|Dolmen in Johfiyeh Irbid north of Jordan|
The relationship between the Nephilim and the sons of God
We begin with the first book of Moses, the book of Genesis. In the passage where he wrote about the condition of the world in the days of Noah, just before the flood, he wrote: “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.” (Gen 6:4)
To put this into context, let just do a quick verbal timeline sketch. Moses, the inspired writer of the book of Genesis, died around 1400 BC and the flood happened at least six hundred years earlier, perhaps around 2400 BC. So Moses was writing this passage several hundred years after the flood took place. And at that time, he wrote that the “Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward…” This is the first mention of the Nephilim in the Scriptures, and it helps us understand where they came from. They are directly connected with the sons of God, because in the same sentence where Moses introduced the Nephilim, he referred to the sons of God coming into the daughters of men and the offspring produced by this union. Therefore, it’s important to determine whom he referred to as the sons of God.
But before we do that, let’s just note that the next time Moses mentioned the Nephilim was in his fourth book, known as Numbers. In his account of the spies sent into Canaan, he wrote: "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." (Num 13:33). We’ll return to this later in more detail. But now back to the matter of determining who the sons of God were.
If the term “sons of God” simply refers to “sons of men,” then there was nothing special about that. The sons of men had been marrying the daughters of men since the beginning. But when Moses wrote this, he was drawing attention to something out of the ordinary. There is a contrast between the two expressions, “the sons of God” and “the daughters of men.”
Let’s just observe the differences between the two expressions:
The sons of God – sons are male offspring; God is the Divine Being. This implies they were supposed to be serving God. They had a place of honor. They were meant to obey God. They were angels.
The daughters of men – daughters are female offspring; men are God’s human creations, made in God’s image.
Right at this point in the Bible, we see that men were becoming evil. God made the decision that he would not strive with men forever, and He reduced the human life span to 120 years. Prior to that time, men were living for hundreds of years. The Nephilim are clearly connected with the children produced by the union of the sons of God with the daughters of men.
“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 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.’" (Gen 6:1-3)
“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The LORD said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.’" (Gen 6:5-7)
The Lord God decided to destroy the whole earth, because it was filled with violence. “Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. Then God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.’” (Gen 6:11-13)
In the Numbers passage, God told Moses to choose a leader from each of the twelve tribes of Israel and send them into Canaan to spy out the land.
“Then the LORD spoke to Moses saying, ‘Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel; you shall send a man from each of their fathers' tribes, every one a leader among them.’ So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran at the command of the LORD, all of them men who were heads of the sons of Israel.” (Num 13:1-3)
These men were not wimpy. They were heads of the sons of Israel. But when they returned from their spy mission, they were afraid of what they saw. Here is the account of the report they brought back to Moses:
“When they returned from spying out the land, at the end of forty days, they proceeded to come to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; and they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. Thus they told him, and said, ‘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.’" (Num 13:25-29)
When they came back from their spy mission, they reported that they had seen giants that were much bigger than they were. They were afraid of the giants. They reported, “we saw the descendants of Anak there.” "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." (Num 13:33)
Not only did the spies feel like little, tiny insects compared to these giants, but when the giants saw the spies, they viewed them as little insects, too. They said, “we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight."
So all but two of the spies strongly advised against attacking the people in the land of Canaan. “But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘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.’" (Num 13:31-33). Note that the men they saw were of “great size.”
The only ones who were not afraid were Caleb and Joshua. These men had faith in God and believed that they could go up and take the country. “Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, ‘We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.’" (Num 13:30)
“Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, ‘The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us--a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.’" (Num 14:6-9) In spite of the great size of the giants who inhabited the land, Caleb and Joshua firmly believed that if the Lord were pleased with the Israelites, He would give them the victory over these giants and cause them to possess the land.
The term “sons of God” in the Scriptures
Let’s look at the Scriptures where the term “sons of God” is used.
"The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.” (Gen 6:2)
“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.” (Gen 6:4)
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.” (Job 1:6; also see Job 2:1). Since Satan came to present himself to God at the same time that the sons of God did, and we know that Satan is a fallen angel, then it would be reasonable to understand the “sons of God” to be angels.
“When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
(Job 38:7). In this passage, God is speaking about the time when He created the earth. So the sons of God who shouted for joy were the angels, since man had not yet been created.
We see this expression, “sons of God” again in the New Testament. Jesus was declared to be The Son of God (Jn 3:16; 11:4; cf. Mat 1:23; 4:3,6; 8:29; 14:33; 16:16; 26:63; 27:40; 27:43, 54; Mar 1:1; 3:11; 5:7; 15:39; Luk 1:32, 35; 4:3, 9, 41; 8:28; 22:69, 70; Joh 1:34, 49; 3:16-18, 36; 5:25; 10:36; 11:4, 27; 19:7; 20:31; Act 7:56; 8:37; 9:20; 13:33; Rom 1:4, 9; 5:10; 8:3; 1Co 1:9; 15:28; 2Co 1:19; Gal 2:20; 4:4; Eph 4:13; Heb 1:8; 4:14; 6:6; 7:3; 10:29; 2Pe 1:17; 1Jo 3:8; 4:9,10, 15; 5:5, 9-13, 20; 2Jo 1:3,9; Rev 2:18;).
Jesus, the Son of God, said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Mat 5:9) Why would peacemakers be called “sons of God?”
The apostle Paul also used this term to refer to those to whom God gave the right to become His children. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:26). In other passages he wrote: “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Rom 8:14). “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Rom 8:19)
In the Old Testament, the term “sons of God” had referred to supernatural beings that were higher than humans but lower than God. In other words, it always referred to angels, which are created beings. But in the New Testament, we find that humans could now be called sons of God. Adam was referred to as the son of God, since he was a direct creation of God. And as I just mentioned, Jesus used the term sons of God for the peacemakers. Elsewhere He described the future characteristics of the sons of God, saying, “for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” (Luk 20:36). Jesus was talking about what human sons of God will be like in the resurrection. Specifically he was referring to the righteous who rise to eternal life. He said that we would be like the angels and would not die anymore. He also said we would no longer marry.
Left their estate
Jude clarifies the matter further and tells us, “And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.” (Jud 1:6-7)
In this passage, Jude speaks of angels who did not keep their own domain. In order to understand what that means, we should look at the rest of the sentence. It goes on to say that they abandoned their proper abode. They left the place where they were supposed to be. But what sin did they commit when they did so? Jude says their sin was sexual immorality. He says that these angels are kept in chains for the judgment, just as Sodom and Gomorrah. Jude taught that the angels indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, in the same way the people of Sodom and Gomorrah did.
We know that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was homosexuality. Paul described it like this: “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” (Rom 1:26-27) God did not created Adam and Steve. He created Adam and Eve. But these men “abandoned the natural function for that which is unnatural.”
Likewise the angels who sinned left the heavens and used earth as a colony. They left their celestial abode for a terrestrial one. They descended to the earth, and revealed what was hidden to the children of men, and seduced the children of men into committing sin, and united themselves with human women, and committed gross acts of immorality with with them, and married some of them, and begot children by them.
In addition to the heavens being their dwelling, the body is considered a tent or dwelling. The apostle Paul wrote: “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2Co 5:1) Therefore the fallen angels transgressed beyond the limits of their own dwelling, their own bodies, by engaging in intercourse with humans.
Characteristics of the Nephilim
Those who have seen angels always note how huge they are. They stand eight or nine feet tall. Their bodies are immortal. As Augustine wrote, "Like the gods they have corporeal immortality, and passions like human beings." Aurelius Augustine, The City of God (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1949), Transl. Marcus Dods.
So at some point, some of the angels sinned by leaving their proper domain and had intercourse with human women. The offspring these women gave birth to were giants called Nephilim. They took after their fathers genetically in size, strength, and probably in other ways. We can only imagine what other ways they shared characteristics of their angelic fathers. Some of those possibilities would include intelligence, emotional characteristics, and physiological ones that would include paranormal abilities. This would mean they would have a superior intelligence and ability to do things that humans could not do – supernatural acts. They were basically a superhuman race. This extraordinary character and prowess accounts for how they became mighty men, men of renown. But the Nephilim were also known for their extreme wickedness. They were the evil villains that Noah reproved during his lifetime.
Noah alone had preserved a godly pedigree, and kept it from corruption from the fallen angelic beings. He kept his family pure and undefiled by all of the evil that prevailed on the earth at that time. His bloodline remained free of genetic contamination. -- The Gospel Truth Magazine, Vol. 18, (June 1978), No. 7.
Descendants of the Nephilim
One of the questions raised by this study is whether any descendants of the Nephilim are recorded in Scripture. We do know that Og, King of Bashan remained of the remnants of the Rephaim (Deut 3:11). Rephaim is the Hebrew word for giant. Deuteronomy says that his bed 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." (Deut 3:11). That means it was 13.5 ft long by 6 ft wide.
Goliath was also a giant. He was nine feet, six inches tall. “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, and the head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron; his shield-carrier also walked before him.” (1Sa 17:4-7)
The giant descendants of the Nephilim were sometimes treated liked gods, because of their size and abilities.
No survivors of the deluge
As we’ve already seen in this study, the Nephilim were on the earth prior to the flood. Moses wrote, “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward.” (Gen 6:4)
We also know that God intended through the flood to destroy all living things. He said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me.” (Gen 6:11). And God did, in fact, destroy all living creatures on the earth in the flood, except for Noah and his family. “Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark.” (Gen 7:23)
What is truly amazing is that remnants of this race of Nephilim also existed after the flood. We learn this from the account of the Israelite spies, who reported, “There also we saw the Nephilim,” to which Moses added the parenthetical comment “the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim.” (Num 13:33).
Since the flood destroyed all living creatures upon the earth, we would expect that the pre-flood Nephilim were wiped off the face of the earth. So that leaves us to wonder where the Anak (remnants of the Nephilim) came from. They certainly did not come from Noah’s family or from any living Nephilim survivors of the flood, since there were no survivors.
The only explanation would be that some of the fallen angels once again copulated with female descendants of Noah after the flood, restoring a remnant of this race to the earth. We could see this as a second eruption of the Nephilim. If this is true, then it would explain two things. First, it explains what Moses meant when he wrote, “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward…” (Gen 6:4) In other words, the Nephilim were on the earth in the pre-flood days of Noah, and they were on the earth after the flood, as well! Secondly, this also explains why the Lord required the Israelites going into the land of Canaan to completely exterminate the Canaanites. The Lord could not tolerate these wicked people at all. Their race was corrupted completely.
Linguistic roots of Nephilim and related words
In the Hebrew language of the Old Testament, the word Nephilim comes from the root "naphal," meaning "fallen ones." Later “When the Greek Septuagint was made, ‘Nephilim’ was translated as ‘gegenes.’ This word suggests ‘giants’ but actually it has little reference to size or strength. ‘Gegenes’ means ‘earth born.’ The same term was used to describe the mythical ‘Titans’ -- being partly of celestial and partly of terrestrial origin.” -- Unger, Biblical Demonology (Wheaton: Van Kampen Press, 1957), p. 48.
It’s also interesting to note that the English word nephrology means the study or contemplation of clouds. It’s a late 19th century word that originates from the Greek word “nephos” meaning “cloud” plus the suffix “-logy.” If you study the roots of the Greek word nephos, you find that this word “nephos” is used to refer to clouds, such as the fact that Christ will come back in the clouds. But this word refers to something celestial, or found in the heavens immediately above the earth. When the angels fell from heaven, the place where God dwells, which was their natural abode, they inhabited the heavenly realms surrounding the earth.
The Rephaim are generally understood to be an offshoot of the Nephilim. The Hebrews understood that the Rephaim were giants. For example, Og, King of Bashan was one of the Rephaim. He was the last survivor of the Rephaites. “The rest of Gilead and all Bashan, the kingdom of Og, I gave to the half-tribe of Manasseh, all the region of Argob (concerning all Bashan, it is called the land of Rephaim.” (Deu 3:13).
Prior to that he wrote, "Thus we took the land at that time from the hand of the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, from the valley of Arnon to Mount Hermon (Sidonians call Hermon Sirion, and the Amorites call it Senir): all the cities of the plateau and all Gilead and all Bashan, as far as Salecah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan. (For only Og king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim. Behold, his bedstead was an iron bedstead; it is in Rabbah of the sons of Ammon. Its length was nine cubits and its width four cubits by ordinary cubit.)” (Deu 3:8-11). So Og was clearly a giant. He slept in an iron bed thirteen feet long and six feet wide.
Tempting the angels
We need to be careful not to tempt the angels. Paul taught that women should wear a covering on her head for the sake of the angels. The assumption here is that angels could be tempted to lust after their long hair. “Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.” (1Co 11:10)
|Dolmen at Johfiyeh, Jordan. Photo by Ahmed Telfah|
There are also dolmens located all around the world, which are massive stones arranged like a table, which could have been the tombs of these giants.
Origin of evil spirits
According to Enoch, the seventh from Adam, whom Jude quoted in his inspired epistle, the Watchers, who were angels that had been assigned to watch over the earth, sinned against the Word of the Lord by uniting themselves with human women. Enoch said the giants were the sons born to the women who were impregnated by those fallen angels. Enoch also said that evil spirits are the spirits from the deceased giants. Enoch wrote extensively about this, but I will quote a couple short passages that specifically speak about the evil spirits:
“And now, the giants, who are produced from the spirits and flesh, shall be called evil spirits upon 9 the earth, and on the earth shall be their dwelling. Evil spirits have proceeded from their bodies; because they are born from men and from the holy Watchers is their beginning and primal origin; 10 they shall be evil spirits on earth, and evil spirits shall they be called. [As for the spirits of heaven, in heaven shall be their dwelling, but as for the spirits of the earth which were born upon the earth, on the earth shall be their dwelling.] And the spirits of the giants afflict, oppress, destroy, attack, do battle, and work destruction on the earth, and cause trouble: they take no food, but nevertheless 12 hunger and thirst, and cause offences. And these spirits shall rise up against the children of men and against the women, because they have proceeded from them. – Book of Enoch, 15:8-12
This next excerpt from Enoch says that after the destruction and death of the giants, their disembodied spirits will go forth on the earth to destroy, just as satan comes to destroy:
“From the days of the slaughter and destruction and death of the giants, from the souls of whose flesh the spirits, having gone forth, shall destroy without incurring judgment - thus shall they destroy until the day of the consummation, the great judgment in which the age shall be 2 consummated, over the Watchers and the godless, yea, shall be wholly consummated." - Book of Enoch, 16:1-2. Their destructive activity will continue until God’s wrath on evil is consummated on earth at the great judgment. Our Lord Jesus often cast out evil spirits, who had been afflicting people, which further confirms this (Mat 12:43; Mar 1:23; Mar 1:26; Mar 3:30; Mar 5:2; Mar 5:8; Mar 7:25; Mar 9:25; Luk 8:29; Luk 9:42; Luk 11:24; Rev 18:2). He called them unclean spirits, and in Acts they are also referred to as evil spirits (Acts 19:15-16). We also see the destructive activity of evil spirits in the Old Testament, as in the case of King Saul (Jdg 9:23; 1Sa 16:14-16, 23; 18:10; 19:9).
Although the Book of Enoch is not considered part of the canon of Scripture, Enoch was quoted by Jude in his epistle, which is the Word of God. So in this article, I have also quoted from Enoch. From him we learn that not only demons are called evil spirits, but also the spirits of these deceased human offspring, who were once born from the union of demons with human women.
Putting it all together
In this study, we’ve learned that the Nephilim were on the earth before and after the flood, and that they were the offspring produced by sexual union between angels and female human beings. These hybrid beings possessed superhuman characteristics like great strength and intelligence, as well as a terrible propensity for evil. It was because of this evil corruption of the human race that God decided to destroy the earth with a flood. Only Noah and his family remained pure (both spiritually and genetically), and survived in the ark to repopulate the earth.
It is clear that since no one except Noah’s family survived the flood, and since remnants of the Nephilim existed after the flood, that the human race must have been infected once again by the same kind of sexual union with fallen angels. This explains why God commanded that the Jews completely exterminate the Canaanites living in the land.
There are many archeological discoveries that provide evidence of the existence of the Nephilim and their descendants, also known as Rephaim in Hebrew. These include giant skeletons with anomalies like six fingers and toes, as well as abnormal skull bone structures. There are also many architectural structures that have been discovered, such as Stonehenge, which can only be explained by the existence of giants.
This gives us a clearer understanding of history. Some may baulk at the idea of angels impregnating human women. But this was the way the Jews understood it when they read the Scriptures. And if we believe that the incarnation of Jesus Christ occurred through the Holy Spirit overshadowing the virgin, Mary, then why should it be so hard to believe an evil incarnation of darkness could also occur?
This did in fact occur, and the implications are significant. Evil spirits are not only demons (fallen angels), but also the disembodied spirits of the giants, and they continue their destructive work on earth until God’s judgment is finally consummated. Could one of their destructive works be that of corrupting the human genetic code through continued seduction and sexual union with women? There are prophetic disciples of Christ, who testify that the Lord has revealed to them that this is in fact happening today. They state that it is extremely widespread around the world.
Jesus said that in the days before His return, the world would be like it was in the days of Noah. To what extent will it be like those days? Are we seeing evidence of this infection of the human race today? We know that the world is becoming much more evil each decade, and to what extent is that connected with this issue of the Nephilim?
One thing is for sure: the days are evil and disciples of Christ are called to be salt and light in this world. Just as the Israelites were commanded to go up and take the country, we are to make disciples. We can surely be victorious in our mission with the Lord’s help and through faith in Him. It was always by faith that the Israelites conquered their enemies, including the giants like Goliath. And the victory of God’s people today will continue to be through faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus said that anyone who has faith in Him would do greater works than He did. He cast out evil spirits and demons, and so can we (Mar 3:15; Luk 4:36). He gave us authority over all demons (Luk 9:1). Now more than ever we need to trust Him and pray as He taught us, “Deliver us from evil!” and “Deliver us from the evil one!”
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
Author's Note: You may also want to see my other blogs, Demons Disguised as Humans, Demonology 101, Demonology 201, Demonology 301and Oral Account of Creation from Adam to Abraham. I invite you to visit the Home page for this blog, and you can also find my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."
Enoch Chapters 6-12 and 64. And the judgment on the fallen Watchers is explained in Chapter 13-21.
Transcript of Interview with Klaus Dona
Interview with Klaus Dona
Skull with horns
Discovery channel documentary
Internet article about sons of God and daughters of men
Wikipedia Article about dolmens, which are stone tables, probably tombs of the giants
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.