sermon: The Days of Noah
Genesis 6 and the End Time
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Given 06-Sep-08; Sermon #899; 72 minutes
Richard Ritenbaugh, focusing upon the tendency of our culture to be self-absorbed and self-glorifying, having erroneously absorbed the Darwinian concept of evolution, warns that civilization is clearly not progressing, but degenerating. The long life-spans, characteristic of Methuselah's time, have given away to a mere three score and ten. Technological and scientific progress, accumulated experience, does not make our quantity and quality of life better off than before the Flood. Between creation and the Flood was a span of 1658 years, a time of intense scientific ferment, producing immense artistic, philosophical, agricultural, industrial, and technological progress. In the Olivet Prophecy, Jesus affirms that conditions at the end time will be parallel to the conditions at the time of Noah, at the conclusion of the Pre-Flood times. Scientists today naively assume a kind of evolutionary uniformitarianism (what we see in the present has always been and serves as a key to the past), as opposed to the biblical emphasis on catastrophism (a belief that earth's history has occasionally been punctuated by catastrophe or upheaval). Like the days of Noah, the end-times will be characterized by carnality, gluttony, promiscuity, and perversion. During the pre-Flood times, Satan had attempted to corrupt the offspring of Eve, probably through massive demonic possession, succeeding except for Noah and his family. The same demonic threat will occur at the end-time.
Adam Agriculture Angels Anti-evolutionary Archer Daniels Midland Bene Elohim Business as usual Cain Catastrophism Civilization Creation Curse on the serpent Day of the Lord Days of Noah Degeneration Demon possession Dew Egypt Einstein Euphrates Evolution Feasting Flood Gluttony God's wrath Heightened demonic activity Heroes History Hypercanes Intermarriage of Seth's sons and Cain's daughters Jabal Jubal Judgment Marriage Metallurgy Methuselah Mining Mist Natural disaster Nephilim Nimrod Noah Olivet prophecy Parable of the Fig Tree Polygamous marriages Pre-Flood civilization Progress Progressive Proud Promiscuity Reveling Scoffers Self-glorification Self-obsession Seth's descendants Sons of Belial Sons of God and daughters of men Sumerian civilization Tares among the wheat Technological advance Tigris Times of Noah Trogo Tubal Cain Unexpectedness Uniformitarianism Worldwide deluge
We live in a world that is both self-obsessed and self-glorifying. People of the world generally believe that present-day civilization is the apex—the very height—of mankind's onward and upward struggle to perfect himself. They think that this is it. We are the "cat's meow," as they used to say. We are the best that has ever been. Mankind has come from the caveman, rural farmer, hunter/gatherer-types to being able to live in a city and, finally, to have a great civilization with instant communication and quick transportation, having sent men to the moon, and planning to send people to the planet Mars. This is the greatest thing ever—greater than sliced bread!
As you know, this is a very Darwinian concept. Before evolution became the main idea and standard model of life and progress on the earth, people believed just the opposite. They believed that civilization's golden age had occurred some time in the distant past. Golden ages were always back someplace in history, many hundreds or even thousands of years ago.
This was true of the Egyptians. They thought that the best times were when the pyramids were being built, which was early in their civilization history. The Babylonians had a similar view about their civilization. Their best times were supposed to be during the days of Sumer. The Grecian Homeric age was the time of their golden age. The Romans had a similar view of their golden age in their past. Even the Israelites looked backward to the time of Solomon as the golden age of Israel. When you read Ezra and Nehemiah, you see them looking at their puny temple and saying that it did not hold a candle to what Solomon did.
As we have become more evolutionary, more man-centered, more of the pulling-ourselves-up-by-our-bootstraps mentality, we have come to think the opposite of what had always been. Mankind often now thinks that his best days are yet ahead, and we by our own skills and ingenuity and mind are going to form the golden age of mankind. We are going to make it happen, because this is the best that it has ever been; and it is only going to get better.
We are so proud and cocksure about our human progress that many modern philosophers believe that we are just about to mount the next step on the evolutionary ladder—that we are just so close to going beyond the mere humanity; that somehow, in the very near future, there will be some sudden mutation, and mankind will reach into the next level of existence of whatever that thing or person would be. Books, movies, television programs—they all have this theme or attitude running in the background. Many are science fiction, of course. They have this idea that, like the X-Men, suddenly, all around the world, people develop abilities that set them apart from normal human beings. The television show "Heroes" has a similar vein, that there are now these super men and women who are to do things that "normals" cannot. "Star Trek," Star Wars, "Stargate," and so on—all depict people trying to ascend to a higher level of consciousness.
These thinkers believe that very soon there will be some people who overcome the baser needs of the flesh and attain some sort of higher level of being. Because they reach that state, the new humanity will have all sorts of new and wonderful abilities. There will be new possibilities for the new humanity at that point.
The Bible, being anti-evolutionary and arguing everything from the point of God as Creator, does not see things that way. It sees things exactly opposite. When God created the universe and later recreated the earth, things were very good. Since then, it has all been down hill from there. When God created Adam and Eve and all the rest of creation, He looked on it all and, as it says at the end of chapter 1 of Genesis, "He said, 'It is very good.'" Everything that He had made was very good.
As soon as Eve was deceived and Adam sinned, all that changed. Their sin brought in degeneration and destruction and decay and death. All of those things entered the scene, just as God had said they would. He said, "Do not eat of this tree, because in the day that you do eat thereof, you will die," and He meant it. As soon as they took that fruit, the process of death began—death in them, death in the civilization, death in everything. It just started winding down.
This shows up, if you want to try to measure it, in the lifespans of the earliest peoples recorded in the Bible. Before the Flood, most people lived as long as Methuselah—969 years or so. Then, right before the Flood was to occur, God said, "I am only going to give man 120 years at this point." By the time we get to the David's day, it is down to our typical "threescore-and-ten." It is slowly winding down. If we let ourselves go and did not have all this modern medical care, it would probably get down to the point of only living about 40 years. It was that way in certain parts of the world and still is in some very bad areas.
One might argue that our technological progress—computers, wireless communications, tremendous engineering feats like space exploration, and such—shows that we are more highly advanced than our ancestors. This is true to an extent. If we view it honestly, though, we are no better than they were. Just think of it in terms of technological abilities. The only reason we have what we have is that we stand on the shoulders of the generations who came before us. The knowledge has accumulated for us to use.
I think about this quite often (I do not know why), but if suddenly everyone ceased to exist, and I was the only one left on this earth, what could I do? What could I make? I am a writer, editor, and preacher. That does not grow corn! We are advanced because we are six billion people on the earth, working fairly well together for human beings, with the accumulated knowledge of centuries.
Essentially, our technological roots are in the Renaissance. Let us say, from about AD 1400 or so, 600-some-odd years of accumulated scientific knowledge had enabled us to have the type of lifestyle we have now. Our progress is due to accumulated knowledge of men. That does not make us more brilliant than the ones who came before us.
I want to start getting our attention focused on the antediluvian world. We are not more brilliant than the men before the antediluvian era, either. Think of it: Each person had nearly a millennium to gather and apply knowledge! We know that not all of them lived to be 1000 or 900 years old, but a lot of them lived almost that long. Some people think that what God did was tithe the life spans after the flood. The lifespan was nearly 1000 years, but afterward the lifespans quickly fell to about 100 years. Think of it in those general terms. People were maybe reaching middle age at 450 years old. It takes a bit to think about it in this manner. They were in their prime for hundreds of years and going strong into their 900s!
Just think of it. How many careers could a man have? I mean, if you got bored watching the stars for a hundred years and coming up with a calendar, then you could go do something else for a while. You could become a miner, maybe. You could do coal for a while and then iron ore, then gold. Just think of all the time that you would have to apply yourself to something. Let us not forget that these people were fresh from creation—within the first couple of generations of humanity; fresh, healthy, strong minds and bodies.
What kind of capacity did they have? They say that perhaps the most intelligent man over the past couple hundred years would have been Einstein, but he would have used only 12% or 15% of his brain-power. The rest of it seems to be locked. What if those men way back there did not have their brain-lock on? What if they were able to use the full capacity of their brain for 900 years?
Can we imagine what they could have accomplished over all that time—all that time? Do you realize that between the Creation and the Flood was more than 1650 years? Do you realize the length of time that was? If we go back 1650 years from today, we would be living in the reign of the son of Emperor Constantine, Constantius II. He reigned about AD 350. Do you realize the immense amount of time that has passed since AD 350? That is a long time.
Remember that I said that between the time of the Renaissance (roughly 1400) and today has been about 600 years. They had a thousand years longer than that to develop a civilization.
They did have to start from scratch, but the people of the Renaissance did not. They were starting from a society that was already there about 3800 years from the Flood. They could accomplish more in a shorter amount of time.
In 1658 years (I think that is the exact reckoning), what could men of superior minds and bodies do in all that time?
We look at history, which does not go back that far, except in the Bible. All we have to go with is from archeology. At this time (roughly 2500 BC), suddenly—boom!—civilization. Sumer and Egypt are very high-level civilizations—and they seem to start from nothing, in maybe 100 or 200 years after the Flood. How long was it—150 years or so?—before Nimrod says that he is going to build a tower that reaches to heaven? You do not hear or see in the Bible that they complained of not having the technology to do a tower that is going to have this huge worship area to the gods at the top, a ziggurat. No, they just went out and did it, because they could. They had the know-how. When the Flood came and Noah and his sons went through the Flood, it did not wipe out all of that knowledge. Who knows what Noah carried into the Ark with them: tools, books/scrolls, and items and articles of intelligence for later use.
Thus, you have civilizations developing along the Tigris, Euphrates, and Nile Rivers very soon after the Flood. You cannot account for it, really, other than that they had advanced knowledge from before the Flood that they carried with them through the Flood.
I would say that the pre-Flood civilization was at least as developed as it was after the Flood. Just after the Flood, they had two-story buildings and taller. They had running water on the second floor, with flush toilets of a sort. They were able to do electroplating of metals using batteries. I could go on and on regarding the technological progress that they had. They had paints that are still vibrant, while you have to paint your house every five or six years. They were able to develop things that lasted for thousands of years.
What I am trying to say here is that a golden age may have been before the Flood in terms of civilization. I am not giving any quantitative description, but their progress might have been phenomenal! The Bible does not say, "These people had flat-screen television sets and planes that can fly half way round the world," and I do not know if they had such things. The Bible's way of describing things is very simplistic. Here we have the family of Cain:
Genesis 4:16-17 Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD [after his evil deed] and dwelt in the land of Nod [which means "wandering"] to the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son—Enoch.
Adam was the first generation; Cain was second generation; and Enoch was the third generation. By the time we get to Enoch, Cain was already building a city. He was not building a village, town, enclave, or compound, but he built a city in the time of the third generation. What does that say about their abilities?
Genesis 4:19-20 Then Lamech took for himself two wives: The name of one was Adah, and the name of the second was Zillah. And Adah bore Jabal. He was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock.
Jabal sounds like a nomad of some sort. If we were to write this today, we would probably say something like, "Jabal founded the agricultural industry," or maybe, "Jabal was the equivalent of the Archer-Daniel-Midland Corporation before the flood." He industrialized agriculture, and that included breeding animals and selling them commercially.
Genesis 4:21 His brother's name was Jubal. He was the father of all those who play the harp and flute.
He was the founder of music in humanity. We could probably include in this that he was very involved in what we know today as the arts.
Genesis 4:22 And as for Zillah, she also bore Tubal-Cain, an instructor of every craftsman in bronze and iron. And the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah.
Is that not interesting? Tubal-Cain was the founder of the equivalent of the metal worker's union. He instructed them! This means that not only was Tubal-Cain able to work in bronze and iron (the Iron Age did not reappear until the time of David, 1000 BC), he was working at his own forge and teaching other craftsman in the art of metalworking. Thus, you are getting into the manufacture of tools. If you already have iron, it is not long before you create steel.
Of course, when talking about iron ore and bronze—which must include copper—you are talking about mining the ore. How do you get the fire to be hot enough to be able to melt them and work with them? We are talking about advanced scientific knowledge that it takes to be able to do these things.
As I said, the Bible presents these things in very simple form because, in many respects, we have all this channeled through the mind of Moses, who compiled these records for us. I am sure that Moses was no dummy, but he was looking back at these things and trying to explain them for his own people and timeframe. He had to describe them in a simple manner.
What we have here is the kernel of civilization: agriculture, husbandry and all the assorted related fields, the arts, heavy industrial sorts of metalworking. When you get these basic elements, wow, can you go places! Do not forget either that the Jews tell us that there was a calendar that was available within 250 or 300 years of creation. That means that there were people who were dedicated to watching the sky and the astronomical bodies go round and their cycles, which they calculated, which means they had higher math skills. There is no doubt that they all could read and write, because these things had to be written down and recorded to be made available to a wider audience.
We are talking about all these men—Jubal, Jabal, and Tubal-Cain—who were able to do these things before the Flood by the seventh generation from Adam. We have a fairly advanced society even before the Flood. They were a progressive people. Think about that term in how it applies to us, because not only did they have 1658 years to progress scientifically and technologically, but they also had 16 centuries to progress culturally, philosophically, and religiously. They did not just sit there and do only one thing and not the others. Certainly, you know that when you get involved with the arts, people's minds begin expanding; and they can come up with all kinds of things—some of them good and some of them bad. They had sixteen centuries to apply their new ideas. It was not just technology and science in which they advanced, but they also "advanced" in philosophy and thought and cultural ideas. They had a long time to come up with new ideas and act upon them.
In His Olivet Prophecy, Jesus Christ says that at the time of His return, the world will be as it was in the days of Noah. As we go through this, we want to consider some of the implications of that statement to us as we wait for Christ's return. I want to read a long section because I want you to see it in its full context.
Matthew 24:32-44 "Now [speaking to His disciples] learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things [described earlier], know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 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, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 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. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."
We saw the full context there. Jesus is giving His disciples clues to help them to be alert and ready for His return. On the other hand, He is also warning them strictly that they will not know the time of His return precisely.
There is a very frustrating tension for us between knowing and not knowing, between expecting Him and not expecting Him. We are able to see the signs, but we cannot quite pin them down. They are amorphous or something. It is like being in the ballpark but not able to tell which base you are standing on. It is very tough. That is the way that it has to be, though, because if we are ever going to grow in character and have the image of Christ in us, we cannot know for sure. We have to be motivated to get and be ready. That is where the unexpected is. We can know that it is close, but we cannot quite pin it down and cannot quite say for certain when it is going to be.
What does He mean by being like "the days of Noah"? The primary meaning revolves around the idea of unexpectedness. That is why I read the whole context of the scriptures in Matthew 24, because this is in the midst of a whole passage where He is saying, time and time again—go through and count the times that He says that you will not know—you are not going to know. "Watch, for you will not know the day or the hour." It is going to be a surprise. This idea of unexpectedness is at the top of the slate. It is the theme of this passage.
He says that they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, and then it came and hit them. The people of the time just before the Flood were engaged in their normal routines and activities when the Flood came and swept them all away. They did not expect it. You might say that they were sitting down to dinner and wham! A tidal wave of water washed them out, and they were gone.
Perhaps you could say that they were at a community wedding when the lightning struck; the rain lashed down; and the wind, like a hurricane, blew and destroyed everything. As a matter of a fact, creation-scientists have coined a new word for the type of hurricanes going on at this point: hypercanes. They believed that there was so much climactic activity going on that the hurricanes that we have today were small to what they might have been at the beginning of the Deluge. They have scientific ways of showing that the conditions might have been right for such things. It might have been maybe another level beyond what we know as our category five hurricane.
Anyway, people before the Flood had no idea that it was coming. They should have, but they ignored all the signs and would not believe them. Life was going on as it always had, onward and upward. Mankind was progressing. There were new ideas, new industries, and new things all the time. There was no indication, as far as they could see, that any kind of bad weather or natural disaster was imminent. In fact, we have no indication that there was any such thing as bad weather before the Flood. Some believe that there was not rain before the Flood. It just depends on some of the assumptions that one can make, because Genesis 2:5-6 says that a mist came up and watered the ground, like a heavy dewfall. They did not have to have rain because of the higher humidity and such.
We do not know. When the lightning flashed and the thunder came and the rain came, that might have been something that spooked them! They might not have ever seen that before! That is an interesting thing to think about.
What I am getting at is that the thought of a worldwide deluge or some other catastrophe was the farthest thing from their minds. Certainly, they did not think of such things as judgments for their sins. We can see that in the Bible. Even Israel, who should have known better, was hit time after time by catastrophes, and they never made the connection to their sinfulness. God finally said to Amos, "Look, I am not going to stop this time, I am coming right through them. They have reached the level that I cannot take anymore. They must be punished." (Amos 7, I believe.)
This idea that there were no catastrophes, that they were not waiting for a catastrophe, that they had no idea of a catastrophe is found in the Bible. We have seen it in Matthew 24 where Jesus said that they were surprised, and in II Peter, there is a more definite statement of this idea.
II Peter 3:1-6 Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.
What Peter does is prophesy about an attitude that will be widespread in the last days, and then he connects it to the time before the Flood, saying that the attitude that will be in the last days will be similar to the attitude that was extant in Noah's time, when they were not expecting anything unusual to occur. This attitude and philosophy is found at the end of verse 4: "For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." From the time of our own earliest ancestors, from the dawn of man, the cycles of life have continued. That is what is called uniformitarianism, the assumption that the natural processes that we can observe operating in the present time are the very same that have occurred in the past. In other words, it is simply, "the present is the key to the past."
This is a very prevalent idea among scientists, particularly geologists, paleontologists, and even astronomers. They all believe that everything has basically worked all the same way since the "big bang"—weather cycles, geologic processes like continental drift, astronomical movements of the planets, etc.
This concept of uniformitarianism is opposed by what is called catastrophism. The definition of this is that great catastrophes have occurred in the past, and may occur in the future, that could very well change the course of the earth's and human's history radically. In other words, the earth, in times past, has been affected by sudden, violent events—catastrophes—and some of these were worldwide in scope, such as the Flood. People who believe in catastrophism believe that Earth's history has been punctuated by catastrophe every now and then. Sometimes it is big; sometimes it is small; but catastrophes happen.
Peter's comment in II Peter 3:4 and the surrounding verses reveals that uniformitarianism is contrary to biblical reality. At certain times, we know from God's word that He has intervened through catastrophe, whether flood, earthquake, or some other thing. He has Himself set these things into motion. What happens is that He upsets the slow, tranquil processes and laws that He built into the earth; at times, He steps in to upset them to bring about His purposes. They not only happened in the past, but they will happen again. How do I know that?
I Thessalonians 5:1-4 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.
II Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
II Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
Revelation 6:12-17 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?"
These are just a few of the passages that speak of the sudden, violent catastrophe and cataclysm that will usher in the Day of the Lord. The time is coming when the world will be jolted out of its euphoric uniformitarian complacency by the unimaginable catastrophe that is God's wrath. Not only have catastrophes happened in the past, but they are also going to happen in the future.
Back in Matthew 24:38, I said that there were two primary meanings of what Jesus was getting at in terms of the days of Noah. The second meaning in Jesus' words is somewhat veiled because of the translation from Greek to English. For instance, the word eating in verse 38 is not the normal Greek word for eating a meal. This Greek word, trogo, has the sense of gnawing and crunching bones or some hard thing. It is the kind of eating one does when ravenously hungry or greedily consuming his food. The idea is that people were choking down their food in gluttonous feasts. Then, when you add the word drinking to it, it becomes reveling and drinking to excess.
Marrying and giving in marriage implies not the normal life events, but promiscuous or loose marriage practices. Remember, Jesus is obviously pointing back to the beginning of Genesis 6:
Genesis 6:1-3 Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed [succumbed to his] flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years."
God said that His Spirit will not strive with them; they are flesh. This means they are no longer in the realm of being able to be worked with, because they have divorced themselves from anything spiritual. They have totally given themselves to the pleasures of the flesh.
Genesis 6:4-8 There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
Jesus must have been referring to these marriage practices here in Genesis 6. There was something wrong with them; otherwise, there would be no censure of it. There is something wrong with these marriages. If you think about it, though, there is nothing wrong for a man to marry a beautiful woman whom he has chosen to be his wife, right? Is there a law against marrying a beautiful woman? However, there is something about this that is not right.
Some have speculated that these were interracial marriages or that they were polygamous marriages, both looking back to Lamech, because one of his wives is named Adah, or "Dawn" (light), and the other is Zillah, or "Shadow" (dark). It is thought by these that one was dark, and one was light. I do not know.
That is not what comes out here, however. It is only a guess. There is little to support the idea that they were interracial in nature. It is not in the text. Scrutiny of this passage has concentrated on the phrases sons of God and daughters of men. There must be something corrupt and wicked about these two groups marrying. There must be something wrong with that happened when the sons of God decided to marry the daughters of men as their wives.
The phrase sons of God is the portion chiefly under contention. That is because, in Hebrew, it is beni-elohim. Literally, it is "sons of God" or "sons of Elohim." This appears three more times in scripture, and all of them are in the book of Job.
Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.
This is before the throne of God, and we know that only angels have this ability at this time in person.
Job 2:1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.
Here is a second occurrence, just like the first.
Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Here is the third occurrence. Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong told us for years that this was the angelic choir praising God for the creation of the earth.
The phrase sons of God implies a literal son by creation. This means that Adam, among all other humanity, would be the only other "son of God," because Adam was not born but created. God made him, and as it says in Luke 3:38 in Jesus' genealogy, Adam was the son of God. Further, only Jesus Christ, among all men including Adam, can be called a literal born Son of God, because He was fashioned in Mary's womb by the power of God, so He was a born Son of God.
In the Church of God, the usual explanation of this is that the sons of God were from the line of Seth and that the daughters of men were of the line of Cain, and these two lines began to intermarry. Apart from the meaning of beni-elohim as found in Job, this begs the question, "What was wrong with the intermarriage of Seth's line with Cain's line?" You do have the argument from II Corinthians 6 that we should not be unequally yoked together, but that assumes that Seth's line of children were all called by God. There is no indication that all of Seth's line was called. There also is no indication that the line of Seth had any covenant with God, as Israel did, that would bar them from intermarriage with other families on the earth.
Thus, we could say that but for a few exceptions, Seth's progeny were no better than Cain's. They were all carnal. When we look in chapter 6, God does not make exceptions. He says that man is indeed flesh—all men. The only one that God singles out as finding grace is Noah. That is why I read clear down to verse 8. He may have been the only one at the time of the pre-Flood world who was what we considered converted. We do not know if any others of Noah's family were or not. The only one who is pointed out as having found grace is Noah.
Another thing that we cannot dismiss is the fact that all the others of Seth's descendants died in the Flood, too. All lines were wiped out except the eight persons in Noah's household. This gives us a problem, then: What does beni-elohim mean?
Turn to where the Sadducees had come and asked Jesus a trick question. A woman had been the wife of seven different brothers, etc., and now which one is she going to be linked up with in the resurrection?
Matthew 22:29-30 Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken [margin: deceived], not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven."
To me, out of the mouth of our Savior, this is very definitive. Jesus tells us plainly that angelic beings neither marry nor are given in marriage. All the angels, including the demons as revealed in scripture, are described as if they were male. As far as I know, there are none shown to be female. Jesus' word suggests that beyond their appearance of having gender, they are not sexual beings and thus have no need for marriage. Humans were created as male or female in order to reproduce, and thus we have the need for the institution of marriage. That is what God has given us in order to reproduce and have a family and learn great things. Since angels do not reproduce and cannot reproduce, they are essentially sexless.
Therefore, I reject wholeheartedly the idea that fallen angels came down and married human women and produced literal giants. This idea gave rise to Greek and Roman mythology—Titans, Zeus, Achilles, demi-gods, and whatnot. I reject that altogether.
Besides that, angels are of an entirely different kind than that of humans, if you will, and there can be no reproduction between different kinds. There is even a greater gap between angels and humans than there is between dogs and cats, mice and elephants, or fish and birds. They are different kinds.
Psalm 8:5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels.
We are a lower life form than the angels. There can be no reproduction among them or with them. Then what is going on here in Genesis 6:1-4?
Jot down the verse Genesis 3:14-15. This is the curse that God gave to the serpent. He said that the seed of the woman would bruise or crush his head but that the serpent will be able to nip at His heels. The idea is that the serpent would be utterly defeated through this Promised Seed but that Satan would get his licks in.
Satan's corruption of Cain in chapter 4, turning him to murder, is perhaps his first attempt to derail this prophecy, thinking that Cain or his line was the promised Messiah. Perhaps. However, Cain obviously proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was not the promised Messiah, but rather a murderer.
What we see in chapter 6, in my estimation, is another of Satan's attempts to corrupt the seed of the woman. This might be a little novel; I hope it does not shock you. What Satan aimed to do was not to strike at one person who might be the promised seed, but he decided to corrupt every seed—every descendant of Eve—in a massively evil, vile campaign.
Let us see just how big this was. In these 1658 years, starting with Adam and Eve, depending on how many generations you put in there (it is estimated to being only 10 to 15 generations, which is absolutely astoundingly low for 1658 years), the human population at the time of the Flood, if there were 10 generations, might have been about 2 billion people. We could cap the number of children at 10, which is somewhat low, since Jewish tradition says that Adam and Eve had 56 children. It is thought they could reproduce for 400 to 500 of those years; how many kids could you have in that time? In certain areas of our country, still, there are people with upwards of 15 children today. It is rare, but it does happen. Thus, if it were closer to 15 generations and we cap it at 10 children, there could have been, by the time of the Flood, 12 billion people. That is quite a few.
This was the grand idea of Satan to corrupt mankind at the end: to corrupt them all.
How many demons are there? Who knows? There were enough to put Satan's plan into action. He corrupted all but one to as many as eight.
It says here in Genesis 6:1 that this happened when men began to multiply on the face of the earth. I think that Satan looked and said, "Look at how many of them there are! They reproduce like rabbits! There are six billion; no, eight billion; no, ten billion—and they keep on growing! There are going to be more than us! What if we can bring them all over to our side? What an army that would be! Let us corrupt them all. Let us bring them all to our side. Let us make sure that this prophecy does not come to pass!" He would be worshipped by billions of people, and he would defeat God's purpose all at the same time. Well, at least he would try.
His plan was never on the physical level. It was always on the spiritual level. The corruption was always spiritual. He would corrupt all of humanity, however many billion of them that there were, by taking control of their families.
The easiest way that I can explain how this happened would be to use the terms demon-possession, or heavy demonic influence. The idea is that Satan sent his minions to possess, or at least control, the men and live through them, and they (the demons) became heads of households through the men. They would take the women, and the real men would have children by these women, however many they wanted. However, these men had the minds of Satan the devil or his demons, and they began to change the values of the people. They corrupted every good value and instilled wicked, self-centered ones instead. They tore down traditional values and instilled progressive and "liberating" ones in their place. They taught their children that they could do whatever they chose to do, so that the next generation of children came to be known as Nephilim, "the fallen ones" or "the mighty ones."
The one term describes their fallen values; the other one describes their strength. They were as much the sons of demons in their attitudes and methods as any human beings could be. Remember, to be the son or child of something means to have the characteristics of that something. Who knows? This may be the inspiration and beginning of the term sons of Belial. I do not know.
These "giants" that were produced were the "great" men of their time, who took what they wanted and did what they wanted, who made what they wanted. They were magnates and conquerors and the elite and influential men of mighty deed and reputation. They could owe it all to Satan the devil, or whichever demons who controlled their upbringing. That is what God was so upset about. These people were so fleshly and so into their own carnality that they had no defense against the onslaught of these demons.
There have been three times in the history of mankind when there have been heightened demon activity: in the Garden of Eden when the serpent went up against Adam and Eve and won; just before the Flood when the serpent and all his demons went up against humanity and won; and in the days of Jesus Christ, when they lost. The fourth time is coming. Those are the days in which we live. The time of the end will be another time of massive demonic influence in the world, and in the church. Did you know that Jesus Christ warned us of this?
You all know the parable of the wheat and the tares. It says that the enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. They said, "What will we do?" He said to leave them until the time of harvest and then separate them. Let us read the explanation.
Matthew 13:37-38 He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one."
Does this remind you of Genesis 6?
Matthew 13:39-41 "The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend..."
The Church of God is spiritually the Kingdom of God at this time. They are coming out of His kingdom. When He comes, He will make sure that none of that is there any more.
Matthew 13:41-43 "The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
This is a warning for us now. The enemy is still out there, doing his job of sowing tares.
I Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.
He is talking about in the church. We should never let our guard down, because these spiritual hosts of wickedness in high places are still out there to get us. Let us not be like this world, which scoffs and says that the devil is a myth. He is real, and he is powerful. He corrupted the entire population of the pre-Flood world except for these eight souls. We know from Revelation 12:9 that, even now, he has deceived the whole world—and he wants to deceive you.
The last days will be like the days of Noah in this regard, also. Satan will be going about as a roaring lion, seeking those he can devour. Just as Jesus said in that long passage we read earlier, watch and be ready.