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56 | Who are the Nephilim and Sons of God?


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Hi my name is Dean Smith and in this podcast I want to delve into some rather strange Bible verses that led up to the world-wide flood found in the Book of Genesis.

It involves the passage where the Sons of God married the daughters of men found in Genesis 6.

Now, I want to discuss four main themes found in Genesis 6:1-4:

  1. Who were the Sons of God?
  2. Who were the Nephilim?
  3. How God’s role in the world changed? and
  4. The often unnoticed second judgment.

1. First who were the Sons of God?

In Genesis 6:1-2, we read:

6 Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. (Genesis 6:1-2)

In this passage, we read that the Sons of God found the daughters of men attractive and began to marry them. But notice, how it says they chose whoever they wanted, the sons of God were in control of this process.

So, who were the sons of God?

Now there are two basic points of view, well there are actually several, but the others are just variants of these two basic opinions.

The first is that the sons of God were actually fallen angels. Throughout the Old Testament, we see the phrase, Sons of God, referring to angels. We see references to that in Job 1:6 and Job 2:1), where angels, referred to as sons of God, met with God in giant angelic assembly, and some of these angels married women.

The second belief is that this refers to marriages between the godly line of Seth (the sons of God) with married women from the ungodly line of Cain. Cain of course is the son of Adam and Eve who murdered Able and Seth is the son born to Adam and Eve after Abel’s death.

There are a pros and cons for each of these positions.

The con concerning angels is based on Mark 12:25, where Jesus said that that angels are not given in marriage. It’s argued that since angels can’t marry how could this happen. The best counter to this argument is that it means angels are not allowed to marry, but this does not mean they can’t marry. It’s similar to Roman Catholic priests who take vows of celibacy, but are still quite capable of marrying someone, providing they are willing to break their vows.

The argument against this being marriages between the godly line of Seth and ungodly line Cain, is why would this basically normal human marriages produce Nephilim or men of renown?

Now for years, I believed that these marriages involved the descendants of Seth and Cain, but my mind changed after I read a verse further down in Genesis chapter six that talked about why Noah was chosen to build the ark.

9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. (Genesis 6:9)

At the beginning of this verse, we are told that this is about the genealogy of Noah, which includes his ancestors. In this context, we are then told that Noah was “perfect in his generations.” Now many versions read that Noah was “perfect in his time,” but it often footnoted that the Hebrew word, “dor dor” (pronounced dore), literally means generations.

Now this is an important change, because time leaves the impression that he was perfect among the people living during Noah’s day, but if the word is generations, it is talking about the past and means Noah’s lineage or his ancestors were perfect.

The Hebrew word, “tâmîym”, translated perfect, means just that: perfect, whole, complete, having integrity.

In other words, the verse is suggesting that Noah’s ancestry was perfect or intact and seems to be referring to the purity of his lineage.

Why is this important?

Well, if the sons of God were angels, then their genetics were mixing in with the human population producing this superior group of men. In this context, the verse is telling us that Noah’s lineage had not been contaminated by angelic DNA. His lineage was intact.

And because of this, the verse provides a very vital clue as to why God initiated the worldwide flood. Generally, we believe God judged the world because it was full of wickedness and violence.

But when God killed off all of humanity sparing only Noah and his family, this means God was not judging the world because of its wickedness, but rather to reset and restore the human population back to its original Adam and Eve DNA. God used the flood to remove the angelic genetic contamination.

If this is true, it also suggests that God must have done something to prevent those fallen angels from simply marrying women when the human race was restarted after the flood.

This leads to a second obvious question, why would these fallen angels want to marry human women?

I believe the answer goes back to Genesis 3. After Satan tempted Adam and Eve to fall into sin, God cursed Satan by stating that the “seed” of woman would crush the head of the serpent (verse 15).

This means that one of Eve’s descendants would deal a telling blow to satan, Of course, that descendant was Jesus.

So was the marriage between these fallen angels and human women an attempt by the satanic realm to hijack and corrupt the human seed and basically remove this threat?

I think it was.

2. This leads me to my second point, who in the world were the Nephilim?

Now if you go to YouTube you can find dozens of theories on the Nephilim, that they were a race of giants spawned by the marriages between the fallen angels and humans as the word Nephilim is often translated as giants.

But as I read the verse in Genesis 6:4, I have a different opinion on what was going on here:

4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. (Genesis 6:4)

Two things stick out. First we are told that the Nephilim lived at the same time as the marriages between the fallen angels and human women and after.

While many believe, that the Nephilim were the results of the marriage, others including myself, believe the verse suggests that the Nephilim were already around when the marriages were taking place.

In other words, the Nephilim are not the offspring of these ungodly marriages. This means they are part of the human gene pool and that is why the Bible says they existed after the flood in Numbers 13:33.

But these ungodly marriages did produce children and they are described as mighty or powerful (I don’t believe this referred to just physical strength, but I believe it described their mental abilities as well) and they became men of renown.

Because of their superior abilities, they were leaders of society and people of influence.

But before I go on, I want to briefly look at how another major turning point in Biblical history, the Tower of Babel, when God broke up the world into different languages and culture in Genesis 11 is connected to what happened in Genesis 6.

But it is important for us understand a couple of things about the Tower of Babel incident.

After people were broken apart by language different nations began to develop along with their own unique culture and history. But this also means everything prior to the Tower of Babel is common history to all cultures.

This is why cultures from the Sumerians to the aborigines in Australia have ancient stories of a massive worldwide flood. They all share this common history.

But what also shows up is ancient stories of Kings who were half God and half man such as the Sumerian king Gilgamesh. Now it’s possible, that these stories are referring to the men of renown mentioned in Genesis that were the offspring of the marriage between the sons of God and daughters of men.

If these marriages involved fallen angels, from a human perspective, this offspring would have a god-like aura about them, particularly if they had special abilities.

I am not saying that Gilgamesh was one of those people of renown, but a story based on what happened during that time in human history.

Now let’s briefly look at why God broke people apart through language. In the account we are told:

 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4)

We are told that they wanted to build a tower that reached up to heaven because they wanted to make a name for themselves. But is there something more sinister going on here than just building a monument?

It may be just a coincidence but the Hebrew word for “make a name for themselves” is the same Hebrew word used for “men of renown” in Genesis 6:4, that described the descendants of the angel/human marriages.

Now, in Genesis 6, we read that it was the angels that initiated the marriages with women. But is the reverse happening here? Are we seeing men trying to initiate contact with angels, so they can restart these marriages that led to the creation of these people of renown.

Obviously, it wouldn’t have succeeded, but nevertheless it revealed the intent of their heart and God brought this to an end by by dividing the people by introducing languages.

Now let’s move on to the last two points of my podcast that are mentioned in Genesis 6:3:

3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years. (Genesis 6:3)

3. My third point is this what does it mean when it says that God’s Spirit would no longer strive with man.

The word strive does not fully portray the meaning of this word the Hebrew word “diyn.”

According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, the Hebrew word “Diyn” is used 23 times in the Old Testament and means to rule or govern. In each instance, except here, it is specifically used in the context of governing either in the sense of legislative (passing laws ), judicial (enforcing laws) or executive (administering laws), as it’s used in Genesis 49:16 and Proverbs 31:9.

Consequently, we must conclude the word has the same meaning in Genesis 6:3. Instead of ’striving’ it means God was no longer going to “govern” men.

So, what this tells us is that after Adam and Eve’s fall into sin, God was quite prepared to work with humans in their fallen state. God was going to continue to govern or rule people. And we see hints of this in a judicial sense, when God dealt with Cain after he killed Abel.

But after the marriage between the fallen angels and human women new powerful leadership emerged and people no longer wanted God to govern humanity, so God withdrew.

And I believe it was at this moment, that Satan moved in to take over and become the lowercase god of this world.

Satan did not take over the world when Adam and Eve fell into sin, it happened at this moment in human history.

I know people love to ask why does God allows pain, suffering and disease in the world. This is what we wanted. We wanted a world free from God’s rule, and we got it.

4. The fourth thing that I want to discuss is the second judgment that is embedded in Noah’s flood account.

It’s almost unnoticeable but has had a profound impact on humanity today.
When God says man’s days shall be one hundred and twenty years, God had now reduced man’s lifespan.

Before the flood, humans were living hundreds of years. In Genesis 5, Methuselah lived 969 years and Lamech 777 years as examples.

But this was about to change, 120 years was now the maximum life span. Now depending on health, war, disease, famine we often don’t reach that age, but this is the max we could live.

In his column entitled “Odd Body”, published in the National Post, Dr Stephen Juan, made this interesting statement:

“Some cell biologists now believe there is a definite limit to human cell reproduction making the maximum age possible for human life to be about 110 to 120 years.”

Others such as UK neuro-biologist Professor Colin Blakemore, who has been knighted for his medical research, states that 120 years is the “absolute limit to human lifespans.” He was responding to some claiming that science would be able to extend our human life.

It’s curious, this lifespan limit that was recorded in the Bible thousands of years ago, is just now being picked up by science.

Though, the length of life spans changed after the flood, we don’t immediately pick up on this, because the age decline was a gradual. If the first child after the flood died at the age of 120 years, we would have clicked on this immediately.

After the flood, Abraham lived to 175 years of age (Genesis 25:7), and it isn’t until we reach Genesis 50, that records Joseph living to the age of 110 (Genesis 50:26) that we no longer have anyone surpassing the 120-year lifespan.

Now I want to add that this, the 120-year life span judgment may even play a significant role in the endtimes. Many end times scholars believe the restoration of Israel is a key sign post signalling Christ’s imminent return, and believe Jesus would return within a generation of Israel’s restoration in 1948.

During the 70s and 80s, there were dozens of books being written talking about Christ’s imminent return because people were suggesting a generation was 40 or 50 years.

But what if a generation is a 120 years, if so it would put Christ’s return some time before 2068 AD, in other words, in our century.

Now I just want to close with this. There are many interpretations of the first four verses of Genesis 6. You may disagree with me and that is completely fine. This is just my opinion.

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