Monday, July 25, 2011

Who Are the Nephilim?

The Nephilim are the offspring of the sons of God (fallen angels) and the daughters of men which are written about in Genesis 6:4. They are also mentioned as the inhabitants of Canaan prior to the Israelite occupation as is detailed in Numbers 13:33.

There were giants (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.     -Genesis 6:4

And there we saw the giants (Nephilim), the sons of Anak, which came of the giants (Nephilim); and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.     -Numbers 13:33

Also reference with: Deuteronomy 1:28 and Amos 2:9

The word Nephilim occurs twice in the Torah. The etymology of the word Nephilim (נפיל), comes from the root nâphal (נפל), which means "to fall." The Nephilim are the "fallen ones," or "giants" of Genesis.

There are two theories on who the Nephilim were/are, of which, the prevailing modern theory is the absurd idea that they are the sons of Seth, while the doctrine among the early Church fathersand taught in the Scripturesis that of the Nephilim being the offspring of the fallen angels and women. I suspect that the former theory (the later one, by the way) arose due to the Church trying to hide what it deemed to be an embarassing passage despite the truth contained in the Word of God that the Nephilim are indeed the root of demonic entities.

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.     -Jude 1:6

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; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;"     -2 Peter 2:4-5

Jude quotes directly from the Book of Enoch (Jude 14&15), which we will get to later, but for now let's take a look at what the earliest Church fathers, such as Athenagorus, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus stated about the Nephilim:

Just as with men, who have freedom of choice as to both virtue and vice (for you would not either honour the good or punish the bad, unless vice and virtue were in their own power; and some are diligent in the matters entrusted to them by you, and others faithless), so is it among the angels. Some, free agents, you will observe, such as they were created by God, continued in those things for which God had made and over which He had ordained them; but some outraged both the constitution of their nature and the government entrusted to them: namely, this ruler of matter and its various forms, and others of those who were placed about this first firmament (you know that we say nothing without witnesses, but state the things which have been declared by the prophets); these fell into impure love of virgins, and were subjugated by the flesh, and he became negligent and wicked in the management of the things entrusted to him. Of these lovers of virgins, therefore, were begotten those who are called giants.     -Athenagorus, A Plea for the Christians, Chapter XXIV; Roberts & Donaldson, Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 2, Pg. 224

These angels, then, who have fallen from heaven, and haunt the air and the earth, and are no longer able to rise to heavenly things, and the souls of the giants, which are the demons who wander about the world, perform actions similar, the one (that is, the demons) to the natures they have received, the other (that is, the angels) to the appetites they have indulged.     -Athenagorus, A Plea for the Christians, Chapter XXV; Roberts & Donaldson, Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 2, Pg. 225

But the angels transgressed this appointment, and were captivated by love of women, and begat children who are those that are called demons; and besides, they afterwards subdued the human race to themselves, partly by magical writings, and partly by fears and the punishments they occasioned, and partly by teaching them to offer sacrifices, and incense, and libations, of which things they stood in need after they were enslaved by lustful passions; and among men they sowed murders, wars, adulteries, intemperate deeds, and all wickedness.     -Second Apology of Justin Martyr, Chapter V; Roberts & Donaldson, Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 1, Pg. 298

Since the Son of God is always one and the same, He gives to those who believe on Him a well of water [springing up] to eternal life, but He causes the unfruitful fig-tree immediately to dry up; and in the days of Noah He justly brought on the deluge for the purpose of extinguishing that most infamous race of men then existent, who could not bring forth fruit to God, since the angels that sinned had commingled with them, and [acted as He did] in order that He might put a check upon the sins of these men, but [that at the same time] He might preserve the archetype, the formation of Adam.     -Irenæus, Against Heresies Book IV, Chapter XXXVI; Roberts & Donaldson, Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 1, Pgs. 865-866

For a detailed analysis (with references) on what the early Church fathers had to say about the fallen angels and demons click here.

I mentioned the book of Enoch earlier...Enoch was the son of Jared (note the days of Jared below), and the father of Methuselah. He is specifically mentioned in Genesis chapter 5 as the very first righteous man after Adam, who never tasted death, but was caught up to heaven by God:

And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: and all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.     -Genesis 5:22-24

In the Book of Enoch (which the earliest Church fathers and even the Holy Bible quotes from), translated from Professor Dillman's Ethiopic text by R.H. Charles (1893), there are ample references to the Nephilim. I shall quote from Chapter 6-7 for you (found on pages 62-65). The portion of the text from which I quote is of the oldest portion of Enoch, and dates to no earlier than 161 B.C.:

And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied in those days that beautiful and comely daughters were born unto them. And the angels, the sons of heaven, saw and lusted after them, and spake to one another, "Come, now let us choose wives from among the children of men and beget children."
And Semjâzâ who was their leader spake unto them: "I fear you will not indeed agree to do this deed and then I alone shall have to pay the penalty of great sin."
Then answered they all unto him and spake: "Let us all swear an oath, and bind ourselves by mutual imprecations not to abandon this plan but to carry it into execution." Then sware they all together and bound themselves by mutual imprecations to its fulfillment; and they were in all two hundred.
And they descended in the days of Jared on the summit of Mount Hermon, and they called it Mount Hermon, because they had sworn and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it.
And these are the names of their leaders: Samjâzâ, their leader, Urâkîbarâmêêl, Kôkabîêl, Tâmiêl, Râmuêl, Dânêl, Zaqîlô, Sarâqujâl, Asâêl, Armârôs, Batraal, Anânî, Zaqêbê, Samsâvêêl, Sartaêl, Turêl, Jomjâêl, Arâzjâl. These are their chiefs of ten, and all the others were with them.
And they took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and they mixed with them, and taught them charms and enchantments, and made them acquainted with the cutting of roots and of woods.
And they became pregnant, and they bear great giants, whose height was three thousand ells. And these consumed all the acquisitions of men till men could no longer sustain them. Then the giants turned them against mankind in order to devour them. And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and fish, and to devour one another's flesh, and drink the blood thereof. Then the earth complained of the unrighteous ones.

To download a copy of R.H. Charles translation of the Book of Enoch click here.

So there you have it! The Nephilim were the offspring of angels and women, and their disembodied spirits are what we refer to as demons. It is all layed out for you here, cut-and-dried, with the etymology of the original words of the Torah, quotes directly from Scripture, in the words of the Apostolic Fathers of the Christian Church (most of them only two or three generations from the time of Christ), and quoted from the Jewish pseudepigraphic Book of Enoch. The giants of Genesis were, and are, the Nephilim.

A brief word: do not get caught up on the idea that you can track down giants to spot the Nephilim. The early Church fathers state explicitly that the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim, the demons, are shapeshifters, and that they can take on any size or form when they wish to appear. Thus, just because you spot a tall person does not mean they have the DNA of angels mixed in with their human DNA, in fact, they likely do not. The giants mentioned in the Bible were much taller than any human who is alive today: 12 feet (Goliath) all the way up to 80 feet (the heighth of cedars, Amos 2:9).

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