Table of Contents
The Sons of God in Genesis 6
Humanity’s Relationship to the Spirit Realm of Fallen Angels
To understand the beast and other characters of Revelation, we need to revisit Genesis 6 and the Sons of God to see how fallen angels will affect the end times.
Genesis 6, verses 1 through 4 – When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.
There are 3 dominant views regarding this famous Genesis 6 passage about the Sons of God. Most Bible interpreters and commentators state that the godly children of Seth are the Sons of God marrying outside the faith, or that fallen angels mated with human women to produce giant offspring. We will expound our focus with a 3rd viewpoint presented by Meredith Kline, David Livingston, and others, while coordinating related biblical passages and mythology.
Our position begins with a brief statement made by Christ in Revelation 2:14.
…you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.
How does this passage in Revelation, written to an early Church, correlate with Genesis 6 or theories about fallen angels? There is a connection to idolatry from ancient times that we rarely consider today. We think of idolatry or pagan sacrificial systems as obsolete concepts. However, modern extensions are in practice today while escalating to the highest point in earth’s history. We need to know how idolatry developed into current forms at national and individual levels. We do not call it idolatry. What is it?
What about spiritual infidelity? We notice concepts about immorality and prostitution in Revelation chapter 17 verse 2 – [the prostitute] with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality… Do we think that leaders of the earth literally mate with the symbolic Mystery Babylon woman?
Often, biblical writers equate sexual immorality or prostitution in a figurative sense to mean unfaithfulness to God. There are many examples from Genesis 6 onward that associate humankind’s relationship with God or false gods as a marriage. There is often infidelity against the true God reported.
Worship of false gods breaks the originally intended bond between God and His creation. It is human adultery with the spirit realm. We are to obtain the image of God through His established means of union, not seek desired attributes we do not inherently possess from anyone else.
Their deeds do not permit them
to return to their God.
For the spirit of whoredom is within them,
and they know not the LORD.
Physically immoral acts are not as significant when compared to spiritual immorality, even if physical sex rituals of individuals, kings and queens, or priests and priestesses, are part of a union with the demonic realm. The major problem is about people who turn their hearts against God to receive gain from false gods. This can be through prayer, meditation, and other means. The intent may be a sincere desire to find God. Which G(g)od?
The Realm of the Dead and Demons
We see a connection with false religious practices described throughout the Old Testament that shed light on Genesis 6. We can follow the breadcrumbs that are laid out for us in passages like Numbers 25:1-3 –
While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor…
Here we notice Israel being bound, or married, to a false god. This passage is explained by Psalm 106:28 in the context of offering sacrifices to the dead.
Psalm 106:28 Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;
Verse 37 They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons;
Verse 39 Thus they became unclean by their acts, and played the whore in their deeds.
Baal worship is related to the passage we looked at in Revelation 2:14 and elsewhere in the Bible. Access to the evil realm is through demonic spirits as false gods like Baal. There have been many changes over time, so it is not Baal or names that we would consider as obvious today.
We should notice the relationship of the “dead” to “demons.” The realm of the dead is called Sheol, the pit and other terms for the “underworld.” This is a state of being, not a location. Sheol conveys a restricted nature of fallen angels after they rebelled against God. Their spirits are also called shades, rapha, and demons. All these terms are associated to the dead. The spirits of fallen angels have limited access to influence the earth so they are not completely dead, yet. We will see examples of how and why they affect the peoples of the earth, even though they do not enjoy unlimited reign.
To understand the connection of the fallen spirit realm to the earthly realm, we need to consider key passages about the realm of the dead. There are certain terms that should be kept in mind as we unravel the mystery.
Before we survey the land of the dead, there is something important to know about God’s nature. He is called the “God of the living” or the “living God” in dozens of passages. See examples such as – Deuteronomy 5:26; Joshua 3:10; 2 Kings 19:16; Psalm 42:2; Matthew 16:16; Acts 14:15; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 7:2.
Why is God called the Living God? It is because the other gods in ancient times were in the underworld, the realm of the dead, the afterlife, and imaginary places that differentiated the true God from false gods. Although there were gods reported to live in the heavens, it did not mean that they are immortal. All gods are considered as “dead” since they are not true God.
Hebrews 2:14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,
Death, the devil and demons are related. Since the fall of mankind and the fall of angels, we know that the devil and his minions have been restricted to the realm of the dead. Their body is not free to roam the earth, only their spirit (called a demon) is allowed access to earth. The terms used by the biblical writers for this restriction are prison, chains, and gloomy darkness. See – 1 Peter 3:19-20; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6.
Other terms that describe the realm of the dead are dust, pit, abyss, Sheol and Hades (N.T. term for Sheol of the O.T.). See Job 17:16, 33:22; Psalm 30:3; Isaiah 14:15; Luke 8:31; Romans 10:7; Revelation 9:11, 17:8.
How do humans fall into the pit of death? It seems like there are many ancient terms with no relevance today. What is the association of the Bible that relates to our current state? We still need to study these concepts a little further.
Next on our study list are practices used by humans to succeed in “life” by contacting demons for assistance. Necromancy, use of mediums, divination and worship of false gods were prevalent in ancient times. See – Deuteronomy 18:9-11; Joshua 13:22; Isaiah 8:19, 19:3; Jeremiah 14:14; Acts 16:16; Revelation 9:20-21.
Occult practices attempt to contact the realm of the dead, whether higher level beings, or those believed to be ancestors.
There is an interesting account of summoning the dead by a witch in 1 Samuel 28:8-13. Verse 13 states that the witch saw a “god coming up out of the earth.” This shows that the ancients associated spirits with the gods.
It is time to see the connections.
The Bible states idols, demons, false gods and evil spirits are one in the same. We do not want to think about idols, false gods or demons, so we twist our nomenclature to be “spiritual.” The worship of spirits has continued since the fall.
Today’s idolatry is spiritualism. It is the same as long ago with different clothes. Passages like 1 John 4:1-6 help to explain it in modern language.
We know that the devil is the “prince” or leader of the evil spirit realm.
Ephesians 2:2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
The devil resides in the heavenly realm and roams the earth (1 Peter 5:8) through the spirit realm. Evil still exists on earth even though Christ conquered the devil and put restrictions on him. The devil is not completely defeated until the Great White Throne period when death is destroyed forever. However, he will be allowed one last hurrah at the end of the age as the beast comes out of the pit, before it goes to destruction (Revelation 17:8).
The Connection Between the Underworld and the Heavens
The original rebellion relates to eternal life, immortality. Fallen angels are defined by biblical terms of death, but their primary message is a lie about life. This goes back to Genesis 3:4 at the Garden of Eden and is the goal of evil practices that try to bypass God’s eternal life-giving plan. Certainly, humans have contacted demons for temporary gain, yet ancient cultures were greatly concerned about learning how to live forever. This has resulted in immortality myths passed down to modern times throughout the world. We have the same desires as the ancients, even if we use different methods.
We should know that the Bible reports extensively about necromancy and other practices that bypass God. It does not provide details about angelic beings that mated with humans to create hybrid offspring or gaining immortality via alternative means. Why should we focus on extracting details from unclear or sparse concepts when Scripture mostly speaks of holy and unholy unions in a spiritual sense during our life on earth?
We know from Hesiod that ancient Greeks thought demons were good. Hesiod equated the spirits of titans bound to the realm of the dead with the demonic. This demonstrates a belief that evil is good. They believed a lie.
… they are called pure spirits dwelling on the earth, and are kindly, delivering from harm, and guardians of mortal men; for they roam everywhere over the earth, clothed in mist and keep watch on judgements and cruel deeds, givers of wealth… Hesiod. Works and Days, Lines 109-139
The Bible speaks in opposite terms about demons when compared to the Greeks. Demons are always presented in a negative light since they distract humans from the true God towards selfish gain. We find the first direct mention of demons in Deuteronomy 32:17 –
They sacrificed to demons that were no gods,
to gods they had never known,
to new gods that had come recently,
whom your fathers had never dreaded.
Demons are synonymous with false gods in their primary meaning. The term “demon” was not used much in the Old Testament because the names of false gods were mentioned more frequently. Then there was a shift in terminology within the New Testament that commonly mentioned generic demon and devil terms instead of a specific name like Baal. This is because of Greek conquest and Greek beliefs and practices that remained dominant with the Romans during the first century. However, false god, idolatry and demon core definitions remained synonymous in the New Testament.
The realm of the dead was viewed as the afterlife in many ancient cultures, so it was not like we think of Heaven today. How did this view change? The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament has an answer to this eternal life changing question. Humans, and fallen angels, have skin in this game.
“When the concept of the soul was further developed in the Greek world, a sharp distinction was made between the mortal body and the immortal soul which originates in the divine world. Only the latter journeys in the world to come. The idea of a journey of the soul now makes its appearance in Greek literature. According to the Orphic writings (6th – 5th century [BC]), which introduce the idea, the goal of souls is to return to their heavenly home after long travels. Hades now becomes the place of punishment, hell. Plato introduced into Greek philosophy the belief of the immortality of the soul and its many [re]incarnations up to the goal of final purification. According to the myth … the soul goes to the place of judgment after leaving the body. There the judges order the righteous … to ascend to Heaven … The idea gradually changes from a descent of the soul to the underworld, to an ascent of the soul into Heaven.” Kittel, Gerhard. Theological Dictionary of the NT, Vol. VI, p. 568
Why would demons care where a human soul goes when he or she dies? Location is not a focus. The big lie is to get people believing they are as God. See Genesis 3:5 and notice the statements of pride in Isaiah 14:13-15 –
… ‘I will ascend to heaven; … I will make myself like the Most High’.
But you are brought down to Sheol [the realm of the dead]…
Humans were not considered immortal in ancient times. The Bible states that God alone is immortal (1 Timothy 6:15-16) and that we are mortal at this time (1 Corinthians 15:51-53). There are no Bible passages stating our soul is immortal because we have conditional immortality. The condition is faith. We must believe in the One who grants immortality on the last day of the age (John 11:23-26).
Bodily resurrection from the dead was not a popular belief in Greco-Roman times (Acts 17:16-32). Only those who had faith that God could raise them believed in dwelling with Him in a physical body. Further back in time, Job knew he would rise again as referenced in Job 19:25-27 and Abraham’s faith about Heaven is mentioned in Hebrews 11:8-16.
Generally, in the ancient world, gods and demigods could remain immortal or could obtain immortality, but not the average person. Gods died in many cases and only righteous gods or worthy kings with their consorts could hope to pass through death to eternal life in the heavens. The average person hoped to have a peaceful existence in death.
All throughout the earth there were, and are, remnants of death cult practices. The Day of the Dead and All Souls Day show modern traces of them. Today, there are newer beliefs of inherent immortality for the average person. There has been a shift in the lies told over time, from everlasting death to eternal life. We can examine history to find that demons, through oracles and mediums, have promoted the spread of the immortal soul for all people to become the dominate view (see Barna Research – Americans Describe Their Views About Life After Death).
The attributes of the afterlife have changed dramatically over the millennia. The primary lies have remained. Worship of false gods to obtain a better life or better afterlife remains the same. The names and locations have changed from a peaceful existence in the underworld to ascending to the heavens. These are lies that stem back to Genesis 3:4-5 about being “like God.”
Common Themes of the Old and the New Testaments
This brings us to the key points that are brought forward from the Old Testament into the New Testament, showing an unbroken chain of spiritual depravity.
Rejection of authority – both fallen angels and humans have rebelled against God. This creates a mutual affinity between rebellious people and the realm of evil. We see metaphors that associate rebellion to the worship of false gods in 1 Samuel 15:23 – For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.
Rituals – fallen angels’ interaction with humanity is through their demonic spirits. Rituals are used by humans in attempts for earthly gain or gain towards the afterlife. The participants are fooled into believing they are performing good practices towards a true god. Notwithstanding, there is the opportunity for them to repent and receive the gospel. We know that the Church in Thessalonica came to the true God in 1 Thessalonians 1:9.
Sexual relations – sacred marriage rites bind humans with the fallen spirit realm. Sometimes there are physical acts that are part of the overall rites. However, most passages are concerned with spiritual infidelity against God using metaphors like adultery or prostitution. These can be considered in a figurative sense, like a human spiritually mating with a fallen angel’s spirit.
Idolatry – a physical idol can be seen but has no power without the unseen demon associated with it. Paul explains idolatry in 1 Corinthians 8 and in the first half of 1 Corinthians 10 with verse 20 stating –
…I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons.
Sacrifice – child sacrifices have been made in the name of false gods. Christ stated that hell shares the same name as the place Israel offered their children to Molech (ref. Greek Gehenna is derived from Hebrew Hinnom).
Jeremiah 32:35 They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.
False teaching – fallen angels taught heresies such as promoting beliefs about humans being able to prolong their soul within the realm of the dead, and they promoted heavenly ascension myths. There will be an increase of deception during the last days within the Church. It is easy to point fingers at pagans, yet Paul warned Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:1 –
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons
Judgment -upon the wicked fallen angels and human followers. God stated His judgement against the rebellion long ago, but the final sentence will not be fully executed until after the second advent. See Matthew Chapter 25 –
Verse 31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
Verse 41 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’
We should notice that all these concepts are described in Jude and 2 Peter. Here are some similarities that reveal fallen angels in the realm of the dead:
Peter wrote in 2 Peter 2:4 – For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell [lowest level of Hades known as the realm of the dead] and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment
Jude wrote in Verse 6 – And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day
Jude and 2 Peter chapters 2 and 3 are closely related, as shown in the table (or download at kjsoze.com/articles). By examining the corresponding Old Testament passages in the table, we realize that there are not any new concepts mentioned by Peter or Jude. They both summarize a common theme of rebellion that continually leads to greater selfishness. This will culminate with rebellion’s ultimate expression at the end of this age.
Who are the Sons of God?
To answer our original question, the Sons of God from Genesis 6 can be viewed as one of these options –
- Fallen angels that physically mated with women.
- The elect line of Seth that turned from God and became wicked.
- Men who claimed “Son of God” status through their relationship with the false gods of the fallen realm (demonic spirits). There was spiritual infidelity of angels with these wicked men who wanted more power.
Foremost, it should be noted that Christ is the only begotten Son of God. This means He is not a created being like any of the “Sons of God” options. Psalm 2:7 is repeated and expanded upon in Hebrews 1:5 –
For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?
Angels and demons are not inherently immortal or divine, neither are gods mentioned in the Bible even though they sometimes share the same generic root word name as God (elohim). See Deuteronomy 32:17 and Psalm 82:6-7. We saw in many verses that there are absolute statements of only one true God. There are also many passages about false gods. There are no cases of a false god being a “real” God.
Fallen Angels as the Sons of God
This brings us to our first option – fallen angels being called Sons of God in Genesis 6. A principal argument against this view is that Genesis 6:2 states that the Sons of God married the daughters of men. Christ stated that angels are not prone to marry in Matthew 22:30 – For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
What Christ stated in Matthew 22 is like early pagan writings about the demonic realm such as in Tablet 5 of Utukku Lemnutu (UDUG HUL) –
171 – They are neither male nor female, …
173 – they neither marry nor bear children.
Certainly, many gods of mythologies are reported to marry each other, but there are later accounts such as in the 6th century B.C. with a god marrying a human (Dionysus and the daughter of King Midas).
Marriage is a key term to consider in Genesis 6 if we take it literally. There are a lot of examples of pagan gods having sexual relations with humans that report hybrid offspring like well-known demigods. However, ancient gods from Mesopotamia or Egypt are not found to marry humans. Human leaders often claimed a divine hereditary connection to a god. We should consider these claims as spiritual connections, like Pharoah to the false god of Horus, not that Pharoah was a physical descendant of Horus.
There are more reasons why the option of angels physically mating with daughters of men is not likely. If the Sons of God in Genesis 6 were literally mating with humans, there would be more information presented elsewhere in Scripture. Perhaps the devil will increase this mythos in the coming days.
The bulk of information available in Scripture is related to demons as false gods and fallen spirits. There are hundreds of passages about these groups, with very few about the Sons of God within the context. There are no details of beings like Watchers that were created as higher entities above “regular” fallen angels like the book of Enoch presents. This book does not match the repeated theme of the Bible that speaks of angels and demons.
There are hierarchies of angels, yet no mention of little gods that are a class above angels. False gods and idols in Scripture are clearly associated to demons (spirits of fallen angels) that we examined in previous passages.
Here is a list of passages to consider where Christ, Job, Paul, and Peter had plenty of opportunities to explain any differences between the Sons of God and fallen angels or their spirits as demons.
Luke 12:8 And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God,
Job mentions Sons of God in verses like Job 1:6, but he does not mention angels. Conversely, he does not mention Sons of God in this passage below. There are no passages in Job that differentiate the two terms.
Even in his servants he puts no trust,
and his angels he charges with error;
Peter does not ever mention Sons of God. He always refers to angels.
1 Peter 1:12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
Hebrews 1 and 2 provide a lot of details about angels without any mention of the Sons of God. The writer(s) of Hebrews did not convey any different levels of angels. Instead, only a single type of entity named angels is mentioned, like most passages. Please read Hebrews 1.
This section concludes with Hebrews 2:5-10 where believers are made into sons of glory, like Paul’s and Christ’s teachings.
For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,
putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.
Based upon this extensive passage, we can understand more about angels and one reason why we were born. It is to be brought into glory as “complete” sons of God (i.e., a resurrected body). See 1 Corinthians 15:35-43.
Paul never reports on the Sons of God except as a term used to describe us with a spiritual connection to God, or physically describing us after the resurrection. He never compares Sons of God to angels.
Paul provides us with a summary in Romans 8 where he differentiates between a spiritual son of God compared to a physical son of God after the second advent (the timing of the bodily resurrection of the dead).
Romans 8:14-17 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Romans 8:23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
The end goal of humanity is the bodily resurrection of the dead. This is where we are told our bodies will be like angels (Matthew 22:30). Clear passages describe our resurrected body to be angelic, or Christ-like (Philippians 3:20-21). This is what we are to expect. We are told we will be glorified as children of God.
There are also more passages about our present state compared to the future concept of being a physical Son of God with our newly resurrected body at the second coming. Many passages support this hope.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
Philippians 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Romans 6:5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
One aspect related to glory is about “shining.” This is an ancient concept that describes the Lord, the Angel of the Lord and many other personages. We notice the saints’ glorified, resurrected bodies as shining in Daniel 12:2-3 – And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
Christ states this shining concept will occur after the second coming as mentioned in Matthew 13:43 – Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
The devil lost his original light as he is now considered ruler over the darkness (Ephesians 6:11-12). He is associated to fallen angels (perhaps as a former cherubim or seraphim). He is also an accuser in several passages but without any reference to his entity type in these legal settings.
Mark 3:22-23 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan?”
2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
Revelation 12:7-9 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
It is interesting to note that there could be some connection to the realm of the dead with giants. Rapha and Rephaim may be connected through the demonic practices of humans that produced giant offspring. We do not need to consider genetic manipulation without guidance from the biblical texts, yet we notice that demonic possession affects the physical traits of humans. Please see the Jewish Virtual Library for more information about the relationships between Rapha and Rephaim roots words.
What about the Divine Council from Psalm 82? Is it a type of high-ranking group of angels that are mentioned, or a separate class of beings? There are hierarchies of angels with different purposes such as in legal matters or war (Daniel 10:11-14). They are called angels, archangels or princes of angels.
Christ repeated Psalm 82 in John 10. There is no clarification about angels being synonymous with the Sons of God, or not.
John 10:33-36 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
We know that the ancients considered certain spirits as gods such as the witch of Endor, or Hesiod reporting on the spirits of titan gods.
Another reason against the Sons of God as angels or some higher-level entity is the offspring produced mentioned in Genesis 6:4. They are the “mighty men” of renown. Mighty men are still men based upon the Hebrew root word usage. There is no mention of demigods or hybrid men like in mythology.
Genesis 6:4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.
We see this same “mighty” term used for Nimrod a few chapters later. There is more information to consider in Genesis 10:8 since this chapter is about human lineage after the flood. Nimrod is a man descended like normal men, even though he was the first mighty man (gibôr) after the flood.
Cush fathered Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man.
Nephilim are considered as big and tall men. Numbers 13:33 states that the Nephilim are giants. However, they are stated to be men, not hybrids. We know this from the root words and lineage of Deuteronomy 9:1-2.
There is a final reason we should mention here against angels being the Sons of God in the context of Genesis 6, especially verses 3 and 5. This passage is about judgment upon humanity, not angels. Separate punishment probably would have been differentiated between humanity and angels or false gods. This brings us to the option of Seth.
Descendants of Seth as Sons of God
The only other passage written by Moses about the Sons of God is Deuteronomy 32:8-9. Here, they are specifically identified with the nations of the world, not God’s chosen people. This is a perfect match to Genesis 6, which also references the world. Seth was part of the lineage to Noah and Christ, so his line was chosen to be separate from the nations, just like we see with Jacob.
There is a clear discrepancy of the identical Hebrew term if Sons of God are “the chosen” in Genesis 6 and not Deuteronomy 32:8-9 –
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
when he divided mankind,
he fixed the borders of the peoples
according to the number of the sons of God.
But the LORD’s portion is his people,
Jacob his allotted heritage.
This passage alone should prove that that Sons of God are not Seth’s descendants. Now we can move to our conclusion. The opposite of Son of God is the son of the devil.
Acts 13:10 …You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?
When we consider all related passages about being a son of good or evil, we notice it is primarily a figurative term about a spiritual connection, not physical lineage. There is only one literal case of Christ being the begotten Son of God. Angels or humans may be called “sons” but are created, not begotten, so it is a figurative description.
The Meaning of Genesis 6
Fallen angels had a spiritual relationship with the leaders of the earth prior to the flood. The leaders of that time were the Sons of God when connected to the demonic realm in this view. They sought control of people and territories through rituals with these demons. The offspring of the Sons of God were the “mighty men of renown” that brought forward traditions of demonic worship and ancestor worship. This is the view that has support of many passages describing post-flood interaction between leaders and the demonic realm of false gods.
Divine Kingship in Genesis 6
It was common in ancient times for kings to take as many wives as possible to expand their control and land regions. This unnatural power is an important aspect to consider from Genesis 6:1-4 with the rise of the city-state system. The practice of taking multiple wives is not utilized by leaders as it was long ago, yet the desire for control of territories remains. De Coulanges thoroughly describes this evolution in his book, The Ancient City.
Traditions of the expanded city-state continued after the flood as depicted by monuments and writings in stone tablets from post-diluvian history. It did not take long for the Tower of Babel event to re-institute these practices. Later, leaders like Naram-Sin of Akkad emerged as “God-King of the Universe.”
Scripture records that pagan nations heavily influenced Israel in passages like 1 Kings 14:22-24, 2 Kings 17:7-12, Isaiah 57:3-9, Jeremiah 6:6-14, and Ezekiel 6:13. Many leaders in Israel’s history acted as sons of gods, not as a son of the true God like David.
Luke 20:36 is the only verse found in Scripture that correlates being a son of God to angels. This is in reference to believers after a bodily resurrection (where immortality is granted). This passage could be used to justify angels being Sons of God in Genesis 6. However, it is a rare instance and should not be used to contradict the many passages that speak of “sons of God’ in a figurative sense, spiritual sense, or that have no direct correlation between different entities.
Luke 20:36 for they [believers] cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
There are many types of sons, both spiritual and physical. Kings claimed to be sons of the gods. Angels are sons of God. Believers are spiritual sons of God and will be bodily resurrected as sons of God. Christ is the Son of God.
“Son of God” was a standard term used throughout the ancient world by leaders like Alexander the Great to establish authority over regions. His successors transferred his claim of authority to establish their own, even though his successors were not physical descendants. Divine rule was popular in a magnitude of cases worldwide, like the Greek empire splitting into separate kingdoms or transferal of divine rites by the Romans.
Is divine rule or divine rite from the evil realm still in practice today? Who really cares if there is no connection to the average person? There are many levels of binding to evil spirits, so it is not usually a possession that needs an exorcism like Christ performed. Being bound to demons is predominantly hidden in the open under the guise of good. Even though we do not see a President or a Prime Minister sacrificing to gods today, we should be aware of other practices, even by average people.
Some of the ancients thought demons were good spirits that helped establish rule and order. Today, we have the same beliefs except we do not label these spirits as demons. Otherwise, we would not follow these beliefs. Remember who the father of lies is.
The lies are shown in the historical record that deception morphed over time from the concept of performing rituals towards a better afterlife, to all souls being immortal, finally to the ultimate heresy, where we are all gods. We will see the continued rise of this latter concept in the coming days.
When does Satan Fall from Heaven?
The effects of being connected to the spiritual realm were well understood during the time of the New Testament. Although the titles and names have changed, we know evil forces are alive and active today. In modern times, we use terms like spiritualism, globalism, nationalism or ecumenicalism. You-know-who is behind them.
The apostle Paul wrote many times about these forces at work during the first century. We can bridge his terminologies to ours today.
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
An important consideration is the term “fallen.” We describe evil angels as fallen since we often think in terms of location. Heaven is above and the underworld is below. However, fallen beings still reside in the heavenly realm as shown in Ephesian 6:12 and Revelation 12:7-8. These passages were written after Christ’s ascension into Heaven where He is seated at the “right hand” of God. He allows the spiritual forces of evil to continue until the appointed time of the end.
Hebrews 10:12-13 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.
Events like the beast rising from the pit (Revelation 11:7, 17:8) while the devil is thrown down from Heaven (Revelation 12:7-9) seem confusing at first. This is because they are at the same timing, with different descriptions of the same entity. The devil will be permanently removed from heavenly access while his spirit rises from the realm of death at the appointed time in the future.
How can something rise and get thrown down at the same time? It can because it is not limited to our physical dimension.
The beast is the devil’s spiritual influence over the earth. He has been limited since the Garden. He will have full authority to cause tribulation over the earth after he is forced to earth from Heaven.
Satan being thrown from Heaven describes his removal of access from this realm. He fell at the Garden. Luke 10:18 does not provide us with many details about his fall. “Fallen” and “thrown down” have different root word meanings. Fallen means association to something bad or death, while being thrown down is a use of force. He fell to the realm of death in the beginning. He will be forced to accomplish God’s final plans in the end times.
Spatial attributes described in the biblical texts often limit us to a physical realm mentality. We should try to imagine that spiritual forces surround us like after Elisha’s prayer, though we cannot see them.
2 Kings 6:15-17 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
As in the Days of Noah
It is relevant to understand Genesis 6 today. Although there are not priest-kings today openly acting out ancient practices, there are the same principles at work. We need to look for the underlying “spiritual forces of evil.”
We should realize that Genesis 6:5 still holds true with the same core issue today –
The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
This wickedness will be magnified at the end of this age when the realm of the dead is unlocked for a moment (Revelation 17:8-17). The restrictions will be lifted during the Great Tribulation Period when the devil and his angels are released to cause havoc on earth (Revelation 12:12). This is God’s will to cleanse the earth. The greatest test in human history (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 3:10) will be like the days of Noah (Matthew 24:36-44) that occurred just before the judgment of the flood, but will be more severe.
There is a lot of information available to study about this topic. One brief article that can be obtained easily is DIVINE KINGSHIP AND GENESIS 6:1-4 by MEREDITH G. KLINE. Further research will be forthcoming.
Now we can better understand the background of Mystery Babylon and how false worship will be magnified at the end of this age. Please see the next article, “What is Mystery Babylon the Great?”
1 Corinthians 6:3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!
1 John 3:8-10 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
A video version of this article can be found here –
“Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.” All scripture quotes in italics.
All bold-face type within Scripture quotations has been added by the author for emphasis.
© 2021 by K.J. Soze