Q. Thanks so much for your website. I really enjoy reading it! In Genesis, there is talk of nephilim as sons of God. But later, when Moses is wandering in the desert and sends out spies, they encounter nephilim too. So, are nephilim angels? Are they giants? Cross-bred mutants? Why would God send them down, or “let them come down” and have children with people if the resulting children are cursed and specifically “targeted” by God for destruction?
A. The Hebrew phrase translated sons of God, nearly always refers to angels. Pre-flood Nephilim were the offspring of unions between fallen angels and human women. (Genesis 6:4) They were part of an orchestrated attack against God for control of Planet Earth. Eventually God destroyed them all in the flood.
In a manner not explained to us, the Nephilim appeared again when the Israelite spies spotted them in their survey of the Promised Land. (Numbers 13:33) This was another attempt by Satan to thwart the will of God, this time concerning the establishment of Israel in the land. In various places the Old Testament mentions them throughout the Middle East. The descendants of Esau and Lot were given the task of clearing them out of the land east of the Jordan River just as Israel was told to destroy them in the West. It wasn’t until the time of King David that this was fully accomplished. You can read more about this in my study on the Nephilim.
The angels responsible for this were captured and are being held for judgment (Jude 6) so this wasn’t something God ordered or even permitted. It was part of Satan’s ongoing rebellion.