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.

One World Government- The New Tower of Babel

The first decade and a half of the 21st Century has been eventful. Beginning with the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the last fifteen years has seen the rise of global Islamic terrorism, the collapse of the American economy, the “Arab Spring,” ISIS, and as of this writing, the rise of Iran on the world’s stage coupled with strained American-Israeli relations. As these problems become more and more global in nature, there will be those who will cry out for a global solution to these problems or a one world government.

The Bible prophesies that a global government will be in place and will be ruled by the antichrist before Jesus returns to rule and reign on this earth. There are prophecy students and teachers who pore over the day’s headlines and events to see where they fit into Bible prophecy. What if the pattern for the End Times global government is found in the Old Testament?

Since the Law and the Old Testament teachings served as a type and shadow of Christ (Colossians 2:17, Hebrews 8:5 and 10:1), what if the Old Testament could give us a type and shadow of the End Times one world government? Genesis chapters 10 and 11, though often overlooked, serve as a transition from the post-Flood world of Noah to the time of Abraham. Genesis 10 outlines the genealogies of Noah’s three sons- Japheth, Ham, and Shem. One of Ham’s sons was named Cush, who had a son named Nimrod. The Bible tells us of Nimrod:

“And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.” (Genesis 10:8-9, KJV).

The Bible also states that Nimrod was a king and that he built the cities of Babel, Erech, Accad, Calneh, Asshur, Nineveh, Rehoboth, Calah, and Resen (Genesis 10:10-12). A simple online search will reveal that all of these cities are located around modern day Iraq. From this same geographic area, came the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian kingdoms, both of whom play pivotal roles on the world stage during biblical times and are on the rise in our time.

Genesis chapter 11 transitions into the Tower of Babel. Though Nimrod is not named specifically in chapter 11, the events in question take place in the land of Shinar, one of the cities founded by Nimrod, thus his stamp may be on the Tower of Babel. After the Flood, God told Noah and his family to repopulate the whole earth, but it appears that the post-Flood world stayed in one area.

“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech…And they said to one another, ‘Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly.’ And they said, ‘Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’” (Genesis 11:1,3-4, KJV).

What you have in this chapter is that the whole world, possibly under the leadership of a charismatic leader,  has defied the commandment of God to scatter out all over the earth, and they built a tower as a symbol of their defiance. The Bible goes on to say the Lord “came down” to view the tower. The Lord then confused the languages of the people and scattered them all over the earth (Genesis 11: 5-9). The place was called Babel because of the confusion.

Though the Bible spends numerous chapters on the physical place and kingdom of Babylon, Babylon can also be symbolic of the world’s system. Global communications and technology have made the world a smaller place. In fact, we can take a look at recent history and see tests of a world government, with the first Gulf War of 1991 being an example of a global coalition of nations coming against a common enemy, i.e. Saddam Hussein and his invasion of Kuwait. There was the U.S. led coalition invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the current conflict with ISIS is located in Iraq.

Just as God put an end to the Tower of Babel, so too will He put an end at man’s latest attempt at world government and the reign of the coming antichrist. In fact, Revelation chapter 18 describes the fall of Babylon the great in detail:

“And he [an angel] cried mightily with a strong voice, saying Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Revelation 18:2, KJV).

The chapter goes on to detail judgment that will come upon the nations that partook of Babylon’s riches. The Bible speaks that the judgment will come quickly, in an hour. As Christians, the time has come for us to flee this world’s system. We must surrender fully to God and commit our lives to Him. We must not defile our clothes with the filth of this present world nor should we live in fear of the world’s state. We must heed the Bible’s warning:

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.’” (Revelation 18:4, KJV).

When The Wicked Prosper

In my last post I examined what true prosperity looked like for the Christian. This post covers the Christian response to when the wicked prosper.

    Life is unfair. This statement does not come from a place of unbelief or bitterness, but a truthful and realistic observation of the world in which we live. Dreams go unfulfilled. Hard work can go unnoticed by an employer. Cheaters sometimes win. Fortunes are made by illegal means while hard working honest people struggle to make ends meet. Not everyone gets a trophy.

We are living in the last days before Jesus returns. Lawlessness and immorality run rampant and are socially acceptable. For the Christian or the Church to speak out against such matters could lead to marginalization, open ridicule, or being deemed “judgmental” or “intolerant.” If our eyes are not fixed on Jesus, these troubling times can overwhelm our spirits. However, we must remember the words of Jesus and the Apostle Paul, who warned us of days like this.

“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” (Matthew 24:12-13, NKJV).

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron…” (1 Timothy 4:1-2, NKJV).

Though it appears society grows worse by the day, this problem is not unique to our present world. The Old Testament prophets Jeremiah and Habakkuk wrestled with the problem of the wicked prospering:

  “Righteous are You, O Lord, when I plead with You; yet let me talk with You about Your judgments.       Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously? You have planted them, yes, they have taken root; they grow, yes, they bear fruit. You are near in their mouth, but far from their mind. But You, O Lord, know me; You have seen me, and You have tested my heart toward You. Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter. How long will the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither? The beasts and birds are consumed, for the wickedness of those who dwell there, because they said, ‘He will not see our final end.” (Jeremiah 12:1-4, NKJV).

“O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? Even cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ And you will not save. Why do you show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds.” (Habakkuk 1:2-4, NKJV).

God assures Jeremiah and Habakkuk that the evil in the land will be dealt with, as He is sending the Babylonians to conquer Judah as His judgment. If you take the time to read through Jeremiah, we still see the heart of God towards His rebellious people as shown in Jeremiah chapters 29-31.

We must rest assured as Christians that the wicked will not reign forever. The Bible assures us in Psalms 37, 73, and 91 that the wicked will receive their punishment if they do not repent. In our present world, we can fall into the trap of hoping that someone “will get what they deserve,” especially when it comes to lawbreakers. What if God gave us what we deserved? Have we forgotten about the grace, love, and renewed mercies God gives us daily? Though Judah was about to get what it deserved, God still loved His people and wanted them to repent. God paid a heavy price for our redemption in sending His only Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. That includes everybody in this present world, no matter who they are. The substitutionary death of Christ satisfied the wrath of God and now He wants to show mercy and compassion to everyone. A soul who refuses God’s gift of salvation will spend an eternity in hell. That is why God is patient, He wants all to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

“Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11, NKJV).

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9, NKJV).

To endure these times, remember the most important weapons in our arsenals: prayer and the Word of God. Make sure to pray for those who are caught in the grip of sin and continue to take comfort in the Word of God that Jesus is coming and will set things right.

Enduring Trials and Tribulations With Patience

In Acts 14, we read about Paul and Barnabas going through persecution in the cities of Iconium and Lystra. It was in the city of Lystra that Paul was stoned by an angry mob and left for dead. However, the next day Paul and Barnabas continued preaching the Gospel in the city of Derbe and later returned to Iconium, Lystra, and Antioch, where they encouraged believers. In Acts 14:22, we read that Paul and Barnabas were, “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (KJV).

The word tribulation can mean such things as affliction, suffering, persecution, or trials. To one degree or another, every believer in Christ will face trials and tribulations as we walk in the midst of a world that is turning away from God. There are brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are being persecuted by terrorist groups and oppressive governments. Maybe your trial is an illness, a job loss, the death of a loved one, whatever it is our Lord is close by to comfort all who are brokenhearted.

     I have heard it said by well-meaning Christians, “Never pray for patience because it brings on a trial.” However, the above Scripture and further Scripture study refute that saying. The connection between praying for patience and the onset of trials has no Scriptural basis, much like the saying, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Just as God allowed the suffering of Christ for our sins, the trials of Job, and the persecution of the early church, so too does He allow trials to come into our lives. The key to facing and overcoming these trials is patience.

     The Greek word used the most for patience in the New Testament is the word, hupomone (Strong’s #5281), which means “cheerful, endurance, constancy; an abiding under.” Even in today’s at your fingertips instant world, God still requires believers to be patient in all circumstances, whether good or bad. We must remember that when we face a trial, God is developing our long-term character. To use a sports analogy, God wants to build a team of marathon runners, not sprinters. The New Testament teaches us the importance and necessity of patience.

We develop patience through the study of God’s Word

     [Speaking of sowing the Word of God] “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15, KJV).

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (Hebrews 12:1-3, KJV).

“Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.” (James 5:10, KJV).

Patience allows us to endure afflictions and tribulations

     “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptation; Know this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:2-4, KJV).

     “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:3-5, KJV).

     “In your patience possess ye your souls.” (Luke 21:19, KJV).

God teaches us patience so we can become more Christ-like.

    “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering  with joyfulness.” (Colossians 1:10-11, KJV).

     “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father. Knowing brethren beloved, your election of God.” (1 Thessalonians 1:3-4, KJV).

     “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:3-8, KJV).

          Patience keeps us focused on the eternal rewards we have in Christ

     “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 3:5, KJV).

     “For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Hebrews 10:34-36, KJV).

     “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” (Revelation 14:12-13, KJV).

     Brothers and sisters, we need to pray for patience to endure and overcome the trials we face and what is coming upon this world. There will be upcoming tribulation the Church will have to endure. We must be eagerly awaiting the return of our Lord and King Jesus Christ, who will set everything right when He establishes His Millennial reign and when he vanquishes Satan and the curse of sin and death once and for all. If we lose our patience, we can be in danger of losing sight of Christ, as did the churches rebuked by the Lord in the Book of Revelation. Brothers and sisters, we must also remember this world is not our home, we are merely pilgrims passing through onto an eternal paradise greater than we can imagine.