I recently heard a teaching on the Nephilim by a popular teacher. He was teaching the usual thing about the “sons of God” being angels marrying human women and having children by them. To support that position he stated that the Hebrew word for perfect in the phrase “Noah was perfect in his generation” referred to him and his family not being tainted by the DNA of fallen angels. He also stated that the Greek word in the passage in Jude referring to the fallen angels as leaving their first place meant that they took on human form and mated with women. However, like most he made no attempt to deal with the Scriptures that contradict this position. I will begin by looking at these Hebrew and Greek words.
The Hebrew word for “perfect” used in the passage in Gen. 6:9 is tamiym, “This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.” It is used about 40 of its 91 times to refer to sacrificial animals “without blemish” in a physical sense. The above mentioned teacher said it was only used in a physical sense. However, it is also translated several other words in a moral sense such as in Ps. 119:1, Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord! (NKJV). This is not referring to untainted DNA, but to moral righteousness. It is often translated as “upright” such as in Ps. 15:2, He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart (NKJV). It is also translated several times as “perfect” in the sense of righteousness, "You shall be blameless before the Lord your God" (Deut 18:13 NKJV). In fact, it is translated upright or blameless in a moral sense a couple dozen times. While I like some of this man’s teachings, he is misleading in stating it only refers to physical perfection—must less meaning untainted by fallen angel’s DNA!
The Greek words in question which he said and others teach mean angels taking on the form of human flesh so they can impregnate women is found in Jude 6, And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day (NKJV). The English words are “domain” and “abode.” The word for domain is arche and can mean “rule,” “origin,” or “beginning”
and is most likely referring to the fact that the fallen angels left their high position they had in the beginning as angels of God. The word for “abode” is oiketerion and means “a dwelling place” or “habitation” and is referring to the fact they left their heavenly dwelling place because of their sin. To hyper-extend this verse to mean they became humans to co-habitat with women is quite a stretch besides contradicting several verses I have already mentioned in Parts One and Two such as the following:
Jesus Himself said angels do not marry (Luke 12:34-36).
Paul gave the definition of “sons of God” as those who are led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14).
The writer of Hebrews said God never called an angel a “son.” (Heb. 1:5).
Hebrews said angels are “spirits” not flesh (Heb. 1:14).
Besides these Greek words, some teachers erroneously misinterpret verses 6 and 7 in Jude.
6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire (NKJV).
Verse 7 says “as Sodom and Gomorrah . . . in a similar manner to these having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh.” These teachers have broken basic grammatical rules by interpreting “these” to mean that the angels also went after strange flesh as Sodom and Gomorrah. They can only do this by ignoring the basic rule of antecedents. According to this rule, a pronoun refers back to the last noun it is replacing. In other words, when verse 7 says “in a similar manner to these,” “these” refers not to angels, but rather to “the cities” around Sodom and Gomorrah that did similar sins in going after strange flesh. Besides being a basic grammatical rule, it is also common sense for the pronoun to refer back to the last noun it is replacing; or else no one would ever know which antecedent is being substituted by a pronoun.
The “as” at the beginning of verse 7 is referring to the similar judgment that came on Sodom and Gomorrah (not the same type of sins) as that of the angels being reserved for everlasting fire. For this is the main topic in this passage. Jude is listing three examples of groups that came under judgment and condemnation for their sins.
Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:3-4 NKJV).
First, he lists the Israelites who rebelled in the desert; second, the angels who rebelled; and third; Sodom and Gomorrah with their sexual sins. His point is that all three groups came under judgment, not that all three groups had the same sins. That is why he ended his list by saying these groups “are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”
I have found in researching this controversial subject that those who uphold that angels had sex with women, have violated several of the most rudimentary rules for interpreting Scripture. Some of these include mis-translating the Hebrew or Greek words; throwing out basic rules of grammar; exalting extra-biblical works above the Bible; not examining passages in their context; ignoring what the Living Word, Jesus Himself, said; not even bothering to find biblical definitions of controversial words or phrases; not seeking to allow the Bible to interpret itself; and other things. Some of the people teaching on this subject should not even be Bible teachers.
When it comes to the ancient sources I have already cited, it comes down to which one you want to believe: the book of Jasher, which the Bible mentions twice; or the book of Enoch, from which Jude quoted when speaking of the judgment of the wicked. I have already shown that Professor Charlesworth, an expert on the pseudepigraphia writings, said the book of Enoch has been written by many authors over centuries. Today we have no way of knowing what the original book of Enoch said. The same could be said of the book of Jasher. Now we have two ancient books that the Bible mentions that contradict each other. I choose to go with the book of Jasher since its comments on the “sons of God marrying the daughters of men” do not contradict other Scriptures like the book of Enoch does.
I will now address the issue of these marriages between the “sons of God marrying the daughters of men” producing giants. First, let me say that to just look at this passage in a physical sense is to totally miss the point of why it is in the Scriptures. A good Bible expositor will show how the Old Testament types relate to our spiritual lives as Christians like the writers of the New Testament did.
It is no surprise to me that ancient rulers and judges (as the book of Jasher calls them) marrying daughters of men produced giants. For in ancient times rulers were often big or tall people already. We can see this in Scripture itself. When Israel wanted a king, God gave them what they wanted: Saul, who was a head taller than anyone else. Naturally big people can produce even bigger people. All my life at many jobs and workplaces I have seen tall and big men advance quickly into leadership positions while the average person had to work harder to go up the ladder. If you were unfortunate enough to be shorter that average, you really had to work hard to advance. Thus the phrase was coined, “The Napoleon Complex.” We have seen how many almost worship tall people such as NBA players. It is a common fact that many tall people (giants) get in leadership positions–for everyone else already has to look up to them!
The fact that the marriages between the sons of God and daughters of men produced giants is quite natural. When the originally righteous rulers, “sons of God,” lessened their morals and began to marry ungodly daughters of men because of beauty instead of character, sin became more prevalent. Along with it came sickness that could cause even bigger people and mutations. Thus, we are told Goliath’s brother had six toes and fingers. A genetic mutation does not equal mixing the race of humans with angels.
However, all this misses the spiritual lesson as I said. Bigger people means they had more FLESH! In the New Testament “flesh” usually represents carnality and sin. When our “son of God” (spirit) co-mingles with a daughter of man (soul), it produces giants of flesh and trouble in our lives. This is the lesson we are to take from the passage in Gen. 6.
We have a great lesson of this later in the book of Genesis as the Bible interprets itself. Abraham was a son of God who co-habituated with a daughter of man–Hagar, an Egyptian. What did that produce? Ishmael, who became a problem for Abraham’s household. The Muslim nations even today have become a giant of a problem with Islam waging war against Christians and others. As Paul said,
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you (Rom. 8:5-9 NKJV).
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (Rom.8:12-14 NKJV).
Did you catch that last phrase, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God,” not fallen angels. After the righteous ruler Enoch died in the Old Testament (Jasher says he ruled the earth for 140 years), the righteous sons of God began marrying carnal women; and their children became increasingly evil. Some of the rulers became evil giants of flesh and corrupted those under their rule. God had to destroy the world with the flood to rid it of the evil, but then it began to happen again (no surprise there). Finally God raised up the nation of Israel to destroy the giants of flesh. These types, we are told, were all examples for us today.
Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall (1 Cor. 10:6-12 NKJV).
Notice at the end of this passage, Paul says, “to him who thinks he stands to take heed lest he fall.” Remember the probable meaning of the word Nephilim is “fallen ones.” Rather than being concerned about the Nephilim in the end-times, we need to be wary of our own flesh!