Every Sunday, DrydenWire.com publishes a submitted article in a weekly series from Pastor Brian Cole. If you would have a question for Brian or would like to learn more about him, visit his website or his official Facebook page.
Brian Cole - Gen. 6:1-8 - GOD OF JUDGMENT, GOD OF GRACE – Part 1
Have you noticed that we’ve become specialists at ignoring responsibility and blaming others people and things for our actions? If I get lung cancer, it isn’t my fault that I chose to begin smoking; it’s the fault of the tobacco company. If an individual shoots up a school, it isn’t his fault; it’s the gun manufacturers. If an individual ends up becoming an alcoholic or drug addict, it isn’t their fault, it’s a disease.
We’ve even got “no fault” divorces now, so that if a marriage doesn’t work out, no one has to take the blame. And people aren’t guilty of perverted behavior anymore; it’s in their genes, they were “born that way.”
We blame heredity, environment, chemical imbalance, temporary insanity, job pressures, poverty, prejudice, and abuse.
By all means those things can contribute to who we are and can cause problems for us, but we have taken it to an extreme that says that no one is accountable for their behavior anymore.
But he message of the Bible runs contrary to our societies views. The Bible states that mankind is sinful. As a result, God must judge man’s sin.
Yet, although God must judge sin, the Bible also teaches that He loves mankind and invites us all to enter into a relationship with Him.
I also want to bring up the fact that I think many people have a false belief that the New Testament is a book of love and the Old Testament is a book of judgment. We have been encouraged to think of the Father as the angry God standing with the club of vengeance, about to destroy sinning mankind. But suddenly Jesus rushes in and takes the blow, allowing us to escape. I have found that there are three mentions of mercy in the Old Testament for every one found in the New Testament!
And, even as we have seen thus far in the 6 chapters we have covered in Genesis, we find there is equally as much recorded in the Old Testament about God’s grace and faithfulness as there is in the New. And we will be seeing even more of that in the verses we are covering in these next few verses.
On the other hand, we must not forget judgment is also New Testament quality. Read the words of Jesus in the Gospels. Read Peter’s warnings. Read the letter of Jude. Read the Revelation. In the New Testament we learn of the terrible judgments God intends to bring upon the world.
Why do I mention these things? Because God is a God of judgment, but He is also the God of all grace. God is always the same. He will never change or falter. And when I say God, I refer to the Trinity— Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Remember Ananias and Sapphira!?)
So, let’s dig into the text.
1. Prepare for God’s Judgment (6:1-4). In 6:1-2, we read: “When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.”
These two verses teach that there was a population explosion and men were marrying women. This shows, as in Gen. 2:24 & 4:19, that marriage was already ordained by God, and this verse includes a verb that is a technical expression to designate marriage: the act of entering into a legal and binding relationship between a man and a woman.
Marriage is NOT a man-made thing! Marriage is between a man and a woman, period.
As with many texts in Scripture, in Gen. 6:1-4 we find at least 3 topics that have stirred up quite the debate and mixed opinions and interpretations. That of “sons of God,” “120 years,” and that of the “Nephilim.” I will not spend much time on these other than to give the differing viewpoints and challenge you to do your own comprehensive study on them if you are interested.
But let me say this - herein lies the problem for so many of us. We want to focus on and argue about these types of things in the Bible that we don’t really know much about. They aren’t made plain. Believe it or not these types of things were obviously not the main point of the text, yet we argue and become divided over them. There are some mysteries we aren’t meant to know and may never know.
Not saying that we shouldn’t study these things have knowledge of them, this is why we should be doing some word studies. This is why we should compare Scripture against Scripture. It gives us the knowledge to at least know what the arguments are and why certain versions of the bible have different wording than others.
But we must focus on what really matters. And in these verses, what matters is not about the Nephilim, the sons of god, the age of men, but rather, that sin survived but God has a solution.
As far as the “sons of God and daughters of men,” the three most popular positions are: (angels and humans), (godly Sethites and worldly Cainites), (male aristocrats and beautiful female commoners).
Each of these views has its own unique problems. The key to discerning which interpretation is best is determining which has the fewest problems, and most accurately reflects the context of this passage and the whole of Scripture.
In 6:3, the narrative continues with these words: “Then the LORD said, My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be 120 years .’” There are two interpretations of the phrase “nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” One is that the 120 years may signify the new age limit for people, but there is really no evidence to support that idea. Noah’s children and their children’s children lived many centuries. It wasn’t until the time of Moses that normal lifespans came anywhere near 120 years.
Another view is that the 120 years refers to the time remaining between this announcement of judgment and the coming of the flood.
Reference to the Lord’s patience in 1 Pet 3:20 seems to confirm this option. “...to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.” This verse reminds us of the truth of Exodus 34:6: “The LORD God [is] compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.” Yet, eventually it is possible for man to reach the point of no return and judgment becomes inevitable.
The other issue that is often argued is: Who are the “Nephilim”? In 6:4, we read:, “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.”
Before answering this question it is critical to understand that this verse does not state the Nephilim are the offspring of the sons of God and daughters of men. Rather, they are merely contemporaries of the sons of God and daughters of men that were on earth when the sons of God sinned. The verse states that “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward.”
In some Bibles such as KJV, NKJV, and NLT they translate the Hebrew word “Nephilim” as “Giants.” However, the normal word for a huge man is “rapha.” Thus, huge men like Og and Goliath were described by the word “rapha.” With that said, the word Nephilim occurs only here and in Numbers 13:33, where it refers to the sons of Anak, who were people of great stature. However, in Genesis 6:4, a term is included that further defines who the Nephilim are.
The Hebrew word is Gibborim. The word gibborim comes from gibbor, meaning “a mighty man of valor, strength, wealth, or power. As a matter of fact, “Elohim Gibor,” the “Mighty God,” or “heavenly warrior,” one of the names of God found in Isa. 9:6 (Mighty God), was used in our occult rituals when dealing with strength or power
In Genesis 10:8, Nimrod was such a gibbor. He also was clearly a king in the land of Shinar. Hence, the meaning of Nephilim-Gibborim is not “giants,” but something more like “princes,” “aristocrats,” or “great men” (i.e., fierce warriors, heroes, or mighty men). So these Nephilim has to do with powerful beings that could crush people, they were not a “race” of people.
But the main point of these verses and the ones to come is that mankind deteriorates morally and spiritually. And this invokes God’s wrath, therefore, we must prepare for God’s judgment.
We will continue with this next week.