before the sun goes down

"Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in His sight" (I Chronicles 19:13).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Bible and the sons of God

   Many people ask about the reason that God sent the Flood.  They ask if it was because the fallen angels were intermarrying with human women, who gave birth to devil/man children who were giants.  I find myself happy to speak to you on this subject.

   First of all, this can be a controversial subject, as any one who starts asking questions about it will find.  People's emotions are strangely stirred up about it.  Godly Christian leaders that I know and greatly respect teach, some on one side, some on another.
   In my own searching of the Scriptures, I must go with what the Bible says, whatever others may say.  The Scriptures are my authority, not men, no matter how learned or respected they may be.

   Many want to know what the Nephilim were.  Were they supermen?  Half devil-half man?  Giants?  What is Nephilim?  Well, when we read the King James Bible, which is God's preserved word in the English language, there is no trouble understanding.  The translators of the King James translated the word "Nephilim" as "giants" because that is what it means.
   Some modern versions (which claim to be easier to understand) have used the word "Nephilim," which actually confuses people more.  Moreover we find the same word (Nephilim) twice in Numbers 13:33.  The King James Bible translates these "giants" as well, for that is what they were.  "And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants" ( Numbers 13:33).  If this is just a word meaning giant (which I believe), then there is no problem.
   However, if the Nephilim were part devil/part man and God sent the Flood to destroy them, then finding them again in Canaan means that either they survived the Flood (which means that the Bible is wrong and God wasn't able to wipe them out - Genesis 7:21), or that spirit beings continued to engage sexually with people after the Flood (which means that the Flood didn't accomplish its purpose).  
   According to just what the Bible says, these were GIANTS.  There is no reason from the Bible to think they were anything else.

Let's consider 3 questions and their answers from the Bible:

Question #1 "Did the giants come from the union between the sons of God and the daughters of men?"
Answer: The Bible simply states that "There were giants in the earth after those days" (Genesis 6:4a).  It does not say that the giants were result of the marriages of the sons and daughters in question.  In fact, when we look closely, it is placed by itself, before the daughters of men bare children
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also, after that...” (Genesis 6:4b).  Someone asked me once, "What do you think God was saying when He put that in the Bible?"  I answered, "I think that God wanted us to know that there were giants in the earth in those days.  Giants are big people.  There were giants before the Flood and after the Flood.  Some of Adam's descendants were giants.  Some of Noah's descendants were giants.  The Bible talks a good bit about them.  You have heard of Goliath (I Samuel 17) and his four brothers (II Samuel 21), Og, Arbah, Anak, Sheshai, Talmai, and Ahiman; also the Emims, the Horims, the Avims, the Zamzummims (lots of m's...not M&M's, but giants!). 
   Moses and the Israelites, Caleb, and David faced and fought with giants.  Some giants have lived in more recent history.  Some people are tall, others are small, and still others are average.   This is how genetics works.  When God made Adam, He made him with a genetic possibility of many variables, evidently among them, the ability for some people to attain large sizes.  With sin's entrance upon the creation, the human gene pool began to experience mistakes.  At first it wouldn't really be noticed.  But by the time of our present day, there are many mistakes and losses of information.  Still today we have people over seven feet tall and we have the Pygmy men of the Congo who are an average of under four and a half feet tall.  God put into DNA the ability to have great variety, but always within the kinds.  It is possible that some of these giants were the children of the sons of God and the daughters of men, but from the passage, it cannot be proven. 

   So, no matter who the giants were, there is no hard concrete proof from the Bible making a connection between these giants and those sons of God and daughters of men.

Question #2 "Were 'the sons of God' in Genesis 6?  Angels or human or what?"

Answer: The Bible simply calls them "sons of God."  The word "son" in the Bible can mean an immediate relationship, such as David was "the son of Jesse" (I Samuel 17:58).  It can mean a remote relationship, such as Jesus is called "the son of David" and "the son of Abraham" (Matthew 1:1), showing He was of their lineage.  It can also be used of a son-in-law, such as when David is called "son" by his father-in-law King Saul (I Samuel 26:17).  Jesus is God the Son, the only begotten Son of the Father.  Unlike humans or angels (or any created thing), Jesus did not ever start to exist. He did not begin at Bethlehem when He came into the world, conceived and born as a baby.  He had been from everlasting (Micah 5:2).  He is  eternally the Son (Hebrews 1:1-14).  The word "son" or "child" can also be figurative, as in "having the characteristics of."  We find examples of this in that the sons of Eli were called "sons of Belial" (I Samuel 2:12), James and John were called "sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17).  Christians are called "children of Abraham," even if they are Gentiles, because they have come to have faith in the Saviour, like he did (Galatians 3:7).  This is how the term is sometimes (thrice) used of angels as well (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7).  Finally it is used to describe those who are followers of God by faith in the promised Saviour.  Thus, they are "born again" into God's family by grace through faith (John 3:3):

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12).
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14).
"For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God" (Romans 8:19).
"That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15).
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not" (I John 3:1).
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (I John 3:2).

   I am well-acquainted with the theory that the "sons of God" in Genesis 6 were angelic beings, but there are at least three reasons from the Bible why I do not believe that they were angels at all (Even one reason from the Bible should be enough, but I like to have three reasons for what I believe and how I live based on the Scriptures [Here are three verses from the Bible that establish that "at the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established"--Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16; II Corinthians 13:1.]):

#1 Because it contradicts what GOD TELLS us about "kinds."
   God tells us that He created things to bring forth after their own kind.  Angels and humans are not the same kind.  The idea of angels mingling with people sexually and begatting children violates the Scriptural principle of bringing forth "after their kind."  You can find examples of this spoken of in Genesis 1:11-12,21,24-25; 6:19-20; 7:14-15; 8:19; and in I Corinthians 15:39.  This is integral to the worldview of biblical creation science.  I do not believe that angels are ABLE to begat children with people.

#2 Because of what JESUS SAID about the angels.
   Our Saviour, Who made all things, including angels (John 1:1-3), made it very clear that in the resurrection, we shall be " the angels in heaven" (Matthew 22:29-30), which "neither marry, nor are given in marriage."  God made the angels.  He never tells us that new angels are being born.  Therefore they could not be the sons of God in Genesis 6, who "...took them wives of all which they chose..." (Genesis 6:2,4).  These sons of God were marrying them.  They were their "wives."  And anyway, angels of God would not violate His will.

#3 Because of the VOLUME OF THE BOOK.
   Oh, yes, some will assent that this is true, but then they assert that the sons of God in Genesis 6 were fallen angels, saying, "These were the angels that rebelled with Satan soon after the creation week.  They would have violated God's will."  Nearly everyone I have spoken with goes to this point, saying the sons of God were fallen angels, devils, by some called "demons."  But there we have a problem.  How does simply falling from perfection make a spirit (Hebrews 1:7) into a being that can reproduce?  It does not make sense that by rebelling, angels became sexual.  That is ridiculous.  Also, I think there is even a stronger objection, to wit, where in the Bible does God call devils "the sons of God"? No where.  There are definite places where angels are called "sons of God" (I referenced them earlier, such as Job 1:6), where Jesus Christ is called the Son of God in a way very different than anyone else (Luke 1:35), and where people who trust in Him are called "sons of God" (John 1:12), but NEVER devils.
   "Wait!" someone may interrupt here.  "In the book of Job, Satan is called a son of God!"  Well, take a close look at it.  Job 1:6 says, "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also AMONG THEM."  It does NOT say that Satan was one of them (Job 2:1 also agrees).  Some will say that no Old Testament person is called a "son of God."  But Adam was.  See in Luke the following: "Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God" (Luke 3:38).  So here we have a mention of an Old Testament person who was called a "son of God."  We also find that God calls the nation of Israel His son, because they belonged to Him, by virtue of the faith of their father Abraham, and God's promise to Abraham: "...Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn..."(Exodus 4:22-23).  He had chosen them and the nation was His "son".  The fact is that the Old Testament saints were saved by faith in the coming Saviour the same way that you and I are saved by faith in the Saviour Who has already come.  So God's people (those who were following the LORD by faith) in the Old Testament could be called the sons of God the same way that I am a son of God. 
   So who were the sons of God in the passage in question (Genesis 6)?  I believe that these sons of God were mostly those of the Godly line of Seth, who called on the name of the LORD (Genesis 4:26).  These men are listed in Genesis 5, the chapter preceding.  They were the sons of Adam, "the son of God."  Interestingly, none of these men perished in the Flood. Adam through Jared all died before the Flood.  Enoch walked with God and was translated that he should not see death (Hebrews 11:5).  If you look at our longevity chart, or work the math out from the Bible, you'll find that Methuselah died the year of the Flood.  His name means, "his death will bring" or "When he dies--judgment."  Lamech (Methuselah's son and Noah's father), died a few years before the Flood at age 777.  I think that those of that line and their families were the "sons of God."  The Flood did not destroy the lives of these named men.  They probably were trusting in God and were definitely were all gone when the Flood came.  But what of their children (who also could be called sons of God)?  What about Noah's brothers and sisters and cousins, and distant kin from the family of Shem that are referred to in Genesis 5:4,7,10,13,16,19,22,26, & 30?  I believe that they "saw the daughters of men, that they were fair."  These daughters were of the line of Cain and other children of Adam and Eve who were not followers of the true God.  They turned and married, and were drawn away from the true God, and their children grew up to be mighty, people of renown, but not people of God.  So I do not believe that the children of the sons of God and daughters of men were part devil, though I do not doubt that the devils were working behind the scenes to distract and derail the courses of their lives.  It is entirely possible that the women, and thereby some of the resulting children could have been devil-possessed, BUT they were NOT part devil/part man. 

Question #3 Why do you think God sent the Flood?  Was it the angel/man relations?  The lifestyles of the pre-Flood people?  Something else?

Answer: The Bible simply tells us the cause for the Flood.  I will cover those things, but first, let's deal with what was NOT the reason for the Flood.
   Some may claim that God sent the Flood because the sons of God (whom they claim as angelic beings) were marrying in with the daughters of men.  For instance, some have proposed that both the giants (Nephilim) of Genesis 6:4 and Numbers 13:33 were the product of angel/human mingling.  The fallen angels mingled before the Flood and God destroyed their children in the Flood and then after the Flood, the fallen angels returned and started repopulating again with some of the Canaanites, so God told the Israelites to destroy all the people of the promised land to wipe out the seed of the angels.  That is their idea.  Nevertheless, it must be confessed that from the Bible, you can show no evidence that judgment came from angel-human relations.

-God never said He was sending the Flood because of the fallen angels intermingling with people.  He said He was sending the Flood because of the wickedness of man, which was great (Genesis 6:5,13). 

-God never said for Israel to destroy the Canaanites because they were polluted by the seed of the fallen angels.  He said He was sending them to destroy them because the cup of their iniquity was now full, unlike in the time of Abraham (Genesis 15:16).  Also he commanded it so that the Canaanites would not get the children of Israel to fall into sin (Deuteronomy 7:1-4).

So what kind of wickedness brought on God's judgment of the Flood?  Let's take a look at Genesis 6, and then amplify it with the volume of the Book.

1. God's people compromised with wicked people--- "The sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair; and they took them wives, of all which they chose..." (Genesis 6:2,4). 
   This is a serious thing.  God says that He instituted marriage that He might "seek a godly seed" (Malachi 2:15).  Those who fear the true God are like salt and preserve the society about them inhibiting corruption.  If there had only been 10 men "worth their salt" in Sodom, that city would have been spared (Genesis 18:32).  However, when the righteous compromise and marry those who do not know God, the children often are not trained in the ways of the LORD, and the family - the fabric of society - crumbles.  
   We see other examples of this throughout Scripture.  I will give you a few examples:

A. The Israelites were coming to the promised land.  King Balak of Moab, and other heathen rulers, being afraid of Israel, wanted to defeat them. They tried to get Baalam the son of Beor to curse them, but the LORD wouldn't let him.  They were God's people and He was protecting them.  This is told about Numbers chapters 22-24.  But Baalam gave them counsel of how to cause God to take away His hand of blessing from Israel.  For his sin, later Baalam was slain, as well as many of those who followed his wicked advice (Numbers chapter 31).  What was Baalam's advice?  To use their daughters to draw away the hearts of the men of Israel from God into idolatry (Numbers 31:16).  How did it happen?  Read Numbers 25.  "And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel" (Numbers 25:1-3).  So first the men were drawn into immorality with the beautiful women of Moab, then they were led into worshiping false gods.  And God judged sinful Israel with a plague that slew twenty-four thousand (Numbers 25:9).  If it hadn't been for the repentance of the people and the zealous action of Phinehas the son of Eleazar the son of Aaron, many more would have perished.

B. Samson was an Israelite judge, a mighty man, a hero of faith (Hebrews 11:32).  If anyone was given "super-human" strength, he was.  And yet he was drawn away by the daughters of the pagan Philistines and this eventually caused his defeat (Judges 14:1; 16:1,4-21).  Samson wanted the heathen girl of Timnath, for example, because she "pleased Samson well"  (Judges 14:7).  He should have been choosing a wife who pleased God as well.

C. Solomon was the son of David, the man after God's own heart.  God called Solomon "Jedidiah" and said that he was loved of the LORD (12:24-25).  King Solomon started well and was blessed by God, so that he became the wisest man who ever lived (I Kings 5:5-13).  However, in his later years, Solomon married a lot of strange (foreign and heathen) women, which the law of God forbade (Exodus 34:11-16) and "...his wives turned away his heart after other gods..." (I Kings 11:1-4).  So this great king fell into gross idolatry as we read in I Kings 11:5-8.  What was God's response?  "And the LORD was angry with Solomon..."  (I Kings 11:9-13).  God brought adversaries to harass Solomon at the end of his reign (I Kings 11:14-40), the nation would split and his son would lose control ten tribes of Israel to another (I Kings 11:11-13).  And sadly, His son Rehoboam would not just lose ten out of twelve tribes, but also would have problems with multiple wives and fall into the same idolatry as his dad did (I Kings 14:21-24; II Chronicles 12:1-2).

   These three examples from diverse parts of the Bible establish the importance of understanding this principle, but let's consider a couple more:

D. Ahab was the son of a wicked king of Israel, but he outdid his dad for badness, and you can see one of the reasons why.  It was because he chose a wicked woman of Zidon and was influenced by her to increase the idolatry of the northern kingdom: "...Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshiped him..." (I Kings 16:30-33). 

E. Jehoshaphat was a godly king of Judah, the southern kingdom at the same time as Ahab.  He followed the LORD and God blessed him.  However, he joined in alliance and friendship with the wicked Ahab (II Chronicles 18:1).  This led to bad choices, including that he took the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel to be the wife of his son, the crown prince Jehoram. This woman was named Athaliah and she was a wicked influence in his life (II Chronicles 21:6-11).  God judged Jehoram (II Chronicles 21:12-18) and he died a horrible death (II Chronicles 21:19), and the widow Athaliah went on to be an evil counsellor to their son Ahaziah (II Chronicles 21:6).  After Ahaziah died, Athaliah attempted to slay all of the king's sons and all the males of the house, so she could rule alone (II Chronicles 22:10), but God preserved the line by having baby Joash secretly rescued and hidden until he could take back the throne.  Reading the history of the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah, we find how great an effect a king could make on himself, his family, and his kingdom's present and future for good or ill, just by whom he married.

F. After the Babylonian captivity, the people returned to Judah and Jerusalem.  Ezra was grieved to hear that they had taken pagan wives of foreign lands (Ezra 9:1-2).  Read Ezra's prayer of desperation to the LORD about this sin in Ezra 9:3-15 that includes the reason why Israel was not to join in marriage with the heathen: "...Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, the land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness. Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons..." (Ezra 9:10-12).  The Jews were not to marry the heathen, because it would turn their hearts from following the true God.

G. Nehemiah, the governor of Jerusalem, who lived at the same time also confronted this sin of marrying those who knew not the LORD.  He was very straight forward in his dealing with it. Consider his testimony: "In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jew's language, but according to the language of each people.  And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?" (Nehemiah 13:23-27).  Plainly, Nehemiah didn't mince words in his eloquent denouncement of the practice.  Notice specifically that the children were affected by the loss of training in the Lord.

   Let's stop right now and realize that this did not and does not mean that God was forbidding marriages between a man and a woman of different nations exactly.  We find a good number of instances in Scripture when an Israelite and a foreigner married and were blessed by God in their union.
Rahab was a Caananite harlot from Jericho who not only was spared death, but got to marry Salmon the son of Naashon, an eminent  prince of Judah.  Their son Boaz married the Moabitess woman Ruth, and God blessed them too.  Both of these women can be found in the ancestral line of the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5).  Why was it okay for them to marry men of Israel?  Because they had turned to the true God of the Bible and were no longer "pagan."  We are given examples of people from heathen lands who came to trust in the LORD and were accepted in Israel.  Ittai the Gittite (a Philistine) became a leader of a third of David's army (II Samuel 15:19-22; 18:2).  Zelek the Ammonite and faithful Uriah the Hittite were both numbered among David's elite "mighty men of valour" (II Samuel 23:37,39).  Naaman, the captain of the Syrian host, was cleansed of his leprosy and also came to trust in the living God of Israel (II Kings 5:1-19).

   Physically, we are all from the same family, Adam's family.  In his sermon on Mar's Hill, Paul proclaimed, "God...hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth..." (Acts 17:24-26).  We all came from Adam and Eve, and more recently, from Noah and his family.  There is only one human race - Adam's race.  God created mankind with a great variety of genetic variation, but always within the human "kind."  So from the Scriptures, we find that there is no wrong in marrying someone from another people group.

   Spiritually, however, you could say that there are two families in the world who should not intermarry.  They are the children of God (John 1:12) and the children who are still in rebellion against God.  In Scripture they have different names, like "children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:3), and "children of disobedience" (Colossians 3:6), and "the daughters of men" (Genesis 6:2).  The Jews who rejected Jesus thought that they were the children of God, simply because they came from Abraham.  However, Jesus denounced that thinking, and let them know that their father was the devil (John 8:39-47).  This does not mean that Satan was their biological father, any more than Adam was the biological son of God.  It was showing in whose path they were following.  Because of Adam's sin, by which he yielded to the devil's way, we all are born sinners, by nature the children of wrath, who deserve hellfire for our rebellion.  But when we turn from our sin to the Saviour, He makes us "born again" as children of God (John 3:3; Romans 8:14-17).
   Remember from John 1:12 that the deciding factor between the two families is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  So the Bible tells us that it is wrong for believers and unbelievers to be unequally yoked together in a relationship.  If one is following the Lord Jesus and the other isn't, then they are going in opposite directions.  Therefore, if the people of two different faiths marry, there will friction in the home and a lack of unity.  Many times it causes the Christian to be drawn away from being fully dedicated to Jesus Christ.  Often it is the children who suffer most from the disunity and end up confused and deeper in rebellion themselves.  This is why God warns against such a practice.  A godly single Christian man should not allow himself to become romantically, emotionally, or physically attached to a woman who is not saved.  Instead he should save himself for and seek to marry a woman who is also saved and following the Lord with all her heart, so they will have union and run the race together throughout life, raising their children to know and serve the Lord Jesus.

2. There was great wickedness in the earth--- "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth..." (Genesis 6:5).
   It is very likely that people began to worship false gods and devils (I Corinthians 10:20), and did horrible abominations that brought God's wrath.  See what caused Him to bring judgment upon Israel in the days of the judges (Judges 2:11-15) and the judgment God prophesied against Judah because of the sins of King Manasseh (II Kings 21:1-18).
   The book of Proverbs lists seven things that God hates, that are abomination to Him: "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren" (Proverbs 6:16-19).  These abominations and many others were likely very rampant in Noah's day.  Included in this cause of judgment are three parts, which I marked A,B, and C:

A. The evil imaginations of their hearts- "...and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5).
   The imaginations of their thoughts were evil all the time.  Remember that this is a sin and hated by God; look up Jeremiah 17:9 and Matthew 15:19 (we have already seen Proverbs 16:18).  The world was full of people who did not like to retain God in all their thoughts.  They did not seek God, but rather went their own way. "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts." (Psalms 10:4).  This can lead to many evil ideas and doings, which we find in Romans, where it speaks of those who reject the Creator: "...And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient..." (Romans 1:28).  We think it is evil in our present day (and it is), but consider that when a person could live up to nine hundred years, he had even more time to think of many wicked things.  We need to be careful what we allow to remain in our thoughts too, for it will come out in our attitudes, words, and deeds (Proverbs 23:7; Matthew 12:34). 

B. The violence that filled the earth- "...and the earth was filled with violence..." (Genesis 6:11,13). 
   Violent crime was rampant and rife in Noah's day.  It was filled with violence!  Remember that one of the things God hates and will judge are hands that shed innocent blood (Proverbs 6:17).  This would include assault and battery, murders, abortions, beatings, thefts, rape, kidnapping, human sacrifice, execution of the godly and the innocent, slavery, with much else.  God will not let this sin go unpunished.  Don't forget that He judged Israel for the violence of wicked Manasseh (II Kings 21:16; 24:3-4).

C. The corruption of God's creation- "...And God looked upon the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth" (Genesis 6:11-12).
   The earth was corrupt.  All flesh had corrupted his way.  When we rejected the Creator and His ways, it begins us on a slippery slope into vile perversions and rebellion against all that is righteous.  You can see a list of the corruption one can be lowered to when he rejects the Creator in Romans 1:18-32.  This would include sodomy (homosexuality) and all manner of sexual perversion of God's design of one man for one woman for life.  Notice that one of the practices was to have multiple wives "...they took them wives of all which they chose" (Genesis 6:2).  This diverges from God's design for marriage, shown in Adam having one wife for life.  When speaking of marriage, Jesus Himself referred back to the first marriage as God's pattern and said, "They twain [not they three or four or more] shall be one flesh" (Matthew 19:4-6).

3. Their cup of iniquity was full--- "...yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years" (Genesis 6:3).
   God gave the people time before judgment.  He is patient, but there comes a time when the cup of iniquity is full, and judgment comes.  We see this when God spoke to the Israelites concerning the conquest of Canaan.  The wicked Canaanites were to be destroyed utterly because they had been given 400 years to repent while Israel was in Egypt (Genesis 15:13-16), had not repented, and their cup was now full.  If they were allowed to remain, they would draw the children of Israel to fall into their sin (Deuteronomy 7:1-4).  We are told in II Peter 3 and other passages that God is longsuffering, but will judge when the time is full.

   When we see these things, it should be quite manifest and self-evident why God judged the world with a Flood. 

   Yes, some Bible teachers look at it differently.  I respect their opinions.  Many of them are great and godly men and friends of mine and of the ministry here at CSE.  But they are NOT the Bible.  Their teachings, like that of anyone else in every area, should be tested by the plain word of the Bible.  Evaluating the angel/men relations interpretation of Genesis 6 in the light of the volume of the Book, I must confess that it is in error and I stay with the Book.  It is true that different people will have different ideas on things.  I do not rest in any man's assertions, but wholly stand on the word of God.  I recommend that you study the Bible and go on with what the Bible clearly says.
   Is there any problem with believing this interpretation?  For one thing is in in violation of the testimony of the Bible, and thus is wrong.  That should be enough problem for any Christian.  Another danger I see of this false teaching is that it actually takes away responsibility from people.  If the Flood happened because of the sin of the "angels," then where does practical application for us come in?  Why does Jesus (Matthew 24:37-39), Paul (Hebrews 11:7), and Peter (II Peter 2:5) link the judgment of the Flood as a result of man's sin and an illustration of what the next judgment will be like.  You see, if it was the angels who were being punished, the people had no choice.  How is a woman going to say no to such a powerful being?  They "took them wives."  How is anyone going to apply this to their lives for personal growth and holiness?  When we try to read such a bizarre interpretation into the Scriptures, it prevents us from remembering the principles of personal holiness, holding to the conviction of waiting for a godly spouse and standing for righteousness in our present day.  In this way, the teaching of the sons of God being angels seems to me to be earthly, sensual, and devilish (James 3:15).

   You may be thinking, "Why, those things that brought judgment to Noah's world are getting prevalent in our day too!"  Basically, "...there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  God tells us He is going to judge the world again in righteousness (Acts 17:31), this time by fire (II Peter 3:10-12).  There was only one way to be saved from the Flood (going into the door of the ark), and there is only one way to be saved from the next judgment, and that is through turning in faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 16:31).  Make sure you are ready, and then share the Gospel with others, so that they also may be saved.  Let us repent as Christians of our sin and apathy, get into the Bible, be salt, and take a stand for truth to preserve whatever society the Lord has us in (II Chronicles 7:14).  Let us win souls (Proverbs 11:30)  When God was going to judge Jerusalem for her abominations, He sought for a man among them who would intercede and stand in the gap, but He found none (Ezekiel 22:1-31).  Will you be found as a man "in the gap" for your sphere of influence in your household, town, nation?  Perhaps God will be merciful and give more time in another "Great Awakening" as He did for King Josiah (II Chronicles 34:18-33), the Ninevites (book of Jonah) and others through history.

   I hope this will be helpful in sharing about the Bible and the sons of God.

There is still time to win a battle before the sun goes down.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Training Children in the Truth

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (III John 4).

How can we train our children in the Christian faith, to walk in the Truth?”

This question came from a father and mother who really desire that their children not only have salvation, but that they grow in faith and follow Jesus Christ with all their hearts.

I know many parents who have this same desire for their sons and daughters. Though it is true that each individual is responsible for his or her own decisions and can accept or reject the truth and training they receive, there is a definite general principle that if you “Train up a child in the way he should go...when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). There are many way in which this principle can be implemented, but I will zero in on three major parts:

[Important note to consider - Have your children trusted in Jesus as their personal Saviour yet? All the training in the world will have no eternal worth if your child doesn't have salvation.  When your child understands he is a sinner and Christ's payment for his sin, he can be saved. I believed on the Lord Jesus Christ when I was three and a half.]

From what I have read in the Bible, I would counsel that parents do the following three things:

1. Train their children to love the Truth. 

Instill in them a love for good books, especially the Book of books, the Bible.  Read the Bible to them and with them every day.  Starting young is important.  My parents starting reading the Bible to me when I was still in the womb. 

Remember what Paul said about Timothy--that from a child, he had knows the Holy Scriptures (II Timothy 3:14-17).  Teach your children (even your young ones) how to read, study, memorize, and meditate on the Bible (Psalm 1; Psalm 112:1-10; Psalm 119; II Timothy 2:15).  God promises rewards of wisdom and understanding to those who meditate on His word.   
Also, you can read the exciting biographies of great Christians like David Livingstone, Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor, Brother Andrew, and George Muller.  Help your children find heroes that are pleasing to the Lord. Have you read Ten Peas in a Pod, by Arnold Pent? That is a great book to read as a family. 

Being in the word yourself, and applying the Scripture to you personally, will give your children an example to follow. Share videos and books on creation and truth, so they will have answers, and be able to share with others. 

2. Train them in the way of the Truth. 

Help your children find good friends that will build them up in the Lord (Proverbs 13:20).  Teach them to fear the Lord (Psalm 34:11).  Encourage them and nurture them in the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

Live out for them the truth of redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16).  Make sure right priorities are demonstrated in your home, and show them how not to waste time on things that are not profitable.  Video games or other independent play can become a time waster--if not balanced with family time, Bible reading, hiking in the great out-of-doors, learning valuable skills, and other beneficial past times. 

Find ministry that you can involve your young children (giving away tracts, helping teach Bible clubs, writing letters to missionaries, singing in nursing homes, visiting the elderly, etc.). Be faithfully involved in your local Bible-believing church, and bring your children along to share in the church's ministry (Hebrews 10:25).  Help them learn the importance of seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). 

3. Love them in Truth. 

Be there for them (Proverbs 29:15).  Play with them.  Use teachable moments (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).  Show you love them by your words, your actions, your attitudes, and how you relate to your spouse.  Be a godly example (Titus 2:7).  Children pick up up a lot more than many people commonly think. 

Make sure you are open and loving and joyful in the Lord and your children will see the sincerity in your lives.  This also includes being consistent in godly discipline (Hebrews 12:6).  Hold them accountable for their actions (Proverbs 20:11). 

And pray, pray, pray for your children (I Thessalonians 5:17)!  Prayer is vital. Remember how fervently Job prayed for his children (Job 1:5).
If these steps are taken and applied, I am convinced that it will produce good fruit, and help your children “walk in Truth” in their personal lives when they are older (Proverbs 22:6).

There is still time to win a battle before the sun goes down.