I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!
I have joked for many years that if a Pastor wanted to have fun with his congregation, stand up in the pulpit and say, “Please turn in your Bibles this morning to the book of Hezekiah.” Then stand back and watch as the people look and look, and search their table of contents. Of course the punchline here is that there is no book of Hezekiah in the Bible. Along the same line, if you were to look in your Bible table of contents, there are several other books you are not going to find either, and I speak of our Protestant Bibles; among them would be – 1 Enoch, Jubilees, and the Book of Jasher. None of these books are in our Bibles today, yet their absence does not mean they are not valuable for research. They are especially valuable in getting the backstory and additional details concerning the incursion of the, “Sons of God” (or, “Watchers” a term we will explore a bit later), and their interaction with human beings, especially human women.
Genesis 6:1 – 4 has several possible layers of application, as we explored last time. Genesis however doesn’t provide a lot of backstory concerning this event. It tells the reader it did happen, the subsequent judgment on the world, and that is pretty much it. There are other ancient books however that do provide this backstory, and again they are valuable for our research, and that is what we are going to look at in this post.
Let me say right up front, that I am not going to make an argument for any of these books being actually canonical, that is, being included in our Bibles. There are those who do and have made that argument, but I am not going to enter that debate. I will make a few interesting observations right here however:
The ancient book of Jasher (also, The Book of the Upright), is referenced twice in the Old Testament – Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18
The Book of Enoch (or, 1 Enoch), was highly revered in the early Church, by many of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, and its message certainly greatly influenced the writers of the New Testament.
The Book of Jubilees (sometimes referred to as, Lesser Genesis), was well-known to early Christians, as evidenced by the writings of Epiphanius, Justin Martyr, Origen, Diodrous of Tarsus, Isidore of Alexandria, Isidore of Seville, Eutychius of Alexandria, John Malalas, George Syncellus, and George Kedrenos. The text of Jubilees was also utilized by the community that originally collected the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Another interesting fact I recently discovered had to do with the collection of, and canonization of the books of the Old Testament. Lets first define what we are referring to when we say, “The Canon of Scripture.” Easton’s Bible Dictionary says, “This word is derived from a Hebrew and Greek word denoting a reed or cane. Hence it means something straight, or something to keep straight; and hence also a rule, or something ruled or measured. It came to be applied to the Scriptures, to denote that they contained the authoritative rule of faith and practice, the standard of doctrine and duty. A book is said to be of canonical authority when it has a right to take a place with the other books which contain a revelation of the Divine will.”
This term then describes the books that form the basis of our rule of faith and practice as Christians, regardless of denominational affiliation; or at least that should be the case. The 66 books of the Bible should be our first court of arbitration, and our final court of appeal. Let me say here as well with the Apostle Paul, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is valuable for teaching the truth, convicting of sin, correcting faults and training in right living; thus anyone who belongs to God may be fully equipped for every good work.” [2 Tim. 3:16, 17 CJB] I firmly believe in the sufficiency of scripture, with no additions needed. I just wanted to be clear about that.
With that said, I recently discovered that the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, was only partially canonized in the time of Jesus. The Torah (Genesis – Deuteronomy), and the Nevuim (Prophets) were firmly established, whereas the third division of the Tanakh, the Ketuvim (writings) was still in flux in the time of Jesus. Many books, including 1 Enoch, went in and out of the canon during that period of time, with the vast majority of Jewish scholars finally deciding against including it. It is also interesting to note that the original 1611 King James Version included the Apocrypha (though not the book of 1 Enoch), as also did the Septuagint, as well as the Catholic Bible.
Among Christian and Jewish groups today, the books of 1 Enoch, Jasher, and Jubilees (among other apocryphal books), are not viewed as inspired, but they are generally viewed as having some historical value. Interestingly, the Jewish group known as Beta Israel (or, Ethiopian Jews), do have the book of 1 Enoch in their Bible. This makes sense when you consider the fact that the only fully intact copies of the book of 1 Enoch are in the Ethiopic language (with fragments existing in both Aramaic and Hebrew). Among Christian groups, only the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, view 1 Enoch as canonical.
Alright, we gave you some foundation and background material, now lets look at the backstory of Genesis 6:1 – 4, some of these books give us.
First, lets talk about the word, “Watchers” I told you we would explore earlier. The word, “watcher” appears twice in our Bible, whereas the plural, “watchers” appears only once. Interestingly, all of these appearances are found in the book of Daniel. The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), was originally written in Hebrew, with the exception of a few sections written in Aramaic. Interestingly, the book of Daniel, though mostly written in Hebrew, has a section in the middle of the book, (Daniel 2:4 – 7:28) that was originally written in Aramaic. A portion of Ezra, as well as a few other small sections of the Old Testament were written in what is known as biblical Aramaic. I mention all of this because the terms, “watcher” or “watchers”, that appear three times in our Bibles, are all found in the book of Daniel, in chapter 4, within the section of Daniel written in biblical Aramaic. The word, “watcher” or “watchers”, is from the Aramaic masculine noun, iyr. It refers to an angelic class, divine beings, who “watch” over the affairs of nations, specifically people within those nations, and then report back to God. They declare God’s decrees, and are directly responsible to God.
Daniel speaks of their holiness. When it comes to 1 Enoch, we discover there are both good (or holy) watchers, and evil (or rebellious) watchers. The author (or possibly authors) of 1 Enoch emphasizes the rebellious watchers.
Genesis 6:1 – 4 speaks of the, “Sons of God”. This is the same group that are also known as, “The Watchers.” It is in the book of Jubilees that we discover that the, “watchers” that descended to the earth in the days of Jared, originally had a high and holy purpose for coming to earth. We read in Jubilees,
“…and he called his name Jared, for in his days the angels of the Lord descended on the earth, those who are named watchers,that they should instruct the children of men, and that they should do judgment and uprightness on the earth.” [Jubilees 4:15b R.H. Charles translation]
It would appear in the government of Heaven, there is a three-tier governmental structure; with of course the throne of God at the top, the Sons of God or, “watchers” on the next level, and all other angelic classes on the third level. E.W. Bullinger in the classic, Number in Scripture, looks at the spiritual significance of the numerical sequences and patterns we find in the Bible. The number three, Bullinger points out represents that which is, solid, real, substantial, and complete. So, if indeed there is this three-tier governmental structure in Heaven, we know it is solid, real, substantial, and complete.
Scripture also reveals that Satan’s kingdom in the second heaven has a hierarchical structure: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:12 KJV Emphasis added] So we see Satan’s government has a four-tier structure, made up of:
Principalities – archas , principalities, chief rulers or beings of the highest rank and order in Satan’s kingdom.
Powers – exousias, authorities, those who derive their power from and execute the will of the chief rulers.
Rulers of the darkness of this world – krosmokratoras, world-rulers of the darkness of this age, the spirit world-rulers.
Spiritual wickedness – pneumatika, spiritual wickedness, that of the wicked spirits of Satan in the heavenlies. [Note on Ephesians 6:12 Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible]
Incidentally, Bullinger points out the number four is associated with the created order, or the world. This is interesting when we consider that Satan and his emissaries operate in the second heaven, or the atmosphere above this earth, and the solar system, and their number is four.
So, we see that both the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan are highly organized. It would appear again, in the Kingdom of Heaven’s government that the, “Sons of God” or “Watchers” work directly in the affairs of men. The “Sons of God”, or “watchers” that descended to the earth in the days of Jared, originally came to, “…instruct the children of men, and that they should do judgment and uprightness on the earth”, this according to the book of Jubilees. Of this group, about 200 rebelled and hatched a plan to inter-marry with earth women, and thus produce offspring by them.
Both Genesis 6 and 1 Enoch tell us of this plan. As we have stated, Genesis doesn’t give us a great deal of detail, and I think there are probably some good reasons for that. 1 Enoch gives us some back story as to their plan. We read in 1 Enoch 6,
“And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: ‘Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children.’ And Semjâzâ, who was their leader, said unto them: ‘I fear ye will not indeed agree to do this deed, and I alone shall have to pay the penalty of a great sin.’ And they all answered him and said: ‘Let us all swear an oath, and all bind ourselves by mutual imprecations not to abandon this plan but to do this thing.’ Then sware they all together and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. And they were in all two hundred; who descended ⌈in the days⌉ of Jared on the summit of Mount Hermon, and they called it Mount Hermon, because they had sworn and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. And these are the names of their leaders: Sêmîazâz, their leader, Arâkîba, Râmêêl, Kôkabîêl, Tâmîêl, Râmîêl, Dânêl, Êzêqêêl, Barâqîjâl, Asâêl, Armârôs, Batârêl, Anânêl, Zaqîêl, Samsâpêêl, Satarêl, Tûrêl, Jômjâêl, Sariêl. 8. These are their chiefs of tens.” [1 Enoch 6:1 – 8 R.H. Charles translation]
In this passage in the book of 1 Enoch, we see the number of angels, “children of the heaven”, who saw the, “beautiful and comely daughters” of men and, “lusted after them”, and then hatched an evil plan to marry these women and have children by them. 1 Enoch gives us the number (200), the name of the instigator (Semjaza), and the names of the leaders (divided into groups of ten) among the angels.
We get a hint concerning how they acquired their human woman in Genesis 6. Moses wrote, “That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” [Genesis 6:2 KJV Emphasis added]
I bolded both the words, “took” and “chose” because I wanted to call your attention to them. First, the word, “took” certainly does not imply that they courted and wooed these human women, and then eventually married them. No, this word translated, “took” comes from the Hebrew, laqach, which could be translated, “to take, get, fetch, lay hold of, seize, receive, acquire, buy, bring, to take from (which means they possibly took some already married women), snatch, or take away.” The word translated, “chose” in this verse is the Hebrew, bachar, and it means, “To try, select, appoint, and join.” We are not told the basis of their selection of the women, but they literally grabbed these women, and made them their own.
There was something in these human women, or at least their genetic material, that these angels wanted. The result of these unnatural, unholy unions is told us also 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 KJV emphasis added]
The word, “giants” in this verse, translates the Hebrew, nephil (or, nephilim). This word is from the Hebrew root, naphal, which means, “to fall, or fallen ones.” The Complete Word Study Dictionary Old Testament says of this word, nephil, “A masculine noun used only in the plural meaning giants. The celebrated, puzzling passage where this term is first used is Genesis 6:4 which merely transliterates the Hebrew word into English as Nephilim. These beings evidently appeared on the earth in the ancient past when divine beings cohabited with woman, and Nephilim, the mighty men or warriors of great fame, were the offspring. This huge race of Nephilim struck fear into the Israelite spies who had gone up to survey the land of Canaan (see Num. 13:31-33).” [The Complete Word Study Dictionary Old Testament]
These beings were not human, and they were not angelic; they were a hybrid race somewhere in between. They brought forbidden knowledge to humanity, and introduced unspeakable evil in the earth. The corruption they brought to man and the animal kingdom was so great that it moved God to destroy the earth, and all living things on it with the exception of Noah and his family, and the animals on the Ark. Why were they called, “giants” in the KJV? What exactly did they introduce to humanity? And, what could all of this possibly mean to you and me in the 21st Century? We will explore that and much more next time.
Until next time,
Pastor Kevin E. Johnson