Who Are the Sons of God?
Let us look at the “Sons of God” mentioned in Genesis 6:2, 4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7 and Psalm 89:6. We will find that they are NOT angels. The phrase “Sons of God” can refer to one of two things. Since it is clearly possible for ordinary human beings to be called the “Sons” or the “Children” of God, these “Sons of God” were either human beings called by that name, or they were part of a group of other spiritual beings in heaven with a special rank that designates them as the “Sons of God” (though, NOT angels).
These “Sons of God” are described by Paul in Hebrews 1:9 as being Christ’s “fellows.” They are in the same type of celestial position as Christ. Indeed, Christ is in a firstborn relationship to them. They are shown to be companions and partners with Christ Jesus. Paul called them Christ’s “Fellows.” The word “Fellow” does not mean (as we often use the term) “fella, guy or bloke.” In the time of the King James Version a “Fellow” was a distinguished member of an academic or political group that had special privileges and honors bestowed on them by the King or some prestigious group. And so it was with these “Fellows” in Psalm 45. They are honored members and “Fellows” of the Family of God. Since God is a great king with children called the “Sons of God,” these “Fellows” are to be reckoned as having a right to be called members of the royal Family who governs heaven and earth.
These “Sons of God,” like Christ, are “princes” of God. Their “Fellowship” gives them a royal relationship with Christ before He ever became a human being. They are actually equals of Christ in the sense of being Family members, though Christ has the superiority by being reckoned the firstborn. Equals of Christ? Yes, equals by token of being Christ’s brothers in heaven, while Christ is the Firstborn and has a designation rank over them because of His Firstborn position. Indeed, this is precisely what Paul stated they were. He referred to them as the “Fellows” of Christ. They were associated with Christ even before His birth in Bethlehem. They were His brothers as far back as when Psalm 45 was written.
“God has anointed you [Christ] with the oil of gladness above YOUR FELLOWS.”
Hebrews 1:9, quoting Psalm 45:6–7
That’s right, Christ was the exalted Firstborn, but these other spiritual beings within the divine Family of God associated with Christ in heaven were His “Fellows” (companions or partners). And they are in many ways like Christ. As rendered in the King James Version, the word “Fellows” in Hebrew is chaver; and it means to be companions, but in the sense of being equal partners to one another. In the Bible the word means to be “knit together” (chaver) in the same fellowship and appearing as “one man” in rank and position (see Judges 20:11).
These biblical indications show that there are other “Sons of God” in heaven who are “Sons” of the Father and brothers of Christ. Christ, however, is the firstborn of the “Fellows” (see Colossians 1:15). He was created before the rest of these “Sons of God” and He “has been anointed ... above your fellows.” Christ was created as a Firstborn “Son” just as Adam was created a firstborn “Son of God” (Luke 3:38). These other Sons of God are NOT intercessors between us humans and God the Father. Only Christ is our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5; Romans 8:34).
These other “Sons of God” of the Old Testament are parallel to the “Morning Stars” referred to in the Book of Job as rejoicing when the earth was created. 1 These “Morning Stars” are not angels because they have the same designation as Christ who is certainly not an angel. Christ is called “the Bright and Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16). Christ is also called the “day spring” (Luke 1:78) and the “day star” (2 Peter 1:19), terms synonymous with the phrase “Morning Star.” 2 These “Morning Stars” (similar to if not identical with the term “Sons of God”) were with Christ at the earth’s creation (Job 38:7). Though Christ has the eminence among them by being called “the Bright and Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16, definite article in Greek). Christ is also called a bridegroom with the splendor of the Sun in His glory (Psalm 19:4–5).
These “Sons of God” have the opportunity to congregate at scheduled times before God and sometimes for judgment. Psalm 82 shows such a judgment of them for injustice. Satan appeared among them in the time of Job (Job 1:6 and 2:1). And though these other “Morning Stars” and “Sons of God” are in existence, we know from later revelation that Christ is the One sitting in a higher position than all these other “Fellows of Christ.” He is seated at the right hand of the Father (Colossians 3:1).
God formerly anointed Christ above His “Fellows” (Psalm 45:7). Christ’s rank was made higher still by becoming a human and then returning to His divine status after His resurrection. Without doubt, Christ is eminently exalted in rank above these other “Fellows” at the present moment. This is because He was the only one to become flesh by being born of a human female (Mary). It is by physical birth that human Sons of God are now created, but it is by their resurrection from the dead that humans assume a divine status as spiritual Sons of God.
The New Testament calls Christ the “only born,” or, as translated in the KJV, the “only begotten” Son of God (John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9). The others are actually created “Sons”; created in a similar way that Adam was brought into existence. Not one of those other created “Sons of God” has ever been born of a human woman. Christ Jesus, on the other hand, was the only one (the only begotten of those equals) born in the same fashion as we humans when He gave up His majestic position in heaven to be born into this world (Philippians 2:6–9). And remember, Christ “thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (Philippians 2:6). But never forget, these other “Sons of God” and “Morning Stars,” the “Fellows” of Hebrews 1:9 who are “Brothers” of Christ, are also part of the Family. While these other equals are members of the Household of God, they are NOT mediators between the Father and the human Family. That right and privilege was reserved for Christ alone — who alone was crucified for us. Christ has become our only mediator (1 Timothy 2:5). 3
Some of these “Sons of God” in the Godhead are referred to in Genesis 6:1–4 and Job 1:6, 2:1 and 38:7. Remember, they are NOT angels! They are higher in power than any angel. And though angels can carry the general name “stars” (Revelation 1:20), they are NOT the “Morning Stars” whose symbol is that of dominating the prophetic day to come, that New Day of God. Remember, NO angel has been elevated by God to be a “Son of God” (Hebrews 1:4–14) nor to be a “Bright and Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16).
We must recognize a central truth of the Holy Scriptures. Only those spirit entities who normally have their residence in heaven within the Household of the Father (called “Sons of God”) are those particular personages designated as “Fellows” of Christ in Hebrews 1:9 and in Psalm 45:6–7. So much like humans are they in appearance and function that these “Sons of God” were able to have sexual intercourse with the daughters of men and produce offspring called Nephilim. 4 They did this both before and after the Flood of Noah. Remember what Moses wrote:
“There were giants in the earth in those days [before the Flood] and also AFTER THAT [that is, after the Flood]…"
This means that those “Sons of God,” who are the Brothers and Fellows of Christ Jesus, were able to have sexual intercourse with human females and impregnate them with semen that came from their bodies. Indeed, they have the same body characteristics and somatic functions as ordinary human beings.
That is right, those “Sons of God” had (and have) bodies. They look and perform like humans though their bodies are composed of spirit substance. They do not have the same type of earthly flesh that we humans presently possess. They resemble God the Father. This should not surprise us since God is always described in the Holy Scriptures as having a body that appears like that of a human male. Scripture records that God has shape and form, and that we humans resemble God in His image and form (Genesis 1:26–28).
True, God the Father is a Spirit, but He still has shape and substance. He is NOT a vaporous white nondescript evanescent cloud that supposedly embraces in a mysterious and formless manner all the factors of supreme intelligence and power. Such a description, or ones similar to it provided by those who try to interpret in a rational way what “spirit” means, is nothing more than pedantic mumbo jumbo. Such beliefs are diametrically contrary to descriptions of God given in the Holy Scriptures. In a word, God has a body that occupies space, but it is a spiritual body — a body composed of spirit substance. There is a spirit essence that emanates from His divine body (like an aura) that extends outward to embrace the totality of space in the universe (Psalm 139:7–12).
The truth is, God has a body composed of elements that are spirit in substance. This means that the basis of the elemental factors comprising God’s form and shape are derived from substances that are spirit in origin and composition. Just as familiar physical elements like ordinary “water,” H2O, can be in a gaseous state, in a liquid state, and in a solid state, so can spirit elements. We normally limit our concepts and think of “spirit” as always being a gaseous state, such as air and the movement of air which we call wind (John 3:7–8). But the “spirit” can be like a liquid as is “water” as shown in Acts 10:45. “Spirit,” we are shown in the Bible, can manifest itself in a solid state that can have definite form and shape. In Romans 8:26–27, Paul shows that Christ is called the “Spirit,” but in verse 34 he shows that both entities occupy space (that is, both sit on thrones) with Christ sitting on the Father’s right hand. This shows that even in the heavenlies, the body of God is in a solid state, which is as tangible and concrete to other spirit beings as our human bodies are to us in the flesh.
What the Scriptures inform us is that God the Father has the anatomical appearance of a male human being. In fact, He appears expressly like Christ Jesus does — Hebrews 1:3.) And, the “Sons of God” mentioned in Genesis 6, in a somatic sense, have features precisely identical to human males. This means they have sexual organs as do human males. So humanlike are they that they are capable of having normal coitus with human females. The historical narrative in Genesis 6 states these facts categorically.
Look at this matter carefully. Since God the Father is the Father of these “Sons of God,” they must appear like the Father in His anatomical form and shape. Above all, we are told those “Sons of God” had regular meetings with God in heaven while God sits on His throne (and Satan the Devil makes an appearance with them). All of them counsel together and dialogue with God Himself (Job 1:6; 2:1). It would naturally follow that they have the same spiritual substance that gives shape and form to the Father and to Christ Jesus. We humans are promised that at our resurrections from the dead (1 Corinthians 15), we will be changed into that same spiritual substance.
“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.”
Since those early “Sons of God” were able to have sexual relations, it follows that when we are glorified in the resurrection that we will also have the same capabilities as those “Sons of God.”
Note what we humans are promised. In the resurrection our bodies will be raised in a non-deformed state (1 Corinthians chapter 15) and our spirits (brought back to life) will be placed in that renewed and changed body, made whole and complete. We males will then resemble the Father and Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:20–21) who both have the appearance of human males (just as Stephen saw them as recorded in Acts 7:56). We will then have bodies composed of spirit substance with definite shape and form, occupying space. We will then be like the Father and Christ who are both reckoned to be Spirits (Romans 8:26–27; John 4:24) yet they display precise shape and form so that Christ can be seen standing or sitting on the right hand of the Father when He makes intercession for us to the Father (Romans 8:34). One Spirit is groaning and crying before the other Spirit.
Indeed, so much does the Father look like a human male (as far as the Holy Scriptures reveal) that if we would see God the Father undressed, He would appear like any ordinary human male in an anatomical and somatical manner — and He would be uncircumcised. This is not a distasteful and shameful comparison to make, and it is certainly not blasphemous. God is not ashamed of His body, as are many humans, especially their private parts. God has a healthful attitude toward such appendages of the body. We are told dogmatically by the apostle Paul that God considers the genitalia of male and female humans to be unashamedly the most “comely” (the most beautiful and attractive parts) of our bodies. See 1 Corinthians 12:22–24.
What about females? Female humans will have their bodies resurrected from the dead and continue to be female in shape and form, made whole and complete without deformities. Recall that Dorcas was resurrected as a female with all her female anatomical characteristics (Acts 9:36–42). Normal women will still want to be women. They, however, will NOT be subject to men as their wives.
Angels were created to minister to those in the Family of God, whether the members of the Family are in heaven or on earth. 5 It appears, however, that many angels associated in some fashion with the “Sons of God” when those “Sons of God” married and had sexual relations with the Daughters of Men. Peter and Jude indicated that many angels were in rebellion to God during the times when the “Sons of God” had intercourse with the Daughters of Men. The apostles mention the actions of those angels within a context that shows
We are told that these rebels were “angels which kept not their first estate [their normal authorized activities], but left their own habitation [their proper dwelling place]” and participated somehow with the “Sons of God” in their sexual intercourse with human females (Jude 6).
Those angels were mentioned by the apostles in the context of rebelliousness in which the ungodly gave “themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh [flesh that was foreign to them]” (verse 7). They were walking “after their own ungodly lusts” (verse 18), “who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit” (verse 19).
Yes, human beings were also involved in doing the same things as the “Sons of God” and the rebellious angels, but it seems from the context of Peter and Jude that the spiritual powers were the ones who influenced the humans to do those terrible deeds. 6 As for the humans who participated in the rebellion, they were punished by the Great Flood of Noah, and “AFTER THAT” Flood when the fires destroyed the region of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The angels also received a severe judgment, as we will soon see. However, there is not one word in the Holy Scriptures that tell us what the Father did to the “Sons of God” who were also involved in the matter. Did God also chasten them? Note the teaching of God about God punishing His own Sons:
“For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not?”
Since God’s human sons and daughters were chastened for what they did during those two periods of time, perhaps God did punish those “Sons of God” who married the Daughters of Men. In Psalm 82 we find these “gods” being judged and sentenced for unrighteous wrongdoing. They can even die (Psalm 82:5–6). It may be that since they had such an exalted rank, the Father took them back to heaven to punish them, much like He did with Israel when He hid their punishment in the wilderness to keep the heathen from gloating over God’s own people (Ezekiel 20:13–14). At any rate, after the two times of rebellion were over, there must have been a great deal of repentance because we again find the “Sons of God” in counsel with God sitting on His throne (Job 1:6; 2:1). Psalm 82, written at the time of David, shows they can still be judged for future wrong, just as we humans.
As a matter of fact, since these angels apparently approved of the actions of the “Sons of God” before the Flood of Noah and at the time of Sodom and Gomorrah, and joined the “Sons of God” in their revelry, they are presently undergoing a punishment for a period of time for their rebellion (1 Peter 3:18–21; 2 Peter 2:4–5; Jude verses 6 and 7). They are now confined to a prison (1 Peter 3:18–21). They have “chains” placed on their bodies that prevent them from much movement in the space into which they are confined (2 Peter 2:4). Just as “chains” have weight from gravitational force and occupy space, and exist within an environment of time, similar “chains” impede angels by use of weight, space and time factors. It would be foolish to think these statements are allegory.
These angels who rebelled with the “Sons of God” are incarcerated in an area similar to a region called the Abyss (a deep spot often connected with the ocean or the sea depths). The Dead Sea was particularly looked on as a spot where these rebellious angels were imprisoned. 7 They were chained (shackled) and locked up with a key (Revelation 9:1; 20:1). Even Satan the Devil will be bound and confined in movement with similar chains for a thousand years (Revelation 20:2), limited to a particular spot in the Abyss. These scriptural facts show that those rebellious angels and Satan occupy space and time, and can have chains (made of solid substances) placed on their body parts. These statements are not metaphors. They show that they are under material restraint.
This is not allegory because all descriptions that we have of angels in the Holy Scriptures show them to look like human beings. One of the times of rebellion of the “Sons of God” and the wayward angels was at the time of the punishment on Sodom and Gomorrah. In preparation for this particular judgment we are informed in the Bible that three men showed up on Abraham’s doorstep to talk with Abraham and dine with him (Genesis 18:1– 33). One of these men bore the name of YHVH (the name of God the Father — Genesis 18:22–33) and the other two men were identified as being angels (Genesis 19:1). They did not have wings on their backs. They looked like ordinary human beings. Recall that the apostle Paul cautioned Christians to entertain those in need under normal circumstances because some had entertained angels unawares (they thought they were helping ordinary human beings, Hebrews 13:2).
Simply, if these angels that met Abraham had appear undressed, they would have been observed as precisely like male human beings in every way. As a matter of fact, the men of Sodom were so convinced these angels were like human beings, they demanded homosexual relationships with the two angels that were sent to Lot. Though those two angels were holy and did not participate in such sexual acts, both Peter and Jude specifically state that the time of Sodom and Gomorrah was like that before the Flood, when sexual activities took place between celestial beings and human beings (2 Peter 2:6–9; Jude 6–7). What does all of this tell us about the “Sons of God” and angels in general? Other than having spirit bodies, they are humanoid in shape and have emotions. After all, humans are like God.
The anatomical descriptions in the Bible which show angels looking like human beings strongly indicate that angels are capable (along with the “Sons of God”) of having sexual intercourse with human females. But Peter and Jude made a distinction between the “Sons of God” and the angels that sinned. Unlike the “Sons of God,” Jude clearly indicated that the angels who cooperated with the “Sons of God” in their revelry were going after “strange flesh,” after humans who were foreign or strange to them in their body substance. See Jude 6–7. Though dogs and cats are house pets and appear similar to one another, they cannot interbreed. Indeed, angels look more like humans than dogs do to cats, but they still cannot interbreed with humans, though it is possible to have sex with them (just as some evil humans engage in bestiality). That type of sexual relationship is precisely what Peter and Jude stated did occur between angels and human beings.
Note that the “Sons of God” are very different than angels, and are quite capable of having sexual relations with humans that will produce multi-generational offspring, because the two species are precisely the same in anatomical and somatical constitution. Angels, however, are different in their lack of ability to produce offspring, though angels look very much like humans (both males and females). By the way, “wings” on angels are metaphorical.
Let us look at this matter more carefully. We are informed by Christ Jesus that angels in heaven do not marry (Matthew 22:30). That is right. Angels are not meant to marry as human beings do. Some interpreters have erroneously thought that this indication by Christ may mean that angels are neuter and cannot have sexual relations with humans because they have no sexual characteristics in the first place. This interpretation is plainly not true. We have the express teaching by Peter and Jude to the contrary. What Christ meant was that they were not intended to marry like humans because angels (if they do not sin) can live forever and the state of marriage always has death associated with it.
But there is another reason why there will NOT be marriages as we know them today between males and females in the resurrection. It is because the social status of women will change dramatically when they are resurrected from the dead. It is not that their bodies will take on a different shape (or their emotional characteristics will no longer be those of women). No, that is NOT what will change. What will be altered will be the needs and usage of society itself. The next chapter will explain this matter.
1 See Job 38:7 where the “and” in Hebrew parallels “Morning Stars” with “Sons of God.” ELM
2 Even the King of Babylon (traditionally considered Lucifer) named himself the “Morning Star,” erroneously, but God would not allow the Babylonian King to retain such an exalted title (which actually refers to Christ Jesus). The King of Babylon tried to usurp the role of Christ, but he failed to become such a “star” (Isaiah 14:12–16). ELM.
3 Please reread this paragraph carefully. It contains significant and concentrated information that must be attentively studied to be clearly understood. ELM.
4 The term Nephilim in the Greek Old Testament, the LXX, has the meaning “giants,” whether in stature, or as giants in fame and prestige. ELM.
5 See Psalm 103:20–21 through Psalm 104:4. ELM.
6 Peter and Jude wrote during the early stages of the uprising of the Jews against the Romans in the mid- to late- 60s C.E. They compared post-flood evil of Sodom and Gomorrah with evil occurring around them at their time. For details on the setting for the composition of 1 Peter, 2 Peter and Jude, see my book, The Original Bible Restored (Portland, OR: ASK, 1994), particularly chapters 16, “The Jewish/Roman War and Canonization” (online at http://www.askelm.com/restoring/res022.htm) and chapter 17, “The Canonization by Peter” (online at http://www.askelm.com/restoring/res023.htm). ELM.
7 See my article, “The Lake of Fire — Where Is It?” that explains these matters in detail. It is at my website: http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d810201.htm. ELM.
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