Whereas physical and spiritual sickness was and can be healed (including when it is the result of demonism), a question of significantly greater distress arises over genetically altered humans known as “Nephilim” and whether such creations had a redeemable soul in the Judeo-Christian sense (i.e., the soul of a human as different than the nature of any animal in that man alone was made in God’s image and the essence of the human person is capable of union with God now and transcendence from mortal to redeemed immortality after death). The debate over this question extends as far back as the early church fathers, throughout the Middle Ages, and especially during the Inquisition by the Roman Catholic Church. One of the foremost figures of the twentieth century and a pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, William Butler Yeats, examined this subject in his Sea Stories Notes concerning Abbot Anthony and his confrontation with human chimeras:
Throughout the Middle Ages, there must have been many discussions upon those questions that divided Kirk’s Highlanders. Were these beings but the shades of men? Were they a separate race? Were they spirits of evil? Above all, perhaps, were they capable of salvation? Father Sinistrari…tells a story which must have been familiar through the Irish Middle Ages, and the seed of many discussions. The Abbot Anthony went once upon a journey to visit St. Paul, the first hermit. After travelling for some days into the desert, he met a centaur of whom he asked his road and the centaur, muttering barbarous and unintelligible words, pointed to the road with his outstretched hand and galloped away and hid himself in a wood. St. Anthony went some way further and presently went into a valley and met there a little man with goat’s feet and horns upon his forehead. St. Anthony stood still and made the sign of the cross being afraid of some devil’s trick. But the sign of the cross did not alarm the little man who went nearer and offered some dates [food] very respectfully as it seemed to make peace. When the old Saint asked him who he was, he said: “I am a mortal, one of those inhabitants of the desert called fauns, satyrs, and incubi, by the Gentiles. I have come as an ambassador from my people. I ask you to pray for us to our common God who came as we know for the salvation of the world and who is praised throughout the world.” We are not told whether St. Anthony prayed but merely that he thought of the glory of Christ and thereafter of Christ’s enemies and turning towards Alexandria said: “Woe upon you harlots worshipping animals as God.” This tale so artfully arranged as it seems to set the pious by the ears may have been the original of a tale one hears in Ireland today. I heard or read that tale somewhere before I was twenty, for it is the subject of one of my first poems. But the priest in the Irish tale, as I remember it, tells the little man that there is no salvation for such as he and it ends with the wailing of the faery host. Sometimes too, one reads in Irish stories of hoof-footed creatures, and it may well be that the Irish theologians who read of St. Anthony in Sinistrari’s authority, St. Hieronymus, thought centaur and homunculus were of like sort with the shades haunting their own raths and barrows. Father Sinistrari draws the moral that those inhabitants of the desert called “fauns and satyrs and incubi by the Gentiles” had souls that could be shrived, but Irish theologians in a country full of poems very upsetting to youth about the women of the Sidhe [Irish Gaelic term for a supernatural race in Irish and Scottish mythology comparable to fairies or elves] who could pass, it may be even monastic walls, may have turned the doubtful tale the other way. Sometimes we are told following the traditions of the eleventh-century poems that the Sidhe are “the ancient inhabitants of the country” but more often still they are fallen angels who, because they were too bad for heaven and not bad enough for hell, have been sent into the sea and into the waste places. More probably still the question was never settled, sometimes Christ was represented as throwing them into hell till someone said he would empty the whole paradise, and thereupon his hand slackened and some fell in this place and some in that other, as though providence itself were undecided.[i]
Perhaps this explains the more recent Roman Catholic position on extraterrestrials? Sinistrari, the seventeenth-century demonologist, clearly believed in “rational creatures besides man, endowed like him with a body and a soul, that are born and die like him, redeemed by Our Lord Jesus-Christ, and capable of receiving salvation or damnation.”[ii] According to the original text, Demoniality, from which Yates was quoting, “It is clear that it was no devil or pure spirit ejected from heaven and damned, but some kind of animal.”[iii] The subject of whether hybrid humans (call them satyrs, centaurs, or Nephilim) can be redeemed surfaced again a few years ago when I was having lunch with State Superintendent Capp Marks of the Oregon District Assemblies of God and several other state representatives. Marks leaned forward and said, “Tom, this week I read the novel The Ahriman Gate that you and Nita wrote. It was very good, but one thing troubled me greatly. That part where human genetics were combined with what the scientists in the book thought was alien DNA, which led to the revival of Nephilim. I never liked talking about that subject when I was a pastor because I hate the implications—that there could be mutant humans that cannot be saved.” Capp’s abhorrence of the issue is shared by all people of goodwill, but, whether we like it or not, it doesn’t change the fact that Nephilim, as described in the Old Testament and in the ancient Book of Enoch, seemed to be devoid of natural-redeemable souls/spirits. Recall in Genesis 6:9 that only Noah, and by extension his children, was found “perfect” in his generation. The Hebrew word for “perfect” in this case is tamiym, which means “without blemish” or “healthy,” the same word used in Leviticus to describe an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. The meaning was not that Noah was morally perfect—after all, he got drunk shortly after the Flood subsided—but perhaps this suggests that his physical makeup (his DNA) had not been contaminated with Nephilim descent, as apparently the rest of the world had become. In order to preserve mankind as He had made it, God destroyed all but Noah’s family in the Flood. The ancient records, including those of the Bible, consistently describe the cause of this Flood as a response to “all flesh” having become “corrupted, both man and beast.” Additionally, on the question of whether the corrupted or altered humans had redeemable souls, note what happened in the Book of Enoch when the Watchers asked the prophet to beseech God for the salvation of their children (the Nephilim):
Then I went and spoke to them all together, and they were all afraid, and fear and trembling seized them. And they besought me to draw up a petition for them that they might find forgiveness, and to read their petition in the presence of the Lord of heaven. For from thenceforward they could not speak [with Him] nor lift up their eyes to heaven for shame of their sins for which they had been condemned. (Enoch 13:3–5)
Enoch takes this petition to God, and then informs the Watchers of their—and their hybrid children’s—situation, regarding whether they can be redeemed:
I wrote out your petition, and in my vision it appeared thus, that your petition will not be granted unto you throughout all the days of eternity, and that judgment has been finally passed upon you: yea [your petition] will not be granted unto you. And from henceforth you shall not ascend into heaven unto all eternity, and in bonds of the earth the decree has gone forth to bind you for all the days of the world. And [that] previously you shall have seen the destruction of your beloved sons and ye shall have no pleasure in them, but they shall fall before you by the sword. And your petition on their behalf shall not be granted, nor yet on your own: even though you weep and pray and speak all the words contained in the writing which I have written. (Enoch 14:4–7)
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Thus based on the Book of Enoch and reflected in the Bible in such places as Genesis, Jude, and 2 Peter, redemption was not possible for any of the fallen Watchers or their hybrid offspring, though the Nephilim were part human. In this sense, Nephilim could be compared to an extraordinary primate—intelligent like men and angels, even possessing human DNA, but not Homo sapien as fashioned by God in His image. In further confirmation of their status as unredeemable, we also learn from this strange narrative of a primeval belief concerning two types of resurrection from the dead—one that is strictly terrestrial (i.e., a dead Nephilim can return from the grave to inhabit another corruptible body of flesh) and a second future resurrection in which eternal glorified bodies are promised only for those who sleep in Christ. Isaiah makes it clear that the Watcher’s offspring (called Rephaim in this text) cannot participate in the latter. In chapter 26:14 of his book, he says: “They [Rephaim] are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.” The word rendered “deceased” from the Hebrew implies “shades” or “ghosts of the dead.” [iv] From this we see echoed how the term Rephaim was used in two senses: one for human (and Nephilim) spirits in the underworld and another for terrestrial giants.
In the Ras Shamra texts (ancient writings found in Ugarit in northern Syria), the Rephaim were described as demigods who worshipped the Amorite god Ba’al, the ruler of the underworld. For example, this ancient Ugaritic text preserves a Canaanite ritual for summoning the Rephaim:
You have summoned the Rephaim of the netherworld;
You have commanded the Council of the Didanites!
Summon ULKN, Rapha!
Summon TRMN, Rapha!
Summon SDN-w-RDN, [Rapha!]
Summon ṮR-ʿLLMN, [Rapha!]
[All] summon the most ancient Rephaim!
You have summoned the Rephaim of the netherworld!
You have commanded the Council of the Didanites![v]
Scholars think the Ugaritians, probably the Amorites of Northeastern Syria, traced their origins to the enigmatic Didanum people, and thus summoned the Council of the Didanites from the underworld of the Rephaim. While these Canaanites beckoned them, the prophet Isaiah describes these shades greeting defeated Babylon within the infernal region:
Hell [Sheol] from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead [Rephaim] for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. And they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? Art thou become like unto us? (Isaiah 14:9–10)
This passage mocks the king of Babylon as spirits of dead royalty welcome him to the underworld. It also prefigures the final fall of Babylon the Great (Revelation 17:15–19:3) and the defeat of Satan (Luke 10:15; Rev. 12:7–9; 20:10), as well as looks back on the fall of Babel’s Nimrod (Genesis 11:1–9), who also was believed to be a giant.
However, it is also clear that the term “Rephaim” designated earthly giants, because in Numbers 13:33, the “sons of Anak” are said to be descended from (literally “children of”) the Nephilim. These Anakim are described as Rephaim in Deuteronomy 2:11. The ancient Hebrews who translated the Septuagint into Greek understood the prophet Isaiah (chapters 13 and 14) as using Rephaim in this second sense to predict a return of these “giants” with “monsters” at the advent of the destruction of Babylon in the final age. From the Septuagint, we read:
The vision which Esaias son of Amos saw against Babylon. Lift up a standard on the mountain of the plain, exalt the voice to them, beckon with the hand, open the gates, ye ruler. I give command and I bring them: giants are coming to fulfill my wrath.… For behold! The day of the Lord is coming which cannot be escaped, a day of wrath and anger, to make the world desolate.… And Babylon…shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.… It shall never be inhabited…and monsters shall rest there, and devils shall dance there and satyrs shall dwell there. (Isaiah 13:1–3, 9, 19–22)[vi]
The sixteenth chapter of the Book of Enoch also tells of the deceased offspring of Watchers, the spirits of the giants, or Nephilim, as being released at the end of time to bring slaughter and destruction upon man:
From the days of the slaughter and destruction and death of the giants, from the souls of whose flesh the spirits, having gone forth, shall destroy without incurring judgement—thus shall they destroy until the day of the consummation, the great judgement in which the age shall be consummated, over the Watchers and the godless, yea, shall be wholly consummated. (1 Enoch 16:1)[vii]
Of course, this all comes to pass as part of God’s Day of the Lord or Great Tribulation, when Satan and his angels punish the unbelieving world before they are resigned to the pit. According to scholars, “This defines the temporal extent of the evil spirits’ activity. They will continue their brutality, unabated and unpunished from the death of the giants until the day of judgment.”[viii] This particular prophecy mirrors those of Isaiah and the apocryphal works, which indicate a future date in which Watchers will rise for judgment while the spirits of their giant offspring manifest to wreak havoc upon Earth.
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The Book of Jubilees—an ancient Jewish religious work that is considered inspired Scripture by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as well as Jews in Ethiopia—parallels the frightening scenario, prophesying spirits of the Nephilim on Earth in the last days. In this passage, God is ready to destroy all these demons after the Flood, and Noah prays that his descendants be released from their attacks. Mastema (an alternate name for Satan) intervenes, imploring God to allow him to retain and control one-tenth of these demons in order to exercise his authority, because they are needed “to corrupt and lead astray before my judgment.” In other words, this corruption will peak just before Satan is judged (Revelation 20:2, 10):
And the Lord our God spoke to us so that we might bind all of them [Nephilim spirits]. And the chief of the spirits, Mastema, came and he said, “O Lord, Creator, leave some of them before me, and let them obey my voice. And let them do everything which I tell them, because if some of them are not left for me, I will not be able to exercise the authority of my will among the children of men because they are (intended) to corrupt and lead astray before my judgment because the evil of the sons of men is great.” And he said, “Let a tenth of them remain before him, but let nine parts go down into the place of judgment.” (Jubilees 10:7–9) [ix]
According to this text, God has allowed Satan to exercise dominion over the Earth with an army of demons, including the spirits of the Nephilim spawned in the ancient world. Their job description is the corruption of humanity. One escapes their purview through believing the Gospel. While Christ defeated them on the cross, His kingdom is inaugurated but not manifest. One impending day, this necessarily comes to an apocalyptic culmination. Given the Septuagint’s rendering of Isaiah 13, this could include an end-time incarnation as giants.
Finally, a prophecy in the second chapter of the book of Joel with a parallel in Revelation 9 seems to include an end-times volcano of hybrids. While some expositors claim Joel was describing an army of locusts with phrases like “[They are] a great people and a strong” and “they shall run like mighty men [gibborim, a term associated with the Nephilim],” it is hard to accept these verses as talking about grasshoppers. We think this describes a demonic invasion that could possibly include Nephilim.
[They are] a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it…and nothing shall escape them. The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run…. They shall run like mighty men [gibbowr, gibborim]; they shall climb the wall like men of war.… They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. The earth shall quake before them.… And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?” (Joel 2:2–11)
Of course, this passage finds a striking parallel in the fifth-trumpet judgment, with its freak-show locust horde (Revelation 9). These monstrosities are described to be shaped like horses, having human faces and hair, lions’ teeth, scorpion tails, and wings that sound like chariots rushing to battle. John MacArthur describes these freakish creatures:
But these were not ordinary locusts, but demons, who, like locusts, bring swarming destruction. Describing them in the form of locusts symbolizes their uncountable numbers and massive destructive capabilities. The fact that three times in the passage (vv. 3, 5, 10) their power to inflict pain is compared to that of scorpions indicates they are not actual locusts, since locusts have no stinging tail as scorpions do. Scorpions are a species of arachnid, inhabiting warm, dry regions, and having an erect tail tipped with a venomous stinger. The stings of many species of scorpions are excruciatingly painful, and about two dozen species are capable of killing humans. The symptoms of a sting from one of the deadly species, including severe convulsions and paralysis, resemble those of demon-possessed individuals (cf. Mark 1:23–27; 9:20, 26). Combining in the description of the demons both locusts and scorpions emphasizes the deadliness of the demon invasion.[x]
Taken at face value, these demons cannot be immaterial spirits. Scholars, those who take end-time prophecy seriously, invariably conclude that these end-time hordes manifest in mongrelized bodies. Arnold Fruchtenbaum also notes their hybrid nature:
The description of these “locust-scorpions” given in verses 7–10 clearly shows that they are something other than literal scorpions or locusts. Their origin being the Abyss further shows that they are demons. It is not unusual for demons and other angelic beings to have animal-like features.[xi]
When the numerous ancient texts are added up, there is persuasive evidence that Joel’s army is much more than simple grasshoppers, and that the massive army of demonic gibborim that run upon the wall and from which nobody can escape are the corporeal crossbred creations of demonic Watcher biotech and the spirits of the ancient Nephilim.
Some may be shocked to learn that, in addition to the citations above, the Bible actually describes an end-times confrontation between the “mythological gods” and Christ. “The Lord will be terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth,” says Zephaniah 2:11. “The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saith; Behold, I will punish the…gods” (Jeremiah 46:25). Human followers of the pagan deities will also join the conflict, calling upon their “idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood” (Revelation 9:20) to convene their powers against the Christian God, uniting with “unclean spirits like frogs…the spirits of devils working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth…to gather them to the battle of that great day…[to] a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (Revelation 16:13–14, 16).
Other places in the Bible, such as Job 26:5, may also reflect the idea of a demonic mechanism that can, under some circumstances, return Rephaim from the underworld to temporal, physical bodies. “Dead things are formed from under the waters,” Job 26:5 says. The dead in this text are rapha (Rephaim), and the phrase “are formed” is from chuwl, meaning to twist or whirl as in a double helix coil or genetic manufacturing. The startling implication of these various texts is that beneath the surface of Earth or even another dimension, agents of darkness await the recurrent moments of their fleshly reconstitution. What’s more, the long history of demonological phenomena related to manipulation of biological matter suggests that versions of this curious activity have been repeated ever since that first incursion described in the books of Genesis and Enoch. The reanimation of Nephilim certainly occurred after the first advent in the Days of Noah, for Genesis 6:4 includes the telling phrase, “and also after that,” verifying the strange undertaking was not confined to the antediluvian age. Indeed, almost immediately following the Great Flood, Scripture confirms the return of hybrid humans, including Og, the King of Bashan, whose bed was approximately fourteen feet long by six feet wide; Anak and his Anakim; and other beings among the tribes of Emim, Horim, and Zamsummim. An interesting note is that, by the time Og arrived, though he was very large, he was dwarfed by the size of the first giants, who were recorded in excess of twenty feet tall. Does this suggest that the Nephilim offspring were intentionally being bred down in size with each generation, thus allowing for eventual seamless, secret integration among human societies of pseudo-humans with “corrupted” genetic code?
Most significant for us today are the ancient texts that forecasted this final repeat of hybridized humans and animals for the latter days, and the question of whether man in his arrogance has now set in motion a prophetic repeat of that activity associated with “the days of Noah.”
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[i]“Notes (W. B. Yeats),” Sacred-Texts.com, last accessed January 10, 2013, http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/vbwi/vbwi19.htm. (Material in public domain.)
[ii] Father Sinistrari of Ameno, Demoniality (Paris: Isidore Liseux, 1879), this quote is from the book’s extended title.
[iii] Sinistrari, Demoniality, 165. Viewable here: Internet Archive, last accessed January 10, 2013, http://archive.org/details/demonialityorinc00sinirich.
[iv]Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1988; 2002), 4:440.
[v] “(KTU 1.161:2–1.161:10 ),” as quoted in William W. Hallo and K. Lawson Younger, The Context of Scripture (Leiden; New York: Brill, 1997), 356.
[vi] The Septuagint, Translation by Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton, 1851.
[vii]Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, ed. Robert Henry Charles (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2004), 2:198.
[viii]George W. E. Nickelsburg and Klaus Baltzer, 1 Enoch : A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Includes the Text of the Ethiopic Book of Enoch in English Translation (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2001), 274.
[ix]James H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the New Testament, Volume 2, 2:76.
[x]John MacArthur, Revelation 1–11 (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 259.
[xi]Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of the Messiah : A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events, Rev. ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 226.