Thursday, February 2, 2023

Who were the Nephilim in Genesis 6:1-4?
We live in such a fast paced world where it is so easy to let someone else do our thinking for us and we just accept what we hear, taking for granted that it must be true if we trust the person saying it. But we know that the great deceiver, the father of lies is still prowling in our midst and seeking whom he may deceive.
 In Matthew 22:37 Jesus tells us to love God "with all our mind". I think one way to 'use our minds' is to discern truth from error 
 I am what people call 'black and white'. I don't allow a very wide grey area in my beliefs. If I hear or read something that presents a conflict of opinion or interpretation, I need to know which one is true and I can't rest until I have searched out the answers. 
 Yesterday I was listening to a Bible Teacher, David Pawson, whom I have admired and enjoyed and respected yet in the teaching video I listened to yesterday, he explained a passage in a way that really upset me and I was so disappointed in him. Pawson is not by any means the only one who believes as he does -- he is in the company of well-known Bible teachers such as John MacArthur, Chuck Swindol, J. Vernon McGee, David Jeremiah. I tried to find a well-known Bible teacher who took an alternate viewpoint but couldn't find any except for Lisa Laizure, a well known Bible study teacher with over 350 bible videos. She was the only familiar name I could find that held to an opposite viewpoint. although I found many others whose names I had never heard.
 Since the men I named are all very open with what they believe, I think it only fair to be able to point out why I disagree with them. I cannot understand why that list of well-known Bible teachers all hold to a view that makes absolutely no sense to me in light of what the Bible clearly says. 

 The passage in question is Genesis 6:1-4 Verse 2 reads... "that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful and they took wives from themselves of all whom they chose." and then in verse 4 we read.. "when the sons of God came into the daughters of men and they bore children to them." 
The controversy is concerning who the 'sons of God' are. The above-named list of teachers all agree that these 'sons of God' were fallen angels who intermarried with human women and started a whole new race of people called Nephilim , who are still on earth today. .

 Here are the reasons that convince me they have to be wrong , Consider the following list and see what you think, 
 1. There are 9 other references where the phrase "sons of God" is found in our Bibles.and every one of the references refer to either 'good angels' or 'righteous people' .. .not one of the references refer to fallen angels.

 2. Angels cannot 'marry' - . Jesus in Mark 12:25 explains that when people rise from the dead they are like the angels - not marrying or giving in marriage. 

 3. Moses wrote Genesis (along with the other 4 books of Moses) Every time he wrote concerning an angel he referred to the being as an angel, never a 'son of God'. So why would he in this one instance call fallen angels "sons of God'. 

 4. Heb. 1:7 tells us that angels are 'spirits', they do not have physical bodies.. They can only 'appear' in human form when God sends them to minister to someone (or in any other form that God chooses them to appear) .- Hebrews 1:7 - For these 'evil spirits' to be able to take 'wives' from human women they would need real physical bodies. Where would they get them?? Only God can create, angels do not, cannot create so if evil spirits suddenly take on physical bodies God Himself would have to 'create' them for them so that they could carry out their evil desires... Really ? I don't think so, do you? And God never included the fallen angels in His plan of salvation so the Nephelim -- even though they were half human -- could not be saved. 

 5 . Everyone was destroyed in the flood except for Noah's family. So then how did these Nephilim survive the flood to still be here on earth today? God's judgment was to destroy the wicked people -- surely the Nephilim would not have survived. Some teach that the 'evil spirits' even today can take on physical bodies and impregnate women. 

 6 . When God gave account of His creation He decreed that everything would reproduce after its own kind. Nowhere do we see a crossover of two kinds of creatures or beings. So if angels crossed with humans and created a new species,, or a kind of hybrid-people, then God's decree failed. 

 7. If this passage is looked at with simple logical thought we must first look to see this passage in context. What came just before these verses.. We can ignore chapter 5 because it is an inserted genealogy. But chapter 4 describes two groups of 'people'. First we are shown that Cain, who was rejected by God for his wickedness went out and made his home in the land of Nod, built his own city, had wives and begat children. Then we see Seth, who was a righteous man, taking the place of Abel. Seth also married and had children ... and we are told in verse 26 that his descendants began to call on the name of the Lord. So we have two 'groups' of people -- one evil and one good. Then in the chapter 6 passage, the story continues.. and we see that the 'sons of God' - or the group that called on the name of the Lord -- looked at the women, who descended from Cain , saw they were beautiful , lusted and gave in to temptation, and took wives from them. No need to add fallen angels into the story!!! 

 Some may say.. "Okay, but this doesn't affect salvation". Maybe not, but it says something about God that isn't true and that offends me. To believe that God went against His own character to create physical bodies for fallen angels so they could 'enjoy' a physical relationship with human women and beget children who were half evil spirit and half human is an insult to His Holy righteousness and a direct contradiction to His plan of salvation offered to all mankind.

 This week I heard a theologian say that theologians were the most gullible of people - they were easily convinced to believe what they were told. . BUT the common people are not so easily fooled, as we see in the time of Jesus. It was the common people who heard Him gladly! Aren't you glad you are a 'common people' ??
 I am.

 P.S. So then who ARE the Nephilim? Since they cannot be some hybrid new race .. we know that they are 'human beings. 
 The simplest explanation is usually the closest to the truth, 
 Here are my thoughts. First, the word Nephilim is the Hebrew word for ‘giants’. The KJV and NKJV use the English word ‘giant’ instead of the untranslated Hebrew word. That demystifies it immediately, doesn’t it?
 We have eleven Bible references to giants – we all know Goliath and see also Deut. 2:10, 11, or Joshua 12:4.  Always the people were afraid of the ‘giants’. 
 We are not given an explanation of who the Nephilim were - probably because it says they were 'well-known' so no explanation was needed, Like if we wrote something and mentioned the Hell's Angels ... we would not bother to explain who and what they were, taking for granted everyone would know. 
So also the Nephelim -- but we have some hints that I think are clear enough.
 Nephilim simply being the word for ‘giant’ and thus suggesting tyrants or bullies. It isn't much of a stretch to explain them as a 'powerful' gang or organized group of men who were ‘big’!! They were maybe bandits or I think more likely, like the Bolsheviks who took political control and persecuted and oppressed the people of Russia in the early 1900’s - ruling over the people who feared them - recognizing no law but their own.. I lean toward the later because it says they were 'men of old' -- so they had the advantage of age and influence.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

  It is Christmas 2022, another year gone by - a new one waiting . A time to reflect on what was important in 2022 and pray for God's blessing to rest on the new year.  .

I want to wish you and your families a most blessed Christmas season with the blessings that come from the One who IS the reason we celebrate with love for Him and one another. 

Last  Sunday was  the 4th Advent of Christmas and it is the 'best' .. LOVE ... 
Listen to Rosemary Siemens sing the beautiful hymn "The love of God "  and make sure to keep listening after her song as she tells the story behind the song.   

Devotional Thoughts on LOVE 

The first three Advents are Hope, Peace, Joy - all wonderful emotions we hold close to our heart.  They warm us , encourage us, give us the strength to persevere through this earthly life.  But- LOVE - is different. 
 Love is -- an action. It  must be acted upon to be experienced.  Without action, it is cold, lifeless.  It is not something we hold for ourselves - it is not rooted in quiet devotional thoughts, or even meditation on God's Word.  No, it's worth is only felt, experienced, realized as it is  acted out.! 
Love is --  self-less. Love is unsatisfying, meaningless when it is directed inward - hoping to be consumed, fed by our selfish inclinations and desires.  Love is something that is only fulfilling and meaningful when we give it away!  Just like a 'runner' is not a runner until he 'runs'  so also love is not love until it 'runs\' from one to another giving the gift that warms another's heart. It is the only gift we can give, and receive it in the giving. 
Did you notice in the first verse of the song, The Love of God,  how it expresses God's 'love-in-action' ?   He 'gave' ,  He 'reconciled', He 'pardoned' !   John 3:16, God so loved that He 'gave', and He gives still to you and me ! 
Love is -- costly.  We need only think about God's expression of love in that He gave His only Son, to suffer and die on our behalf to recognize the incredible cost to Him.  Only LOVE will move someone to give their life for another - unworthy though they be!  So also we, no matter how much loving someone might cost us -- the cost is always less than the worth of the love given. We cannot out give 'love'.  

I know Christmas has in many ways been secularized but even in trying to push "Christ" out of Christmas, no one has been able to remove 'love' from the season,  from the traditions and the celebrations we all enjoy.  What other time of year so stirs people's generosity than the Christmas season --  the giving in so many ways,  toy drives, hampers, dinners, volunteering at  charities and donating to those in need,  caroling at nursing homes, sharing Christmas baking with shut-ins, family reunions , filling shoe boxes for Samaritan's Purse, Christmas banquets ....etc. 
I pray that this Christmas and throughout the New Year, love will be our ACTION word. May we start each day asking God to show us where we can 'act-out'  the precious gift of 'love'. 

PRAYER - "Dear Father, thank you for your incredible love that was enacted on our behalf. May our response be to love you in return!.  Your love shed abroad in our hearts - not to keep for ourselves but to give to those whose lives we touch.  Not only to those that love us but also to those who do not love us.  
May your hope and peace and joy in our hearts move us to express our love in action to others, no matter what the cost may be!  
I pray for a safe holiday season -- protect those who travel, protect from harm and accident. Keep us in your joy and peace.
May our eyes be stayed on you  so that this world grows strangely dim.  Only the things of you are of eternal value and we put our trust in you, because there is no other!  In Jesus' Holy Name we pray, amen."

Friday, September 30, 2022

 The Chest 

This morning in my quiet time, my eyes fell on a verse from Deuteronomy that jumped out at me  and I knew the Lord wanted to tell me something about it. 
Immediately,  the memory of a childhood experience flashed into my mind. 

This experience happened when I was,  between one and two years old,. I lived with my parents on a small hobby farm. Every morning my Mom would have to go outside to do the chores, meaning she had to leave me in the house alone. Wanting  to ensure I would be safe and out of trouble, every morning before she went outside she would lift me onto a rounded top wooden chest that stood under the kitchen  window.   Sitting on this chest I could watch her walk away and then wait to see her coming back to the house. 

When my mother came home she would lift me off the chest and our day would continue. Then one day  that all changed. 

That morning my mother , as usual, lifted me onto the chest and I watched out the window.   When she came back inside I lifted my arms anticipating that she would, as always, lift me off the chest.  But she didn't.  Instead she turned my on my stomach over the rounded chest lid and stepped away, telling me to slide off. 
I was confused and started to cry, looking at my mom, expecting her to recognize my fear and lift me off the chest..   But she didn't! Terror filled my heart as only a child can feel terror and I continued to cry.  Looking into my Mom's face, I saw she was not concerned at all..  She just stood there without moving, a smirk on her face. watching me.  I can see her face as clearly today as I did those many many years ago.  I could not understand why she would not help me !  I had never considered that there would be a time I needed help and my mother would refuse to help me. 
I clung desperately to the top of the chest, resisting the pull of gravity threatening my tenuous hold, but my little hands were getting tired and I knew I could not hold on for much longer. 
Finally, the inevitable happened !  I felt my hands slipping and I knew something terrible was about to happen!   But then .... 

My hands gave way... I slipped .... and to my shock my feet hit the floor.  The whole time my feet had been no more than three inches from the floor.  
I was not an adventurous child and my mother wanted to teach me how easy it was for me to slide off the chest - that I no longer needed to be lifted off !   The memory stayed clear in my mind along with a feeling of confusion that my Mom had not been willing to help me when I was so desperately afraid. 

As I relived this childhood experience, I saw a mind picture that showed me how Jesus would have responded had He been there.  Even though my Mom was a loving Mom and did nothing wrong ... if Jesus had been there He would not have stood watching my terror with a smirk on His face knowing that I was going to be just fine  and would learn something valuable from the experience. 

No...  He would have bent over the chest beside me, and with one arm over me whispered in my ear ... "It's okay, I'm here, let's just slide down together!" 

Difficult or painful times come to all of us - it is part of life. We so often feel that inner terror as we desperately cling to our 'chest' - looking to whomever we trust to help us and see they are not willing or able to help. We are alone...and we know that  we cannot hold on much longer. We can feel everything slipping away and our cries for help go unheard.   

God wants us to know that no matter how terrifying life circumstances may be, He will never stand by and just watch -- even though He knows He has it all in hand.  He will always be close, sharing in our pain. And always, beneath us - no more than three inches - are the everlasting arms that will catch us and hold us close to His heart!  

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

 A Strange Plant with a Lesson

I have a plant that I bought on a whim - - I don't know the name of it .  I planted it in a patio flower box and it immediately reached out and grabbed hold of the patio railing spindles and curled its way up.  
I was wondering why some of  its leaves kept turning yellow since I knew it had enough water and the rest of the leaves looked green and healthy.  So I picked the yellowed leaves off, hoping the plant would thrive to where its leaves would no longer yellow and die. 
BUT ... the plant did not flower and I knew it bloomed because the little starter plant I bought did have a pretty, white with a purple center flower on it. 
Then I got busy and did not remove the 'dead' leaves from the plant for a few days and I made a surprising discovery.   The 'dead' looking leaves were not leaves at all but were the actual flower buds.   They opened into the pretty blooms!   How silly I felt that I had been picking off the buds and then complaining that my plant was not blooming !!  

But what an insightful  analogy this presented !  
I thought about how we all encounter experiences that we would so gladly have avoided. Accidents, health issues, disasters, emotional pain, disappointments, hardships, financial losses, etc.  We can all compile a personal list.   
If we could  we would have removed these from our life before they happened ... BUT what if these less-than-desired things in our lives are actually the buds that produce the 'blooms' in our character and in our relationships with God and bring about the blessings we so love?

I think of Joseph.  I'm sure he would have quickly removed the 'dead leaf' of being thrown into the pit and then sold by his brothers to the slave traders -  but would he then have 'bloomed' as ruler of Egypt saving many from starvation?
I think of Esther.  How quickly she would have removed the 'dead leaf' of being taken into the King's harem ... but if she had, would she have 'bloomed' as the favored Queen and savior of her people?
I think of the apostle Paul.   He would gladly have removed the 'thorn in his flesh'.  But God explained to him that it was there so he would 'bloom' in his ministry... saving him from the pride that would have destroyed him. 

I think of Jesus Himself.  He would have removed the 'dead leaf' of suffering the horrific death by crucifixion, It is here that he proves how 'human' He was - He begged God - if it were possible - the remove the 'dead leaf'  of suffering that filled his soul with dread.  Luke 22:22-24
 and YET - He understood -- he knew that the 'dead leaf' was necessary for Him to fulfill His purpose  - to sacrifice Himself for the ones He loved. 
He knew that the 'bloom' was coming .. He said ... "for the joy set before Me I will endure the cross." He knew what looked 'dead'  would rise and open into beauty that would save all who called on His name.  The thought of the 'blooming' to come'  filled his heart with joy! 
 Hebrews 12:2

Are the difficult things that come into our life easy ?  No... they weren't for Jesus, they won't be for us... but we have the promise that He will carry us through and the 'joy' will come. 
So let us learn patience, holding onto the promise that nothing in our life is for naught, but all things WILL work out for good, because 'JESUS SAID SO !"  Romans 8:28 .. 
Even Jesus longed for the support and comfort of His dear ones.. but they were not there for Him.. so Jesus understands what it is like to feel alone in our difficulties.. but He will never forsake or leave us -- and we know how important it is to support with our love and prayers those who are going through a difficult time. 

 Remember ... God doeth all things well ... even the things we do not understand!