Increasing Corruption on Earth
Accompanying Bob Deffinbaugh sermon: The Sons of God and The Daughters of Men
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: Demonic Invasion
MacArthur contends that there are two important questions to consider regarding this passage.
1) What does it mean?
2) Why is it here?
There are varying interpretations of what this passage means, but traditional Jewish interpretation, as well as both MacArthur and Deffinbaugh, agree that the term sons of God refers to demons, and daughters of men refers to human women. The point is the contrast between the creatures of God and the creatures of men.
Every time the Old Testament refers to sons of God it is referring to angels - either fallen or holy. (Job 1:6, Job 2:1, Job 38:7, Psalm 29:1, Psalm 89:6, Daniel 3:25). What we have here is heavenly beings contrasted with earthly beings, those who come directly from God versus those who come directly from man.
These demons defied God by leaving the realm of the spirit world and took the form of, or inhabited the bodies of men, in order to marry human women and have children with them.
The passage starts by reminding us that this was a time period where "normal" life was simply occurring. People were living under common grace - God had blessed humanity with the ability to marry and have children and just enjoy every day life. Perhaps this ability to procreate gave them the feeling of invincibility, or that they, not God, controlled the future. But they were wrong. They were presuming upon the grace of God, and God was about to show them His righteous judgment, after rescuing the righteous remnant.
The Bible teaches that this is how we too, will be living before God's ultimate and final judgment. Life will be going on as normal. The redeemed and the unbeliever alike will be enjoying common grace. But just as God destroyed all but the righteous remnant in the flood, after multiple warnings and opportunities to receive grace had been rejected, someday God will destroy this world in an act of ultimate judgment after He rescues the redeemed.
Notice how, in v3, God does not put the responsibility for this on the demons, but on the humans. This text shows us how very wicked mankind had become, and why God sent the flood in an act of righteous judgment. Humanity, aside from one family of 8 righteous people, had become so wicked that, in God's eyes, they were no longer redeemable. In fact, their wickedness was such that not only were they not seeking God, they were pursuing demons. Likely they had been deceived into thinking this would help them beat death and/or judgment, or become like God. Satan always promises heaven but delivers hell.
1 Peter 3:18-20, Jude 6-7, and 2 Peter 2:4-5 tell us that God sentenced these demons to the pit for disobeying God and overstepping their bounds in this way, and His grace towards mankind has limits as well. In our passage, God's limit has been reached - and He still, in His grace, gave them 120 more years to repent! Noah preached righteousness for 120 years, and had absolutely no converts, save his own family (2 Peter 2:5)
Here is MacArthur's take on the Nephilim....
Monday's scripture focus: Genesis 6:5-12
Sunday's passage: 1 Kings 21-22
Monday's passage: 2 Kings 1-2, Psalm 113, Acts 24