Saturday, January 21, 2012

Who are the Nephilim?

A listener posted a good question on our Land and the Book Facebook page: "What's your take on the Nephilim theory? My husband and I have different opinions on it so I like to hear other people's thoughts."

Let me first share just a little background for those who might not be familiar with the issue. There are two major passages in the Bible that mention a group known as the Nephilim. The primary passage is Genesis 6, and the second is Numbers 13. I believe the Nephilim in these passages must refer to two different groups, so let me deal with the second passage first.

In Numbers 13:33 ten of the spies sent by Moses to check out the Promised Land were delivering their findings...and it was a discouraging report indeed! They noted that the land, though good, was occupied by "the descendants of Anak" who would be "too strong for us" (vv. 28, 31). They ended their report by comparing themselves to the foe they would have to defeat to occupy the land. "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."

The spies compared the inhabitants of Canaan to the Nephilim. Though it looks from the text as if they were saying these inhabitants were physical descendants of the Nephilim, I don't believe that's possible. The Nephilim mentioned in the Book of Genesis (see below) were destroyed in the flood that God sent on the earth. The only humans to survive the flood were Noah and his family, and they were not part of the Nephilim. So I believe we need to take this passage as a descriptive comparison. To these frightened spies the Canaanites looked as physically strong and powerful as the Nephilim of old...while the spies felt as small as grasshoppers in comparison. It's an exaggeration for effect, and it had the intended results by getting the people to grumble against Moses and disobey God.

So then, who are the Nephilim of Genesis 6 to whom the spies compared the inhabitants of Canaan? Here's what the biblical text says. "The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose....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" (Genesis 6:2–4).

From the text, it appears that the Nephilim are the result of the intermarriage between the "sons of God" and the "daughters of man." And two major explanations have been let's evaluate each one.

Human Explanation
The two chapters preceding this passage describe the descendants of the wicked line of Cain (Genesis 4) and the godly line of Seth (Genesis 5). In the "human explanation," chapter 6 is then picturing the intermingling of the godly line of Seth with the ungodly line of Cain, resulting in a corrupted human line that now had to be judged by God through the flood.

This explanation does fit within the larger context since it immediately follows the genealogies of these two parallel lines of human ancestry that descended from Adam. And the interpretation is supported historically by a fragment from Qumran that refers to the "children of Seth" as well as by relatively early Jewish and Christian writings. For example, this is the view supported by Augustine.

But there are also some problems with this view. The first problem is the theological reality that every child born to Adam had a sin nature. It seems to be an oversimplification to refer to all the descendants from Seth as "sons of God" and all those from Cain as "daughters of men" when they were all born with the same Adamic nature. The second problem is that, if taken literally, the text is saying that only males from the line of Seth intermarried with females from the line of Cain. (One would expect men and women from both lines to intermarry.) And the third problem is that this view doesn't really explain the origin of the Nephilim since they are still the offspring of two humans. One could assume they are the product of some genetic mutation, but such a view seems foreign to the text.

Angelic Explanation
The second possible explanation is that the phrase "sons of God" refers to angels cohabiting with humans ("daughters of men"). In this explanation the Nephilim (giants/mighty men) are the product of this angelic/human cohabitation.

This explanation also seems to have some historic support in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in the pseudepigraphal Book of Enoch. And it could also help explain a passage in the Book of Jude that describes a special judgment on a certain group of fallen angels "who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode" (Jude 6). These angels were those confined to a place call "the Abyss"--a place to which even Satan was not sent following his rebellion against God. So what could these angels have done to bring such severe judgment on themselves? Since Jesus said that the angels of heaven "neither marry nor are given in marriage" (Matthew 22:30), this type of cohabitation with humans could indeed fit the special nature of the sin pictured by Jude. One final reference in support of this explanation is that in the Book of Job angels are described as "sons of God" (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7).

This position is not without its problems, however, First, it requires us to interject angels into the Genesis 6 account in a somewhat unnatural way. While the serpent/tempter has been mentioned (Genesis 3), Moses has presented nothing about the supernatural realm of angels up to this point in his account. As a result, the sudden appearance of angels--purely to explain the rise of Nephilim--seems rather abrupt. And Jude doesn't tell us specifically what the sin of these angels was that brought on their judgment, so there is a certain degree of speculation in saying it was cohabitation with humans.

Sorry for the long explanation! But I needed to share all of that before actually answering the initial question. So what's my take on the Nephilim in Genesis 6? I believe they were the product of angelic/human cohabitation...and that the product of this cohabitation is one of the key reasons God sought to destroy the earth through the flood. But I also believe the Bible isn't absolutely clear on this point, so I hold my position loosely. As I like to say to my students, "This is something I wouldn't start a new church over!"

And I hope I also haven't caused any problems between you and your husband with my answer!


  1. No problem at all, Charlie! We have fun debating things we disagree on. Really we do.:) I appreciate your answer. I'm about 80% sold on the Angelic Explanation and he's more 97, thus the difference of opinion. I'll read this to him later. This was one of the many topics we discussed at length while we were "dating" (or whatever you do at 2000 miles distance), so it comes up again every once in a while. Your call-in question made me think about it.

    Thanks again and God bless!

  2. Hi Dr. Dyer, I have no problem with the theory that you embrace, except that I dont see any reason to believe that Angels have the ability physically procreate. Even Jesus hinted at that they dont. I know that they appear in human form in the Bible at times, but that doesnt necessarily mean they have functioning male "parts" does it?

  3. Dr. Dyer,

    I need warn you of this great blaspheme that you hold to, that God is perverted!

    He created Angels with the ability to breed with mankind and allowed them to do it!

    Was he enjoying it? Why else would He do it?

    God would be responsible for the corruption on earth and then He blames mankind!

    That's a pervert! That's a sick mind! Is this the God you serve?

    I have been watching the destruction of all those who are teaching Genesis 6 in error.

    J.R.Church just died from cancer shortly after preaching this non sense.

    Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel allows his assistant son-in-law to teach this from the pulpit, and now has cancer.

    YOU NEED TO REPENT - Thus saith the LORD!

    Here's your error: It's all about being "UNEQUALLY YOKED" and "Coveting the neighbors wife".

    That's the theme throughout the entire bible, because the next generation moves even further away from righteousness then the last that disobeyed God's Word.

    Solomon is the perfect example. He married women from all nations and worshiped their god's.

    He bore children "That Were Renown" for their father's sake!

    They are The Apostate Children that lead many away from the Faith.

    The sons of God in the old testament are the same sons of God in the new testament!

    You and all others, are stumbling over the text instead of "listening to the Spirit" who is speaking.

    Here is the interpretation of Genesis 6, from the bible:

    2Samuel 11:1-5, 27 & 12:15,18

    - at the time when kings go forth [to battle], - David tarried still at Jerusalem.

    - from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman [was] very beautiful to look upon.

    - the wife of Uriah the Hittite

    - and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her;

    - And the woman conceived - and said, I [am] with child.

    - David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son.

    But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.

    - And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.

    And it came to pass, - that the child died.

    Genesis 6:1-7

    - when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,

    (These are "natural men" without the Spirit having daughters without the Spirit - 1Corinthians2)

    That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they [were] fair;

    and they took them wives of all which they chose.
    There were giants (fallen ones, apostates) 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.

    FAMOUS MEN that lead many away from the Faith!

    Is that happening today as in Noah's day?


    Are you also teaching that Women beware. Demons want to marry you!

    Pastors beware - Don't marry any Demon to a woman!

    Demons don't have body's and your flawed theory is blasphemous!

    Repent! before it's to late...

  4. Dude...take a chill pill. Your theatrics contribute nothing.

    1. Dude, That attitude is why the world is about to be judge! Thanks, You contributed A LOT!

      Not only is the majority of "the church" teaching wives fables and reading from lying Apocryphal books.
      They cannot understand what Jesus is saying regarding the time of His coming!
      Every Pastor in Calvary Chapel (my church for 10 years) is a deceiver according to Paul in 2Thessalonians 2:3.

      I would bet everything, that EVEN YOU, are under this same deception!

      Let's test you with these 5 simple verses from the mouth of the Lord?

      Luke 17:26-30
      26And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
      27They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
      28Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
      29But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
      30Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

      If you get this answer incorrect, you are "the deceived" of Matthew 24:4

      Question: What exact "day" is Jesus coming on, to "catch the saints away?
      or What "day and hour" will the Rapture event occur?

      I love mocking your type! Being luke-warm to the truth of these 5 verses is a sin!
      Jesus would say to you, Become Zealous and repent! before it's too late...

      Jesus could not have made it easier to understand and give His Bride the exact DAY AND HOUR in these verses!


      His Bride will be removed from the earth ON THE DAY OF HIS WRATH!
      Exactly 60 minutes after we see the Abomination of desolation!

      Isn't that cool? Now that's the real comfort, that 1Thessalonians 4:18 speaks of!

    2. In fact, Jesus is coming from the third heaven on a bright cloud that track along side of Russian ICBM'S, for the 30 minute flight to America, the great!

      That is totally cool! Isaiah 13:5 declares the death of every man and beast in America, on that day!

      They will have heart attacks as the weapons come and I will experience the greatest joy possible, as I lift my head and look up to see Jesus coming to translate me just before they explode.

      That's a fiery furnace experience! We get to go through a fiery furnace experience! YES!
      Because scriptures teach we "change" in the TWINKLING OF AN EYE before Boom!!!

      Our God is soo good! Amen?

      Allow me to stop playing with you and get in your face with the simple facts that you are oblivious to:

      Washington,DC is The Great Whore / Harlot CITY of Revelation 17.
      America the great, is being destroyed in Revelation 18.
      The 4 ICBM'S from Russia (Ez 39:6 & Ez 1), trigger our 2 active super volcano's and the bottomless pit is created.
      America is covered with sulfur from coast to coast, neither man or beast will be able to breath!
      This is because THE ANTICHRIST is a former president and 60 minutes earlier, he destroyed Jerusalem by allowing the Muslims to over-run the city with a flood of Islamics.
      God destroys THE Antichrist's Capital City and his whole nation for this.

      Today's church is blind as a bat!

      The Quartet (the beast from the sea & the 4 beasts of Daniel 7) divide Jerusalem in a defense pact against a nuclear Iran!
      The church will now understand that the final 7 years just began and they're still here...
      They will also understand that God's wrath, that the Bride is saved from occurs in exactly 1,260 days and a real revival begins as they prepare their hearts and children for the inevitable fiery furnace we all will experience and the martyrs crown we all receive.

      I hope this helps you become Zealous and repent! I know you will soon...

      Habakkuk 1:5
      Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously:
      for [I] will work a work in your days, [which] ye will not believe, though it be told [you].

      The joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

    3. signofjonah, you intend well, but your theology is off in a few places. You said in your interpretation of Gen. 6: - when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,

      (These are "natural men" without the Spirit having daughters without the Spirit - 1Corinthians2)

      All people were "without the Spirit," having sinful, fallen natures as Adam. As you know it is only in Christ that a person is spiritually reborn into relationship with God (2 Cor. 5:17, Jn. 17:3)
      Also, though as believers, we long for the day of Christ's return, and can't wait to be rescued from a world of wickedness, we do not rejoice in the death or destruction of unbelievers. The thought of all those who are deceived and heading to destruction should not bring us joy (Ezek. 18:23, 33:11).

      Also, you cite Ezek. 39 with reference to the destruction of America and D.C., but that is clearly out of context. Ezek. 38-39 are speaking of the battle of Magog, where Russia and its allied Muslim countries come out and strike Israel, a land restored from war, living in unwalled cities and villages.

      You said: UNTIL, THEY SOON WILL SEE,
      The Quartet (the beast from the sea & the 4 beasts of Daniel 7) divide Jerusalem in a defense pact against a nuclear Iran!
      The church will now understand that the final 7 years just began and they're still here...

      The 4 beasts of Daniel are successive historical empires that had or will have control over the Jews. The final one in place at Christ's return (Zech. 14) will be the fourth beast, or one-world empire. The other three perished in antiquity.
      The 7 years begins when the man of lawlessness confirms a covenant with the many of the Middle East. The antichrist will not move until after the fourth beast and the 10 horns are in place. It is indeed soon, but not yet.

      This should indeed cause us to labor intensely for the coming of our Lord (2 Ptr. 3:12), and work together with brothers and sisters in Christ in sharing the gospel.

  5. Dr. Dyer, You mentioned in your post that the pseudopigraphal work of Enoch mentions about the Nephilim, but I would venture that Enoch and some of the other pseudopigraphal works give much more detail as to the coing of the fallen angels to earth, and detailing that it was 200 angels to be precise.
    Enoch is cited by Jude and Peter, so we know that Jesus and his family were familiar with the pseudopigraphal works. In fact, Enoch was popular up through the 3 century A.D. or so within many of the Christian communities.

    While I believe that cohabitation was a reason for the judgment of the flood, it goes beyond that. The Pseudopigrapha tells us of the wickedness these angelic beings introduced to humanity, and its apperant that part of the agenda was genetic corruption, to pollute the human dna code, to destroy the seed promised to Eve to redeem mankind. This is why Noah is listed as 'perfect' in his time, genetical pure human, and was saved (also being providentially of the bloodline of Seth).
    This is another way that the last days are like the days of Noah, with all the genetic modifications being made, stemming out of animal cloning, now governments are working on superhumans, designer babies, etc., and there is a growing movement known as trans-humanism. I believe there is also a case why so many UFO abudctions have centered around reproductive parts with both human and animals. Could it be these aliens are giving humans technology, and building a new breed of Nephilim?

  6. That is a lot dr. Dyer lol now I feel like starting a new church Hahaha

  7. Your site is quite interesting and very well written. I like the way it is organized and presented. Very concise and articulate.

  8. On Genesis 6:2, the Greek Old Testament (LXX) is clear that it refers to angels. The Greek Old Testament is the scriptures used during Jesus' time, and Jesus' and his apostles often quote the Greek Old Testament as seen from their writings in the New Testament.

    Gen 6:2 - ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ ἄγγελοι τοῦ θεοῦ τὰς θυγατέρας τῶν ἀνθρώπων ὅτι καλαί εἰσιν, ἔλαβον ἑαυτοῖς γυναῖκας ἀπὸ πασῶν ὧν ἐξελέξαντο.

    Swete, H. B. (1909). The Old Testament in Greek: According to the Septuagint (Gen 6:2).

    Literal Translation:
    But the angels of God saw that the daughters of man were beautiful, and And they took for themselves wives from all that they chose.

    This is also the view of all the early Christians as well as Jews in the first few centuries after Christ.

    It should also be noted that the other 2 times "sons of God" is used in the bible outside of Genesis 6, it always refer to angels.

    The book of Enoch and Jubilee, both Apocrypha books and of Jewish origin, likewise also write of the Nephilims as fallen angels who rebelled and had sexual intercourse with human females.

    In other words, there is complete agreement among the Early Jewish writings, the Early Christians, and the Greek Old Testament that the Nephilims are the product of fallen-angel/human union. The idea that this is a result of Seth-Cain intermarriage is a teaching that only arose much later on.

  9. Dr. Dyer, thank you for addressing this issue in regards to the Nephilim.
    You stated that "While the serpent/tempter has been mentioned (Genesis 3), Moses has presented nothing about the supernatural realm of angels up to this point in his account. As a result, the sudden appearance of angels--purely to explain the rise of Nephilim--seems rather abrupt". While I am thankful for your opinion in regards to the "sudden" mentioning of angels by Moses, its omission doesn't invalidate their existence. It is not until Genesis 3 that Moses mentions Satan/Tempter. Did Satan/Tempter's "sudden" appearance in Genesis 3 mitigate his prior existence/involvement? I humbly submit for obvious reasons that Satan/Serpent existed and had fallen before Eve's temptation and her consequent fall. The reason the Nephilim are mentioned is the CAUSE for the EFFECT of the Flood (judgment). If Jude 6 doesn't mention SPECIFICALLY why those angels were "incarcerated" with EVERLASTING "chains", the good old "Scripture interprets Scripture" approach comes handy. I think that answer is given to us by 2 Peter 2:4,5 where, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter says, "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly" NASB.
    These angels that "sinned" did a so off the wall sin, that it caused God not only to lock them up in the DEEPEST of the pit of darkness, with ETERNAL CHAINS (they ain't going nowhere) but to also wipe out their "off springs" (Nephilim) from the face of the earth (Flood). Pretty heavy stuff. I think, again, in my humble opinion, the answer is given by the text itself. The main reason I've noticed from people that believe the Seth option is because they misunderstand the text from Mat. 22:30 where our LORD says that angels neither marry nor are given in marriage in HEAVEN (emphasis mine). Humans, unlike angels, need to procreate since death was introduced in Eden as a result of sin. Angels, in the other hand, even knowing the Scriptures say there are myriads of them, have a limited number and do not die, meaning do not have a body of flesh and bones as sinful humans do, separating from the spirit/soul at death. However, the angels that sinned (fallen angels) left their oikētērion (habitation) Strong’s G3613, their dwelling place, origin of departure, to cohabit, destination of purpose, with women. It is implicit from the text. I believe, that it is possible, due to the events prior to the Flood, that sinful angels could intermingle with the seed of men in the future, again, "as in the days of Noah" as predicted by our LORD. I believe the pronoun THEY refers to fallen angels committing that sin again of commingling with humans, as referenced on the Book of Daniel 2:43, again using the "Scripture interprets Scripture" approach.
    Thank you Doctor and all your staff for your devoted time to the ministry. God bless you!


  10. The Nephilim were those called “Noldor elves” (etymology N-ph-L-dior) by Tolkien. I’ve written a book about the Nephilim… find excerpts and the book in the source attached below.

    Who were the biblically-mentioned Nephelim, “the men of old, men of renown”? What was so renowned about the Nephelim?

    Were they the Noldor, who are mentioned as the politically most important of the “awakened” elves?

    Indeed, that is what we find!

    In Aramaic culture, “niyphelah” refers to Orion [the constellation of the 7 stars – correlated to the seven sons of the Noldo Feanor, see], and so nephilim seems related to Noldor. Niyphelah is obviously related to the term Nephele – In Greek myth: “Athamas [Adam] took as first wife the cloud goddess Nephele [related to the term Nephele, the Noldor was the leading reigning house], by whom he had 2 children, the boy Phrixus and the girl Helle [p1s of hell]. The Noldor i.e. Nephel-Dior – related to the root NBL (Nebel = Mist e.g.: nebelwerfer; cognate to novelty as well… indeed the term “nobility” as well – from here sprang; that is why men of renown) – a most ancient nobility created out of Atlantean remnants – were, with some exceptions – allies of Melkor, as Tolkien uses the term “misty mountains” to depict Melkor’s base, which proves that the political plan of creation became pro-logic! This resulted in the Noldor being led by Cain/Melkor… so deeply associated with the elven legacy was Cain that the language of the elves, for Tolkien, is Quendi (Cain-dio)! And here we even find the etymology of Noldor (Nephele-Dior i.e. Nol-Dor) – the emerging nobility… who, after “the creation” – would, by and large, defect, desisting from serving the sublogical commissions of the p0s, and thus become known in bibles as “mighty warriors, men of renown”, “heroes of old, men of renown” etc. – the Nephilim!

    The people of Feanor1, since they had defected from the Creationist p0s, would be called “The fallen angels”…