Nephilim: Lesson 2

Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue

N’filim: Lesson 2
In our first lesson, we established that there are indeed fallen angels. These angels also referred to as “the sons of G-d” in Genesis 6:1-4 who cohabitated with the daughters of man. In this way, they continued to spread the satanic line through humanity. The offspring are the Nephilim (cast down) crossbreed who are superhuman in several ways, including a giant physical stature.
Some of these beings are currently active working for HaSatan while others have been bound until the Tribulation period. But when did this casting out from heaven to earth take place? Today we will explore this facet of their existence.
We are told that this satanic line existed before and after the great universal flood. We read in Genesis 6:4 “The N’filim were on the earth in those days [antediluvian] period, and also afterward…” So, we may deduce that these fallen angels were cast out of heaven before the great flood. But can we credibly narrow down the fall of these angels any further?
For the sake of covering this subject from more than one denominational perspective, I offer several theories, three of which were obtained from studies by Pastor George parsons from Middletown, CT. Although this organization recognizes Israel in G-d’s plan the congregation is taught that the laws of G-d do not apply to Christians and that tithing was an “Old Testament requirement.” Their stance is also in favor of a pre-tribulation rapture and their soteriology is moderate Calvinism. That is their doctrine of salvation is based on Calvinism which holds that no one can lose their salvation; that their salvation is secured regardless of their behavior. These tenets of the moderate Calvinistic faith are briefly mentioned in this lesson because the reader/listener needs to understand from where information and interpretation of scripture originates to make a qualified opinion on the reliability and validity of scriptural interpretation.
First let us examine the Gap Theory. According to this theory, HaSatan’s fall occurred in the gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. This view maintains that G-d originally created the heavens and the earth, including the angels. There are some who say that a race of pre-Adamic beings and dinosaurs were also created during this time. Advocates of this theory believe there were possibly even millions of years between Genesis 1;1 and 1:2. Supposedly somewhere in this great expanse of time, Satan and his followers fell into sin, the earth was judged, and the dinosaurs disappeared. The Gap Theory was developed in an attempt to harmonize the facts describing the first chapter of Genesis with one evolutionary theory and the “geological ages.”
According to the Gap Theory, then, Genesis 1;1 is described as the beginning of original creation; Genesis 1:2 describes conditions that resulted from G-d’s judgment on the world, and Genesis 1:3 and beyond as describing the “re-creation” of the world.
The second view which is held by many creationists and Bible educators maintains that HaSatan’s fall occurred in the gap between Genesis chapters 2-3. These advocates hold to a recent earth that is thousands rather than millions of years old. One of the main reasons for this position is that they assume that the creation of HaSatan occurred during the creation week on the very first day. This assumption is based on Exodus 20:11, “For in six days the L-rd made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day: wherefore the L-rd blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.” The argument by advocates of this theory is that G-d made the heaven(s) and the earth in six days, and He made everything that is in the heaven(s) and earth in six days. Since Lucifer and the angels are part of all that is in heaven, they conclude that G-d created Lucifer took place during the six days of creation. We are also referred to Colossians 1:16 describing the angels in G-d’s work of creation: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.”
For those who subscribe to the idea that HaSatan’s fall occurred in the gap between Genesis chapters 2-3 reference is also made to Genesis 1:31: “And G-d saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And in the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” But how could G-d declare everything in the universe as “very good” when the universe now contained a wicked, fallen angel called Satan and his followers? The response is “It seems far more reasonable to think of Satan’s fall as occurring sometime after G-d gave this pronouncement.” So, we can understand that the two major arguments of this perspective are focused on Exodus 20:11 and Genesis 1:31.
An additional argument presented by the creationists advocating the above explanation of the timing of Satan’s fall is based on Genesis 1:26,28, where dominion and rule over all the animals. The belief is that if Satan had already fallen, G-d giving man this authority would compromise the complete dominion of the world that G-d had entrusted to Adam, because Satan would be a rival and antagonist to Adam. The viability of this argument is doubtful at best because Satan had already fallen by Genesis chapter 3. Prior to the fall of man through Adam’s sin since he was supposed to be the spiritual leader although Eve was deceived by Satan, Adam still had dominion even though Satan was present. Adam’s total dominion was affected by his sin, not because Satan was present.
To understand when Satan fell is to understand when he was created. If we believe Lucifer was created within the six-day week of creation, then it would necessarily follow that his fall took place after Genesis chapters 1-2 while Adam and Eve were alive. Therefore, this perspective would necessarily maintain that the fall of Satan and the fall of Adam took place at about the same time and that these events may have only been separated by a few days.
Now we will examine a third perspective, that Satan’s fall took place prior to the first chapter of Genesis. This position posits that Satan fell before Genesis chapter 1 and before the creation of Adam and Eve. The following are several considerations that should be considered as we explore this perspective.
1. Genesis chapter one describes the six days of creation in detail, describing specifics created on each day. We read about the creation of the earth, the sun, the atmosphere, the moon, stars, dry firmament, the plants, and animals. But nothing is said about the creation of angels. I submit this was not an “accidental” omission but deliberate indicating the angels were created before the six days described.
2. Exodus 20:11 places the creation of Lucifer and the other angels within the six- day week only if we assume that the expression “heaven(s)” refers to the third heaven as well ad the first and second heavens (see 2 Cor. 12:2). The first heaven is the atmospheric heaven that can be seen during the day; the second being the one that can be seen at night; the third being the “highest” heaven which is G-d’s abode and that of the angels.
3. A comparison between Exodus 20:11 and Nehemiah 9:6 is helpful. The passage in Nehemiah refers specifically to the creation of angels: “For in six days the L-rd made heaven(s), and earth, the sea, and all that in them is” (Ex. 20:11).
“Thou, even thou, art L-rd alone; thou hast made heaven(s), the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven angels worshippeth thee (Neh. 9:6).”
There is an interesting use of the superlative sense which is used in Hebrew and in English. In the above scripture we see this used in the phrase “heaven of heavens.” The superlative sense is created by adding a noun with its own plural in the genitive (Hebrew Syntax by Davidson).
An example of the use of the superlative in English is “the Bible is the Book of Books!” This means the Bible is the greatest book of all. In G-d’s Torah we see the superlative tense used in the following examples: “Holy of holies” meaning the most holy place (Ex. 26:33). So, the “heaven on heavens” means “the greatest of the heavens” or “the highest of all heavens” (Brown, Driver and Briggs’ Hebrew Lexicon). This can only refer to the third heaven, the abode of G-d and angels. Psalm 148:1-4 is a passage like Nehemiah 9:6 which mentions the angels (v.2) and in the same context mentions the highest of all heavens (v.4). The expression “heaven of heavens” is also found in the following passages: Deut. 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chron. 2:6; 6:18; Neh. 9:6; Psalm 68:33 and Psalm 148:4. The phrase in each of these scriptures refers to the third heaven, “the highest of all heavens.”
Neither Exodus 20:11 nor Genesis chapter 1 mentions the heaven of heavens. Neither do they mention angels. Perhaps these passages refer only to the first and second heavens. If this is the case, this is an indication that the third heaven with all its host had already been created prior to the six days of creation.
The Hebrew word for “heaven” always occurs in the pleural “hashamayim” and it may be translated in the pleural depending on the context of the passage. So, Genesis 1:1 may be more correctly translated as “G-d “essenced” (created) the heavens and the earth…” As Messianic Jewish believers, we also know the fourth “word” in the sentence (alef-tav) written as an untranslatable asterisk, refers to Yahshua; a subject addressed in another study. There are also times when “heaven” can refer to the third heaven (Matt. 6:9), the second heaven (Psalm 8:3), or the first heaven (Matt. 9:26” fowls of the heaven”), but the expression “heaven of heavens” only refers to the third heaven.
4. The expression “the heaven(s) and the earth (Gen. 1:1 and Ex. 20:11) refers to the universe. In Hebrew there is not a specific word for universe. The universe consists of the earth, the first and second heaven. Included in these two heavens is the earth with its solar system, its galaxy, and the millions of galaxies surrounding it. The third heaven is beyond our universe and has never been seen.
5. Exodus 20:11 and Genesis 1:1 refer to the creation of the heaven and earth (the universe) that took place over six literal days. The bending or curvature of spacetime around any object such as the earth according to Albert Einstein’ special theory of relativity (American Museum of Natural History; https://www.einstein.stanford.edu; https://www.quantummagazine.org distorts time which humans measure as a flat progression but which when “stretched” out may be a much longer time. This phenomenon makes it possible to intelligently discuss the idea that creation took six literal days but when calculated looking back through a “curved space” perspective, may seem as thousands or even millions of years ago.
Neither Exodus 20:11 nor Genesis 1:1 there is no mention of the heaven of heavens, the creation of angels, or the creation of the throne of G-d or anything else that refers to the third heaven. Also, in Ezekiel chapter 28 which describes Satan before his fall, there is nothing that speaks of the earth. It appears to be a heavenly and not an earthly scene. So the focus of Ezekiel 28 is on the third heaven (prior to the creation of the universe) and the focus of Genesis is one focused on the first two heavens which included the earth.

6. In the two passages that clearly mention the third heaven and the creation of angels (Col. 1:16; Neh. 9:6), nothing is said of the time frame of creation. The main point in these two passages is that G-d is the Creator of all things.

7. A comparison of Exodus 20:11 and Nehemiah 9:6 seems to indicate that the expression “heaven(s)” does not inherently include reference to the “heaven of heavens.” If Nehemiah felt the necessity to include the expression “heaven of heavens” to include the creation of angels, then it is feasible that the omission of this expression in Exodus 20:11 suggests that the creation of angels was not applicable in this instance.

8. It would be very convenient to subscribe to the Aristotelian idea that everything can be compartmentalized including the complex unity of G-d into a trinity, but reality doesn’t conform to our efforts to place everything in its own compartment. It goes against human nature which often seeks the path of least resistance to consider that the third heaven was created prior to the creation of the universe. Nevertheless, this perspective harmonizes more sons of G-d shouted for joy.” This passage refers to the time when G-d laid the foundation of the earth. The angels were already there as witnesses, and they were rejoicing over G-d’s work of creation. A natural reading of Job 38 seems to indicate that when G-d created the earth (Gen. 1:1) on the very first day of creation were already witnessing this event. The text in Job 38 does not imply overtly or covertly that these angels were created just before this event. So we may deduce with a high level of confidence that he angels were created prior to the creation of the earth.

9. (Gen. 1:31), the previous fall of Satan before this creation of the first and second heavens did not make G-d’s work any less than “very good” prior to the curse. It was not Satan’s sin that caused the world to fall into all sorts of vanity and idol worship (Rom. 8:19-23). It was Adam’s sin, the imputed sin affecting all humans, the penalty for which is the second death and eternal separation from G-d for those who do not reconcile themselves to G-d through Yahshua’s sacrifice and loving obedience to His laws. This process is covered in other studies and sermons that may be found on our website at http://www.rabdavis.org.

With the information provided thus far in this study of the N’filim, we can understand that one of the main if not the main reason G-d created the earth and humanity was to show the angels that contrary to Satan’s accusations against Job, that there will be people including Job who chose and will choose to love and follow G-d’s instructions no matter what adversities may be encountered during life’s journey. This is why G-d gave mankind free-will rather than making human robots who would blindly obey the Master’s instructions. This being true, makes it logical that the angels were created prior to the creation of the earth. In our next lesson, we will explore how the satanic line has been perpetuated throughout history.
Shalom v’brachas,
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart