The Nephilim, An Overview- Part 1
“the Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward...”
The story of the Nephilim may be one of the weirdest accounts in the Bible, right up there with talking donkeys and multi-headed sea monsters. However, as we will soon see, they play a critical role in the central storyline of the Bible, and ultimately, in the story of Jesus Christ.
Before we begin a study into who the Nephilim are, we must start at the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve have just disobeyed God’s command to not eat of the forbidden fruit. God then issues prophecies for the man, woman, and the serpent. Specifically, let’s look at God‘s words to the serpent in Gen. 3:1—
“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
The serpent, who is really the spirit being (Lucifer) who rebelled against God, learns that one of the woman‘s descendants will “bruise your head,” i.e. destroy him. We know this person to be Jesus Christ, however, the serpent did not know who it would be at the time.
The Giants Are Born
Now fast-forward to Genesis 6, verses 1 through 3. They read,
“When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”
Verse 4 goes on to say that
”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 of old, the men of renown.”
In summary, the sons of God had children with human women, creating monstrous giants. These giants were cannibalistic and violent, adding to the sin and corruption present on Earth at that time.
Who are the “Sons of God”?
The main source of controversy around the Nephilim is just who the “sons of God” are. They are mentioned a few times in the Bible, sometimes referring to angels (Job 1) and sometimes to humans (John 1:12). So which is it, angels or humans?
A clue to the their identity can be found in Jude 6-7. It reads,
“And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”
Here we learn of some angels who left their natural habitation and committed sins similar in nature to those committed by the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Another reference to angels sinning is in 2 Peter 2:4, which says
“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgement...”
From these verses, we can deduce that angels, who sinned in a similar way to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, fit into the description of the “sons of God” in Genesis 6. These angels committed the sins of leaving their natural habitation and creating monstrous giants, the Nephilim.
In other texts as well as the Bible, this group of angels who sinned are specifically known as the Watchers.
Why Did They Do This?
Now you may be asking, why did a bunch of angels do this? What’s the point?
To answer that, let’s go back to the prophecy given to the serpent. The Devil learns that one of the woman’s seed, one of her line, will defeat him. So picture yourself as the Devil. How would you try to prevent this, and ultimately, your demise?
The obvious answer is to just destroy or corrupt the seed of the woman. By introducing the Nephilim to earth, the Watchers introduced more sin and corruption, and nearly succeeded in corrupting all life, including animals. Only Noah and his family were found pure.
By sending the Flood, God defeats the Nephilim and saves Noah, his sons, and their wives. Thus the human race is now pure again, and the seed of the woman continues through Noah. Satan’s plan is foiled.
But as we see later in the Bible, the Nephilim story does not end there.
For more information about the pre-Flood Nephilim, you should check out the Book Of Enoch. Of course, since this book isn’t canon, its contents probably are not 100% accurate. However, as with other apocryphal books, while not inspired, they provide good historical context.
In summing this article up, fallen angels created giants, the Nephilim, with human women. This, along with all the other bad stuff happening on Earth at the time, prompted God to send a Flood to save the human race through Noah, foil Satan’s plan, and ensure that the prophecy would come true.
The Nephilim story does not end there though, as we see them again during Israel’s conquest. That will be covered in Part 2.
Thanks again for reading this article. If you have any questions, comments, or thoughts, please let me know in the comment section!
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© 2019 Lou Tenant