A Personal UPDATE Article from Koinonia House Ministries (http://www.khouse.org)
by Chuck Missler
There continues to be a flow of articles, books, and entertainment programs dealing with UFO's, aliens, and the like. (1) Many wonder if there is a connection or relationship to the prediction of our Lord in Luke 17:26:
"And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man." The emergence of the "Nephilim" was what brought about the Flood of Noah. Who were they? Is the current interest in the possibility of "alien" involvements some how of Biblical relevance?
Genesis 6 indicates that the "sons of God" (B'nai Elohim) took wives of the "daughters of men," which gave birth to the "Nephilim." What on earth was going on?
The B'nai Elohim is a term that refers to angels. It occurs four times in the Old Testament (2) and is rendered "Angels of God" in the ancient Septuagint translation. (3) The intrusion of certain angels into the human family resulted in unnatural offspring termed Nephilim, which derives from the Hebrew naphal (to fall), or the Fallen Ones. (The Greek Septuagint renders this term gigantes, which actually means "earth-born." This is often misunderstood to mean "giants"---which they also happen to have been, incidentally.)
"Line of Seth?"
The early church viewed the B'nai Elohim as angels up through the late fourth century: Justin, Athenagoras, Cyprian, Eusebius, et al. (also Josephus, Philo, Judeaus, and the Apocrypha regard this view).
Celsus and Julian the Apostate exploited the older common belief to attack Christianity. Cyril of Alexandria, in his reply, repudiated the orthodox position. Julius Africanus (a contemporary of Origen) introduced the theory that the "sons of God" simply referred to the genealogical line of Seth, which was committed to preserving the true worship of God.
Seemingly more appealing, the "Sethite theory" prevailed into the Medieval Church, and many still hold this view.
This view, however, has several serious problems. There is no indication that the Sethites were distinguished for piety; they were not exempted from the charge of general wickedness which brought on the flood. In fact, Seth's son Enosh was the one who introduced apostasy to that world. This is masked by a mistranslation of Genesis 4:25, which should read:
"...then men began to profane the name of the Lord." (4) Furthermore, when the faithful marry the unfaithful, they do not give birth to unnatural offspring! And the "daughters of men" were not differentiated with regard to the Flood. All were lost. (5)
(Incidentally, the Nephilim didn't completely end with the flood. Genesis 6:4 mentions, "...and also after that..." We find the sons of Anak, the Anakim, later in the Old Testament.) (6)
The Reason for the Flood
It was the infusion of these strange beings into the human predicament that brought on the Flood of Noah. The Flood was preceded by four generations of prophets/preachers warning of the coming judgment: Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah.
It seems that this was part of Satan's stratagem to corrupt the line of Adam to prevent the fulfillment of the Messianic redemption. Noah was apparently unique in that his genealogy was still uncorrupted. (7)
The strange events which led to the flood are also alluded to in ancient mythologies. (8) The legends of the Greek "titans"---partly terrestrial, partly celestial---embrace these same memories. (9) (The Greek titan is linguistically linked to the Chaldean sheitan, and the Hebrew satan.)
The Angels that Sinned
There is a great deal revealed in the Bible about angels. They can appear in human form, (10) they spoke as men, took men by the hand, even ate men's food, (11) are capable of direct physical combat, (12) some are the principal forces behind the world powers. (13) They don't marry (in Heaven), (14) but apparently are (or were) capable of much mischief. (15)
The strange events of Genesis Chapter 6 are also referred to in the New Testament. Peter refers to events preceding the flood of Noah:
"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..." 2 Peter 2:4
(Peter uses the term tartarus, here translated as hell. This was a Greek term for "the dark abode of woe, the pit of darkness in the unseen world." Homer's Iliad portrays tartarus "as far below hades as the earth is below Heaven...")
Also, in Jude, it mentions them:
"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. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." Jude 6, 7.
Scripture warns against meddling with the spirit world. The punishment which overtook the angels that sinned was to emphasize the serious nature of apostasy: beings of a higher order than ours have been hurled down into a dark place of confinement where they have remained for thousands of years.
God has not changed His attitude toward them; time has not mitigated the seriousness of their sin. False teachers are prewritten into condemnation.
The "Sons of God" Return?
There are many who believe that the recent "alien" involvements are also demonic and are just another precursor to the end-time. Some also believe that the Coming World Leader (for more information on the Coming World Leader, see our Briefing Package) may boast of an "alien connection." It would be consistent from what else we can infer from Scripture.
(The Restrainer of II Thessalonians 2 may be restraining far more than we have any suspicion of! When He is removed, the world is in for some astonishing surprises!) (16)
In the meantime, what are our weapons of protection against such things? We do, indeed, "wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Our armor is well defined in Ephesians 6:10-17.
The unprepared are in for some unpleasant surprises. Always. Have you done your homework?
1. The recent video purporting to be an autopsy of an alien (regarded by most experts as a clever hoax) is an example. Books include:
William M. Alnor, UFO's in the New Age, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids MI, 1992;
I.D.E. Thomas, The Omega Conspiracy, Growth Publishing, Herndon VA, 1986;
Timothy J. Dailey, The Millennial Deception, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids MI, 1995;
David Allen Lewis and Robert Shreckhise, UFO: End-Time Delusion, New Leaf Press, July 1991 (3rd printing in August 1993).
2. Job 1:6; 2:1; 8:7, as well as Genesis 6. They are said to have "shouted for joy" at the creation.
3. This is the translation of the Old Testament into Greek in the third century before Christ. Many of the New Testament quotes are from this translation.
4. Targum of Onkelos: "...desisted from praying in the name"; Targum of Jonathan: "surnamed their idols in the name..."' Kimchi, Rashi, and other ancient Jewish commentators agree. Jerome indicated that this was the opinion of many Jews of his day. Maimonides, Commentary on the Mishna (a constituent part of the Talmud), A.D. 1168, ascribes the origin of idolatry to the days of Enosh.
5. 2 Peter 2:5.
6. Numbers 13:3; Deuteronomy 3:11; Amos 2:9; 2 Samuel 21:15-22.
7. Genesis 6:9.
8. Fallen Angels and the Heroes of Mythology, by John Fleming. (We have lost our copy and it appears to be out of print. We would welcome any leads to obtain a copy!)
9. They rebelled against their father Uranus (Heaven) and after a prolonged contest were defeated by Zeus and condemned into Tartarus, the term used by Peter to refer to hell (2 Peter 2:4).
10. Genesis 19:5, 10, 16.
11. Genesis 18:8; 19:3, 16.
12. Death of the Firstborn in Egypt, Exodus 12; Sodom and Gomorrah, Genesis 19; 185,00 troops slaughtered, 2 Kings 19:35.
13. Daniel 10.
14. Matthew 22:30.
15. Genesis 6:1-2; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6.
16. See our Thessalonians Expositional Commentary for a complete study.
This article was first published in the January 1996 edition of Personal Update.
|For if God spared
not the angels that sinned, but cast them
down to hell [Tartarus], 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
2 Peter 2:4-5
even establishes the time of the fall of these
the days of the Flood of Noah.
Even Peter's vocabulary is provocative. Peter uses the term Tartarus, here
translated "hell." This is the only place that this Greek term appears in
the Bible. Tartarus is a Greek term for "dark abode of woe"; "the pit of
darkness in the unseen world." As used in Homer's Iliad, it is "...as
far beneath hades as the earth is below heaven"22 In Greek mythology,
some of the demigods, Chronos and the rebel Titans, were said to have
rebelled against their father, Uranus, and after a prolonged contest they
were defeated by Zeus and were condemned into Tartarus.
The Epistle of Jude23 also alludes to the strange episodes when these
"alien" creatures intruded themselves into the human reproductive process:
|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. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the
cities about them in like manner, giving
themselves over to fornication, and going
after strange flesh, are set forth for an
example, suffering the vengeance of
The allusions to
"going after strange flesh," keeping
"not their first
estate," having "left their own habitation," and "giving themselves over to
fornication," seem to clearly fit the alien intrusions of Genesis 6. (The
term for habitation, oivkhth,rion, refers to their heavenly bodies from
which they had disrobed.24 )
These allusions from the New Testament would seem to be fatal to the
"Sethite" alternative in interpreting Genesis6. If the intercourse
between the "sons of God" and the "daughters of men" were merely marriage
between Sethites and Cainites, it seems impossible to explain these
passages, and the reason why some fallen angels are imprisoned and others
are free to roam the heavenlies.
7. Post-Flood Implications
The strange offspring also continued after the flood: "There were Nephilim
in the earth in those days, and also after that..."25 The "Sethite" view
fails to meaningfully address the prevailing conditions "also after that."
It offers no insight into the presence of the subsequent "giants" in the
land of Canaan.
One of the disturbing aspects of the Old Testament record was God's
instructions, upon entering the land of Canaan, to wipe out every man,
woman, and child of certain tribes inhabiting the land. This is difficult
to justify without the insight of a "gene pool problem" from the remaining
Nephilim, Rephaim, et al., which seems to illuminate the difficulty.
8. Prophetic Implications
Another reason that an understanding of Genesis 6 is so essential is that
it also is a prerequisite to understanding (and anticipating) Satan's
devices26 and, in particular, the specific delusions to come upon the whole
earth as a major feature of end-time prophecy.27 We will take up these
topics in Part 2, next month.)
If one takes an integrated view of the Scripture, then everything in it
should "tie together." It is the author's view that the "Angel View,"
however disturbing, is the clear, direct presentation of the Biblical text,
corroborated by multiple New Testament references and was so understood by
both early Jewish and Christian scholarship; the "Sethite View" is a
contrivance of convenience from a network of unjustified assumptions
antagonistic to the remainder of the Biblical record.
It should also be pointed out that most conservative Bible scholars accept
the "angel" view.28 Among those supporting the "angel" view are: G. H.
Pember, M. R. DeHaan, C. H. McIntosh, F. Delitzsch, A. C. Gaebelein, A. W.
Pink, Donald Grey Barnhouse, Henry Morris, Merril F. Unger, Arnold
Fruchtenbaum, Hal Lindsey, and Chuck Smith, being among the best known.
For those who take the Bible seriously, the arguments supporting the "Angel
View" appear compelling. For those who indulge in a willingness to take
liberties with the straightforward presentation of the text, no defense can
prove final. (And greater dangers than the implications attending these
issues await them!)
For further exploration of this critical topic, see the following:
George Hawkins Pember, Earth's Earliest Ages, first published by Hodder and
Stoughton in 1875, and presently available by Kregel Publications, Grand
Rapids MI, 1975.
John Fleming, The Fallen Angels and the Heroes of Mythology, Hodges,
Foster, and Figgis, Dublin, 1879.
Henry Morris, The Genesis Record, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids MI, 1976.
Merrill F. Unger, Biblical Demonology, Scripture Press, Chicago IL, 1952.
Clarence Larkin, Spirit World, Rev. Clarence Larkin Estate, Philadelphia
1. Matthew 24:37.
2. Matthew 24:37.
3. Matthew 24:37; Luke 17:26, as well as Old Testament allusions such as
Daniel 2:43, et al.
4. Cf. Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7 (where they are in existence before the creation
of the earth). Jesus also implies the same term in Luke 20:36.
5. A footnote in an edition of the famed Scofield Bible, in suggesting that
"sons of Elohim" does not always denote angelic beings, points to one
ostensible exception (Isaiah 43:6) but the term in question is not there
used! God simply refers to Israel as "my sons" and "my daughters."
Indeed, all of Adam's race are termed God's "offspring" in Acts 17:28
(although Paul is here quoting a Greek poet).
6. The sons of Elohim are even contrasted with the sons of Adam in Psalm
82:1, 6 and warned that if they go on with the evil identified in verse 2,
they would die like Adam (man). When our Lord quoted this verse (John
10:34) He made no mention of what order of beings God addressed in this
Psalm but that the Word of God was inviolate whether the beings in question
were angels or men.
7. Luke 3:38.
8. John 1:11, 12.
9. 2 Corinthians 5:17.
10. 2 Corinthians 5:1-4.
11. Luke 20:36.
12. This term appears only twice in the Bible: 2 Corinthians 5:2 and Jude 1:6.
13. Genesis 4:18.
14. Genesis 11:6.
15. This instruction was given to the descendants of Isaac and Jacob. Even
the presumed descendants of Ishmael cannot demonstrate their linkage since
no separation was maintained.
16. A.C. Gaebelein, The Annotated Bible (Penteteuch), p. 29.
17. Gen 4:26 is widely regarded as a mistranslation: "Then began men to
profane the name of the Lord." So agrees the venerated Targum of Onkelos;
the Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel; also the esteemed rabbinical sources
such as Kimchi, Rashi, et al. Also, Jerome. Also, the famed Maimonides,
Commentary on the Mishnah, 1168 a.d.
18. Exodus 12:5, 29; Leviticus 1:3, 10; 3:1, 6; 4:3, 23; 5:15, 18, 25;
22:19, 21; 23:12; Numbers 6:14; et al. Over 60 references, usually
referring to the freedom from physical blemishes of offerings.
19. Each human gamete has 23 pairs of chromosomes: the male has both "Y"
(shorter) and "X" (longer) chromosomes; the female, only "X" chromosomes.
The sex of a fertilized egg is determined by the sperm fertilizing the egg:
"X+Y" for a male child; "X+X" for a female. Thus, the male supplies the
20. Deut. 19:15; Matthew 18:16; 26:60; 2 Corinthians 13:1; et al.
21. Jude 6, 7; 2 Peter 2:4-5.
22. Homer, Iliad, viii 16.
23. Jude is commonly recognized as one of the Lord's brothers. (Matthew
13:55; Mark 6:3; Gal 1:9; Jude 1:1.)
24. The only other use in the New Testament is 2 Corinthians 5:2, alluding
to the heavenly body which the believer longs to be clothed.
25. Genesis 6:4.
26. 2 Corinthians 2:11.
27. Luke 21:26; 2 Thess 2:9, 11; et al.
28. The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Wm. B. Eerdmans
Publishing Co., Vol V, p.2835-2836.
This article was first published in the August 1997 edition of Personal Update.