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WHO ARE THE "NEPHILIM"?

By Michael Scheifler

 

The increasingly popular interpretation of the following passage is that it relates a story of angels interbreeding with the human race, and that this was a primary reason for God destroying most of humanity with the great flood.

First of all, it should be pointed out that angels are not humans, they are quite different creations of God. Satan and the other angels are spirit beings, and simply cannot have physical offspring (children). They do not marry (Matt. 22:28, Mark 12:25), they are incapable of procreation, and so are genderless creatures.

Let's look at this passage in an attempt to shed some light:

Gen 6:1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
Gen 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
Gen 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
Gen 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
Gen 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Gen 6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
Gen 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
Gen 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
So now let's evaluate each verse, and what it is saying-
Gen 6:1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,

This verse is straightforward. The human population on earth began to increase in numbers.
Gen 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

Now this verse is full of meaning. Some will point to Job 1:6, 2:1 and 38:7 where the same phrase "sons of God" is translated sometimes as angels, and conclude that this also refers to angels as well. The Hebrew words used are - ben: H1121 and 'elohiym: H430:
1121. ben, bane; from H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of lit. and fig. relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc., [like H1, H251, etc.]) ...

So the phrase "Sons of God" is a generic term that can mean the subjects or nation of God. It is not a phrase limited to just the angelic host, it has a wider meaning.
The sons of God in Gen 6:2, in context, speaks of those men who were (or claimed to be) obedient to the will of God, they were the people of God, from the lineage of Seth (Gen. 5). In opposition to this are the daughters of men (not obedient to God), from the lineage of Cain (Gen. 4). These woman were quite attractive and alluring, and had little trouble enticing the sons of God into intimate relations and marriage. In doing so, the sons of God quickly abandoned God for these women and their ways.

This is basically a retelling of the fall of Adam and Eve. Eve listened to the lies of Satan and doubted God. She ate from the forbidden tree and fell from the spiritual nature she previously enjoyed. That tree was the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:9, 17). Upon eating from the tree, Eve was aware of what she had done. She now had the knowledge of evil and she was aware that she had sinned against God. In that knowledge, and having fallen, she then offered the fruit from the tree to Adam.

Adam was not deceived (1 Tim 2:14). He knew when he saw Eve that she had sinned, because she had lost the spiritual glow that results from being in close spiritual harmony with God. Moses had this same glow when he came down from Sinai (Exo 34:29, 30). Adam elected to eat the fruit, knowing what he was doing. His love for Eve (whom he knew had sinned) was greater than his love of God.

This is a tactic used time and again by Satan. The downfall of God's people is frequently through the temptations of godless women (See Numbers 25:1-9). Other examples that come to mind are Samson and Delilah, and David and Bathsheba.

So, now back to Gen 6:2. The same basic scenario is being repeated after the garden of Eden, only on a larger scale. There is a wholesale abandonment of God and his righteous ways by the descendents of Seth for women of the lineage of Cain, known to be in rebellion and sin. This is what God calls fornication, not referring only to a sexual sin, but the sin of mixing the righteous with the wicked, truth with evil. (One example of this is the word fornication as attributed to the harlot church in Rev 17:4 and 18:3) This sin was so prevalent, and so blatant a rejection of God that it could not be allowed to continue indefinitely.

Gen 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

God in this verse has just set a period of probation of 120 years on the human race to repent of their wicked ways. It could not be allowed to continue.
Gen 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

The word "giants" here in the Hebrew is listed in Strong's as follows-
5303. nephiyl, nef-eel'; or nephil, nef-eel'; from H5307; prop., a feller[*], i.e. a bully or tyrant:--giant.

*Main Entry: 4fell
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English fel, from Middle French, from Old French -- more at FELON
1 a : FIERCE, CRUEL, TERRIBLE b : SINISTER, MALEVOLENT <a fell purpose> c : very destructive : DEADLY <a fell disease>

So rather than being perhaps physical giants, in contrast to the meek people of god, these people were rebellious bullies and tyrants, forceful in character and great in their sins. This same phrase of "giants" is also used to describe the Canaanites following the exodus (Num 13:33). Again, this probably referred to their godless and lawless character, as much as their physical stature.

Gen 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

The fault here is laid squarely on the wickedness of the people themselves. The first part of this verse is a restatement of the first part of verse 4. As a result of choosing godless women, men were turned away from God as well, and sin and wickedness flourished. God was rejected, and forgotten.
Gen 6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
Gen 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

Sin became so great, that God had to bring the flood on them, to cleanse the earth of such great wickedness.
Gen 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
Gen 6:9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

Noah was the exception, and he was given the task to build the ark, that would be the refuge from the flood for those obedient to God.

So, now back to the popular story about this passage. Based on a very narrow interpretation of the phrase "sons of God" as found here in Genesis, and bolstered by Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; and Psalms 29:1; 82:6, the case is made that this is referring to heavenly beings/angels that interbred with women, causing a ghastly mixed breed of creatures that God had to destroy.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

The above verses make clear that phrase "sons of God" applies to anyone with faith. Note how the righteous 144,000 are described

Rev 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.

"Not defiled with women" alludes back to Genesis 6 and the sons of God and the daughters of men. The 144,000 walk with God just like Noah, and are not defiled by the great whore of Revelation 17, or her harlot daughters, which are symbolic of apostasy.

So the angelic interbreeding story appears to be nothing more than an attempt to put the blame on angels rather than man. The passage in Genesis 6 speaks only to the wickedness of humanity, and places no blame at all on angels. Humanity had turned their back on God, and did it on such a scale that God was moved to destroy them. Yet, God in His mercy, amid all the wickedness, still did not act hastily to exact his judgment. He gave humanity a period of probation. A time of 120 years, during which Noah could preach the message of God, of repentance and faith. Through that period of probation, people heard the word of God, that they might be saved. Eventually Noah and 7 members of his family were saved in the ark.

Luke 17:26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
Luke 17:27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

It should be clear, to even a casual reader, that we have entered into the days of the Son of Man. History is repeating itself. There are "giants" on the Earth again. The Nephilim, those who follow the way of Cain, and are bold in their rebellion against God, again are filling the earth with sin and violence. Man's cup of iniquity is again reaching the brim, and God will not let it continue much longer. We have no angels to place blame on, and neither did those people in the time of Noah. Mankind is willfully abandoning God for the sake of the sins of iniquity. Yes, Satan and the other fallen angels can tempt mankind, just as Eve was tempted, but the choice to sin was Eve's and Adam's, and is also ours to make. The door of probation is soon to close again on this wicked world, just as it did for the people of Noah's generation, but this will be for the final time.

 

 

 

WHO ARE THE "NEPHILIM"?  (take 2)

 

Who are the "sons of God" and the Nephilim in Genesis 6:4? If the Nephilim were a race of giants, how could they appear both before and after the Flood, which destroyed everyone except Noah and his family?

Genesis 6:1-4
When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days - and also afterward - when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

Genesis 7:23
Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

Numbers 13:33
"We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them."

First, who are the "sons of God" and the "Nephilim"? There are three proposed interpretations:

1/  "Sons of God" refers to fallen angels who lived on earth and married human women. The Nephilim are giants of extra-human strength who were the offspring of these marriages.


2/  "Sons of God" refers to descendents of Seth, who were godly men who sinned by marrying descendents of Cain, who would have been pagans. The Nephilim were simply "heroes", not giants, and may or may not have been the offspring of the mixed marriages.


3/  "Sons of God" is better translated as "kings" or "sons of nobles" and "Nephilim" is best translated as "princes" or "great men." That is, the "sons of God" were royalty or aristocrats who were generally immoral and married common women, possibly against their will or despite their already being married.

Arguments for view 1:

The phrase "sons of God" is used in Job 1:6 and 2:1 to describe angels, and apparently early Jewish writers interpreted this passage as referring to angels.
In support of the idea that angels came to live on earth and married human women, Jude 6 refers to "angels who...abandoned their own home," and other passages describe angels as being able to assume human form (Heb 13:2, Gen 19:1-3).
In Numbers 13:33, the Nephilim are described as giants.

 Arguments against view 1:

"Sons of God" in the Job passages refers to "good" angels, and distinguishes them from Satan, the fallen angel. Since only fallen angels would be marrying humans, they wouldn't be referred to as "sons of God."
Mark 12:25 and Matthew 22:30 state that angels don't marry. (Supporters of this view respond that these passages say that angels don't marry in heaven, not that they can't marry on earth.)
Num 13:33 could be an exaggeration of the faithless spies.
God seems to condemn mankind for the intermarrying in Gen 6:3, but says nothing about the angels, though they were at least as responsible for it as the humans.

Arguments for view 2:

Humans are referred to as children of God elsewhere in the Bible (Deut 14:1, Is 43:6, etc.)
Genesis 5 describes godly descendents of Seth (Enoch, Noah), while Lamech, one of Cain's descendents, was also a murderer (Gen 4:23).
To support the "Nephilim weren't offspring of the marriages" view: Gen 6:4 doesn't explicitly say the Nephilim were offspring, only that they showed up at the same time the intermarriage was happening.

Arguments against view 2:

The Sethites don't sound very godly, since only Noah and his family were spared from the flood. (However, "sons of God" may refer to generations previous to those whose sin brought about the flood.)
This interpretation requires that the phrases "men" and "daughters of men" have two different meanings within the same sentence. "Men" and "daughters of men" in v.1 would refer to all mankind and their daughters, but "daughters of men" in v. 2 would refer to Cainite women.

Arguments for view 3:

Contemporary rulers referred to themselves as sons of God - the Egyptian king was called "son of Re."
The Hebrew word in the phrase "sons of God" is Elohim, which is elsewhere in the Bible translated as "judge" or other human authority (Ex 21:6, Ps 82:1)
Early translations of "sons of Elohim" rendered it as it as "sons of nobles" or "sons of kings"
The word "Nephilim" is associated in Gen 6:4 with "gibborim", which means "mighty man of valor, strength, wealth, or power."

Arguments against view 3:

While pagans referred to royalty as sons of God, Israelites did not, and nobles were not referred to as "sons of God."
This interpretation seems "forced" - a stretching of the meaning of the text.


1   seems unlikely to me, especially considering the last argument against it. Also it seems clear that "sons of God" does not have to refer to angels, fallen or not.

2   seems the most natural, but the arguments against it do present legitimate problems.

3   does seem rather strange, but the arguments against it aren't very strong.

Regardless of which interpretation one accepts, there is no contradiction in the Nephilim appearing both before and after the Flood. Genesis 6:4 does say, "The Nephilim were on the earth in those days - and also afterward." If the Nephilim were giant offspring of humans and fallen angels, the fallen angels could have come back after the Flood and had more offspring. If the Nephilim were heroes or nobles, society after the Flood could produce heroes and nobles just as well as society before the Flood.

 



 



Note:
  There are two main opinions as to the origins of the "Nephilim" or giants of Genesis chapter 6. One is that they were the result of sexual relations between earthly women and fallen angels, the other that they were the product of a union between the "sons of God" who were descendents of godly Seth, and the "daughters of men" who were descendents of ungodly Cain. The bible teaches that angels don't marry, so I fail to see why God would have given them the ability to reproduce  and thus fornicate. God never told the angels to reproduce and populate, He only said this to man. It's true that angels can take on the appearance of a man, but in order to make a human female conceive, an angel would have to also have all the reproductive organs and internal reproductive components of a human male as well, and this would defy God's original design blueprint for his created beings, angels. If we are very close to the end of the church age, that is, in a time like Noah's time, and Noah's time was evidenced by the giant offspring of a sexual union between angels and women, then shouldn't we be seeing giants around the earth now or the evidence of demons mating with human females? I haven't seen this, not in my street anyway. So either we are in the end times, times like they were as in the days of Noah, or we can't really say that we are, until we begin to see thirteen foot giants plodding around all over the place. Also, if angels were responsible for mating with human females and causing evil amongst mankind to such an extent that God determined to destroy the whole world, why is it that God appears not to have punished the angels concerned?

So I conclude, that fallen angels or demons cannot reproduce with earthly women. You may reach a different conclusion from your study. It doesn't REALLY matter at this time who is correct. What
does
matter is that we accept the only offer God has given us, fallen man, to be restored to an acceptable relationship with Him. That offer is dependent on us believing that God came as Jesus Christ, to shed His blood on the cross as payment for our sin, so that we might be forgiven and have eternal life!



After further study on this subject, ufo's, alien abductions and crop circles, I am now leaning towards the conclusion that fallen angels did somehow produce offspring from human females. Satan and his fallen accomplices may be planning a renewed assault on humanity in sinister ways, to deceive millions and try and thwart God's purposes. I have included a link below to a related audio message by Chuck Missler for anyone who may be interested in examining this subject further.

who are the nephilim? (mp3)



.......... Keygar


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