Christian Churches of God

No. 154

 

 

 

 

The Nephilim

(Edition 2.1 19950303-19991108-20070602)

 

The Nephilim are first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 6:4 as the offspring of “the sons of God” and “the daughters of men”. This is a general theme found throughout the ancient world and is not confined to the Bible. This paper examines ancient records, the Titans, the Raksasa of the Ramayana, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Genesis Aprocryphon, the Gibbowrim and Rephaim. Using a variety of reference works, particularly the Companion Bible, conclusions about the Nephilim are drawn.

 

 

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(Copyright ă  1995, 1999, 2007 Wade Cox)

 

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The Nephilim


 

The subject of the Nephilim is quite complicated. It is a general theme found throughout the ancient world and it is not confined to the Bible. It is an extensive subject which transcends the nations, i.e. it is found amongst most or all of the nations from what we have of their records. We will deal with the first instance of Genesis 6:4.

Genesis 6:1-22 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 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. 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. 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. 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. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 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. 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

 

Verse 9 goes on to say (almost as a separate group, but it is joined because Noah is referred to in both verses):

 

9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. 15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. 16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the

 

side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. 17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. 18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. 20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. 21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. 22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he. (KJV)

 

The structure of Genesis 6 is not divorced. It takes us from verse 1 right through to the end at verse 22. The reason God decided to destroy the Earth was because of the activities of mankind and the fallen Host up to the Flood. We will look at this concept in Genesis 6:4 where the words for giants in the text there were giants in the earth in those days, is Nephilim.

 

Genesis 6:4  There were Nephilim 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.

 

These mighty men of old were the Gibborim or Gibbowrim. If we look at Green’s Interlinear Bible it says (reading the literal words): the giants were on the earth in days those and even afterwards when came in the sons of God (the word for God there is haElohim, i.e. sons of the God) to the daughters of men (the word there is haAdam, i.e. the Adam) and they bore to them, they were heroes (the word for heroes is haGibborim, i.e. the heroes) who existed from times ancient, the men of name or renown.

 

There are a series of concepts in these words translated by Green: the giants were in the earth in those days and even afterwards when the sons of God came into the daughters of men and they bore to them. They were heroes which existed from ancient time, the men of name.

 

The Septuagint translates the sons of God as the angels of God. The Good News Bible renders it as the angels of God and many other texts deal with the concept of the sons of God as the angelic Host. It says on page 518 of Volume 3 of the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia on the article Nephilim:

the etymology of nephilim is uncertain, the following explanations have been advanced with mixed reception. First, it may derive from the niphal of the verb ppălă, meaning “be extraordinary”, i.e., “extraordinary men”. Second, it may be derived from the verb nnăpal, “fall,” in one of the following senses: (1) the “fallen ones” - from heaven, i.e., supernatural beings; (2) morally “fallen men”; [the accepted meaning of Nephilim, from napal to fall, in the sense of the fallen Host. This is seen from the DSS and the Ethiopic Book of Enoch as well as the biblical texts. They are the fallen ones. Hence the word fellow or feller in our language comes from nephilim, to fall. It is a slang word meaning the fallen Host. The concept, therefore, is of the fallen ones from heaven, i.e. supernatural beings, the first meaning above. The second meaning above is attendant upon the first and does not exclude the first].

 

The ISBE goes on:

(3). “those who fall upon,” in the sense of invaders or hostile or violent men; (4) “those who fell by” the sword cf. Ezk. 32:20f.); (5). “unnaturally begotten men” or bastards from (cf. nepel, “abortion” or “miscarriage”).

None of these satisfies all scholars, and some consider naphilim an unexplainable relic of an ancient, now forgotten language. Contextual information is unfortunately limited to two enigmatic passages.

 

It goes on to say the Nephilim were apparently people of impressive physical stature compared to the smaller Hebrews, from Numbers 13:33. This particular reference is glossed by a statement which implies that the offspring of Anak in Canaan were descended from the renowned Rephaim or Nephilim of Genesis 6:4. The latter had gained a reputation as notable heroes in the antediluvian period and apparently persisted after the Flood. This could have occurred through migration on the basis of a local Mesopotamian deluge, in which case they would be counted as descendants living in Canaan. The Midrash has a tradition that Og of the Nephilim stowed away on the top of the Ark. But certainly the concept of a localised flood is some way of trying to explain the Flood away by modern scholars and this International Standard Bible Encyclopedia is no different in that concept. The contextual information is not confined to two enigmatic passages. The information is extensive and clear. The Nephilim were considered to have been the offspring of the fallen Host that interbred with human females. This was the understanding behind the Greek, Roman and Egyptian mythologies, as well as that of the near east.

 

The ISBE goes on and says of Genesis 6:1-4:

while meaningful to the original recipients, has become obscure with the passing of time. It is impossible to be certain whether the Nephilim were the same as the “mighty men” (gibbgibbôrim) that you find at the end of verse 4 or a separate group that overlapped chronologically.

 

That conjecture is quite incorrect. From a simple reading of Genesis 6:4 it is quite obvious that the Gibbowrim or mighty men were of the same grouping as the Nephilim. That concept was the accepted concept at the time of the Flood and afterwards, and at the time of Christ.

 

After the Flood it was accepted that the earth was under the guidance of the angelic Host who were called the holy ones or watchers. When we look at the concept of the watchers, we will see from Daniel 4:13,17,23 and Daniel 2:11 that the watchers are the holy ones, the angelic Host, who have responsibility for the earth and their dwelling is not with flesh (Dan. 2:11). But they do control the affairs of man and they are called watchers and holy ones. That tradition, or view, went right through the Judaic world. In the Greek world the Nephilim were referred to as the Titans. The Universal Oxford Dictionary definition of Titan is that:

[it is a Latin name for the elder brother of Kronos; also in poetry, the Sun-god; the Greek singular is Titan the plural is Titanes].

1. [It is] used (chiefly in poetry) as a name for the Sun-god the grandson of Titan, or for the sun personified.

2. a. [Greek Mythology] In [the singular] The ancestor of the Titans, the elder brother of Kronos. In [plural] a family of giants, the children of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaea (Earth), who contended for the sovereignty of heaven, and were overthrown by Zeus. ...

 

These Titans or giants (Nephilim) also appeared in the traditions or legends, of the Indo-Aryan peoples and they were called, from India through to Asia, the giants in the Sanskrit which is raksasa. They appear in the Ramayana and the epics of the Indian world as raksasa (giants) and they are seen to be in conflict with men. There is no doubt that this tradition was common throughout the world up until the time of Christ. We find from the Dead Sea Scrolls that they had uncovered a number of texts. One of those writings is the Genesis Apocryphon. A translation of the Genesis Apocryphon is found in Geza Vermes The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, Pelican, 1985, on page 216, section II. It is useful to refer back to this Genesis apocryphal story and look at what the understanding was at the time of Christ covering the period up through and until the time of the Flood. The Genesis Apocryphon develops a conversation which refers to the birth of Noah and his father. Lamech suspects that his wife had consorted with one of the angels who descended from heaven and had married the daughters of men (Gen. 6:1-4). An emphatic denial does not convince him and he asks his father Methuselah to find his own father - the wise Enoch - who lives in Parwain the site of paradise, in order to discover the truth from him. A story parallel to this appears in the Book of Enoch where we will find that the fall of the angels is dealt with in detail. These texts are referred to simply to explain what is understood as happening in Genesis 6:4.

 

The Genesis Apocryphon says:

behold I thought then without my heart that conception was due to the watchers and the holy ones and to the giants, (i.e. the Nephilim) and my heart was troubled within me because of this trial. Then I, Lamech approached Bathenosh my wife in haste and said to her, ‘... by the Most High, the Great Lord, the King of all the world and Ruler of the Sons of Heaven, until you tell me all things truthfully, if ... Tell me [this truthfully] and not falsely... by the King of all the worlds until you tell me truthfully and not falsely.’ Then Bathenosh my wife spoke to me with much heat [and] ... said ‘O my brother, oh my lord, remember my pleasure ... the lying together and my soul within its body. [And I tell you] all things truthfully. ...

... Then she mastered her anger and spoke to me saying: oh my lord and my brother, remember my pleasure, I swear to you by the Holy Great One the King of the heavens, that this seed is yours and this conception is from you, whose spirit was planted by you and by no stranger or watcher or son of heaven.

 

The Genesis Apocryphon exemplifies the understanding in the first century of what was happening in this Genesis story in 6:4. The story relates also to the purity of Noah and his lineage and says: Noah was perfect in his generations. The reason for this text is that the Israelites saw that it was necessary that Noah be perfect in his generations.

 

In Genesis 6:9, the Hebrew word tamim means without blemish, as perfect, without blemish in his generations, and is the technical word for bodily and physical perfection and not moral perfection. It is not a moral issue, but a physical concept being dealt with and we will find that Bullinger has dealt with that in The Companion Bible at Appendix 26.

 

The Companion Bible, Appendix 26

 

The Heb. word tamim means without blemish, and is the technical word for bodily and physical perfection, and, not moral. Hence it is used of animals of sacrificial purity. It is rendered without blemish in Ex. 12.5; 29.1. Lev. 1.3,10; 3.1,6; 4.3,23,28,32; 5.15,18; 6.6; 9.2,3; 14.10; 22.19; 23.12,18. Num. 6.14; 28.19,31 29.2,8,13,20,23,29,32,36. Ezek. 43.22,23,25; 45.18,23, 46.4,6,13.

Without spot.  Num. 19.2; 28.3,9,11; 29.17,26.

Undefiled: Ps. 119.1

This shows that Gen. 6.9 does not speak of Noah’s moral perfection, but tells us that he and his family alone had preserved their pedigree and kept it pure, in spite of the prevailing corruption brought about by the fallen angels. See Ap. 23 and 25.

 

Those concepts are also then dealt with in The Companion Bible in Appendix 23 and 25. Those concepts had continued on through from pre-flood and that the sons of God there were the angelic Host.

The Companion Bible, Appendix 23

 

“The Sons of God” in Gen. 6.2, 4.

It is only by the Divine specific act of creation that any created being can be called " a son of God ". For that which is “born of the flesh is flesh”. God is spirit and that which is “born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3.6). Hence Adam is called a “son of God” in Luke 3.38. Those “in Christ” having the “new nature” which is by the direct creation of God (2Cor. 5. 17. Eph. 2.l0) can be, and are called “sons of God” (John 1.13 Rom. 8.14,15. 1John 3.1).

 

This is why angels are called "sons of God" in every other place where the expression is used in the Old Testament. Job 1.6; 2.1; 38.7. Ps. 29.1; 89.6; Dan. 3.25 (no art.). We have no authority or right to take the expression in Gen. 6.4 in any other sense. Moreover in Gen. 6.2 the Sept. renders it “angels”.

Angels are called “spirits” (Ps. 104.4. Heb. 1.7, 14), for spirits are created by God.

That there was a fall of the angels is certain from Jude 6.

The nature of their fall is clearly stated in the same verse. They left their own oiketerion [abode]. This word occurs only in 2Corinthians 5.2 and Jude 6, where it is used of the spiritual (or resurrected) body.

The nature of their sin is stated to be “in like manner” to that of the subsequent sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, Jude 7.

The time of their fall is given as having taken place “in the days of Noah” (1Pet. 3.20. 2Pet. 2.7), though there may have been a prior fall which caused the end of “the world that then was" (Gen. 1.1,2. 2Pet. 3.6). For this sin they are "reserved unto judgment", 2Pet. 2.4, and are "in prison", 1Pet. 3.19.

Their progeny, called Nephilim (translated “giants”), were monsters of iniquity; and, being superhuman in size and character, had to be destroyed (see Ap. 25). This was the one and only object of the Flood.

Only Noah and his family had preserved their pedi­gree pure from Adam (Gen. 6.9, see note). All the rest had become "corrupt" (shachath) destroyed [as Adamites]. The only remedy was to destroy it (de facto), as it had become destroyed (de jure). (It is the same word in v. 17 as in vv. 11,12). See further under Ap. 25 on the Nephilim.

This irruption of fallen angels was Satan's first attempt to prevent the coming of the Seed of the woman foretold in Gen. 3.15. If this could be accomplished, God's Word would have failed, and his own doom would be averted.

As soon as it was made known that the Seed of the woman was to come through Abraham, there must have been another irruption, as recorded in Gen. 6. 4, "and also after that" (i.e. after the days of Noah, more than 500 years after the first irruption). The aim of the enemy was to occupy Canaan in advance of Abra­ham, and so to contest its occupation by his seed. For, when Abraham entered Canaan, we read (Gen. 12. 6) "the Canaanite was then (i.e. already) in the land."

In the same chapter (Gen. 12. 10-20) we see Satan's next attempt to interfere with Abraham's seed, and frustrate the purpose of God that it should be in “Isaac”. This attempt was repeated in 20. 1-18.

This great conflict may be seen throughout the Bible, and it forms a great and important subject of Biblical study. In each case the human instrument had his own personal interest to serve, while Satan had his own great object in view. Hence God had, in each case, to interfere and avert the evil and the danger, of which His servants and people were wholly ignorant. The following assaults of the great Enemy stand out prominently:-

The destruction of the chosen family by famine, Gen. 50. 20.

The destruction of the male line in Israel, Ex. 1. 10, 15, &c. Cp. Ex. 2. 5. Heb. 11. 23.

The destruction of the whole nation in Pharaoh's pursuit, Ex. 14.

After David's line was singled out (2Sam. 7), that was the next selected for assault. Satan's first assault was in the union of Jehoram and Athaliah by Jehoshaphat, notwithstanding 2Chron. 17. 1. Jehoram killed off all his brothers (2Chron. 21. 4).

The Arabians slew all his children, except Ahaziah (2Chron. 21. 17; 22. 1.).

When Ahaziah died, Athaliah killed “all the seed royal” (2Chron. 22.10). The babe Joash alone was rescued, and, for six years, the faithfulness of Jehovah’s word was at stake (2Chron. 23.3). Hezekiah was childless, when a double assault was made by the King of Assyria and the King of Terrors (Isa. 36.1; 38.1). God’s faithfulness was appealed to and relied on (Ps. 136).

In Captivity, Haman was used to attempt the destruction of the whole nation (Est. 3.6,12,13. Cp. 6.1).

Joseph's fear was worked on (Matt. 1.18-20). Notwithstanding the fact that he was “a just man", and kept the Law, he did not wish to have Mary stoned to death (Deut. 24.1); hence Joseph determined to divorce her. But God intervened: "Fear not ".

Herod sought the young Child’s life (Matt. 2).

At the Temptation,  “Cast Thyself down" was Satan's temptation.

At Nazareth, again (Luke 4), there was another attempt to cast Him down and destroy Him.

The two storms on the Lake were other attempts.

At length the cross was reached, and the sepulchre closed; the watch set; and the stone sealed. But "God raised Him from the dead." And now, like another Joash, He is seated and expecting (Heb. 10.12,13), hidden in the house of God on high; and the members of “the one body" are hidden there "in Him" (Col. 3.1-3), like another Jehoshaba; and going forth to witness of His coming, like another Jehoiada (2Chron. 23.3).

The irruption of "the fallen angels" ("sons of God") was the first attempt; and was directed against the whole human race.

When Abraham was called, then he and his seed were attacked.

When David was enthroned, then the royal line was assailed.

And when “the Seed of the woman” Himself came, then the storm burst upon Him.

 

There is a footnote in The Companion Bible at Appendix 23 which says:

 

The word “offspring” in Acts 17.29 is quite different. It is (genos), which means merely kin or kind, our genus as being originated by God.

 

There is a distinction. The reason this had to be made is because in the fourth century the philosophical writer Augustine of Hippo had dealt with this concept of the angelic Host as the sons of God and a concept of their committing fornication with the daughters of Adam and he decided that concept was not right. He wanted to change it to say that the sons of Adam through Seth were the sons of God and the sons of Cain were the sons of men and he tried to trivialise the problem by saying that the sons of Seth had simply interbred with the sons of Cain and that was the intermingling of the blood lines. Augustine was to produce a scenario that was to last up until the twentieth century and completely destroyed the capacity of the Church to deal with anthropological finds, to explain what was happening and to explain the biblical positions. The New Testament is quite clear in its writings that this view of the angels is that they had somehow committed fornication. The letter of Jude, which is attributed by most as being written by James, the brother of Jesus, is canonised in Scripture. Jude 6-9 says (Interlinear Bible).

Jude 6-9 And those angels not having kept their first place, but having descended their dwelling-place, He has kept in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of a great Day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them, in like manner to these, committing fornication, and going away after other flesh, laid down an example beforetimes, undergoing vengeance of everlasting fire. 8 Likewise, indeed, also those dreaming ones even defile flesh, and despise rulership, and speak evil of glories. 9 But Michael the archangel, when contending with the Devil, he argued about the body of Moses - he dared not bring a judgment of blasphemy but said, Let the Lord rebuke you!

 

This whole concept is that the angels had left their first estate and committed fornication. The Interlinear Bible says in its transliteration:

Jude 6-9: 6 angels and those not having kept the of themselves first place, but having deserted the own dwelling-place, for (the) Judgment of a great Day in chains eternal under blackness He has kept: 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah and the around them cities, in the similar to these manner committing fornication and going away after flesh other. laid beforetimes an example of fire everlasting vengeance undergoing. 8 Likewise indeed also these dreaming (ones) flesh even defile, lordship and despise, glories and speak evil of. 9 But Michael the archangel, when with the Devil contending, he argues about the of Moses body, not he dared a judgment to bring of blasphemy, but said, Let rebuke (the) Lord.

 

The New Oxford Annotated RSV Bible deals with Jude 6 in this way:

the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nethergloom until the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lusts, served as an example to undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

 

God’s New Covenant - a New Testament Translation by Heinz W. Cassirer published by Eerdmans, Michigan, 1989, in its translation of Jude says:

Moreover there were angels who were not content to keep to the sphere of influence assigned to them but who have abandoned their proper domain and the way the Lord dealt with these was that he confined them to a dark place binding them with everlasting chains and reserving them to receive the judgment of the great day. Remember Sodom and Gomorrah and with them their neighbouring cities how they made themselves guilty of the same debauchery as the angels had pursuing their own natural lusts. Now they lie before our eyes serving as a warning and suffer the punishment of being consumed by an everlasting fire.

 

The Cassirer Bible translation is quite clear. The New English Bible translation is also clear – but perhaps not as clear as Cassirer – and shows absolutely that Jude 6 holds that the angels left their first estate and committed fornication. Paul also held that to be so in the text written in 1Corinthians 11. In this text Paul dealt with the concept of the position of women. In 1Corinthians 11:10 he says:

10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. (KJV)

 

The whole basis of the covering and the position of woman in relation to man in the text of 1Corinthians 11, was placed in relation to the activities of the angelic Host and the interaction with female humanity. That is why Paul says it was because of the angels. That has been an enigmatic statement to many, but we can’t understand it unless we understand Jude and the interrelationship with what is happening in relation to this Genesis story.

 

The Genesis story deals specifically with what had happened in this interbreeding and the consequence. Noah had been perfect in his generations. The Flood was caused to deal with and eliminate the Nephilim and the Rephaim or Gibbowrim.

 

The concept of the Rephaim is examined also in Isaiah 26.

Isaiah 26:12-21  LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. 13 O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. 14 They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish. 15 Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth. 16 LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them. 17 Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD. 18 We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. 19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. 20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. 21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. (KJV)

 

Note the text at verses 13-14:

13 O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. 14 They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.

 

The text here deals with the resurrection. This is evident also from a comparison with verse 19. Note also that the world is not converted by Israel.

 

The resurrection is, however, confined to the one species and not the others. The Nephilim or Rephaim have no resurrection. The word for “deceased” in verse 14 should not be translated as deceased; it is a proper name, i.e. Rephaim.

 

The concept of the offspring of the fallen Host or the gods is not pantheistic. The theoi or elohim are all sons of the Most High. They are Sons of Heaven or Sons of The God.

 

The concept is that by their physical sin the angels produced a race of humanoids that was inferior and violent. The intent appears to have been to sabotage the Plan of God by the production of a product that would interbreed with and pollute the Adamic system. This concept is virtually universal. They were often considered to have been of superior stature and power and, hence, mighty. The word gibberish in our language is a reflection of the speech of the gibbowrim. (The question of the resurrection is detailed in the paper The Resurrection of the Dead (No. 143)).

 

The Companion Bible deals with this concept and is unequivocal in its position on the Nephilim. The position of Augustine of Hippo in The City of God is thus quite false as we now know from archaeological evidence.

 

The Companion Bible, Appendix 25

 

The Nephilim, or Giants of Gen. 6

The progeny of the fallen angels with the daughters of Adam (see notes on Gen. 6, and Ap. 23) are called in Gen. 6, Ne-phil'-im, which means fallen ones (from naphal, to fall). What these beings were can be gathered only from Scripture. They were evidently great in size, as well as great in wickedness. They were superhuman, abnormal beings; and their destruc­tion was necessary for the preservation of the human race, and for the faithfulness of Jehovah's Word (Gen. 3.15).

This was why the Flood was brought "upon the world of the ungodly" (2Pet. 2.5) as prophesied by Enoch (Jude 14).

But we read of the Nephilim again in Num. 13.33: “there we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, which come of the Nephilim”. How, it may be asked, could this be, if they were all destroyed in the Flood? The answer is contained in Gen. 6.4, where we read: “There were Nephilim in the earth in those days (i.e. in the days of Noah); 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 [the] mighty - men (Heb. gibbor, the heroes) which were of old, men of renown" (lit. men of the name, i.e. who got a name and were renowned for their ungodliness).

So that "after that", i.e. after the Flood, there was a second irruption of these fallen angels, evidently smaller in number and more limited in area, for they were for the most part confined to Canaan, and were in fact known as 'the nations of Canaan". It was for the destruction of these, that the sword of Israel was necessary, as the Flood had been before.

As to the date of this second irruption, it was evi­dently soon after it became known that the seed was to come through Abraham; for, when he came out from Haran (Gen. 12.6) and entered Canaan, the significant fact is stated: "The Canaanite was then (i.e. already) in the land." And in Gen. 14.5 they were already known as "Rephaim" and "Emim", and had estab­lished themselves at Ashteroth Karnaim and Shaveh Kiriathaim.

In ch. 15.18-2l they are enumerated and named among Canaanite Peoples: "Kenites, and the  Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, and the Amorites and the Girgashites and the Jebusites (Gen 15.19-21; cp. Ex. 3.8,17; 23.23; Deut. 7; 20.17. Josh. 12.8).

 

These were to be cut off, and driven out, and utterly destroyed (Deut. 20.17. Josh. 3.10). But Israel failed in this (Josh. 13.13; 15.63; 16.10; 17.18. Judg. 1.19,20,28,29,30-36; 2.1-5; 3.1-7); and we know not how many got away to other countries to escape the general destruction. If this were recognised it would go far to solve many problems connected with Anthropology.

As to their other names, they were called Anakim, from one Anak which came of the Nephilim (Num. 13.23), and Rephaim, from Rapha, another notable one among them.

From Deut. 2.10, they were known by some as Emim, and Horim, and Zamzummim (v. 20, 21) and Avim, &c.

As Rephaim they were well known, and are often mentioned: but, unfortunately, instead of this, their proper name, being preserved, it is variously translated as “dead”, “deceased” or “giants”. These Rephaim are to have no resurrection. This fact is stated in Isa. 26:14 (where the proper name is rendered “deceased” and v. 19, where it is rendered “the dead”).

It is rendered “dead” seven times (Job 26.5; Ps. 88.10; Prov. 2.18, 9.18, 21.16; Isa. 14.8, 26.19). It is rendered “deceased” in Isa. 26.14.

It is retained as a proper name “Rephaim” ten times (two being in the margin). Gen. 14.5, 15.20; Josh. 12.15 (marg.); 2Sam. 5.18,22, 23.13; 1Chron. 11.15, 14.9, 20.4 (marg.); Isa. 17.5.

In all other places it is rendered “giants”, Gen. 6.4, Num. 23.33, where it is Nephilim; and Job 16.14, where it is gibbor (Ap. 14. iv).

By reading all these passages the Bible student may know all that can be known about these beings.

It is certain that the second irruption took place before Gen. 14, for there the Rephaim were mixed up with the five nations or peoples, which included Sodom and Gomorrah, and were defeated by the four kings under Chedorlaomer. Their principal locality was evidently “Ashtaroth Karnaim”; while the Emim were in the plain of Kiriathaim (Gen. 14:5).

Anak was a noted descendant of the Nephilim; and Rapha was another, giving their names respectively to different clans. Anak’s father was Arba, the original builder of Hebron (Gen. 35.27; Josh. 15.13; 21.11); and this Palestine branch of the Anakim was not called Abrahim after him, but Anakim after Anak. They were great, mighty, and tall (Deut. 2.10,11,21,22,23; 9.2), evidently inspiring the ten spies with great fear (Num. 13.33). Og king of Bashan is described in Deut. 3.11.

Their strength is seen in “the giant cities of Bashan” today, and we know not how far they may have been utilized by Egypt in the construction of buildings, which is still an unsolved problem.

Arba was rebuilt by the Khabiri or confederates seven years before Zoan was built by the Egyptian Pharoahs of the nineteenth dynasty. See note on Num. 13.22.

If these Nephilim, and their branch of Rephaim, were associated with Egypt, we have an explanation of the problem which has for ages perplexed all engineers, as to how those huge stones and monuments were brought together. Why not in Egypt as well as in “the giant cities of Bashan” which exist, as such, to this day?

Moreover, we have in these mighty men, the “men of renown”, the explanation of the origin of the Greek mythology. That mythology was no mere invention of the human brain, but it grew out of the traditions, and memories, and legends of the doings of that mighty race of beings, and was gradually evolved out of the “heroes”’ of Gen. 6.4. The fact that they were supernatural in their origin formed an easy step to their being regarded as the demi-gods of the Greeks.

Thus the Babylonian “Creation Tablets”, the Egyptian “Book of the dead”, the Greek mythology, and heathen Cosmogonies, which by some are set on an equality with Scripture, or by others adduced in support of it, are all the corruption and perversion of primitive truths, distorted in proportion as their origin was forgotten, and their memories faded away.

 

The Appendix of The Companion Bible is thus useful for looking at the story of the Nephilim in relation to the actual reading of the Bible texts. The Dead Sea Scrolls referred to above were not available when much of the above work was done. The major problem with so-called Orthodox Christianity over the centuries is that the interpretation of the Bible has been anthropomorphic. God and the angelic Host, His sons, have been made to conform to the image of man within his limited understanding of the time. It is only now that we are able to explore the possibilities of DNA and the complex genetic structure of the creation that we begin to see the actual reality of the past. The directionality of time has made us view other aspects previously considered impossible as within the realms of understanding. The myths of the ancient world imperfectly describe a powerful spiritual creation beyond our physical capacities to see and measure. The stories describe a war that was waged and is still being fought out for the control of the creation and its ultimate purpose. The rejection of the Nephilim as the offspring of the fallen Host originated in the fourth century CE. It was not questioned within ancient Israel as a reality. The New Testament treats the immoral and sexual behaviour of the fallen Host as fact.

 

It stands to reason that if a spiritual being can manifest itself as a male and wrestle with a male there is little to prevent the same process occurring with a female. The capacity to create humanoids must have resided with the Host from the sheer evidence we now have. The presence of humanoids on this planet cannot be the product of the creation of God alone.

 

The logic of an imperfect creation impugns the nature of God. The process is simple.

Premise 1. God created previous humanoids.

Premise 2. From Isaiah 26:14 the resurrection is denied to them.

Conclusion 1. They were imperfect.

Conclusion 2. God desired that imperfect beings would be present and hence be able to corrupt His Plan requiring a destruction of the planet; or

Conclusion 3. God experiments.

 

If God experiments, then God does not know the outcome of His activity and hence He is not omniscient. If His Plan is deliberately flawed, then he is not perfectly Good.

 

If God is not omniscient or perfectly good, then He cannot be God. A being that does not know all the future cannot be God. God is omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good.

 

Conclusion: God delegates the power of creation and of choice to the elohim Host.

 

Thus, an inferior Host can and did err without impugning the nature of God. Thus, there is no conflict between the actual biblical texts properly understood and archaeological evidence. The Nephilim are held to exist as a humanoid form akin to, but not, Adamic. That species is not confined to the time frames attributed to Adam and can precede Adam by millennia and be blatantly discontinuous.

 

It is probable that there were a series of attempts to create an intelligent life form by the Host in order to pre-empt the Plan of God. Modern science seems to indicate that intelligent mammalian life is only possible within a window of opportunity of plus or minus a few million years in the life of the star systems. The previous creation, such as that of the dinosaurs, seems to indicate an attempt at another type. The humanoid record is blatantly discontinuous and as such could not have evolved. The eventual intervention of God through the loyal Host in the creation has ended a war that has seen a physical and spiritual violence that has destroyed entire systems. The story of this conflict is contained in the mysteries themselves and will be unfolded over time. The stories of the War in the Heavens when told will make the world stand in amazement.

 

See the paper Creation: From Anthropomorphic Theology to Theomorphic Anthropology (No. B5)

 

NOTE: In this paper, extensive quotes are taken from E. W. Bullinger’s The Companion Bible (KJV), Kregel Publications, PO Box 2607, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49501, USA.