Do Not Dwell on the Former Things

Nostalgia is a double-edged sword. While we can look back fondly on childhood memories and the “good ol’ days” in general, nostalgia often clouds our judgment of past events and can be exploited by others. In the United States, politicians and political movements rise because of nostalgia. In a world of increasing technological, social, and political change, these politicians play upon the fears of people, speaking in general terms of how if elected, the country will go back to a simpler time, before all of these changes happened. In essence, they will turn back the clock twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty years.

Nostalgia is also big business. One of the constant complaints about Hollywood is “They’ve run out of ideas. It’s all sequels, reboots, and comic book movies.” Of course, not every film will be financially successful, but marketers know that if there is a built-in audience for a movie, that audience will go see it and maybe bring along the next generation. It becomes a vicious circle when audiences reject movies with new and different themes or stories, so Hollywood then has to go back to what makes money. For me personally I too am film nostalgic, as I grew up in the late 1970s/1980s and watched the original Star Wars trilogy over and over. To this day, I can almost quote the movies word for word and I look forward to the new movies in the upcoming years.

If we are not careful, we can fall victim to a “spiritual nostalgia,” where we long for our days before Christ. I know in my personal life the circumstances that brought me to Christ seem less daunting today than what I have gone through with Christ. I do not long to go back to a time when Christ was not in my life. If you are honest with yourself, was high school really that great? Do you really want to go back to the days of brokenness, pain, addiction, hopelessness, and frustration? Probably not. In your “BC” days, you were comfortable in your slavery to sin. Satan had you where he wanted you.

The Israelites complained about how they had it better in Egypt, they had food and water, and how Moses led them out to the desert to die. While the Israelites complained about their current situation, their nostalgia glossed over the fact they were slaves back in Egypt. For over 400 years, the Israelites and their ancestors broke their bodies building monuments of Egypt’s power and glory. Everyday served as a reminder of “We’re great, you’re slaves.” Why would they want to go back to that? Keep in mind that these are the same people who crossed the Red Sea. We must not allow nostalgia for the past to override the present moment. Even in your days before Christ, God’s prevenient grace allowed you to get through the hard times and you will get through this. Once we have crossed our Red Sea, there is no going back to Egypt.

The Apostle Peter fell prey to spiritual nostalgia. John 21 tells the story about how Peter decided to go fishing. Some of the other disciples joined Peter. Keep in mind that this event occurs after Jesus’ resurrection and previous appearances to the disciples. The Bible does not give us details about Peter’s inner dialogue, but maybe it went something like this:

This whole thing with Jesus was nice while it lasted. I left my livelihood and gave up three years of my life to follow Him. What am I supposed to do now? I failed. I failed miserably. I denied Him just like He said I would. One time He even told me ‘Get behind me, Satan!’ Maybe I’m not cut out for this whole ministry thing. I’ll go back to being a fisherman. If nothing else, I know how to fish.

However, Peter had an encounter with Jesus and his life and the world has not been the same since. Just weeks after seemingly giving up, the Holy Spirit empowered Peter to preach a sermon that led to 3,000 people to Christ. Peter was also the first apostle to share the Gospel with the Gentiles.

As Christians and as the Church, we must understand that while God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He also does not want to get caught up in the religious bondage of man’s past traditions. We must be spiritually attuned to God’s voice and what He wants to do today. God’s methods may change, just as Jesus did not always heal people or raise people from the dead the same way every time.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV).

As we go forward with God, let us not long for the past nor fear the future at the expense of the current moment. Let us be mindful and present as to what God is saying to us now. God bless you all.

Temple of Baal coming to U.S. and Europe

I received a message earlier this week from a friend asking me if I had heard of a temple of Baal being constructed in  New York City and London. I researched several articles, the YouTube link provided by my friend and even came across an article in the New York Times concerning this issue. From what I have read, there will be reproductions of the temple’s archways placed in New York City’s Times Square and London’s Trafalgar Square on April 19, 2016.  This particular temple of Baal was located in Palmyra, Syria and was destroyed by ISIS in August 2015. Though the New York Times article discussed the reproduction of the temple arches is being done to honor the razed temple as a world heritage site. However, could something more sinister be at hand?

Who is Baal?

In order to fully understand the implications of reproducing arches to an ancient temple, we must understand for whom the temple is named. Baal was a Canaanite fertility god worshipped in the land of Canaan before the Israelites came into the Promise Land. Despite God’s many warnings not to worship the gods of the Canaanites, Israel fell into idolatry, for which they were judged and punished multiple times by God. Baal, like the other Canaanite gods and goddesses was worshipped in what the Bible calls “the high places,” which were simply altars built on top of hills and mountains.

Israel’s history of Baal worship

“And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger. And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.”(Judges 2:11-13, KJV).

“And they [the nation of Israel] left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire [child sacrifice], and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.” (2 Kings 7:16-17, KJV, brackets mine).

Kings of Israel and Judah who worshipped Baal

There is an adage that says, “As a nation’s leaders go, so go its people.” In the Old Testament, as kings turned away from God, so did the people turn away from God.

Ahab           

“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 Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.” (1 Kings 16:31-33, KJV).

Ahaziah

    “Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. For he served Baal, and worshipped him and provoked to anger the Lord God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.” ( 1Kings 22:51-53, KJV).

Manasseh

“And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel. For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father destroyed; and he reared up the altars of Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab, king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.” (2 Kings 21:2-3, KJV).

God’s Instruments of Judgment against Baal Worship

*Gideon destroyed his father’s altar to Baal (Judges 6:25-32).

*Elijah confronted and slayed the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:19-40).

*Jehu destroyed all Baal worship in Israel, but did not follow God (2 Kings 10:18-31).

*Jehoiada the priest led the people to destroy the house of Baal (2 Kings 11:18).

*Josiah removed the high places, smashed altars and ordered the priest of Baal to be slain (2 Kings 23:4-6).

*722 BC- The Assyrians invaded Samaria and Israel ceased to be a nation (2 Kings 17:18; Jeremiah 23:13).

*586 BC- The Babylonians conquer Jerusalem and begin the process of the seventy year exile (Jeremiah 23:25-27; Jeremiah 32:29-35).

The Bible makes it explicitly clear that we are to worship God and that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. If we worship any other entity or idol, we are engaging in idolatry. For any nation to erect even a replica of any temple or building where child sacrifice took place is the epitome of apostasy. New York and London, to put it bluntly are building monuments to Satan in the most prominent places in their respective cities. I have placed the links to the original New York Times article and the YouTube video below. Please study the Scriptures for yourselves and pray that God will move upon the hearts of the nation’s leaders and people. Pray that people’s eyes will be opened to the truth. Satan is a deceiver, a liar, and the father of lies who wants to lead astray as many people as he can in these last days.  God bless you all.

YouTube VideoThe New York Times article

 

Giants in Mythology

This post is part of an ongoing series concerning the Nephilim, or giants in the Bible. For more information, you can read the previous posts, “An Introduction to the Nephilim,” “Giants in the Bible,” and “As In the Days of Noah,” which are found in the site archives.

 In previous posts, I have discussed the issue of the Nephilim, or giants in the Bible. I have also discussed the non-canonical Book of Enoch, which discusses in more detail the events of Genesis 6:1-4. This post will examine the impact of giants in mythology, more specifically Greek and Norse mythology. There are other mythologies that discuss giants, which I hope to get to soon. Before we go any further let me state that I do not ascribe any theological authority to mythology or the Book of Enoch. These books are being used to illustrate concepts in Scripture. The Bible and its accepted canon is the only book I consider to be God’s holy Word.

Greek Mythology

Even today in Western culture, there is a familiarity with the Greek myths and their pantheon of gods. The Titans were a race of giant divine beings who were overthrown by the Olympian gods. Giants are described as a constant thorn in the side of the Olympian gods. In fact, the giants are described as, “They were a force for disorder and chaos, rapists, thieves, and murders, and they could not be allowed to co-exist with the new order.”[1]

This description of the giants confirms how they are described in the Book of 1 Enoch: “The giants consumed all of the work and toil of men. And when men could no longer sustain them, the giants turned against them and devoured mankind. And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and fish, and to devour one another’s flesh, and drank the blood.” (1 Enoch 7:4-5).[2]

Specific Giants in Greek Mythology

 

Cyclopes one-eyed giants.

Tityus- giant killed by Apollo and Artemis after he tried to rape their mother, Leto.

Argus- a giant with 100 eyes, “the all-seeing giant,” who was killed by Zeus.

Antaeus- a giant who was the king of Libya, killed by Hercules.

Memnon of Ethiopia- a giant killed by Achilles.

Polyphemus- a man eating Cyclopes encountered by Odysseus.

The Laestrygonians- giant cannibals encountered by Odysseus.

There are also other myths of Hercules helping Zeus and the other gods in their war against the giants. Jason and the Argonauts also helped a king defeat a group of giants.

Norse Mythology

If you are familiar with comic books or comic book movies, you should be familiar with the names of Thor, Loki, and Odin. Not only are they popular characters in modern cinema, they are also part of Norse mythology. We will take a brief look at how giants are intertwined in the stories of Thor, Loki, and Odin, then we will look at other specific giants mentioned in Norse mythology.

Thor

Geirrod- a giant who attempted to kill Thor.

Hymir- a giant killed by Thor.

Jarnsaxa- a giantess and mistress of Thor.

Magni- son of Thor and Jarnsaxa.

Loki

Loki, who is known as a trickster and the father of lies in Norse mythology, is the offspring of his giant father, Farbauti, and his giantess mother, Laufey.

Angrboda- giantess and mistress of Loki. Loki and Angrboda had three children, sons Fenrir, the wolf, and Jarmungand, the greatest of serpents. Hel, a daughter with decaying skin.

Thakk- a giantess, who was Loki in disguise.

Odin

Odin is the father of Thor, Odin is also a partial offspring of the giants, as his mother, Bestla, was a giantess. Odin also had a giantess mistress, who name was Grid.

Jotunheim

In Norse mythology, Jotunheim is the realm of the giants.

More Giants in Norse Mythology

The Frost Giants

The Frost giants include Thrym, the king of the Frost Giants; Augelmir, a giant; Gerd, a giantess, and Gymir, a giant.

Other Giants

Other giants and giantesses mentioned in Norse Mythology are Baugi, Bergelmir, Fjolsvid, Hraesvelg, Hrungnir, Hyndla, Hyrrokin, Logi, Mist Calf, Muspell, Skrymir, Surt, Suttung, Thiazi, Utgard-Loki, Vafthrudnir, Ymir, and Eggther, the watchman of the giants.

Ragnarok

In Norse mythology, Ragnarok would be the equivalent to the Battle of Armageddon or any apocalyptic final battle. Ragnarok is the final battle between the Norse gods, including Thor and Odin, and the Giants. In the Battle, Thor, Odin, and Loki are killed, the world is set on fire by the giant Surt. The world is later reborn and made new after the final battle.

Although tales of giants are relegated to the area of myth and legend, how is it that ancient cultures, separated by vast distances and time, with no form of mass communication, all share similar stories of giants and even “sky people” coming to earth? Could these myths and legends simply be retellings of the fallen angels who came to earth and lusted after the daughters of men and produced a race of giants as described in Genesis 6:1-4? Could all of these stories be the results of when God confused the languages and scattered the people after the Tower of Babel? I believe the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, and inspired Word of God. There are supernatural events described in the Bible that Christians accept without hesitation- the virgin birth of Christ, dead people being raised to life, a talking donkey, a floating ax head, and a ninety year-old women giving birth to name a few. I encourage you to do your own research into these matters and to study the Word of God. There are many good teachers out there concerning the subject of the Nephilim, please check them out for yourself.

[1] Robin Waterfield and Kathryn Waterfield, The Greek Myths: Stories of the Greek Gods and Heroes Wildly Retold, 28. New York: Metro Books.

[2] Joseph B. Lumpkin, The Books of Enoch: The Complete Volume Containing: 1 Enoch (The Ethiopic Book of Enoch) 2 Enoch (The Slavic Secrets of Enoch) 3 Enoch (The Hebrew Book of Enoch), 29. Blountsville, AL: Fifth Estates Publishers, 2010.

When Your Dream has been delayed

Dreams can motivate and inspire us. When coupled with the grace of God, dreams can give us the hope to rise above our circumstances. Dreams can inspire others. However, in our fallen world, our dreams can be delayed or denied. The opening of a new business fails because of a downturn in the economy. A promising athletic career is sidelined because of injury. A retirement nest egg is depleted due to a catastrophic illness. A couple wanting to start a family finds themselves in the pains of infertility. All of us, in one form or another, have faced setbacks that have delayed our dreams or stopped them dead in their tracks.

Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (NIV).

Two such men who faced a delayed dream were Zerubbabel and Joshua in the Old Testament. Ezra chapter one tells of a decree issued by the Persian King Cyrus that allowed the exiled Jews to return to Israel. The return of the Jews brought an end to the seventy years of Babylonian captivity and fulfilled Bible prophecy. Ezra chapter three describes how Zerubbabel, the governor of Judea and Joshua, the high priest, led the people in the rebuilding of the temple. Zerubbabel and Joshua begin by rebuilt the altar, restored worship and burnt offerings

Our Dreams can bring God Praise

“In the second month of the second year after their arrival at the house of God in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak and the rest of the people (the priest and the Levites and all who had returned from the captivity to Jerusalem) began the work…When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priest in their vestments and with their trumpets, and the Levites ( the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel, With praise  and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; His love toward Israel endures forever. And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” (Ezra 3:8a, 10-11, NIV).

Our Dreams will face opposition from Satan and from other people

Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the returning exiles were off to a great start. The altar was built, worship and the sacrifices were restored and the foundation of the second temple was laid. However, the return of the exiles was not good news for the hostile neighboring enemies of Israel. After a failed attempt to physically infiltrate and stop the work on the temple, Israel’s opponents set about discouraging the people and wrote letters of opposition to the Persian kings Xerxes and Artaxerxes, the latter of whom commanded the work on the temple to cease.

A Dream delayed can be a Dream restored

The work on the second temple was halted for fifteen years, until the reign of the Persian king Darius, who discovered the previous decree of King Cyrus and issued his own decree in the process allowing the rebuilding of the temple. Those fifteen years must have devastating to Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the rest of the people. However, God encouraged Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the people through the prophets Haggai and Zechariah.

“But now be strong, Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord and work. For I am with you declares the Lord Almighty. This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.” (Haggai 2:4-5, NIV).

“The angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.’” (Zechariah 3:6-7, NIV)

“So He said to me, ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty. What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to the shouts of God bless it! God bless it! Then the word of the Lord came to me: The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hand will also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.’” (Zechariah 4:6-9, NIV)

Ezra chapter six describes how the temple was restored and dedicated and Passover was celebrated.

Brothers and sisters, how long have your dreams been sitting on the shelf gathering dust? Have you given up hope that your dream will ever come to pass? Have you allowed the voice of the enemy or negative people in your life to deter you? As long as the Lord gives you breath in your body, you have a reason to hope. You can still dream. You can still seek the Lord and find encouragement in His Word. As it says in Zechariah 4:10, “do not despise the day of small things.” (NIV). Start where you are at with the Lord. Maybe one dream has past, but God wants to give you a new dream, He wants to do a new thing in your life. Do not dwell on what could have been, dwell on the Lord and His goodness.

As in the Days of Noah

In what has become known as the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25, also parallel accounts in Mark 13 and Luke 21), Jesus describes what the earth will be like at the time of His return. Jesus describes a time of wars, natural disasters, false prophets, and the persecution of believers. Jesus also describes how people will be unprepared for His return and draws parallels to the days of Noah.

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For in the days that were before the Flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:36-39, KJV; see also Luke 17:26-27).

What were the days of Noah like? According to Genesis 6, verses five and eleven, the days of Noah were full of evil, wickedness, corruption, and violence. Just a casual glance of the news will bring you images of wars, natural disasters, violence, civil unrest, and the persecution of Christians all around the world.

Jeremiah wrote of the human heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it.” (Jeremiah 17:9, KJV). However, what if there was something more to all of this wickedness than humanity’s fallen, sinful nature? What if there were also evil, supernatural forces at work in these last days? What if we can trace these forces back to almost the very beginning of biblical history?

In previous posts, I have spoken concerning the Book of 1 Enoch and the Nephilim. Once again, the Book of Enoch is not to be held with the same authority as the accepted canon of Scripture, it is being used for illustrative purposes. The opening verse of the Book of Enoch states that its contents are meant for the End Times generation:

“The words of the blessing of Enoch, with which he blessed the elect and righteous, who will be living in the day of tribulation, when all the wicked and godless are to be removed” (1 Enoch 1:1).

The Book of Enoch elaborates on Genesis 6:4, which tells the story of angels coming to earth and having sex with human women, which produced a race of giants. 1 Enoch chapters seven and eight teach that these fallen angels also humanity about witchcraft, astrology, the making of weapons of war, drug use, idol worship, all of which began to turn humanity further and further away from God, until the Flood. These demonic forces were at work in the earth in the days of Noah just the same as they are in our world today.

After David and his men killed the remaining giants as recorded in 2 Samuel 21, giants are no longer mentioned in the Bible. Remember the Nephilim and the other groups of giants were not created by God, but were the work of Satan, who tried to corrupt the human bloodline so that Christ could not come to save humanity. 1 Enoch describes the giants (Nephilim) as evil spirits on the earth.

“And now, the giants, who are produced from the spirits and flesh, shall be called evil spirits on the earth, And shall live on the earth. Evil spirits have come out from their bodies because they are born from men and from the holy Watchers, their beginning is of primal origin; They shall be evil spirits on earth, and evil spirits shall they be called spirits of the evil ones. [As for the spirits of heaven, in heaven shall be their dwelling, but as for the spirits of the earth which were born on the earth, on the earth shall be their dwelling]. And the spirits of the giants afflict, oppress, destroy, attack, war, destroy, and cause trouble on the earth…And at the death of the giants, spirits will go out and shall destroy without incurring judgment, coming from their bodies their flesh shall be destroy until the day of the consummation, the great judgment in which the age shall be consummated, over the Watchers and the godless, and shall be wholly consummated.” (1 Enoch 15:8-10, 16:1).

From those verses, we see that once the giants died off, their spirits would roam the earth and afflict humanity until the final judgment, of course this will be after the millennial reign of Christ. The New Testament cites numerous examples of both Jesus and the Apostles encountering demon possessed people. On one such occasion, Jesus encountered the Garadarene Demoniac, a man who was possessed with a legion of demons. Upon seeing Jesus, the demons said, “And suddenly they cried out, saying, ‘What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:29, NKJV). These demons were awaiting a specific time of judgment, as described in 1 Enoch.

With how 1 Enoch described the spirits of the giants, could the days before Jesus’ return be fulfilled with an increase of demonic and occult activity? Could the spirits of the Nephilim still be at work in the earth today? The Book of 1 Enoch 7:5 describes how the Nephilim began to sin against animals and plants. Could this verse be discussing the hybridization or genetic modification of humans, plants, and animals? In our time, there have been cloned animals, genetically modified crops, and other instances where science and humanity are in essence “playing God.” I believe so. The Bible states that Satan knows his time is short and that his judgment, along with the judgment of the other fallen angels, or demons, is coming quickly, thus he is doing all he can to deceive the world. Brothers and sisters, we cannot be ignorant of these times, we must continue to watch the signs, for our redemption draws near.

Giants in the Bible

In my previous post, I covered a very broad introduction to the Nephilim, who were a group of giants that were the offspring of fallen angels and human women. In this post, I will examine other instances where the Old Testament mentions giants.

 

The Battle of the Kings

       Genesis 14 describes a battle that took place between two different groups of kings. The victorious side was a group of four kings led by a king named Chedorlaomer, the king of Elam, who defeated another group of five kings. Genesis 14:5 describes one such battle:

“And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim.” (Genesis 14:5, KJV).

If this verse were read at a casual glance, it would appear to be about three groups of people who were defeated by a group of kings. However, what is interesting about this verse is that these three groups of giants and are mentioned at other points in the Bible. Although the Bible does not mention the height of these particular group of giants, but all three groups of giants did at some point occupy the land of Canaan.

The Rephaim

            In the Old Testament, the Rephaim were a well-known group of giants who occupied a part of Canaan called “The Valley of the Rephaim” or “The Valley of the Giants.” The land of the Rephaim was part of Abraham’s inheritance mentioned in Genesis 15:20. The Valley of the Rephaim is also mentioned in 2 Samuel 5:18, 5:22, 23:23; 1 Chronicles 11:15 and 14:9; Isaiah 17:5. The Valley of the Giants is mentioned in Joshua 15:8, 17:15, and 18:16.

The Emims

            The Emims were another group of giants who lived in the land of Canaan, but did not at the time of Israel’s settlement as mentioned in Deuteronomy 2:10-11.

The Zuzims aka The Zamzummims

            This particular group of giants was destroyed by the Lord, as mentioned in Deuteronomy 2:20-21.

The Anakims aka the sons of Anak

            This group of giants is mentioned the most in the Old Testament. Anak had three sons- Ahiman, Shehai, and Talmai, who were in Canaan when Moses sent out the twelve spies in Numbers chapter 13. According to the ten spies who gave the discouraging report to the Israelites, the sons of Anak were so tall that the Israelites “looked like grasshoppers in their sight.” (Numbers 13:33) and discouraged Israel from entering the Promise Land (Deuteronomy 1:28). The sons of Anak are mentioned in Numbers 13:22, 13:28, and 13:33.

In Deuteronomy 9:2-3, God pronounces judgment on the Anakim. God uses Joshua’s conquest of Canaan to judge the Anakim, who were ran out of the land of Israel and fled to Gaza in Gath and in Ashdod (Joshua 11:21-22).

After obtaining his inheritance, Caleb also defeats the Anakim on Mount Hebron, as outlined in Joshua 14:12-15, 15:13-14 and Judges 1:20.

Og, King of Bashan

            Og, king of Bashan, also receives a lot of attention in the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 3:11 describes Og as a “remnant of the giants.” Og came against the Israelites to attack them and was soundly defeated. The Israelite victory is mentioned in Numbers 21:33-34; Deuteronomy 1:4, 3:1-4, 29:7, 31:4; Joshua 12:4, 13:12, 13:30-31; Psalm 135:11, 136:20. The land of Og was also given as part of an inheritance.

The Philistine Giants

            As mentioned earlier, after Joshua and the Israelites defeated the sons of Anak and they fled to Gath and Ashdod, which happens to be Philistine territory. The Philistines were also a constant thorn in the flesh of ancient Israel and they battled many, many times. The Bible mentions five Philistine giants who were either killed by David or David’s men. (A parallel account of these events are in 1 Chronicles 20:4-8).

  1. Goliath- the Philistine champion (1 Samuel 17:4) was defeated by David (1 Samuel 17:23-52).
  2. Ishbi-benob- a giant defeated by David’s soldier Abishai (2 Samuel 21:16-17).
  3. Saph or Sippai- a giant defeated by David’s soldier Sibbechai (2 Samuel 21:18).
  4. Lahmi, the brother of Goliath- a giant defeated by David’s soldier Elhanan (2 Samuel 21:19).
  5. An unnamed giant- defeated by David’s soldier Jonathan, the son of Shimea (2 Samuel 21:22.

Though critics of the Bible and even some mainstream churches may dismiss the idea of the Nephilim, the evidence of giants in the Bible cannot be ignored or explained away. The Israelite encounters with the giants are not bedtime stories or myth. I believed these events occurred and that God had used the Israelites settlement of Canaan as judgment not only against the idolatrous peoples who lived in the land, but also against the remnant of the Nephilim.

An Introduction to the Nephilim

I believe the Bible is the Word of God. I also believe that the Bible is a supernatural book, which describes events that defy our understanding of the natural world. The Bible tells of a ninety-year-old woman having a baby, a talking donkey, the sun not going down for a day and a half, the parting of the Red Sea, a floating ax head, and giants. Yes, giants. The biblical story of David versus Goliath serves as a sports analogy whenever a smaller or perceived weaker team defeats the more formidable, stronger, heavily-favored team. However, what if Goliath was not the only giant mentioned in the Bible? What if all of the legends and myths of giants had a common origin? Could the answer be found in the Bible?

Genesis 4:16-5:32 contrasts the wicked genealogy of Cain’s descendants with the godly line of Seth. However, by Genesis 6, all of humanity, including Seth’s line, has become wicked and deprived.

      “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them. That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all of which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he is also flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” (Genesis 6:1-4, KJV).

The above passage describes fallen angels coming to earth and having sex with human women to produce a race of giants. Theses verses may be difficult to swallow or understand, but they cannot simply be explained away by stating “sons of God” refers to the line of Seth interbreeding with the line of Cain.

Before we go further, we need to clarify what is meant by the term “giant.” The word giant, Strong’s #5303 is the Hebrew word Nephiyl, which means “a feller, bully, or tyrant.” Nephiyl comes from the Hebrew root word Nephal (Strong’s #5307), which means “to fall.” So these beings are “the fallen ones,” and are often referred to as the Nephilim.

The Book of 1 Enoch goes into further detail about the union of fallen angels and human women, and the Nephilim offspring. Let me be perfectly clear, I do not consider the Book of 1 Enoch to carry the same authority as Scripture, I am citing the work to give further details concerning the topic of the Nephilim.

“And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born to them beautiful and fair daughters. And the angels, the sons of heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: ‘Come, let us choose wives from among the children of men.’” (1 Enoch 6:1-2).

First Enoch goes on to describe the giants in more detail and the wickedness the fallen angels taught humanity:

            “And all of them together [the fallen angels] went and took wives for themselves, each choosing one for himself, and they began to go in to them and to defile themselves with sex with them, And the angels taught them charms and spells, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants. And the women became pregnant, and they bare large giants, whose height was three thousand cubits (ells) [Some convert this unit of measurement to 450 feet]. The giants consumed all the work and toil of men. And when men could no longer sustain them, the giants turned against them and devoured mankind. And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and fish, and to devour one another’s flesh, and drank the blood. Then the earth laid accusation against the lawless ones.” (1 Enoch 7:1-6).

The Jewish historian Josephus confirms the biblical account by stating in Antiquities of the Jews, “For many angels of God accompanied with women, and begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all that was good, on account of the confidence they had in their own strength; for the tradition is, that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants.” (From The Complete Works of Josephus, Kindle edition).

The fallen angels further corrupted mankind by teaching them how to make weapons of war, astrology, and other occult teachings. The Epistles of Jude and 2 Peter cite 1 Enoch when describing God’s judgment upon the fallen angels and the pre-Flood world.

“And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto judgment of the great day.” (Jude 6, KJV).

“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eight person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly…” (2 Peter 2:4-5, KJV).

In Genesis 3:15, God pronounces a curse upon the serpent, stating that the seed of the woman will bruise the head, which is the first Messianic prophecy in the Bible. I believe the Nephilim were Satan’s attempt to corrupt the DNA of the human race so that God could not use the seed of the women to bring forth the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of all humanity. Both the Bible and 1 Enoch speak of Noah’s righteousness, thus Noah’s bloodline was not corrupted by the Nephilim.

Though I have covered a lot of ground, this entry serves as only an introduction to what I hope will be an in-depth series. Though this will not be the definitive discussion of the Nephilim, there are a lot of good resources and teachings on the subject of the Nephilim. For further study, I would encourage you to look up L.A. Marzulli, Rob Skiba, and Chuck Missler.

Servant Leadership

Much has been written and discussed on the subject of leadership. What are the qualities of a leader? Are leaders born or made? Who is a leader? Does a leader have that “it” factor that makes them sets them apart as a leader? These are just a handful of questions that arise when leadership is discussed.

What comes to mind when you think of a leader? Do you think of your boss? Someone who is highly educated? Someone with all the right connections? Someone who knows how to take charge in a crisis? The truth is everyone at some point in their lives will find themselves in a position of leadership. Granted, not everyone will be elected President of the United States or be the CEO of a large multi-national corporation, but everyone assumes leadership positions. For example, do you raise children? Do you teach children or coach a little league team? Are you a supervisor or manager at work? Do you pastor a church or are you on the church board? Are you serving or served in the military where you led other soldiers?

Leadership can take on many different forms as there are as many different people and styles of leadership. There are leaders who lead with an aggressive authoritarian style and there are those who lead with a quiet strength and character. What does the Bible have to say about leadership? What does God look for in a leader? Are there biblical principles on leadership that we can apply to our everyday lives?

In the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel, we learn about Israel’s desire to have a king rule over them. Through the prophet Samuel, God anoints Saul as Israel’s first king. However, through continued disobedience, God rejects Saul as king and sends Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint the next king of Israel. Jesse brings out his sons and Samuel sees Eliab, the oldest son.

“When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.’” (1 Samuel 16:6, NIV).

Samuel thought Eliab looked like a king, the same way people discuss whether or not a presidential candidate “looks presidential.” Samuel believed Eliab had that “it” factor- he looked like a king, he was tall and probably well built, had a commanding presence, but God had other ideas.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” (1 Samuel 16:7, NIV).

Jesse brought seven of his sons out before Samuel and God rejected every one of them. Samuel asked Jess if he had any more sons. Jesse said he had a son who was shepherding the sheep, his youngest son, David. Jesse sent for David and Samuel waited for him to arrive.

“So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, ‘Rise and anoint him; this is the one.’ So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.” (1 Samuel 16:12-13, NIV). In the next chapter of 1 Samuel, we come across the story of David taking down the giant Goliath. Eventually, David overcomes many obstacles and becomes king upon the death of King Saul.

This brings up the first characteristic of a servant leaders: In order to lead, we must have our hearts right toward God in order to serve others. The way for us to lead is to follow the example of Jesus. In Matthew chapter 20, the disciples James and John are jockeying for position as to who can sit on Jesus’ right and left hands when he enters into his kingdom. Jesus used the moment to teach all twelve disciples about servant leadership.

“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” (Matthew 20:25-28, NIV).

What Jesus talked about with His disciples was certainly a radical concept at the time and still is to this day. In order to lead, you must know how to follow. In the secular business world, there are those who seem to revel in making themselves look great by putting down others. To people such as that, it does not matter how many people they step on while climbing “the ladder of success.” In fact, those people may say “The end justifies the means” or “Win at any cost.”

This brings up the second characteristic of servant leaders: In order to lead, we must have an understanding of authority and submit ourselves to God’s purpose and plan.

The Apostle Paul expands on Jesus’ example of servant leadership:

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knees should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11, NIV).

The Lord Jesus came to this earth to fulfill the purpose for which he was sent- to die for all of the sins of humanity. This was always the plan of God- even before Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. Jesus is our example of serving God with humbleness and singleness of heart. We must look at everything we have and are as gifts from God. If we humble ourselves, God will exalt us in his time. However, if we exalt ourselves, God will humble us as he did powerful kings and mighty nations. If we have the proper understanding of God’s will for our lives and submit to him, we will be ready when called upon. As in the Bible, God calls upon ordinary people to do extraordinary things- even things that seemed impossible and beyond natural ability. A few examples are Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, Joshua leading the Israelites into the Promise Land, Gideon leading an army of 300 against the Midianites, David conquering Goliath with five stones and a slingshot, and Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.

Now with Jesus as our example for submitting to God’s authority, servant leaders display a third characteristic: Servant leaders also submit and pray for our earthly leaders.  When posed with the question of whether taxes should be paid to Rome, Jesus responded by asking to see a coin. Jesus asked whose picture was on the coin and they said Caesar’s. Jesus then said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mark 12:17, KJV). As Christians, our first allegiance is to God, but we are to follow authority, because all authority is put in place by God.

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (Romans 13:1-2, NIV).

“I urge, then first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people- for kings and all those in authority, that we may love peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2, NIV).

As a leader, there are many decisions to be made on a daily basis. A supervisor may find himself in a situation where he has to evaluate employee performance. A commanding officer may have to devise a battle plan. Whatever the situation, there may arise gray areas in business or in the field of leadership. Not every decision or action by a leader will be clear or even popular with the group, hard choices have to be made. How do I cut money out of the budget? Whom do I let go? How do I deal with this crisis? This brings up the fourth characteristic of servant leaders: Servant leaders seek wisdom from God’s Word and apply to their lives.

      When he became king, Solomon was asked by God what he wanted. In essence, God gave Solomon a blank check- Solomon could have asked for anything he wanted- fame, money, possessions. However, Solomon asked God for the wisdom to lead Israel. Wisdom is needed to lead, whether it be leading a family, finances, a business, or a country. Wisdom is essentially applying God’s Word to a given situation. We must keep God’s Word close to our hearts. We cannot ignore the wisdom contained in the Bible or seek it half-heartily. If we apply the principles of God, we will be successful.

“Be strong and courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7-9, NIV).

Though not a complete or exhaustive list, these principles can serve as a foundation from which we can succeed in life. We must remember success God’s way is not about material possessions or titles, but it is about serving him with our whole hearts because he gave us everything when his Son, Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. Jesus came first as a servant, but he is returning King of kings and Lord of lords. Whatever your current lot in life, there is a God who loves you and will lead you by the still waters and give you peace and rest in our tumultuous world.