The sons of God - Part 1 - The origin of demons

SERMON TOPIC: The sons of God - Part 1 - The origin of demons

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 15 September 2019


Sermon synopsis: The Bible is silent on the origin of demons.

They are not the spirits of evil men who died in a pre-Adamic world before Eden. This is suggested by those who hold to the Gap Theory. They are not fallen angels as is commonly held.

The current understanding many people have of Satan’s fall comes from the medieval Catholic Amillennial theology and from John Milton’s classic poem “Paradise Lost”. The only account of Satan and his angels being expelled from heaven is in Revelation 12, which Premillennialists believe is an event which happens in the future Tribulation.
- Download notes (749 KB, 637 downloads)

- Download audio (13.88 MB, 535 downloads)
- All sermons by Gavin Paynter

- All sermons on DEMONS

- All sermons on SPIRIT WORLD

- All sermons on SONS OF GOD

- All sermons in ENGLISH


PART 1: The origin of demons

We will consider the following:

Are demons real?

What was the origin of demons?

What are the symptoms of possession?

What causes possession?

Can a Christian be demon-possessed?

How do you get deliverance?


We saw that Satan, his angels and demons are real beings set on our destruction. Christians are warned to “Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph 6:11-12).


Demons are intelligent powerful spirit beings. The NT uses “demon” and “unclean spirit” as equivalents (Mark 5:13-15).

They are not “devils”.

“Devils,” as found in the King James Version, is an incorrect rendition. The Greek word for devil is diabolos. Other terms, daimonizomai (found thirteen times), daimon (once), daimoniodes (once), and daimonion (sixty-three times), are transliterated as “demon(s)” (or some equivalent) in the American Standard Version. There is only one devil, but many demons. 1

1 https:// articles/ 21-demons-ancient-superstition-or-historical-reality


The Bible is silent on the origin of demons.

Demons are not the spirits of evil men who died in a pre-Adamic world before Eden. This is suggested by those who hold to the Gap Theory.

This view is rejected by Young Earth Creationists because it requires death before the Fall (Rom 5:12).

There is no evidence that there ever was a historical gap between the first two verses of Genesis.

There were no people before Adam. He was the “first man” (1 Cor 15:45) and came directly from God (Luke 3:38).


They are not fallen angels as is commonly held.

In medieval Christian doctrine demons began to be equated with fallen angels who were led by Satan in rebellion against God.

Dr. Michael S. Heiser (PhD in Hebrew Bible and Semitic languages) says that “Christians typically assume that demons are fallen angels, cast from heaven with Satan (the Devil) right before the temptation of Adam and Eve. But guess what? There’s no such story in the Bible… So if the Bible doesn’t record an ancient expulsion from heaven by hordes of angels who then became known as demons, where do demons come from?” 1

1 https:// 2015/ 10/ where-do-demons-come-from


Demons are different to angels. Angels have spiritual bodies and can assume human form.

Heb 13:2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

When angels appear they are often described as men. E.g.

Daniel 10:5 (NIV) I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen…


In contrast, demons do not assume human form but instead desire to possess human bodies. The human is used as a host and the person is said to be possessed.

Matt 12:43 (ESV) “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person…”

Matt 17:18 (ESV) And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him

In fact, sometimes one person can be possessed by multiple demons:

Mary Magdalene had 7 demons cast out of her (Mark 16:9).

Legion was so called because “many demons had entered him” (Luke 8:30).


The Watchers and Nephilim

The current understanding many people have of Satan’s fall comes from the medieval Catholic Amillennial theology and from John Milton’s classic poem “Paradise Lost”.

The only account of Satan and his angels being expelled from heaven is in Revelation 12, which Premillennialists believe is an event which happens in the future Tribulation.

Satan is explicitly portrayed as rebelling in Eden and it seems that this is where his fall occurred. Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 speak of Satan’s fall but do not mention any other angels with him.

The only account of a past mass rebellion by angels occurs in Genesis 6, an event where Satan is not mentioned as being involved.


The early Christians based their understanding of the origin of demons on the story of the fallen Sons of God (aka Watchers or Grigori) in Genesis 6.

This was the prevalent view in the writings of the intertestamental period (the Second Temple period) many of which are found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

This was the common view held in Jesus’ day.

It was believed by all the earliest Church Fathers.

While it is not clearly articulated in Scripture, we’ll see that the Bible is aligned with this view.


The angels who fell before the Flood were called Sons of God (bene ha’elohim).

Gen 6:1-4 (NASB) When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal ; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.


This sin was one of the causes of the Flood judgment (along with man’s wickedness and violence).

Gen 6:5-7 (NASB) The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”


Who are the “sons of God”? There are two main theories:

They are angels who procreated with women

They are the descendants from the godly line of Seth who intermarried with the line of Cain (the daughters of women).

It was the constant opinion in antiquity that the “sons of God” referred to in Genesis 6 were angels.

This was also the view of the early church until Julius Africanus suggested the second view and Augustine popularised it in his 5th century book “The City of God”.


The Septuagint was the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament dating from the 3rd century BC.

It was the version in use at the time of Jesus and was regarded as the standard form of the Old Testament in the early Christian Church.

Most of the New Testament quotes from the Old Testament appear to be using the Septuagint.

One major Septuagint manuscript, Codex Alexandrinus (one of the earliest and most complete manuscripts of the Bible), renders the term “Bene Elohim” in Genesis 6:4 as “angels of God”.


The whole idea that the ‘sons of God’ were not angels, but descendants of Seth, was a later introduction first suggested in Jewish circles by the Kabbalist (mystical esoteric form of Judaism) Rabbi Simeon bar Yochai (2nd century AD) and in Christian circles by Sextus Julius Africanus in the 3rd century AD.

Julius Africanus relates that the Septuagint rendering “angels of heaven” was the common reading at the time.

When men multiplied on the earth, the angels of heaven came together with the daughters of men. In some copies I found the sons of God. 1

1 Extant Works (Julius Africanus) - Fragment 2

The Book of Jubilees narrates the genesis of angels on the first day of Creation and the story of how a group of fallen angels mated with mortal females, giving rise to a race of giants known as the Nephilim, and then to their descendants, the Elioud. The Ethiopian version states that the "angels" were in fact the disobedient offspring of Seth (Deqiqa Set), while the "mortal females" were daughters of Cain. This is also the view held by Simeon bar Yochai, Clementine literature, Sextus Julius Africanus, Ephrem the Syrian, Augustine of Hippo, and John Chrysostom among many other early authorities.

https:// wiki/ Book_of_Jubilees


Julius Africanus mentions both views although he states his preference for the “sons of Seth” view upfront. 1 This latter idea was popularised by Augustine, 2 but like Africanus, he still mentions the older opinion as being held by many at the time.

For in the same Scripture in which the sons of God are said to have loved the daughters of men, they are also called angels of God; whence many suppose that they were not men but angels. 3

1 Ibid. - What is meant by the Spirit, in my opinion, is that the descendants of Seth are called the sons of God on account of the righteous men and patriarchs who have sprung from him… but that the descendants of Cain are named the seed of men, as having nothing divine in them, on account of the wickedness of their race and the inequality of their nature, being a mixed people, and having stirred the indignation of God. 2 The City of God, Ch. 15 - Hence by the sons of God are to be understood the sons of Seth, who were good; while by the daughters of men the Scripture designates those who sprang from the race of Cain. 3 Ibid., Ch. 22


The idea of equating “the sons of God” with Seth’s line and “the daughters of woman” with Cain’s line has multiple problems:

It is a later view, unknown by the early Jewish writers or the early Church Fathers.

It appears to have originated with a Kabbalist rabbi.

It is inconsistent with other Old Testament passages about the “sons of God”, where the term clearly refers to angels.

It doesn’t explain why Seth would only have sons and Cain would only have daughters involved in this activity.

It also fails to explain why their offspring were giants if the parents were humans.


Equating “the sons of God” in Genesis 6 with fallen angels who engaged in unnatural union with human women, resulting in gigantic “superhero” offspring called Nephilim has this in its favour.

It is the oldest view, taught by the early Jewish writers (Book of Enoch, Book of Jubilees, Genesis Apocryphon, Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs). All these are pre-Christian writings found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

It is consistent with other Old Testament passages where the “sons of God” (Bene Elohim) are clearly heavenly beings.

It was the understanding of 1st – 2nd century AD Jews like Josephus, Philo and the author of 2 Baruch.


It was the singular view of the earliest Church Fathers (Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Athenagoras of Athens, Clement of Alexandria, Commodianus, Lactantius , Sulpicius Severus, Ambrose of Milan, Eusebius).

It explains why their offspring were giants.

The idea that there were giants on earth who were the offspring of the fallen ‘gods’ and human females was not unique to Judaism. It is a common theme in the Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman mythologies, as well as those of India and the near east.

It is consistent with the New Testament passages in 2 Peter, Jude and Revelation which speak of imprisoned fallen angels.


The Hebrew term translated “sons of God” is “Bene Elohim”.

Most English Bibles which translate the variants of “Bene Elohim” as “angels” in other places, will translate this particular passage as “sons of God”.

For example, in the NIV, note how the same term “Bene ha-Elohim” is translated differently in Genesis and Job for no apparent reason.

Gen 6:4 …the sons of God (Bene ha-Elohim) went to the daughters of humans and had children by them…

Job 1:6 One day the angels (Bene ha-Elohim) came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. [cf. Job 2:1]


The term “Bene Elohim” literally means “Sons of God”. But why do most translators use the word “angels” in Job, presumably to add clarity in English, but the same is not done in Genesis? If using “angels” or “members of the heavenly court” makes sense in Job, why doesn’t it make sense in Genesis? Possibly it is because of the difficulty some have with the implications of the Genesis 6 passage i.e. angels procreating with humans.

Bene Elohim are not humans as they are already present at the creation of the world (and Adam).

Job 38:4-7 Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? … When the morning stars [angels] sang together and all the sons of God (Bene Elohim) shouted for joy?


Bene Elohim are heavenly beings. A closely related Aramaic expression “bar elahin” occurs in Daniel 3:25 – where it is used to describe the heavenly being in the fiery furnace with the three Hebrews.

The idea that evil angels mated with human women and had offspring (the Nephilim) may appear far-fetched to us in this modern era, but it was widely accepted as fact in the ancient world.


In the Book of Jubilees (c. 2nd century BC) we read, “And it came to pass when the children of men began to multiply on the face of the earth and daughters were born unto them, that the angels of God saw them on a certain year of this jubilee, that they were beautiful to look upon; and they took themselves wives of all whom they chose, and they bare unto them sons and they were giants…”

In the 1st century both Philo of Alexandria 1 (a well-known Jewish writer) and Jewish historian Josephus 2 identified the ‘sons of God’ as angels.

1 And when the angels of God saw the daughters of men that they were beautiful, they took unto themselves wives of all them whom they chose… And let no one suppose, that what is here stated is a fable. - On the Giants 2 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… - Antiquities Bk 1, Ch 3:1


This view of equating the “sons of God” with angels was supported by the early church fathers, including the 2nd-century fathers Irenaeus 1 and Athenagoras of Athens. 2

1 … and in the days of Noah He justly brought on the deluge for the purpose of extinguishing that most infamous race of men then existent, who could not bring forth fruit to God, since the angels that sinned had commingled with them, and [acted as He did] in order that He might put a check upon the sins of these men, but [that at the same time] He might preserve the archetype, the formation of Adam. -Against Heresies Book 4, Ch.36:4 2 Just as with men, who have freedom of choice as to both virtue and vice … so is it among the angels. Some, free agents, you will observe, such as they were created by God, continued in those things for which God had made and over which He had ordained them; but some … fell into impure love of virgins, and were subjugated by the flesh, and he became negligent and wicked in the management of the things entrusted to him. Of these lovers of virgins, therefore, were begotten those who are called giants. - A Plea for the Christians, Ch.24. Concerning the Angels and Giants


Tertullian (160-220 AD) writes that “angels were entrapped into sin by the daughters of men”. 1

… those angels, to wit, who rushed from heaven on the daughters of men… 2

One proposition I lay down: that those angels, the deserters from God, the lovers of women, were likewise the discoverers of this curious art, on that account also condemned by God. 3

In fact, commenting on the verse in 1 Cor 11:10 “For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head”, Tertullian identifies this passage as a reference to Genesis 6. 4

1 The Five Books Against Marcion, Bk V, Ch. XVIII 2 On the Apparel of Women, Bk I, Ch.II:1 3 On Idolatry, Ch. IX 4 Idolatry 9, On the Veiling of Virgins, Ch.VII


Commodianus 1 (who lived circa 240 AD) and Lactantius (c. 240 - c. 320 AD) 2 agree that the sons of God were angels who intermingled with women.

1 When Almighty God, to beautify the nature of the world, willed that that earth should be visited by angels, when they were sent down they despised His laws. Such was the beauty of women, that it turned them aside; so that, being contaminated, they could not return to heaven. Rebels from God, they uttered words against Him. Then the Highest uttered His judgment against them; and from their seed giants are said to have been born. - Ch.3 “The Worship of Demons” from The Instructions of Commodianus (Vol. 4, The Ante-Nicene Fathers) 2 When, therefore, the number of men had begun to increase, God … sent angels for the protection and improvement of the human race; and inasmuch as He had given these a free will, He enjoined them above all things not to defile themselves with contamination from the earth, and thus lose the dignity of their heavenly nature … Therefore, while they abode among men, that most deceitful ruler of the earth, by his very association, gradually enticed them to vices, and polluted them by intercourse with women. Then, not being admitted into heaven on account of the sins into which they had plunged themselves, they fell to the earth… - Divine Institutes 2, Ch. 15


Likewise Archelaus 1 (3rd century), Sulpicius Severus 2 (AD 363-425) and Methodius 3 (3rd to 4th century).

1 Hence also certain of the angels, refusing to submit themselves to the command-ment of God, resisted His will; and one of them indeed fell like a flash of lightning upon the earth, while others, harassed by the dragon, sought their felicity in inter-course with the daughters of men, and thus brought on themselves the merited award of the punishment of eternal fire. - The Acts of the Disputation with the Heresiarch Manes, Ch. 32 2 When by this time the human race had increased to a great multitude, certain angels, whose habitation was in heaven, were captivated by the appearance of some beautiful virgins, and cherished illicit desires after them, so much so, that falling beneath their own proper nature and origin, they left the higher regions of which they were inhabitants, and allied themselves in earthly marriages. These angels gradually spreading wicked habits, corrupted the human family, and from their alliance giants are said to have sprung... - Sacred History (Bk I), Ch. 2 3 Now the rest of them (angels) remained in the positions for which God made and appointed them; but the devil was insolent, and having conceived envy of us, behaved wickedly in the charge committed to him; as also did those who subsequently were enamoured of fleshly charms, and had illicit intercourse with the daughters of men. - Photios of Constantinople in his Bibliotheca, 9th Cent. documenting a summary From the Discourse of the Resurrection, Part 3


Similarly both Pseudo-Clement (c. 300 -320) 1 and Ambrose of Milan (AD 340-397). 2 3

1 But from their unhallowed intercourse spurious men sprang, much greater in stature than ordinary men, whom they afterward called giants; not those dragon footed giants who waged war against God, as those blasphemous myths of the Greeks do sing, but wiled in manners, and greater than men in size, inasmuch they were sprung of angels; yet less than angels as they were born of women… - Ch. XV, “The Giants” 2 But what a great thing it is that angels because of incontinence (without self-restraint in regard to sexual activity) fell from heaven into this world… - NPNF2-10. Ambrose: Selected Works and Letters, Ch. IX. 53 3 The giants (Nephilim) were on the earth in those days." The author of the divine Scripture does not mean that those giants must be considered, according to the tradition of poets, as sons of the earth but asserts that those whom he defines with such a name because of the extraordinary size of their body were generated by angels and women. And let us see whether by any chance the men who only took care of their body and not of their soul are familiar to the Nephilim … - On Noah 4.8, quoted from ACCS Genesis 1-11, p. 126


The term Nephilim is derived from the Greek word nephal, which means “to fall”. On that note Jerome (4th to 5th Century) writes, “Moreover there were giants on the earth in those days; and after these things, as the sons of God were accustomed to go into the daughters of men, so they would breed with them. Those were the giants from of old, men called by name. In the Hebrew, it was following: Falling ones (that is annaphilim) were on the earth in those days. And after these things, when the sons of the gods used to go in to the daughters of men and breed with them, these were the mighty ones from the beginning, men called by name… The name falling ones is indeed fitting both for angels and for the offspring of holy ones.” 1

1 Hebrew Questions on the book of Genesis, 6.4


Daniel (4:13,17,23) is the only canonical book that refers to angels as “Watchers”. 1

According to the intertestamental works the angels who fell in Genesis 6 were also known as Watchers and they were an elite class of powerful angels sent to Earth to “watch” and protect humanity.

1 Dan 4:23 (ESV) “And because the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it…’” [also 4:13, 4:17]


In the Genesis Apocryphon (one of the original seven Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1946), Lamech the father of Noah interrogates his wife because of his concern that his son might be the offspring of the Watchers. 1 The “Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs” has the Watchers changing themselves “into the shape of men”, showing the author believed they were not men originally. 2

1 I thought, in my heart, that the conception was the work of the Watchers the pregnancy of the Holy Ones and that it belonged to the Giants... and my heart was upset by this… His wife responds, “I swear to you by … the King of the heavens... That this seed, pregnancy… comes from you and not a stranger, Watcher, or son of the heaven...” 2 … command your wives and your daughters that they adorn not their heads and their faces… For thus they allured the Watchers before the flood; and as these continually beheld them, they fell into desire each of the other, and they conceived the act in their mind, and changed themselves into the shape of men, and appeared to them in their congress with their husbands; and the women, having in their minds desire toward their apparitions, gave birth to giants, for the Watchers appeared to them as reaching even unto heaven.


Thus the constant mention in the Jewish literature of “the Watchers” fathering the Nephilim is also a direct reference to angels.

While the Book of Enoch is not in the canon (except for the Eritrean and Ethiopian Orthodox churches), Jude, the brother of Jesus, quotes it 1 and Peter alludes to it.

1 Jude 14-15 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Enoch 2:1 Behold, he comes with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon them, and destroy the wicked, and reprove all the carnal for everything which the sinful and ungodly have done, and committed against him.


The Book of Enoch parallels the Genesis 6 account regarding the fall of the Watchers.

Enoch 7:1-6 It happened after the sons of men had multiplied in those days, that daughters were born to them, elegant and beautiful. And when the angels, the sons of heaven, beheld them, they became enamoured of them, saying to each other, Come, let us select for ourselves wives from the progeny of men, and let us beget children. Then their leader Samyaza said to them; I fear that you may perhaps be indisposed to the performance of this enterprise; And that I alone shall suffer for so grievous a crime. But they answered him and said; We all swear; And bind ourselves by mutual execrations, that we will not change our intention, but execute our projected undertaking.


200 Watchers are involved in this rebellion “and the women conceiving brought forth giants” (Enoch 7:10-11). These savage giants or Nephilim pillage the earth and endanger humanity (Enoch 9:1). 1

Josephus records that Noah had to relocate due to the violence of the Nephilim. 2

1 Enoch 9:1 Then Michael, Surafel, and Gabriel observed carefully from the sky and they saw much blood being shed upon the earth, and all the oppression being wrought upon the earth… As for the women, they gave birth to giants to the degree that the whole earth was filled with blood and oppression. 2 But Noah was very uneasy at what they did; and being displeased at their conduct, persuaded them to change their dispositions and their acts for the better: but seeing they did not yield to him, but were slaves to their wicked pleasures, he was afraid they would kill him, together with his wife and children, and those they had married; so he departed out of that land. - Antiquities Bk 1, Ch 3:1


The cries of the righteous dead in the Enoch account is reminiscent of the cry of the righteous dead in heaven before the future judgment of the Tribulation.

Enoch 9:2-11 The earth deprived of her children has cried even to the gate of heaven… The women likewise have brought forth giants. Thus has the whole earth been filled with blood and with iniquity. And now behold the souls of those who are dead, cry out. And complain even to the gate of heaven.

Rev 6:9-10 (NIV) … I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”


According to the book of Enoch the Watchers stand accused of revealing to mankind the following:

Barkayal taught the knowledge of astrology.

Samyaza (the leader of the Watchers) is credited with having taught men “enchantments, and root- cuttings”, a reference to the magical arts.

Armers taught the solution of sorcery.


Gadreel “introduced weapons of war.”

Penemue, instructed men on the use of “ink and paper”, implying that the Watchers introduced the earliest forms of writing.

Far more disturbing is Kasdeja, who is said to have shown “the children of men … the smitings of the embryo in the womb, that it may pass away”. In other words, he taught women how to abort their babies.

Eventually God allows a Great Flood to rid the earth of the Nephilim, but first sends the angel Uriel to warn Noah so as not to eradicate the human race.


Enoch goes on to say that the fallen angels were subsequently bound by Michael and imprisoned in the Abyss for their sin “till the day of their judgment”.

And the Lord said unto Michael: Go, bind Semyaza and his associates who have united themselves with women so as to have defiled themselves with them in all their uncleanness. And when their sons have slain one another, and they have seen the destruction of their beloved ones, bind them fast for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth, till the day of their judgment and of their consummation, till the judgment that is for ever and ever is consummated. In those days they shall be led off to the abyss of fire: and to the torment and the prison in which they shall be confined for ever.


According to the Book of Enoch the Abyss is the prison of the fallen angels (Watchers).

And from thence I went to another place, which was still more horrible than the former, and I saw a horrible thing: a great fire there which burnt and blazed, and the place was cleft as far as the abyss, being full of great descending columns of fire: neither its extent or magnitude could I see, nor could I conjecture. Then I said: “How fearful is the place and how terrible to look upon!” Then Uriel answered me, one of the holy angels who was with me, and said unto me: “Enoch, why hast thou such fear and affright?” And I answered: “Because of this fearful place, and because of the spectacle of the pain.” And he said unto me: “This place is the prison of the angels…”


The Abyss is a place of fire and the fallen Watchers are bound with chains.

Enoch 53:1-6… I beheld a deep valley burning with fire… And there my eyes beheld the instruments which they were making, fetters of iron of immeasurable weight. Then I inquired of the angel of peace, who proceeded with me, saying, For whom are these fetters and instruments prepared? He replied, These are prepared for the host of Azazeel… Michael and Gabriel, Raphael and Phanuel shall be strengthened in that day, and shall then cast them into a furnace of blazing fire…


According to Dr. Heiser, divine beings known as apkallu are a central part of the Mesopotamian flood story.

The apkallu … get credited with teaching the people of Mesopotamia what they needed to know to establish human civilization. When the great gods decided humans were too noisy and irritating and needed to be wiped out, the apkallu came up with a plan to preserve the divine knowledge humanity would need—they fathered children with human woman… Incidentally, statues of the apkallu have been discovered by archaeologists in boxes in the foundations of walls for protection against evil spirits. The boxed apkallu are referred to by another Mesopotamian term: mats-tsarey, which means “watchers.” 1

1 https:// 2015/ 10/ where-do-demons-come-from


Greek mythology contains numerous accounts of the “gods” marrying women and producing super-human offspring. Such was the case with the mighty Hercules who was reputed to be the offspring of a mortal woman Alcmene and the “god” Zeus. All these beliefs resulted not as mere inventions of fertile human imagination, but as a corruption of antediluvian truths which were distorted as their origins were forgotten over time.

Josephus identifies the Nephilim with the legendary Grecian Titans (i.e. giants) saying that “the tradition is, that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants”. 1 Now in Greek mythology, the Titans were often considered to be the second generation of divine beings.

1 Antiquities Bk 1, Ch 3:1


They were a family of giant gods who were the offspring of Uranus (heaven) and Gaea (earth). The most famous of the Titans was Cronus who led the Titans in their losing war against Zeus and the Olympian gods.

After their defeat, the Titans were imprisoned in Tartarus the deepest section of the underworld.

Peter uses this same Greek word (Tartarus) to explain the fate of some of the fallen angels. He places the event just before the Flood:

2 Pet 2:4-5 For if God didn’t spare angels when they sinned, but cast them down to Tartarus, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved to judgment; and didn’t spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah … when he brought a flood on the world of the ungodly…


This is the same Tartarus where Greek mythology says the Titans were imprisoned. It's highly unlikely that Peter would have used such an analogy if this pagan legend wasn’t based on at least some grain of truth.

In his first epistle Peter also spoke of imprisoned spirits, who had been disobedient in Noah’s day (this could be a reference to the men, the fallen Watchers – or both).

1 Peter 3:​19-20 (NIV) After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built…


Jude, who quotes from the Book of Enoch, writes:

Jude 6-7 And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. (NASB)

Thus, Enoch tells us that the fallen Watcher angels of Genesis 6 are imprisoned in the Abyss and is seemingly quoted on this by both Jude and Peter. The story of the fallen angels is related in Genesis 6, but the punishment is not mentioned.


Though some have argued that these passages refer to the original fall of the angelic beings who followed after Satan, that leaves a difficult question unanswered: Why, if these verses refer to the original sin of angels, were some angels punished by being confined and others free to roam the earth (cf. Eph 6:11–12)? Relatedly, why was Satan himself not among those confined (cf. Job 1–2)? It is better, therefore, to take these passages as referring to some event other than the initial fall of the angels, which leaves the fallen angels view of Genesis 6 as the prime candidate to account for the background behind the statements of Peter and Jude. The Old Testament knows of no other event involving angels that might fit with what Peter and Jude describe. 1

1 https:// genesis/is-sons-of-god-passage-genesis-6-adapted-pagan-mythology


2 Baruch is a Jewish pseudepigraphical text thought to have been written in the late 1st to early 2nd century AD.

2 Baruch 56:10-15 For he who was a danger to himself was also a danger to the malakim [angels]. For they possessed freedom in that time in which they were created. And some of them came down and mingled themselves with women. At that time they who acted like this were tormented in chains. But the rest of the multitude of malakim, who have no number, restrained themselves. And those living on earth perished together through the waters of the flood.


The Abyss is described in the book of Enoch as a place of fire. Likewise in Revelation we read:

Rev 9:2 (NIV) When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace

The Watchers in Enoch are bound in the Abyss with chains by the angel Michael. This is similar to the later fate of Satan where he is bound in the Abyss with chains by an angel.

Rev 20:1-3 (NIV) And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him…


Then in Revelation 9, we have creatures who are imprisoned in the Abyss released by a fallen angel, presumably Satan. We also learn in Revelation 9 that Apollyon is the leader of the ‘locust’ beings in the Abyss, who are most likely the Watchers of Genesis 6, Jude, 2 Peter 2 and 1 Enoch 21.

Rev 9:11 (NIV) They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).

According to Enoch, the leader of the Watchers was a fallen angel known as Samyaza (meaning ‘infamous arrogance’ or ‘infamous rebellion’), so it may be that Samyaza and Apollyon are one and the same fallen angel.


The Watcher angels must have assumed human form in the first place when they committed the sin in Genesis 6. Of course, there are those who deny that the ‘sons of God’ in Genesis were angels, based on what Jesus said:

Matt 22:30 (NIV) “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.”

They reason that Jesus is saying that angels cannot have sexual relations or offspring. But Jesus didn’t say that angels couldn’t have offspring — he simply stated that the godly “angels in heaven” do not marry — which can hardly be applied to fallen angels on earth. This verse has no bearing on the way that disobedient angels with no regard for God’s natural order might choose to behave.


Similarly, if it is objected that angels (fallen or otherwise) do not have the physical ability to reproduce (e.g., Davis 1975, 112), it is worth considering that when angels are mentioned in other locations in Genesis (e.g., Genesis 18–19), they appear in human form, they partake in a meal, they are lusted after, and they physically seize people by their hands to drag them out of a doomed city. The text does not give indications about angels’ reproductive capabilities in these passages, but it also does not hint that they physically differ from human beings in this respect. 1

Another objection argues that the fallen angels view implicates God as unfairly punishing man for wrongs instigated and carried out by demons. 1

1 https:// genesis/ is-sons-of-god-passage-genesis-6-adapted-pagan-mythology


Surely, had angels been to blame for the gross wickedness described in Genesis 6, there would also be mention made of their inclusion in the judgment that followed (Thomas 1946, 66). However, this argument wrongly assumes that angelic wickedness in Genesis 6:1–4 is incompatible with the text’s assessment of the brutal wickedness of mankind in Genesis 6:5–7. Regardless of the extent of angelic activity, mankind was evil in its own right; the Lord was fully justified in sending the Flood on account of man’s sin even if the full extent of wickedness on the earth also involved angels.28 Furthermore, assuming that 1 Peter 3:18–20; 2 Peter 2:4; and Jude 6 refer back to angels who sinned in Genesis 6, then the biblical text is hardly silent on the punishment of the angels… 1

1 Ibid.


The Origin Of Demons

Michael S. Heiser writes:

So if the Bible doesn’t record an ancient expulsion from heaven by hordes of angels who then became known as demons, where do demons come from? There’s actually a straightforward answer to that question, but it’s likely one you’ve never heard of: In ancient Jewish texts like the Dead Sea Scrolls, demons are the disembodied spirits of dead Nephilim giants who perished at the time of the great flood… This explanation for the origin of demons has secure links in the biblical text, they just aren’t obvious—to us anyway. To an ancient reader, someone who lived during the time of the Bible, this explanation would have been quite clear. 1

1 https:// 2015/ 10/ where-do-demons-come-from


During the intertestamental and early Christian period, demons were considered to be the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim who died in the Flood. Enoch explains:

And now, the giants, who are produced from the spirits (angels) and flesh, shall be called evil spirits upon the earth, and on the earth shall be their dwelling. Evil spirits have proceeded from their bodies; because they are born from men and from the holy Watchers is their beginning and primal origin; they shall be evil spirits on earth, and evil spirits shall they be called. [As for the spirits of heaven, in heaven shall be their dwelling, but as for the spirits of the earth which were born upon the earth, on the earth shall be their dwelling.] And the spirits of the giants afflict, oppress, destroy, attack, do battle, 


and work destruction on the earth, and cause trouble: they take no food, but nevertheless hunger and thirst, and cause offences. And these spirits shall rise up against the children of men and against the women, because they have proceeded from them. From the days of the slaughter and destruction and death of the giants, from the souls of whose flesh the spirits, having gone forth, shall destroy without incurring judgment. 1

A non-biblical psalm found among the Dead Sea Scrolls calls demons “offspring of man and the seed of the holy ones,” a clear reference to the disembodied spirits of the divine-human offspring from Genesis 6:1-4. 2

1 Enoch 15:8–12, 16:1 R.H. Charles 2 https:// 2015/ 10/ where-do-demons-come-from

Justin Martyr also took the view that the angels and human women “begat children who were of those that are called demons”. 1

The Pseudo-Clementine literature (c. 300 – 320 AD) says, “They taught the use of metals, precious stones, charms, magic, astrology, and were called ‘demons bound in the flesh.’” 2

1 God committed the care of men and all things under heaven to angels who he appointed over them. But the angels transgressed this appointment, and were captivated by the love of women, and begat children who were of those that are called demons; and besides, they afterwards subdued the human race to themselves, partly by teaching them to offer sacrifices, and incense and libations, of which they stood in need of after they were enslaved by lustful passions; and among them they sowed murders, wars, adulteries, intemperate deeds, and all wickedness. - The Writings of Justin Martyr, Book 1, pg. 190, “How the Angels Transgressed” 2 Their Discoveries


Eusebius of Caesarea also noted the link between the Nephilim and the Titans writing that “these demons are those giants, and that their spirits have been deified by the subsequent generations of men”. 1

1 And this argument is still further confirmed by Plutarch, in the passage where he says that the mythical narratives told as concerning gods are certain tales about demons, and the deeds of Giants and Titans celebrated in song among the Greeks are also stories about demons, intended to suggest a new phase of thought. Of this kind then perhaps were the statements in the Sacred Scripture concerning the giants before the flood, and those concerning their progenitors, of whom it is said, 'And when the angels of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, they took unto them wives of all that they chose,' and of these were born 'the giants the men of renown which were of old.' For one might say that these demons are those giants, and that their spirits have been deified by the subsequent generations of men, and that their battles, and their quarrels among themselves, and their wars are the subjects of these legends that are told as of gods. - Preparations, Bk. 5, ch. 4

Commodianus writes of the offspring of angels and men:

They made arts known in the earth, and they taught the dyeing of wool and everything which is done. To them, when they died, men erected images. But the Almighty did not allow them to be brought back from death after they died, because they were of an evil seed. As a result they now wander and fight for control of people’s bodies. It is the likes of these that you [Romans] now worship and pray to as gods. 1

How is it that the intertestamental literature and the early Christians linked the demons to the Nephilim. Is there a case from canonical Scripture?

1 Ch.3 “The Worship of Demons” from The Instructions of Commodianus (Vol. 4, The Ante-Nicene Fathers)

According to Heiser, “The key to understanding how these giants were perceived as demons in the biblical material—an idea that got a lot of focus in Jewish writings produced after the Old Testament—is the term Rephaim.” 1

The Rephaim are described as giants.

Deut 2:10-11 (NASB) The Emim lived there formerly, a people as great, numerous, and tall as the Anakim. Like the Anakim, they are also regarded as Rephaim

Deut 3:11 (NASB) For only Og king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim. Behold, his bedstead was an iron bedstead; it is in Rabbah of the sons of Ammon. Its length was nine cubits and its width four cubits by ordinary cubit.

1 https:// 2015/ 10/ where-do-demons-come-from


Michael S. Heiser

The Septuagint translated “Valley of Rephaim” (Heb: Emek Refaim) in 2 Sam 5:22,18 as “valley of the Titans”. Elsewhere (1 Chron 11:15; 14:9) it is translated “valley of the Giants”.

Heiser notes, “Joshua 15:8 and 18:16 tell us that the Valley of the Rephaim adjoined another valley—the Valley of Hinnom, also known as the Valley of the Son of Hinnom. In Hebrew “Valley of Hinnom” is ge hinnom, a phrase from which the name gehenna derives—a term conceptually linked to Hades/Hell in the New Testament.

1 Ibid.


The same Hebrew word Rephaim used of a giant people also carried a more sinister connotation referring to disembodied spirits. According to the Jewish Virtual Library:

The Rephaim are known from biblical, Ugaritic, and Phoenician sources. In the Bible two uses of the term are discernible. The first is as a gentilic (e.g., Gen. 14:5; 15:20; Deut. 2:11) referring to a people distinguished by their enormous stature. Especially singled out are Og king of Bashan (Deut. 3:11) and the powerful adversaries of David's heroes (II Sam. 21:16, 18, 20)… In its second use Rephaim designates “shades” or “spirits”… It thus refers to the inhabitants of the netherworld (Prov. 9:18). This second meaning is also found in Phoenician sources. 1

1 https:// rephaim


Rephaim is rendered “the dead,” or “the shades” in various passages (Job 26:5; Ps 88:10; Prov 2:18, 9:18, 21:16; Isa 26:14,19). It referred to departed spirits of the dead, similar to our concept of a ghost. E.g.

Isa 14:9 (ESV) Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades (rephaim) to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations.

The NASB translates Rephaim here as “spirits of the dead”.


The OT and the NT says that the pagans worship demons. Paul writes in 1 Cor 10:20 that “what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons (Grk: daimoniois) and not to God”.

Deut 32:17 (ESV) They sacrificed to demons (Heb: lassedim) that were no gods…

Ps 106:37 (ESV) They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons (Heb: lassedim)

The Hebrew “lassedim” (Strongs ref 7700) is “shades”. Thus the NT demons (daimoniois) are equated with the shades of the OT, which in turn are linked to the Rephaim (giants or Titans).

We know that the pagans indeed venerated the offspring of the “gods” and women, which included the Titans.


Isa 26:13-14 (ESV) O LORD our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance. They are dead, they will not live; they are shades (rephaim), they will not arise; to that end you have visited them with destruction and wiped out all remembrance of them.

As the Rephaim also referred to the giants / Nephilim, “the Rephaim will not rise” could refer to the fact that the Nephilim would remain disembodied spirits.


Identifying demons as the disembodied Nephilim (offspring of fallen angels and women) correlates to what we see in the New Testament.

Like the Nephilim, demons are not only evil, but have superhuman strength.

It was said of Legion - the man Jesus drove multiple demons out of - that “though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains” (Luke 8:29).

Likewise a single demon-possessed man jumped on and overpowered the seven sons of Sceva. “He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding” (Acts 19:16).


Enoch describes the disembodied Nephilim as restless. He says “the earth shall be their dwelling” and “they take no food, but nevertheless hunger and thirst”.

Likewise Jesus describes demons as finding no rest until they occupy a body:

Matt 12:43-45 (NIV) “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first…”


The Watchers who fathered the Nephilim are cast into the Abyss. This explains why there is an “angel of the Abyss” (Rev 9:11) and why demons are terrified of the Abyss (where their fathers were bound).

Luke 8:28 (NIV) When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” … And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.

They acknowledge that this will be their ultimate destiny:

Matt 8:29 (NIV) “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?


Beelzebub was considered to be the “prince of demons (Matt 12:24, Luke 11:15).

Matt 12:24-26 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined… If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself…”

Jesus seemingly equates Beelzebub with Satan (unless Beelzebub, the prince of demons, is a separate entity but subordinate to Satan). In either case the demons are regarded by Jesus as being part of Satan’s kingdom.


Then “there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity” (Luke 13:11, NKJV). But Jesus referred to her as “a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years” (13:16).

Again this indicates that the demons are allied with Satan. But when did this happen? Satan’s fall was at the beginning of creation “for the devil has been sinning from the beginning” (1 John 3:8) but the demons originated at the Flood.


The Bible is silent on the timing issue so we can only speculate based on the works of the intertestamental period. The Book of Jubilees is a work considered canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as well as Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews). Mastema is an angel in the book who “carries out punishments for God, as well as tempting humans and testing their faith. 1 Mastema’s actions and name seem to indicate that he is Satan, the “Adversary”.

In the Zadokite Fragments and the Dead Sea Scrolls, he is the angel of disaster, the father of all evil… He is said to have become a fallen angel.” 1

As the spokesperson and the leader of the demons in the Book of Jubilees, Mastema again seems to be identified with Satan.

1 https:// wiki/ Mastema


After the Flood, “the unclean demons began to lead astray the children of the sons of Noah, and to make to err and destroy them. ” 1

And he [Noah] prayed before the Lord his God, and said: … “And Thou knowest how Thy Watchers, the fathers of these spirits, acted in my day: and as for these spirits which are living, imprison them and hold them fast in the place of condemnation, and let them not bring destruction on the sons of thy servant, my God; for these are malignant, and created in order to destroy. And let them not rule over the spirits of the living; for Thou alone canst exercise dominion over them. And let them not have power over the sons of the righteous from henceforth and for evermore.” 1

1 Jubilees 10

After Noah’s request, Mastema intervenes and asks God if some of “the unclean demons” might be allowed to remain with him to do his will. God grants his request allowing one tenth of these spirits to “be subject before Satan on the earth”, while the other nine parts would be condemned. Mastema appears to be of a different nature than the evil spirits he is pleading for and shows no concern that he will be bound with the others. 1

1 When Mastema, the leader of the spirits, came, he said: ‘Lord creator, leave some of them before me; let them listen to me and do everything that I tell them, because if none of them is left for me I shall not be able to exercise the authority of my will among mankind. For they are meant for (the purposes of) destroying and misleading before my punishment because the evil of mankind is great.’ Then he said that a tenth of them should be left before him, while he would make nine parts descend to the place of judgment… And we did according to all His words: all the malignant evil ones we bound in the place of condemnation and a tenth part of them we left that they might be subject before Satan on the earth. – Jubilees 10

There are at least four cases of angelic rebellion:

Creation of angels (Col 1:16) followed by the creation of earth (Gen 1) and man (Gen 1&2).

Fall of Satan (alone) in Eden (Gen 3, Ezek 28, Isa 14) and his banishment to earth.

Fall of Watchers without Satan (Gen 6, Jude 6, 2 Pet 2:4) with the demon offspring ultimately following Satan.

The sons of God aka the angels, archons, principalities have the nations assigned to them (Deut 32:8-9). Later these angels are judged by God for bad governance (Ps 82). The nations ultimately worship these beings as gods.

Future expulsion from heaven in Tribulation (Rev 12).


Gen 3, Isa 14, Ezek 28

Gen 6, 2 Pet, Jude, Rev 9, 1 Enoch

Deut 32, Ps 82

Rev 12



Apollyon, Samyaza


Num of angels

Satan alone

200 angels

70 sons of God

One third of angels

Root sin



Bad govern-ance

Power struggle in heaven


Future defeat by seed of the woman. Chained in Abyss in the future.

Bound with chains in the Abyss immediately

Would die like men.

Cast out heaven. Future lake of fire.

Current location

The earth

The Abyss

The earth

Demons are not fallen angels but the disembodied spirits of the angel-human hybrids (the Nephilim) who seek to possess and torment humans.

As Christians we have power over demons and authority to drive them out.

Matt 9:1 (NIV) When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons…

Luke 10:17 (NIV) The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

Mark 16:17 (NIV) “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons…”



Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (

Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

PDF sermon