“Who Are the Nephilim?” Dr. Michael L. Brown

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6 When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they choseThen the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim* were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Genesis

*Possibly means “fallen ones”; traditionally, “giants”; Nm 13:31-33

 

NOTE on the Text from NICOT Genesis:  In v. 4 “children” [Not Nephilim] is taken to be the antecedent of  “These mighty men…”  [ Nephilim…in those days is simply a time marker; a parenthetical historical note.]

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Dr. Brown begins: “Isn’t it interesting that one of the most obscure verses in the Bible is the subject of so much conversation and speculation?”

And Dr. Brown ends: “Let’s not try to read too much into it.” youtube video here

In between, Dr. Brown makes clear that “We do not know.” Except for half of one sentence (which will not be even be noticed by most of his fans)  in the almost 3 minute video, we would not know that there are other explanations other than that of the far-fetched offspring of “fallen angels.”

Dr. Michael Brown is dealing with the nut-case fringe which speculates about aliens, space ships, and Nephilim today–this is the kind of stuff that sells books for a certain segment of evangelicals. Most who listen to him on facebook will never open a Bible and read Genesis in context.

The above text is Chapter 6. Chapter 5 gives us the line of Seth. And Chapter 4 gives us the line of Cain, preceded by the account of the offspring of Adam and Eve.

The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (NICOT) gives us three views of “the sons of God” in verse 2. One is that this is the standard reference to “angels” and equates their progeny with the Nephilim, as “fallen ones,” of verse 4. [It should be noted that this is the first reference to “sons of God” in the Bible.]

The masterful G. Ch. Aalders (BSC) states, “This view is, in our judgment, untenable….it [sons of God] refers exclusively [here in Genesis Six] to the world of human beings.”

“There are, moreover, other places in the Old Testament where people are referred to as ‘sons of God.’ In Deuteronomy 32:5 and Hosea 1:10 the Israelites are so designated.” [The Israelites, God’s chosen people who replaced God’s original chosen ones of Adam.]

Another view, related to the flow of the text (chapters 4 and 5) given above, is that the “sons of God” were the descendants of Seth, and the “daughters of men” are the descendants of Cain. The sin is that of intermarriage between believer and unbeliever.

And a third view is that the “sons of God” were early royal aristocrats and “daughters of men” were “the royal harems of these despots.”

“The sin, then, is polygamy, along the lines of Lamech*, who also “took wives”(4:19).” [cf. 6:2, above, “took as their wives.”] *Lamech –descendant of Cain; both shed blood; Lamech is the first recorded man to take more than one wife.

 

The TEXT of this Scripture gives us no grounds for equating the Nephilim with the offspring of fallen angels

Cf. “the sons of God.” NICOT: “…the text establishes no causal connection…the giants were present at the same time [emphasis mine] as the marriages between ‘the sons of God’ and the ‘daughters of men.’” [Read that bold type again and make it clear in your mind.]

“The reference to the presence of giants is, thus, no more than a designation of time. This is indicated by the word ‘then’ or ‘at that time.’”

G. Ch. Aalders: “The writer speaks of the giants….a historical phenomenon that was familiar to his readers. Thus it was a meaningful designation of a specific period of history.”

“Genesis 6:1-4 should be approached as a straightforward description of the conditions that prevailed among the human race [the race of Adam] before the Deluge.

Despite what we do not know about the Nephilim, we do know the context. And context is king. The one reason to study these verses is to be equipped to exhort those who carelessly use them [leading to their following various ‘winds’ that capture the vain imagination] to study them. Vain imaginations and idle speculations are stumbling blocks to others, esp. unbelievers, and give a poor witness as Christians.  All of us are to focus on Christ and His Kingdom that we may be found faithful stewards who do not need to be ashamed when He returns. Marana tha

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Evangelical NT Scholars You Should Know: Leon Morris

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By Thomas Schreiner, prof. of NT

Leon Lamb Morris (1914–2006) stood out in his generation as one of the great evangelical scholars. He wrote 50 books and traveled extensively, speaking all around the world. His book The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, which has sold more than 50,000 copies, was his signature achievement. He wrote often about the cross, and his more popular treatments were also well-received. Morris stubbornly attended to the biblical text and closely sifted what it said, showing that penal substitution and the satisfaction of God’s wrath could not be expunged from our theological vocabulary. His massive NICNT commentary on the Gospel of John should probably be mentioned second in terms of its influence and scholarship. The effect of his writings is staggering. He wrote two commentaries (Tyndale and NICNT) on the Thessalonian epistles, and they sold more than 250,000 copies. His Tyndale commentary on 1 Corinthians, which appeared in two editions, also sold more than 250,000 copies.

Continued

Love One Another and Herding Cats

love_one_another_1 John 4

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

These days, trying to help Christians think straight [i.e. to ‘love the Lord with all their heart’] and to take the text of Scripture seriously is akin to herding cats.

As always, the above text, “love one another,” refers specifically to our fellow Christians, not to our unbelieving neighbors or to anyone else outside the Church.

This is the special commandment which Jesus gave to his disciples. It is the sign by which Jesus said others would know that we are HIS.

 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”–John 13

Yes, Jesus also taught us to love our neighbor  (The Second Great Commandment). As E. J. Carnell wrote, “The responsibility to love all human beings is repeatedly set forth with such solemnity in Scripture that an unloving Christian is a manifest contradiction in terms.” (What we today call an oxymoron.)

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But when Jesus and John said, “love one another,” they were referring to that unique fellowship we have with all those who believe in Him.

And Jesus set this teaching before the disciples with an extraordinary action before the Last Supper. Remarkable Maundy Thursday

See Love, Prayer, and Forgiveness: When Basics Become Heresies

Three Dollars NOOK &PC  or  Kindle

 

 

The Scene at the Last Super (link to Maunday Thursday post)

 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13

Dispensationalism & the rapture

Dr. Ben Witherington is professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. This is an excellent synopsis of where “Left Behind” came from, and it is NOT the Bible. For the exegesis of the supposed ‘Rapture’ passage in 1 Thessalonians see: https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/second-coming-rapture-vs-scripture-christian/

Coffee with the King

See this excellent 7-minute video discussing the origins of Dispensationalism and the idea of a secret rapture, from NT Professor Ben Witherington III.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/bibleandculture/2014/10/08/the-rapture-uncaged/

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I want to be LEFT BEHIND

I want to be Left Behind, by James Michael Jones–reblogged below this text and my comments.

36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.  Matthew 24

[Text highlighted to show the parallel: …took…taken…]

[The other clear parallel between the days of Noah and the days of the coming of the Son of Man: people will be going about their normal business.]

Yes, some scholars see the “taken” as being “to judgment.”  Robert H. Mounce (New International Biblical Commentary), sees this as parallel with the ‘”taken away” by the flood’ (v. 39). Others think it is ‘left for judgment (e.g. NICNT) [This seems to be based on some presupposition rather than on the context which seems to be blatantly ignored]. But the two differing views do not detract from the key point–“The coming of Jesus marks a complete and permanent division” (Leon Morris) “. . . the decisive moment.” “The sayings emphasize the completely unexpected nature of the Man’s coming” (AB).
THIS is the Parousia, the Second Advent, the final judgment, (vv. 27, 29-31, 44), not some secret “beam me up Scotty!” fiction. This context leaves “Left Behind” out in the cold. [The enigmatic saying about the vultures receives a variety of educated guesses.] And the context of the primary passage which is distorted to fit the modern “Rapture” doctrine also leaves the fiction behind. https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/second-coming-rapture-vs-scripture-christian/

Forgiveness Factor

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Left Behind will be released in theaters soon. One of the verses used to describe the Rapture is Matthew 24:40. It states: “Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left.” According to supporters of the Left Behind series of books and films, no one wants to be ‘left behind’.

If you read Tim LaHaye’s book “Left behind” and watch the first “Left Behind” film, you do NOT want to be left behind. However, did Jesus believe the ones left behind had it bad? Read Jesus’ remarks in Luke 17:34-37 and you tell me. “‘I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.’ And they said to Him, ‘Where, Lord?’ He said to them, ‘Where the corpse…

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I John: Who Are “They”?

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 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you…(2:27).

 The First Epistle of John vividly illustrates the key role that context commands as we seek to understand the text.  Those Christians to whom John wrote knew, first hand, that context.  For us, understanding requires a little homework.

Our first step, in the study of any of the epistles, should be to read the whole letter through.  As we do that in 1 John, we come to the key clue, which clarifies the context, “They went out from us…”(2:19).

 Now, we need to seek some understanding of the spirit of those times.  Cerinthus, a contemporary of John at Ephesus, shows us the ideas that were in the air.  “Cerinthus, believed the spiritual Christ entered into a human (physical) Jesus at the time of his baptism (in the form of a dove) and left the human Jesus before the crucifixion. History reveals that Cerinthus lived in Ephesus toward the end of the first century, which was also where the aged apostle John lived. Irenaeus (AD 130–200) tells us that John specifically directed his Gospel against Cerinthus (e.g., John 1:14; 20:19–31).″
http://www.equip.org/PDF/JAJ210.pdf

The dualistic world view of that day [spirit=good/superior vs. matter=evil/inferior, i.e. matter is that which was created, e.g. flesh, body; thus “Creator” became an inferior diety. Marcion rejected the God of the OT] led to full blown Gnosticism in the following centuries with its docetic view of Jesus ( (dokeo—to seem). He only ‘seemed’ to be Christ. “Docetists, claimed that Jesus had only the appearance of flesh, without substance or reality (like a phantom). (‘Docetism’ comes from a Greek word, dokeo, meaning ‘to seem’ or ‘to appear.’) Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross, they said, was not real, for the body was not real.” 

This ‘Christianized’ spirit of the times, which developed into a more formal Christian Gnosticism by the mid-second century, emphasized an intuitive, special knowledge (gnosis) of mysteries, which separated out the true believers and gave them true salvation.

 Thus, as we read John’s letter, note his emphasis, starting in the first two verses, on the original, apostolic teaching “from the beginning” which his fellow Christians have received. John stresses the physical reality, e.g. “…our hands have handled.”  This stands in contrast to the new claims and new ways of those who “went out” from them.

Note the key verses, which test the doctrine of this new teaching:

Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?…(2:22).

By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, (4:2).

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God,…(5:1).

 The ‘liars’ denial led to new ways.  Denial of the Incarnation, results in denial that “…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin”(1:7). For those with this ‘new’ knowledge, sin is no longer of consequence.  This is merely a concern of the inferior, created order. So, as you read through John, note his repeated emphasis on sin.

   And as you read, underline all the times he uses “know” and “Jesus” to help you see his emphasis.  Then, see if you understand the opening verse (2:27) at the top of this post. We will look at that in the next post.

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Of Ponds and Pitfalls

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Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.-2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)

Versus

Memory Verse Theology

 

Too often, we hear fellow Christians talking about “what this verse means to me.”

There certainly are verses that do have a special place in our hearts [link], which have given great comfort in times of crisis or direction out of aimless wanderings— this blessing , we may confidently hold unto. But if we become me-centered rather than Christ-centered, we quickly close the door to understanding as we quench the Spirit’s guidance.

Still, God in his great mercy bears with us in our immaturity.

As a child growing up in the Ozarks, Erasmus’ parents forbade him to take part in any skinny-dipping in the local ponds. As a teenager, Erasmus felt the conviction of a verse in James (1:2) which, in the King James Version, speaks of “divers temptations.” Perhaps “divers lusts and pleasures” (Titus 3:3) served to strengthen his convictions, and “divers diseases” (Mark 1:34) might have instilled enough dread to keep this young man out of the pond! But, being unfamiliar with Scuba diving, what would he have thought about “divers weights” and how would “divers colours” fit into the scheme of skinny-dipping unless it was winter tide and he was thinking of the color, blue?

We may make light of silly interpretations to expose our weakness. We, however, must take care not to make light of conviction in a boy indwelt by the Holy Spirit. But his understanding of this particular Scripture verse is not to be an example that we strive to follow. Rather, the example highlights one pitfall along our path as we read Scripture.

Though God bears with us, “the smoldering wick he will not quench,” immaturity is not our goal; nor are subjective interpretations of Scripture to be the guide that we follow.

If we continue on this post-modern path of subjectivism, of giving equal weight to each of our own opinions about what a verse of Scripture teaches, then we are reinforcing the secular claim that there is no absolute truth (which, of course, is an absolute claim and utter nonsense). If “what this verse means to me” becomes our standard, then we have nothing to say to the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses about their heretical teachings. After all, select verses of Scripture mean something different to them. And, in this new age, who are we to question their interpretations?

Against today’s subjectivism, we must clearly declare “that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20).

As The Expositor’s Bible Commentary states, “no prophecy of Scripture is to be interpreted by any individual in an arbitrary way.” If we are ignorant of its full meaning and simply think of prophecy as limited to predicting the future, we will lose our way here. But prophecy encompasses bringing the mind of God to bear upon the present situation. The Old Testament prophets repeatedly reminded God’s people of what the word of God had already revealed to them. The prophets vividly reminded them and called them to return to God and obey his ways. They called them to repent.

When Peter wrote that warning quoted above, his concern centered on the parallel between “false prophets among the people” and “false teachers among you; who will secretly bring in destructive heresies . . .” (2 Peter 2:1).

Peter warned us about arbitrary interpretations of the prophecies of Scripture by any individual. This warning, as we see from the parallel that he drew, also applies to arbitrary interpretations of the teachings of Scripture. And the specific point we must see here is that we are not to interpret and apply Scriptural teaching  in some arbitrary way which is awash in the philosophy of our own day.

The path that avoids that deep pitfall of arbitrariness lies alongside our familiarity with Scripture. (There can be none of this picking and choosing of verses without our awareness of their context.) To walk that path requires discipline. Step by step, we must regularly read God’s word and study it with the diligence of true disciples.

Adapted from Love, Prayer, and Forgiveness: When Basics Become Heresies

 

Here is an example of a passage where many Christians throw the context out the window and insert their own ideas.  1 Thessalonians 4