Are Nephilim Among Us Today? :: By Joe Southerland, AKA RancherJoe

1-2 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, 3 My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. “4-5 There were < Nephilim *> 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. “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6-7 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them” (Genesis 6:1-7, KJV).

Are the Nephilim among us today? I firmly believe that they are, but I am getting ahead of myself. First, we need to examine the context of Genesis 6:1-7, and the meaning and context of the Hebrew word Nephilim in scripture, in order to fully understand the nature of the Nephilim and how they impact Mankind.

Biblical Context up to this point

From the beginning to Genesis 6:1-7 in the Bible, what is the primary spiritual teaching-point Christians are to apply in their lives? I would argue that it is this, that each of us is given one of two choices to make: to seek a God-centered path of faithful obedience – the way of God; or to seek a self-centered, rebellious path – the way of Cain.

This is confirmed in Chapter 11 of Hebrews in the New Testament where it uniquely talks of the righteous men of this age: Abel, Enoch, and Noah; all of whom lived by faith and had faith relationships with God.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

So with this main spiritual context in mind, is there further understanding from Genesis 6:1-7 concerning Mankind and faith? The answer is yes, and that understanding centers on the unique word Nephilim.

Nephilim in scripture

Nephilim is used once in Genesis 6:4 (above) as part of the very brief overview Moses provides of the 1,700-year pre-flood era of Seth, Enoch, and Noah.

Later in Numbers 13:33, Moses uses the word twice, identifying the sons of Anak as Nephilim, who came from the Nephilim.

“And there we saw the <Nephilim*>, the sons of Anak, which come of the <Nephilim*>: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight” (Numbers 13:33).

Other than these three occurrences, the Hebrew word Nephilim is not found in the Bible. So let’s study the three uses of Nephilim in context.

Nephilim in Context – Genesis 6:1-7

Genesis 6:1-7 provides the framework that surrounds the first mention of the Nephilim, whom Moses would not have mentioned unless they were critical to our understanding of the nearly complete fall of Mankind into utter wickedness before the flood. This period can be broken down into two periods.

  • First historical/spiritual summary: Mankind multiplied; sons of God took wives (v1-2).

Resulting judgment: God was not pleased and reduced Mankind’s life span to 120 years (v3).

In the summary of this first period, the Nephilim are not mentioned, so either they did not exist during this time period, or their impact was insignificant and unworthy of mention.

Notice here that the coupling of sons of God and daughters of man displeased God to the point that he reduced Mankind’s lifespan.

  • Second historical/spiritual summary: Nephilim arose; sons of God took wives which resulted in offspring who were mighty/famous men (v4).

Resulting judgment: God was not pleased and declared Mankind (and Nephilim) wicked (v5); was grieved (v6) and marked Mankind for destruction (v6-7).

In this summary, Moses introduced Nephilim to preface this period of time. Notice also that the coupling of sons of God and daughters of man which had previously displeased God is still taking place. The offspring of the sons of God and daughters of man, the mighty men of renown, also did not please God.  The combination of Nephilim, sons of God coupling daughters of men, and the mighty men led to God’s decision to destroy them all.

Additionally, when Moses wrote Genesis 6:4, if we read closely, it states: “There were Nephilim in the earth in those days; and also after that.” Thus Moses tells us that the Nephilim were on the earth after the flood, and Numbers Chapter 13 confirms that fact.

  • Nephilim in Numbers 13:33

Numbers Chapter 13 begins the account of the Israelites being sent to spy out the Promised Land.

In Numbers 13:33, the majority of the Israeli spies provided a false report to Moses and his people, saying that the Nephilim were of great size, were to be feared, and undefeatable. However, Caleb and Joshua, while they did not dispute the claim that they were Nephilim, or large men, truthfully reported to Moses and his people that the Nephilim should not be feared and could be defeated. Later in Numbers 14:37, those who gave a false report died of the plague. Therefore, little can be concluded concerning the Nephilim, except that they were in existence after the flood and may have been large in stature.

The Nature of the Nephilim

Thus far, from the context of the word Nephilim in scripture, we know the following:

– They rose to prominence after God determined to reduce Mankind’s life span to 120 years.

– They contributed a damning impact upon pre-flood Mankind, because Moses used them to preface the era that lead to the near destruction of all Mankind.

– They were deemed wicked, and were destroyed in the flood.

– They arose again after the flood.

– They are never listed as a distinct tribe to be destroyed from the Promised Land.

– Anak and his line, the Anakims, were considered Nephilim and were associated with them.

Who were the Nephilim?

Because there is limited scriptural context concerning the Nephilim, there is great debate on who they were. The issue is further exacerbated because the true meaning of the original Hebrew word has essentially been lost to history.

What of the Hebrew Word Nephilim?

If we turn to the original Hebrew word Nephilim – n@phiyl,  nef-eel’ – we learn it comes from the root word the naphal, which means to fall, cast down, cease, die, divide (by lot), (let) fail,  fall (away, down, -en, -ing), fall(-ing), fugitive, inferior, be judged (by mistake), lay (along), (cause to) lie down, lost, lying, overthrow, overwhelm, perish, (make to) rot, slay, smite out, throw down.

So the name Nephilim appears to indicate fallen beings or fallen ones.

Due to the difficulties in translating Nephilim, many English Bible translators have opted not to translate the Hebrew word at all and just place the word Nephilim in the scriptures. The English Bibles which have opted to translate the word Nephilim have chosen the words fallen ones, giants, or men of great strength. And this is where giants enter into our study.

Where does the thought of Nephilim being giants come from?  

As we saw, the context of Genesis 6 does not reveal Nephilim were giants. So where did the thought of giants spring from?

It appears that some translators determined Nephilim were giants from the influence of the Latin Vulgate Bible (the early Latin translation by Saint Jerome in 400 AD) which referenced gigantes, as well as the context from Numbers 13:33. Saint Jerome himself was previously influenced by the Septuagint Old Testament (a Greek translation of the Old Testament Hebrew from about 200–300 BC) use of Greek word gigentes, which looks like the English word giants, but really means earthborn. Therefore, translating Nephilim into giants appears to be an English translation error.

That is not to say giants weren’t in the Bible, for they are. However, giants is commonly translated in Hebrew from the word Rapha – rapha’, raw-faw’ or raphah {raw-faw’}; a giant ‑ giant, Rapha/Rephaim, which it is found 24 times in the Old Testament. In fact, Moses used the word rapha in Genesis and Deuteronomy seven times to indicate humans of very large size, so he could have used rapha in the three instances he used Nephilim if he desired to indicate giants. So it is highly unlikely Moses used Nephilim to indicate giants.

So again, who were the Nephilim?

Before we answer this question, let us keep in mind that the overarching Biblical theme concerning this period, as outlined in the book of Hebrews, is one of the faith relationship between Mankind and God.  In consideration of the contextual light of spiritual faith relationships and the Hebrew root word naphal, meaning fallen, the context points to spiritually fallen ones. Therefore, Moses is using the word Nephilim to delineate a new and distinct group of people who first arose in these pre-flood days – the spiritually fallen ones, or Nephilim.

These humans under the temptations and influence of Satan were in complete, open opposition and rebellion against God. They became – God-haters. Further, from the context of Genesis 6:1-6 and Jude, these God-haters were in such open rebellion, they boldly preached and blasphemed against the LORD God. This is confirmed in the New Testament book of Jude who, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, relates the sheer evil of these God-haters.

“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him (Jude 1:14-15).

Notice Jude used the word ungodly four times to emphasize the wickedness of these people. The Greek word here is asebeo or asebes – which validly translates as wicked, as well. From this text we know that these God-haters not only flaunted their wickedness openly; they shook their fists against the Lord God Creator and cursed Him, and even moved beyond the point of having the reprobate minds discussed by Paul in Romans 1:18-32. These God-haters wanted others not only to join in their sins; they wanted others to join in their vile blaspheming of God. Accordingly, in the eyes of God, He deemed them fallen ones – those who were beyond redemption – they were the Nephilim.

Shall not always – strive 

In Genesis 6:3a, Moses tells us that God stated, “My spirit shall not always strive with man.” These two words translated from the Hebrew to shall not always and strive, are fascinating when we consider their Hebrew origins.

Shall not always – Hebrew `owlam, o-lawm’ – the vanishing point; generally, time out of mind.

Strive – Hebrew diyn, deen – a straight course, i.e. sail direct: – (come) with a straight course.

When combined, these words provide a Germaine point to our topic – There is a vanishing point to the straight course God’s Spirit will provide. 

The Evil of the Nephilim

By Genesis 6:4, some in Mankind had become Nephilim and had reached beyond that point. They were beyond redemption and sealed for destruction by God, as they continued to work their inequity by taking others into sin-filled existence and their evil, open rebellion against God.

The Nephilim became the first dedicated children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2, 2:5) and were the promised seed of Satan in Genesis 3:15; they were self-centered, basked in their sins, and raged against God and those who called upon the name of the Lord. And they reappeared after the flood, because Satan and his influences survived the flood.

In Numbers 13:33, Moses used Nephilim to indicate that the Anakims were evil brutes and openly God-haters who had fallen beyond redemption, which would explain the great fear they created among the Israelis who did not trust in the LORD.

To this day the Nephilim are among us. They are the God-haters who flaunt their wickedness openly, shake their fists against the Lord God Creator, and seek others not only to join in their wickedness but join them in blaspheming God.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:37, “But as the days of Noe (Noah) were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”

Watch for the Nephilim; they are in our midst.

Nephilim’s evil Pre-flood impact

The reason Moses began the second portion of his historical/spiritual survey of the pre-flood history of Mankind with Nephilim is because the Nephilim are key to understanding why nearly all of Mankind fell spiritually into complete wickedness.

In the follow-up piece to this article, I will examine what the scriptures have to say about how the Nephilim corrupted the sons of God, the daughters of man, and the mighty men, and led nearly all of them into damnation.

God bless and Maranatha!    J&J Ranch Ministries – “But as for me and my <ranch>, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).

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*Within the KJV version of the scripture, I am inserting the Hebrew word Nephilim which Moses via the Holy Spirit used, so as we study, we can more readily examine this unique word in its original form without pre-conceptions.