THE NEPHILIM HERESY
Satan’s Attempt to Pass Religious Fiction off as Bible Truth
By Gary Ray Branscome
“No truth of scripture comes from any private explanation. // Do not add to His words, lest He reprove you, and you are found to be a liar.”
(2Peter ; Proverbs 30:6)
God wants His church to believe and teach what He says in His Word, not what men think about it. Every doctrine necessary to salvation is plainly stated in the words of Scripture; stated so clearly that it does not need to be explained. It only needs to be believed and taught.
“In whatever matter Holy Scripture has definitely spoken the Christian theologian must suppress his own views, opinions, and speculations and adhere unwaveringly to the divine truths revealed in Holy Scripture. In no case is he permitted to inject into the body of divine truth his own figments and fabrications.” (Christian Dogmatics, by J.T. Muller, page 39.)
In saying this, I am fully aware that God’s Law has to be applied, and because of human limitations men often find it hard to agree on how it should be applied. There are also many passages that are hard to understand. However, the gospel only needs to be proclaimed and believed. Therefore, the rule that must be followed in dealing with what the Bible says is that the words of Scripture must stand as they read (Isaiah ). We are not to add to God’s Word, by teaching man made explanations as divine doctrine. Nor are we to subtract from God’s Word, by explaining way anything that it says (John ).
Nevertheless, Satan wants just the opposite. Satan wants those who read God’s Word to let their imaginations run wild. He wants men to read unscriptural ideas into the text, to make up explanations for what they do not understand, and to explain away anything in Scripture that does not fit their own ideas. That being said, the purpose of this paper is to deal with one of Satan’s attempts to do just that. The passage in question is Genesis 6:4 where we read:
“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.” (KJV).
The word translated “giants” in Gen. 6:4 is, “Nephilim”; a little used Hebrew word found in only Genesis 6:4 and Numbers 13:33. Even Hebrew scholars are not one-hundred percent certain of its meaning. However, that does not slow down spiritual egotists. On the contrary! They see the word “giants” and their imagination runs wild. They remember all of the stories about giants that they heard as children, and they come up with a fairy tale about angels mating with humans and producing giant offspring. Worse yet, their fairy tale does not stop with that verse, but they twist verse after verse to fit their unscriptural ideas until they have created a doctrine that does not consist of what the Bible says, but of unscriptural interpretations welded together by fanciful explanations.
For example: The Bible never says that the “Nephilim” are the children of the “sons of God” (mentioned in Gen. 6:4). That is being added to Scripture. The Bible nowhere says that the “sons of God” were angels. That is being added to Scripture. The Bible nowhere says that these “giants” (Nephilim) were a race of people, or that they survived the flood. That is being added to Scripture. The Bible nowhere says that the “sons of God” were fallen angels. That is being added to Scripture. And, the Bible nowhere says that the “anti-Christ” will be one of the “Nephilim”, or a descendant of an angel or demon. That is all being added to Scripture. And, the purpose of this essay is to explain why it is all a lie.
Before I comment on these many additions to Scripture, what if Genesis 6:4 were translated this way.
“There were great-ones 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.”
As you can see, translating the word, “Nephilim” as, “great-ones” rather than, “giants” suggests that they were “men of renown,” or tyrants, not physical giants. Moreover, since the words, “and also after that” plainly tell us that the “sons of God” fathered mighty-men at a later time, there is absolutely no reason to believe that the “Nephilim” were the children of the “sons of God” spoken of in that verse.
I also want to point out that what we are dealing with here is not a matter of interpretation, but a matter of adding to God’s Word. If it were just a question of whether the “Nephilim” were physical giants, or tyrants (or both), that would be a matter of interpretation [i.e. translation]. However, when people claim that these “Nephilim” were the hybrid offspring of angels and humans, that they were a race of people, that the “sons of God” spoken of in Gen. 6:4 were angels or demons, and that the anti-Christ will be one of them that has nothing to do with interpretation. On the contrary, they are making up explanations aimed at supplementing God’s Word. And, because God has told us not to add to His Word, we know that their explanations are not of God. Furthermore, because those explanations are not of God, whenever they pass them off as the Word of God they are lying in God’s name.
Rebelling Against God
Those who hold the “Nephilim” doctrine not only add to God’s Word, but by explaining away the passages of Scripture that contradict their doctrine, they take away from God’s Word (Revelation 22:18-19). For example, Christ said, “When the dead rise, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are like the angels who are in heaven,” (Mark ). Nevertheless, one man tried to get around this by saying that angels sometime take the form of men. However, that is beside the point! Genesis 6:2 tells us that the “sons of God” took wives, and angels do not do that (Matthew ).
Moreover, the Bible never refers to angels as “sons of God”. However, to get around that fact they claim that the “sons of God” spoken of in Job 1:6 and 2:1 were angels. But, they are missing the point because the Bible never says that they are angels. That is just being assumed! And, to be faithful to God’s Word, our doctrine must consist of what the Bible actually says, not what men assume. All assumptions are man’s word, not God’s Word! I personally believe that the “sons of God” spoken of in Job 1:6 and 2:1 were believers who had been saved through faith in the coming messiah, and died before the time of Job (John ). Furthermore, nothing they say changes the fact that angels do not marry (Mark ).
Another thing to consider is the fact that angels are not human. They an entirely different life form. Therefore, it would be just as wrong for them to mate with humans as it would be for a human to mate with an animal (Leviticus ). However, again those who hold the “Nephilim” doctrine just explain away what the Bible says so that their additions to Scripture may stand, and that is rebellion against God.
I have no idea how they conclude that the “sons of God” are fallen angels, or how any fallen angel can be a “son of God” (Romans ). But since they have already fabricated a story about fallen angels mating with humans, when they see the words, “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed,” they assume that the words “your seed" refer to a “Nephilim” who is half human and half fallen angel (Genesis ). However, again they are adding a figment of their own imagination to the Word of God, and teaching religious fiction as doctrine.
If they would simply let Scripture explain itself, they would find that Jesus Himself told us who the words “your seed” refer to when he said to the Pharisees, “You are of your father the devil, and you will do what your father desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and did not abide in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks on his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it,” (John ).
The Keil and Delitzsch Commentary, which is generally regarded as the best in regard to the Hebrew, Says this about Genesis 6:4, “Luther gives the correct meaning, ‘tyrants:’ they were called Nephilim because they fell upon the people and oppressed them.” (Page 137).
That is why the Tyndale (Rogers, Coverdale) Bible translates the first words of Genesis 6:4 as, “There were tyrants in the world in those days”.\
In dealing with this heresy, we do not need to refute every interpretation that its advocates dream up in support of it. The very fact that they are adding to “the body of divine truth… figments and fabrications,” makes it wrong. [See, Christian Dogmatics, by J.T. Muller, page 39.] Furthermore, because the Holy Spirit will never lead us to disobey Him by adding to His Word, we can be certain that it is of the devil. And, those who promote are doing the devil’s work, because they teach others (by example) to make up explanations, to add to God’s Word doctrines that consist of explanations (instead of what the Bible explicitly says), and to explain away passages that do not fit their ideas — instead of rejecting any ideas that contradict Scripture (Isaiah ). That is why I call it a heresy.
Because the Holy Spirit will never lead people to add to His Word, or twist what it says, how can people who profess to love the Lord and trust in Christ do just that? Is it because they are double-minded (James 1:5-8)? One thing that I have noticed is that even though those who abuse Scripture in this way profess to trust in Christ for salvation, they often are not trusting in Christ for righteousness. Oh, they might say that they are. But, when you get to know them you find that they are really trying to earn God’s favor by their works. Some have certain rules about dress, hair, and tithing that they try to keep; but more often they believe that they must “obey” unwritten commands, given through “still small voices” in their minds, in order to have God’s favor. And, if that is what they are trusting in to bring God’s favor, they are not trusting in Christ. At least they are not trusting in Christ alone, and that is double-mindedness.