We are going to find out how the Hebrew word "Nephilim" in Bereshit (Genesis) 6:4 actually translates into English. You are about to discover another false doctrine that has its origins in pagan mythology and how it was syncretized into Christianity through Hellenized Western religion. By the end of this article it should be clear to you that there were no "giants in the land". You will learn that the Hebrew word, "Nephilim" does not and cannot be translated as "giants".
You will also learn that the Benei ha'Elohim (Sons of G-d) of Bereshit (Genesis) 6:2 were not Malakim (angels). I will present a Hebrew/Jewish explanation of this and an archeological explanation. Then I will conclude with undeniable scriptural proof that should make it obviously clear to any person of average intelligence that the "Sons of Elohim" are as human and mortal as you and me.
Open Mind Exercise
Before we begin, however, let's lay down some basic Hebrew understandings. This will help open our minds to think for ourselves rather than seeking out what some religious teacher tells us to believe. Put your seat belts on and prepare to greatly expand your knowledge.
"In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth." This first passage in the scriptures tells us far more than what we have been conditioned to understand. I have heard numerous teachings that YHWH's first act of creation, was to create rua ("or" - light). But this is not true if you believe that YHWH is omnipotent and omnipresent. The creation of light was the demarcation of night and day, the creation of time. This creates a real dilemma as you are about to see.
The word zra ("aretz" - earth) does not mean "planet earth" as we have been taught in the West to understand it. Aretz, earth, in Hebrew means dirt, rock, minerals, etc., or land mass. Aretz, in context, can be used to mean a single planet, or it can mean all of the planets and stars collectively throughout the universe.
Mimw ("sha-ma-yim" - heavens) consists of the "three heavens". These three include the space around us (troposphere), the space above the heights of the mountains (stratosphere to exosphere), and the vast expanse we call outer space. The third heaven, outer space, does not necessarily include the planets and stars (aretz) by definition any more than our planet's stratosphere (heaven – shamayim) contains planets and stars. The stratosphere is there, but it does not contain aretz (earth). If we were able to launch and keep in orbit a large boulder in the stratosphere, it would be "aretz" (earth), a planet in the heaven (stratosphere).
I hope you are able to grasp this understanding and differentiate that this first passage in the scriptures is not saying, "Elohim created the heavens and A planet". But, in creating aretz (earth) YHWH had the ingredients to create worlds (plural) that he placed in the third shamayim (third heaven – universe).
So, Bereshit (Genesis 1:1) tells us that YHWH actually created the third heaven and the planets before He created light (our human understanding of time). Remember, the creation of light was the beginning of time, the demarcation of Mui "yom" (day,) and elil "lai'lah" (night). Clearly, YHWH is not confined by space and time, as He created ha'shamayim (the heavens) v'et ha'aretz (and the earth) v'or (and light). But, we humans are constrained by time and space.
The second passage in Bereshit tells us that the aretz (earth – mass) was void and without form - not yet made into planets and stars. In other words, the heavens and the earth existed before human understanding of time. Then it goes on to tell us that YHWH took some of that blob, aretz (earth), and created an ecosystem, a habitat for humanity. And He took some more of that blob, aretz, to create a light source, the sun (time)...
If YHWH's first act of creation was to create light, where did the heavens and earth (mass - rocks, dirt...) come from as they were present before "let there be light"? The aretz had to be present in order for the sun (let there be light) to be created. Stated differently, "and the earth (aretz) was VOID and without FORM, with DARKNESS over the SURFACE of the deep". Let's take this one step further. If, "let there be light" was YHWH's first act of creation - the creation of the sun, who created the aretz that would have been required for the creation of the sun? But this is pre-light and the aretz (earth) had not yet been formed into planets and stars. Are you beginning to see the dilemna created by Western understanding?
With this expanded knowledge I beg the question, how old is the universe? Come outside the box and ponder this. The heavens and the earth were created before this planet and before there was light (our understanding of time demarcation).
"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With YHWH a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. "
~ 2 Peter 3:8
What is this actually saying? What it is not saying is that YHWH is limited by time and space. It is, rather, clarifying that YHWH is not limited to time and space. YHWH is outside of time and space and, therefore, in control of it. It is saying that a few seconds to YHWH is a thousand, ten thousand, or a million years to us. So, again, how old is the universe?
This exercise is to demonstrate how much we do not know about the scriptures. To really understand the scriptures, we have to peel away what we have been taught in the institutionalized pagan Roman Empire religious system. We have to open our understanding to a 3,500 year old faith that is vastly different than our contemporary cultural understandings and beliefs. We must look at the scriptures from Moshe's (Moses) point of reference rather than Billy Graham's.
KJV, A Poor Translation
It is both amusing and sad to read the King James versions of the Bible. It is among the worst translations. There are numerous Hebrew and Hebraic (Hebrew + Aramaic) words wrongly translated in KJV, with many of them done intentionally. It is said that when the scribes questioned a word in the scriptures, King James would draw from his personal fears and superstitions and tell his scribes what to write. It truly is King James' personal interpretation of the scriptures seen through his eyes of fear and superstition.
Besides the glaringly erroneous "Lucifer", which we will study in another upcoming article, the next most egregious word is "Giants". The KJV translation to giants appears to come from the Greek mythological "Titans" along with the pagan belief that deities mated with human women and created supernaturally powerful offspring – which is propagated in Christian teachings.
It appears this translation comes from the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the scriptures, where it translates "Nephilim" as gegantes. According to ancient Greek writings these gegantes were a race of very strong and aggressive warriors, though not necessarily of any exceptional size. In Classical writings the gegantes were normal man sized hoplites - heavily armed ancient Greek citizen-soldiers. Gegantes is more closely defined as fierce and heavily armed. It neither means, nor translates as, giants in our understanding of the word.
Later Hellenistic writers either confused, or intentionally conflated (mixed together), gegantes with the mythological Titans (really "tall" with super-human strength). This was especially true as the Roman Empire religious system syncretized pagan superstitions and religious beliefs with Christianity.
This co-mingling of Gegantes and Titans eventually led to the poor English definition of "giants". Hence, we track the translation from Hebrew Nephilim (hominids lacking the human soul) to Greek gegantes (fierce warriors) to the erroneous English definition of giants (gegantes syncretized with titans) found in the KJV.
Defining Hebrew Nephilim
The Hebrew word nephilim has nothing to do with giants. It doesn't even have anything to do with big. It comes from the root נָפַל (nephil) which means "to fall", "cause to fall", "to kill", and "to ruin". According to Gerald Schroeder, a nuclear physicist at The Hebrew University, "Nephil is a Hebrew word which means 'fallen', or 'lowered down' or 'less than perfect'."
Schroeder elaborates that, "The scriptures say there existed at the time of Adam, beings that were completely human in shape and in intelligence, but they weren't humans. They lacked the neshama, the soul of humanity... humans with souls and hominids without - human looking beings but without the neshama, the soul of human life."
Although I am not a big supporter of Strong's, they are very close to being accurate with H5307. I have corrected the spelling of the word and the phonetic spelling for Strong's.
nephil: to fall, lie
Original Word: נָפַל
Part of Speech: Verb
Phonetic Spelling: (ne-fil')
Short Definition: fall
1. fall, by accident
2. a. Especially of violent death
b. figurative = go to ruin, perish, etc.
c. figurative = experience calamity
d. fall, of a city
3. a. Fall prostrate
b. fall = prostrate oneself before
c. fall upon (עַל) one's neck, in embrace
4. a. Fall upon
b. desert or fall away to, go over to, with
c. בְּיַד ׳נ fall into the hand (power) of
5 Figurative, of deep sleep
My note: Nephil is also related to feller (fell-er as in falling others) - a tyrant and bully.
The Nephilim are fallen ones, one's lacking the human neshama (soul). Let's be clear that the Nephilim are the offspring, the mating result, of the Benei ha'Elohim (Sons of G-d) and the daughters of men. And this brings us to the next level of this false doctrine. The sons of Elohim are neither malakim (angels) nor fallen malakim (there is no such thing as we will learn in a later article).
The notion that deities, or fallen deities, came down from heaven and mated with human women is another Greek myth syncretized with Christianity by Hellenist writers and propagated as official church doctrine. This syncretized myth begins with the Greek deity, Zeus, coming down from Mount Olympus and mating with Alcmene who bore the hybrid god-man Hercules. Interestingly, Hercules (Herakles) was not a "giant", but he was supernaturally strong and aggressive – warrior like. Later the Hellenists would incorporate the Titans (giants) with all of this doctrine.
This god-man concept was so offensive to the Jewish leaders that you will recall one of the charges against Yeshua is that he "claims to be the Son of Elohim". This was based on Yeshua's claims that, "I am of my Father..." and "My Father and I are one". The later being a declaration of "direct lineage" to YHWH. So offensive was this that no sane Hebrew/Jew would ever consider the "Sons of G-d" to refer to a direct physical lineage to Elohim or anything beyond mere humans. The "sons of Elohim" has always been understood to be a metaphore.
What about Anak in Numbers 13:33?
"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." KJV
Wow, ole King James words it very convincingly. But, again, we find "nephilim" (fallen ones) in the Hebrew and gegantes (fierce warriors) in the Greek Septuagint (see the previous section). To understand what is going on here, we have to answer two questions. First, what do we know about this report that is being given? And, second, what exactly does "Anak" mean? So much is revealed by learning the meaning of names.
To answer the first question we have to back up one verse to see what the spies were actually reporting. Numbers 13:32 reads in the KJV, "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." Other versions preface the spies report as, "...a bad report..." (NIV, ESV, NASB), "...a false report..." (ISV), and "...spread lies..." (GWT). To say that the spies embellished their observations is an understatement. And that becomes clear as we look at the answer to our second question.
Etymologically, "Anak" means [long] neck*. Anak, and the Anakites wrapped spacers around the necks of their children (usually beaded strands) as they grew to elongate their necks. Periodically they would add additional spacers/strands to enhance the process. This is still practiced among the Kayan, a sub-group of Red Karen (Karenni people), Tibeto-Burman ethnic minority of Burma (Myanmar). Although their elongated necks created an illusion of larger size, the Anakites were actually known for their fierce, tyrannical, and militarist nature (Greek gegantes).
The practice of neck elongation was a symbol of royalty and nobility among some peoples of the ancient world. A good example of this is the bust that portrays the Egyptian Queen, Nefertiti.
There are a number of other verses in the Tanakh (Old Testament) where we find "nephil" and it is usually translated, "fallen". In the other verses that use the "giant" translation we again find the Hebrew "nephil" and Greek Septuagint "gegantes" relationship. We could go to each of those verses but it would be a recitation of these past two sections.
*Black, Matthew W. (2001). Peake's commentary on the Bible. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-26355-7
The Hebrew/Jewish View
Although there is debate among the Jewish sects, it is generally accepted that the "Sons of Elohim" and the daughters of men refer to bloodlines. It is the notion that Able represented the righteous bloodline while Cain represented the unbelieving "fallen" (nephil) bloodline. But Cain slew able and cut off the righteous bloodline (Sons of Elohim – those who are obedient to YHWH).
Interestingly we find a familiar word in Genesis 4:6, just before we read about Cain slaying Able, when YHWH speaks to Cain, "...and why is your face (נָפַל) fallen?". The word has correctly been translated "fallen" from the Hebrew text, "nephil". Why does King James correctly translate Nephil here as fallen but erroneously translates it as "giants" in Genesis 6:4? It is because giants were one of King James' superstitions and it fit his agenda. It would have been obvious if King James was consistent and rendered Genesis 4:6 as, "...and why is your face giant?".
In Genesis 4:25 we learn that Chawa (Eve) bore Seth, "...meaning, G-d has provided me with another offspring in place of Able..." And so the righteous bloodline was continued through Seth. Able and Seth were shepherds while Cain was a "tiller of the soil".
On a side note, Chawa (Eve) in ancient Hebrew became Chava when the i waw, became a vav in contemporary Hebrew. In ancient Hebrew there was no "v" sound. The "v" or vav is a contemporary adoption from Yiddish slang. The waw is lost in contemporary Judaism.
In the ancient world it was believed that the g-ds inhabited the heights of the mountains, such as mount Olympus and mount Sanai. The gathering of clouds and flashes of lightening were attributed to the presence of the g-ds.
Shepherds were known for tending their flocks on the sides of the mountains and came to be known as the sons of the g-ds in many cultures. In the Hebrew culture this was more predominant as the lineage of righteous Seth tended toward being shepherds. It followed that these righteous shepherd descendants of Seth were the Sons of Elohim. Seth has been attributed to cutting pagan Nimrod to ribbons.
The daughters of men were attributed to the lineage of Cain who settled in the plains as farmers. When Cain slew Able he lost his soul. He was rebellious toward YHWH. Cain walked after his own way rather than the ways of YHWH. And as we follow along in the scriptures we find that his descendants were wayward, depraved, and vile.
The descendants of Seth looked down and saw that the daughters of Cain were fair and took unto them wives... They mixed the righteous bloodline with the profane and the result were the Nephilim, tyrants that were strong and fierce (refer to my note after the Strong's definition above).
This is the simplistic explanation of this school of thought. Bear in mind that this two bloodlines interpretation, Seth and Cain, is not accepted within all Jewish sects. It is debated on different levels within some sects while it is set in concrete among other sects. But, it is almost universally accepted in Judaism that the "Sons of Elohim" refers to the "bloodline of faith" and does not imply malakim or fallen malakim.
The Archeological View
There are many religious people that refuse to accept any scientific evidences about the universe and, unwittingly, often throw out evidences that confirm what is written in the scriptures. It is the proverbial throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
We know, either scripturally or scientifically, that there were two groups that came together and created some hideous offspring. We will now look at a scientific explanation of Bereshit (Genesis) 6:4.
From archeology we know that only one other human like creature coexisted with man, Neanderthals. We find profound evidence of this from excavations in the Carmel mountain range in Northern Israel.
Professor Baruch Arensburg, Physical Anthropologist at Sackler School of Medicine, is one of the archeologists that first discovered the skeletal remains of Neanderthals and Humans buried together in the same stratigraphy in the Carmel range. The site reveals that these Neanderthals and Humans shared the same culture, activities, and foods.
One of the skeletal remains discovered by Professor Arensburg is, as he describes it, "Not FULLY Human or FULLY Neanderthal... it's something in the middle", a hybrid. Arensburg concludes from the skeletal remains that the Neanderthals and Humans were "most likely" interbreeding.
One thing that is obviously lacking from Arensburg's excavated skeletons is that there is no evidence of giant or gargantuan remains from the hybrid result of this interbreeding. What we do know from correctly defining the Hebrew word, "Nephilim" and examining religious and archeological evidence is that Genesis 6:4 has nothing to do with giants, or fallen angels.
Let's look at the concrete proof that the "sons of Elohim" in Genesis 6:4 refers to humans and not to angels or fallen angels. In later scriptures we are given the definition of what, and whom, the "sons of Elohim" (sons of G-d) are.
- "For you are all children of Elohim through faith in Yeshua haMashiyach." Galatians 3:26
- "For all who are being led by the Ruach of Elohim, these are sons of Elohim (sons of G-d)." Romans 8:14
- "I say, 'You are elohim; you are all children of the Most High'." Psalm 82:7
For those that can put two and two together, it should be abundantly clear that most Christians have been duped with a lie through the syncretized Western Hellenized religious system. This is just one of the many lies and false doctrines exposed on this web site. For those who have an ear (able to "listen" and "discern"), hear what the scriptures are actually teaching.
"...the mother of prostitutes and of the abominations of the earth." Revelation 17:5
She is a "mother" which means she has offspring. She has over 36,000 daughters (denominations) worldwide. But just as Mariam Magdala (Mary Magdalene) was redeemed, so can the harlot's prostitute daughters be redeemed. But to be redeemed, they must strip off the false teachings, superstitions, and erroneous doctrines, then teshuva (turn back) to YHWH and His mitzvoth (instructions) and walk by faith in Yeshua haMashiyach. YHWH made a New Covenant, but He did not make a New TORAH. The rules still apply. This is a call to Christians, and to Christianity in general, to hear the voice of YHWH and teshuva to the faith once delivered to the set apart believers (Jude 1:3). To be abundantly clear where you need to be in these final days there are two things you need to be part of: "those who keep the mitvoth (commandments) of YHWH and hold to the testimony of Yeshua haMashiyach". Revelation 12:17
That is the evidence and conclusions I have. Investigate it for yourself. Examine the pros and cons, and put the various interpretations to the test. Decide for yourself what is true and correct within your own heart and mind.