The Nephilim: Human, or Supernatural?

Were Nephilim - the "sons of God" - really the result of angels interbreeding with the human race, as seems to be a popular teaching; or has the following passage simply been misinterpreted? Only our Elohim knows for sure! But here is what we have found in Scripture and it is our personal interpretation:

Genesis 6:1 In time, when men began to multiply on earth, and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were attractive; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3 ADONAI said, "My Spirit will not live in human beings forever, for they too are flesh; therefore their life span is to be 120 years." 4 The N'filim were on the earth in those days, and also afterwards, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; these were the ancient heroes, men of renown. 5 ADONAI saw that the people on earth were very wicked, that all the imaginings of their hearts were always of evil only. 6 ADONAI regretted that he had made humankind on the earth; it grieved his heart. 7 ADONAI said, "I will wipe out humankind, whom I have created, from the whole earth; and not only human beings, but animals, creeping things and birds in the air; for I regret that I ever made them."

Many pose the following question: Who are "the sons of God" in Genesis 6:2? Are they demons or humans?

One school of interpretation says they are fallen angels who had sexual relations with women and produced an offspring of giants. However, this is all negated by Matthew 22:30 which tells us that angels are unable to marry because they are not able to procreate:

Matthew 22: 30. For in the resurrection of the dead, men do not marry women, nor are women given to husbands. Rather, they are as the Messengers of Elohim in Heaven.

Read in context, this simply means that the "sons of God" - godly men - intermarried with heathen (ungodly) women....which led to the universal corruption of society and necessitated the flood to morally cleanse the earth.

Angels are HOLY beings. Sex is not in the equation because they are all about YHWH, not themselves. Sex is a human desire which fulfills the command for mankind to "be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). Nowhere in the entire Bible will you see YHWH giving that command to angels, nor do we ever see that the number of angels increases or decreases.

If angels at all times 'see the face of my Father who is in heaven" why would they need sex?

Matthew 18: 10. See to it that you do not despise one of these little ones. I say to you, for their Messengers in heaven at all times see the face of my Father who is in heaven. (AENT)

We see many scriptures throughout the Bible that suggest angels (the Aramaic word is actually "messengers") are NOT sexual beings. And have you ever noticed that angels are not a race descended from a common ancestor? Men are called "sons of men," but angels are never called "sons of angels."

Luke 20: 34. Y’shua said to them, The sons of this world marry women and women are given to men. 35. But those who of that world are worthy of the resurrection, that is from the dead, do not marry women nor women given to men. 36. For neither are they able to die again, for they are as the Messengers. And sons are of Elohim because they are sons of the resurrection. (AENT)

The teaching that the Nephilim were fallen angels comes predominately from the extra-biblical book of Enoch. However, the Torah seems to suggest that the righteous line of Adam's son Seth had begun to mix with the unrighteous line of his other son, Cain - and the fruit of this "mixing of seed" was the Nephilim. Although the King James version translates this word as "giants" it may also be understood to be "tyrants", which could also mean that the outcome of this "mixing of the seed" was not a superior race of famous giants, but a world filled with "bad" ungodly people.

This is why YHWH declared: Genesis 6: 3 My Spirit will not live in human beings forever, for they too are flesh; therefore their life span is to be 120 years." YHWH decreed that in 120 years he would stop contending with man and bring destruction upon the earth. Yet, because there was ONE righteous person left (Gen. 6: "8 But Noach found grace in the sight of ADONAI") He spared us complete annihilation. You don't ever hear of angels dying....

During this 120 year period, Noah prepared the ark and preached righteousness. Through Noah's line of Seth, the earth was ultimately repopulated and YHWH eventually brought forth the "seed of the woman" via Yeshua in Israel, who would crush the head of the serpent and liberate us from our fallen condition.

Bottom line: Messengers/Angels don't and can't fornicate; therefore, the Nephilim were NOT angels.

Author and Aramaic scholar Andrew Gabriel Roth offers the following comments concerning nephillim:

(1) Calling Nephilim angels is a bit of a pagan and/or later rabbinic incursion on the pshat of Genesis 6. These ideas were given greater currency in some Jewish pre-rabbinic sources also, such as the apocryphal book of Enoch and the works of Phil Judaeus.

(2) I would caution people in strongest possible terms on this matter: The use of "Sons of Elohim" is so ubiquitous and diverse that forming any doctrine solely based on this term and without further context is dangerous and overly simplistic! Also "sons of Elohim" don't necessarily HAVE to be the nephilim but could be another group - the text is only saying that nephilim were around the same time the sons of Elohim went into the daughters of Cain. Saying they are the same is an assumption, not proof. The Hebrew kind of goes roundabout like this, from A to B and back to A, so there is no way to know for certain.

(3) The Nephilim as a word is best translated as "mighty men"; it is a synonym for gowrim (warriors). In ancient literature great men in strength and heart were often depicted as giants in stature as well. But there is no way to know how the real Nephilim's stature matched their prowess in war. I do think though their appearance with respect to Joshua's spies shows both a tendency to exaggerate when afraid but also that there may have been a kernel of truth that they looked more powerful than the average man, somehow. Maybe their armor was just really cool and they had platform sandals, who really knows?

(4) So who were the sons of Elohim if not the Nephilim? No one knows for sure! I do know that the whole angels debate is useless as real angels don't commit fornication which is a sin against YHWH, whether or not they can "do it". (I personally think they cannot.) But on this point,I do believe that the sons of Elohim could have represented a separate ancient group of men.

(5) It is interesting that their name Nephilim gets translated directly in effect - maybe it comes from an archaic tongue? See Genesis 6:4b.

Bottom line:

All Nephilim died in the flood...period. The alleged sighting of them in Numbers 13 was called an EVIL REPORT. There may have been some large folks in the land, but they weren't giants, nor were they Nephilim. The parts of the report that were proven true were: (1) The land has a lot of fruit - see its grapes, (2) There are large fortifications and lots of warriors walking around. The only part of the report that remained and that COULD be false - the so called larger folks, were Nephilim. The locals may have believed they were Nephilim as the text suggests, but that doesn't mean they are right even if they are on the tall side.

The Nephilim were not giants either; their name doesn't suggest they are oversized at all. They are FALLEN ones (NIPHAL= to fall) and "men of name" (or famous men). It is my personal belief that the people in Genesis 1 (children of Elohim) literally mated with the actual daughters of THE ADAM, as in the man Adam, rather than "daughters of men". The result was they inherited Adam's sin and FELL. But because of their antiquity, they or their parents were "famous" for building early civilizations.

Now, granted, Josephus and Philo Judaeus of Alexandria agree with the idea that angels mated with women and bore giant offspring. But that doesn't mean they are right. Y'shua said several times, "In the resurrection men and women will neither marry nor be taken in marriage but will be like the Messengers in heaven." Therefore, since angels don't marry, how can one explain this line in Genesis 6?

In time, when men began to multiply on earth, and daughters were born to them.... 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men (should be Adam here Dr. Stern) were attractive; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. (Gen 6:1-2 CJB)

So Y'shua says angels CAN'T marry; therefore, the sons of Elohim who TOOK WIVES can't be angels. Nor is the phrase "sons of Elohim" only applicable to angels. It can easily refer to men and more often than not does.

We must also ask ourselves this: If nephilim were demons, which means some of our forefathers were demons, can we find salvation in Yeshua if our DNA makes us part demon? Can those with demon DNA inherit the kingdom of Elohim? We are told that demons and the ungodly will end up in the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20; 20:10-15; 21:8, Mark 9:43; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Would YHWH really allow a child to be born of a demon parent, knowing that the child can never inherit eternal life? Didn't He say He wants NONE to perish (2 Peter 3:9)?