One of the major trajectories in my new novel The Portent, is how Christians think about end times — specifically, how some are prone to marry end times to conspiracies about UFOs and alien abductions, which they believe are really cover for the creation of a new generation of nephilim by demons. I don’t believe that. At all. But I do believe that the conspiratorial thinking out there (not to mention flawed Bible interpretation) has a role to play — or would have a role if I were the intelligent evil mastermind tasked with an end times end game.

The Portent gave me the opportunity to put myself in that place. Frankly, intelligent evil is a whole lot smarter than the modern nephilim idea allows. I could come up with something much better, and I’d use the poor thinking of my targets to my advantage. Paraphrasing the villain in The Portent when he’s mocking the main character (Brian): “There are several ways we could accomplish the ends we want; this one is just the most interesting to me because it’s the one that makes you suffer the most.” The portents (omens – glimpses of things to come) I chose to make part of the book’s plotline were, as the villain says, the ones that seemed most interesting. There are other strategies, and maybe intelligent evil will go back to its bag of tricks in future books. I just wanted to build a rationale and plan that could actually play out in a world (like ours) where anything can be faked to move the herd in any direction. I wanted everything to already be real, or at least be on the drawing board in some think tank, university lab, or Black project. Sometimes the fakery that is the quietest and easy to miss is best, at other times more spectacular works better. The Portent uses both.

I used some role play when preparing to write The Portent, particularly when it came to thinking about what my end game would be and how I’d get there. Here’s an imaginary conversation that illustrates why the book doesn’t adopt the popular Christian conspiracy thinking about end times nephilim. The conversation isn’t part of the book (I write dialogue much better than this!) – it’s just an exercise / illustration.

NB = nephilim believer

MSH: yours truly

NB: Matthew 24 says that Jesus will return “as in the days of Noah,” and there were nephilim in those days. Daniel 2:43 prophesies that in the days when the kingdom of God comes, “they will mingle themselves with the seed of men.” The return of the nephilim are part of end times prophecy.

MSH: Let’s set aside the fact that nephilim aren’t mentioned in either of those verses for the moment, and that there are plenty of exegetical issues in them that don’t work for your interpretation — that in fact require its rejection. I just have one question for our chat: What’s the point of the idea?

NB: That’s obvious, Mike! The nephilim hybrids are servants of the devil and antichrist. They will help the antichrist deceive the multitudes, preventing them from believing in Jesus. The antichrist and his nephilim will try to destroy Israel, too.

MSH: I don’t see the deceptive power.

NB: What do you mean?

MSH: How would the appearance of modern nephilim deceive anyone?

NB: People will see them won’t they? They’ll know that the Bible is literally true and the word of God.

MSH: I think that’s my point — if this happens (and I’m just playing along, mind you) then people will know they should take the Bible for what it says — and what it says is that these guys are evil. They’ll also know if they keep reading the Bible, that they’re on the losing side — they’ll get stomped in the end. So why would anyone follow them? Where’s the power in this deception? Frankly, it doesn’t seem deceptive at all. It seems transparent.

NB: But they’ll help deceive the nations against Israel.

MSH: But why would people not think, “Hey, there really were — and now are — nephilim. They opposed God’s people in the Old Testament and got destroyed. There’s no way I want to get destroyed with them! And since I know now that the Bible’s true because I’ve seen nephilim, I’d better be on Jesus’ side.”

NB: You make the new nephilim sound like tools for evangelism.

MSH: No, it’s your idea that leads me to that conclusion. But let’s get back to the question — where is the deceptive power?

NB: That’s what demons do! They deceive, so the nephilim have to part of Satan’s plan of deception. There’s no other reason they’d be here.

MSH: I’d agree there – I don’t see any reason for them to be in the picture, either.

NB: Wait – maybe there’s another reason they’re going to be part of end times.

MSH: What’s that?

NB: To kill believers! And Jews, too.

MSH: Are the enemies of Christ and anti-Semites having a difficult time doing that now?

NB: No – but demons like to do that, too. Maybe the nephilim will put unbelievers in a rage to kill all the Christians and Jews they can.

MSH: I’ll ask again – how is that any different than today? Christians are being killed for being Christians all over the world, even as we speak. Israel is constantly under threat. Why do we need nephilim for that?

NB: They’ll accelerate things.

MSH: And we know that because …

NB: Because that’s what Satan wants!

MSH: Okay – back to my earlier question: Is Satan not getting what he wants now?

NB: He wants more dead!

MSH: So, why doesn’t he just inspired terrorists to steal nuclear or biological weapons? Those sorts of attacks could kill on a massive scale — must faster than nephilim running around with clubs and swords or guns. And if nephilim were on TV telling people to take up arms against Jews and Christians, we’re back to the part about why people would want to be on their side — they’re going to lose, big time.

NB: Maybe they’ll influence people secretly, or by mind control. We know demons can do that.

MSH: Well, we actually don’t know that at, at least if we care to look at the Bible for information. But your answer doesn’t make sense — how secretive could a nephilim giant be? Disguises aren’t going to work when you’re 8-10 feet tall.

NB: Well, I think Satan will just blind people to everything.

MSH: So, the masses of the world will be able to see clearly that the nephilim have returned, but won’t be able to discern anything else — when it’s all from the Bible?

NB: Blind is blind.

MSH: Actually, in your scenario, it isn’t. You have unbelievers being selectively blind.

NB: Satan will make sure the unbelievers stay blind to all he needs them to be blind to.

MSH: Like the gospel?

NB: Right.

MSH: Then who are the 144,000 witnesses witnessing to?

NB: You’re confusing me now. Maybe they aren’t witnesses, smart guy. Revelation 7 just has 144,000 Jews sealed – 12,000 from each tribe. It doesn’t say they’re witnesses, so that’s your answer. 144,000 people are sealed and saved.

MSH: So the only people who are saved when all this happens is 144,000 Jews? No Gentiles? No one else?

NB: I guess that’s what the Bible says.

MSH: I don’t think it does, but I’ll keep playing. If there are only 144,000 that are saved and the others are blinded by Satan from being saved, why does Satan need nephilim to do that? If he can blind people now, what does he need all the help for?

NB: He just does. Like I said before, he wants it that way.

MSH: Is he sovereign?

NB: Knock it off.

MSH: Okay; that was a cheap shot – though I still think it’s a good question. You do realize that later in Revelation 7 after the 144,000 are sealed, that the apostle John sees a multitude *from every nation* –  so they aren’t Jews – worshipping the Lamb, who is Jesus, having come out of the great tribulation. So it seems that there are a lot of people believing in Jesus at this time besides the 144,000. So your answer doesn’t work.

NB: Okay, I guess not. But the nephilim are still a big part of this. You’ll see!

MSH: So will a lot of other people in your scenario — and know exactly what they’re looking at, which strips this idea of any deceptive power, period. If I were an supernatural evil mastermind, I could do better than this and actually leave a breadcrumb trail for people to follow so they’d know it was real — but not know it wasn’t. I’d want them to believe they were believing the right way and the right thing, and use their belief against them. I’d use what they want to believe to move them to believe what they’d never want to believe.

Fiction is so much fun. You get to invent reality. And faction is the best kind of fiction.