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Part Six: The Sons of God According to Ancient Sources

Part Six: The Sons of God According to Ancient Sources

Ancient extra-biblical sources are important because they act as a type of commentary on the Scripture.

Again, this is important because when Jesus spoke of the days of Noah, all the listeners would have believed that fallen angels and demonic-human hybrids were rampant on the earth at that time. The ancient Christian and Jewish interpreters confirm that Satan has been seeking to overturn the Genesis 3:15 prophecy and destroy mankind.

Fallen Angels According to the New Testament

Both Peter and Jude speak specifically concerning the actions of these fallen angels. Peter, in his second epistle speaks of false teachers with destructive heresies and the destruction they will bring upon themselves. He emphasizes the certainty of their destruction because of how God judged the (fallen) angels and the ancient world.

For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but threw them into hell [tartarosas ταρταρώσας] and locked them up in chains in utter darkness, to be kept until the judgment, and if he did not spare the ancient world, but did protect Noah, a herald of righteousness, along with seven others, when God brought a flood on an ungodly world, and if he turned to ashes the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah when he condemned them to destruction, having appointed them to serve as an example to future generations of the ungodly, and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man in anguish over the debauched lifestyle of lawless men, – if so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from their trials, and to reserve the unrighteous for punishment at the day of judgment, especially those who indulge their fleshly desires and who despise authority. Brazen and insolent, they are not afraid to insult the glorious ones, (2 Peter 2:4-10 NET).

How can we know for certain that Peter is not merely referring to the initial fall of the angels from Heaven? After all, we know that Satan was once in God’s presence and fell from his exalted position according to Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14. We also learn from Revelation 12 that Satan took one third of the angels with him when he fell. Couldn’t Peter simply be referring to the “sin” of when Satan and the other angels initially rebelled? Peter gives us the answer in chapter five of his first epistle when he says that we need to be on guard because: “your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour,” (1 Peter 5:8). We can state with confidence that no angel has sinned worse than Satan himself. Thus why would God cast some of the lesser demons (fallen angels) into hell (a place Peter refers to as Tartarus) and yet leave the majority of the demons, including the king of demons, Satan himself, free to “prowl around”?

We know that during Jesus’ earthly ministry there were many encounters between Jesus and demons. During one encounter the demons even ask Him: “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:29. We see that they were free to roam about but that there will be a time when the Lord Jesus will judge them. Jesus speaks of the judgment following the Great Tribulation known as the Judgment of the Nations in Matthew 25:41 and confirms that the final destiny of all fallen angels is the lake of fire. ”Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels,” (Matthew 25:41).

Thus the angels that have been cast into hell (tartaros) and are locked in everlasting chains waiting until the final judgment must have done something more than the initial rebellion. For if the first rebellion was sufficient to require them to be locked up already, why should Satan and so many other demons be allowed to go about freely? Peter provides evidence of just what landed them in everlasting chains so prematurely by his statement in verse ten: “especially those who indulge their fleshly desires [sarkos en epitumia σαρκος εν επιθυμια μιασμου] and who despise authority.” The Greek term employed by Peter (epithumia επιθυμια) is defined by Thayer’s Greek Lexicon as a great longing for something, often of things forbidden. This word coupled with “flesh” (sarkos σαρκος) and “defilement” (miasmou μιασμου) makes a powerful statement – the unrighteous, which includes (fallen) angels acted upon a forbidden longing to defile or stain their flesh.

Jude, most likely basing his own writing on Peter, then elaborates in what way the angels sinned.

Now I desire to remind you (even though you have been fully informed of these facts once for all) that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, later destroyed those who did not believe. You also know that the angels [angelous αγγελους] who did not keep within their proper domain [arkhen αρχην] but abandoned their own place of residence [oiketerion οικητηριον], he has kept [There is an interesting play on words used in this verse. Because the angels did not keep their proper place, Jesus has kept them chained up in another place. The same verb keep is used in v. 1 to describe believers’ status before God and Christ. (NET Notes Jude 6)] in eternal chains in utter darkness, locked up for the judgment of the great Day. So also [hos ως] Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring towns, since they indulged in sexual immorality [ekporeusasai εκπορνευσασαι] and pursued unnatural desire [sarkos heteras σαρκος ετερας] in a way similar to these [toutois τουτοις] angels, are now displayed as an example by suffering the punishment of eternal fire, (Jude 1:5-7 NET).

There are several things that confirm what Peter was saying in relation to the angels having been equivalent to the sons of God in Genesis 6. Jude says that the angels didn’t keep their proper domain, arkhen (αρχην). We see this word in a similar context in the writings of Paul. In Romans 8:38 Paul is confidently stating that nothing can separate us from God’s love: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities [archai αρχαι] nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,” (Romans 8:38).

In writing to the Ephesians Paul makes a bold statement concerning who we are truly warring against.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities [tas arkhas τας αρχας], against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 6:12).

Paul is stating that the principalities [archai αρχαι] are rulers in the kingdom of Satan. Jude on the other hand is referencing what the angels left – that is to say, they left their abode or domain of power and rule (where they acted as principalities of wickedness in the heavenly places).

Jude then goes on to say that in a like manner Sodom, Gomorrah and the surrounding cities committed an act like these (the Greek text has a masculine demonstrative dative pronoun “to these”). The New American Bible comments on verse 7:

However, the phrase “practiced unnatural vice”—translated literally as “went after alien flesh”—refers to the desires for sexual intimacies by human beings with angels, which is the reverse of the account in Genesis, where heavenly beings (angels) sought after human flesh.

The NET Bible notes that use of the masculine pronoun refers back to the antecedent “angels” because it is masculine whereas the mention of “cities” (Greek poleis πόλεις) is feminine and thus angels must be the antecedent of “to these”. [vii]

The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah (and the cities of the plain) was so wicked that God destroyed them with fire and brimstone from the sky. However, in order to not let the righteous suffer the same fate as the wicked, God sent two of his angels to rescue Lot and his family. Upon coming to the city the men of the city begin to beat on the door demanding that Lot send out the two men in order that they might have sexual relations with them. At the very least homosexual conduct is being spoken of here. However, with the passage from Jude in view, it is at least possible that God destroyed them not merely for their homosexual conduct, but for previously having relations with angels (of course fallen angels i.e. demons). The notes from the NET Bible offer some valuable insight on the term “strange flesh”.

This phrase has been variously interpreted. It could refer to flesh of another species (such as angels lusting after human flesh). This would aptly describe the sin of the angels, but not easily explain the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. […] Another alternative is that the focus of the parallel is on the activity of the surrounding cities and the activity of the angels. This is especially plausible since the participles ἐκπορνεύσασαι (ekporneusasai, “having indulged in sexual immorality”) and ἀπελθοῦσαι (apelthousai, “having pursued”) have concord with “cities” (πόλεις, poleis), a feminine plural noun, rather than with Sodom and Gomorrah (both masculine nouns). If so, then their sin would not necessarily have to be homosexuality. However, most likely the feminine participles are used because of constructio ad sensum (construction according to sense). That is, since both Sodom and Gomorrah are cities, the feminine is used to imply that all the cities are involved. The connection with angels thus seems to be somewhat loose: Both angels and Sodom and Gomorrah indulged in heinous sexual immorality. Thus, whether the false teachers indulge in homosexual activity is not the point; mere sexual immorality is enough to condemn them (NET Notes Jude 1:7).

The NET notes nicely draw out the bottom line of the use of the term sarkos heteras σαρκος ετερας (strange flesh in the KJV). When this information is coupled with what Paul has to say about the different kinds of flesh in I Corinthians 15 the picture becomes incredibly clear that the angels went after something foreign to themselves as did the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.

All flesh is not the same flesh [sarx σαρξ], but there is one kind of flesh[sarx σαρξ] of men, another [alle αλλη] flesh [sarx σαρξ] of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies [somata σωματα] and terrestrial bodies [somata σωματα]; but the glory of the celestial is one [ετερα], and the glory of the terrestrial is another (1 Corinthians 15:39-40).

Paul states that there are different kinds of flesh, men, animals, fish, and birds. Note that all earthly creatures have flesh but it is other or different (alle αλλη). Paul then describes the difference between the celestial and terrestrial bodies and states that they are different (heteros ἕτερος of another different kind). After describing the difference between the glory of the sun versus the moon, etc. (I Corinthians 15:40), he then returns to the resurrected bodies that we will possess. There are both earthly bodies and heavenly bodies and they are “heteros” which is the very same word that Jude uses to describe the angels and Sodomites in their going after flesh of another kind.

We learn from Peter and Jude that both the angels (demons) and inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah took part in forbidden and debauched sexual conduct. We have seen that the reference by Jesus that in heaven we do not marry but are like the angels does not preclude what fallen angels did in the past. The texts are clear: the (fallen) angels did something that was so heinous that it landed them in everlasting chains in complete darkness until the great day. But we also saw that not all of the fallen angels have been confined there – most conspicuous is Satan himself who still has free reign. Thus, nowhere in the Bible does it say that angels are incapable of mixing their seed with humans. What we learn from Peter and Jude is that they were not supposed to. They left their proper domain i.e. the realm of the prince of the power of the air, and came to earth where they fathered the Nephilim with human women.

Ante-Nicene Church Fathers

The conclusions we have reached from the New Testament is backed by all the ante-Nicene Church Fathers. We will consider all the fathers that mentioned something concerning the sons of God (demons) and their mixing with the daughters of men and we will see that all of them believed that the sons of God in Genesis 6 were identified as fallen angels. [viii]

Athenagoras

Church Father Athenagoras, AD 177 wrote in “Concerning the Angels and Giants” that it was the fallen angels who fathered the giants before the flood.

Just as with men, who have freedom of choice as to both virtue and vice […], so is it among the angels. Some, free agents, you will observe, such as they were created by God, continued in those things for which God had made and over which He had ordained them; but some outraged both the constitution of their nature and the government entrusted to them: namely, this ruler of matter and its various forms, and others of those who were placed about this first firmament […] these fell into impure love of virgins, and were subjugated by the flesh, and became negligent and wicked in the management of the things entrusted to him.” [ix]

Notice Athenagoras’ description of how these angels outraged (were not faithful) to the government that had been entrusted to them. This language of course corresponds to the language of 2 Peter 2 and Jude of the angels that did not keep their first estate (residence). Athenagoras further commented how these angels could no longer rise to where they once had been (heaven) and the souls of giants, who he says are in fact demons, wander the world.

These angels, then, who have fallen from heaven, and haunt the air and the earth, and are no longer able to rise to heavenly things, and the souls of the giants, which are the demons who wander about the world, perform actions similar, the one (that is, the demons) to the natures they have received, the other (that is, the angels) to the appetites they have indulged. [x]

Commodianus

Commodianus, A.D. 240, wrote how from angels’ seed the giants came about. Again, we see that the ancient Christian interpreter believed Genesis 6 to be referring to the comingling of angels and women which produced a hybrid race of giants, which confirms that when Jesus mentioned “as it was in the days of Noah, so will the coming of the Son of Man be” people would have thought about the Nephilim.

When Almighty God, to beautify the nature of the world, willed that earth should be visited by angels, when they were sent down they despised His laws. Such was the beauty of women, that it turned them aside; so that, being contaminated, they could not return to heaven. Rebels from God, they uttered words against Him. Then the Highest uttered His judgment against them; and from their seed giants are said to have been born. […] But the Almighty, because they were of an evil seed, did not approve that, when dead, they should be brought back from death. Whence wandering they now subvert many bodies, and it is such as these especially that ye this day worship and pray to as gods. [xi]

The Extant Writings of Julius Africanus

Julius Africanus (A.D. c. 160?- c. 240?) was the first to tentatively suggest that “sons of God” might be referring to the descendants of Seth and the “seed of men” could possibly be referring to descendants of Cain. However, he also conceded that it could just be angels as the text he was reading stated. Furthermore, it was by these angels that the race of giants was conceived. Augustine, however, was truly the first to state without a doubt that the sons of God simply meant sons of Seth.

When men multiplied on the earth, the angels of heaven came together with the daughters of men. In some copies I found “the sons of God.” What is meant by the Spirit, in my opinion, is that the descendants of Seth are called the sons of God on account of the righteous men and patriarchs who have sprung from him, even down to the Savior Himself; but that the descendants of Cain are named the seed of men as having nothing divine in them, on account of the wickedness of their race and the inequality of their nature, being a mixed people, and having stirred the indignation of God. But if it is thought that these refer to angels, we must take them to be those who deal with magic and jugglery, who taught the women the motions of the stars and the knowledge of things celestial, by whose power they conceived the giants as their children, by whom wickedness came to its height on the earth, until God decreed that the whole race of the living should perish in their impiety by the deluge.[xii]

Pre-New Testament Jewish Texts

Ancient Jewish sources a century or two before or after Jesus that mentioned the sons of God as fallen angels include texts such as the book of Enoch, Tales of the Patriarchs (also known as the Genesis Apochryphon), Philo, the Aramaic Targumim of the Pentateuch, the ancient historian Josephus and others. They consistently accepted the interpretation that fallen angels were capable of producing offspring and therefore had some kind of genetic seed to pass on.  This again demonstrates that the phrase “as it was in the days of Noah” was a reference to Nephilim on the earth.

The Genesis Apocryphon

The Genesis Apocryphon [xiii], found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, contains accounts purportedly by the ancient patriarchs (Joseph, etc.) from the book of Genesis, but with more detail. Whether or not it goes all the way back to those original patriarchs we may never know, but the book does provide us with some important evidence (at the very least as a commentary) of what pious Jews from Qumran believed about the ancient past, offering valuable insights into what they thought about the sons of God and the Nephilim.

In this fragment Lamech fears the child in his wife’s womb is not his but is in fact from the fallen angels known as the watchers. The child would therefore be a Nephilim or giant.

I thought, in my heart, that the conception was the work of the Watchers the pregnancy of the Holy Ones and that it belonged to the Giants… and my heart was upset by this… I, Lamech, turned to my wife Bitenosh and said… Swear to me by the Most High, Great Lord {…} I swear to you by the Great Holy One, the King of the heavens… That this seed, pregnancy, and planting of fruit comes from you and not a stranger, Watcher, or son of the heaven… (Col. 2. [1])

The Watchers

He uses the word “watchers” which is also found three times in Daniel 4. These watchers we see in Daniel came down from heaven and were also called holy ones.

  • I saw in the visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven, (Daniel 4:13).
  • This decision is by the decree of the watchers, And the sentence by the word of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men,’ (Daniel 4:17).
  • And inasmuch as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, “Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, (Daniel 4:23).

The Genesis Apocryphon also qualifies the “watcher” with “son of the heaven.” In Second Temple Judaism “heaven” was often used as a circumlocution for “God”. Therefore we could see here a reference to sons of God being used to describe heavenly beings. The secondary designation of “holy ones” is parallel to angels, which does not refer only to good angels but to both good and bad of that class of beings. Holy is a word that does not necessarily imply perfection but set apart for a particular purpose. [xiv]

The Book of Giants

The book of Giants was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls and has been dated to sometime before the second century BC. It is similar to the description of the giants found in the book of Enoch. Whether or not this book is based on a much older tradition we do not know. But it does act as a commentary on Genesis 6. Only fragments exist of the book so any particular order is somewhat a matter of guesswork on the part of the scholars. Nevertheless we still find some very insightful information concerning the events believed to have preceded the flood. From our first fragment (Qumran cave 1, fragment 23, lines 9, 14, 15) we see the general condition of the earth (brackets here are inserted by the Qumran scholars). [xv]

1Q23 Frag. 9 + 14 + 15

2[ . . . ] they knew the secrets of [ . . . ] 3[ . . . si]n was great in the earth [. . . ] 4[ . . . ] and they killed many [ . . ] 5[ . . . they begat] giants [ . . . ] (emphasis mine).

The next fragment appears to speak of taking two hundred different animals and mixing their seed with one another (miscegenation).

1Q23 Frag. 1 + 6

[. . . two hundred] 2donkeys, two hundred asses, two hundred . . . rams of the] 3flock, two hundred goats, two hundred [. . . beast of the] 4field from every animal, from every [bird . . .] 5[. . .] for miscegenation [. . .]

Apparently from the intermingling of kinds strange creatures came about, namely giants and monsters. Whoever the writer was, he was indicating that the cause of the flood was the creation of monsters and giants (unnatural creatures) which came from the mixing of seed. The key word is “corrupted” which refers to a degradation of the genetic code.

4Q531 Frag.

2 [ . . . ] they defiled [ . . . ] 2[ . . . they begot] giants and monsters [ . . . ] 3[ . . . ] they begot, and, behold, all [the earth was corrupted . . . ] 4[ . . . ] with its blood and by the hand of [ . . . ] 5[giant’s] which did not suffice for them and [ . . . ] 6[ . . . ] and they were seeking to devour many [ . . . ] 7[ . . . ] 8[ . . . ] the monsters attacked it, (emphasis mine).

4Q532 Col. 2 Frags. 1 – 6

2[ . . . ] flesh [ . . . ] 3al[l . . . ] monsters [ . . . ] will be [ . . . ] 4[ . . . ] they would arise [ . . . ] lacking in true knowledge [ . . . ] because [ . . . ] 5[ . . . ] the earth [grew corrupt . . . ] mighty [ . . . ] 6[ . . . ] they were considering [ . . . ] 7[ . . . ] from the angels upon [ . . . ] 8[ . . . ] in the end it will perish and die [ . . . ] 9[ . . . ] they caused great corruption in the [earth . . .] (emphasis mine).

I Enoch

We next turn to the book of I Enoch. When the book of Enoch was written is not known. It is entirely possible that some or all of the book was in fact written by Enoch. After all the New Testament book of Jude quoted from I Enoch: “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,” (Jude 1:14). However, we can be certain that it was a central book for the Dead Sea community approximately two centuries before Christ. The book describes in great detail the situation of the earth before the flood and how the sons of God, which the writer clearly identifies, are fallen angels. The text below is from The Book of Enoch, translated from the Ethiopic by R.H. Charles, 1906 (Chapter 9). His comments have been placed in the endnotes.

(1) It happened after the sons of men had multiplied in those days, that daughters were born to them, elegant and beautiful.

(2) And when the angels [xvi], the sons of heaven, beheld them, they became enamored of them, saying to each other, Come, let us select for ourselves wives from the progeny of men, and let us beget children. [Verses 3-6] [xvii]

(7) Then they swore all together, and all bound themselves by mutual execrations. Their whole number was two hundred, who descended upon Ardis, [xviii] which is the top of mount Armon.

(8) That mountain therefore was called Armon, because they had sworn upon it, and bound themselves by mutual execrations. [xix]

(9) These are the names of their chiefs: Samyaza, who was their leader, Urakabarameel, Akibeel, Tamiel, Ramuel, Danel, Azkeel, Saraknyal, Asael, Armers, Batraal, Anane, Zavebe, Samsaveel, Ertael, Turel, Yomyael, Arazyal. These were the prefects of the two hundred angels, and the remainder were all with them. [xx]

(10) Then they took wives, each choosing for himself; whom they began to approach, and with whom they cohabited; teaching them sorcery, incantations, and the dividing of roots and trees. 11And the women conceiving brought forth giants, [xxi]

(12) Whose stature was each three hundred cubits. These devoured all which the labor of men produced; until it became impossible to feed them;

(13) When they turned themselves against men, in order to devour them;

(14) And began to injure birds, beasts, reptiles, and fishes, to eat their flesh one after another, [xxii] and to drink their blood, (emphasis mine).

The details concord quite well with the biblical and extra-biblical evidence that we have already seen. The ancient Jews at Qumran, whether simply the readers of the document or perhaps the authors of it, certainly believed that the sons of God were to be interpreted as fallen angels and that they had sexual relations with women thereby producing the giants. The ancient Jew, if not Enoch himself, understood the watchers to be angels (whether good or bad) and it was these watchers (who were also in Daniel 4) who came down and mingled their seed with humanity. Thus according to the author of Enoch, demons mingled themselves with the seed of men and produced a hybrid race.

Philo’s Interpretation

Philo was a first century Jewish philosopher from Alexandria who was known for trying to make the Bible harmonize with Greek philosophy by way of allegorization. If anyone should have allegorized away the sons of God and the giants it was Philo. However, Philo does nothing of the sort but takes a very literal approach and greatly strengthens our conclusion that the fallen angelic beings were mingling their seed with women.

And when the angels of God saw the daughters of men that they were beautiful, they took unto themselves wives of all of them whom they Chose.” [Gen 6:2] Those beings, whom other philosophers call demons, Moses usually calls angels; and they are souls hovering in the air, (emphasis mine). [xxiii]

The text that Philo is quoting from simply interpreted the Hebrew “sons of God” as angels. This is also what the Septuagint did in the book of Job. Philo states very clearly “But sometimes Moses styles the angels the sons of God” in his Questions and Answers on Genesis part 4, note 92. Note that he also discusses how angels, or sons of God, have on occasion appeared as men. For Philo the giants are absolutely the product of fallen angels and women.

On what principle it was that giants were born of angels and women? The poets call those men who were born out of the earth giants, that is to say, sons of the Earth. But Moses here uses this appellation improperly, and he uses it too very often merely to denote the vast personal size of the principal men, equal to that of Hajk or Hercules. […] But he relates that these giants were sprung from a combined procreation of two natures, namely, from angels and mortal women; for the substance of angels is spiritual; but it occurs every now and then that on emergencies occurring they have imitated the appearance of men, and transformed themselves so as to assume the human shape; as they did on this occasion, when forming connections with women for the production of giants. […] But sometimes Moses styles the angels the sons of God, inasmuch as they were not produced by any mortal, but are incorporeal, as being spirits destitute of any body, (emphasis mine). [xxiv]

Ironically, Philo takes the text quite literally. In his writings On the Life of Moses, I – Part 4, he writes: “they saw that they were very numerous indeed, and giants of exceeding tallness with absolutely gigantic bodies, both as to their magnitude and their strength,” (emphasis mine). [xxv]

Targum of Jonathan

The Targum of Jonathan is very poignant in just who the sons of God are and even mentions them by name:

Schamchazai and Uzziel, who fell from heaven, were on the earth in those days; and also, after the sons of the Great had gone in with the daughters of men […], (Targum Jonathan Genesis 6:4, emphasis mine).

Josephus

We next turn to Josephus, the premier Jewish historian of the first century without whose work we would know very little concerning the fall of Jerusalem. In addition to his work entitled Wars of the Jews, Josephus also wrote a much longer work entitled Antiquities of the Jews in which he plainly states that angels begat sons with women. It is worth mentioning that the piety of Seth and his sons is noted by Josephus. Seth’s sons’ apostasy is also noted, but Josephus is careful not to suggest that the “sons of men” were in fact the sons of Seth. He maintains the distinction between them.

NOW this posterity of Seth continued to esteem God as the Lord of the universe, and to have an entire regard to virtue, for seven generations; but in process of time they were perverted, and forsook the practices of their forefathers; and did neither pay those honors to God which were appointed them, nor had they any concern to do justice towards men. But for what degree of zeal they had formerly shown for virtue, they now showed by their actions a double degree of wickedness, whereby they made God to be their enemy. [xxvi]

After reporting on Seth’s son’s bad conduct, he then turns his attention to the events which led up to the flood. Josephus specifically states that it was angels that mingled their seed with women.

For many angels of God accompanied with women, and begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all that was good, on account of the confidence they had in their own strength; for the tradition is, that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants, (emphasis mine). [xxvii]

William Whiston, the translator of Josephus, picks up on Josephus’ use of the word angel. He states: “This notion, that the fallen angels were, in some sense, the fathers of the old giants, was the constant opinion of antiquity.” [xxviii]

The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs

The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs are biographies written between 107 and 137 B.C. They show what ancient Jews believed about the sons of God and the giants that were on the earth before the flood. In the testament of Reuben, the author discusses how the Watchers were the fathers of the giants. However, in this text it was not only the angels (watchers) who lusted after women, but the women that also lusted after the watchers.

For thus they allured the Watchers who were before the flood; for as these continually beheld them, they lusted after them, and they conceived the act in their mind; And the women lusting in their minds after their forms, gave birth to giants, for the Watchers appeared to them as reaching even unto heaven, (Testament of Reuben 18-20).

Secrets of Enoch

Little is known of this books origin except that in its present form it was written somewhere about the beginning of the Christian era.

And they said to me: These are the Grigori [Watchers], who with their prince Satanail rejected the Lord of light, and after them are those who are held in great darkness on the second heaven, and three of them went down on to earth from the Lord’s throne, to the place Ermon, and broke through their vows on the shoulder of the hill Ermon and saw the daughters of men how good they are, and took to themselves wives, and befouled the earth with their deeds, who in all times of their age made lawlessness and mixing, and giants are born and marvelous big men and great enmity. [xxix]

Summary

We have seen that the evidence from the New Testament interprets the sons of God in Noah’s day as being fallen angels that mixed their seed with women. All of the ante-Nicene Church Fathers (before the council of Nicaea) believed that the sons of God in Genesis 6 were to be identified as fallen angels. Both Jewish and Christian interpreters believed that a select group of angels, who had previously fallen, took women and fathered children by them. They did not see this as an impossibility nor a problem theologically. In fact, it was the key that solved many riddles. By rejecting the simple and literal interpretation, later interpreters have had to disregard the text in order to make it fit their preconceived notion. The implications for our study are huge: if the fallen angels did that once, then they will do it again as Jesus Himself prophesied “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be,” (Matthew 24:37).

The idea that the sons of God were the supposed sons of Seth is conspicuously absent from these ancient commentators. If the vast majority of interpreters had believed them to be the sons of Seth and the women to be the daughters of Cain then we might be forced to reconsider our conclusion; the fact is, however, that 100% of them (before Augustine) confirm our conclusion that Satan has been trying to mix his seed with humans and thereby thwart the Genesis 3:15 prophecy. Only when Augustine began reinterpreting the Old Testament allegorically, so that he could reinterpret the literal promises made to Israel and apply them to the church, did the sons of Seth explanation take root.


[i] For a detailed explanation of Satan’s Origin and Fall visit www.douglashamp.com /satans-origin-and-fall/.

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7 comments

  1. They found the Ark of the Covenant where Moses placed the 10 Commandments, in a cave under Golgotha.

    http://arkofthecovenant2.blogspot.com/

  2. Hi. Thanks for all the great resources on your site. Much appreciated.  However, I can’t believe that we, living in the 21st century, with our knowledge of genetics, DNA, and the set biundaries God has placed between all species, that some still believe Angels comingled with Human Beings who produced offspring.  1Cor 15-39-50 comes to mind on the distinctness of natures in God’s creation, and the differences between heavenly and earthly natures. 

    Creationists argue hard and long for why macro-evolution is impossible. And yet what this article proposes goes far beyond that.

    Also, disturbingly uncalled for is the addition of the word “angels” to the text the NET Bible makes in Jude 1:7. It is just not there in the Greek sources.

    While I agree 100% that we are living in a time of moral decadence, no doubt as it was in the days of Noah, I’m sorry but I must disagree with your conclusions on angels comingling with female humans.

    Blessings.

  3. One more comment, your book is subtitled “Satan’s war to destroy the Image of God.” Mine is titled, “Those Who Are Wise Will Shine!, with a subtitle of “Understanding the Work of God in Your Redemption.” but it could be subtitled “God’s work in protecting His image.” I say this because mine encompasses God continually sanctifying and protecting His line from this demonic corruption. I think if you read it you would see that as well. I am going to get a copy of yours.

    God Bless!

  4. Pastor Hamp. thanks for the information. I had a book published in January 2011 that contains 3 chapters on this subject and the horrific results ending in the flood. You can see more info about it on my blog. You have backed this up as well. My question to you is concerning the “Days of Noah.” Do you feel that during the tribulation there will be manifestations of Giants again on the earth or do you simply believe that there will be massive demonic possessions going on? I would like to hear your take. I know there will be a manifestation of some sort with lying wonders and massive deception, but I am not yet sure what visibility it will take.

    Thanks for the post!

  5. Excellent study! Thanks.

  6. Fantastic book! Pastor Hamp sure knows his material and delivers it in a clear well organized manor! Thank you for such a powerful book!

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