I recently added this to my FAQ, but I thought I’d post it here as well.
Do you think Matthew 24:37-38 is a prophecy about the return of nephilim or has anything to do with Genesis 6:1-4?
The short answer to both is no. (I also don’t think it has anything to do with UFOs or aliens). Back around the year 2000 or so I suspected that was the case, but I know better now. It’s not a text-driven argument or position. I blogged about this (and Dan 2:43 as well) back in 2015. There are several problems with the idea, but I’ll summarize my thoughts here.
There are several reasons why Matt 24:37-38 does not connect back to Gen 6:1-4. The sons of God are mentioned nowhere in Matt 24. There isn’t a whiff of divine-human transgression. Their presence is assumed on the basis of the phrase “marrying and giving in marriage,” but that’s actually where the idea breaks down. If Matthew wanted readers to think about Genesis 6:1-4 in these comments, he’d use the Greek terms in the Septuagint of LXX for what the sons of God and mortal women were doing. Matthew doesn’t do that even once. The LXX reads ἔλαβον ἑαυτοῖς γυναῖκας ἀπὸ πασῶν, ὧν ἐξελέξαντο (lit: “they took for themselves women from all which they chose”). Matthew doesn’t use any of these terms. Matthew’s Greek for “marrying and giving in marriage” is γαμοῦντες καὶ γαμίζοντες (lit: “marrying and giving in marriage”). Even if you can’t read Greek you can look at the words and know they aren’t the same as Gen 6 LXX.The other significant problem is that saying Matthew 24:37-38 is about a repeat of Genesis 6:1-4 requires you to ignore parts of what Matthew describes — or deliberately not see the disconnections with Genesis 6:1-4. Here is the full list of what Matthew says will be going on when Jesus returns that was going on in the days of Noah:
– eating and drinking
– marrying and giving in marriage
– not watching / being unaware
Only one of those (conceivably — but incorrectly) could be associated with Gen 6:1-4 — the “marrying and giving in marriage.” The others have no association whatsoever with the supernaturalist aspects of Gen 6:1-4. So why impose the supernaturalist character of Gen 6 onto what Matthew says? It’s an arbitrary decision, and one made incoherent and unsustainable by the lack of any connection to the LXX of Gen 6:1-4. When biblical writers want their readers to cross-reference an OT passage with what they are saying, they create connections. Matthew doesn’t do that even once.
I’ve heard you on that point before about the LXX which makes sense that that would be the clincher if Gen 6 were the reference. Could it also be said that in Luke 17, the reference to the days of Lot (right after mentioning the days of Noah) further supports the idea that the point being made is merely the SUDDEN and unexpected nature of his return? As opposed to any particular “conditions” being described…
“28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29 hbut on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— 30 so will it be ion the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” -ESV
So what DOES it say ? If not about nephilim, is the point merely that in the days of Noah people were going about their daily lives when the flood suddenly hit ? It would fit the “nobody knows” way of talking about end times.
I applaud your rejection of UFO’s and aliens, but it is interesting that you don’t make a connection here. However in Reversing Hermon you say;
Scholars agree that the passages are about the same subject matter. They describe an episode from the time of Noah and the Flood when “angels” sinned. That sin, which precipitated the Flood, was sexual in nature; it is placed in the same category as the sin that prompted the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah. The transgression was interpreted by Peter and Jude as evidence of despising authority and the boundaries of “proper dwelling” for the parties concerned. All of those elements are transparent in Genesis 6: 1– 4. There is simply no other sin in the Old Testament that meets these specific details— and no other “angelic” sin at all in the Old Testament that might be the referent…
Heiser, Michael S.. Reversing Hermon: Enoch, the Watchers, and the Forgotten Mission of Jesus Christ (Kindle Locations 275-282). Kindle Edition.
Jesus says in Luke;
Luk 17:26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
Luk 17:27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
Luk 17:28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
Luk 17:29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
Luk 17:30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
He seems to be making the same point as Jude and Peter. I think it was an idea out of the second temple period.
3Ma 2:4 It was thou who didst destroy the former workers of unrighteousness, among whom were the giants, who trusted in their strength and hardihood, by covering them with a measureless flood.
3Ma 2:5 It was thou who didst make the Sodomites, those workers of exceeding iniquity, men notorious for their vices, an example to after generations, when thou didst cover them with fire and brimstone.
I think Josephus and Philo make similar connections.
First time poster here at drmsh. I’m going to play devil’s advocate on this topic as a microcosm of the love/vexation relationship I have with Dr. Heiser’s teaching (which leans heavily to the love side).
I’ll accept the linguistic premise stated in the OP. I don’t have the expertise to refute it nor do I have any reason to doubt Dr. Heiser on this specific point. However, taking a more general view from a higher altitude, this approach in and of itself smacks of missing the forest (the obvious reference to Genesis 6) for the trees (the linguistic incongruities).
Example: regarding the eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage mentioned in verse 38, Dr. Heiser says, “Only one of those (conceivably — but incorrectly) could be associated with Gen 6:1-4 — the ‘marrying and giving in marriage.’ The others have no association whatsoever with the supernaturalist aspects of Gen 6:1-4.” No association whatsoever? Perhaps not from a purely linguistic perspective. But from a more spiritual perspective (which Dr Heiser does an otherwise magnificent job of articulating), there is a rather distinct (albeit slightly cryptic) reference to the cannibalistic eating of human flesh and drinking of human blood which we know happened from I Enoch, a source Dr. Heiser has masterfully shown to be one that informed the thinking of the New Testament authors. I don’t need the sons of God to be mentioned by name in order to catch the whiff of Gen 6.1-4
In closing the OP, Dr. Heiser says, “When biblical writers want their readers to cross-reference an OT passage with what they are saying, they create connections. Matthew doesn’t do that even once.” Not even once? Well, perhaps it’s significant to point out that in these particular verses Matthew is quoting Jesus. So in that sense Jesus is also the “biblical writer” whose “cross-references to the OT” we need to be watching. And of course we know that when Jesus spoke about both His first and second coming, those “cross-references” were always in the form of deeply veiled parables. Indeed, as Dr. Heiser has so eloquently explained elsewhere, prophecy about Christ’s first coming was so mysterious as to be almost impossible to discern, for the reason of keeping the plan hidden from the fallen divine council. The same can also be said about prophecy concerning Christ’s second coming. So with this realization in mind, it seems inappropriate to require such a high standard of strict linguistic cross-referencing in order to see “even one” veiled connection.
I’ll put it another way. If Matt 24.37 is not referring to the narratives hinted at in Gen 6, then to what does it refer? Eating, drinking, marrying? Those are generalities that could be referenced to any group of people at any point in history. But in the context of Gen 6 they take a specific and peculiar meaning. That peculiarity is bolstered by the further reference to Sodom and Gomorrah (in the parallel Luke 17 passage), whose judgement involved the desire to have sex with angels – again hearkening back to Gen 6. So while the scholarly linguistic connections are surely not present, rather obvious thematic connections are indeed present, if one knows what to look for and allows themselves to see. This seems like an appropriate standard to, at the very least, include in any interpretation of such a vague and admittedly unscholarly topic.
Which brings me to my love/vexation dilemma. I absolutely love every revelation I’ve heard from Dr. Heiser so far, in my less-than six months of exposure. And they are indeed revelations to me, answering questions that have gnawed at me for years and years, and opening paradigms of understanding that I always knew in my spirit must exist but had no idea what they were. Heck, just go re-read the parable of the prodigal son with the divine council in mind – two “sons”, one older, one younger, and the younger son gets lost in sin and then returns, while the older son who was “always with the father” gets miffed. Wow. Or how about the parable of the “landowner” who “leases” out a vineyard to wicked “tenants”? Hello! In fact one of the first things that came to mind while learning the divine council was Matt 24.37 (hence the microcosm). The dots were connecting so fast and furious for me, that I would sit (and still do) somewhat crestfallen and at times in mild horror at hearing Dr. Heiser dismiss many of, what seemed like to me, the obvious spiritual implications of what he was teaching. “Yeah, there’s this supernatural realm that’s totally real…BUT the implications for the natural realm are not all that real (i.e. the Nephilim were not really all that “giant” and UFO’s really don’t have anything to do with fallen inter-dimensional spiritual beings) because…language reasons.”
I get why Dr. Heiser takes this position up to a certain point. There are indeed nuts and flakes who are just flat wrong (Sitchens) and those who make the mistake of marrying their faith to non-salvation points of dogma. Honestly though, of those people, I say forget them. Let them go. I don’t think we have time to deal with that mess. They don’t want to be informed. And if they do, they know where to find amazing resources like Dr. Heiser. So for the rest of us who really do want to be informed, to wrap all this up, I guess my heart would love to see Dr. Heiser embrace, or at least include at times, a more “spiritual” approach to the absolutely magnificent “spiritual” revelations he is teaching.
PS – I love the Unseen Realm book cover as an avatar. I think it’s a brilliant metaphor to use on the news sites where I usually comment, as well as, I hope, a little free advertising for Dr. Heiser. And I promise, all future posts won’t be quite this long.
I disagree, respectfully of course. Strict linguistic connections are not necessary for me to see a thematic connection between Matt 24.37-38 and Gen 6, the prophetic nature of which is an admittedly unscholarly topic to begin with, not lending itself to deep language scrutiny (if it were, then prophecy about Christ’s first coming would have been much easier to discern at that time). This then at least opens up the possibility of revisiting the types of events alluded to in Gen 6 in an eschatological scenario. Hopefully this post is short enough to pass moderation and start a discussion with anyone interested. Thanks.
I have, what I feel, is an honest question here. Why take such a strict approach to understanding prophecy, which, as you have explained elsewhere, is a topic that is inherently un-strict? Put another way, using the linguistic interpretive standard described above, would any pre-NT reader of existing prophecy have stood any chance of understanding that the Messiah was going to first come to die and be resurrected to atone for sin?
As you have demonstrated in other material, prophecy is less about establishing strict dogma and more about being open to possibilities, for lack of a better description, For example, take the author of the Melchizedek dead sea scroll you described in the recent 168 podcast. Did that author arrive at those conclusions using the type of strict linguistic standards described above? Or did the author arrive at those conclusions based on a less-strict, more thematically-based approach? It seems to me the latter.
So I guess I’m in the same boat as the Melchizedek dead sea scroll author. While I don’t dispute the fine linguistic details, I find myself not necessarily needing those ducks to be all in a row to see a thematic connection between Matt 24.37-38 and Gen 6.1-4. Discussion Dr. Heiser, or anyone? Thanks.
What am I doing wrong? I’ve had three posts rejected from this discussion, none of which were inappropriate or offensive in any way. Are there community guidelines somewhere I’m missing? I don’t see a link to any. I would submit this question directly to a mod but again I don’t see a link for that. I don’t know where else to submit this question. Thanks.
1) What is Daniel talking about in Chapter 2 verse 43: “…they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men…”
2) Can you briefly give your thoughts regarding the lengthy descriptions in 1 Enoch regarding cosmology (earth, sun, moon & stars)?
On Dan 2:43, from this post:
What about Daniel 2:43? The phrase in question is that “they” will “mingle their seed” with the “seed of men.” It is assumed that “they” in the verse are aliens (non-human) since “they” mingle with humans (“seed of men”).
There is a huge problem with this idea. “They” in Daniel 2:43 are members of the fourth kingdom. It is in the days of this fourth kingdom that the kingdom of God would begin (2:44). We know from the NT that the kingdom of God began at Jesus’ first coming — during the days of the Romans. All rapture positions that I know of agree that the fourth kingdom is Rome. So, unless we are willing to argue that the Romans were aliens, I don’t see how Dan 2:43 has anything to do with UFOs and aliens. Of course, the “answer” will be that at the end times we will see a “revived ROman Empire” and that is what Daniel is referring to. No, it isn’t. The key here is when did the kingdom of God begin. Paul assumes all believers are already in the kingdom (Col. 1:13) and Jesus preached that the kingdom of God was among his hearers (Luke 9:60; Luke 10:11 – and it was – JESUS was in their midst). Jesus also said very bluntly that the kingdom was here (Luke 11:20). Now, this doesn’t mean there is no future kingdom that will come, but it DOES mean that the prophecy of Daniel 2:43-44 did come to pass – the eternal kingdom began in the days of the Romans, and they weren’t aliens.
1 Enoch frequently uses astral language when speaking of divine beings (usually fallen, but not always). In other words, in most cases, it has nothing to do with astronomy. The except = the “astrononical book” within 1 Enoch (chs 72-82).
The except = the “astrononical book” within 1 Enoch (chs 72-82) are what I am asking about. In there he give detailed information about the sun & moon, their circuits with days, months and years discussed. He even says the sun and the moon are the same size. What are your thoughts on these chapters?
Regarding Question #1:
I read your blog from back in 2015. The idea of a revived Roman Empire is losing steam. Islamic (Ottoman) seems to be picking up steam. However, is it more credible to try and examine that passage (Daniel 2:43) without any presumptions as to who or what that kingdom might be? The only reason I ask is the word “seed” seems it could be speaking of DNA. How much have you looked into what is going on in quantum physics. Please take the time to watch a segment (less than 6 min) of a promotional video by Quantum Gravity Research based in LA: https://youtu.be/w0ztlIAYTCU?t=24m37s