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The Nephilim

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by Cliff Owen

The Nephilim inhabit only a few verses of the Holy Bible, and if not for the story of David and Goliath, perhaps they would even go un-noticed. We all know that Goliath was a giant, as described in the well-known story (1 Samuel 17:4). it is a story we all remember from Sunday school. To most of us, the description of Goliath was very cartoon-like--almost unimaginable. After scientific conversion from ancient measures to modern numbers, he was estimated to be over 9 feet tall! To show the magnitude of this height, the tallest basketball player currently in the NBA is Yao Ming, who stands about 7 feet 6 inches tall--and he would still be standing in Goliath's shadow!

  But the story of "giants" and the Nephilim emerge much earlier in the Bible. In the sixth chapter of Genesis (6:2), there is a very fascinating description of beings called "sons of God," who found the "daughters of men" beautiful. Who were these sons of God? Perhaps they were fallen angels. Not only do they appear in Genesis, but also in Numbers (13:33) and Deuteronomy (2:11, 3:11).

  In Genesis 6:4, in which the story of the Great Flood and of Noah and his Ark is told, the Nephilim make their most noted appearance: "The Nephilim were on earth in those days--and also afterward--when the sons of God went to daughters of men and had children with them. They were heroes of old, men of renoun."

  Before we get too far into the text, let's understand what the word Nephilim actually means. The root of the word is nephel--which means "untimely birth, abortion, miscarriage." Throughout numerous texts and other ancient sources, the Nephilim(fallen ones) have also been called Emim(terrors), Rephaim(weakeners), Gibborim(giant heroes), Zamzummim(achievers), Anakim(long-necked/wearers of necklaces), and Awwim(devastators/serpents).

  As you read the words and descriptions above, it is obvious that the Nephilim were regarded as uniquely large beings who were wicked or violent. There is little discrepancy in the various descriptions of the Nephilim.

  Now let's start the debate on just what the Nephilim actually were. Many scholars and religious authorities see the Nephilim as the offspring of  "fallen angels" who had a sexual union with human females. This is the most widely-accepted explanation of their origin. The description in Genesis really doesn't go into great detail about the Nephilim, but other ancient texts and sources (that didn't make the cut in the Bible of today) go into greater depth.

  If indeed, Angels literally came down to Earth and engaged in physical and sexual union with human women, this could be the very explanation for the origin of the Nephilim. The First Book of Enoch (not found in the Bible) gives a description of the fall of the Angels from Heaven and how they lusted for women. The angel Samlazaz, who was their leader, convinced the other 200+ angels to swear to their intentions to have a sexual union with the women. These angels are called the "Watchers" in the Book of Enoch.

  Upon reaching the earth, they all took wives unto themselves. They taught the women magical medicine, incantations, the art of make-up and beauty, etc., and also taught men the art of weaponry and battle and science and the arts. All in all, the fallen angels basically corrupted the good nature of God's children and drew them closer to wickedness and lawlessness. This could be the reason that God brought the Great Flood--to wipe out what the fallen Angels and their unholy offspring had done and start fresh with Noah and his family.

  The text in 1 Enoch (7:1-5) says that the women became pregnant and gave birth to giants. These giants "consumed the produce of all the people until the people detested feeding them. So the giants turned against (the people) in order to eat them." This alludes to the fact that the Nephilim were cannibalistic in nature--they ate flesh and drank blood.

  1 Enoch goes on to say that God sent the Four Archangels (Michael, Raphael, Uriel, and Gabriel) to intervene--at the request of the men of earth. It is then that Uriel warns Noah of the upcoming flood. The Archangels eventually directed the Nephilim to engage in a "civil war" amongst themselves.

At the direction of Gabriel, the giants basically wiped out the bulk of their race.          

  So from the text, it shows that God and his angels grew weary of the fate of man and his only option was to use Noah as a "new" Adam. Noah was a very righteous man and God saw him as the only hope on earth to continue the pure bloodline of Adam. But remember the text in Genesis...the Nephilim were on earth after the flood?

  It is in Numbers (13:33) that the Nephilim appear again. This is where the spies of Moses and Aaron are exploring Canaan and report the following: "And we saw there the Nephilm, sons of Anak, of the Nephilim. And we were like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and so we were in their eyes." The verse before this (13:32) states that they were of "great size." This is the first instance in which the description of how large the Nephilim were is explained.

  If you remember, the text in Genesis states that they were "heroes of old, men of renoun." Could this be a possible origin for Pagan gods and Mythical heroes? It would be wise not to disregard this possibility. 

  Many of the giants were rulers and the most famous was King Og, of Bashan. The land of Rephaim was filled with giant-sized cities. King Og's bed (tomb?) was almost 19 feet long. In fact, the Babylonian hero Gilgamesh (of the famous epic poem) was known to be a giant and is named in the Book of Giants. Nimrod is also disputed to have been a Nephilim King.

  So now let's try to figure out why the Nephilim were still around after the flood. There is no definite way of knowing, but the text of 1 Enoch (Chapter 10) says that the Archangels imprisoned the "Watchers" in the earth to await the day of judgement. But we can't put it past Satan to have had other heavenly beings to use as his corruptors. As it has been previously stated, it is apparent that he was determined to corrupt the pure genetic line of Adam/Noah to prevent the coming of the Messiah.

  But God was one step ahead. He used the children of Abraham and Lot to destroy the last of the giants. God instructed Israel to wipe out the people who had mixed with them. David and his men were the ones who finally ended the job with his victories over Goliath and his family.

  There are also other theories, which state that when the Nephilim were killed, their souls searched the earth for bodies to inhabit. There is a belief that these lost souls are driven to inhabit a human host in order to feel human senses and pleasures they once had. In fact, the 15th Chapter of 1 Enoch tells that the spirits of the Nephilim will not be punished until Judgement Day

  Perhaps the wandering souls of the fallen angels and the Nephilim are to blame for accounts of possession in the Christian world. These, of course, are only theories and the answer is only known by God. However, with the proven miracles and amazing stories and events of the Bible and it's omitted books, one shouldn't rule out any story as false. Upon doing research for this project, I even found a website that made a good comparison between the Neanderthals and Nephilim.

  There are many (if only unofficial) accounts of archaeological findings of "giants" throughout the ages. In the late 1950's in southeast Turkey, a 15 foot human skeleton was unearthed. In fact a replica of the femur can be found in a museum in the Lubbock area. In Rome, Maximinus Thrax Caesar was 8 and a half feet tall. In 1577 A.D., a 19'6" skeleton was found under an overturned tree in the Canton of Lucerne. A 23-foot tall skeleton was reported to be found in 1456 A.D. in France. Also in France, a nearly complete skeleton was claimed to have been found near a castle in 1613 A.D.

  We could dig deeper into the history of the Nephilim, but the most complete texts about them are included in the Book of Giants, and 1 and 2 Enoch, which can be found online at www.ancienttexts.org/library/enoch. I suggest that you visit this and other sites that reveal the numerous theories and observations on the Nephilim.

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