Gen 6:1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, Gen 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. Gen 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. Gen 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Who were the sons of God in these passages? Were they angels or were they humans, specifically from the line of Seth?
The expression “sons of God” had me scratching my head growing up. Later in life, I realized that “sons of God” was always a Hal question:
“Is the phrase ‘sons of God’ talking about angels or about believers?” YES.
Let’s start with Job_38:7. “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” When did the morning stars start singing? Did they sing at the beginning in Gen. 1:2 when the earth was without form and void? Did they sing all throughout the six days of creation? Or did they sing in Gen. 2:2 when the Lord rested on the seventh day?
The context tells you when they sang. Look at Job 38:6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? They sang at Gen. 1:2 when the earth was without form and void. They sang before the humans were even created.
What are we to make of this distinction between the morning stars and the sons of God? Personally, I suspect the morning stars is a broad term for the elite class, the Cherubims and maybe even the Seraphims, and the sons of God are all the other angels.
I also suspect that sons of God is a broad term, not a specific class, that could be used to encompass all angels including the Cherubims and the Seraphims, along the same lines as “angels of God” or like we have in Psa. 89:6, in which we encounter the term “sons of the mighty”, which again is a broad term for all angels that emphasizes their great power.
Is it possible that the morning stars singing and the sons of God shouting for joy included Lucifer and his angels before they rebelled? Absolutely. I think the reference to sons of God is a reference to all of Satan’s angels before they fell, and I think Satan was included in that expression of the morning stars, as he was the anointed Cherub that covereth. All the angels together as one praised God in song when the Earth was created. We had the morning stars singing and the sons of God shouting for joy.
Question: is it possible to sing and shout at the same time? Yes. I would refer to you to the hymn “Saved by the Blood.” You can’t deny that we both sing and shout, “My guilt is ALL GONE!” Right? LOL Plus, we all know in our grace churches that those who cannot sing overcompensate by shouting.
I would also suggest that singing and shouting are the same action, but the Lord used the word shouting to describe the over-exuberance with which the angels sang their praises of the Lord. They were so completely overjoyed they went beyond singing to the point of absolutely screaming their praise!
I’m sure we would all agree that in Job. 38, the sons of God is a reference to angels.
You remember in Job_1:6, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.” Job 2:1 is also very similar. Scofield’s note would say that this scene took place in Heaven. That’s possible.
You might remember in 1 Kings 22:19-23, the Lord wanted to kill off Ahab while he’s in battle at a place called Ramoth-Gilead. The Lord said in vs. 20, “Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead?” All the angels talked and made all kinds of suggestions, but then a demon came to the Lord and told him, “I will persuade him.”
The Lord let him do it. He let the demon possess one of Ahab’s false prophets to lie to him that he’d win the battle at Ramoth-Gilead. He didn’t order the spirit to lie. The spirit came to Him begging for the opportunity to do what that spirit wanted to do. The point of that story was if people reject God and fall under His judgment, He will allow them to be deceived by the demonic realm.
But when the demon came to the Lord, 1 Kings 22:19 tells us that the Lord was sitting on His throne in Heaven, and all the Heavenly host were with Him. Verse 21 told us that the demon came forth and stood before the Lord. Demons had access to the Lord in Heaven. Their rebellion wasn’t the end of communication between God and the fallen angels. The Lord had conversations with the demonic realm evidenced by his conversation with Satan in Job 1.
So it’s possible that Job 1:6 could have been a meeting of all the angelic host in Heaven, just as the Lord had a meeting with all the angelic host in Heaven in 1 Kings 22 to talk about Ahab.
And Satan joined in. And the Lord called him out.
He said in Job 1:7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. To me, Satan talks about the Earth in a way that would indicate that the meeting with the Lord was not taking place on the Earth. And when we read in Job_1:6 “and Satan came also among them” that sounds to me like Satan was crashing a party he wasn’t invited to, but the Lord allowed it to happen.
You also can’t help but notice the Lord doesn’t say to Satan, “Hey, this meeting is only for the sons of God and you’re no longer a son of God because you rebelled against me.” He doesn’t do that. He engages Satan in dialogue about Job. We would learn in that dialogue that the Lord defined the terms of engagement in their spiritual warfare, which the demons must obey. The Lord had put a hedge of protection around Job, which annoyed Satan. How did God protect Him? He commanded it. God said, “don’t touch Job,” and Satan had no choice but to obey.
Then the question became how Job would react in faith if God removed that hedge of protection.
Thus, I think it’s safe to conclude that sons of God is a reference to both heavenly and fallen angels. In Job 1, Satan was among the sons of God presenting himself as one of the sons of God because he still was what God had initially created him to be, one of the sons of God, in the sense that he’s still an angel even though he’s a fallen angel. In the same sense, we’re still human whether we are believers or unbelievers.
Sons of God is also a reference to believers, both kingdom saints and all of us grace believers. First, consider Joh_1:12: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name…” Then John would write in one of his own epistles, in 1 Jn._3:1, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”
Even Paul himself would call us sons of God in Php._2:15, “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world…”
Is it so strange that sons of God would be used to describe both angels and believers? God does the same thing with the word saints. We’re all saints, and you might remember how Moses, before he died, spoke of the time when he met the Lord on Mt. Sinai. He said in Deut. 33:2 that “The LORD came from Sinai… and he came with ten thousands of saints...” Were not those “saints” who came with Him angels? He couldn’t be talking about Jewish believers. They were all still in Sheol. So if God uses the term saints to describe both angels and believers, then surely, it’s not much of a stretch to accept that sons of God is a term to describe all angels and also all believers.
This brings us back to our initial questions about the Nephilim. Who were the sons of God here? Were they angels or were they humans, specifically the line of Seth?
The fact that the phrase, sons of God, exists in the Gen. 6 narrative doesn’t immediately mean that we know whether Moses was talking about angels or about humans, except I would point out that in the Old Testament every other reference to sons of God are all angels. It’s not until you get to the so-called New Testament that the sons of God is used to describe believers.
Plus, you simply cannot ignore the passages in Jude.
Consider Jud 1:6, And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath (past tense) reserved (or kept) in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. He’s not saying that all the angels who rebelled against God are going to be judged. He’s talking about angels who rebelled with Satan against God who are NOW already in everlasting chains awaiting judgment. He hath (past tense) reserved (put them in and is keeping them) in everlasting chains.
We would also learn in 2Pe 2:4, For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment… This is also past tense. He’s making the same point as Jude. These angels who sinned have already been cast down into hell, and not just hell but this a Greek word for which there is no counterpart in English. God cast those angels into “Tartarus”, which means the deepest abyss of Hell. They’re no where near the unbelievers who are suffering across the chasm from Abraham’s Bosom. These angels are down the chasm in a side room in the abyss of Hell.
So the question is, who are the angels he’s talking about? What did these angels do?
Notice the connection in Jude between the angels in vs. 6 to fornication in vs. 7. Jud 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Jud 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Jude is saying here that both the angels and the people of Sodom and Gomorrha in their extreme sins of fornication, even after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Both groups rebelled. Both groups indulged in fornication to a degree that they went after strange flesh. And God made examples of both groups. The angels were made into examples to other angels in the spiritual realm, and the people of Sodom and Gomorrha were made into examples to all of us in the physical realm.
Same crimes. Same examples. Same judgment.
I know what some of the reactions would sound like. “How can a fallen angels procreate with a human?” We know that angels are ministering spirits, and yet, they also showed up as regular human men with Lot at Sodom. When was the last time you saw a spiritual being shape-shift into a physical being? If you can accept that fact, then why should it be so difficult to also accept that angels in human form would be able to procreate and totally screw up human DNA such that they could fill the earth with giants?
We’d also find in verses like Heb_13:2, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” They’re so human you wouldn’t know they’re angels. If heavenly angels can shape-shift from the spiritual into the physical, why couldn’t the fallen angels do that? Well, then you might say, “Why won’t demons just transform themselves into humans right now and walk around deceiving people?” Because they’d be breaking God’s rules of engagement and they don’t want to wind up in chains in Tartarus like their buddies.
Besides, if you think normal human procreation can create giants so massive they’re the size of skyscrapers, then why don’t giants exist today? Human procreation resulting in Nephilim is far less logical than Nephilim created by fallen angels in human form, especially in light of the writings of Jude and Peter. “But wait a minute, Joel. Aren’t there exceptions of really tall people who have lived?” Yes, but these people were never so tall that we would say as the spies of Israel said that we feel like grasshoppers looking up at them (Num. 13:33)! Never.