The Divine Council: The Genetic Attack by the “Sons of God” in Genesis 6
Angelic Rebellion Lesson #12
December 17, 2020
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.
“Father, we’re thankful we can come together this evening to focus upon Your Word, to be reminded that our lives are lived not in isolation, but we are part of a global rebellion. The creation of the human race has a role in this rebellion and we, as believers, specifically.
“Father, we need to understand this. We need to understand that there’s a lot more going on than just the things that appear to us in our day-to-day life and our day-to-day experience. Father, we pray that You would help us to understand the things that we’re thinking through this evening in these passages.
“Father, help us to see its significance for our thinking. Father, we pray that You would help us as a congregation to be a witness, a faithful light, to a wicked and perverse generation that is so desperately in need of the truth and yet, they are mired in rebellion like the rebellious angels and they have rejected the truth.
“Father, we don’t know who will respond and who might respond but we know there are still those who will. We need to be faithful in our mission. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
We started this on Tuesday night and I did not get close to finishing. I want to take a little time to get our heads back into the flow of the thinking. This has to do with the attack that occurs by the sons of God in Genesis 6. It’s mentioned in verses Genesis 6:1–4, so take out your Bibles and let’s just turn to Genesis 6:1–4 and remind ourselves of the circumstances, the situation, and the context.
I didn’t spend a lot of time on that the other night because I was somewhat concerned about finishing. I was going a little fast. The context here from Genesis chapter 6 through chapter 8 is all talking about the events of the worldwide Flood at the time of Noah.
God is going to bring this judgment upon the earth and He’s going to do it in such a way as to destroy the entire human race except for Noah and his family. The question we ask, and others should ask, is what would have caused this kind of destruction? Why does God need to kill and remove all but eight souls from the planet? Why do so many have to die?
We think in small numbers. We’ve gone through this before in Genesis studies and other studies that the population at the time is estimated to be somewhere between three, four, or five billion—conservatively estimated at that. When you look at the genealogy in Genesis 4 you discover that everyone lived then to be 900 years old with only a couple of exceptions, one of whom was Enoch, who is sort of the great-grandfather of Noah. He lives 365 years and then we’re told he walked with God and was not.
He had such a close relationship with God that he just walked off and we’re told that God took him. He had a son named Methuselah, who was the oldest man in the Bible. There used to be in the cartoons in the Sunday Houston Chronicle a thing from Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
One of the things it said was that the oldest man in the Bible died before his father did. That was put in a way that caught my attention. Methuselah lived to be 969 years old but his father, Enoch, never did die. He just walked off one day with God and transitioned straight into Heaven.
So Methuselah lives to be 969. He has a son named Lamech who lived 182 years when he had a son named Noah. Then we’re told Lamech lived another 595 years. So he lives 777 years. He dies right before the Flood. Then the focus shifts to Noah and what God is doing with him.
Then we get the background starting in Genesis 6:1, “Now it came to pass when men began to multiply on the face of the earth and daughters were born to them.” I think this is an important passage that is easily missed. The reason I’m going over this again is because of one of the speakers at the Pre-Trib Conference and some of the conversations we had in relation to a book called Fallen: The Sons of God and the Nephilim and some other books that are out that are not nearly as solid as Fallen in some other areas.
All these people who are writing these books do believe that the sons of God in this passage are the fallen angels. It’s other things they do with this. Tim Chaffey, the author of Fallen, who is with Answers in Genesis, comes up with some interesting things because in his view there’s another incursion of these angels where they produce another race of giants after the Flood. I’m going to comment on that later on.
I think it’s important here to notice these time statements. We’re going to see several times that the word “when” is used. That means that this second event that is mentioned occurs at the same time as the previous event. You have two events that are taking place.
The first statement of “when” in Genesis 6:1 is “when men began to multiply on the face of the earth”. I think that’s a really important statement. When did men begin to multiply on the face of the earth? It’s not with the generation of Noah. It goes back to the first generation of Adam and Eve and their sons Seth and Cain. They also had other sons and daughters.
The genealogies that you read through in Genesis 5 just focus on the men, whether it’s talking about the descendants of Cain in Genesis 4:16–24 or whether it’s talking about the descendants of Adam from Genesis 4:25–32, the line is traced through the men. There’s not a mention of any particular women other than the statement in verse 4 where it says, “After Adam begat Seth, the days of Adam were 800 years and he had sons and daughters.”
Then you come to another statement down in verse 22 after Enoch had begotten Methuselah that he also had sons and daughters. Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters besides Lamech.
What we see here is that there is this expression through here that so-and-so had sons and daughters. I just mentioned a few of them but they had sons and daughters. How many sons does that imply? First of all, there is the main son, then he has other sons so that’s at least two more so there’s at least three sons. Then he has daughters so that’s at least two. So you have at least five.
I remember reading this in The Genesis Flood by Morris and Whitcomb back when I was about fourteen years old. They worked out all the math here. Several others have done that, too, over the years. On a conservative estimate that each family had at least five kids, but we know there were a lot more kids being born to these families.
If you just work the details out, recognizing that each family or couple lives to be 900 years of age, then you’re going to have a population where you have fifteen to twenty generations living at the same time. They live a long time so you have a population that’s going to grow exponentially larger than a population like we have today. Just imagine all the people who have died who were born since the year 1000.
If all those people were still alive, boy, we would have maybe twenty or thirty billion people on the planet. It would be huge. It was a well populated area.
When this verse begins it says “when men began” so this takes us back. That word for men is the word adam. It refers to mankind, humanity, the human race. It’s not talking about one line or another as we discussed on Tuesday night. It’s talking about all of humanity. “When men began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them.”
Genesis 6:2 says, “That the sons of God saw that the daughters of Adam—mankind—were beautiful and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.” The time period seems to place this incursion very early on in the expansion of the human race, not something that just comes along in the last generation or two before the Flood. It started much, much earlier.
That is important because when you look down at Genesis 6:4 it says there were nephilim. We’ll transliterate it as nephilim for now and talk about it later. There were “nephilim on the earth and also afterwards.”
This was something I wrestled with. I have never seen anyone bring this out as a point. This is a point that Chaffey brings out and I think some others in their attempt to see a subsequent incursion of the sons of God after the Flood.
Now, you’ve never been taught that. You’ve never heard that but they’re trying to explain why the word nephilim is used in Numbers 13:33 when the spies go into the land and they come back and report that they have seen nephilim in the land.
There were three problems they reported. There were giants, there were a lot of people, and there were fortified cities, but that’s the only time they refer to them with the word nephilim. There are those who are saying that you have nephilim after the Flood, so either some survived by hanging on the side of the Ark throughout the cataclysm of the Flood. This is absolutely absurd if you understand the hydro-dynamics of the Flood that lasted a year, no one is going to be able to hold on and survive.
Tim and most conservatives understand that no one except the eight on the Ark survived the Flood. They go to this word in Genesis 6:4 that says, “And also afterwards”. The way they’re exegeting this and analyzing this verse is that when it says, “there were giants on the earth in those days”, they say the period of “in those days” refers to the antediluvian period, after the Flood.
“Afterward”, according to that assumption would have to come after the Flood. It occurred to me as I’ve been working through this for a while is that you have to go back to Genesis 6:1–2 where it says, “When men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, then the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.”
It seems that the “when” starts at the beginning of this incursion when the fallen angels are taking wives of the daughters of men. Then when you come to Genesis 6:4 and it says “There were giants in the earth in those days …” that’s talking about from the beginning of that incursion.
“Afterwards” is talking about continually throughout this period. This is a period that lasted from Adam to the Flood. It’s approximately 2,000 years. The incursion of the sons of God probably started no later than five hundred years into that 2,000 years, so you’re talking about something that was transpiring and would have had to transpire for a period of 1,000 to 1,500 years in order to just about totally destroy the genetic purity of the human race.
What that phrase “and afterwards” means is not after the Flood, it means from the time they started this, from the first incursion, which was five hundred years after Adam or one thousand years after Adam and afterward and continually, this continued to happen.
You have to be really careful with what the text is saying and not make mistakes based on the English. You have to follow those grammatical time markers to stay focused.
We saw that this phrase “sons of God” is a term for all the angels. Then I pointed out that there are three interpretations of this. There are actually four, but I don’t spend a lot of time talking about the 4th one because it’s a combination of numbers two and three. It tries to be honest with the text that “sons of God” means angels, but it sees it as a demon-possession thing so that’s not pure views. It just tries to combine them and there’s not too many people who take that but there are some that do that. They fall more on the side that the demons are doing it, not the humans.
We went through these views. The first view is that the “sons of God” are talking about one line. It’s a holy line that descends from Seth. They’re all believers. Then there’s the line of Cain and they’re all unbelievers. The next view is that the “sons of God” is just a term that applies to these ancient despots and tyrants who are building these big harems. It falls into some of the same problems as the first group.
Then the third view is that these are angels. They’re fallen angels because that’s how the language is. That is the conservative view.
There are some people who really get upset about this. David Klingler spoken here a couple of times. He covered for me. He was the Director of The Houston Campus for Dallas Seminary, an Old Testament major, and he was also a Heisman Trophy winner when he played for the University of Houston. He went on and got his Ph.D. at Dallas and teaches in the Old Testament Department.
He’s one of the good guys, but he got a pastor friend of mine in Houston who you know pretty well, Bruce Bumgardner. He and another professor from Dallas got on an elevator with Bruce and really gave him a hard time because he took the angel view. Apparently David takes this view that it’s the sons of Seth, which you can’t realistically assess the population and think that half the earth is one group and half the other because why does God wipe out all of them? It’s just inconsistent, but there’s a lot of emotion sometimes among theologians on some of these particular issues.
I know another guy who was a few years ahead of me at Dallas, wrote his Master’s thesis on this, who came up with the tyrant view. He’s German. He went back to Germany and has had a career teaching in a German evangelical seminary over there and he’s the same way. There are scholars who disagree, for whatever reason I don’t understand.
It’s very clear that these “sons of God” are angels. That term is always used that way. I went through this and I’ll just review it quickly.
Slides 9 and 10
The Apostates view just doesn’t work because they misinterpret the problem. They don’t apply it both ways. It’s saved men marrying unsaved women. “Sons of God” would be saved men in the Seth line and the daughters of men are the unsaved in the Cain line.
That just doesn’t make sense. Why would you split the human race up like that? It’s just absurd. The context indicates only eight survive. Why would you have to destroy everyone else on the planet? The third objection is that “daughters” is made to refer only to Cain, but it says the “daughters of Adam”, which is the daughters of mankind, not just the daughters of Cain. It’s exegetically very weak. The “sonship” terminology that occurs in a few places outside of Genesis relates to Israel’s privileged position as a theocratic nation.
Slides 11, 12, and 13
The autocrat view, again, is pretty convoluted to get there. They try to make “sons of God” a description of a class rather than individuals. They use Elohim first as a good thing, then as a bad thing so that’s a problem.
In both cases you can’t explain why it’s necessary to wipe out everyone. Also, it ignores the evidence from the New Testament.
Slides 14 and 15
The angel view is that the “Sons of God” is a technical term for angels. In this case, the fallen angels, who seduced these young women and married them. It’s legitimate. They’re able to transform their bodies, take on human forms, and they take these wives. It’s not an act of rape. “Taking a wife” is a common phrase used all through the Old Testament when someone would take a wife or get married. There are no negative overtones to that.
Slides 16 and 17
Then I explained that the most common objection is found in Matthew 22:30 where Jesus says, “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” The term “angels in heaven” in this case would probably not refer to the fallen angels, but the angels who are still elect. That is who Jesus focuses on, that they’re in Heaven and continue in Heaven.
Secondly, it doesn’t mean that they can’t transform their immaterial bodies into physical bodies to have sexual relations with women. Third, it’s very clear from the exegesis of Jude 6 and following that it involved sexual sin, so unless you want to throw out Jude and 2 Peter 2, you better avoid using this as an objection. I talked about these things the other morning.
We have the passages we’ve studied a lot. “Sons of God” in Job 1:6, Job 2:1 refers to angels. In Job 38:7 it’s parallel with the morning stars, which is another phrase for the angels. This is accepted.
Slides 21 and 22
We’ve gone through all the passages in Psalm 29:1, Psalm 89:6, and Psalm 89:5–6. You have all these different parallels.
The bene Elim, the holy ones, all of these refer to the angelic hosts. In fact, they are referred to in Psalm 89:8, “Hear, O Yahweh, ’Elohim of hosts.” The term “hosts” refers to the angelic armies. This connects back to the holy ones and to the bene ’Elohim in this section of Psalm 89. That’s very important to understand and it’s very difficult to get around that.
Then what happens we come to Genesis 6:3 where the Lord says, “My spirit shall not strive with man forever.” I do not think this is a technical term for the Holy Spirit. Some people take it for that; I know that, but you always have to look at the term spirit and determine what its significance is.
There are many different nuances to that word. Ruach in the Old Testament for spirit can refer to wind or breath or one’s thinking or attitude, just like the word PNEUMA can in the New Testament. You have to be careful. Just because God says it’s His spirit doesn’t necessarily indicate the Holy Spirit. There’s something that happens with the verb that is the reason I say that.
The verb that is translated in the King James and New King James is the word strive. In the Septuagint, in the Syriac, and in the Targums and in the Vulgate, a huge number of ancient texts and it might even be in Qumran, but I don’t know but it reads “abide”. That’s how they understand it.
The word is only used this one time in all of the Old Testament. How did they get this idea of abide? The next question is how do they get any idea of what this means if it’s the only time it appears in Hebrew literature? Your Semitic languages, Hebrew, Ugaritic, which comes from a town of what is now modern Syria that was discovered back in the 1920s and was a Canaanite city. They uncovered a huge trove of documents, clay tablets, etc. and there you find words that have the same root as the Hebrew word. Also, in Acadian, which is another Semitic language, and Arabic, which is another Semitic language, it’s found. These languages are closer to one another than the romance languages such as Latin, French, and Spanish. They’re close, but the Semitic languages are even closer.
This root in your Semitic languages has the idea of abiding or staying or remaining. That’s how it’s understood in the Syriac, the Targums, the Septuagint, and the Vulgate. If you read this verse “My spirit” may be a way where God is just referring to Himself saying, “I will not abide with man forever”.
What does that mean? Where is God? God never left the planet. His abode was in Eden. He never left. He set up an army of cherubs around Eden to keep anyone from coming in and eating from the Tree of Life. So, at this time God’s presence is still on the earth and people would go to Him for answers to judicial issues because remember God hasn’t established government yet and He hasn’t established nations yet. He’s only established the family.
At some point people would ask how they were going to judge these things and the only authority that was still on the planet was God. I believe that in the ancient world it wasn’t unlike the way the situation is going to be in the Millennial Kingdom where the final appeal would be to go to the Garden of Eden.
Now we don’t have any statements on that. That’s a measure of speculation, but it’s based on looking at a number of statements that are made and trying to be able to format a scenario that would fit. So you have this situation where God is still on the planet and He’s not going to be there anymore. He leaves. When does He come back? When Israel builds the Tabernacle. Now God is dwelling or abiding with His people again. He stays until He departs when Israel is apostate, and Ezekiel sees the glory of God leave.
When does He come back again? In the Incarnation when Jesus came. Then when Jesus left, Jesus sent another Comforter, another of the same kind. He sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwells us and so continues to throughout the Church Age. We’ve gone through that in our study of Ephesians 2 as we were finishing that up.
In the church God has created one new man, one new body, one new temple. All of those refer to what the church is. The temple is a place where the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit abide individually in every believer but also corporately in the church.
All of this connects with this idea of God abiding with mankind throughout history. He’s going to abide with mankind again during the Millennial Kingdom and on into the new heavens and the new earth. This is all good background material.
Then God says that, “He is indeed flesh, yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.” Now I have never heard an alternate position before to the view that this is connected to Noah and how much time Noah was going to have to preach on the earth. There was going to be a hundred and twenty years and then the Flood was going to come.
If you do the chronology you learn that Noah is 500 years old when God tells him about the Flood and he’s six hundred years when the Flood comes so that’s not 120 years. The best solution to this is actually that God has given man nine to ten centuries for his life. The bottom line on letting man live so long is verse 5. “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Man is living so long that he is majoring in malfeasance. He is majoring in maliciousness. He is majoring in sin and now it is maximum wickedness on the planet. What God’s going to do is tell them that he’s given them 950 years and look at what they’re doing with it, so he’s going to cut their days down to 120 years maximum. That makes a lot of sense. I’m not going to get into all of that, but it makes a lot of sense. Back in the Genesis study I have a chart showing the decline of the ages from generation to generation and it follows an exponential decay curve.
It shows that Moses didn’t just make up these numbers out of thin air. They fit a perfect exponential decay curve, so you get the same curve if you take the temperature of a glass of water after you put ice in it and then the ice melts and the temperature of the water goes up. If you chart that on a graph, you’ll get the same kind of curve.
It’s called an exponential decay curve. It shows that it’s a mathematically precise thing and Moses isn’t getting his little calculator out trying to figure out the exponential decay curve for the ages of each generation to get that perfect. God is taking it from what it was before the Fall to what it is after the Fall and that makes a lot more sense.
That was one of the things we discussed in our discussions at Pre-Trib when we were meeting with one another as well as with Tim Chaffey. That seems to be a really solid view. That has good support from the text.
When we look at Genesis 6:4 we’re told that there were nephilim on the earth in those days. The question is just exactly what is a nephilim? It says that there were nephilim in those days and also afterwards. I’ve explained that in those days are the days from when it started until the time of the Flood. From the very beginning and afterwards there continued to be this giving of marriage by the “sons of God” taking on human forms, and marrying the daughters of men.
These women bore children to these “sons of God”. The children are the nephilim. The “sons of God” are not the nephilim. The demons are not the nephilim. The nephilim are the offspring. The text goes on to say, “Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.”
The word “those” refers to the children who are the nephilim. We have evidence of that when we look at a lot of different mythologies. You can go through many, many, many different civilizations and they have their pantheons of gods and they all have these stories of the gods coming down from Mount Olympus or whatever mountain it is where they have their headquarters, and they have sexual relations with women.
The result is they have offspring who are like Hercules, men of renown. They are men who are known. They have a reputation. That’s what it literally means in the Hebrew. They are men of a name. They have earned a name for themselves.
That’s another interesting phrase that just occurred to me. Remember what happened at the Tower of Babel? You have another mighty man, a gibbor, and that’s Nimrod. What is Nimrod trying to do? He’s building a city called Babel so that man can make a name for himself.
What happens? God comes down and God scatters their language and their whole scheme falls apart. Then what does God do? God calls out Abraham in Genesis 12. What does He promise him? He promises to make his name great. This is a really interesting thread to follow, that these men of renown were men of a name. Then there’s a connection in terms of this mighty man to Nimrod. It’s not a biological connection. It’s that Nimrod is continuing the apostate rebellion against God that characterized these nephilim prior to the Flood.
So you have these nephilim. Now, what does the word mean? The word means giants. I think you can demonstrate that if you look it up, it has some other nuances to it, but it all relates to giants or monsters or some unusual creature. It doesn’t mean a half demon, half man. Get that out of your head.
No one ever says that. They are the product of a fallen angel and a human woman in Genesis 6, but the word doesn’t mean that. If the word meant that, then you would have serious problems with Numbers 13:33, but if the word is just a generic term for monsters or giants or some unusual human creature, then you don’t have a problem.
The nephilim are all giants but not all giants in the Bible are nephilim. I think what happens in the view of Chaffey and the view of some others is that you have the second incursion after the Flood based on a bad exegesis of Genesis 6:2 and 6:4. As a result of that, they have them coming along and producing a second race between fallen angels and man.
Then in some cases it gets really bizarre, but not in all of them. What we understand is that the word nephilim is a generic term for some kind of giant or monster. Different things can cause that and this account in Genesis 6 is just one of them. It’s just a generic term.
The verse that I keep referencing in Numbers is Numbers 13:33. It’s when the spies go into the land and when they come back and give their report. Remember ten of them are scared to death and they want to make sure everyone else is scared too, because they don’t want them going in to fight these Canaanites. They are bad news, in their opinion, and they’re scared they’re going to lose their lives.
Their report is that they saw the giants. That’s nephilim in the text. It connects these to the descendants of Anak, the giants, so this is talking about something other than those before the Flood, because all of those died at the Flood. These are giants but from another cause. They are identified as the “sons of Anak” and they’re just about all wiped out in the conquest.
The “sons of Anak” intermarried with the Philistines. One of their offspring is a guy named Goliath and his brothers. There’s this gigantism that runs through the thread there. The Israelites who were sent to spy the land said, “We were like grasshoppers in our own sight.” They’re exaggerating a lot.
We do know, for example, that Og of Bashan was tall. It doesn’t tell us how tall he was, but his bed was thirteen and a half feet long. He’s pretty good size. Goliath was 9’9” according to the Masoretic Text. Some try to make him smaller but I don’t think there’s a good argument for that.
This is the reason people do that. My understanding of this is that the word “giant” is a good word. Or we could call it monsters. They could have said they saw monsters in the land. They are not saying they are the same as what was before the Flood.
For example, if you’ve never seen a map of England and you’ve never been there and then you decide to take a trip over there, you find a lot of place names that are also in the United States. Some are like Austin and Norwich and a lot of other names. These are especially common in New England.
What happened was when the Pilgrims and Puritans and others came from England to North America and they saw a river, they would call it the Thames, just like the river in London. They pronounce it like it looks in New England, not “Tims” like they do in England. That was an adjustment to get used to that, but it’s the same name. You have New London and Norwich and Boston and Cambridge. All of these are names and cities and towns and places in England. When they came here, they named places after places they were familiar with.
What happens is after the Flood and all these years go by, these Israelites had heard these stories about the giants before the Flood and now they saw these giants in the land they just used the generic words for giant to describe these giants. It doesn’t mean they’re the same thing. It doesn’t mean they’re connected.
Let’s go to the New Testament. We’re going to look at 2 Peter 2. This is a passage we stopped at when we started this series on the angels. We’re studying through 2 Peter, so it makes sense to start here in this particular lesson. In the context of 2 Peter 2, remember there’s the warning from Peter that “Just as there were false prophets in the Old Testament among the people of Israel there will be false teachers among you who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who brought them and bring on themselves swift destruction. Many will follow their destructive ways because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words. For a long time their judgment has not been idle and their destruction does not slumber.”
There’s going to be disruption of these false teachers. Then he gives examples in 2 Peter 2:4–11 of how God brings judgment upon those who oppose Him. Jude does the same thing, and we’ll look at Jude in just a minute.
What we read in verse 4, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned …” Right away we see that if this is referring to the incident in Genesis 6, Peter is calling them angels. He’s interpreting the “sons of God” there was angels. By the way, in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament done about 250 BC, it translates bene ha ’elohim in some of those passages as angels because it’s interpretive.
The guys who translated the Pentateuch into Hebrew knew exactly what that phrase meant. Peter says “if”, which is a first-class condition, meaning it’s true, if God did not spare the angels when they sinned but cast them into hell …
It’s not hell here. In Greek hell is HADES, the word that is normally translated hell. Sometimes it’s GEHENNA. We’ve studied that and it doesn’t have anything to do with future judgment, but that’s a whole different topic. He cast them into TARTARUS. That’s the Greek word here. These are demons who are cast into a place called TARTARUS and He commits them to pits of darkness reserved for judgment.
I made this slide to give us a graphic on what Sheol, or HADES, looks like. According to Luke 16:19–25, when you’re in the period before the Cross the Old Testament believers did not go to be with the Lord in Heaven. They went to a place called Abraham’s Bosom or Paradise until Christ took Paradise and all those in it after the resurrection.
Sheol is composed of three compartments. Sheol is a generic word. It is not a precise word. The precise words are Torments, where unbelievers prior to the Cross are sent. Then there’s another compartment called TARTARUS. This is where these fallen angels are confined in chains of deep darkness. Then you have a third compartment called the Abyss. There are some who are already confined there. This is like a bottomless pit where Satan will be confined during the Millennial Kingdom. This is just a graphic for Sheol.
What’s interesting is in the early Middle Ages when the Mongolian hordes first erupted out of Mongolia and headed west and started conquering all of the Slavic people, they were brutal and barbaric. They tortured everyone and they raped all the women. It was like a demonic incursion, so the Slavs knew a little bit about this passage called them Tartars. They got that word from TARTARUS. They were like the demons from TARTARUS were coming upon them, in their minds. That’s just a little added color for you to understand why we get some of these words and explaining why they were called the Mongolians Tartars.
Merrill Unger was a professor at Dallas Seminary for many years and very well known for his Unger’s Bible Dictionary and Handbook and a number of other things he’s written. He wrote books on archeology in the Old Testament and New Testament. He wrote his doctoral dissertation, and it was published as Biblical Demonology. In that book he says, “The fallen angels that are bound, on the other hand, are those described by Peter and Jude as extensively guilty of such enormous wickedness they were no longer allowed to roam the heavens with their leader, Satan, and the other evil angels but plunged them down to the strictest and severest confinement in Tartarus.”
This is where they are consigned. In 2 Peter 2:5 it connects these angels to the time of Noah. It says, “and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly.”
One of the things that is interesting about these chains of darkness is that this isn’t the normal Greek word for darkness, which is SKOTUS. This is ZOPHOS, which refers to an extremely deep darkness that is oppressive and is related to the nether world. According to Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, it’s used of the darkness of the nether world, the blackness that is the densest darkness. It’s a thick, thick darkness.
When we look at this passage in 2 Peter 2 another question we need to address is whether Peter was talking about these angels and their sin in Genesis 6 or is he talking about the original fall of the demons, which is what some people think. What we see here is that this is not all of the fallen angels. This is just a particular group or subgroup of fallen angels who did something especially terrible at the time of Noah so they are confined in these chains of darkness. They are there until the final judgment of the angels and then they will be sent to the Lake of Fire. It doesn’t involve all of the fallen angels. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have had all of this demonic activity at the time of Jesus and other things. It’s a limited group of angels.
Then we talked about the imprisonment of the angels in TARTARUS, which is like a holding tank. It’s like somebody being sent to jail and held in jail until time for their trial, then eventually getting sent to their permanent punishment.
Slides 34 and 35
Then we come back to 1 Peter 3. The context is that Peter is encouraging the believers in a time of suffering that will come. He tells them they can expect suffering, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive by means of the Holy Spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison.”
We studied this when we went through the passage in 1 Peter 3. There are several different views of this. Some people think Jesus is preaching the gospel and that’s not the word for proclaiming the gospel. That would be EVANGELIZO, where we get our word evangelism. They say He’s talking to those unbelievers who died before the Cross. Others say He is preaching the gospel to the fallen angels that came in before the Flood.
That doesn’t make sense because He’s making a proclamation. It’s KERUSSO. This is the word for simply proclaiming that something has happened. What’s He’s proclaiming is based on what is stated in verse 18 is that He has paid the penalty for sin and so this secures the future punishment for all those who have disobeyed God.
He says here, “In which by means of the Holy Spirit He also went and made proclamation—the victorious proclamation—to the fallen angels now in prison.” He was telling them their doom was secure.
Slides 36 and 37
The spirits now in prison are a reference to the ones at the beginning of 1 Peter 3:20, “Who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah.” When did this happen? The “when” here is HOTE in the Greek. It is translated when or while and as the Greek lexicon states, “It is a marker of a point in time that coincides or connects it to another point in time.”
They were disobedient when God kept His patience. That is that whole period of time when it began, probably five hundred years after Adam or so, somewhere in there, up to the Flood. All through that time God is giving them enough rope to hang themselves, as it were. It was “When the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah during the construction of the Ark, in which a few, that is eight persons were brought safely through the water.” That makes it clear that God punishes them at that time when the patience of God kept waiting. They were disobedient and God is going to punish them at that time.
The third passage in the New Testament that we need to get to is Jude 6 and 7. If you look at the context of Jude, Jude is later than 2 Peter. 2 Peter warns that false teachers are coming while Jude is saying that false teachers are here. Then when it gets down to Jude 5, Jude reminds them of the way God judged people in the past.
In Jude 5 he talks about how God judged Egypt. In Jude 6 he talks about how God judged these angels who did not keep their own domain. This is the word ARCHE, which in some places means first or authority. It’s translated principalities, but here in the context it has the idea of a domain or sphere of influence.
What is this sphere of influence of these angels? They were heavenly beings. They were in the heavenlies, but they left that domain. They left that original domain or the place where they were established originally to go to a different place. They abandoned their proper abode. That word is the Greek word OIKETERION from OIKOS, meaning house or abode or a place of dwelling.
It refers to the fact that they abandoned their dwelling place which was in the heavenlies and they took on human form and entered into the human race to take these daughters of men as wives. They didn’t keep their original place in Heaven as spirit beings, but they abandoned their position as spirit beings and took on this human, material body.
Then Jude says that God “has kept them in eternal bonds under darkness.” It’s the same word for darkness that Peter uses. It refers to a deep, dense darkness that in Greek mythology described the darkness of the nether world. He’s kept them in these bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day.
Then comes Jude 7 which makes a comparison. It compares the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah to the sin of these angels. It’s very important to look at this and the Greek really helps us because it starts off talking about they, the angels who abandoned their proper abode, “just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them …”
The word city, singular, in Greek is a feminine noun. That means if you’re going to refer to it with a pronoun you’re going to have to refer to it with a feminine pronoun. When it says “Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them”, “them” is a feminine pronoun, as well.
“Since they in the same way as these …” There are people who come along who don’t know the Greek and they think that “in the same way as these” refers to something else. The “these” here refers to angels. It’s masculine so it’s talking about the angels, just as the cities are being compared to the angels. This second plural pronoun refers back to the angels.
“Since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality.” Sodom and Gomorrah are doing something that is comparable to what these angels did. They indulged in gross fornication, which is actually the word here. It refers to illicit sexual relations, not just sexual relations between people who are not married to each other, but any category of illicit sexual relations.
The angels indulged, they’re the subject of the verb, in gross immorality and went after “strange flesh”.
The term here for “strange” flesh is the word HETEROS. Now you know what HETEROS refers to. You have heterosexual relations, people who are different. They are not of the same kind. They are of a different kind.
HOMO, like in homosexual, refers to those who are the same kind. Male and male, or female and female, are homosexuality, where heterosexuality is a different kind, male and female relations. That’s the word that you have here. They went after heterosexual—others of a different kind of flesh.
Just as the homosexuals in Sodom and Gomorrah went after flesh that was different from the kind that God intended, which was heterosexual relations and not homosexual relations, so going after the strange flesh, the angels and Sodom and Gomorrah have in common, they are violating God’s plan and God’s protocol. It involves a sin of sexuality.
All these passages in the New Testament make it very clear that what’s going on in Noah’s time involves some angels and sexual immorality. These are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.
This emphasizes the fact that what we have in Genesis 6 is a satanic attack. Why did this take place? It takes place because God had made a promise to Eve in Genesis 3:15 that to solve the problem of sin, her descendant, her seed, which is an odd phrase because seed in the Greek is sperma, which is associated with the male, but here God is talking about the seed of the woman.
There’s a hint here that there’s something unusual about this word. Later we know what that is. It involves the virgin birth. So, we have the virgin conception and birth, which is a fulfillment of that prophecy, but Satan knows that it’s the seed of the woman, a human being, that is going to defeat him. He’s going to try to stop it by destroying the genetic purity of the human race.
He wants to corrupt human DNA so a savior can’t come who is a pure human. This is the backdrop for this. It’s an attack on salvation. One of the reasons the angels are called “sons of God”, as I’ve mentioned, is that God creates each angel individually. They don’t make baby angels.
If they made baby angels, then you would have a connection between all the angels like you do with humans. God created Adam. From the side of Adam, He took the woman, so Adam and the woman are genetically related. All human beings come from Adam and Eve, so all human beings are ultimately genetically related. We’re all cousins to the nth degree.
The impact of all that is that Jesus, when He enters into human history and takes on humanity through the virgin conception and birth, He’s a true human. He’s related to all other human beings and He can die for other human beings. He can’t die for the angels because there’s no organic unity among the angels. They’re each created individually, but there is an organic unity among human beings. This is why you have this as an attack on the Cross.
Slides 41 and 42
The result was that it produced these nephilim that were a hybrid of the angels and the daughters of men. The word nephilim itself doesn’t mean half demon and half human. It just refers to monsters, as it were. It refers to something unusual that was produced as a result of this, but it’s a generic word so it can be applied to any other sort of monster that comes along.
What’s interesting is that when you look at how this passage has been handled in history among Jewish literature, the Septuagint translates the language in Genesis 6, “the sons of God”, as angels. You have a couple of other books that were never considered to be canonical, one called the The Book of Enoch, which is quoted in Jude. That doesn’t mean it’s inspired and it’s right at the point where Enoch is quoting it.
The books of Enoch and of Jubilees also present the same view that these were angels who came in and chose human wives. You also have Josephus, who was a well-known historian who was a Jewish general in the wars of rebellion against Rome. He was captured and became a slave in the household of the Caesars. He wrote The History of the Jews, The Wars of the Jews, and several other things.
In his History of the Jews he confirms that these were angels in Genesis 6. In the early church, Justin Martyr, who lived in the first part of the 2nd century, held this view. Irenaeus, who lived about the same time and was a little bit younger than Justin Martyr by a couple of decades and was also a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John the Apostle. There’s a direct connection from Irenaeus back to John. Another church father in the early 2nd century along with several others all held to the view that the “sons of God” were all angels. This makes this very clear.
This was one of several different attacks Satan makes against the human race. One of the attacks which comes up later on is an attack on all the infants in Bethlehem, so Jesus would be prevented from growing to maturity. There are a lot of attacks that occur on the human race in the period of the Tribulation because there are demon armies that are held in reserve by Satan that will be released when God gives permission during the Trumpet judgment during the second half of the first part of the Tribulation.
Anyway, we’ll come back on Sunday morning and look at the strategies of the devil, which is what we are warned against in Ephesians. We are warned against the wiles of the strategies of the devil, who as Peter says, “goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour”. Let’s close in prayer.
“Father, thank You for the opportunity to study these things this evening, to realize that we live in a world where everything is not as it seems, and we live in a world where there is a whole lot that is invisible to us. The angelic rebellion is raging around us.
“In fact, our very existence and history is related to this angelic rebellion in ways that we barely can understand and yet, all of this is going to be worked out in the plan of God. Eventually all evil will be judged and destroyed and restricted to the Lake of Fire where it will no longer impact our lives. Help us to understand these things. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”