Fallen Angels Attempt to Stop The Messiah’s First Advent


Genesis 6: 1-8 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the ground, 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 that they chose. And Jehovah said, My spirit shall not strive with man for ever, for that he also is flesh: yet shall his days be a hundred and twenty years. The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them: the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown. And Jehovah 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 Jehovah that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And Jehovah said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the ground; both man, and beast, and creeping things, and birds of the heavens; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found favor in the eyes of Jehovah (ASV 1901).

The apostle Paul who recognized that demonic warfare was taking place in the spirit world warned us that we were the objects of their wrath (Ephesians 6: 10-13). One of earliest (after Satan’s success in the Garden of Eden) attacks to prevent to coming of the Messiah was the series of events recorded here in Genesis chapter six. The Lord Jesus warned His disciples that similar events would transpire when He was about to make His second advent to the earth in time and space (Matthew 24: 37). He also told them/us not to be deceived (Matthew 24: 4).

There are those who believe that the passage in Genesis Six refers to an unholy union of those from the line of Cain and the holy line of Seth. Proper exegesis of the Hebrew text does not yield this understanding.

Genesis 6:1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born unto them (ASV 1901).

Verse 1 emphasized the multiplication of humanity before the flood. The Hebrew word for men, Adomah here is generic and refers to humanity in general. The word as such cannot be limited to the sons of Cain. It included both Sethites and Cainites and both of these groups died in the flood. Another key word found in Verse 1 is “daughter”, a Hebrew word that means “females.” “Benoth” This refers to the female portion of humanity. Again, the expression cannot be limited to the female descendants of Cain. Man (humanity) multiplied and daughters (females) were born unto them.” Therefore the distinction in verse 1 is not between male Sethites and female Cainites, but the emphasis is on the female portion of humanity in general which would include both Cainites and Sethites.


Genesis 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all that they chose (ASV 1901).

Verse 2 describes the intermarriage. The first phrase is “sons of God.

בְנֵי־הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙  (Bene HaElohim)” The term is a general term that means to be brought into existence by God’s creative act.  Because the term carries this meaning, it is used selectively. Throughout the Old Testament the term Bene HaElohim is always used of angels (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7). There is no reason to assign a different meaning in Genesis 6 for the sons of God then all the other O.T. usages.

In the N.T. the term Sons of God is expanded. Adam is called the Son of God (Luke 3:38) because he was brought into existence by creation. Believers are called sons of God (John 1:12) because believers are considered to be a new creation (Galatians 6:15). But, in Genesis the text is dealing with a specific Hebrew expression, Bene HaElohim and as it is used in the O.T. it is always used of Angels.  The distinction in this passage then is not between Sethites and Cainites, but between humanity and angels. The word “men “emphasizes humanity and “sons of God” emphasize angels.

The second key expression in verse 2 is “daughters of men. (Benoth Adam)” This is a generic term for women, which includes females of both Sethites and Cainites. What the verse is saying is “the sons of God” saw the daughters of men.” There is no clear justification for this verse to be interpreted to mean godly males” intermarried with ‘ungodly females.”

Would truly godly men marry ungodly females? If the meaning of the passage is kept consistent with its usage elsewhere in the OT, the passage is clearly speaking of fallen angels intermarrying with human women. This is apparent in two ways. First it is a one-way marriage the sons of God take the daughters of men. In human society intermarrying occurs two ways. Today saved males sometimes marry unsaved females and saved females sometimes marry unsaved males.  Second the context clearly speaks of a cohabitation that is unusual and unnatural which causes the worldwide flood. Verses 1-4 deal with the angelic cause of the worldwide flood and Verses 5-6 deal with the human cause. Cohabitation between Sethites and Cainites would not be unusual and unnatural, but the same with angels and humans would be.


 Matthew 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven (KJV).

Some believe that Jesus’ quote in Matthew 22:30 speaks of angels being sexless and therefore being incapable of having sexual intercourse. The angels that Jesus was speaking of are angels in heaven. The comparison is not with angels in general but with angels in heaven. He here too Jesus is comparing a human situation in heaven and He says that the humans don’t marry in Heaven. There is no need for procreation in Heaven.

Matthew 22:30 also teaches that angels do not procreate after their kind. Angels also are never declared to be sexless. Whenever they appear they are always are young men and never women.  (Genesis 18:1-19:22; Mark 16:5-7; Luke 24:4-7; Acts 1:10-11)


 Old Testament Strategies

The corruption of Adam’s line (Genesis 6)

Abraham’s seed (Genesis 12, 20)

Famine (Genesis 50)

Destruction of male line (Exodus 1)

Pharaoh’s pursuit (Exodus 14)

The populating of Canaan (Gen 12:6)

Against David’s line (II Samuel7)

Jehoram kills his brothers (II Chronicles 21)

Arabians slew all (but Ahazariah)

Athaliah kills all (but Joash)  (II Chronicles 22)

Hezekiah assaulted, etc.  (Isaiah 36, 38)

Haman’s attempts (Esther 3)


New Testament Strategies


Joseph’s fears (Matthew 1)

Herod’s attempts (Matthew 2)

At Nazareth (Luke 4)

2 Storms on the sea (Mark 4; Luke 8)

The Cross

Summary (Revelation 12 and on)


The Original Warfare


Genesis 3:15 and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (ASV 1901).


Seed of the Woman and the seed of the Serpent, the dragon


The Product of the Intermarriage


Genesis 6:4 The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them: the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.


To get a clearer concept of what this verse is saying as a whole, the individual parts need to be discussed first.

First is the name Nephilim. In some translations the word Nephilim has been translated with the word giant (gigentes).  People reading it picture huge human beings. But, the word does not mean giants; rather it means fallen ones. The word does not refer to giants in the sense of huge human beings, but to a race of fallen ones. The reason it was translated as giants is because of the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the O.T. around 250 B.C. The Jewish scholars who translated the Septuagint from Hebrew into Greek, used giants. They did this because of the usage of the Greek word gigentes, which means Titans in Greek. Our English word giant comes from this Greek word gigentes. Who were the Titans in Greek mythology? They were part men and part God. Homer’s Iliad is a classic example.  The Jewish scholars clearly understood this passage to be a union of angels and humans and therefore they sought to characterize it in that way with a commonly understood Greek word. Actually, the Greeks derived their myths from this section of Genesis. This is another example of the corruption of the Biblical text. Other examples are the various flood stories in different non-Jewish or Christian cultures.

The second word to note in this verse is giborim, which is translated as the mighty men or men of renown. Notice that there is no mention of women of renown. If this were a natural union then there would be female as well as male offspring. The angelic/human commingling is also the only way to make II Peter 2 make sense.


II Peter 2:4-5 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;


Verse 4 gives the location of the permanently confined demons. The temporarily confined demons are found in the Abyss, the permanently confined demons are in Tartarus. This is referred to as  “pits darkness” These angels are reserved there until judgment. This will be the Great White Throne Judgment and then they will be cast into the Lake of Fire. There will never be a time when they are free to roam. They are permanently confined.


Verse 5 reveals the timing of their confinement: It was in conjunction with the Flood. This agrees with the events of Genesis 6:1-4, which are also connected with the flood.

Therefore the purpose of the Flood was to destroy the product of the fallen angels with the human women.  The N.T. then supports the exegetical reading of the O.T. in that the passage is not speaking of Sethites intermarrying with Canaanites. It is inappropriate to read into the text meaning that is not there. We call this eisegesis.


Jude’s Account


Jude 6-7 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.


Verse 6 emphasized the fall of a select group of angels and described their fall in four statements. First. They kept not their own principality. The word principality (domain) is frequently used of the angelic realm and is one of the various ranks with that realm. Second they “left their proper habitation (abode) They left the demonic-angelic sphere of operation and entered into the human sphere by taking on the form of young men and intermarrying with human women. Third, they are not kept in everlasting chains under darkness. Here, Jude mention the same thing as Peter, that these angels are permanently confined. Peter also revealed the place of their confinement, Tartarus.  Forth, they are kept there until ”the judgment of that great day.” Again, Jude reaffirms Peter’s statement that they are being kept in bondage until “that judgment of the great day.” This is the great White Throne Judgment. Once again it is reaffirmed that they will never be free to roam around but are permanently confined to Tartarus. When the time comes, they will be taken out of Tartarus to stand before the Great White Throne Judgment, and then be cast into the Lake of Fire.

Verse 7 deals with the nature of the sin. The key phrase is “ in like manner.” In like manner as Sodom and Gomorrah, they went after “strange flesh.” The sin that angels committed is similar to the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, the sexual sin of going after strange flesh. “Strange Flesh” means sexual union that is unnatural; is goes contrary to nature. In the case of Sodom and Gomorrah the “strange flesh” was homosexuality; in the case of these angels the strange flesh was human female flesh. Instead of remaining in their usual state of residence, they invaded a new state of residence, one of alien flesh, to commit gross immorality. Sodom and Gomorrah and these angels have one thing in common; they are guilty of sexual sins. In the case of Sodom and Gomorrah was homosexuality (Ezekiel 16:49-50 for origin of this sin); in the case of these angels, it was intermarrying into the human sphere.


Noah’s Perfection


Genesis 6:9 These [are] the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man [and] perfect in his generations, [and] Noah walked with God (KJV).


The perfection discussed here is from the Hebrew word tamiym or without blemish, sound, healthful, without spot, unimpaired. This means that his gene pool had not been corrupted.


5th Century Origin of Sethite-Cainnite Interpretation


Celsus and Julian the Apostate used the traditional belief to attack Christianity; Julius Africanus resorted to the Sethite theory as more comfortable ground. Then, Cyril of Alexandria used it to repudiate the orthodox position. Augustine embraced the Sethite theory and this view is the prevailing view taught through the Middle Ages and today.

After Constantine the Bible began to be interpreted through the lens of empiricism and the spiritualization methodology became prevalent. Many read the Bible that way today



Daniel E. Woodhead Ph.D.