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Who are the Sons of Elohim?



The Companion Bible note on the first few verses of Genesis 6 seeks to inform us that the "sons of Elohim" are angels that sinned. In its appendices, at least three separate treatises attempt to prove that angels came down to this earth and cohabited with the "daughters of men;" this unholy union produced Nephilim, or giants. According to Companion Bible editor, Dr. Bullinger, these giants (the monsters of iniquity) had to be destroyed in the deluge.

Although the Companion Bible is a reliable and helpful study tool with its many notes and comments, there remain serious questions about the resourceful logic and reasoning of Dr. Bullinger in this instance. Not all Bible expositors agree with his explanation of Genesis 6:1-40. Others, however, have taken the same erroneous position as Dr. Bullinger in maintaining that the "sons of Elohim" are fallen angels.

Possibly the apocalyptic Book of Enoch gave birth to the theory that the “sons of Elohim" were sinning angels. Several books in one, the Book of Enoch was written shortly after 200 B.C.E. The pseudonymous author undoubtedly got his idea from pagan mythology in which the pagan deities came down to earth, indulging their sensual appetites. Roman and Greek literature is filled with such fantasies.

Permeated with many fanciful errors and exaggerations, the Book of Enoch alleges that 200 angelic beings took part in this offense. These apocalyptic books, rightfully rejected by both Jewish and Christian scholars, are the source of many imaginative and farfetched tales about angels. These pseudepigraphic books are sometimes used as a source for unbiblical teachings of the so-called "mysteries."

From the Book of Enoch, the theory that angels descended to this earth crept into the Septuagint version. Of the three oldest manuscript copies of the Septuagint, only the Codex Alexandrinus of the fifth century gives the word "angels" in Genesis 6:2 instead of "sons of Elohim." Not one of the Hebrew manuscripts, however, has "angels" in that verse. Rather, they read "sons of Elohim." The other leading Greek manuscripts read "sons of Elohim." In his Antiquities of the Jews, Jewish historian Josephus makes a brief reference to the "angel" concept. Having been earlier associated with the Essenes, Josephus was well indoctrinated with the Book of Enoch because the book sprang from them. It is easily seen that the concept that angels were the "sons of Elohim" originated with pagan mythology and then was taught in the Book of Enoch. It was promulgated by Josephus and ultimately inserted into the Septuagint.


Angels Cannot Procreate

The theory must be rejected simply on the grounds that angelic beings are spirit. As spirit beings, they are created without flesh and blood bodies. They lack the necessary genes and chromosomes to procreate. Because they are created spirit beings they cannot create of themselves. The name Yahweh signifies creation. It has the meaning of EXISTENCE, or bringing into existence. It is the name of the FIRST CAUSE. No angel or spirit being is ever called by the family name YAH except Yahshua, and He was the one Who did the creating in the Old Testament, John 1:1-3; Heb 1:1-2. Angels are called by the title EL, such as Gabriel, but none has YAH as part of its name. Yahshua Himself said that the angels "neither marry nor are given in marriage,” Mark 12:25 !

Procreation is a type of creation, and angels do not have that gift. They are sexless. Even if angels were able to change their spirit bodies into fleshly bodies, as in Genesis 19 where Abraham greeted two angels and the visible Yahweh of the Old Testament, there is no evidence that angels ever created anything. Yahweh has reserved that power for Himself. The argument has been raised that the angels could have taken over the bodies of humans, and through the humans been the progenitors of the NEPHILIM, the giants in those days. But one of the laws of genetics necessitates that the offspring be like the human being because the genes and chromosomes come from the human, and angels are unable to create. Humans are souls, (mind and body), and if the angel is able to control the man's spirit (mind), the offspring would still nevertheless be like the humans.

Man's genes would determine the characteristics of the children he would father. Taking possession of a man is not the same as having children through him - an angelic impossibility - and having the child take on the characteristics of the angel.

When Yahshua was born as a human in Bethlehem , the Holy Spirit power of Yahweh came upon Miriam, and the power of the Most High overshadowed her. It was, in fact, a creative act of Yahweh to place this special seed within her. Angels do not have this ability to create humans from women. Yahshua took upon Himself our human nature and body. The only way the angels could have fathered any humans would be to have undergone a real human birth.

If we are to accept the theory that the "sons of Elohim" are angels, then we have a problem with Genesis 6:3 where Yahweh says, "My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred twenty years." He does not say that His trouble is with ANGELS, but He says it is with man who is flesh and who lives 120 years. If the angels were at fault, then Yahweh would not have said that His Spirit would not always "strive with" (remain in) man. He would have said ANGELS!

In verses 3, 5, and 6 we read that it was man and not ANGELS who had sinned and grieved Yahweh. Verse 7 says that Yahweh now plans to destroy MAN whom He has created. He does not say He will destroy the NEPHILIM who resulted from angels cohabiting with mankind. He does not say He will destroy the angels.

A further study of verse 1 of Genesis 6 reveals another truth. We see that "... when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them," we are being told of a population explosion. The population expanded and the people began to intermingle more and more. Verse 2 tells us that the "sons of Elohim saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose." The context is clear that there were polygamous marriages, for they "took them wives of all which they chose." The sense is that they had more than one wife, such as the Messiah said in Matthew 24:38:  "marrying and giving in marriage."

Note that the Messiah made no reference to these marriages as being to angelic beings. He made it clear that it was humans marrying and divorcing and making a travesty of the institution of marriage. Yahshua warned that the end of the age would be much like the time of Noah, filled with man's sin and rebellion.

Another overlooked statement is that the "sons of Elohim" took wives "of all which they chose." It is obvious that the relationship was not just an affair for a short time, but that they took "wives" and continued to live on the earth. If these were angels, they would still be living on this earth as human beings and would not have gone back to the spirit realm; as such, they would have been destroyed in the flood. However, as already noted, it was fleshly man with whom Yahweh was displeased, so He destroyed man with a flood.


Nephilim – Giants

Those believing the "sons of Elohim" were angels contend that through the union of the angels with the "daughters of men" came the NEPHILIM, or giants. The giants spoken of supposedly were begotten through angel - man relations. A closer look at verse 4 of Genesis 6 shows this to be in error: "There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that when the sons of Elohim came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown."

Notice what this verse DOES NOT say. It does not say that when the "sons of Elohim" came in unto the daughters of men that they begat giants. It plainly says "There were giants in the earth in those days; and also [moreover] AFTER that when the sons of Elohim came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown." It does not say that the children were GIANTS! It says that these offspring became men of renown. They were heroes - not giants. The Bible says that in the days when "there were giants [Nephilim] upon the earth" is when the sons of Elohim came to the daughters of men.

NEPHILIM is Strong's Concordance No. 5808 and means a feller. It is from No. 5307 and is the verb "to fall." In addition to being translated GIANT, it can mean "one who is fallen, a depraved one, one who has sunk below the human race in morals." If the purpose for the flood was to destroy the Nephilim as the Companion Bible states, and these Nephilim were the result of sinning angels cohabiting with mankind, then why do we read of the Nephilim as still being a race of people 800 years after the flood that was supposed to get rid of them all?

Numbers 13:33 tells of the 10 spies who came back from the land of Canaan reporting that the sons of Anak were Nephilim and the Israelites were grasshoppers in comparison. But the Companion Bible overcomes this awkward inconsistency by saying that there was a "second irruption" of the angels and mankind but limited to the land of Canaan . These are then said to be "the nations of Canaan ." Nowhere does the Bible even allude to such a preposterous contention. It stems entirely from the imagination of man.

Dr. Bullinger is forcing an interpretation on Genesis 6:4 that moves ahead 800 years, down to the time of the author Moses. He would have us believe that Moses wrote the book of Numbers when the Nephilim were in the land of Canaan . But Moses did not even refer to the Nephilim in Numbers as the offspring of angels.


Daughters of Men

Who were the "daughters of men?" The Hebrew word is bat or bath, and has several connotations. It is used as the female offspring, but can include other female descendants. Daughters is also applied to the produce of animals, trees, or plants. Joseph is called a "fruitful bough whose daughters [branches] run over the wall," Gen. 49:22. The meaning is that of women as native residents, professing a religion defined by its place of origin. There is Zion , Isa. 3:16; 16:1-2; Babylon , Isa. 47:1; Edom , Lam. 4:21-22; Egypt , Jer. 46:11; Philistine, 2 Sam. 1:20 ; strange deity, Mal. 2: 11 . The "daughters of men" of Genesis 6:2 were the carnal-minded women of that day as contrasted to those "sons of Elohim." It is not uncommon in Scripture to learn that a woman represents a religious persuasion, either good or bad. Compare Revelation 12 and 17. The daughters of men were the descendants of the Cain line.

One of the reasons proponents support the angel theory is that they contend “sons of Elohim" is confined to those who were directly created by the divine hand and not born of other beings after their own order. Adam is called a son of Elohim, Luke 3:38. The Messiah is said to give to them that receive Him the power to become the sons of Yahweh, John 1:12 , and in the resurrection they will be given new spirit bodies. Thus, a new creation, they reason.

The term "sons of Elohim" occurs four times in the Old Testament. In addition to Genesis 6:2, it occurs in Job 1:6, 2:1, and also in Job 38:7. The singular (bar=son) is found in Daniel 3:25 , where Nebuchadnezzar sees four men in the fiery furnace. The one that looked like "a" son of Elohim is indeed an angelic being, verse 28.

Also, the 38th chapter of Job. verse 7, undoubtedly refers to the angelic beings: "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of Elohim shouted for joy?" This verse refers to creation of the earth and the stars before man was created.

What about the two verses in Job 1:6 and 2:1, are these also referring to angelic beings? The first reads, "Now there was a day when the sons of Elohim came to present themselves before Yahweh and Satan came also among them." Chapter two is almost identical, "Again there was a day when the sons of Elohim came to present themselves before Yahweh, and Satan came also among them to present himself before Yahweh." If these sons are angels, are we to assume that they are not always in Yahweh's presence? Gabriel said he was, Luke 1:19. The Messiah said, "they always behold the face of My Father... " Matt. 18:10. There is really no purpose to "present themselves before Yahweh."

These "sons of Elohim" were righteous humans who had come voluntarily before Yahweh. They were obeying the command in Exodus 23:17 and Deut. 16:16. Three times in the year we are to appear before Yahweh, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles. As these people came in obedience to Yahweh's command, Satan came among them to see what havoc he could do. Notice that these people came voluntarily to PRESENT themselves before Yahweh. Obedient people are known as the children or sons of Yahweh.

Coming into the presence of Yahweh is contrasted to the disobedience of Cain who "went out from the presence of Yahweh," Gen. 4:16. [Or of Jonah who fled "from the presence of Yahweh."] Both were definitely on earth, but they went away in disobedience from the visible presence of Yahweh on earth.

It is clear in Genesis 6:2 that the "sons of Elohim" are to be distinguished from the "daughters of men." Nowhere in Scripture are evil angels ever called "sons of Elohim." It is only the good angels who are given this title, as we saw in Job 38:7. Mankind is also given this title if he is obedient to Yahweh and is converted to Yahweh's laws. This is true both in the Old Testament where Israel is often referred to as sons, and in the New Testament where they are referred to as both children and sons of Yahweh. The Messiah was referred to as the Son of Yahweh many times.

It is through Yahshua that we are given the opportunity to become the sons of Yahweh, John 1:12. Paul reveals that if we are led of Yahweh's Spirit in obeying Him, we are counted for the sons of Yahweh, Romans 8:14. He says that as adopted sons we are joint heirs with Messiah, and that the whole creation is awaiting the manifestation of the sons of Yahweh, verses 19-21. The resurrection is the "adoption" or being born into the family of Yahweh, verse 23. In 1 John 3:1-3, the writer elaborates on this aspect of being sons (children) of Yahweh, and all who have this hope "purify" themselves by obedience as did Yahshua.

The writers of the New Testament were Hebrews, who knew the Old Testament usage of "sons." They continued to use the same terms in their writings. Alluding to the fruits of his ministry, Paul often refers to Timothy as his "son" in the faith, 1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 2:2. Paul also referred to Titus as his son (Titus 1:4) and Philemon as well, verse 10, and the entire Corinthian assembly, 1 Cor. 4:14. Sons are referred to as those who are in an obedient son relationship. Paul used the term "sons" referring to those he had converted to the faith. Being a "son" of something is a pure Hebraism used with reference to origin, destination, or characteristic, and does not refer to humans alone. The "sons of Elohim," then, are the Seth line as opposed to the daughters of men, the Cain line (destroyed in the flood for their disobedience).


There are a number of reasons the angels are not the "sons of Elohim" in Genesis 6:2, some of which follow:

1.         Angels are spirit beings and do not have material bodies.

2.         Yahshua showed that angels do not procreate. Matt. 22:30.

3.         No angel is given the name "Yah," the prime cause of creation.

4.         Even though angels can control the minds of humans, the human body will beget "after its kind."

5.         Genesis 6:3 says Yahweh's Spirit "shall not always strive with man," not angels.

6.         Verses 3, 5, 6 all say that it was MAN that sinned, not angels.

7.         Verse 7 says Yahweh will destroy MAN , not angels.

8.         These were polygamous marriages, and the Messiah said nothing that indicated angels were involved, Matt. 24:38.

9.         The Bible says they took them wives, a long-term proposition.

10.     Nowhere are angels - demons - ever called "sons of Elohim."

11.     Job 1:6 and 2:1 speaks of "sons of Elohim" and refers to those humans voluntarily presenting themselves to Yahweh.

12.     The "sons of Elohim" were those of the Seth line and the "daughters of men" were those of the Cain line.

Genesis 6 shows that the human family became more and more depraved. The offspring of Seth were being influenced by the degenerate Cain line and were taking up the pleasures and philosophies of the world.

Hedonism and pursuit of fleshly gratification of all sorts was prophesied to take place again before the return of Yahshua, and it will be very much like the days of Noah, Matthew 24:37. Whenever good and evil mix, evil usually dominates and the clean becomes unclean. It will become so bad that Yahshua said if those days were not shortened, there would be no humans left on earth, Matt. 24:22.

It is up to each of us to overcome our carnal nature and overcome the evil influences of the world. Yahweh said that He would not destroy the earth again with a flood as He did in Noah's time. This time He will destroy the wicked with fire.

We all should remember the days of Noah and what brought on the flood. We should strive to be the "sons of Yahweh" by doing those things that are pleasing to Him. Here is the promise we are given:  "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be His Elohim and he shall be My son." Revelation 21:7.

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Related Articles:
> Did the Savior Pre-exist?
> Early Assembly's Activities: Loosing and Binding
> Hebrew/Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
> The Truth About the Trinity
> Was the New Testament Originally Greek?
> Who is Our Creator?
> Why the Savior Spoke in Parables
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