Further Biblical Support for the "Angel View" of Genesis 6:4
Updated: Nov 16
(From the study "The Identity Of The Nephilim")
In our past several articles, we've advocated for what may be called the "angel view" of Genesis 6:4. This refers to the interpretation that the "sons of God" mentioned in that verse refer to fallen angels, whom the passage then states had sexual relations with human women, producing a hybrid offspring of giants the Bible calls "Nephilim." While it may be difficult for some to accept, this is the clear, plain meaning of the text – as we've shown so far in this article series.
But if this is to be accepted as the accurate understanding of Genesis 6 and the pre-Flood world, wouldn’t we expect to find further mention of it elsewhere in scripture? Taking into account the enormity of this subject’s impact on the Biblical narrative, we would absolutely expect further mention, commentary, or allusion to it being woven throughout the Bible. Actually, that is exactly what we do find – and these further complimentary passages add valuable confirmation of the interpretation presented in these articles. Let’s begin to take a closer look at some of these passages.
In a previous article, we mentioned that Numbers 13:33 is the only passage other than Genesis 6:1-4 that explicitly uses the Hebrew word “Nephilim.” This passage deals with the post-Flood giants in the Promised Land during the Conquest of Canaan. In addition, there are many other passages in the Bible that offer convincing support for the "angel view." As we begin to examine them, let’s start with a key Old Testament passage that is often overlooked or ignored – but that convincingly verifies this interpretation. This passage is Job 4:13-18, and it reads as follows.
Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: -Job 4:18
We’ve underlined the key words in this passage: “angels” and “folly.” Most readers may quickly overlook this word “folly,” as it’s not a word commonly used in modern English – and when it is used, it doesn’t carry with it the same connotations as it did in the Elizabethan period of Early Modern English (the era in which the King James Version was written).  In modern English, we may think of “folly” as referring to “silly behavior.” However, let’s be clear that in "KJV English," it’s used to describe serious, illicit sexual activity. Ryan Pitterson writes the following concerning this subject.
The word "folly," which is translated from the Hebrew "nebalah," is commonly defined as "senseless; or disgraceful." While dictionary definitions are important, the primary source for the meaning of a word is the context in which it occurs. In the King James Version of the Old Testament, "folly" is most often used to describe sexual sin. 
It is enlightening to look at several examples of how “folly” is used in the KJV Old Testament.
And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter: which thing ought not to be done. -Genesis 34:1-2, 7
Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you. -Deuteronomy 22:21
Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him ["know", meaning to have sexual relations with – in this case, rape]. And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly. -Judges 19:22-23
And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her. And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do anything to her. And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister. And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly. -2 Samuel 13:1-2, 11-12
From looking at these instances, we can see that rape, fornication, and incest are three prominent contexts in which “folly” is used in the KJV Old Testament – three examples of illicit sexual activity. With this in mind, we can then look back to our original passage (Job 4:18 – “his angels he charged with folly”) and recognize that when you let scripture interpret scripture, the Bible itself confirms that a group of angels committed illicit sexual activity, providing a strong confirmation of our understanding of Genesis 6.
Let’s now skip ahead to the New Testament and focus on several significant complimentary passages that also validate the angel view of Genesis 6.
First, we will look to the book of Jude, which provides one of the principal complimentary passages on the angelic seduction of human women and subsequent rise of the Nephilim. Actually, this passage even includes within it a key to answering the question of how an angel from heaven could produce a child with a human woman. In Jude 1:6-7, we read the following.
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. -Jude 1:6-7
This passage describes a certain group of angels that “kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation.” This same group of sinful angels is now described as being imprisoned in “everlasting chains under darkness” until their final judgment. Interestingly, Jude assumes that the readers are already familiar with who these angels are. In other words, he’s clearly alluding to the storyline of the fallen angels first mentioned in Genesis 6, which everyone during his day was familiar with. This is made even plainer in the next verse, which identifies the sinful activity these angels were committing – which resulted in their imprisonment. It says they were committing fornication (or illicit sexual activity) and going after “strange flesh” – much like what was happening at Sodom and Gomorrah.
In "The Identity Of The Nephilim", we look deeper into the issue of what really may have been happening at Sodom and Gomorrah – but for now, let’s just say that the reference to these cities may have closer ties to Genesis 6 than most realize. Let’s not overlook the fact that the men of Sodom also wanted to have sexual relations with angels – the angels that came to visit Lot (Genesis 19:5). Again, you can find out more about that by reading our full study. For now, let’s further break down this passage in Jude.
The phrase “first estate” (in “the angels which kept not their first estate”) refers to their beginning or their origin – the Greek word arché (Strong’s # G746).  In other words, these angels abandoned their original position as holy angels of God in heaven. It then says that they left this position by leaving their “own habitation.” As we will see, this word “habitation” is the key we referenced earlier that helps us answer the question of how an angel can come together with a human woman and produce offspring. This word translated as “habitation” is the Greek word oikétérion (Strong's # G3613), and means a dwelling place, a habitation, or an abode. 
But here’s the key: this word oikétérion is only used twice in scripture. The only other place where it’s found is 2 Corinthians 5:2, which metaphorically describes the glorified, heavenly body that a born-again believer will one day receive in the resurrection. 2 Corinthians 5:1-6 reads:
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house [oikétérion] which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: -2 Corinthians 5:1-6
The apostle Paul uses the Greek word oikétérion (translated as “house” in Verse 2) to describe the future resurrection body that we, as believers, will receive. Pitterson further connects the dots for us, writing:
The Apostle Paul, under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, explains that for Christians the flesh bodies we are born with pale in comparison to the heavenly bodies we will receive at the Rapture when all believers are translated. This celestial body is immortal and does not contain the sin nature that all human beings have inherited from Adam. So, the ‘house’ that Paul desires is the same "habitation," or "oikétérion" that the angels who sinned chose to desecrate to pursue their sinful schemes. 
Chuck Missler put it this way:
The very term oikétérion, alluding to the heavenly body with which the believer longs to be clothed, is the precise term used for the heavenly bodies from which the fallen angels had disrobed. 
Scripture is very clear that the angels were able to leave their original heavenly bodies and manifest themselves in bodies that were physical. So, the sinning sons of God who left their “habitation” to go after “strange flesh” received the punishment of being reserved in chains of darkness until the day of judgment. The renowned twentieth century Bible scholar Arthur W. Pink summarizes our position in the following comment concerning this passage in Jude.
The reference in Jude to the angels leaving their own habitation appears to point to and correspond with these "sons of God" (angels) coming in unto the daughters of men. Apparently, by this means, Satan hoped to destroy the human race (the channel through which the woman’s Seed was to come) by producing a race of monstrosities. How nearly he succeeded is evident from the fact that with the exception of one family, "all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth" (Gen. 6:12). That monstrosities were produced as the result of this unnatural union between the "sons of God" (angels) and the daughters of men, is evidence from the words of Genesis 6:4: "There were giants in the earth in those days.” 
So, we can see that this passage in Jude is a clear New Testament confirmation of the “angel view” of Genesis 6. But the New Testament continues to give us further confirmation of this in several other key verses.
2 Peter 2:4-9
Next, we will look to the book of 2 Peter, which gives us a second key complimentary passage describing the illicit union between the fallen angels and human women. 2 Peter 2:4-9 reads:
For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell [Tartarus], and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: -2 Peter 2:4-9
In this similar passage, we again see a mention of a group of angels who sinned and received the punishment of being imprisoned in chains of darkness until the judgment. And in the verses that follow, like the passage in Jude, we again find a reference to Sodom and Gomorrah. But this passage even more clearly links these angels to the days of Noah and the Genesis 6 context. We see this in Verse 5, as it immediately refers to God’s destruction of the “old world” through the judgment of the Flood.
But there’s an additional point of significance that we must make note of from this passage. As mentioned, the Greek word translated “hell” in this passage is the word Tartarus (Strong's # G5020) – and it provides us with another unique clue.
First, we should note that this is the only place in scripture where this Greek word is used. This word has been variously translated in our English Bible versions; for example, the New English Bible translates it as “the dark pits of hell,” the Revised Version has it as “pits of darkness,” and the New International Version says “gloomy dungeons.” In all of these translations, depth and darkness are the distinctives of Tartarus.
Normally, when, for instance, the KJV uses the word “hell,” it is translated from the Greek word hadés (Strong's # G86). Hades refers to the resting place of the dead and place of departed souls/spirits.  So then, why doesn’t the Bible use Hades to describe this place of imprisonment for the fallen angels (instead of Tartarus)? And if Tartarus is only used this one time in the Bible, can we know what this term refers to? Actually, the answer to the second question is “yes,” we can know what this word means – and learning what it means will answer the first question of why the Bible uses this term here.
What did the word Tartarus mean to the ancient Greeks? The late author, researcher, and pastor I.D.E. Thomas tells us that this word was used by the ancient Greek poets, such as Homer. Thomas writes:
When Homer used the word [Tartarus] he gave it the meaning of subterranean. Hades was the place where the souls of departed men awaited the coming judgment, but Tartarus was a much deeper and darker abyss and reserved specifically for fallen angels. 
In Greek so-called mythology, Tartarus is the abyss described as a place lower than Hades where the Titans had been imprisoned. Who were the Titans? According to the Greek legends, the mighty Titans were a powerful race that ruled the world before the Olympians, in the time of the Golden Age of men. They were known as being immortal giants of incredible strength, and they possessed knowledge of advanced technology, or what the mortals would have called “magic,” which they brought to earth. They are also known as the “elder gods.”   The legends of giant Titans, Olympians, gods and demigods (half god/half human) were considered by the Greeks to be based on an actual core of real history. The Greeks believed these legends and actually worshipped many of these figures as deities.
But the point here is that Peter, the writer of the passage we’re examining in 2 Peter, living in a Greco-Roman world and writing in Greek, certainly knew the difference between Hades and Tartarus. Specifically choosing the word Tartarus describes another more specific place of punishment other than Hades. In other words, in this passage, Peter was deliberately linking the account of the sons of God/Nephilim in Genesis 6 with the events of Greek so-called mythology (which we propose is actually just a perversion of the Genesis 6 story). These were the “mighty men of renown” spoken of in Genesis 6:4 – men whom the Greeks viewed as gods.
It is eye-opening to recognize that all of the ancient cultures have legends echoing these same concepts of heavenly beings called “gods” descending to earth, having relations with human women, and introducing advanced technology to mankind. Just as we find countless ancient cultures that record a legend of a great Deluge afflicting the planet, we find the story of the Nephilim reflected in numerous ancient cultures worldwide. Based on the Biblical record, it seems as though these so-called legends are actually based on a core of truth, and actually substantiate the Genesis 6 account.
1 Peter 3:18-20
For our third complimentary passage, we look to the book of 1 Peter, which provides us with another witness of the Genesis 6 event, and clearly connects with the common themes of the first two passages we looked at. 1 Peter 3:18-20 reads:
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit; By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is eight souls were saved by water. -1 Peter 3:18-20
In this third passage, we find a reference to “spirits” who are currently in prison, and Peter identifies these spirits as being disobedient during the pre-Flood days when Noah was preparing the ark. Psalms 104:4 and then Hebrews 1:7 which quotes it, identify angels as being spirits (“…who maketh his angels spirits…”). Clearly, this is yet another reference to the angels who sinned and are now imprisoned – as Peter said in the previous passage we looked at – in Tartarus, and as the first two passages both said – in chains of darkness until the judgment. Clearly, these three passages we’ve examined are all referring to this same event – the sons of God who fell and sinned with women in Genesis 6.
But in this passage, Peter says that Jesus at one point actually went to this prison to “preach” to these spirits. What does this mean?
Peter is describing Christ’s time in the underworld during the time after His crucifixion and prior to His resurrection. The Greek word translated “preach” here actually means “to herald, or publicly declare.” It doesn’t mean that Jesus preached the gospel to them so that they could be saved. Instead, Jesus, while His body lay in the grave, went to Hades and proclaimed His victory to the fallen angels imprisoned there! They had lost, and He had won – and their ultimate fate was sealed! 
Another passage that appears to confirm this understanding is found in 1 Timothy 3. In this passage, it confirms that God, in His manifestation as the Son, was “seen of angels.”
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. -1 Timothy 3:16
It would seem that when this passage mentions Jesus being “seen of angels,” it's referring to His descent into Tartarus to announce His victory. And why would Jesus need to make such an announcement? The book of Philippians describes the exaltation of Jesus after His victory on the cross.
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. -Philippians 2:8-11
When this passage mentions “things under the earth” confessing the Lordship of Jesus, what could it be referring to? It clearly seems to be a reference to the underworld, which the Bible often describes as being somewhere down “within” or “underneath” the earth.
While imprisoned in the underworld in Tartarus, (or the deep abyss or bottomless pit) awaiting their judgment, the sinful sons of God were completely unaware of what was happening up on the earth’s surface until Jesus showed up to herald His victory and the redemption of all humanity through His death on the cross! Whether it was at that moment or in the future, these fallen angels will also bow before Him! The more you begin to understand the circumstances surrounding Genesis 6 and the Nephilim, the more the dots of scripture become connected.
And so, after looking at these three complimentary passages in detail (found in Jude, and 1 and 2 Peter), it should be clear to us that the New Testament absolutely corroborates the interpretation of Genesis 6 that we are advocating. In fact, if these verses are not describing the angels that fell in Genesis 6, to which angels are they then referring? The Bible gives us no indication that any of the other angels that fell with Satan are imprisoned anywhere. If all of the fallen angels were imprisoned, then who are the fallen angels described in scripture as being active in the world?
For example, in Daniel Chapter 10, we are told that the moment Daniel began to pray, God sent an angel to minister to him – yet, the angel tells us that he was opposed and held up for twenty-one days by the “prince of Persia” – referring to a fallen angelic entity that controlled the kingdom of Persia. Additionally, in Ephesians 6:12 we are told that we as Christians battle against ranks of fallen angels who, under Satan’s leadership, exert their wicked influence over the earth.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. -Ephesians 6:12
The fallen angels referred to here are not “chained” anywhere. They will ultimately be defeated, but as of now, they’re able to move around and influence life on earth – which is why we face spiritual warfare in our Christian walk. If they were all chained in prison, earth would be a much more wonderful and godly place!
So, the point is, if you’re hesitant to accept what’s being clearly taught in Genesis 6:4 concerning human-angelic sexual relations producing giant Nephilim offspring, it is on you then to explain the identity of the fallen angels imprisoned in Tartarus that are being described in Jude and 1 + 2 Peter. In addition, you also need to explain the passage in Job that describes the “folly” of the angels – referring to illicit sexual activity.
Clearly, the only explanation is that these fallen angels that are currently bound in chains of darkness are the "sons of God" who fell and committed sexual sin with human women in the time before the Flood, as described in Genesis 6. There is no other coherent Biblical explanation.
 Ryan Pitterson, Judgment of the Nephilim, New York, NY: Days of Noe, 2017, p. 106.
 Pitterson, p. 102-103.
 Arthur W. Pink, Gleanings in Genesis, Chicago: Moody Bible Institute, 1922, p. 93.
 I.D.E. Thomas, The Omega Conspiracy, Anomalos Publishing House, 2008, pp. 101-102.
 “Titans of Greek Mythology: Facts & Overview,” Sept. 9, 2016, Study.com. (https://study.com/academy/lesson/titans-of-greek-mythology-facts-lesson-quiz.html - Retrieved 4/17/21)