By Dr. Thomas R. Horn
If you have watched recent broadcast programs with Dr. Michael S. Heiser (embedded later in this article) featuring the release of his important new A Companion to the Book of Enoch: A Reader’s Commentary: The Book of the Watchers or any of the numerous other SkyWatch TV programs on this weighty subject matter, you know that stories and legends extending as far back as the beginning of time and from every major culture tell the astonishingly consistent story of “gods” that descended from heaven and materialized in bodies of flesh. The renowned Christian apologist, Francis Schaeffer once wrote, “More and more we are finding that mythology in general, though greatly contorted, very often has some historic base. And the interesting thing is that one myth that one finds over and over again in many parts of the world is that somewhere a long time ago supernatural beings had sexual intercourse with natural women and produced a special breed of people.”[i] (By the way, this idea of “gods” descending and interacting with human DNA extends to the UFO alien mythos as well. In fact part of the working hypothesis in mine and Cris Putnam’s international bestseller Exo-Vaticana was that so-called extraterrestrials are nothing new. Indeed, these pretenders have been with us all along. They appear in our literature as far back as records extend). In some of the earliest texts, we see a diverse population of strange entities being created by these gods. For instance, in the Akkadian Epic of Creation, we read of the female chaos monster, Tiamat, employing a host of oddities:
She deployed serpents, dragons, and hairy hero-men,
Lion monsters, lion men, scorpion men,
Mighty demons, fish men, bull men,
Bearing unsparing arms, fearing no battle.[ii]
As the cuneiform tablets recount, the deity Enki believed correctly that Apsu, upset with the chaos they created, was planning to murder the younger deities, and so Enki captured him, holding him prisoner beneath his temple called E-Abzu. This angered Kingu, their son, who reported the event to Tiamat, whereupon she fashioned eleven monsters to battle the deities in order to avenge Apsu’s death. These were her own offspring: Bašmu, “Venomous Snake”; Ušumgallu, “Great Dragon”; Mušmaḫḫū, “Exalted Serpent”; Mušḫuššu, “Furious Snake”; Laḫmu, the “Hairy One”; Ugallu, the “Big Weather-Beast”; Uridimmu, “Mad Lion”; Girtablullû, “Scorpion-Man”; Umū dabrūtu, “Violent Storms”; Kulullû, “Fish-Man”; and Kusarikku, “Bull-Man.” These entities are recorded in the most primitive records, and we can find astonishing parallels in later literature. From the Sumerians through the Akkadians to the ancient Hebrews, these legends remained consistent. Later, “ancient Greek and Roman myths were populated not only by gods, heroes, and demons,” Brother Guy Consolmagno from VATT at Mt. Graham reminded us, “but by any number of strange and monstrous beings.”[iii]
Thus, from Rome to Greece—and before that, from Egypt to Persia, Assyria, Babylonia, and Sumer—the earliest records of civilization reveal an era when powerful beings known to the Hebrews as Watchers and in the book of Genesis as the benei ha-elohim (“sons of God”) descended to Earth, mingled with humans, and gave birth to part-celestial, part-terrestrial hybrids known as Nephilim. The Bible says this happened when civilization expanded and daughters were born unto men. When the “sons of God” saw the women’s beauty, they took wives from among them to sire their unusual offspring. In Genesis 6:4, we read the following account: “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.”
When this Scripture is compared with other ancient texts (including those by early church fathers such as Justin, Irenaeus, Athenagoras, Commodianus, Julius Africanus, Clement, Tertulluan, Methodius, Josephus, The Testament of the 12 Patriarchs, Philo, and Ambrose, not to mention Apocryphal works like the books of Enoch, Jubilees, Baruch, Genesis Apocryphon, Jasher, and so on), the firmly held ancient belief becomes clear that the giants of the Old Testament, such as Goliath, were part-human, part-animal, part-angelic offspring of a supernatural interruption into the divine order and natural propagation of the species.
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The first-century Romano-Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, described part of the story this way:
For many angels of God accompanied with women, and begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all that was good, on account of the confidence they had in their own strength; for the tradition is, that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants. But Noah was very uneasy at what they did; and being displeased at their conduct, persuaded them to change their dispositions and their acts for the better: but seeing they did not yield to him, but were slaves to their wicked pleasures, he was afraid they would kill him, together with his wife and children, and those they had married; so he departed out of that land.[iv]
The early church father Irenaeus added that the angels used women not only to produce “giants,” but taught them enchantments specifically for the purpose of casting lust-potions to lure both men and angels to their beds:
And for a very long while wickedness extended and spread, and reached and laid hold upon the whole race of mankind, until a very small seed of righteousness remained among them and illicit unions took place upon the earth, since angels were united with the daughters of the race of mankind; and they bore to them sons who for their exceeding greatness were called giants. And the angels brought as presents to their wives teachings of wickedness, in that they brought them the virtues of roots and herbs, dyeing in colors and cosmetics, the discovery of rare substances, love-potions, aversions, amours, concupiscence, constraints of love, spells of bewitchment, and all sorcery and idolatry hateful to God; by the entry of which things into the world evil extended and spread, while righteousness was diminished and enfeebled.[v]
While the prophet Daniel called certain powerful angels “Watchers” in canonical Scripture (Daniel 4:13, 17, 23), it was the apocryphal Book of Enoch (FREE WITH DR. HEISER’S OFFER HERE) that first described their cosmic conspiracy. We read:
And I Enoch was blessing the Lord of majesty and the King of the ages, and lo! the Watchers called me—Enoch the scribe—and said to me: “Enoch, thou scribe of righteousness, go, declare to the Watchers of the heaven who have left the high heaven, the holy eternal place, and have defiled themselves with women, and have done as the children of earth do, and have taken unto themselves wives: Ye have wrought great destruction on the earth: And ye shall have no peace nor forgiveness of sin: and inasmuch as they delight themselves in their children [the Nephilim], The murder of their beloved ones shall they see, and over the destruction of their children shall they lament, and shall make supplication unto eternity, but mercy and peace shall ye not attain.” (1 Enoch 10:3–8)
According to Enoch, two hundred of these powerful angels departed “high heaven” and used women (among other things) to extend their progeny into mankind’s plane of existence. In a related article last week I referenced an interlinear Hebrew Bible that offers an interesting interpretation of Genesis 6:2 in this regard. Where the King James Bible says, “The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair,” Flynn interprets as, “The B’nai Elohim saw the daughters of Adam, that they were fit extensions” (emphasis added).[vi] In other words, they wanted to incarnate themselves into the material world. The New Testament also suggests this idea when Jude, the brother of our Lord, wrote, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation [oikētērion]” (Jude 6). This Greek term, oikētērion, is used by Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:2 to denote the transfigured body given to believers in heaven. This implies that these fallen angels indeed sought to extend part of themselves into earthly bodies. The rendering “fit extensions” seems applicable when the whole of the ancient record is understood to mean that the Watchers wanted to leave their proper sphere of existence in order to enter Earth’s three-dimensional reality. They viewed women—or at least the women’s genetic material—as part of the formula for accomplishing this task. Ancient records suggest the Watchers modified animals as well. For instance, Jubilees implies that interspecies mingling eventually resulted in mutations among normal humans and animals whose “flesh” (genetic makeup) was “corrupted” by the activity, presumably through cross-genetic integration:
And injustice increased upon the earth, and all flesh corrupted its way; man and cattle and beasts and birds and everything which walks on the earth. And they all corrupted their way and their ordinances, and they began to eat one another. And injustice grew upon the earth and every imagination of the thoughts of all mankind was thus continually evil. (Jubilees 5:2 underline added, cf. 7:21–25)[vii]
Even the Old Testament contains reference to the mutations that developed among humans following this time frame, including “men” of unusual size and physical strength, who had six fingers, six toes, an animalistic appetite for blood, and even lion-like features (2 Samuel 21:20; 23:20). Early church father Eusebius adds other important details:
And they begat human beings, with two wings; and then others with four wings and two faces and one body and two heads…still others with horses’ hooves, and others in the shape of a horse at the rear and a human shape at the front…they also made bulls with human heads and horses with dogs’ heads as well as other monsters with horses heads and human bodies…then all kinds of dragon-like monstrous beings. (emphasis added)[viii]
Of the “winged humans” and “dragon-like monsters,” prophecy expert, J. R. Church, once made an interesting point that since this activity was satanic in nature, it refers to the “seed of the serpent” that was at enmity with Christ. “The concept of a reptilian race continues throughout the Bible as a metaphoric symbol of the devil,” Church wrote in Prophecy in the News magazine, February 2009. “Later Scriptures add the term ‘dragon,’ with the implication that these otherworldly creatures were designed with the DNA code of a reptilian race.” Church went on to state that some of these satanic creatures were depicted as “bat-like gargoyles, or winged dragons” in ancient art, and that we should not be surprised that “a humanoid-type reptilian race could cohabit with human women and produce a race of giants.”[ix] In what could be historical support of Dr. Church’s premise, a document fragment found in Cave 4 among the Dead Sea Scrolls contains an admonition by Amram, the father of Moses, to his children. In a badly damaged segment of the text, Amram sees the chief angel of darkness, a Watcher named Melkireshaʿ in the form of a reptilian (bracketed suspension points represent scroll damage/irretrievable text):
I saw Watchers in my vision, a dream vision, and behold two (of them) argued about me and said […] and they were engaged in a great quarrel concerning me. I asked them: “You, what are you […] thus […] about me?” They answered and said to me: “We have been made masters and rule over all the sons of men.” And they said to me: “Which of us do you choose […]
I raised my eyes and saw one of them. His looks were frightening like those of a viper, and his garments were multi-coloured and he was extremely dark […]
And afterwards I looked and behold […] by his appearance and his face was like that of an adder [a venomous snake], and he was covered with […] together, and his eyes […]”[x]
The fact that the Watchers are described in explicitly reptilian terms by the ancient Hebrews grounds the ufological discussion of such beings and their interactions with man firmly in ancient history. As a case in point, Dr. John Mack’s seminal work on the abduction phenomenon cites many cases involving entities meeting the same description as that found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. For example, this description by an abductee named Sara: “The head was the most prominent part of the body and was ‘shimmery,’ looking ‘reptilian,’ almost ‘snake like, serpent like’ and quite elongated.”[xi] Furthermore, contrary to the revisionist accounts given by ancient astronaut theorists, this implies the so-called reptilians are, in fact, Watchers pursuing a more sinister agenda than scientific exploration. Yet, abductee testimonies also suggest that their interest in genetic material is very real.
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Perhaps the most scientific description concerning the Watcher experiments and their genetic modification of humans and animals comes to us from the Book of Jasher, a Hebrew text that appeared in the medieval period claiming to contain material from the ancient book mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. While its origin is debatable, this text preserves the familiar story of the fall of the Watchers, and then adds an exceptional detail that none of the other texts is as unequivocal about, something that can only be understood in modern language to mean advanced biotechnology, genetic engineering, or transgenic modification of species. After the Watchers had instructed humans in the secrets of heaven, note what the text says occurred:
[Then] the sons of men [began teaching] the mixture of animals of one species with the other, in order therewith to provoke the Lord. (Jasher 4:18)
It does seem likely that the phrase “the mixture of animals of one species with the other” means Watchers had taught men something more than natural animal crossbreeding, as this would not have “provoked the Lord.” God made “like” animals of different breeds capable of reproducing. For example, horses can propagate with other mammals of the Equidae classification (the taxonomic “horse family”), including donkeys and zebras. It would not have “provoked the Lord” for this type of animal breeding to have taken place, as God, Himself, made the animals able to do this.
If, on the other hand, the Watchers were crossing species boundaries by mixing incompatible animals of one species with the other, such as a horse with a human (creating, then, a centaur), this would have been a different matter altogether and may cast light on the numerous ancient stories of mythical beings of variant species manufacturing that fit perfectly within the records of what the Watchers were accomplishing. Understandably, this kind of chimera-making would have “provoked the Lord,” and currently raises the serious question of why the Watchers would have risked eternal damnation by tinkering with God’s creation in this way. Several theories exist as to why Watchers would have corrupted natural genotypes, including the ideas that: 1) Because Yahweh had placed boundaries between the species and strictly ordered that “each kind” reproduce only after its “own kind,” the Watchers as rebels sought to break these rules in order to assault God’s creative genius by biologically altering what He had made; and 2) The corruption of antediluvian DNA by Watchers was an effort to cut off the birth line of the Messiah. This theory posits that Satan understood the protoevangelium—the promise in Genesis 3:15 that a Savior would be born, the seed of the woman, and that He would destroy the fallen angel’s power. Satan’s followers therefore intermingled with the human race in a conspiracy to stop the birth of Christ. If human DNA could be universally corrupted or “demonized,” they reasoned, no Savior would be born and mankind would be lost forever. Those who support this theory believe this is why God ordered His people to maintain a pure bloodline and not to intermarry with people from the other nations. When the Hebrews breached this command and the mutated DNA began rapidly spreading among men and animals, God instructed Noah to build an ark and prepare for a flood that would destroy every living thing, the purpose of which would be to purge the Earth of the contaminated genotypes and phenotypes.
Finally, a third theory as to why Watchers merged the genetics of various life forms incorporates the voluminous ancient “Watcher” texts into a consistent account regarding the overriding motive for what the Watchers had apparently used DNA for. When this is done, it becomes clear that genetic substances were for them an Earth-centric and organic construction material (or, as Dr. Jacques Vallée called it, “living energy”[xii]) for building a composite body that would allow them to leave their plane of existence and to enter man’s (see Jude 1:6; 2 Pet. 2:4). The challenge of this theory becomes how intermingling various species would satisfy this goal or provide the Watchers with a method of departure from “high heaven” and incarnation into man’s “habitation.” While we will not take time here to explain every detail, the hypothesis involves the Watchers combining species in order to create a soulless or spiritless body—a living but empty “large organism” or “shell” into which they could extend themselves. The rationale here is that every creature as it existed originally had its beginning in God, who wove a barrier between the species and ordered each creature to reproduce “after its own kind.” The phrase “after its own kind” verifies what type of spirit can enter into an intelligent being at conception. When the sperm of a dog meets ovum of a dog and the life of a dog is formed, at the first spark of life, the spirit (or “nature” when speaking of an animal) of a dog enters that embryo and it grows to become a dog in spirit and form. The spirit of a man does not enter it, in the same way that a man is not born with the spirit of a horse or cow. This creature/spirit integrity is part of the divine order and would have kept the Watchers, who wanted to incarnate within the human realm (not just “possess” creatures), from displacing the spirits of humans or animals and replacing them with their own. How did the Watchers overcome this problem? It appears, based on the ancient records (and like modern scientists are doing today), that they blended existing DNA of several living creatures and made something that neither the spirit of man nor beast would enter at conception, for it was neither man nor beast. As Mysterious World, in its 2003 feature, “Giants in the Earth,” noted:
The Nephilim were genetically manufactured beings created from the genetic material of various pre-existing animal species.… The fallen angels did not personally interbreed with the daughters of men, but used their godlike intellect to delve into the secrets of YHWH’s Creation and manipulate it to their own purposes. And the key to creating or recreating man, as we have (re)discovered in the twentieth century, is the human genome—DNA.[xiii]
According to this extrapolation from the ancient accounts, the manipulation of living tissue by the fallen angels led to an unusual body made up of human, animal, and plant genetics known as Nephilim, an “Earth-born” facsimile or “fit extension” into which they could incarnate. While this theory significantly adds to the ancient record, it seeks to modernize the ancients’ description of what they, perhaps, did not fully grasp through the lens of a prescientific worldview and vocabulary. Interestingly, science has uncovered unexpected evidence for this in the human genome.
The Washington Post published a story on findings that a “mystery” species with partial human DNA once walked the Earth. The story, titled “Sex with Early Mystery Species of Humans Seen in DNA, UW Researcher Says,” is just the latest in a series of similar recent finds, and while no fossilized giant bones were found in this case, a calling card was left in present-day Africans: snippets of “foreign” DNA. “These genetic leftovers do not resemble DNA from any modern humans,” the writer of the article reports before adding this bombshell: “The foreign DNA also does not resemble Neanderthal DNA, which shows up in the DNA of some modern Europeans.… That means the newly identified DNA came from an unknown group”[xiv] (emphasis added).
Given the above theories, the biblical story of Nephilim offspring offers the most satisfying answer to this enigma.
One objection occasionally raised against the idea of part-men hybrids born as a result of union between angelic and human “genetics” is the belief that angels are supposedly sexless, since Jesus said at the resurrection that people will neither marry nor be given in marriage but shall be “like the angels in heaven.” However, as James Montgomery Boice points out, the words recorded in Matthew 22:30 are “not the equivalent of saying that the angels are sexless or that they could not have had sexual relations with women if they had chosen to do so. In heaven human beings will not marry but will nevertheless retain their identity, which includes their being either male or female. In the same way, the angels could also have sexual identities. It is significant perhaps that when the angels are referred to in Scripture it is always with the masculine pronoun ‘he,’ and they are always described as men.”[xv] Thus, when Jesus said the angels in heaven do not marry, this is a separate matter from what those angels that departed (or were cast out of) heaven were capable of doing and apparently did. Jude 1:6–7 adds a deep and important point about this when it says:
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. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (emphasis added)
It is remarkable here that Jude connects the sin of the fallen angels with the sexual sins of Sodom and Gomorrha using the telling commentary that they had gone after “strange flesh.” This is the Greek sarkos heteros and contains a very important meaning connected to how the men of Sodom and Gomorrha wanted to have sex with angels (see Genesis 19). Thus, their sin is compared by Jude to those angels of one verse earlier, who departed their proper habitation in heaven to comingle with women. The Apostle Paul also resonates these demarcations in 1 Corinthians 15:40 when he says, “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.” When explaining that the heavenly body is made up of something entirely different than the earthly body, is Paul speaking metaphysically, or can a difference in the raw material of these bodies be assumed? Certainly it can, because in the previous verse he speaks of the differences between the flesh of men, beasts, fishes, and birds, yet points out how these are all of earthly composition, as opposed to the following verse, in which he clearly divides the celestial body as “another” type of body not of the same “terrestrial” (terra firma, of the Earth) kind.
According to the second-century Apostolic Father, Athenagoras, Lucifer had been the angel originally placed in charge of the earthly “matter” (see the ancient text, Plea for the Christians). After his fall, Satan used his knowledge of creation and genetics to corrupt what God had made. This is interesting in light of modern science and the recent suggestion that genetic abnormalities “may predispose a man to antisocial behavior, including crimes of violence.”[xvi] One of the hottest topics in biology today is the science of “epigenetics,” which involves heritable changes in gene expression or cellular phenotypes that can be caused by “mechanisms” other than normal changes that occur in underlying DNA sequences—thus the title “epi-(Greek: επί, over, above, outer)-genetics.” Whether supernaturalism can play a role as one of these “outer mechanisms” is suggestive, and many scholars believe demonic possession (for instance) can negatively affect chromosomal health. The New Testament is replete with connections between sickness and genetic disorders as directly connected to demonism. According to theologian and spiritual warfare expert Dr. Neil Andersen, “Approximately one-fourth of all the healings recorded in the Gospel of Mark were actually deliverances.”[xvii] For example, “They brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick”; and, “when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease” (Matthew 8:16; 10:1).
[i] Francis A. Schaeffer, Genesis in Space & Time: The Flow of Biblical History (Glendale, CA: IVP Books, 1997), 125.
[ii]William W. Hallo and K. Lawson Younger, The Context of Scripture (Leiden; New York: Brill, 1997), 392.
[iii] Personal email correspondence between author, Tom Horn, and Guy Consolmagno, 2012. Also see: “Intelligent Life in the Universe: Catholic belief and the search for exraterrestrial intelligent life,” Catholic Truth Society, London, 2005, 4.
[iv] Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews – Book I, chapter 3:1.
[v] “The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching,” Book of Iranaeus, chapter 18, Christian Bookshelf, last accessed January 10, 2013, http://christianbookshelf.org/irenaeus/the_demonstration_of_the_apostolic_preaching/chapter_18_and_for_a.htm.
[vii]James H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the New Testament, Volume 2: Expansions of the “Old Testament” and Legends, Wisdom, and Philosophical Literature, Prayers, Psalms and Odes, Fragments of Lost Judeo-Hellenistic Works, Includes Indexes (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1985), 2:64.
[viii] Josef Karst, Eusebius Werke, 5. Band: die Chronik (Leipzig 1911).
[ix] J. R. Church, “Mt Hermon: Gate of the Fallen Angels,” Prophecy in the News, February 2009.
[x] “4Q Amramb (4Q544),” Geza Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, revised and extended 4th ed. (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995), 312. (Previous ed.: London: Penguin, 1987.)
[xi] John E. Mack, Abduction (NY: Charles Scribner and Sons, 1994), 212.
[xii] Jacques Vallée, The Invisible College: What a Group of Scientists Has Discovered About UFO Influences on the Human Race (New York, NY: Dutton, 1975), 233.
[xiii] “Giants in the Earth, Part I: Giants of the Ancient Near East,” Mysterious World, Spring 2003, http://www.mysteriousworld.com/Journal/2003/Spring/Giants/.
[xiv] Brian Vastag, “Sex with Early Mystery Species of Humans Seen in DNA, US Researcher Says,” The Washington Post, July 26, 2012, http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2018783144_humans27.html.
[xvi] T. Shinn and Richard P. Whitley, Expository Science: Forms and Functions of Popularisation (Springer, NY: D. Reidel, 1985), 148.
[xvii] Neil T. Anderson, The Bondage Breaker (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2006), 33.