A very common belief among Christians the world over is that Genesis 6 is about angels coming down from heaven and taking women for wives who produced giant, angel/Adamic hybrids. We would like to unpack this view and show why it cannot be true. First, we will briefly present the argument which we are going to address.
The verses used to support this view are Genesis 6:1-4,
1 Now it came about, when mankind began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of mankind were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not remain with man forever, because he is also flesh; nevertheless his days shall be 120 years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of mankind, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
They will argue that the “sons of God” here is necessarily a reference to angels. Sometimes Job 1:6 will be cited in support,
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.
Or Job 38:7,
When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
They presume that because the “sons of God” in Job must be angels, therefore the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2 are also angels. They further argue that it was these angelic “sons of God” which took Adamic wives and produced children — who are supposedly giants, which are referred to as “nephilim.” And because Genesis 6 does not mention giants, they will often use Numbers 13:33 to connect “nephilim” with giants:
We also saw the Nephilim there (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
Given that the sons of Anak were giants — and given that the sons of Anak were nephilim — they will then conclude the nephilim of Genesis 6 must also be giants.
WERE THE NEPHILIM THE PROGENY OF THE SONS OF GOD AND DAUGHTERS OF MEN?
However, a close reading of Genesis 6:4 clearly contradicts this entire thesis:
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of mankind, and they bore children to them.
This passage is in no way saying that the nephilim are the product of the union between the sons of God and the daughters of mankind. Rather, it is saying that the Nephilim were already on the earth in those days — and also after those days — when the sons of God came in to the daughters of mankind. In other words, when this union between the sons of God and daughters of mankind came about, the nephilim were already there.
We can therefore already state categorically that the nephilim were not the product of the union between the sons of God and the daughters of mankind.
COULD THE SONS OF GOD HAVE BEEN ANGELS? — WHAT IS A “SON OF GOD”?
Next, we would like to address whether or not the “sons of God” were angels at all — going beyond the references to the book of Job. But first let us stipulate that we are not arguing that the “sons of God” in Job were not angels — on the contrary, it seems hard to imagine how the “sons of God” in Job are not referring to angels.
However, the logic which states — Job’s angels were “sons of God” and therefore the “sons of God” in Genesis 6 were angels — is not necessarily true. To hold this logic sullies the lesson of what “sons of God” actually are and necessarily divorces this concept from the New Testament entirely.
Hosea 1:10 — which is even before the New Testament — says,
10 Yet the number of the sons of Israel will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or counted; And in the place where it is said to them, “You are not My people,” It will be said to them, “You are the sons of the living God.”
If we were to take Hosea 1:10 at face value, we could fairly conclude that being a “son of God” is a title which can be bestowed upon a person — just as it was bestowed upon those “not my people” to become “sons of the living God.”
Moving on the the New Testament, Paul says in Romans 8:14,
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
This explicit reference in the New Testament to the “sons of God” is simply ignored and cast aside when considering what the “sons of God” refers to in Genesis 6 — as if Paul were completely unaware of how that phrase was used in Genesis.
Paul tells us that the “sons of God” are necessarily led by the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is something which was bestowed on the New Testament church as well as believing Christians who follow the Lord Jesus in spirit and truth. The Lord says in Matthew 5:44-45,
44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may prove yourselves to be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
The same is recorded in Luke 6:35,
But love your enemies and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil people.
The Lord is clearly teaching that to be able to love one’s personal enemies in life is a necessary prerequisite of becoming a son of God. Consider how easy it is to be puffed up and justified against those who would personally slight us, and that to resist this fleshly urge and to love them instead is a requirement to be a son of God.
John 1:12 says,
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name
One of the cornerstones of the gospel of the Lord Jesus is that the work which He has done on Earth — and the good news of His words — enable people to become children of God.
Paul connects his argument ending in Romans 8 with the argument beginning in Romans 9 by this concept of being “sons of God”. He continues from Romans 8:14 quoted earlier and says in verse 19,
For the eagerly awaiting creation waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
Paul then says in Romans 9:8
That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.
Paul has stated that everything which He described in Romans 8 is realized by “children of the promise.” If one is not a child of the promise, then one is not a child of God — and none of the things which Paul stated in Romans 8 apply either. Paul then goes on to quote Hosea 1:10 in Romans 9:26 which we quoted above.
There are even more places in the New Testament we could go to address this concept — however, the point has probably been made already: being a “son of God” — which is a “child of God” — is a title for those who are chosen by God for righteousness through the Lord Jesus.
One could then postulate that this behavior required by true “sons of God” should be evident in angels as well, seeing as how the “sons of God” in Job are angels. For example, Jude 1:9 says,
But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him an abusive judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
Here we see that even when having disputes with one another, some of the angels who are righteous display behavior fitting of a son of God. The Lord says in Matthew 5:9,
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Isn’t it incredible then that angels would even be peacemakers with one another as we can clearly see in the book of Jude? 2 Peter 2:11 says,
whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a demeaning judgment against them before the Lord.
Even before the Lord, the angels do not presume to judge the sinners who hate authority described in 2 Peter 2. However, there are angels who do not display this behavior. Job 1:6 says,
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.
Note how Satan is said to be among the sons of God, but he is not one of them. Revelation 12:10 describes the character of Satan,
…Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, the one who accuses them before our God day and night.
This is the exact behavior which he displayed in the book of Job — and it stands in stark contrast to the angels who “do not bring a demeaning judgement” in 2 Peter 2:11.
Therefore, it stands to reason that there are angels who are not sons of God — and there are angels who are sons of God based on their behavior which the New Testament teaches. The natural conclusion then is that being an angel does not necessarily make on a son of God.
COULD THE SONS OF GOD HAVE BEEN ANGELS? — “THEY TOOK WIVES FOR THEMSELVES”
Another inconsistency with the belief that the “sons of God” were necessarily angels arises in Genesis 6:2:
that the sons of God saw that the daughters of mankind were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.
The Lord Jesus says of the time before the flood in Matthew 24:37-38,
37 For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark
What He has said here corresponds with the narrative given in Genesis 6:2 — although He seems to put it in a negative light. Marriage in the Scripture was a law given to Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:24,
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
The Lord confirms that this is the law of marriage when He says in Matthew 19:5-6,
5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no person is to separate.
The becoming of one flesh and marriage itself is the act of sex between a man and a woman — which is confirmed in Genesis 24:67 when Isaac marries Rebekah:
Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; so Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
The same is confirmed in Genesis 29:21-23, 25-26 when Jacob accidentally marries Leah,
21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time is completed, that I may have relations with her.” 22 So Laban gathered all the people of the place and held a feast. 23 Now in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to him; and Jacob had relations with her… 25 So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, “What is this that you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served with you? Why then have you deceived me?” 26 But Laban said, “It is not the practice in our place to marry off the younger before the firstborn.”
By virtue of having slept with Leah, Jacob knew that he was married to her — and there was nothing he could do to change that.
If we look at modern times, people sleep around with one another completely oblivious that they are “marrying and giving in marriage” continually. Therefore, if marriage is sex — and if modern times will be like the times of Noah — and if the law of marriage had been given to Adam and Eve — then we can conclude that there was a similar kind of sexual immorality happening in Noah’s day.
Yet in Matthew 22:30 the Lord says of our resurrected bodies,
For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
He is stating categorically that angels do not marry. And so if the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2 took wives of the daughters of mankind — but angels are not able to marry — then it logically follows that the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2 could not have been angels.
However, we have heard many times across many different Christian circles that Matthew 22:30 is allegedly referring only to “angels in heaven.” They are contending that “angels in heaven” do not marry, but angels who are not in heaven — possibly fallen or some other state — are indeed able to marry. This line of argument does not at all support the case that the “sons of God” were angels — rather, it merely assumes that the “sons of God” were angels.
If it were true that angels allegedly can or cannot marry based on the state of their existence, we need some evidence of this somewhere in the Scripture. We would expect to see fallen angels somewhere in Scripture sleeping with people and producing children. Suffice to say, there is literally zero supporting evidence for the “only angels in heaven” idea anywhere in the Scripture.
One cannot cite Genesis 6 as evidence, because they would simply be assuming angels are involved — without any mention of angels in the narrative — and contrary to the stipulations which the Lord made in Matthew 22:30.
WEREN’T THE ANGELS LOCKED UP FOR DOING WRONG?
A key aspect of the belief that angels allegedly slept with Adamic people in Genesis 6 is 2 Peter 2:4 which says in the King James Version,
For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
They believe that the angels who sinned were the angels of Genesis 6 — and that they were sent to “hell”. Some will even go as far as to fancifully allege that the “chains of darkness” are the seed of the angels trapped into their mortal progeny — which are supposedly giants or some other mixed-breed.
However, Genesis 6 doesn’t even mention angels at all — let alone angels sleeping with Adamic men. Neither does Genesis 6 mention angels sinning or being cast into hell. In reality, there is nothing to connect Genesis 6 with 2 Peter 2:4 except in the minds of those who can see things that are not there.
But let’s look at 2 Peter 2:4 again but this time substituting two key words that they rely upon in the King James version — “hell” and “chains” — to maintain their belief:
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into Tartarus and committed them to pits of darkness, held for judgment;
The reason we substituted “hell” for “Tartarus” is that’s literally the word Peter wrie — “Tartarus” (Strongs G5020) — and significantly it is the only time that it is used in the New Testament. To arbitrarily change “Tartarus” to “hell” — as the King James translators did — discards what Peter is trying to say.
Peter chose this word not because he believed the Greek myth of Tartarus actually existed but rather as a comparison that his Helenized readers would understand. Tartarus was a place very deep under the earth, like an abyss, where the gods locked up their enemies — like the titans — to reserve them for a later judgement. Peter confirms this meaning when he says they are “held for judgement.” Tartarus is a holding place for judgement.
Incidentally, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:3,
Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?
The angels then are specifically being held for our judgement. If angels are placed in a place like Tartarus to be reserved for a later judgement — which is our judgement — then how is it that this could be referring to angels which are chained into their progeny? Will the angels spring forth from their progeny one day in order to be judged? The question may seem obtuse, but it highlights the problem with this belief.
Of the early manuscripts from which we get our New Testament writings, there is only one which says “chains” — while the rest say “pits.” The source writings in the original Greek seem quite divided overall as to whether it is saying “chains” or “pits.”
But it doesn’t really matter which one is used so long as our understanding of the verse aligns with the rest of what Peter said — that it is like Tartarus — and a holding place for those reserved for judgement. With that in mind, it seems to make more sense that it is saying “pits” because Tartarus, of course, is like a pit.
Elsewhere in Scripture we find this narrative to which Peter and Paul have referred, such as Isaiah 24:21-22:
21 So it will happen on that day, That the Lord will punish the host of the height in the height, And the kings of the earth on earth. 22 They will be gathered together Like prisoners in the dungeon, And will be confined in prison; And after many days they will be punished.
Some Christians will assert that the “host of heaven” or the “heights” are references to worldly political power, but here we have a host of the heights which is distinguished from kings on earth. They are higher than the kings on earth which can only be angels in heaven.
This prophecy states that sometime in the future — after the time of Isaiah — which is well after the time of Genesis 6 — the angels will be gathered to prison. And after that — after many days — they will be punished. This presents a big problem for those who believe that Genesis 6 shows that confinement to be in the past.
However, this imprisonment and confinement is well documented in the New Testament — no more obvious than in the story of the madman of Gadara in Luke 8:20-22:
30 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; because many demons had entered him. 31 And they were begging Him not to command them to go away into the abyss.
The Greek word for “demons” is “daimonion” (Strong’s G1140) — the diminutive form of “daimón” (Strong’s G1142) — a pagan Greek concept, which Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines as follows:
1. the divine Power, deity, divinity… 2. a spirit, a being inferior to God, superior to men…
Some Christians make the mistake of believing that there were actual “daimóns” in the Bible according to Greek mythology; however, the authors are merely accommodating their Hellenized audience by referring to something which is very much like a “daimón” without confirming that Greek mythology is true. What are these “daimón” then?
Daniel 8:1-8 refers to the destruction of the Medes and Persians at the hands of the Greeks under Alexander the Great. Verse 9 refers to how upon Alexander’s death, the Greek empire was split into four kingdoms: The Ptolemaic Kingdom, the Seleucid Empire, the Kingdom of Pergamon and the Bactrian Kingdom. Verse 9 refers to the little horn — Antiochus IV Epiphanies — who takes away the sacrifice in verse 11. Verse 10 says the following,
It grew up to the heavenly lights, and some of the lights, that is, some of the stars it threw down to the earth, and it trampled them.
This is the very same verse being referred to in Revelation 12:3-4,
3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven crowns. 4 And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and hurled them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her Child.
The same event is referred to differently in Revelation 12:7-9,
7 And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, 8 and they did not prevail, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
Therefore — comparing Revelation 12 with Daniel 8, Daniel 8:10 is referring to a heavenly battle which is happening simultaneous to the earthly events. Daniel 8 refers to a battle which is happening with the little horn of Greece, yet Daniel 10 refers to a battle with the “prince of Persia” — chronologically prior to the battle with Greece, where it says in Daniel 10:21,
However, I will tell you what is recorded in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.
Michael then is the prince of Israel, which we have already ascertained is an archangel according to Jude 1:9. This is the same thing which is being referred to in Revelation 12 — Michael and his angels fighting Satan and his angels.
If Michael is the archangel — or prince — of Israel, then the other “princes” with whom he is battling are archangels as well. Even earlier, in the time of Isaiah 14:13-15 we are told,
13 But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ 15 Nevertheless you will be brought down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit.
This is the same language being used to describe the little horn’s hubris in Daniel 8:11,25,
11 It even exalted itself to be equal with the Commander of the army; and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was overthrown… 25 And through his shrewdness He will make deceit a success by his influence; And he will make himself great in his own mind, And he will destroy many while they are at ease. He will even oppose the Prince of princes, But he will be broken without human agency.
The Commander of the army — the “Lord of armies/hosts” — and the Prince of princes — is the most high God, the Lord Jesus. This is confirmed in Revelation 1 — where verses 13-16 describe the Lord. And we encourage the reader to look up each citation we have given in and amongst the description of these verses,
13 and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet [Daniel 10:5, Isaiah 6:1], and wrapped around the chest with a golden sash [Daniel 10:5]. 14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow [Daniel 7:9]; and His eyes were like a flame of fire [Daniel 10:6]. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze [Daniel 10:6] when it has been heated to a glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters [Daniel 10:6, Ezekiel 1:24]. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength [Revelation 10:1, Ezekiel 1:26-28].
The figure in Ezekiel 1, Daniel 7, Daniel 10 and Revelation 10 are all the Lord Jesus. We can see a “prince” or archangel resisting Him again in Daniel 10:13, where the prince of Persia is opposing the Lord Himself,
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was standing in my way for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.
Then Daniel 9:26 says,
Then after the sixty-two weeks, the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.
This prophecy is an obvious reference to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in 70AD. If the Romans were the “people of the prince who is to come,” then the “prince who is to come” was the prince of Rome.
It is clear then that there have been “princes” or archangels opposing the Lord from the time of Babylon (Isaiah 14:13-15), all the way until the time of Rome. Each time, it is Michael the prince of Israel who stands up and fights for the Lord to execute His will. Given that the battle of Revelation 12:7 happens after the Lord’s ascension (verse 5), it is likely that it is the overthrow of the prince of Rome. Paul prophecies this very event in Romans 16:20,
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
These heavenly battles have been happening continually — and five kingdoms along with their princes were defeated: Babylon, Media, Persia, Greece and Rome. Each time the angels along with their prince — or archangel — were cast down to the earth. To this end, Luke 10:17-18 says,
17 Now the seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name!” 18 And He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning.”
Therefore, the seventy-two’s authority over the demons are the result of Satan — their prince — being cast down from heaven. The Lord elaborates on this in Luke 11:20-22,
20 But if I cast out the demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are secure. 22 But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, that man takes away his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder.
The Lord has shown that as a result of Satan having been defeated in heaven and cast down along with his angels, he is under the authority of the Lord — the angels under his command become plunder. No wonder the angels who fell were so afraid of Him, as Mark 3:11 tells us,
And whenever the unclean spirits saw Him, they would fall down before Him and shout, “You are the Son of God!”
Let us then consider Luke 8:21 again,
And they were begging Him not to command them to go away into the abyss.
Remember how Isaiah 24 said that at some later stage they would be cast into prison reserved for judgement — and how Peter said they were cast into Tartarus reserved for judgement. In Luke 8:21 they are begging the Lord Jesus not to cast them into the very same abyss. This imagery is replete in the Revelation, where it says in Revelation 9:11,
They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.
There is another ruling angel — the king of the denizens of the abyss, who in Revelation 11:7 makes war with and kills the two witnesses of the Lord Jesus. In Revelation 20:3 Satan is cast into the abyss, being released again “from his prison” in Revelation 20:7.
At this point things might seem rather confusing. Who are all these “princes” or archangels who have fallen? Why are there multiple accounts of the same battle — with different entities — where Michael stands up for the Lord? Why does this all seem to be happening since the time of Babylon and continue all the way through to the end of the Revelation?
Consider Revelation 12:3 which describes Satan,
Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven crowns.
Satan himself is clearly represented by seven heads and seven reigns. Revelation 17:8-11 says,
8 “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who live on the earth, whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was, and is not, and will come. 9 Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains upon which the woman sits, 10 and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. 11 The beast which was, and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction.
Again, Satan is seven kings — or princes/archangels. Five have fallen — princes of Babylon, Media, Persia, Greece and Rome. One has not yet come who remains only a little while — the king of the denizens of the abyss (Revelation 9:11).
One was and is — because he is with us now. Then he will not be when he is cast into the abyss when the Lord Jesus returns, as Revelation 20:2 says,
2 And he took hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he threw him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.
Then he will “come up out of the abyss” (Revelation 17:8), as Revelation 20:7 says,
When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison
Then “those who live on the earth, whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not, and will come” (Revelation 17:8), as Revelation 20:8 says,
and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.
Then he will “go to destruction” (Revelation 17:8), as Revelation 20:10 says,
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Therefore, the “head” or “king” who is now in these modern times — and at the writing of the Revelation — is “Gog”, the “prince” or archangel of Magog, Meshech and Tubal (Genesis 10:2), as Revelation 20:8 identifies him explicitly. Ezekiel 39:1-2 says,
1 And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, ‘This is what the Lord God says: “Behold, I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal;
Ezekiel 38:2 says,
Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him
Ezekiel 38 and 39 are visions which are referring to separate events, except counter-intuitively they are not given in chronological order — as Ezekiel 39 happens first. Ezekiel 39:17-20 says,
17 “Now as for you, son of man, this is what the Lord God says: ‘Say to every kind of bird and to every animal of the field: “Assemble and come, gather from every direction to My sacrifice, which I am going to sacrifice for you as a great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel; and you will eat flesh and drink blood. 18 You will eat the flesh of warriors and drink the blood of the leaders of the earth, as though they were rams, lambs, goats, and bulls, all of them fattened livestock of Bashan. 19 So you will eat fat until you are full, and drink blood until you are drunk, from My sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. 20 You will eat your fill at My table with horses and charioteers, with warriors and all the men of war,” declares the Lord God.
Now compare with Revelation 19:17-18 which says,
17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great feast of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, both free and slaves, and small and great.”
Revelation 19:17-18 is referring to the very same defeat of Gog as in Ezekiel 39:17-20. Therefore, when the Lord Jesus returns He will destroy Gog and regather Israel, as Ezekiel 38:25-28 says,
25 Therefore this is what the Lord God says: “Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on all the house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name. 26 They will forget their disgrace and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me, when they live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid. 27 When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall show Myself holy through them in the sight of the many nations. 28 Then they will know that I am the Lord their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then I gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer.
However then Ezekiel 38:9,15-16 says,
9 And you will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you.” …15 You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding horses, a large assembly and a mighty army;16 and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I show Myself holy through you before their eyes, Gog.
Compare with Revelation 20:8-9 which says,
8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.
Therefore, Gog will be defeated once again after he is released from prison when he attacks the “camp of the saints” and the “beloved city.” These terms are referring to an already regathered Israel as is related in Ezekiel 39:25-28. Ezekiel 38:8,11,16 says,
8 After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual place of ruins; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them… 11 and you will say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, who live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates… 16 and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I show Myself holy through you before their eyes, Gog.
All of this being said, when Peter said that the angels who sinned were cast into Tartarus, he is referring to an actual and verifiable angelic rebellion which began in the time of Israel’s captivity in Babylon and will continue until the end of the age. When angels who sin by defying the Lord Jesus are defeated and thrown down to the earth, they are cast into Tartarus for later judgement.
It is therefore no wonder that Paul says in Colossians 2:15,
When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
Paul says of the work which the Lord Jesus did on earth in Ephesians 3:10,
so that the multifaceted wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
Paul elaborates on why this came to be in Ephesians 1:19-22,
19 and what is the boundless greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and made Him head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Peter echoes the same thing in 1 Peter 3:21-22,
21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.
There is much written across the Scriptures of these heavenly events which we have hopefully shown. Some references we have not even touched on, but we hope it is obvious then what Peter is referring to: That it is not a rebellion which happened in Genesis 6 — which doesn’t mention angels, rebellion or imprisonment at all.
WERE THE NEPHILIM GIANTS?
Another facet of this belief about Genesis 6 is that the product of the angels and the daughters of mankind were giants. It is tacitly implied as intuitive that when an angel and a person have a child, it makes sense that the progeny would be a giant, right? This all comes from the word “nephilim” which has come to be synonymous with giants in many Christian circles.
But what does “nephilim” (Strong’s H5303) actually mean though? Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and the NAS Exhaustive Concordance agree that it comes from the Hebrew word “naphal” (Strong’s H5307), which basically means to fall. That doesn’t have a whole lot to do with anything which has a giant stature.
Some will claim that it means that they are “fallen ones” — probably a reference to their angelic parents who supposedly fell before begetting them. Logically that doesn’t really make sense — in spite of maybe sounding appealing. Were the progeny of the angels who fell also fallen? How did the progeny fall? What did they fall from? The logic has baited us in with the supposed falling of their parents, then quickly switched in the progeny to take the designation.
Never mind as well that there is literally no record of angels falling around that time — or anywhere close to it.
Instead, we would propose that it means to cause others to fall — like the English verb “fell” — a “feller”. This is corroborated by them being described as “the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.”
Things start to get very interesting when going through the same account in the Septuagint. The Septuagint translators translated the Hebrew word “nephilim” into the Greek word “gigantes” (“γίγαντες” — there is no Strong’s entry). At face value it seems like a done deal — Nephilim are “gigantes” and so they are obviously giants. As we will see, a closer look reveals the exact opposite.
In our modern understanding of mythology, “giants” always refer to something of larger than normal stature; however, in Greek mythology, that is not necessarily true. In fact, most Greek myths do not state that “gigantes” were of larger than normal stature. Some might refer to the Greek “cyclops” — which was much larger than a man — and say, “The cyclops was a giant.” In the modern English usage of “giant” that is indeed true. But the mythological “gigantes” were something else.
According to Greek mythology, the gigantes were the product of blood which spilled from Uranus when he was castrated by Cronus. These were incredibly strong and aggressive men who were mighty warriors who were always depicted in Greek artworks as being clad in armor and armed — yet conspicuously man-sized.
Josephus gives us some incredible insight as to why exactly the word “gigantes” was used in this instance:
For many Angels of God accompanied with women, and begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all that was good; on account of the confidence they had in their own strength. For the tradition is, that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call Giants.Antiquities of the Jews, book 1, chapter 3, section 1
For the sake of an honest citation, we have chosen to acknowledge that Josephus viewed them as the product of angels; however, Josephus was not a Christian and not familiar with the New Testament teachings which provide much needed context in order to refute this view — as we have already shown.
What’s important to note here is that Josephus mentions nothing of the great size of the gigantes — rather he says that they were called such because of what they did — not because of what they were. This certainly aligns with Genesis 6:4 itself which states that they were “the mighty men who were of old, men of renown” — their acts were like the gigantes of Greek myth, who also were mighty men.
This interpretation can be seen all over the Septuagint. Genesis 10:8 says,
And Chus begot Nebrod: he began to be a giant upon the earth.
Isaiah 13:3 says,
I give command, and I bring them: giants are coming to fulfil my wrath, rejoicing at the same time and insulting.
Ezekiel 32:12 says,
with the swords of mighty men [Greek: “gigantes”]; and I will cast down thy strength: they are all destroying ones from the nations, and they shall destroy the pride of Egypt, and all her strength shall be crushed.
In the passages we cited above — which are a few examples among others — it is obvious that they are not referring to actual giants — but rather to mighty men or warriors. In a bizarre twist, “gigantes” is also used to refer to departed spirits. Job 26:5 says,
Shall giants be born from under the water and the inhabitants thereof?
Isaiah 14:9 says,
Hell from beneath is provoked to meet thee: all the great ones [Greek: “gigantes”] that have ruled over the earth have risen up together against thee, they that have raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.
Ezekiel 32:21 says,
Be thou in the depth of the pit [Greek: “gigantes”]: to whom art thou superior? yea, go down, and lie with the uncircumcised, in the midst of them that are slain with the sword.
We have no special insight to offer regarding the use of “gigantes” for these instances, but suffice to say that when the original translations of the Septuagint were being done, the translators had some complex view of what the giants were. No doubt they were hoping to appeal to their Greek audience.
Most assuredly, however, whenever the actual giants/Rephaim were referred to, the translators also used the word “gigantes.” Given everything we have covered, in their minds it was likely a reference to their great strength and mighty deeds — not simply their size. By this we conclude that the Septuagint translators saw the “nephilim” of Genesis 6 as mighty warriors, and since Genesis 6 states explicitly that they were might warriors, we would agree that makes sense. Simultaneously, Genesis 6 makes no mention of size in the Masoretic text or the Greek Septuagint.
Therefore, the logic which states — given that the sons of Anak were giants — and the sons of Anak were nephilim — therefore the nephilim were giants, is not necessarily true. Rather, the nephilim of Genesis 6 were might warriors, and the sons of Anak were mighty warriors. That is what “nephilim” means — “fellers” — as well as “gigantes” in the Greek. Numbers 13:33 says,
We also saw the Nephilim there (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
The passage does not say that the sons of Anak were the Nephilim — but rather it states that they were part of the nephilim, or from the nephilim. Just earlier in Numbers 13:28-29 it says,
28 “Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And indeed, we saw the descendants of Anak there! 29 Amalek is living in the land of the Negev, the Hittites, 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.”
It seems clear that the Israelites were not just afraid of the sons of Anak — they were afraid of all of the inhabitants of the land. They considered them all to be mighty people — the sons of Anak were only a part of that, as “the sons of Anak are a part of the Nephilim.” Deuteronomy 1:26-28 echoes the same thing,
26 “Yet you were unwilling to go up; instead you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God; 27 and you grumbled in your tents and said, ‘Because the Lord hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to hand us over to the Amorites to destroy us. 28 Where can we go up? Our brothers have made our hearts melt, by saying, “The people are bigger and taller than we; the cities are large and fortified up to heaven. And besides, we saw the sons of the Anakim there.”
They are afraid of the people who are bigger and taller — whose cities are fortified — and then the sons of Anak are mentioned over and above those things. Deuteronomy 7:19-21 says of all the inhabitants of Canaan,
19… The Lord your God will do the same to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. 20 Indeed, the Lord your God will send the hornet against them, until those who are left and hide themselves from you perish. 21 You are not to be terrified of them, because the Lord your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God.
We would argue that to state in the context of Numbers 13 that the sons of Anak are the nephilim — and the nephilim are the sons of Anak — is a reading comprehension failure. Just like assuming that the nephilim are the progeny of the sons of God and the daughters of mankind is a reading comprehension failure. This is not what the author is trying to convey. Rather, all of the people who they were afraid of were nephilim — sons of Anak included.
This more than lines up with the view that “nephilim” and “gigantes” refers to a mighty warrior or someone with immense strength. It also accounts for the fact that Genesis 6 has no record of angels and cannot be referring to angels. Genesis 6 is stating that there were mighty men in the time when the sons of God came in to the daughters of mankind — and they were also there after that.
Therefore, there is no reason to believe that the nephilim were angel/man hybrids in the time before the flood.
WASN’T NOAH “PERFECT IN HIS GENERATIONS”?
Another popular verse that some Christians use to “prove” the copulating angels doctrine is Genesis 6:9:
These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. (KJV)
Many claim that in order to be “perfect in his generations” Noah — along with his wife and children — must necessarily have been the only Adamic man left in the world who was still unmixed by the corrupted seed of the angels. In other words, in his genealogy Noah did not have any ancestors who were not pure white, Adamic people. Of course this would necessarily extend to his sons and their wives as well.
Thankfully there are many qualifying statements providing some detail about why the earth was being destroyed. In fact, in all of the references to Noah in the entirety of the Scripture, there is no mention of mixing with angelic hybrids. Most of all, Genesis 6:5,11-13 says,
5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of mankind was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually… 11 Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth.13 Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of people; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.
The first issue here is that “mankind” here is translated from “Adam” — and that term is reserved in the Scriptures only for pure Adamic people, not mamzers or hybrids. So this fact alone implicitly establishes that “wicked” — albeit pure — Adamites existed right before the Flood.
On top of that, there is nothing in these verses at all that mentions any mixing with angel hybrid seed. Some may speculate that the “corruption” is the mixing itself — however, if Genesis 6 were referring to mixing, then “shachath” (Strong’s H7843) would not be the word to describe it. Consider also Psalm 14,
1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed detestable acts; There is no one who does good. 2 The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of mankind To see if there are any who understand, Who seek God. 3 They have all turned aside, together they are corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.
4 Do all the workers of injustice not know, Who devour my people as they eat bread, And do not call upon the Lord? 5 There they are in great dread, For God is with a righteous generation. 6 You would put to shame the plan of the poor, But the Lord is his refuge.
7 Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of His people, Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be glad.
Psalm 14 is very interesting in the context of Noah and the flood — as it reads almost like Genesis 6. It relates how everyone is corrupt and no one does good — and there is no one who seeks God. However, He is with a righteous generation — as He was with Noah.
Just as in the flood, no one did good and everyone was corrupt. Noah sought God — he walked with God. He was righteous in his generation — and so God saved him and his family. Paul even quotes Psalm 14:1-3 in Romans 3 right after he has said in verse 9,
What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Judeans and Greeks are all under sin
Paul is stating that Psalm 14 is not a reference to unmixed Adamic peoples — rather, it refers to the Judeans and Greeks. In other words, white people can also be corrupt and continually evil — just like they were before the flood. In fact, Paul goes as far as to say that this was exactly the reason why the Lord Jesus was necessary for us — “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (verse 24).
With the above in mind, it becomes more clear that there is a lesson in the Genesis 6 story which transcends mere mixing of kinds — which is only one aspect of righteousness. 1 Peter 3:19-21 says,
18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all time, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which He also went and made proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20 who once were disobedient when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
Peter here is comparing the flood with the baptism of the gospel of the Lord Jesus. He is saying that the world was washed with the flood — like a baptism. This baptism left only eight survivors, which was Noah and his family. Likewise, the gospel of the Lord Jesus with His death and resurrection ought to leave only righteousness in us. Peter says it must be “an appeal to God for a good conscience”. To this end Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:5,
But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from a sincere faith.
Paul says of the baptism of the gospel in Romans 6:3-7,
3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
If the gospel of the Lord must bring about freedom from sin, then Noah was a type or shadow for the righteousness which must result in us from the baptism into death with Christ Jesus. If we are to die with the Lord, then in the words of Peter we must also be “put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit“.
He continues to say that it was by the same Spirit “in which He [Christ] also went and made proclamation to the spirits [in the time of Noah] [who are now] in prison”. They are now in prison because they refused to die to the flesh and live in the Spirit, as Noah did. Noah accepted the proclamation and in doing so he “condemned the world” (Hebrews 11:7).
It is no wonder that when the sons of God had sinned, the Lord said in Genesis 6:3,
My Spirit will not remain with man forever, because he is also flesh; nevertheless his days shall be 120 years.
Even those sons of God who were supposed to keep His ways had been overcome by their flesh, as it says in Galatians 5:17,
For the desire of the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, in order to keep you from doing whatever you want.
If even those who were supposed to be His children had failed, there was naught left to do but make a clean slate.
But by the power of the Spirit and by the proclamation of the Lord Jesus, Noah “walked with God” — filled with the Spirit — which surely adds some interesting context to His conversation with Nicodemus in John 3:6-11,
6 That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, and that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again [or born from above].’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it is coming from and where it is going; so is everyone who has been born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus responded and said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you people do not accept our testimony.
There are lessons throughout the Old Testament of men who are filled with the Spirit, of which Genesis 6 is just one. The Lord is amazed at Nicodemus, who has these lessons of the Spirit recorded in Scripture, yet he was unable to see the truth of the matter — at least not yet.
According to Peter, the Lord Himself made that proclamation to the antediluvian people — by the Spirit. In doing so, He Himself witnessed that which was recorded in Scripture. Therefore, He testifies of what He has seen.
Yet despite Noah’s great faith in that proclamation and the struggles he must have faced — even himself being patient for those 120 years — we are expected to simply believe that Noah was saved from the flood merely because of his white skin? And why save only Noah’s white skin when there clearly were other pure, white Adamics — albeit wicked — whom the Lord could have saved?
One must have the Holy Spirit — being born from above and being children of the promise — in order to attain to righteousness and faith — to be preserved — just like Noah was.
WHY IS THIS VIEW DETRIMENTAL TO CHRISTIANITY?
We would go as far as to say that this belief of angelic hybrids in Genesis 6 is indeed harmful to Christianity. When Christians see the corruption of the rephaim/giant mixed breeds in the land of Canaan, they believe that it was the product of angels. They think that the giants in Canaan were the only non-Adamic bipeds that people could sleep with to produce children.
When they encounter other bipeds, they think that these bipeds — which look and act very different from white, Adamic people — just like the giants — are somehow different from the giants. After all, in their minds the non-whites are “people” but the giants weren’t — because they were the product of angels.
Making this matter about angels confuses people into thinking that the giants were something other than what they were. If people could only accept that the giants were simply beasts per Leviticus 18:23 — and that the product of a giant and a person is a “mamzer,” then our understanding would be a lot more straight forward.
Never mind the fact that Genesis 6 is objectively not about angels anyway.
Furthermore — and possibly more importantly — Paul says in Titus 1:13-16,
13 This testimony is true. For this reason reprimand them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not paying attention to Judean myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.
Paul warns us to disregard these Judean myths — in the way Josephus clearly gave credence to them. These pagan myths will shipwreck our faith, which must produce righteousness — just as Paul said in Galatians 5:5,
For we, through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.
When we reduce the meaning of Noah’s preservation to something so banal as his white skin, we completely miss these important lessons about the indwelling of the Spirit and faith — as Noah acted by faith and attained the righteousness which comes from faith (Hebrews 11:7) — and we will fail to apply them in our lives.
In doing so, we become like Nicodemus who couldn’t understand the spiritual lessons which Christ Jesus was relating to him.
When we cling to these banal myths, we profess to know God, but our deeds will deny us — because our knowledge has failed to bring faith or righteousness.
Galatians 3:26 says,
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
It is by faith in the Lord Jesus that we too may attain to be children of God. If only our faith will produce righteousness, just as was the case with Noah.