Last week, we began our study of the book of Deuteronomy, hearing Moses begin his "farewell address" to the people of Israel before he dies and they enter the promised land. He reviewed their history, how they went from Mt. Sinai to this land 38 years before, but faltered in faith when they heard the report of the spies. God told that generation they would die in the wilderness and that their children would enter the land. He told them to set out for the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea (Deut. 1:40).
The Israelites were going to pass through Say-EER, the territory in which the sons of Esau lived.
These two large nations of people were closely related. Jacob and Esau were brothers, Jacob was called Israel (Gen. 32:28), father of the Israelites. And Esau was called Edom, becoming the patriarch of the Edomites (Gen. 36:43).
The two brothers were bitterly divided (Gen. 27), but eventually made up (Gen. 33) and both buried their father Isaac together (Gen. 35:29).
Gen. 36:6-8 Then Esau took his wives and his sons and his daughters and all his household, and his livestock and all his cattle and all his goods which he had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to another land away from his brother Jacob. For their property had become too great for them to live together, and the land where they sojourned could not sustain them because of their livestock. So Esau lived in the hill country of Say-EER; Esau is Edom.
That was the last of the interaction between the two sides of the family until God directed Moses to go north into Say-EER.
The Lord also warned Moses that the descendants of Esau were going to be afraid of them, so they should be careful not to provoke them.
Why were they going to be afraid? Word had certainly spread about the happenings in Egypt. Remember, when the Egyptian army was drowned in the Red Sea, Moses and the Israelites sang,
Ex. 15:14-16 "The peoples have heard, they tremble; Anguish has gripped the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed; The leaders of Moab, trembling grips them; All the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. Terror and dread fall upon them..."
But God wasn't calling on Israel to judge the Edomites. Simply to pass through on the way to the promised land.
The Lord instructed them to buy food and water from them as they passed through, even as He reminded that that they'd not gone without during the last 40 years. He'd provided for them miraculously - raining down bread from heaven, and giving them water from the rock.
But now it was time to open up the ol' checkbook and buy food and water. Why? Because there is a time for the miraculous, and a time for the purchase.
You may recall a time when a crowd of thousands was following Jesus...
John 6:5-7 ...Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, *said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?" This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little."
This was an occasion when God chose to do the miraculous rather than the purchase.
How do we know what He's going to do? We don't, and that's what makes it fun! You see, there are times when He'll provide the money, and times when He'll just provide the provision.
But the promise is that He will always provide. Paul reminded us,
Phil. 4:19 ...My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Sometimes those riches in glory are supplied miraculously. Other times, He supplies financially.
I remember in my early days as a Christian, I saw so many people being given cars. I was envious. Why didn't anyone ever give me a car? But you know what I discovered? That when I was a poverty-stricken pastor, people did give me cars. You don't need God to do the miraculous when He has provided for you to make a purchase.
And so the Israelites traveled across the Ar-aw-BAW, just north of the the Gulf of AWK-ah-bah, where Ay-LOTH and Ets-YONE GHEH-ber were (around modern-day Al-Aqabah in Jordan).
Now Lot is mentioned. Like the sons of Esau, he also was related to the Israelites. He was the son of Abraham's brother Haw-RAWN, making him Abraham's nephew. This made him the cousin of Isaac, and the second cousin of Israel.
Like the sons of Esau, the sons of Lot had been given a possession of land. The Moabites were the descendants of Lot. You may remember that following the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot's daughters believed that the only way to procreate was with their father. They got him drunk, and became impregnated.
Gen. 19:37 The firstborn bore a son, and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day.
And so, as messed up as the Moabites' origin was, God had given them this land, which covered most of the southwestern part of the country of Jordan today.
The next child to be born was named Ammon, who became the father of the Ammonites. As we will see in verse 19, this nation was also not to be harassed by Israel when passing through.
There are several groups of people listed here, who all seem to be quite tall. And the names given to them add a degree of mystery:
The Ay-MEEM = "terrors" or "terrible ones." They were as tall as the Anakim (Deut. 2:10) and regarded as Raw-FAW-yim (Deut. 2:11).
An-aw-KEEM = "long-necked." The sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim (Num. 13:33). When the An-aw-KEEM were destroyed by Joshua, some remained in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod (Josh. 11:22). Gath was the place that Goliath was from.
Goliath was very tall - his height was six cubits and a span, or about nine feet, nine inches tall! His weapons were barely able to be lifted by men of ordinary size:
1Sam. 17:5-7 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was clothed with scale-armor which weighed five thousand shekels of bronze. He also had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver's beam, and the head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron
Raw-FAW-yim - "healers" (those who cannot be injured). The last surviver of the Raw-FAW-yim was Og, king of Baw-SHAWN (Deut. 3:11; Josh. 13:12), whose iron bed was 13 1/2 feet long, and 6 feet wide. The Ammonites called the Raw-FAW-yim, "Zam-ZOME-im," meaning, "plotters of evil."
KHO-rites = "cave dwellers." Say-EER was a KHO-rite, whose name means "hairy" or "shaggy." The daughter of Say-EER the KHO-rite was named "Tim-NAW," which means "restrained," and one of his grandsons was Al-VAWN (Gen. 36:23), whose name means "tall."
Another grandson was Khem-DAWN, meaning "desire."
We really don't know much about the "Av-VEEM," other than that their name means "perverters."
"Kaf-to-REEM" means "capitals" or "crowns," which are the things on top of tall pillars. The Kaf-to-REEM are the ancestors of the Philistines (Amos. 9:7), Goliath's people. The Philistines had other giants among their men as well. One of them is described as,
2Sam. 21:20 ...a man of great stature who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number...
Where did these giants - with heights to make pro basketball players strain their necks looking up - come from, why the abnormalities in digits, and how did they come to be called such strange names as "terrible ones," and "perverters?"
They are all connected to the An-aw-KEEM, who are in turn said to be part of the Nephilim.
Who are the Nephilim? The word means "fallen ones" or "cast down ones." Their story is told in Genesis 6.
Gen. 6:1-2 Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.
As we've reviewed in the book of Job, the term "sons of God" in the Old Testament speaks of the angels. These are those creatures who enter heaven to present themselves to God (Job 1:6; 2:1) and shouted for joy at the creation (Job 38:7).
As we read Genesis 6, we see that some of the angels became attracted to human women and took them for their wives. Many people object to this interpretation. They say, "Jesus said that angels can't have wives." Actually, that's not exactly what He said. Of people in the resurrection, Jesus said,
Matt. 22:30 "...they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven."
An interesting thing about that is that both times Jesus made this statement (Matt. 22:30; Mark 12:25), he called them the "angels in heaven." Angels are referred to over 50 times in the gospels, and only four times are they called "angels in heaven." I believe He was making a distinction.
And so, some of the angels became attracted to beings outside of their kind, going after strange flesh. Jude wrote,
Jude 1:6-7 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.
Some angels did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper home. The sin that those in Sodom and Gomorrah committed - indulging in gross immorality and going after strange flesh - is said to be "in the same was as these" angels. Man lying down with man is an abomination (Lev. 20:13) of pursuing strange flesh. Angels marrying human women is the same sort of sin.
And these angels are not like the angels who fell with satan. Remember, most scholars believe that a third of the angels fell with satan (Rev. 12:3-4), following after the devil in his rebellion.
Rev. 12:3-4 Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail *swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth...
Notice, they didn't abandon their abode, they were cast, thrown to the earth. And their sin was not immorality - it was rebellion. And are they bound? Paul tells us that since being thrown to the earth, satan's cohorts are in the world, fighting against the work of God.
Eph. 6:11-12 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
It seems that the angels who fell with satan are still cruising around, causing trouble. But Jude said the angels he's talking about are
Jude 1:6 ...kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day
Peter gives us a bit more information when he writes,
2Pet. 2:4-5 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;
Fascinating. Peter ties the sinning angels into the days of Noah and the flood. Where is that? Genesis six, where we read that these angels married human women. What does this have to do with the Nephilim? Read verse four...
Gen. 6:4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
The children born from these marriages were mighty men, men of renown... men called the Nephilim.
This is the origin of the giants in the Bible. It is no wonder then, that their descendants were called, "perverters, desire, terrible ones, and plotters of evil."
Now, just about every time I teach this study, someone will ask me, "Ron, is it possible for that to happen again? Could the angels be tempted by human women again? History, current events, and the Scriptures prevent me from answering a reassuring, "no." I don't want to defile you with the details, but all through history, most pagan religions report demons manifesting physically and creating monstrous offspring which are offered up in sacrifice. And today, the latest numbers show that between three and five percent of Americans claim to have experienced at least one UFO abduction experience, many of them being sexual in nature.
And when I consider all of these things, I cannot help but think of Paul writing to the Corinthian women who were asserting their independence, coming out from under the covering of authority. To them, he said,
1Cor. 11:9-10 for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
It would seem that the covering of authority is a covering of protection as well.
And that is another statistic that has fascinated me over the years. To this day, there has never been a person professing to be a born again Christian who has experienced a "UFO abduction." God's Holy Spirit is the Restrainer of evil in this world. May we never walk in fear, but only in godliness.
Psa. 7:1 O LORD my God, in You I have taken refuge; Save me from all those who pursue me, and deliver me