The "mighty" nephilim giants of Genesis 6 are gone, but Revelation describes a return of another kind of nephilim to play a major role in the end times. Despite this, few Christians know anything about the nephilim—nor would they want to know given the scary details of these actual monsters. Without facing this shocking level of evil and abomination that God has chosen to allow, you can’t fully understand end time prophecy or even God’s ways. If you are brave, it’s time to understand the nephilim in the Bible and conquer your fear of monsters.
Real Monsters: Giants, Demons, and Fallen Angels
Most of us stopped being scared of monsters once we left childhood and learned that just like Santa Claus, these scary creatures are fantasy. They exist only in children's imagination, legends, Greek mythology and movies like Poltergeist—not reality.
However, if you (as a believer) stop to read the entire Bible, you may be forced to reconsider that reassuring thought. The OT and NT have accounts of several varieties of these real life monsters:
- Giants: Even casual Christians are aware that David fought a nine foot giant named Goliath. Probably only a minority realize that the Promised Land was filled with giants, the bad news of which made up the "evil report" that the ten unfaithful spies of the land scared the children of Israel with.
- Demons: Most Christians also know that the New Testament tells of how Jesus and the apostles had to contend with demons, also known as ghosts or poltergeists. The NT gives no explanation as to their origin and purpose. They are just treated as an everyday part of life, responsible for as much as one quarter of the sicknesses that Jesus healed.
- Fallen Angels: Let's not forget Satan. He's an evil or fallen angel who cast one one third of the angels to earth in revolt against God (Rev 12:3).
There is one other biblical monster which the typical Christian has probably missed:
Despite their obscurity, we shall see that the nephilim are a key to understanding how all of the above are connected and also to understand aspects of end time Bible prophecy such as the locusts, Antichrist/Beast and False Prophet, and "the abyss." They also may explain why there are persistent reports of UFOs and alien life in the world today.
Who Are the Nephilim?
The nephilim are one of the more mysterious and disturbing topics of the Bible. The word nephilim only appears twice in the Bible. Here are the two passages:
Genesis 6:1-4 (HCSB) — 1 When mankind began to multiply on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of mankind were beautiful, and they took any they chose as wives for themselves. 3 And the LORD said, “My Spirit will not remain with mankind forever, because they are corrupt. Their days will be 120 years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth both in those days and afterward, when the sons of God came to the daughters of mankind, who bore children to them. They were the powerful men of old, the famous men.
Nephilim literally means "fallen ones." But what are they and what made them powerful and famous? Early interpreters believed them to be giants. Nephlim was translated as "giants" (gigantes) by most ancient Bible versions such as the Greek Septuagint ("gigantes") and Latin Vulgate ("gigentes").
The other occurrence of nephilim bears that conclusion out. It is found in the "evil report" that the ten unfaithful spies gave of the Promised Land. Note that unlike the first account:
Numbers 13:32-33 (HCSB) — 32 So they gave a negative report to the Israelites about the land they had scouted: “The land we passed through to explore is one that devours its inhabitants, and all the people we saw in it are men of great size. 33 We even saw the Nephilim, there—the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim! To ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and we must have seemed the same to them.”
The Nephilim are said to be the source of the Anak. As the context indicates, the Anak were one of the races of giants in the Bible who could view the Israelites as ants in comparison. (Quite fittingly, "anak" (ענק) is the word for giant in modern Hebrew.)
Like as with the "rapture timing question" (i.e., a pre-tribulation or post-tribulation rapture), not everyone agrees on what the nephilim were. Just as the majority of Christians believe in a pretrib rapture, the majority of Christians doubt that the nephilim really are giants and that the "sons of God" who parented them are angels. Just like the idea of a post-trib rapture, it's too scary for the average Christian to believe that God would allow such ghastly horrors as evil angels to roam freely and create freakish monsters. Yet as we shall see, not only is God is allowing us to be on the earth for the Great Tribulation, he is also allowing us to be on the earth with living, breathing monsters.
Who Are "The Sons of God?"
The identity and nature of the nephilim is indeed greatly complicated by the ambiguous term used for their procreators, the "sons of God." Just who are they?
It's helpful to recognize that in the biblical usage, the term "sons of God" (benei HaElohim) refers to only direct creations of God such as Adam (Lk 3:38) and the angels (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7). You and I only have the right to "become the sons of God" but are not there yet (John 1:12). When we are rebirthed (John 3:3) by God into glorified spirit bodies at the rapture or resurrection, then we shall be at last (Rom 8:19). The following passage makes it crystal clear that we become sons of God "like the angels" in the resurrection:
Luke 20:36 (HCSB) — For they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are sons of God, since they are sons of the resurrection.
Since glorified humans did not exist in the time of Genesis 6, that means the sons of God referred to there must be the angels. This, by the way, is just how Greek Septuagint (Codex Alexandrinus) translation of the Hebrew OT rendered the phrase "sons of God" in Genesis 6:2. "Angels" there makes perfect sense in context because of how the "sons of God" is a term of contrast to the "daughters of men. It's describing something different from and much more noteworthy than "the sons of men" and the "daughters of men" mixing as they do every day since Adam and Eve. That is not noteworthy. Finally, angels mating with humans is the best explanation for why the offspring were so "powerful" and "renown."
How Can Angels Have Sex if They "Don't Marry" (Mt 22:30)?
Now that you can see from the Bible that the sons of God who created the nephilim are fallen angels, there are many questions and objections that may come to mind. Is such a thing even possible? Would God allow it? If so, why?
A frequently raised objection to this idea of how the nephilim came from sex between angels and women cites this statement of Jesus:
Matthew 22:30 (HCSB) — For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven.Article continues below...
"Depart From Me, I Never Knew you!" - Jesus
Jesus predicted that he will tell many sincere believers to basically "get lost" instead of welcoming them into the Kingdom. So...who are they and what did they miss or do wrong? In this study, get those answers and the one requirement for salvation Jesus taught (that Christianity misses) so that you can make sure you don't hear these dreaded words yourself!
If you analyze it carefully, you can see that Jesus' statement has nothing to do with evil angels on earth having sex. It's talking about holy angels in heaven marrying. (It is proven every day on earth that sex without marriage is possible.)
The Bible tells us much about the nature of angels. One recurring theme is that angels appear in human form, such as those who came to Abraham and Lot, completely convincing ones, at that. For example, Paul said we may entertain angels unbeknownst to us (Heb 13:2). Abraham apparently took the three angels who visited him as "men" (at first) and offered them a meal. Most interestingly, the angels ate the food (Gen 18:8)!
If angels look like humans, act like humans and even eat food like humans (hmm, where does the food go?), then we may wonder what else can they do that humans do? What reason do we have to doubt that they can engage in sexual reproduction, too? I personally have no doubt that an angel could pass a complete physical—if they could ever be compelled to submit to one :=).
What Exactly Are the Nephilim? (Wasn't Jesus Technically Nephilim?)
An important point to draw from this understanding of how angels can manifest physically as they wish, is that their offspring with women are not "half-angel and half-human." Nor are they part-spirit and part-human. If that were true, then one could argue that Jesus was a nephilim, too, since the Holy Spirit was said to have come upon Mary his human mother to conceive him. On the contrary, Jesus had only a human parent, Mary, and only human DNA from her. (Ron Wyatt claimed that Jesus had only 24 chromosomes instead of the full set of 46 chromosomes that one would have from having two human parents.) He was completely human, "the last Adam" (1Co 15:45).
Unlike Jesus, the nephilim are not produced by a spirit (in this case, of an angel) causing a woman to conceive miraculously. Nephilim are produced through two physical bodies mating just like normal humans are. It's just that for nephilim offspring, one of the parents is, let's say, an "angelic human" instead of a normal human. The key difference is that the sperm produced by the angelic human is not normal human DNA but must have the genetic modifications for creating giants. The angels can apparently manifest in their sperm whatever genetic code is needed for the creature they desire to create (not just giants, as we'll see later). This produces a humanoid, not a human, nor an angelic/human hybrid.
In other words, the fallen angels were able to do genetic engineering through their God-given ability to manifest flesh as they wished. You could say, using the current parlance, that the nephilim were the first GMOs, "genetically modified organism."
By the way, since this offspring is not human, but humanoid, it can no more receive salvation than a gold fish can. This is important to consider for the answer below on what happens when a nephilim dies.
What Happened to the Nephilim and their Fallen Angel Parents?
As Genesis 6 says above, violence filled the earth as a result of the nephilim. God decided to send the flood and start over. This killed all the giant nephilim at that time. Only Noah's family of eight humans survived on the ark.
As for the wicked angels who parented them, the Bible also describes their fate:
Jude 1:6-8 (HCSB) — 6 and He has kept, with eternal chains in darkness for the judgment of the great day, the angels who did not keep their own position but deserted their proper dwelling. 7 In the same way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them committed sexual immorality and practiced perversions, just as angels did, and serve as an example by undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. 8 Nevertheless, these dreamers likewise defile their flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme glorious ones.
2 Peter 2:4 (HCSB) — For if God didn’t spare the angels who sinned but threw them down into Tartarus, and delivered them to be kept in chains of darkness until judgment
Tarturus in Greek means "deep abyss." It seems to be same as the abyss of Revelation where Satan also will be imprisoned when Jesus returns (Rev 20:1-2). This is an interesting parallel to how the Greek Titans were condemned to tartarus by Zeus for their rebellion against their father Uranus.
Then Where Did the Giants After the Flood Come From?
So to summarize the story we've covered so far:
- Fallen angels + women = nephilim/giants.
- Fallen angels were bound in the abyss.
- All nephilim died in Noah's flood.
- There were still giants (nephilim) "also afterwards" the flood (Gen 6:4). E.g., Goliath and his four brothers (2Sam 21:16-22 and 1Ch 20:4-8)
In fact, there are several races of giants listed in the OT after the flood:
- Rephaim (Gen 14:5)
- Anakim (Nu 13:33)
- Emim (Gen 14:5)
- Zuzim (Gen 14:5)
- Zamzummims (Dt 2:20)
- Zophim (Nu 23:14)
So where did these giants come from? The Bible does not directly tell us. One possibility is that the angels repeated their sin to create more nephilim after the flood. This is possible because not all did this sin. Note in passages of Jude and Peter above how the Bible says "those angels who sinned" and "those who kept not their first estate." This implies that not all one third of the fallen angels who Satan cast to earth (Rev 12:3) had sex with women. (The Book of Enoch puts the number at only 200 "watchers.")
The challenge for this theory is that the Bible never describes another incident of angels cohabiting with women. It would make sense they never did this again given the stiff penalty imposed on the fallen angels for this sin.
Another theory that is also not without difficulties is that the nephilim DNA came on in the ark. Although Noah was "perfect in his generations" that does not mean everyone else on the ark was. The best candidate would be one of the wives of his sons, specifically the wife of Ham. The nations of giants of Canaan can be traced directly to Ham. If Ham's wife had some recessive giant nephlim DNA, then this could explain how one of her sons (Canaan) is the ancestor of all the giants described in the land of Canaan above.
Why Did God Allow the Nephilim Back? One Positive Aspect of the Nephilim
Obviously, the existence of the nephilim must work to achieve God's overall plan or God would not allow these things both before and after the flood. It does seem that the genocidal effects after the flood were gone. Perhaps the negative changes to the environment after the flood compared to the more favorable antediluvian environment explains why the giants did not spread to take over the earth again.
As we'll see later, the nephilim in modern times take a different form than giants which fits into Satan's plan to guide the world now and to outright rule it later.
I can share one clear reason God allowed the nephilim to continue on to this day. You see, as scary and unsettling as all the above is, there is a disturbing positive twist to the overall negative impact of the nephilim in the world.
Even before the Internet made hearing such things unavoidable, I've heard accounts over my life that some of the greatest technological advances in history have come with the help of evil spirits. Maybe you've heard such stories, too. For example I heard long ago that the inventors of such important technologies such as the transistor or the ICBM came through men who "had help." Much like how modern pop musicians have occasionally admitted they feel they had in writing one of their key hit songs, so, too, have many inventors.
The Mother of the First Nephilim?
What's interesting is that we have a veritable technology explosion within a single family recorded in the Genesis pre-flood genealogies: the family of Lamech. That family also has a detail that is extremely rare for a biblical genealogy: the inclusion of a woman, Lamech's daughter, Na'amah (נַֽעֲמָֽה). When you see a woman mentioned in a genealogy, it's a good idea to ask why someone thought they were notable enough to include.
Well, admittedly that's something I neglected to do. I had believed for a long time that the family of Lamech was likely the benefactor of a contract with angels because of how much technology his sons originated or became "fathers" of:
- Genesis 4:19-20 —19 Lamech took two wives for himself, one named Adah and the other named Zillah. 20 Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of the nomadic herdsmen.
- Genesis 4:21 — His brother was named Jubal; he was the father of all who play the lyre and the flute.
- Genesis 4:22 — Zillah bore Tubal-cain, who made all kinds of bronze and iron tools. Tubal-cain's sister was Na'amah.
Despite understanding how this family probably had angelic assistance in order to achieve breakthroughs in not just one, but three critical sciences of agriculture, art and technology, I never focused on Na'amah (well the Bible is a big book after all). It was not until a supporter shared a link to the book The Judgment of the Nephilim that I found out that several Christian sources go into why Na'amah got her mention. Na'amah was married to a fallen angel in exchange for the arts and science "knowledge dump" that her brothers received from the angels and implemented and specialized in.
In other words, Lamech's daughter Na'amah was perhaps the first mother in history of a giant. The dowry price for Na'amah was that superior angelic knowledge. The angels in return got a human female with which to start their race of nephilim offspring. By the way, her name means "beautiful" or "pleasant," so she may have been quite a looker which even angels liked (1Co 11:10), regardless. (In modern Hebrew you can use a form of Na'amah's name to say "pleased to meet you:" נעים מאוד / naaim meod; literally "very pleasant/nice".)
All this to say that as monstrous as the nephilim are, their inception has been instrumental to the advancement of human civilization. Another case bearing out the truth of "all things work together for good" (Rom 8:28).
Where Do the Demons Come From?
Understanding the source and angelic/human hybrid nature of the nephilim helps explain a great mystery in the Bible: the origin of demons. Where the demons came from that Jesus and Paul dealt with in their ministries is a question never explained clearly in the NT. In fact, it's not explained explicitly anywhere in the Bible.
Nevertheless, the Jewish Book of Enoch does elaborate quite a bit on this topic. Even though Enoch is not Scripture, that does not mean it cannot be helpful to consult like other imperfect Jewish books such as Josephus. The NT itself quotes Enoch (Jude 1:14). Enoch can help fill in details that Scripture does not give—so long as those details do not contradict Scripture.
What Enoch indicates is that the demons are the spirits of the Nephilim released upon their death. I have no reason to doubt Enoch on this as certain details in the Bible fit well with this different origin for demons compared to angels.
For one, it seems that unlike angels, demons cannot just manifest a body. If they were born into the nephilim body then it makes sense that when it's dead that they are out of luck unless they find another one. We see in the NT a strong desire to inhabit bodies demonstrated in demon behavior. They possess people when they can (Lk 11:24) and when cast out of people they'd rather go into an animal than just be "naked" disembodied spirits again (Mt 8:31).
To summarize the difference between angels and demons:
|Origin||Created by God||Sexual offspring of fallen angel and human woman|
|Manifests various real physical forms at will||Can only possess an existing physical body|
|Power||Very powerful and deadly||Without a body, perhaps only able to be a poltergeist or noisy ghost|
|Banished live into the abyss||Killed in the lake of fire|
|Ultimate Fate||To be judged by the saints||Unredeemable and unsavable like the animals|
"Just as in the days of Noah" = Giants Again?
When Jesus said that the end times would be "just like Noah's day," was he indicating the return of the nephilim? The short answer is no because he also said it would be "just like the days of Lot," too, which was not associated with giants.
Yet there is something that Noah and Lot both had in common in their days.... See this article for the full story on what Jesus was referring to in context.
Small Nephilim Today and in End Time Prophecy
Obviously there are no marauding giants today. All have been killed off by modern times and their giant skeletons are found throughout the world (and quickly hidden by Satan's workers who want that part of history hidden).
So are there still nephilim of another kind or are they only going to return later, or both?
Here's a question to ponder: If angels can create giants, wouldn't creating other types of humanoids, say normal-sized ones, be a piece of cake by comparison?
Several of Jesus' statements make one wonder if that is not what Satan switched over to. In more enlightened times like our own, giants are not going to succeed like they once did, for obvious reasons. For example, there is the Parable of the Tares and Wheat where Jesus describes offspring of Satan that are indistinguishable from the offspring of God until the end of the age when the angels can pick them out and dispose of them (Mt 13:24, 41-42). Then there is where Jesus calls the Jewish religious leaders"sons of their father Satan." Was he speaking literally? He could have been given the nephilim.
"Lake of Fire Early Birds"
The clincher for this line of reasoning is found in a revealing detail about the fate of the Beast and False Prophet. They are slated to be thrown into the lake of fire (Rev 19:20), just like wicked unrepentant humans will be (Rev 20:15). However, their destruction there will come over 1000 years earlier than the rest of humanity's does at the Great White Throne Judgment. Even the armies who they lead to fight against Christ do not go to the lake of fire (final, "second death" of the soul) with them but are simply killed (only "first" death of the body - Rev 19:21). Why the discrepancy? Are they really that evil that they "do not pass go, do not collect $100 and go straight to jail," so to speak? No, the Bible says all humans are to be judged and to account for every word before God at the last day (John 12:48).
The only conclusion that fits is that these two are not human, but humanoid. They are demonic nephilim who cannot be saved. That being the case, there is no reason to wait 1000 years for them to be judged like humanity is. They go straight to the lake of fire like the rest of the demons do at the end of the age (Mt 13:40-42). Similarly, the fallen angels go into the prison of the abyss with Satan (Rev 20:3). In this way, both kinds of evil spirits will be removed at the start of the Millennium so they cannot deceive humanity in God's kingdom on earth anymore (Rev 20:3). (See my article on this.)
If the Beast and False Prophet are nephilim that appear human and deceive the world this way, then there may be more already today. As the late Chuck Missler's Return of the Nephilim video teaching suggests, perhaps the alien abductions of today (yes, even of Christians) are simply the modern version of the angels "taking wives of all which they chose" (Gen 6:2)? Perhaps the aliens are not extra-terrestrial and instead are extra-dimensional (coming from the spiritual plane of God, angels and demons).
"Could I Be Nephilim and Not Know It?"
I've heard this question countless times. It's a bit amusing how it usually takes the other form of "Can someone be nephilim and not know it" similar to the sheepish question people ask "I have this friend who..." because they want to get information while protecting their privacy.
When we hear there are non-giant nephilim among us, it is quite natural to wonder if somehow you might be a monster yourself and not know it. (The same question occurs when believers find out about the unpardonable sin. They wonder if they might have committed it unknowingly.)
My short answer to this question would be much the same as for the unpardonable sin: if you are worried and unsure if you are nephilim, then you're not!
What I have heard about nephilim would back this up. Bear in mind that if you are a nephilim, it means you have been specially created by an angel for a purpose. Many of the nephilim are in high places of power like presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens. Would they completely abandon you and not put you to use? Also, you would have a demonic spirit in you, not the human spirit which apparently gives powers. Reportedly nephilim can manifest their demonic spirit outwardly making them no longer look human but monsters. This is where the "reptilian race" theory comes from.
My conclusion is therefore that if you were nephilim you would know by nature or would know because a fallen angel parent visits you.
Now for the other question of are there nephilim around you and you don't know, that is indeed possible. Again, unless you see them shape shift or with a fallen angel, I don't think you can tell. Freaky thought, right?
Don't Fear, Don't Worry
It is probably disheartening for many to find out that God has chosen to allow the existence of not only a Devil, but also fallen angels, demons and physical monsters called nephilim, too. This fact is shocking to many Christians. But should it be?
Bible prophecy has already told us that God is going to allow a Great Tribulation to overtake the whole earth with us still on it and that he is going to allow an army of locusts to invade the earth when the abyss prison is opened up. Those are no doubt nephilim created by the fallen angels locked up in the abyss, if not (somehow?) nephilim in the abyss, too, as the natural reading seems to literally state (Rev 9:3-11=Joel 2:2-9). Yet, God has also revealed his plan in Bible prophecy for saving us on earth from the Great Tribulation.
Likewise, although we may not like it or understand it, there is no need to be anxious about the monsters God allows among us. If God is allowing these things, he has a plan to make it work for good (Rom 8:28) and to protect us in the meantime. How could it be any other way with a loving Father like we have?
For some deep insight into what God's purpose is in allowing Satan, fallen angels, demons and nephilim, see Satan in Prophecy.
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