Part Five: The Coming of the Watchers in the Days of Noah

“Her seed brought forth the Savior; Satan’s seed will bring the Destroyer.”

We have explored half of the promise given so many years ago – that “he” that is the Messiah-Jesus, would bruise the serpent’s head. Jesus came in the flesh from Heaven by way of the Holy Spirit who mixed with the seed of woman. If this was true of “her seed,” then according the hermeneutical consistency, the seed of the serpent ought to be interpreted in like manner. What this means is that since Jesus (in his bodily incarnation) was a genetic mix between the heavenly (Holy Spirit) and earthly (Mary), the same ought to be for the other part of the verse and therefore true of Satan’s seed; that is to say that he (and his angels) would mix his (genetic) seed (gametes) with a human thereby creating a hybrid between the demonic and human. The Bible calls this kind of progeny Nephilim – that is, fallen ones. We will explore in detail in this section just what happened in the days of Noah and in part 3 what is happening now and how events will culminate at the time of Jesus’ coming.

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Jesus gave his disciples an important key to understanding what the last days would be like – they would be like the sudden destruction that came upon the earth in the days of Noah.

But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be, (Matthew 24:37-39).
What happened in the days of Noah has a direct correlation as to what we ought to expect in the last days. The inhabitants of the earth had been warned repeatedly by Noah, the preacher of righteousness, but they failed to listen. Peter, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, makes this revelation concerning the days of Noah and the destruction that came: “the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water,” (1 Peter 3:20). In his second epistle Peter writes:

For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell[tartarosas ταρταρώσας the underworld prison]  and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly, (2 Peter 2:4-5).

Jesus and Peter are telling us more than just the swiftness of the destruction that came upon the earth. Their words give us clues to the condition of the world at that time. We must not miss that the first century Jew, without any apparent exception, believed that in the days of Noah, demons (sons of God) came down to earth and had relations with women spawning a race of demonic-human hybrids (the proof will be given in the following chapters).

Thus, to fully understand Jesus’ statement “as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be,” we must first understand what life was like in Noah’s days. If we fail to understand what this passage means, we will not only miss some very significant historical issues but also our view of the end times will be lacking as well. First of all, let’s analyze the text and build our comprehension one level at a time.

When humankind began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God [benei haelohim בְנֵי־הָאֱלֹהִים] saw that the daughters of humankind [banot haadam הָאָדָם בְּנוֹת] were beautiful. Thus they took wives for themselves from any they chose. So the LORD said, “My spirit will not remain in humankind indefinitely, since they are mortal. They will remain for 120 more years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days (and also after this) when the sons of God were having sexual relations with the daughters of humankind, who gave birth to their children. They were the mighty heroes of old, the famous men. But the LORD saw that the wickedness of humankind had become great on the earth. Every inclination of the thoughts of their minds was only evil all the time. The LORD regretted that he had made humankind on the earth, and he was highly offended. So the LORD said, “I will wipe humankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth – everything from humankind to animals, including creatures that move on the ground and birds of the air, for I regret that I have made them,” (Genesis 6:1-7 NET).

At the time of Noah (and the subsequent judgment), the population of the earth grew dramatically. The text says that men (adam – this is a general Hebrew expression for men in general, who are of course, sons of Adam in a literal sense) increased in numbers; there were conceivably over ten billion people [i] at the time! As a natural consequence, daughters were born to the race in general but then another group took notice of these female humans, namely, the sons of God. The sons of God took them and fathered offspring known as Nephilim. To understand what was happening then we need to clearly identify the sons of God.

The Sons of God

The phrase the “sons of God” appears ten times in the Bible (NKJV), twice in Genesis six, three times in the book of Job and five times in the New Testament (which we already examined). In Hebrew this phrase benei haelohim (בְּנֵ֣י הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים) appears four times while benei elohim (אֱלֹהִֽים בְּנֵ֥י) appears once in Job 38:7 – the only variation is the definite article. God responds to Job’s request to show up and explain the meaning of the tremendous suffering that Job has just endured (chapter 38:7) by asking where he was in the beginning: “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:7).

God makes reference to the fact that Job was not there when He laid the foundation of the earth and the implication is that no human was there for that matter. Therefore we see from the usage here that “sons of God” refers to angels. This is backed by the Septuagint which translates all three of the Job passages as “angels” instead of the Hebrew sons of God – evidently the Jews who translated Job into Greek from Hebrew felt that sons of God were angels and not humans. [ii] The NET Bible commentary confirms this understanding: “In the Book of Job the phrase clearly refers to angelic beings,” (NET Bible Commentary Genesis 6:2). In the beginning of the book of Job we read:

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” (Job 1:6-7)

Again, we note that the Septuagint has translated “sons of God” as “the angels of God” (oi angeloi tou theou οι αγγελοι του θεου). To the ancient Jew at least, this phrase was clearly talking about angelic beings. The fact that Satan appeared among their number would suggest that these “sons of God” are fallen angels. After all, from what we read concerning angels in both the Old Testament: (Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc.) and New Testament (especially Revelation), angels (that is the good ones) already have access to the presence of God. Thus, to state that one day they came before the Lord, would seem a bit odd unless it referred to demons. We should also remember that the term (malakh מַלְאַ֧ךְ) in Hebrew and (angelos αγγελος) in Greek both generally mean “messenger.” The messenger can be either good or bad and can be earthly (a man) or heavenly (an angelic being). Jesus at the judgment of the nations ” will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels [tois angelois τοις αγγελοις],’ (Matthew 25:41). If the devil has angels and they are cast into the lake of fire, then they cannot be good angels. Thus they are fallen angels also known as demons.

From the references in Job, and how the term is translated in both the Septuagint and Targumim, we conclude that the term “sons of God” is referring to angelic beings (good or bad). The fact that Satan appeared with the sons of God and the fact that Jesus refers to the devil and his angels, leads us to further conclude that the reference in Genesis chapter six is talking about fallen angels (demons).

The New English Translation (NET Bible) commentary discusses the three different positions commonly held and emphasizes that the “angel” interpretation is favorable over the others.

There are three major interpretations of the phrase here. (1) In the Book of Job the phrase clearly refers to angelic beings. In Genesis 6 the “sons of God” are distinct from “humankind,” suggesting they were not human. This is consistent with the use of the phrase in Job. Since the passage speaks of these beings cohabiting with women, they must have taken physical form or possessed the bodies of men. An early Jewish tradition preserved in 1 En. 6-7 elaborates on this angelic revolt and even names the ringleaders. (2) Not all scholars accept the angelic interpretation of the “sons of God,” however. Some argue that the “sons of God” were members of Seth’s line, traced back to God through Adam in Gen 5, while the “daughters of humankind” were descendants of Cain. But, as noted above, the text distinguishes the “sons of God” from humankind (which would include the Sethites as well as the Cainites) and suggests that the “daughters of humankind” are human women in general, not just Cainites. (3) Others identify the “sons of God” as powerful tyrants, perhaps demon-possessed, who viewed themselves as divine and, following the example of Lamech (see Gen 4:19), practiced polygamy. But usage of the phrase “sons of God” in Job militates against this view, (NET Notes Genesis 6:2, emphasis mine).

Neither Marry nor Are Given in Marriage

To some people, fallen angels having the ability to take physical form and procreate would seem to create a contradiction in Scripture. In Matthew 22:30 we read: “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” This would seem to say that angels are not capable of having offspring and if that is the case, then Genesis 6 could certainly not be referring to fallen angels having some type of sexual relations with women. The parallel passage in Luke sheds more light on the text and seems to be a fuller rendering of what Jesus said on the subject whereas the Matthean and Markan accounts are abbreviated. In Luke we read:

but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection,” (Luke 20:35-36).

Notice that Jesus says that those who attain that age and the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage “for they cannot die anymore.” The thrust of the passage is not the potential of sexual ability in heaven! Remember, the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection, were trying to pull a fast one on Jesus by asking whose wife [m1] the woman (having seven husbands) would be in heaven. The question and answer had nothing to do with the ability to pass on seed but rather to the fact that there is a resurrection of the dead; the new order is different than the here and now. God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful (that is to have sexual relations) and fill the earth. From Jesus’ words we see that there will be no need for any more procreation (to fill the earth) “for they cannot die anymore.” However, this verse cannot be used to prove that angelic beings lacked the ability to mingle their seed with the daughters of men. It would seem that they were merely forbidden to do so (as we will see from 2 Peter and Jude as well as extra-biblical sources).

Conclusion

We saw earlier that the term “sons of God” refers to angels and humans who are direct creations of God. Angels are all by definition sons of God since they do not have parents but were produced directly by God. We therefore conclude that the sons of God in Genesis 6 were in fact angels who had relations with the daughters of Adam. The text in Genesis 6 doesn’t say if they were good or bad angels but based on the flood that followed it is safe to assume that they were fallen angels.

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