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What the hell are Nephilim?

What the hell are Nephilim?

Jan 5, 2024

What the hell are Nephilim?

We all knew 2024 was gonna be a wild year, but I didn’t expect Nephilim to be a trending topic in the first week. In short, a Nephilim is a biblical giant, but what the hell does that have to do with current events?

On January 1, a bunch of youths went wild at the Miami Mall, throwing firecrackers and getting in stick fights. Some Internet cranks spotted some blurry shapes on the video footage and claimed that they were 10-foot-tall aliens (Asking for about tree-fiddy). OK.

And then this lady on TikTok suggested that the massive police response was too much for a bunch of kids with firecrackers and stick fights.

She cites Matthew 24:37-39, which reads:

But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

So wait, what does Jesus coming back have to do with giants? Let’s look at Genesis 6, which is the beginning of the flood narrative:

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, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

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.

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.

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 has sparked thousands of years of debate and discussion:

  • Who are the “sons of God” and the “daughters of man?”
  • What were the giants? Were they literally gigantic in stature or were they merely mighty men of renown? Were they akin to demigods like Gilgamesh and Heracles?
  • Does Genesis imply that the giants are the product of the sons of God and the daughters of man, or is that just a sidenote?

There are two theories about what Genesis means by the “sons of God”:

  • The Sethite theory, which states that the “sons of God” were merely the descendants of Seth, Adam and Eve’s son born after their other son Cain killed his brother Abel. In this explanation, the “daughters of man” are the sin-tainted descendants of Cain.
  • The “sons of God” are renegade angels who reproduced with human women and created some kind of hybrid. God flooded the world to eliminate these “giants.”

The first theory is more reasonable, but the second actually has more textual support. Chapter 5 of the apocryphal Book of Jubilees says:

And it came to pass when the children of men began to multiply on the face of the earth and daughters were born unto them, that the angels of God saw them on a certain year of this jubilee, that they were beautiful to look upon; and they took themselves wives of all whom they chose, and they bare unto them sons and they were giants.

And lawlessness increased on the earth and all flesh corrupted its way, alike men and cattle and beasts and birds and everything that walks on the earth -all of them corrupted their ways and their orders, and they began to devour each other, and lawlessness increased on the earth and every imagination of the thoughts of all men (was) thus evil continually.

The apocryphal Book of Enoch elaborates further, saying that the angels who spawned the Nephilim are called the Watchers. Whether they have large, bald heads is a matter of debate.

There is one hole in the renegade angel theory: if God wiped out all the giants in the flood, why are there giants later on in the Bible? Most famously, Goliath, but also notable is that the children of Israel refused to invade the Promised Land because they spotted giants there:

From the end of Numbers 13:

And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

So, where the heck do giants keep coming from? And how do they produce hybrid offspring when the Bible states that they don’t have physical bodies or marry?

From here, I’m going to pass you off to the two leading experts on Nephilim: Orthodox priests Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick and Fr. Stephen De Young. Together, they host the popular podcast The Lord of Spirits, which delves into all matter of biblical weirdness.

In short, their theory is that ancient kings would be possessed by “gods” (demons) and ritualistically impregnate temple prostitutes.

If you’re fascinated by this topic, you should listen to their 3.5 hour-long episode “Land of the Giants”:

Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick also recently released a book based on the podcast, called The Lord of Spirits (Amazon affiliate link), which succinctly summarizes the topics they discuss on the show, including an entire chapter on giants.

Anyway, that’s a quick rundown on what the Nephilim were. Or are?

But did they trash that mall in Miami?

As Fr. Stephen De Young would say:

“… … … … … No.”

Originally published on Unprepared


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