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Lesson 7 of 50 - Old Testament Survey(part one of six)

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Source Books

Maps for Genesis
and all of the OT

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2004 mp3 Audio

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2009 mp3 Audio (ch.17-18, introduction, overview)

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Real Player Video (ch.17-18, introduction, overview)

Chapter Tests:
Sect D, Ch 17 - Overview of the OT

Essay Tests:
Sect D, Ch 17 - The Mishna and the Talmud

Sect D, Ch 18 - Lucifer & the Gap Theory

Old Testament Survey (part one)

Key Dates in the Old Testament




About 4000 BC


About 3400 BC

Noah’s Flood

About 2400 BC

Tower of Babel

About 2300 BC


2000 BC


1900 BC


1800 BC

Moses and the Exodus

1446 BC

Israel Crosses Jordan

1406 BC


1380-1050 BC


1100 BC

Saul begins Reign

1051 BC

David begins Reign

1011 BC

Solomon begins Reign

971 BC

Judah and Israel Split

931 BC


870  BC

Assyrian Conquers North Israel

722 BC

Jeremiah’s Ministry

627-584 BC

Babylon Destroys Jerusalem

586 BC

Daniel in Babylon

605-530 BC

Return from Babylonian Captivity

538 BC

Temple Rebuilding Completed

March 12, 516

Esther Queen of Persia

474 BC

Ezra Goes to Jerusalem

458 BC

Nehemiah Completes the Wall

Oct. 2, 445 BC


430 BC


Thirty-Nine Old Testament Books

Old Testament Book

Theme of the Book

Pentateuch (Torah) (5)



Beginning and Founding of Israel


Covenant with Israel as a Nation


Laws for the Israelite Nation


Forty Years of Wandering To the Promise Land


Review of the Covenant, Laws and History for 2nd Generation

Historical Books (12)


The Conquest of Canaan; Dividing the Land to the Tribes


First 300 years in Land; Cycle of oppression, repentance, deliverance


Beginning of Messianic Family from David; The kinsman redeemer Boaz redeems the Moabite woman named Ruth

First Samuel

Organization of the Kingdom from judges to the kingship

Second Samuel

Reign of King David.  Written from the viewpoint of the palace scribes.

First Kings

Solomon’s reign; The nation splits into two countries – North is Israel, South is Judah.  Written from the viewpoint of the palace scribes.

Second Kings

History of the divided kingdoms.  Israel has 19 kings and Judah has 20 kings.  Israel falls to Assyria in 722 BC; Judah falls to Babylon in 586 BC.

First Chronicles

The reign of David.  Written from the viewpoint of the priests.

Second Chronicles

The history only of Judah not Israel in the north from Solomon to the Babylonian destruction.


The return from captivity in Babylon.  Cyrus takes Babylon for Persia in 539.  In 538 BC Cyrus allows Jews to return to Jerusalem. Zerubbabel leads them back in 538 BC and Ezra arrives to teach them the law in 458 BC.


The Persian King’s cupbearer Nehemiah who had remained behind in Babylon desires to return to Jerusalem to rebuild walls of Jerusalem in 444 BC


Another Jew whose family had stayed behind in Babylon named Esther ends up becoming the queen of Persia

Poetic Books (5)


A righteous man is tested and suffers.  Confronts the issue of suffering


The Hymns of Israel; Divided into five books; Variety of authors


The wisdom of Solomon applied to daily life, spiritual principles and guidelines for national leadership


Vanity of earthly life as seen by Solomon who drifted from God

Song of Solomon

A book describing the goodness and the fullness of emotional and physical love between a husband and a wife.

Prophetic Books (17)


Beginning in 740 BC Isaiah confronts the sin of Judah, proclaims judgment coming to Judah. Speaks of coming restoration and the Servant/Messiah.  Continues until 681 BC


Beginning in 627 Jeremiah proclaimed judgment to Judah.  He was in Jerusalem during the three invasions and captivities of 605, 597 and 586.


Jeremiah mourns the fall of Jerusalem which he witnessed in 586 BC.  He writes five poems of lament describing the defeat and fall of Jerusalem.


Ezekiel was taken to Babylon from Jerusalem in the second captivity of the year 597.  In Babylon in 593 (age 30) he is called to prophecy to the captives already in Babylon and prepare for those who are coming.  His message confronts their sin, promises restoration and describes the end times.


Daniel was taken to Babylon from Jerusalem in the first captivity in 605 BC.  Entering Babylon as a royal son of David’s line as a teenage Daniel becomes an advisor to the Babylonian king and as an old man an advisor to the conquering Persian king.  Daniel provides foundational visions for Israel’s future and end time prophecy.


Contemporary of Isaiah, Amos and Micah.  Hosea has an unfaithful wife that he still loves and pursues.  This relationship represents God and unfaithful Israel. (740 BC)


Proclaims judgment of locusts as imagery of the coming judgment of God.  Predicts the Age of the Holy Spirit and Blessing.


Contemporary of Isaiah, Hosea and Micah.  Warned several nations including Israel and Judah of coming judgment.  Spoke against social sins (760-750 BC)


Spoke against Edom who was rejoicing at Jerusalem’s judgment from Babylon.  Jerusalem will be restored, but when Edom falls it will be forever. (586 BC, a contemporary of Jeremiah)


Jonah, a student of Elijah and Elisha’s School of the Prophets, is called to prophecy and call a pagan nation back to God’s standards. (759 BC)


Contemporary of Isaiah, Amos and Hosea.  Israel will be judged for its moral decay on multiple levels.  But, God will restore and Israel’s future will be even greater when the Messiah comes (750-686 BC)


Nineveh has returned to their evil culture about 100 years after Jonah.  They will be destroyed with no hope of restoration. (663-654 BC)


Habakkuk challenges God’s justice when he understands the cruel, anti-god empire of Babylon is going to be used to judge Judah.  He is told “the just will live by faith.” (contemporary of Jeremiah around 609-598)


A member of the royal line he prophesied along side of Jeremiah beginning around 630.  He spoke of the Day of the Lord being a day of judgment and blessing.  Only a remnant will repent and be restored.


Opens on Aug. 29, 520 BC.  The people have put their needs ahead of rebuilding the temple.  Result national poverty.  This prophet spoke during the book of Ezra and resulted in the temple being completed 516 BC


In a series of night visions in October of 520 BC, Zechariah addresses several contemporary issues faced by the people who returned in the book of Ezra.  Contemporary of Haggai.


By 430 BC those who returned from Babylonian captivity have grown morally lax, compromised and have left God.  Judgment is proclaimed again and the Old Testament closes.

Read Talmud HERE

The Four Beginnings:

  1. John 1:1 – The beginning of the account of the eternal God
  2. Job 38:4-7 – The beginning of the angels (John 8:44)
  3. Genesis 1:1 – The beginning of the physical universe
  4. Matthew 19:4 – The beginning of man

The Use of Written Documents by Moses
According to Luke 16:31; 24:27, 44 Moses is responsible of Genesis.  How did Moses write it?

  1. Direct Revelation
  2. Oral Stories
  3. Written Documents

The "Toledot" Formula
An important word in Genesis is “ toledot”. 
“Toledot” is a Hebrew noun from the root “y-l-d” which means “to bear”. 
It is translated by these words in English: “genealogy,” “generations”, account,” family history,” “ancestral narrative.”
"Toledot" is found in these verses:
2:4 “the account of” is  Hb. “toledot” or “generations”
5:1 -  Adam’s Line - “This is the written account of Adam’s line.” This is the “toledot” formula. The Hebrew says “seper toledot ‘adam” or literally “the inscription of the generations of Adam”. The word for “written account” or “inscription” is “seper” and it does not mean “book” but it refers to something that is inscribed.  It does not refer to what the inscription goes on or what form it is packaged in.  The original meaning of “seper” may come from the verb “sapar” which means “to scrape” as when someone would scrape a surface flat and clean so they could inscribe something on it.
6:9 – Noah
10:1 – Shem
11:10 – Terah
11:27 – Abraham, Isaac
25:19 – Isaac, Jacob
37:2 until Exodus 1:1 – Sons of Jacob

Word’s for “Created” or “Made” or “Built”

  1. “Bara” - “Created” is “bara” in: 1:1, 21, 27 (3x); 2:3; 2:4a. The subject of “bara” is always God.  “Bara” always refers to the product created and not to the material. This leads us to conclude that “bara” is a technical term for “creation ex nihilo” (“creation out of nothing”)
  2. “Asa” - The word “asa” means to make something out of something as in Genesis 3:21. It means "to do, fashion, accomplish, make"
    The word “asa” is found in Exodus 20:11; Also in Genesis 2:7, 8, 19; Job 26:13; Ps. 90:2; 94:9; 95:5
  3. “Banah” – means “to build” like the support beams in the temple were “built” or “banah” in  1 Kings 6 when Solomon was building the temple.  It took time, was very detailed and plans were followed.  The woman was “built”  (“banah”) in Genesis 2:22
  4. “Jatsar” – used in Gen. 2:7 and means to “mold”. To form, fashion, frame done by God and man (Gen. 1:7, 16, 25, 31; 2:2, 22; 3:1)

The Seven Days of Creation

Genesis 1:1, 2 - Bringing Order to the Chaos

Adam’s Genealogy
Timeline of Adam

The Time Before Man

There are four “beginnings” mentioned in the Bible that help to set up the chronology of events in the ancient world:

  1. The beginning of God, (not a literal beginning of God, but the starting point for our story)
  2. The beginning of angels
  3. The beginning of the physical universe
  4. The beginning of man

John 1:1 says:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.”

This verse is not about the beginning of God himself; it’s about the beginning of the account of God’s plan revealed to men. It’s a reference to the most ancient point in recorded history.

Before the universe was created, and before mankind came into being, the angels were created. We know this because in Job 38:4-7, God asks Job: 

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?...On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone while the mornings stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?”                        

The angels actually witnessed the creation of the physical universe we now see. The word “angels” literally translates “sons of God” (Job 1:6, Psalm 148:2-3, Genesis 6:2). “Morning stars” also likely refers to angels. In Isaiah 14:12, the phrase “morning star” is the translation of the Hebrew word “helel” which, in the Greek, is “eosphorus” or “dawn-bearer” and in the Septuagint (Latin version from 200 BC) is “lucis” or “light.” In 1611, the English King James translators brought the Latin phrase “lucis ferre” ("ferre" meaning “to bring”) into English as “Lucifer.” Thus, “Helel,” “Lucifer,” or “Morning Star” is an angelic personality from the angelic class of the cherubim.

It is interesting to note that all of the angels (including Lucifer and his fallen angels) not only believe in God (James 2:19), but they know for a fact that he is the creator. 

The physical universe was created in Genesis 1:1 at God’s command:

 “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” 
(Psalm 33:9)

The Angelic Rebellion
Genesis 1:2 says:

“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep.”

Most people understand these verses to mean that before God created everything, the earth was empty and dark. But throughout scripture, these same words (the Hebrew words that translate into formless, empty, and dark) are used to describe the effects of God’s judgment. Being empty, without form, and living in darkness is not merely a result of being without God, but is a direct result of having been condemned by God. Could the earth have been condemned by God before he created man? Yes, quite possibly.  

All scholars, teachers, and pastors who accept the Bible as the inspired word of God generally agree on a few basic things regarding Satan. They agree that he was originally created by God as sinless, but he chose to lead an angelic rebellion and was eventually cast out of heaven. Although these are generally accepted doctrines in most orthodox theologies, it seems few people bother to ask the question “when?” When did the rebellion and fall of Satan occur?

Did it happen:

  1. sometime during the seven days of creation, before God made man?
  2. sometime after the creation of man on the sixth day?
  3. Sometime before the creation of the universe?

Many people quickly pick the third answer, thinking very little of it. A fourth option seems possible in light of the early verses in Genesis. Satan may have rebelled sometime after the creation of the universe (as recorded in Genesis 1:1) and then been cast out of heaven, down to earth—thus explaining all the chaos, emptiness, and darkness of God’s judgment on the earth we read about in Genesis 1:2.

Isaiah records:

“How you have fallen from heaven O morning star1, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth…You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven…I will make myself like the Most High.”   (Isaiah 14:12-14)


Ezekiel 28:12-16 says:

“You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you.”

Satan was a fantastic spiritual being—full of wisdom, perfect in beauty, and adorned with precious stones. Ezekiel lists nine of those precious stones, and they just so happen to be nine of the same stones worn by the High Priest of Israel.

“You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.”   Ezekiel 28:14

The cherubim class of angels is always associated with the presence of God. Lucifer was anointed as the guardian cherub and was allowed to move in and out of the presence of God. Revelation 12:4 seems to indicate that one third of all angels followed Satan in his rebellion. This information was revealed about Lucifer before he fell:

  1. He had access to God and was trusted in God’s presence
  2. He served in a priestly function by representing the angels before God and representing God to the angels.
  3. He had vast amounts of inside information, knowledge and wisdom
  4. He was created the perfect model

“You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade, you were filled with violence, and you sinned.” 

Satan was drawn into sin as he went about his assigned activities:

“So I drove you in disgrace from the Mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.”

Because of his sin, Satan was expelled from God’s presence. According to Isaiah, he was “cast down to the earth.”

Jesus confirms these accounts when he says in Luke 10:18:

            “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

The result of Satan’s sin was not just his expulsion from heaven, but also a judgment on everything he had administration over, including, possibly, the earth.  

The Account of Creation
Genesis 1:2 says:
“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

In the margin notes of the New International Version, it tells us another way of reading this verse, “Now the earth became formless and empty…” The Hebrew verb “hajah” translates in English as “had become” or “to be or become, come to pass.” The verb, therefore, suggests that the chaotic condition of the earth was not its original state. It had become that way. Although this explanation is not universally accepted by Christians, we agree on these major points:

  1. God created the universe
  2. There was an angelic rebellion
  3. God created mankind to live in a physical universe in the midst of an already existing conflict with evil.

The passage ends by noting that even in the earth’s chaotic, empty state, the Spirit of God was hovering over its dark waters. God was making a move to restore life and dignity to the world.
In Genesis 1:3-25, God reforms the earth for mankind. In Genesis 1:3, he says: “Let there be light.” He is speaking of the eternally, pre-existing second member of the trinity manifesting in the created world. John 1:3 tells us that through the Word “all things were made” and “without him nothing was made that has been made.”  Colossians 1:16 says that by Jesus, “all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.”

God the Father and God the Son worked together in creation. In reference to the first day of creation, we read in Proverbs that “wisdom” or “the Word” says: 

“I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep.”

In reference to the second day of creation, he says:

“[I was there] when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.”

In reference to the third day of creation, he says:

 “[I was there as a] craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence.”

Throughout the creation process, “the Word” or “wisdom” is there with God. At the end of the sixth day, he “rejoiced in the whole world and delighted in mankind.”
On the second day of creation God said:

 “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water…and God called the expanse sky.”                                                                           (Genesis 1:7, 8)

God created the sky (or the atmosphere) of our planet to be surrounded with water above and below. (At this time, no land had been drawn out of the earth’s water.) The sky (or atmosphere) held back a layer of water encircling the earth. This layer of water would protect the planet from the sun’s radiation. The result would be a green, tropical environment and a much longer, healthier lifespan.

On the third day of creation, God said:

“Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.”                                                                                                                    (Genesis 1:9)

This would indicate the appearance of land as God gathered the waters on earth into one place. The land that appeared would probably have been one single continental land mass, not the various continents as we know them today.

On the fourth day, God said:

“Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let   them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years.”   (Genesis 1:14)

The First Dispensation

On the fifth and sixth day, God made animals. And finally, when everything else was ready, God created man. Man was made in God’s likeness and was put in charge of all things.

“Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”  (Genesis 1:26)

The creation of man put into motion the first dispensation (or age) of human history. There was no death, no sin, no sickness, no pain, no doubt. The earth, the climate, and everything God had created to live within it were perfect. The Lord himself walked with and spoke to mankind in the garden. The relationship between God and man was unhindered.

It was also during this time that he set the institution of marriage into place.

“She is part of my own flesh and bone. She will be called ‘woman’ because she was taken out of a man. This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife and the two are united into one.” (NLT, Genesis 2:23, 24)

During this age, man was also told,

“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”  (Genesis 2:16)

That was the only rule man had to follow—just a single command. There were no sacrifices to complete, no confession of sin to give, no Law of Moses to follow, no Lord’s Supper to partake of. There was one command to obey.

But obeying that command wasn’t as easy as one might imagine. Why? Because even as God was creating man, there was already an evil spiritual presence on the earth. There was an enormous unresolved conflict between God and Satan.

Satan: The Courtroom Adversary
According to Matthew 25:41, an eternal fire has been prepared for Satan.

“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

For some reason, after Satan sinned against God, rather than being sent immediately to the eternal fire prepared for him, he was instead cast down to earth. It is as though Satan, the great accuser (the word “Satan” comes from the Hebrew word for “accuser” or “adversary”) had defended himself in the courts of heaven and managed to get his sentence suspended. It may sound like a silly concept at first, but it is possible. The Bible often speaks of a “heavenly courtroom.” (In Job and Zechariah, we learn about Satan accusing specific men in the courts of heaven.) Some scholars believe that Satan literally challenged God in this same heavenly courtroom, and I too think it’s likely this happened. He may have questioned God’s character in court, trying to build a case against him.

Satan, the great accuser, may have said, “If God really is omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipotent (all-powerful), he would have known about my future sin when he created him. So I’m no more at fault than God. This is all God’s responsibility because he created me.” Satan may then have blasphemed God’s character, asking, “How can God be love if he creates beings capable of sin but then requires them not to sin? Why did he make me and my fellow fallen angels if he knew we were destined for the Lake of Fire? Is a God who will do something like that really worthy of our respect and worship?”

Satan would have made false accusations against God, slandering him in front of all the heavenly beings. (Interestingly, the word “devil” is a translation of the Greek word “diabolos” which means “slanderer.”)

God would have had to choose one of two responses to Satan’s accusations:

  1. He could demonstrate his absolute power in front of the angels and send Satan immediately to the Lake of Fire. This would forever solidify who was in charge.


  1. God could call a recess in the trial and send Satan to the earth to set up a future demonstration of God’s full character. Throughout the history of man, God could demonstrate the richness of his character—which is far greater than absolute power.  This way he could build his side of the case by demonstrating his character on earth for everyone to behold.   

God chose #2 and suspended Lucifer’s death sentence. God decided to demonstrate his character on earth, and, in the end, he would be able to call earthly witnesses (mankind) to testify on his behalf when the trial with Satan continued. These earthly witnesses could disprove Satan’s accusations against the Lord, and Satan could be given his original sentence and thrown into the Lake of Fire.  Mankind who served this purpose and lived their lives “for the glory of God” or to demonstrate the multifaceted character of God would be richly rewarded for eternity.  This demonstration of the character of God in a believer’s life begins with Jesus, the Word made flesh, dying on the cross to pay for the sin of man.

Considering this courtroom scenario helps us better understand Paul’s words in Ephesians 3:8-11:

“This grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all thing. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Paul says that God’s intent was for his great wisdom to be made known to all the beings in the heavenly realm—a realm we cannot see. In other words, perhaps our world has less to do with us and more to do with a battle that’s been raging in heaven for ages.        

Regarding our possible future testimony in this ongoing court case, Paul says: 

            “Do you not know that we will judge angels?”  (1 Corinthians 6:3)

Daniel reveals the future court scene when he records a vision he had of this future event:

“As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat . . . Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.  The court was seated, and the books were opened. . . I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire” (Daniel 7:9-11)

Man’s Purpose:  Witness to God’s Character and Glory
Adam was placed on earth for the very purpose of demonstrating the glory (or character) of God, but soon Adam joined the ranks of Satan’s rebellion after he and Eve ate from the forbidden tree.  They listened to the voice of Satan through the serpent as he challenged the very words of God.  The human race was thereby put under Satan’s curse and damned to eternal fire. But, this time, God promised a savior for all mankind. Satan was told that a child of a woman would crush his head and ultimately destroy his power. But in the process of destroying Satan’s power, the seed of the woman would himself be bruised and have to give his life in order for mankind to regain the glory of God.

The First Sacrifice
God then skinned an animal to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness, now that they had lost their natural covering—the physical manifestation of the glory or presence of God. When the Lord killed the animal to make a covering, he taught Adam and Eve how to sacrifice an animal as a symbol of what the savior, the seed of the woman, would one day do for them. This sacrifice was their first experience with death. This sacrifice was a portrayal of how one man would pay the price for all of mankind’s rebellion toward God. Through this sacrifice, God would demonstrate to all of creation (both in the physical and spiritual realm) that his attributes involved more than absolute power, but also included love, mercy, compassion.

Adam and Eve were never allowed back into the garden because of their sin. The innocence of mankind was, for now, lost. The first dispensation came to an abrupt end, and the second dispensation began       

The Second Dispensation
The second dispensation begins in Genesis 4 and ends in Genesis 9. This dispensation starts with the establishment of the institution of family. There is no government and there are no nations yet. Man is supposed to govern himself and his own family. It is during this time that Cain murders Abel and Lamech murders another man. Because there is no government, there is much vigilante justice. For instance, Lamech says:   

“I have killed (Hebrew “slay” or “slaughter”) a man for wounding me, a young man for     injuring me.”   (Genesis 4:23)

Angels: The Sons of God
To compound the problems on earth, mankind had to endure one of Satan’s greatest attacks on God’s plan. In the Garden of Eden, God said to Satan:

“I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring (“seed”) and   hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”  (Genesis 3:15)

Satan knows a man will eventually be born with the power to defeat him. Therefore, during the second dispensation, Satan attempted to corrupt the bloodline of humanity by infiltrating it with evil seed. If the seed from fallen angels could mix with the bloodline of the human race, mankind would be rendered incapable of producing a savior as promised in the garden. In order to prevent his head from being crushed by the seed of a woman, Satan may have tried to corrupt her seed so the Messiah could not be born. This might explain what we read in Genesis 6:  

“When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.”  (Genesis 6:1, 2)

The phrase “sons of God” here is a reference to angels. It is the same word we see in Job 1:6 and Job 38:7:

“One day the angels (the same Hebrew word earlier translated as “sons of God”) came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them.” (Job 1:6)

            “And all the angels (“sons of God”) shouted for joy.” (Job 38:7)

The Nephilim
In Genesis 6:4, we read:

“The Nephilim were on the earth in those days – and also afterward – when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of     old, men of renown.” 

The Nephilim may have been the offspring of fallen angels and human women. The Bible says the Nephilim were legends; their abilities and accomplishments made them well-known heroes. Greek mythology is probably based on these same legends, recording stories of “the gods” and the “sons of the gods.”

Sons of God and Daughters of Men
I am not impressed when someone says Genesis 6:1-4 can’t be talking about angels because Jesus said angels don’t marry. Matthew 22:30 says:

“At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage;  they will be like the angels in heaven.”  

Using this verse to explain all that we do not know about angels is very bad hermeneutics. We cannot see angels, we do not understand angels, and the only thing we know accurately about angels is what the Bible communicates to us. To use this verse to describe angels beyond what it says is taking the implicit and making it the explicit. It is isogesis (reading your predetermined doctrine into scripture) and not exegesis (letting the scriptures speak for themselves and determine your doctrine.) This verse explicitly says there will be no marriage and no families in heaven. Marriage and families are institutions God has given mankind in this age for the well being of the human race. This verse says nothing about the ability to reproduce. It is clear in scripture that angels do not reproduce baby angels. We do not know why, but they do not.   

The same debate is revisited in Luke20:34-36 when Jesus is says:

“The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.”

Is Jesus telling everyone here that when you go to heaven you cannot have children because we will be like angels who cannot reproduce?  No. That is not his point. The comparison to angels is surrounded on both sides by the word “resurrection,” and when the comparison is made—men of the age to come are compared to angels in that “they can no longer die; for they are like the angels.”

There are three basic ways to interpret Genesis 6:1-4:

  1. The Sons of God are the good boys of that time that go to Sunday school, wear white shirts and ties and don’t drink soda before lunch. The daughters of men are the bad girls—probably descendents of Cain—who drink, cuss, and wear short skirts.
  2. The Sons of God are the sons of the kings and pharaohs. They are the royal princes. The daughters of men are the daughters of common folk who the royal princes then gather together to form their harems.
  3. The Sons of God are angelic creatures.  The daughters of men are the daughters of men.

First of all, Genesis 1-11 covers 2,000 years of the history of man.  The rest of Genesis (12-50) plus 38 more Old Testament books cover only 1,600 years.  So, whatever is happening in Genesis 6:1-4 is taking up some very valuable space. Are good boys marrying naughty girls worth recording? Maybe, if that truly is what caused these “nephilim” to be born. 

If the Hebrew phrase “sons of God” is interpreted the way it is in other Old Testament verses, it means “angels.” No one should challenge the understanding that “daughters of men” refers to “daughters of men.” This strange angelic mixing with human blood would cause some strange offspring called “nephilim” who would be super-human because they would be more than human. Still today we hear about them from Greek mythology. It says they were on the earth after the flood—which would explain the references to super-humans (giants) in Genesis through Deuteronomy and again in I Samuel (Goliath and his four giant brothers).

So why is this idea often rejected today in our western world? Because we are a secular and materialistic culture. Our culture has a hard enough time coming to grips with the concept of prayer let alone the nephilim. We have been born into a spiritual war against a band of rebel angels whose destiny is the Lake of Fire. Chances are they take this whole human history thing a lot more serious than we do.

Josephus (70-90 AD) wrote: “For which reason they removed their camp to Hebron; and when they had taken it, they slew all the inhabitants. There were til then left the race of giants, who had bodies so large, and countenances so entirely different from other men, that they were surprising to the sight, and terrible to the hearing. The bones of these men are still swhewn to this very day, unlike to any credible relations of other men.” (Antiquities ch. II vs. 3)

Justin Martyr (100-165 AD) wrote: “The angels transgressed this appointment and were captivated by love of women. And they begat children, who are those who are called demons.”

Iranaeus (130-202 AD) wrote: “In the days of Noah, He justly brought on the Deluge for the purpose of extinguishing that most infamous race of men then existent, who could not bring forth fruit to God. For the angels who sinned had commingled with them.”

Tertullian (155-230 AD) wrote: “They are the same angels who rushed from heaven on the daughters of men.”

New International Dictionary of the Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, 1997, p. 678 says: “There have been skeletons excavated in Palestine that are 3.2 meters or 10 ½ feet.”

I Enoch (recorded around 160 BC), which is quoted by Jude in Jude 14 and 15 says:

“And it came to pass when the sons of men had increased, that in those days there were born to them fair and beautiful daughters. And the angels, the sons of heaven, saw them and desired them. And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us choose for ourselves wives from the children of men, and let us beget for ourselves children.’ And they took wives for themselves, and everyone chose for himself one each. And they began to go into them and were promiscuous with them…And they became pregnant and bore large giants, and their height was three thousand cubits. These devoured all the toil of men, until men were unable to sustain them. And the giants turned against them in order to devour men. And they began to sin against birds, and against animals, and against reptiles and against fish, and they devoured one another’s flesh and drank the blood from it.  Then the earth complained about the lawless ones.”  (I Enoch 7:6-7)

The Worldwide Flood
There was clearly much wickedness during the time of the Nephilim: 

“The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become and that every    inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time…So the Lord said, ‘I       will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth.’”  (Genesis 6:5, 6)

This is when God speaks to Noah and asks him to build an ark so he can preserve the human race and the promised seed, while destroying everything that had become corrupt on earth.   

All these events are detailed in Genesis 6-9. The dimensions of the ark are given, and journal entries with the precision of an eye witness like Noah himself are recorded. These entries include the date of entry and a vivid description of the geological occurrences resulting from the flood. One journal entry dated the 17th day of the 2nd month of the 600th year says:

“On that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.”

The flood wasn’t just an enormous rainstorm. What happened during the flood could never happen again because the pressurized water under the continental plates and above the atmosphere has been released once and for all. When the “great deep burst forth” the continental plate cracked and water erupted. At the same time, and maybe as a result of atmospheric changes created by the blasts of water, the canopy of water above the atmosphere broke, causing the “floodgates of the heavens to open.” The fallout of this cataclysmic event lasted forty days and forty nights. All life on earth perished while the ark maintained buoyancy like a barge riding on water.

The Third Dispensation

When Noah and his family emerged from the ark, they reentered a world that was very different. For the first time, there wasn’t a protective layer of water above the atmosphere. Due to this loss, man’s life expectancy was greatly reduced. It was at this time that God introduced the new institution of social rule we now call government. In the previous dispensation, anarchy had become the way of life. A new system of authority would help preserve peace and dispense justice on the earth.

God told Noah:

“For your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting…from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. Whoever sheds the blood of man by man shall his blood be shed.”   (Genesis 9:5, 6)

God gave the government the authority to take a man’s life for the crime of murder. He also gave governing men permission to prosecute lesser crimes deserving lesser punishment. Failure to enforce laws and punish crimes would indicate rebellion toward God and injustice toward men. 

Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. Ham had a son named Cush who had a son named Nimrod who became a powerful world leader in this new governmental system. The name “nimrod” means “rebel” or “we will rebel.” Nimrod is described as being a “mighty hunter” (Genesis 10:9) and “a mighty warrior” (I Chronicles 1:10). Just because someone is a good warrior, however, doesn’t make him a great leader, a just king, or a shepherd to his people. Government was designed to provide peace for mankind, but Nimrod used it as a tool to oppress people, promote himself, and lash out against God. Just three generations after the flood, the system of world government fell into the hands of one evil man. The government under Nimrod corrupted the entire earth…again. 

The Fourth Dispensation

Tower of Babel
The Tower of Babel was God’s antidote to the corruption he saw on earth. God confused the language of what was previously one unified, but evil, culture. This confusion diffused the unity and drove people apart, forming new groups where they could better understand each other. Each group (as a result of being driven apart) formed its own language, culture, and government. This was the establishment of the institution of nations.

Continental Plates
It was also at this time, 100 years after the fountains of the deep burst open through the continental plates causing Noah’s flood, that the single land mass first formed in Genesis 1 was split up and separated. It broke apart to form several land masses divided by water. In this way, cultures were able to separate themselves completely from other cultures. Shem, one of Noah’s sons, had a son named Arphaxad who had a son named Eber who had a son named Peleg. The Hebrew word “peleg” means “divided” or “split” and refers to divisions caused by water-channels. Peleg was named after this great event—when the land masses were divided by water.   

“One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided.”      
 (Genesis 10:25; 1 Chronicles 1:19)

Only four generations after the flood, people were divided into different cultures with various languages in separate lands; each of these nations had developed its own government. Genesis 10 lists the original seventy nations that came about as a result of God developing this new institution. Nationalism remains a safe guard for the world today. It stops us from having a corrupt one-world government. Now, when one nation goes astray, God can deal with that nation directly through a cycle of discipline over a period of generations. If that nation remains unwilling to repent, God can eliminate them from human history without wiping out everything as he was forced to do in the worldwide flood.  

Institutions Established by God
At this point in time, God has established five institutions for mankind to function within:

  1. Individual volition
  2. Marriage
  3. Family
  4. Government
  5. Nations

These institutions correlate to the dispensations we’ve seen so far:

  1. Age of the Individual in the Garden of Eden
  2. Age of Families between the fall of man and the flood
  3. Age of Government between the flood and the Tower of Babel
  4. Age of Nations after the Tower of Babel

A timeline from eternity past until the Tower of Babel might then look something like this:

The five institutions needed to preserve life on earth have successfully been established, and now it is up to mankind to honor the institutions and live within their guidelines. God’s next step will be creating Israel as a means of communicating his revelation to all the nations because, unfortunately, many of the nations had already fallen into idol worship (Joshua 24:2) and turned away from God.

KEY POINTS (back to the top)

OTHER SITES (back to the top)

BOOKS from Galyn's Shelf: (back to the top)

QUESTIONS (back to the top)


Chapter Tests:
Sect D, Ch 17 - Overview of the OT

Essay Tests:
Sect D, Ch 17 - The Mishna and the Talmud

Sect D, Ch 18 - Lucifer & the Gap Theory