The Nephilim are the offspring of the “sons of god” and the daughters of men mentioned in Genesis 6:4. The Nephilim are a topic of much interest as many view them as the offspring of angels and humans. In this article, I will attempt to provide a biblical history of the Nephilim.
The Serpent Tries to Destroy the Seed of the Woman
Satan, the serpent, was told in Genesis 3:15 that the seed (or offspring) of the woman would one day bruise his head:
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
Since that time Satan sought to prevent the coming of the seed that would bruise his head (Jesus Christ).
Revelation Chapter 12 summarizes the long battle between Satan and the remnant of Israel (the woman). Revelation 12:3-4 describes a red dragon-later identified as Satan- casting a third of the stars in heaven to Earth. These are not literal stars being cast as literal stars crashing onto Earth would incinerate it. Although there is a debate about the complete interpretation of Revelation 12, Bible scholars tend to agree that the stars that the red dragon knocked down to Earth were angels. This account is also consistent with the belief that Satan led a revolt against God.
“(3) And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. (4) And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” (Revelation 12:3-4)
After the fall of a 1/3 of the angels, Satan apparently enlisted fallen angels to corrupt the human gene pool (or corrupt the seed of the woman). Satan sought to corrupt the gene pool so badly that Christ would be unable to appear on Earth as everyone on Earth would technically no longer be human.
Genesis 6:1-2 reports that the sons of God married ordinary women. There has been a debate about who are the “sons of God”. Some teach that the “sons of God” were those from the noble line of Seth. However, the Bible establishes in Jude 1:6, Job 1:6-7, and Job 2:1-2, that the “sons of God” were angels. In addition, the noble line of Seth could not be the sons of God because they were wiped out in the Great Flood. Therefore, Genesis 6:1-2 reports that fallen angels married women:
“(1) And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, (2) That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” (Genesis 6:1-2)
The Lord was very unhappy with the mating between fallen angels and mortal women. In fact, the Lord shortened the average human’s lifespan to 120 years in response (Gen 6:3). The offspring between the fallen angels and women were “giants”/men of renown. Some theologians go as far to say that the mythologies of many civilizations like Greece and Rome were based on the activities of these “giants”. Interestingly, the Hebrew word for “giants” in Genesis 6:4 can be translated as “Nephilim”, which means “fallen ones”:
“There were giants 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)
The result of the union between fallen angels and human women led to offspring that helped create a world of chaos (this is not to say that fallen angels did not also contribute to the chaos. It is very likely that the fallen angels played a big role in creating this chaos).
“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)
The Lord was so upset that He decided to destroy everyone except Noah’s family. Many theologians believe that Noah was “perfect” not because he never sinned, but because he and his family were the only ones who were not corrupted Nephilim:
“(6) And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. (7) And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. (8) But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. (9) These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” (Genesis 6:6-9)
We know that the Lord eventually flooded the earth with a massive deluge. What is less talked about is that the Lord punished the fallen angels who mated with women by locking them up in a place called Tartarus (a special Greek word for the word “hell” in the King James Version of the Bible), which is probably located in a spiritual realm somewhere deep in the earth.
“(4) 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; (5) 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)
“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)
Post Flood Nephilim
The Bible is adamant that there were Nephilim after the Flood as “The giants were in the earth in those days, and even afterwards…” (Genesis 6:4). I do not know precisely how more giants/Nephilim were created after the flood, but perhaps other fallen angels mated with women? Regardless, they existed and the following table lists the different races of giants and notorious giants described in the Bible.
Races of Giants & Notorious Giants of the Bible
|Og King of Bashan||Deut 3:11|
|Goliath & His Brothers||1 Samuel 17:4, 2 Samuel 21:15-22|
The post-flood Nephilim were scattered throughout Canaan as an attempt by Satan to prevent the Israelites entry into the land and an attempt to wipe the Israelites out (Israel became the primary target of Satan when he realized that they were God’s chosen people and the people where the seed of the woman would eventually arise from). This tactic failed because the Israelites eventually settled into the land of Canaan.
As far as I know, this is where the Bible’s account of past Nephilim ends. Some people believe that the Nephilim exist today. I am not an expert on that so I defer to experts on this subject. However, the Bible states that there were “giants” after the flood so it’s possible…
If you are interested in reading about the potential for the Nephilim to appear during the end times, click this link for my article on the topic.