Who Were the Nephalim and the Sons of God in Genesis 6?

Question

Who were the Nephalim and the sons of God in Genesis 6?

Answer

Genesis 6:4 tells of giants in the earth prior to the Great Flood in Noah's day. In the original language of the Old Testament Scriptures, the word for giant is the Hebrew word nephiyl, from which we get the term "nephalim," that is used in reference to the giants in Genesis 6.

"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." (Genesis 6:4)

This verse has been hotly debated for centuries. Who were these giants? From where did they come and were they evil? The Bible does not specifically tell us, so we are left to reason from what information the Bible does provide in this passage and others.There are three interpretations of who, or what, these nephalim could have been. It's clear they were the progeny of the "sons of God" and earthly women, but that raises the question, who were the sons of God in Genesis 6?

Some suggest they were 1) the sons of Seth, others say 2) the king or rulers of the time and many believe they were 3) fallen angels.

1. The sons of Seth. This interpretation reasons that the "sons of God" is a reference to the Seth's sons. Seth was the third son of Adam and Eve. This interpretation suggests that sons of Seth were godly men who procreated with the "daughters of men" (ungodly women) and produced giants in the land.

2. Kings or rulers of the day. This interpretation suggests that godly kings or rulers of that time procreated with ungodly women who gave birth to giants. This interpretation lacks any significant biblical support and is therefore is considered by many not to be credible.

3. Fallen angels. This interpretation is probably the most popular and credible, and it is certainly the most controversial. This interpretation suggests that the "sons of God" were fallen angels. There's extensive biblical reasoning to support this, but yet not enough to prove it to be true, so I offer the reasoning on this interpretation for you consideration.

Were the "Sons of God" Fallen Angels?

The term "sons of God" appears 11 times in 11 verses in the Bible (KJV); five times in the Old Testament and six times in the New Testament. In the New Testament the term always refers to believers in Christ — those who belong to Jesus and worship Him as Lord and Saviour. In the Old Testament, we find the term "sons of God" used twice in Genesis 6 and three times in the book of Job. An interesting contrast is found in that Genesis 6 preceded the Great Flood and tells of the sinfulness of all mankind in those days, while the events of the book of Job occurred after the flood and tell of a godly man, who was persecuted by Satan yet remained faithful to God. In the passages in Job the term, "sons of God" is clearly used in reference to spiritual beings, angels, who were also created to worship God.

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