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Author Topic: Who are the Sons of God in Genesis 6?  (Read 563 times)

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Who are the Sons of God in Genesis 6?
« on: August 24, 2017, 11:48:14 PM »

This is the text:

    "And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God 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. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." -- Gen 6:1-5 KJV

There seems to be two schools of thought:

  • The Sons of God were divine beings, for example, [formerly?] of the Divine Council mentioned in Psalms 82.
  • The Sons of God were righteous descendants of Seth, as opposed to evil descendants of Cain.

The Apocryphal books of Enoch, Jasher and the Jubilees indicate they were divine beings.  Please present your arguments on this matter.

Dan



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LXXResearcher

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Re: Who are the Sons of God in Genesis 6?
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2017, 10:22:01 PM »


Who are the Sons of God in Genesis 6?


Dan,

I believe they were members of the heavenly council of the Lord: angels, if you will.


This is the Word of God from Genesis 6 in the King James translation (KJV) of the Masoretic Hebrew text:

“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God 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. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” — Gen 6:1-5 KJV


Sons of God

The first course of investigation might be to examine the other Hebrew verses that contain the phrase “sons of God”:

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.” — Job 1:6 KJV

“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.” — Job 2:1 KJV

“When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” — Job 38:7 KJV


That’s it! No other verses contains that phrase. The popular NASB, NKJV, HCSB and YLT translations also contain the phrase sons of God in only those five verses.

The ESV adds one additional verse since it follows the Dead Sea Scroll [DSS] text on Deuteronomy 32:8, rather than the Masoretic [MT]:

“When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.” — Deu 32:8 ESV [DSS]

“When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.” — Deu 32:8 KJV [MT]

There was no Israel in those days, so the older DSS text is more likely the correct one. In any case, the phrase sons of God is not common.


Heavenly Beings?

The book of Job verses indicated the sons of God are heavenly beings. The first two are self-explanatory. The last one, Job 38:7, reveals, in context, that the Lord is referring to the time when he created the earth:

“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” — Job 38:4-7 KJV

I am pretty sure there were no men hanging around at that time, so the sons of God in Job 38:7 are most likely heavenly beings.


Does that make sense?

Does it make sense, from a biblical perspective, that there are heavenly beings?

Of course! Heavenly angels are mentioned many times, in both testaments. There are also indications that angels were already present when the Lord created the earth. We have Job 38:4-7 as one witness, and this possibly as another:

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: ” — Gen 1:26 KJV

Is there anyone else called a son of God in the Old Testament? Yes, this fellow:

“I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” — Dan 3:25 KJV

So, son/sons of God is not a common phrase in the Old Testament; and in every case, except Genesis, it unambiguously refers to heavenly beings. Further, there is no evidence whatsoever to support the notion that the sons of God were “righteous descendants of Seth”, as has been dogmatically claimed since the days of Augustine.


How about in the New Testament?

The best example in the New Testament may be this one, where those chosen to be sons of God become as the angels of God in heaven:

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” — Mat 22:29-30 KJV

One argument against the Genesis 6 “sons of God = angels” theory is that Jesus implies these (new) angels do not marry. But neither did those in Genesis 6 while they were in heaven.


Daughters of Men

The phrase daughters of men is mentioned only in Genesis 6:2 and 6:4, and nowhere else in the old or new testaments. The singular, daughter of men is not found anywhere.  Therefore, the daughters of men are, literally, the daughters of men.

Now, recall that Peter wrote:

“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;” — 2Pet 2:4-5 KJV

Pay careful attention to the sentence structure of Peter’s statement:

  • For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell,
  • and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
  • And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person . . .

It certainly appears the sins of the angels were a major reason the Lord destroyed the old world.


Jude made a similar, but less detailed statement about the destiny of certain angels:

“And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” — Jude 1:6 KJV

If an angel’s habitation was in heaven, as we would assume, where did he go when he left it? The earth, maybe?


Giants in those Days?

Perhaps someone can start new topics on the Giants and the Heavenly or Divine Council.

LXX


« Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 09:54:47 PM by LXXResearcher »
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Brenda

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Re: Who are the Sons of God in Genesis 6?
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2017, 06:20:29 PM »

There seems to be two schools of thought:
  • The Sons of God were divine beings, for example, [formerly?] of the Divine Council mentioned in Psalms 82.
  • The Sons of God were righteous descendants of Seth, as opposed to evil descendants of Cain.

My pastor claims they were the male line of Seth who married the daughters of Cain, and he said that has been the view of the church for a long time. He gave me this article by R. C. Sproul to read.

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/sons-god/

I read the article and didn't think he made a good argument. He made a point about the two lines of good and evil, and about Noah being from the righteous line of Seth, but didn't mention where the evil came from after the flood.

Brenda
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Re: Who are the Sons of God in Genesis 6?
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2017, 09:14:10 PM »

My pastor claims they were the male line of Seth who married the daughters of Cain, and he said that has been the view of the church for a long time. He gave me this article by R. C. Sproul to read.

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/sons-god/

I read the article and didn't think he made a good argument. He made a point about the two lines of good and evil, and about Noah being from the righteous line of Seth, but didn't mention where the evil came from after the flood.


Brenda,

Thanks for the link.  I had read the one by his son, R. C. Sproul Jr., where the son also dismisses the "sons of God = heavenly beings" interpretation:

http://www.ligonier.org/blog/who-are-sons-god-and-daughters-men-genesis-6/

R.C. Jr. even goes to the extreme of labeling the "heavenly being" interpretation a "fantastic view"; and both make assumptions about the Cain and Seth lines that are not supported by the scripture.  And, of course, neither addressed this passage by Peter:

    "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;" -- 2Pet 2:4-5 KJV

Peter certainly makes it appear there was something more sinful going on in the days of Noah than something as innocent sounding as Seth's male descendants marrying the daughters of Cain's descendants; and especially since there is no prohibition mentioned for those days as it was later for the men of Israel marrying the daughters from the nations of Canaan:

    "Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God. Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you: Know for a certainty that the Lord your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you." -- Jos 23:11-13 KJV

Dan
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Rev20

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Re: Who are the Sons of God in Genesis 6?
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2017, 10:56:27 PM »


The Apocryphal books of Enoch, Jasher and the Jubilees indicate they were divine beings.  Please present your arguments on this matter.


Dan, have you read the article mentioned in this page of Dr. Michael Heiser's website titled, "On the Origin of Watchers: A Comparative Study of the Antediluvian Wisdom in Mesopotamian and Jewish Traditions"?

http://drmsh.com/the-ancient-near-eastern-context-for-genesis-61-4/

Dr. Heiser commented,

    "This article deals a death blow to any non-supernatural (or non-mythic as some prefer) interpretation in the sense that, if you care about interpreting the Bible in context, no human interpretation of the sons of God can work. It violates every point of context. Annus' article is the most current study on the Mesopotamian apkallu. It supersedes ALL preceding work on this subject. That means your standard academic commentaries that all pastors are using are hopelessly out of date and mis-informed. Anyone commenting on Gen 6:1-4 hereafter will have to account for this article or else be academically inept."

and . . .

    "Read [the article] and be amazed. This is what comparative analysis is supposed to look like. The Sethite view was incoherent before. Now it's become the position for ostriches."

Dr. Heiser doesn't pull any punches . . .


The article is available on most academic sites. I downloaded a copy from:

https://www.academia.edu/4570714/On_the_Origin_of_Watchers_A_Comparative_Study_of_the_Antediluvian_Wisdom_in_Mesopotamian_and_Jewish_Traditions

Rev
:)

 
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 01:16:28 AM by Administrator »
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Re: Who are the Sons of God in Genesis 6?
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2017, 11:08:24 PM »

Dan, have you read the article mentioned in this page of Dr. Michael Heiser's website titled, "On the Origin of Watchers: A Comparative Study of the Antediluvian Wisdom in Mesopotamian and Jewish Traditions"?
http://drmsh.com/the-ancient-near-eastern-context-for-genesis-61-4/

Rev, I believe I stumbled across it at one time, but I have not read it.  I will. Thanks.

For those viewing this thread, there is a page on the Bible Research Tools website devoted to the "Spiritual Realm" at:

http://bibleresearchtools.com/spiritual-realm/

The page includes playlists of videos discussing some of Dr. Heiser's research and book themes.  David B. Curtis references Dr. Heiser's work in his "Spiritual Warfare" sermons, which are also linked on that page.

Dan


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George

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Re: Who are the Sons of God in Genesis 6?
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2017, 12:12:08 PM »

For those viewing this thread, there is a page on the Bible Research Tools website devoted to the "Spiritual Realm" at:

http://bibleresearchtools.com/spiritual-realm/

The page includes playlists of videos discussing some of Dr. Heiser's research and book themes.  David B. Curtis references Dr. Heiser's work in his "Spiritual Warfare" sermons, which are also linked on that page.

Dan,

I listened to the David Curtis videos and found this segment in the last video titled, "Spiritual Warfare Pt 6: Sons of God & the Nephilim":

    "Robert Newman has analyzed the history of interpretation of this passage to show that the supernatural interpretation of the Sons of God as being heavenly angelic beings was virtually unanimous in the ancient world until the first century after Christ. [Robert C. Newman, "The Ancient Exegesis of Genesis 6:2, 4," Grace Theological Journal 5,1 (1984) 13-36.]

    "This was the dominant view among Jewish and Christian thinkers until after the fourth century AD, when Augustine championed an alternative. It was also the exclusive view until the mid-second century AD. It appears in early Jewish works that comment on the stories of Genesis (1 Enoch 6; Jubilees 5), the Septuagint, Philo (De Gigant 2:358), Josephus (Ant. 1.31), and the Dead Sea Scrolls (1QapGen 2:1; CD 2:17-19); as well as the works of early Christian scholars such as Justin, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Origen:"

This link will take you directly to that part of the video, followed by the link to the transcript:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpoX5S6LNfc&t=1565s

    http://www.bereanbiblechurch.org/transcripts/genesis/gen-06_01-04_spiritual-warfare-pt06.htm

The article by Robert Newman is available for download here:

    https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/gtj/05-1_013.pdf

George

« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 01:17:19 AM by Administrator »
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Re: Who are the Sons of God in Genesis 6?
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2017, 08:41:52 PM »

This link will take you directly to that part of the video, followed by the link to the transcript:

The article by Robert Newman is available for download here:


George, welcome back, and thanks for the links.  I downloaded Newman's article and am studying it now.

I had listened to part 6 of Pastor Curtis's Spiritual Warfare series several times, but was too unfamiliar with the subject matter at the time to grasp all the nuances.  When I clicked on your link I continued listening and learned some remarkable things.  For example, at the end of the sermon transcript, there is this:

    "I think that the Watchers were jealous of Yahweh bringing man into sacred space, the garden, so the serpent got them kicked out of the garden. Then Yahweh told of His plan to redeem man by the seed of the woman, so the Watchers sought to pollute the human race to stop the plan of redemption. The flood and the holy wars of Israel wiped out this hybrid race. And the god-man, Yeshua, came and provided redemption for His elect."


The next video that automatically loaded was a related sermon/video, not in the series, titled "Satan, Watchers, Nephilim and Demons", delivered in June 2017:



It provides more remarkable revelations, such as:

    "Paul says that had "the rulers of this age" known what God's plan of redemption was "that the messiah must die to accomplish salvation" they "would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1 Cor 2:7-8)." They would not have crucified Him because they wanted to thwart the plan of redemption."

If I had heard that statement a few months ago I would have shrugged it off as nonsense.  But, now, it makes perfect sense, especially in light of his previous statement from Daniel:

    "Who are these rulers? Most would say they are the Jewish rulers. And that is possible, but I think this is a reference to the watchers, the spiritual rulers, the anti Yahweh forces. In a Greek translation of Daniel, a text many scholars consider even older than the Septuagint currently in use, the prince of Persia and Israel's prince, Michael, are both described with the Greek word archon. That is the term Paul uses here for 'rulers.'"

Pastor Curtis is saying the angel, Michael, the "prince of the kingdom of Persia", and the "rulers" in Paul's statement are all divine beings. This is the Daniel verse in question:

    "But the prince of the kingdom of the Persians withstood me twenty-one days: and behold, Michael, one of the princes, came to help me; and I left him there with the chief of the kingdom of the Persians:" -- Dan 10:13 LXX

This is the Greek for that verse, with the words for "prince" and the plural, "princes", highlighted:

    καὶ ὁ ἄρχων βασιλείας Περσῶν εἱστήκει ἐξ ἐναντίας μου εἴκοσι καὶ μίαν ἡμέραν, καὶ ἰδοὺ Μιχαηλ εἷς τῶν ἀρχόντων τῶν πρώτων ἦλθεν βοηθῆσαί μοι, καὶ αὐτὸν κατέλιπον ἐκεῖ μετὰ τοῦ ἄρχοντος βασιλείας Περσῶν

And this is the first part of Paul's statement, ending with the Greek word for "rulers":

    ἣν οὐδεὶς τῶν ἀρχόντων

As you can see, that is identical to the Greek word for "princes" in the Daniel verse.


However, I don't see how any of that could make sense unless this passage is first taken into consideration:

    "When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God." -- Deu 32:8 ESV 1970

    "When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God." -- Deu 32:8 LXX 1851

It seems that each of the 70 nations were given a divine being to rule over them from the Spiritual Realm, and one of them, a rebellious Persian prince, was in contention with the angel, Michael, in Daniel 10.  According to Pastor Curtis, those divine beings (or, some of them) also conspired to kill Christ, thinking that would be the end of God's attempt to take back the kingdom.  But, rather, they played right into God's hands. 

Dan

« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 01:18:46 AM by Administrator »
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FaithIsKey

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Re: Who are the Sons of God in Genesis 6?
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2017, 08:59:10 PM »

This is a very nice forum, Dan.  Thanks for setting it up for us.

I have listened to many videos by Michael Heiser on this and related subjects. One thing I have not heard him address is the LXX and the MT have "sons of God" in Genesis 6, but in Job the MT has "sons of God" while the LXX has "angels" and "angels of God":

"And it came to pass on a day, that behold, the angels of God came to stand before the Lord, and the devil came with them." -- Job 1:6 LXX
 
"And it came to pass on a certain day, that the angels of God came to stand before the Lord, and the devil came among them to stand before the Lord." -- Job 2:1 LXX
 
"Where wast thou when I founded the earth? tell me now, if thou hast knowledge . . . When the stars were made, all my angels praised me with a loud voice." -- Job 38:4,7 LXX


Do you know of anyone who has discussed this?

Faith

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Re: Who are the Sons of God in Genesis 6?
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2017, 09:37:37 PM »

I have listened to many videos by Michael Heiser on this and related subjects. One thing I have not heard him address is the LXX and the MT have "sons of God" in Genesis 6, but in Job the MT has "sons of God" while the LXX has "angels" and "angels of God":

Do you know of anyone who has discussed this?

Faith, welcome back!

I have heard or read other discussions about that inconsistency, but I don't recall when.  I will keep my ears open.

There is a good post on this subject (but not on the LXX/MT part) on the Biblical Hermeneutics Blog at:

https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/706/who-are-the-morning-stars-in-job-387

Page-Down to the first major reply, titled "Who are the morning stars?" by a poster named "Sampson".

There is another post further down that you might want to take a look at that begins with "What is a "son"?" by a poster named "Joseph".

Dan






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Re: Who are the Sons of God in Genesis 6?
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2017, 04:35:51 PM »

have you read the article mentioned in this page of Dr. Michael Heiser's website titled, "On the Origin of Watchers: A Comparative Study of the Antediluvian Wisdom in Mesopotamian and Jewish Traditions"?
. . .
The article is available on most academic sites. I downloaded a copy from:
https://www.academia.edu/4570714/On_the_Origin_of_Watchers_A_Comparative_Study_of_the_Antediluvian_Wisdom_in_Mesopotamian_and_Jewish_Traditions


Rev, I finally read the article, "On the Origin of Watchers", but it was tough! It is way over my head (still)! LOL!

This video by Dr. Heiser provided much help:


 
The professor quotes page 281 of "On the Origin of Watchers" around the 18:00 minute mark, at about the time he makes this comment:

"If you've heard me at any point you know that I think views that try to strip the supernatural out of Genesis 6  -- I have to be careful here --  are ridiculous!" [laughter]

Dan

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Rev20

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Re: Who are the Sons of God in Genesis 6?
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2017, 09:35:07 PM »

Rev, I finally read the article, "On the Origin of Watchers", but it was tough! It is way over my head (still)! LOL!

Dan, another author researching this topic is Douglas Hamp:

http://www.douglashamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/Doughamp/featured

Hamp is well-versed on the Gen 6, as well as the Nephilim of Canaan; and his book "Corrupting the Image" is quite good. The audiobook is available here:


The playlist is suprisingly out of order, so you have to fiddle with it a bit.


Hamp and a fellow named Rob Skiba produced a video series titled "Quest4Truth", which addresses the Nephilim in the first two episodes:

Ep1: http://www.quest4truth.net/Archived-Shows/personsnameonfacethenation
Ep2: http://www.quest4truth.net/Archived-Shows/quest4truth-02

It would have been a great "series" if they had stopped there. Unfortunately the remaining episodes are mostly scatterbrained attempts at a literal interpretation of the Revelation from a futurist perspective, spiced with the occasional ad hominem -- Calvin-style -- cast at any doctrine that might challenge their iron-clad presuppositions. LOL!

Rev
:)

« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 09:36:50 PM by Rev20 »
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Re: Who are the Sons of God in Genesis 6?
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2018, 09:01:28 PM »

I found another article on the Sons of God of Genesis 6; this one by archaeologist Dr. Douglas Petrovich, who some of you may recognize from the "Is Genesis History" lecture series:


His interpretation, which is similar to those by Dr. Heiser and David Curtis, appears to be hermeneutically sound.

Dan


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Re: Who are the Sons of God in Genesis 6?
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2018, 09:08:34 PM »

I found another article on the Sons of God of Genesis 6; this one by archaeologist Dr. Douglas Petrovich, who some of you may recognize from the "Is Genesis History" lecture series:


His interpretation, which is similar to those by Dr. Heiser and David Curtis, appears to be hermeneutically sound.

Dan

I forgot to mention: Dr. Petrovich makes a remarkable statement about 1 Pet 3:19,

"This interpretation fits perfectly with the spirits to whom Jesus—while “in spirit” himself—made a proclamation (1 Pet 3:19) while in the center of the earth after his death on the cross (Eph 4:8–10), spirits who were disobedient in the days of Noah (1 Pet 3:20), when they attempted to corrupt the godly line that would lead to Jesus, which effectually would have prevented his sacrificial death for the redemption of mankind. The verb behind Jesus’s proclamation is ἐκήρυξεν, which was used for the making of a public announcement, not εὐαγγελίζω, which was used for the preaching of the good news of the gospel and is the only one of the two verbs that was a call for the repentance of sinners.
 
 Therefore, the purpose of Jesus’s proclamation was to announce to these evil angels from Noah’s day, who were held in special bondage, that their attempt to prevent Christ’s purely human lineage and his sacrificial death on the cross had failed completely. His just-completed death was the final nail that was driven into the coffin of their botched attempt to thwart the redemptive plan of God. Moreover, 2 Peter 2:4 clearly states that angels (i.e. these very evil angels who had attempted to prevent the purely-human line to extend from Adam to Jesus) were cast into tartaros (not hell, which is the lake of fire) and committed to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment. The act of committing these evil angels to pits of darkness within the earth was connected expressly to God’s preservation of Noah when the flood was used to judge all of humanity on earth (2 Pet 2:5), including Seth’s line." [Douglas Petrovich, "Identifying the "Sons of God" in Genesis 6:1–7." 2016]

Dan
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