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Understanding the Nephilim and their Role in Bible Prophecy

The "mighty" nephilim giants of Genesis 6 are gone, but Revelation describes their reappearance to play a major role in the end times. Despite this, few Christians know anything about the Nephilim—nor would they want to 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, 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: the "nephilim." Despite its obscurity, we shall see that the nephilim are a key to understanding how all of the above are connected and also aspects of end time Bible prophecy such as the locusts, Antichrist/Beast and False Prophet, and "the abyss." It 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.

Just as with the rapture timing question, not everyone agrees on what the Nephilim were. Just as the majority of Christians believe in a pretrib rapture, I'd bet the majority of Christians doubt the nephilim really are giants or 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. But as we shall see, just as God is allowing us to be on the earth for the Great Tribulation, he is 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 have not yet "become the sons of God" (John 1:12). When we are rebirthed 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 the Greek Septuagint translators rendered the term before Christ. 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 are in fact the 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 comes in these word of Jesus:

Matthew 22:30 (HCSB) — For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven.

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 has plenty to say on angels. One theme is that angels can appear in various forms. Satan appeared as a serpent. Paul said Satan also appears as an angel of light. Angels also appear as humans, completely convincing ones, at that. For example, Paul said we may entertain angels unbeknownst to us (Heb 13:2). The wicked men of Sodom were so convinced they wanted to have sex with Lot's angelic guests after seeing them. They obvious took them for human, maybe even attractive at that. Abraham apparently took the three angels who visited him as "men" (at first) and offered them to a meal. And most interestingly, the angels ate the food (Gen 18:8)!

"Depart From Me, I Never Knew you!" - Jesus

Jesus' predicted he will tell many sincere believers basically to "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 angels look like humans, pass completely for human and are even able to eat food like humans, what else can they do? More importantly, how can we doubt that they can have sex like humans, too? I personally have no doubt that an angel could pass a complete physical if they ever submitted to it.

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. However, Jesus had only a human parent and only human DNA from her (Mary). (Ron Wyatt claimed that Jesus had only 23 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, 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.

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 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:

  1. Fallen angels + women = nephilim/giants.
  2. Fallen angels were bound in the abyss.
  3. All nephilim died in Noah's flood.
  4. 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 problem with 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.

Why Did God Allow the Giants Again?

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 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.

Where Do the Demons Come From?

This is the question that is not answered along with the mention of demons Jesus dealt with in his ministry. In fact, it's not answered anywhere in the Bible.

But the Book of Enoch does. 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:

Angels Demons
Origin Created by God Sexual offspring of fallen angel and human woman
Physical
Body
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
Post-trib
Punishment
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. But there is something that Noah and Lot both had in common in their days.... See this article for the full story on what he was referring to in context.

Nephilim Today and End Time Prophecy

Obviously there are no evil giants today. But are there still nephilim or are they going to return later?

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.

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 death of the soul) with them but are simply killed (only death of the body) (Rev 19:21). Why the discrepancy? Are they really that sooo 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.

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).

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 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.

In conclusion I really think 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 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. Yet, God has also revealed his plan in Bible prophecy for saving us on earth from the 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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Tim McHyde

Tim is the author of this site (since 1999) and the book Know the Future that explains Revelation literally at last--including the key event of Wormwood (Rev 6-8). To read more from Tim and not miss a single new article, sign up for his free newsletter above.

13 comments
Liz - April 3, 2017

Good write up . most people just go to You tube nowadays and dont bother with write ups. are you on you tube?

Reply
    Tim McHyde - April 4, 2017

    Liz, thanks. Yes, alas, video is more enticing to people, but the quality of the information is lower. I have a channel but don’t do much on it. God is leading me to write my next book and writing articles leads directly to that while video, not so much. =) Plus, not even a viral video has the reach of a successful novel, and viral videos don’t get made into movies, extending the novel’s reach even further.

    Reply
      Jeff Counts - June 26, 2017

      extremely accurate explanation of our true yet hidden reality and our true history. very well put……..

      Reply
      Brandon - September 10, 2017

      very interesting article I’ve seen several YouTube videos on Giants but never new they were offspring from woman and fallen angels and didn’t know they were in the Bible at all makes me think if all this was around the dinasour age

      Reply
Kelly - April 5, 2017

Really insightful and informative! This explained a lot to me. I had a few questions and you answered them. Great job. Thank you.

Reply
Michael - May 13, 2017

This was a good article. I ran across this teaching with bible scholar, Dr Michael Heiser’s book ‘Unseem Realm’. Your article was very succinct. I persoanlly have been trying to understand if the bible is telling us giants will be coming back in the last days? It is so hard to believe such supernatural things could still happen in such a modern age. And with so much fake news, videos, and now audio, it is going to be more difficult to discern what is real. But we are not giving a spirit of fear from God, so no matter what happens, we continue to trust our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Reply
    Tim McHyde - May 13, 2017

    Michael, giants are not coming back. Nephilim in other forms have been here all along and more locust-like ones are coming when the abyss opens up at the 5th trumpet/Great Tribulation. When Jesus spoke of the days of Noah he was not talking about giants because he mentioned the days of Lot in the same breath. It’s about something else.

    Reply
Trace Horn - May 18, 2017

Very, very informative with great biblical perspective/fact. While the Book of Enoch may be good for some understanding, I was extremely pleased with how you almost solely referenced Scripture, and properly interpreted at that. The last parts are more possibly theoretical, but definitely within the realm of possibility and something to ponder and pray about. Thanks, and God bless you

Reply
Clay - May 23, 2017

Excellent and scary article, Tim. But the very last words say “see Satan in Prophecy,” which is not a link. Using the search function with these words gives only articles that don’t seem to fit. Can you please give a direct link to the article you are referencing here? Thanks!

Reply
April Lopez - July 11, 2017

Hi Tim, I thought I had read all of your studies but just found this one, and its so odd as this is one of my favorite subjects and you are one of my favorite bible teachers! I agree with you 100% on everything you said up top, and I learned a few things as well so thank you once again! Have you listened to Steve Quayle and what he has to say about “Stasis Giants”? Its very interesting, and so is his new 3 series documentary film- True Legends. More people should be aware of this very important part of biblical history, its unfortunate that The Book of Enoch was left out of canon otherwise I feel the Christian Body would not be so lukewarm today. The reptilian “people” is also very interesting and I wonder if perhaps the “grey alien” that many people see today are the disembodied spirits of the nephilim with “new bodies” created by the many specimens taken from human during abduction?

Reply
    Tim McHyde - July 11, 2017

    April, Steve Quayle is a great resource on giants, and I saw True Legends part 3 which was incredible information. I don’t have a clue on the “greys.”

    Reply
      April Lopez - July 11, 2017

      L.A. Marzulli has suggested such about the greys, and its actually something I have always wondered in the back of my mind. The fact that the antichrist and false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire before the 1000 years of Christ’s reign is 100% proof that they are not human, so yes it does seem that many world leaders at this time are not fully human “the tares”. It also answers our questions as to what their motives are for many of the important decisions they make today that impact us so negatively. However, it seems all that is in the dark is being brought to light. I wanted to share this with you because you have also come to the same conclusion in your studies regarding the timing of the Lords return:
      http://www.fullbibletimeline.com/end-times

      Reply
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