A Little Context For Me

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Reader's Question - Where Exactly In The Bible Does It Say One Man And One Woman?

Reader's Question: Emily Dixon, since you're the scholar. . .where exactly in the Bible does it say one man and one woman?

I know there is the leave and cleave verse. I know there is the verse about when you have sex you become joined to that person. ( I can look up references if you'd like). Of course I am all about one woman for one man BUT I am reading in the OT right now and David was a man after God's own heart and in 2 Samuel 5:10-13 David gets blessed and the first thing he does is go out and marry more women.

So what's up with that? Is he just sinning? Or was it a cultural thing that made it okay then but not now? That can't be right either. Because God is the one who determines what sin is. . .

But anyway, I think that the Victorians are the ones who came up with some of our modern ideas like falling in love and soulmates. . .

Scratching my head over here and fuming at David for having multiple wives because I think it's wrong!

This is one of the things I love about the Bible – It tells us what did happen and not what should have happened! None of our spiritual greats were whitewashed or cleaned up. God presents them to us warts and all, and one of the reasons I find it to be so trustworthy. God could have saved himself a lot of trouble if he had…oh, I don’t know? Lied. But he didn’t he chose the hard way, the honest way, and in doing so ran counter to every other known religion of man. It’s a pretty gutsy move if you think about it.

It also serves a purpose, in reading accounts like David and his multiple wives, we are reminded the Bible always points us back to God as the only source of salvation. He allowed humans to be a part of his divine plan, but in the end, he is the only one who is holy, righteous, and able to save us from ourselves.

But back to your question:

I might as well get the fun part over with, the part that rarely makes Christians happy – there is no Biblical, blanket prohibition against polygamy. You can look, but it is just not there.

This leads us to two questions:

1. Why wasn’t polygamy forbidden if it was wrong?
2. Where do we get the idea that marriage is between one man and one woman?

Let’s start with question one: We must remember that God works within time and cultures to bring about his will. This has meant that many times instead of simply declaring something wrong or sinful, he has lead by example. Planting the seeds, and then allowing them to flourish as his people learned more about him and his divine plan for humanity. We can see how this works with polygamy, and answer question two at the same time.

The question of marriage begins in Genesis 1 and 2, when God creates Adam and Eve. We are presented with an ideal world, and in this ideal world we find one man and one woman. Polygamy would not be introduced until Lamech, the son of Cain, in Genesis 4:19. Notice that two things here: 1. We are now in a fallen world. 2. Lamech is the son of Cain who would also be remembered for following in his father’s footsteps of murder, but added pride to his list of sins. (See Genesis 4:23, 24.) In these passages we are given a clear contrast between what God intended and what sinful men did.

But the patriarchs? Someone is asking. Yup, the patriarchs had multiple wives, but when you read their tales, Abraham and Jacob, is there any way that we can interpret this as a positive thing? When Abraham decided to take Hagar as his concubine/second wife (we can go into the distinction in a later post) it was not an act of faith or obedience. Instead, it was a desperate attempt to help God out. The consequences were disastrous and many trace the ongoing violence in the Middle East, even of today, back to this event. Jacob had four wives, or two wives and two concubines if you wish to be technical, and the rivalries between the women and their children ripped his house a part. The Bible is not offering these stories as endorsements, but rather as cautionary tales. This is also true of David’s multiple wives, we see how it led to nothing but grief for him and his children. We could go, but that would result in something a bit too long for a blog post.

So how did we go from polygamy being tolerated to being forbidden?

First of all, God introduced laws that made polygamy more and more impractical. The first of these laws were directed to the population as a whole. (See Exodus 21:9-11, Deuteronomy 21:15-17, and Deuteronomy 17:17.) However, he upped the ante for those who occupied a, for lack of a better word, more holy position such as the priests who were not allowed to have more than one wife. (Leviticus 21:13.)

But the real death blow to polygamy were the words of the prophets who, in the eyes of the rabbis, equated polygamy with idolatry. Consider these verses:

“And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD. Hosea 2:16-20 

Israel Forsakes the LORD The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the LORD, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of his harvest. All who ate of it incurred guilt; disaster came upon them, declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 2:1-3

I would also include Ezekiel 16, a chapter that really should be read in its entirety to be appreciated, and the last chapter of Proverbs. At first glance, it might seem that these verses had little to do with polygamy, but this is where one more piece of the puzzle will clarify the picture. The prophets did not merely speak a message, they lived their message. Their lives were to be a living, breathing example of God’s revelation of truth, and so while they are busy talking about the beauty of God’s marriage to Israel they are also embodying it. And how did they do that? Through monogamous marriages.

Now, if you go looking for a verse that states that you are not going to find it. We know this about their marriages two ways: 1. They never reference multiple wives in any of their writings. Instead, they talk of one wife. 2. This is the history preserved about them by the Jewish community in rabbinic writings in which multiple debates on this matter were recorded. And we should not overlook the fact that most of these ideas were already being solidified in Jesus time, so the definitions of marriage based on this reasoning was inherited by the Christian church. The Jewish understanding of what marriage was and how it functioned as symbol of God’s love for his chosen people served as the basis for our Christian understanding of what marriage should be.

When discussing marriage with the Rabbis of his day, Jesus refers back to the ideal of Genesis one. Paul places the restriction upon leaders in the church based on the Levitical command for the priests. Peter expands the idea, indirectly, in his affirmation that all believers are part of this new royal priesthood. And it makes perfect sense that we would adhere to this standard if we affirm that as Christians we are to emulate Jesus, the bridegroom of the Church, husband to one wife.

So do we have a single verse that definitively defines marriage as a covenant between one man and one woman? No, we definitely do not. The closest thing we have is the leave and cleave verse cited by my questioner (Matthew 19:4-6, Mark 10:6-9). And while I consider that definitive enough, I know that it is not as direct as many wish it would be. However, when we pull all the pieces of the puzzle together, we have a rather convincing case that monogamy is God’s design, and one that he has chosen for himself.

But not to forget the question of David – he was sinning.

And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold. Deuteronomy 17:17 

David allowed the customs of his day to dictate his actions, and in doing so set the precedent for Solomon who would take his father’s behavior to extremes. Solomon’s heart was turned away, and the kings that would follow in his footsteps would seek to emulate his glory instead of seeking the heart of God. These pursuits would leave the nation spiritually bankrupt and led into exile for their sins.

It is hard for us to think of David entertaining sin and still being man after God’s own heart, but I think it is important for us to see the whole picture of who he was. He was a sinner. He was guilty of so much, sins so heinous that he would not be welcomed into most churches today, but God is bigger than our sin. God isn’t frightened by it, and he doesn’t miss who we really are beneath our stupid, prideful actions. He knows that in this world we are going to screw up, but he isn’t looking for perfection. He is looking for hearts that seek to know him even in the midst of our failings. Is this permission to do whatever we wish? No, it is encouragement not to give up, to keep chasing after God’s heart, and to seek him even when our sins so black that they are all the world can see in us. He is there declaring he sees more and celebrating any and all who will rely upon him to wash these sins from our hearts.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Reader's Question: Why Did Noah Curse His Son?

Reader's Question: Why did Noah curse his son for uncovering his nakedness? Was it such a sin to see your father naked or did he look just a little too long?

This is the part of Noah’s tale that Veggie Tales skipped and we don’t often include in the flannel graph presentations at Vacation Bible School. If you are unfamiliar with the tale, you can find it in Genesis 9:18-28, but it basically goes like this.

Noah and his family had survived the flood and were beginning to put their lives back together. For Noah, one of the first priorities was to plant a vineyard, and it wasn’t because he liked grapes and raisins all that much. No, Noah had a hankering for some wine which he promptly made and then proceeded to get smashed. (That’s drunk for all of you good Southern Baptists.) And he didn’t get just a little tipsy or buzzed. No, he was black out drunk.

While he incapacitated, his youngest son Ham decided to take advantage of the situation and this is where the story gets a little murky. The Bible plainly says that Ham uncovered his father’s nakedness, but we don’t know precisely what that means. We do know that whatever went down was bad enough for Noah to curse, not his son, but his grandson. That’s right. Noah curses Ham’s son Canaan.
I, for one and along with many other Biblical scholars, highly doubt that this was a simple case of seeing his father naked. Remember the time frame we are dealing with, there are few houses and no indoor plumbing. And the houses that might have existed would have been small one room dwellings that have a way of creating a level of family togetherness that we just don’t experience all that often today. So if it as more than looking what, was it?

There are actually three options:

The first is that Ham sexually assaulted his father. That’s right, we are talking about homosexual, incestuous rape committed against his drunken father. (You can see why reenacting this with Bob and Larry might pose some difficulties.)  Typically when the Bible uses the phrase “uncover the nakedness of…” it is referring to a sexual act, check out Leviticus 18 to see this in action. However, this explanation does not explain why Noah would curse Ham’s son. I mean, sure maybe he was the one drinking with Noah, egging him on to the next glass, but the timing is all wrong. I just don’t see Noah whose first significant act upon leaving the ark is to plant a vineyard taking the time to age wine for well over a decade before sampling it.

Which brings us to the second option, supported by the following two verses:

You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, which is the nakedness of your mother; she is your mother, you shall not uncover her nakedness. Leviticus 18:7

If a man lies with his father’s wife, he has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. Leviticus 20:11

The nakedness of the father is the nakedness of the father’s wife. In other words, Ham may have had sex with his mother while his father was to inebriated to defend her. Why Ham would do such a thing is a matter of debate. Was it lust? Who knows? It could have been that simple, but it also could have been part of a larger statement. In Biblical times having sex with another man’s wife or concubine was political move. We see this in 2 Samuel 16:22 when Absalom has sex with David’s concubines. In essence, Absalom was saying if, “I can take his place between these women’s legs, I can take his place as king.” This was also why Absalom did so publicly or, as the Bible says, “in the sight of all Israel.” He wanted everyone to know what he did, and he wanted everyone to see how powerless his father was to stop it.
Ham may have been doing the same thing. Notice verse 22:

Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside.

There was no cover up or attempt to hide what he did. He did not even bother to cover his “father’s nakedness”, which in this theory was his mother, but instead left the scene for his brothers to witness. He told them what they were going to find and where to find her. Which causes me to ask, why would he do that unless he was trying to make a statement? I think he was trying to claim his position of dominance. He wanted them to know that he was going to rule in this rebirth civilization. He was not going to be subservient or even respectful to his own parents or his older siblings. He wanted power and he was going to take it.

If this is correct, then it also answers why Noah would curse his own grandson and not the father responsible this act. For it is entirely possible that the Ham’s son was born to his mother, the product of incest and defiance. This may be why the author felt the need to identify Ham as Canaan’s father, not once but twice. It is possible he wanted there to be no doubt that the Canaan while born to Noah’s wife was not Noah’s son. Bloodlines are highly important within Jewish culture, to confirm this just wade through all the “begats” in Numbers, and the writer seems to be intent on making sure there was no mistakes or confusion about Canaan’s parentage.

The third option is equally disturbing as the other two. Midrash claims that Ham castrated his father to prevent Noah from having any more sons. This would have somehow made Ham greater than his father by him having four sons instead of three as Noah did. So Noah curses Ham’s fourth son. I think this is less likely, but I wanted throw it out there since it has been proposed.

I think which every option you find most convincing, it all comes down to one thing – this was far more than simply seeing is father naked. Ham took advantage of his father’s drunkenness to inflict damage upon Noah. The precise nature of that damage may always be in question, but the severity of Noah’s curse reveals that Ham’s actions were to have lingering consequences throughout time.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Love Is Not Enough - A Response to Rage After the Orlando Shooting

Rage, hatred, venom, and bile – the contents of my Facebook feed this morning. As I sat there trying to skim past the vitriol spewing forth from news sources, churches, the LGBT community, friends, family, and strangers, I realized that it was unavoidable. Our country, our world, has been consumed by frenzied wrath orchestrated by hate-mongers who co-opted the shooting in Orlando as their own personal soap box for whatever cause they deem significant.

Everyone has an agenda. Everyone is supporting a cause that is greater than yours. Everyone has religious, political, moral, or social outrage that needs to be addressed, and it can only be satisfied by your total subservience and homage to their wrath.

And as much as I hate the destructive power of anger, I could feel it sweeping over me. The temptation to rise up, match their rage with my own, demand that they be silent before my more righteous cause, and in doing so merely add my voice to the ever rising din of fury.

Overwhelmed and sickened by it all, I shut off my phone and tried to pray, but all I felt was anger. So I prayed the only thing I could, “God, I need to see this from your perspective, because mine is too small.”

As I sat there trying to subdue my own churning feelings, thoughts began to form. Hurting people hurt people, cliché but true. Unhealed hearts cry out for vindication because they believe healing is impossible. Unredeemed scars fester with bitterness because they are seen as pointless pain. The powerless find power in their victimhood, and the scared lash out because they believe there is no one defend or save them from their terror. The tormented find their identity in their torment and allow their tormentors to define them. And the insecure justify their actions by the fear of those who challenge their stance and the affirmation of those who share in their insecurities.

What is the answer? Vision.

A vision of hope, a vision of healing, a vision of restoration, of deliverance, and purpose. A vision of who they are in the eyes of God, a vison of his love, protection, mercy, and grace. A vision of significance that exceeds personal agendas and political wrangling. A vision that allows us to know that we are more than who we have claimed to be and more than who the world wishes us to be. A vision that cuts across the boundaries of you and I. A vision that exceeds the confines that this world or even our own flesh places upon us. A vision that inspires and empowers us to dare to dream again, to fight again, and to simply be again.

We have lost that vision. We have polluted and degraded it until we are nothing more than creatures of our own making. We have defined ourselves according to titles and traits that are beneath us, and reveled in our right to do so.  We have cut ourselves and the cried because we bled, blaming another for actions, and refusing to take responsibility for the damage we have inflicted on ourselves. We surrendered our God given identities then scream because another dares to call us by the name of the beasts we have become. For while we hate truth, we are more than willing to use it as a knife upon another if it will make them look more like our disfigured selves.  Misery does love company, even if it is that of an enemy who shares in the pain we feel.

So we rage, we scream, we whip others into a frenzy to enjoy their company.  We justify our anger by pointing to the anger we have engendered in those around. We incite, and we riot with the incessant tapping of keys upon our keyboards. Hiding from reality even as we seek to define it for another with our words of hate.

The temptation that faces us all is to deny seeing this in ourselves, not the opposition, not those we have labeled as foe, and not those who dare to hold a view contrary to ours. For we can do nothing to alleviate or rescind their guilt, that is a task we must all face alone before our God. We must all find that place where we learn that our protests mean nothing before him, and our excuses are meaningless in light of his holiness. That place where we embrace the truth that we cannot vindicate or justify our fear and hate because another has allowed these things to rule in their hearts. Instead, we are to serve our King and Lord, refusing to let him be dethroned from hearts by the wrath of another.

And despite what we have been told, love is not enough. It never was. For love is an abstraction wit no real meaning apart from the one who embodies it, and our duty as believers is to embody that vision, the vision of the Father’s love for us and to the world. We cannot do that from a place of fear and rage. For if fear and rage is all we offer then how are they to see a Father who loves, a Father who forgives, who heals, and restores? For surely, they reason in their hearts, we have received none of these great gifts if that is all we have offer another. And I do not want to offer the world another lie upon which to cut themselves.

Friday, June 10, 2016

A Challenge For My Detractors - Until Then I Will Remain Scandalous

Y’all might want to buckle in for this one. I am little steamed and I am afraid I might forget how to be proper – but it turns out it probably won’t be the first or last time I hear that allegation.

Twelve days ago, something magical happened. I had no idea at the time what a few clicks of a mouse would mean to my life, and even now, I am pretty sure that I am just barely starting to understand the magnitude of that act. You see, a few friends and I decided to start a discussion group inspired by a book I wrote a few years back. (You can purchase it here: Scandalous on Amazon) Within three hours it went from six people to over one hundred and fifty. In three days we had over three hundred and fifty women – all sharing their stories, all asking their questions, and all experiencing a freedom that is all too rare in Christian circles.

You would think that this would be a good thing, but it has gotten back to me that there are some folks out there who think that what we are doing is evil, wicked, and – gasp – improper. There are even a few women who have been chastised for daring to associate with us.

Good Christian girls don’t talk about things like molestation, rape, marital problems, porn addictions for him or her, feminine hygiene, spousal abuse, traumatic births, difficulties have sex with our spouses, sex toys, lubricants, oral sex, anal sex, or period sex. We are supposed sit back and act as if these things either never happened to us, the women we love, or voice a desire to know what the Bible really has to say beyond we should sit down, shut up, and accept what we have been given with proper blushing timidity.

Here is my problem with people who say stuff like that – not that they would actually say these words, they just want to act all appalled and self-righteous – none of them have offered up one scrap of a Bible verse to support their opinion. Let me repeat that: NONE of them have given any BIBLICAL REASON to support their OPINION that we should be silent on issues that make THEM uncomfortable. Criticism flies high and thick, laced with a lot of pious outrage and sanctimonious shock, but that is ALL they have ever offered me or anyone that they have confronted. Oh, sure there are lot of holy SOUNDING words, even a few random phrases from the Bible tossed about as if anyone with half a brain and the ability to read couldn’t tell they have been ripped from their proper context and application in a desperate attempt to vilify women who dared to be honest.

Allow to clarify a few things for you folks. The Bible isn’t proper. In fact, the Bible is rather scandalous itself. Don’t believe me? Try these on for size.

Yet she increased her whoring, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egypt and lusted after her lovers there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose issue was like that of horses. Thus you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians handled your bosom and pressed your young breasts.” Ezekiel 23:19-21 ESV

(In case you missed it, “member” means penises and “issues” means ejaculations.)

I myself will lift up your skirts over your face, and your shame will be seen. Jeremiah 13:26

(Oh, and “shame” there – well, it’s referring to genitals again!)

In that day the Lord will shave with a razor that is hired beyond the River—with the king of Assyria—the head and the hair of the feet, and it will sweep away the beard also. Isaiah 7:20 ESV

(Why in the world would anyone shave their enemy’s feet and cut off their beards? Unless, this means…gasp…genitals again!)

This is just a sampling of what the Bible offers in the way of scandalous verses, and I could go on. However, let’s just stop right here for a second and notice one tiny detail. In all three of these passages, the prophets were writing on the behalf of God himself. So it wasn’t really the prophets talking this way, it was God talking this way. Some of you need to stop and let that sink in for a moment.

And what about Song of Solomon? I don’t care you slice that puppy or try to dress it up as an allegory for Christ’s love for the Church. The book is sexual and sensual. To deny that shows that you are more concerned with defending your own delicate sensibilities than getting real about God, His Word, or our faith.

Finally, we should look to Titus 2. This verse is a favorite for women’s ministries, but y’all like to over spiritualize every cotton picking thing.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-5 ESV

We are to teach what is good. We could spend hours, years even discussing what is good – things like freedom from bondage, how to be good stewards of our bodies and sexuality, how to heal from sexual trauma and abuse, what healthy marriage that celebrates sex can look like. We can spend years talking about how to be good wives and mothers, but you are fool if you think that means we can be silent about sex, the scars we carry from past relationships, dealing with sexual issues within a marriage, or how to train our children to live in a world where porn is one click away from us all. We can discuss what it means to be self-controlled but we aren’t talking about how to control our biology we are missing a major element of the conversation.

And when we get to that last point – “that the word of God may not be reviled” – every argument ever offered to me, claiming that I must be silent is shredded. Because do you know what happens to women who told to bury their past, to ignore the pain caused by the misuse and abuse of their sexuality, or to deny that they have questions? I do. They end up in marriages where their lives are endangered. They become invisible victims of abuse. They become disillusioned with the Church and think they are disillusioned with a God who is not great enough to deal with the complexities of female sexuality. They rebel against the restraints that the overly pious would place upon us, and they act in anger against God and his Word. I know this. I know because I lived it and because so many women tell me the same story – a story that begins with, “No one ever talked about this.”

So here is my challenge to all of my detractors – show me one verse in context that says I am wrong. Give me one place within the pages of God’s word that would convict me of leading women astray, and I will pull Scandalous from the sales, close down the discussion group, and never speak of these things again. That is how right I KNOW this is.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Who Were The Nephilim? Part 3 Or "But Jesus Said..."

This is part three of an ongoing series. Go here to start at the beginning. Who Were The Nephilim? Part 1

In the past two posts, we have tried to establish a Scriptural basis for determining the correct understanding of the title “Sons of God.” We have examined both how the phrase is used in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. The problem is that if we accept the “Sons of God” as referring to angelic or divine beings then we have to come to terms with the Bible tells us they did. And this is where most people start feeling just a bit squeamish.

…the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Genesis 6:2

We don’t like the idea of angels feeling attraction, at least not sexual attraction, towards human women. It’s a little freaky. And marriage, wait, didn’t Jesus say they didn’t do that?

I am so glad you asked, he did. Here’s the verse.

For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. Matthew 22:30

Now breathe a sigh of relief, we need to talk about some of these terms. Let’s start off with marriage. We all know what this means. It is a covenant relationship between a man (or angel?) in which sex is an integral part. I want you notice something here, Jesus said the angels do not marry. Marriage and sex are not synonymous. They are two entirely different things that frequently coincide, but are not identical. If you do not believe me, then I suggest turning on a TV, reading a magazine, going to the movies, or hanging out on some social media sites for a while.  And we should assume that just because this is in the Bible or because it is Jesus talking that he is trying to be polite. Neither the Bible nor Jesus was squeamish about sexual issues – read Song of Songs, Leviticus, Matthew 5:27-30, Matthew 19:4, or John 4.

We should note that Jesus adds a qualifier to his statement – “but are like the angels in heaven.” Where are the “Sons of God” in Genesis 6? I am pretty certain they are on earth. And where is that angels do not marry? According to Jesus, that would be heaven. Why would he add this qualifier unless it was important? Why not say that angels do not marry? Isn’t that simple enough?

Not if you believe that the angels did, at least at one time, take wives here on earth.

Jesus’ audience knew angels on earth operate according to a different standard than those in heaven. Angels in heaven have fierce and fantastic forms, (Ezekiel 1 and 10, and Isaiah 6). They also knew that angels could appear as mere men or in fear inducing splendor depending upon the need and the circumstance, (Genesis 16, 22, 28, 32; Numbers 22; Joshua 1; Judges 6, 13; 1 Kings 18; 2 Kings 2; and so many Psalms I will not even try to list them).  Jesus audience also knew that angels were capable of doing some very human things, like eating, (Genesis 18), and the inhabitants of Sodom also seemed certain that their angelic visitors were capable of being sexually assaulted, (Genesis 19).

We need to be very careful that any limitations we place on angels is in keeping with what is revealed in Scripture and not the product of tradition or our sense propriety. And we need to be holding the multiple threads of revelation in tension, drawing from the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures for a fuller understanding of who angels are and what they are capable of doing. Jude says this:

And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. Jude 1:6,7

Notice what he is saying about the angels. He is tying their behavior to sexual immorality, and they are able to do so because they left their “proper dwelling.” He is calling their actions the result of unnatural desire, and indicating that is worthy of punishment by eternal fire. We will be spending some more time in Jude, but for now, it is enough to note that Jude deliberately links his words to the
Genesis account through quotes from the Book of Enoch.

The word for “proper dwelling”, or οἰκητήριον in the Greek is significant. It is only used twice in the Christian Scriptures. Here in Jude and in 2 Corinthian 5:2:

For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling …

If you read that entire passage in 2 Corinthians, you are going to realize that Paul is talking about the difference between our earthy bodies and our heavenly bodies. We long for these new bodies, but Jude tells us these are the bodies that the angels left behind so that they could pursue their lust. Jesus said that in the resurrection we will be like the angels, and I think it is safe to assume that the bodies we inhabit in the resurrection would be the ones that Paul says we long for.

I don’t even pretend to know how this done. I don’t even think I want to, but I think that when we pull all the threads together we see angels are not confined to their heavenly form. They can assume a form that allows them to interact with our world in very human way. In all of the years I have studied this topic, I have yet to find a single convincing argument drawn from Scripture that would refute the identity of the Sons of God being anything other than angelic. To the contrary, I have come to believe that in denying the plain truth of Genesis 6, we have hindered our understanding of the Bible as a whole. I think that in order to offer up any Biblical objection, we would have to ignore a mountain of textual evidence, and read our own comfortable presuppositions into the words of Jesus, and level of disrespect towards my God makes me squeamish.

To read part 4, click here: Who Were The Nephilim? Part 4 The Jude-Enoch Connection