they ministered to them before their idols and became a stumbling block of iniquity to the house of Israel, therefore I have sworn against them,” declares Yahweh God, “that they shall bear the punishment for their iniquity. And they shall not come near to Me to serve as a priest to Me, nor come near to any of My holy things, to the things that are most holy; but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed. Yet I will appoint them to keep charge of the house, of all its service, and of all that shall be done in it.”
“But the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the sons of Israel went astray from Me, shall come near to Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer Me the fat and the blood,” declares Yahweh God. “They shall enter My sanctuary; they shall come near to My table to minister to Me and keep My charge. And it shall be that when they enter at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and wool shall not be on them while they are ministering in the gates of the inner court and in the house. Linen turbans shall be on their heads, and linen undergarments shall be on their loins; they shall not gird themselves with anything which makes them sweat. And when they go out into the outer court, into the outer court to the people, they shall put off their garments in which they have been ministering and lay them in the holy chambers; then they shall put on other garments that they may not transmit holiness to the people with their garments.”
Just like the immense temple described by Ezekiel has never been built, so too has this prophetic word never known a physical fulfilment. Nor do I anticipate it being fulfilled in a strictly literal sense. The Levitical priesthood has been superseded by a better priesthood, that of Melchizedek. Similarly the sacrifices and offerings of bulls and goats, of fat and the blood, has been done away with. Christ is the perfect sacrifice that brings an end to all other sacrifices.
Nevertheless, there will be a fulfillment of that which Ezekiel described in this passage. Zadok was an actual person, a descendant of Aaron. He served as High Priest in the days of King David. The name Zadok means “righteous.” The name Melchizedek shares the same root as Zadok, meaning “king of righteousness.” I believe this prophetic passage is speaking of the experience of the righteous human sons of God who will be accounted worthy to serve as priests in the Melchizedek priesthood under the rule of Christ who is the true King of Righteousness. Because these sons of God turned away from the idols of the world that their brothers went after, they will be accounted worthy to enter into the very presence of Yahweh and to have access to His most holy things. When these sons enter Yahweh’s presence they will be arrayed in holy garments, glorified bodies, that are befitting those who stand in the presence of the Most High God.
These righteous sons will have occasion to go out from the presence of Yahweh to move about among the throngs of mankind. Has Christ not called His people to be a nation of kings and priests? When they go out among the people who have not yet been sanctified and glorified, these righteous sons must put on other array. They must lay aside their glorified bodies and appear in more humble array lest they transmit holiness to those who are unholy. I believe this to be the meaning of the prophecy above.
I perceive in this an experience similar to that of the holy angels today. When they go into the presence of Yahweh, they appear in their glorified, celestial bodies. Yet when they are sent out as ministering spirits into the presence of men, they clothe themselves with an appearance that is common, not displaying their heavenly glory. Is this not what the Bible reveals? Do we not often read of angels appearing to men in such ordinary form that they are mistaken for men? Yet, on other occasions, men are given visions of the angels in their holy array and glorified bodies. When the angels appear in this manner, men are stricken with paralyzing fear. All strength leaves their bodies, and they are so overwhelmed by the glory of the angels that they instinctively fall down before them to worship. This is true even of the most godly and righteous of men.
I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult. Now I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while the men who were with me did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide themselves. So I was left alone and saw this great vision; yet no strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength. But I heard the sound of his words; and as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.
And I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. And he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book; worship God.”
Brothers and sisters, there are many incredible things revealed in the word of God. Many have stumbled over them, being offended at the supernatural character of this creation. Some have been inculcated to respond with indignation to that which appears mystical, spiritual, or defies natural explanation. The subject matter set forth in Genesis 6:1-4 is of such a nature. Angels walking openly with humanity, even choosing wives from among the daughters of men, is an idea that offends the sensibilities of some people. Let us not be among those who are offended by the reality of the supernatural world around us. Yahweh is a supernatural God. His sons must be as comfortable in the supernatural realm as they are in the natural.
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