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The Sons Of God

 

Occasionally I receive papers and comments from people in various locations regarding biblical references to the Sons of God. My view of the Sons of God used to be sort of matter-of-fact: People who God is calling become Sons of God if they are judged acceptable. What was there to look into? But some of their statements appeared to be talking about some things contrary to what I had always been taught. I could not recall any recent sermons about the subject, but some of their comments seemed to contradict certain scriptures, and other scriptures seemed to support their positions. What was correct? Was it really important or complicated enough to look into? Well, when I explored the subject. I then found it a very appropriate subject for the fall Feast season.

 

Today I want to discuss the subject of "the Sons of God" with you. I am going to try to avoid any dogmatic position but obviously what the Bible says is what it says. I hope this sermon causes you to meditate on and research the scriptures I'll give you, and by them you’ll be encouraged to learn more. Motivating you is the whole purpose of this sermon, and for that matter, any sermon.

 

Some time ago I gave you a sermon entitled "Giants in the Land." This sermon will begin by briefly describing them but with a different objective. The first reference in the Bible to "sons of God" is in the book of Genesis. Let's turn to Genesis, chapter 6:

Gen 6:1-4 (NKJV) Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, {2} that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they <were> beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. {3} And the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he <is> indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." {4} There were giants [H5303, Neph'ilim, meaning bully, tyrant or giant] 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.

Who were these sons of God? Is this a mistranslation? Let's look at the Hebrew words used in these verses: The word "son" comes from the Hebrew word "ben", H1121 in Strongs’. "Ben" simply means a son in the widest sense; like a grandson, a son, a descendent. "God," of course, comes from the Hebrew word "Elohiym." No surprises there. The Tanakh refers to them as "divine beings", with a marginal reference to "sons of God." The Septuagint refers to them as angels.

If they were angels or divine beings, they must have been spirit beings. But these fellows were cohorting with human women and siring children (Nephilim) and Jesus seemed to say that spirit beings don't do that.

Luke 20:35-36 (NKJV) "But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; {36} "nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

This verse refers to the resurrected saints but evil angels did cohort with humans in the days of Noah. Can angels manifest themselves as real, complete people? What of the two angels who came to deliver Lot? Weren't they real men? The people of Sodom and Gomorrah certainly seemed to think they were. Could the angels of Genesis 6 have been evil angels; some of Satan's gang? Before moving to a New Testament reference to these individuals, let's look at what Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, has to say. From Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, book 1, chapter 3, section 1:

Now this posterity of Seth continued to esteem God as the Lord of the universe, and to have an entire regard to virtue, for seven generations (but over 1000 years); but in the process of time, they were perverted, and forsook the practices of their forefathers, [like every society since has done,] and neither paid those honors to God which were appointed them, nor had they any concern to do justice towards men. But for what degree of zeal they had formerly shown for virtue, they now showed by their actions a double degree of wickedness, whereby they made God to be their enemy; 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, for the tradition is that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call Giants.

*The translator adds: This notion, that the fallen angels were, in some sense, the fathers of the old giants, was the constant view of antiquity.

Now what does Peter say?

1 Pet 3:18-20 (NKJV) For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, {19} by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, {20} who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while <the> ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. [A similarity to baptism.]

2 Pet 2:4 (NKJV) For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast <them> down to hell and delivered <them> into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;

The word "hell" in 2 Peter is referring to Tartaroo (G5020) which apparently means a dark place of imprisonment. This is the only place the word is used in the New Testament. Jude 6 describes it well:

Jude 1:6 (NKJV) And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;

These verses don't seem to be talking about run-of-the-mill demons. There are plenty of them around today. Don't these appear to be references to the angels who were marrying and producing children in the days of Noah? It appears that part of the reason for the flood was to destroy the offspring of these errant angels, while at the same time God was locking up the disobedient angels themselves. At any rate, the sons of God of Genesis 6 appear to be angels with whom Satan was trying to destroy mankind by use of a typical Satanic deception: to counterfeit the divine conception whereby God the Father impregnated a human woman, with the resultant miraculous birth of the true Son of God. The result of the impregnation of human women by satanic angels were children of extreme evil; while the result of impregnation by God the Father was a man perfect in all His ways. A total antithesis.

But if the children of the evil spirits referred to in Genesis 6 were destroyed in the flood, what of the Nephillim referred to in Numbers 13 and Deut 1:28? Let's read that.

Num 13:33 (KJV) And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, <which come> of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

Deut 1:28 (NKJV) 'Where can we go up? Our brethren have discouraged our hearts, saying, "The people are greater and taller than we; the cities are great and fortified up to heaven; moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakim there."'

The spies sent by Moses to spy out the land had returned with reports of Nephillim in Canaan. Where did they come from? How did their ancestors survive the flood of centuries earlier? Did one of their ancestors hide on the roof of the ark? No, I would guess other evil angels repeated what was done in the days Noah. When Moses wrote Genesis, he stated they were to reappear later. We read it in Gen 6:4. Let’s read it again.

(Gen 6:4 NKJV) There were giants 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.

Is the "afterward" the days of Moses? What happened to these Nephillim? Did they just die out? Or are their descendants with us today as we hear of the fierce acts and statements of certain hateful Palestinians and other Muslim extremists? What happened to the evil angels? They were probably imprisoned, just like those before them. God is probably not deterred by overcrowded prisons.

I think it is appropriate at this point, since we have just mentioned run-of-the-mill demons, to compare the status of these demons with the locked up demons mentioned in the verses we just read. Both will face judgment, but only one is currently locked up.

Mat 8:29 (NKJV) And suddenly they cried out, saying, "What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?"

Yes, all demons know their fate....and all demons know Jesus is the Son of God.

Let's proceed. The next references to sons of God appears in Job. Let's read them.

Job 1:6 (NKJV) Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.

Job 2:1 (NKJV) Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.

The sons of God had to have been angels. The WCG used to say that they were arch-angels. I know of no proof of that. Do any of you? If you want to ask Dr. Hoeh where that idea came from, you’re too late. He died in 2004. But the only Old Testament references to sons of God we have found so far seem to refer to angels. However, the 1600 year old Codex- Sinaiticus Bible seems to describe them as Angels of God.

In Job 38 God is describing His creation. Again He refers to sons of God. Could these be anything but angels?

Job 38:7 (NKJV) When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy...

Before leaving the subject of angels being the sons of God, let's consider another related term, "the heavenly host." What does it mean? Well, we know that the Bible refers to a host as an army. That indicates there are more than a few, doesn't it? Let's consider the one New Testament scripture which refers to the host and see if it applies to the sons of God, the angels.

Luke 2:13-14 (NKJV) And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: {14} "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

There are some other scriptures which clearly describe the relationship of Jesus Christ and heavenly angels. Turn to Hebrews 1.

Heb 1:1-10 (NKJV) God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, {2} has in these last days spoken to us by <His> Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; {3} who being the brightness of <His> glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, {4} having become so much better than the angels [does this imply He didn't start off that way?], as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. {5} For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son"? {6} But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him." {7} And of the angels He says: "Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire." {8} But to the Son <He says>: "Your throne, O God [theos, 2316], <is> forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness <is> the scepter of Your Kingdom. {9} You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God [theos], Your God [theos - , there’s only one Greek word for a deity] has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions." {10} And: "You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands.

Verse 8 is quoted from Psalms 45:6.

In each of the scriptures we have looked at, the word "sons" (plural) as has been translated from the Hebrew word "ben."

Now let's turn to Daniel 3.

Dan 3:25 (NKJV) "Look!" he answered, "I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God."

This, of course, is the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego who were thrown into the furnace. But here we have a (singular) "Son of God" with them. How could King Nebuchadnezzar have known that the fourth person in the furnace was like the Son of God? Had he ever seen Him before? The word "Son" in this scripture is from the Hebrew word "Bar", H1247, and means a specific son or grandson. This is a different word than the general word for "sons" we have been reading of so far. This is a different Son than all those angels. We know, of course, that this was he who Judaism calls Adonai, or the future Messiah, Jesus, Yeshua.

The use of "Son" as translated from "Bar", H1247, is shown in one other scripture you would be interested in: Turn to Daniel 7.

Dan 7:13-14 (NKJV) "I was watching in the night visions, And behold, <One> like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. {14} Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion <is> an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom <the one> Which shall not be destroyed.

But we used to be told that the God-head consisted of two beings of equal rank, two co-equal Gods (binitarianism), until Adonai agreed to become subservient to God the Father and be born as a human being. That was the opinion of HWA himself. It is still the position held by the Global, Philadelphia and United churches today. But here in the book of Daniel, long before Adonai allegedly agreed to become subservient, we find reference to the Son (singular) of God and the Son (singular) of man. Are there any other indications of Adonai's eternal position relative to the Father? And what of the saints? How can they ever be defined as future Sons of God? We'll find out in a moment as we study the days of Christ on Earth.

Jesus Christ, in His prayer before the apostles during the last supper said:

John 17:3 (NKJV) "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Jesus Christ acknowledged the only true God and stated clearly that God the Father had sent Him. He didn't just create Him in the womb of Mary. He sent Him. Jesus had to have existed before to be able to have been sent. You can't have sent something that didn't exist.

In John 7 Jesus again states that He was sent. But this time He adds another wrinkle.

John 7:26-29 (NKJV) "But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ? {27} "However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from." {28} Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, "You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. {29} "But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me."

The verb "sent" in Greek is related to the noun "apostle." You can look that up in Strongs’ number G649. This emphasizes the fact that God the Father, who is and has always been greater, sent His Son.

John 10:29-30 (KJV) My Father, which gave <them> me, is greater than all; and no <man> is able to pluck <them> out of my Father's hand. {30} I and <my> Father are one.

But, if the Father is greater than all, why, in verse 30, does Jesus say that He and His Father are one? To answer that, let's look at two scriptures. First let's turn to Phil 2:9.

Phil 2:9-11 (NKJV) Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, {10} that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, {11} and <that> every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ <is> Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Now let's return to John 10, verse 34.

John 10:34-38 (NKJV) Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, "You are gods" '? {35} "If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), {36} "do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? {37} "If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; {38} "but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father <is> in Me, and I in Him."

The law Jesus referred to in verse 34 is Psalm 82:1,6. Let's read it.

Psa 82:1 (NKJV) God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods.

Verse 6 ( this time from the KJV) I have said, "Ye are gods; And all of you are children of the Most High.

Psalm 82:1 and 6 seem to be describing the world today where God's people, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit are able to judge the actions (not the destiny) of others around them from the standpoint of God's word. Verses 2-5 show that we do not give enough concern for the poor and needy. That is certainly a tendency in the church today, which would rather focus on some minor detail of the Law and let the government take care of the poor and needy. That these are saints before their resurrection is born out in verse 7 which says they will die like men. (Some feel these verses also refer to the fate of Satan and his angels, as described in Ezekiel 28:14,19.) In Luke 20, Christ indicates the resurrected saints can not die.

Luke 20:36 (NKJV) "nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

This verse and Psalms 82, verse 6 seems to say "You are gods and all of you are children of the most High" but notice that the words "are" are in italics. It seems likely that the words "are" should be translated "shall be".

for they shall be equal to the angels and shall be sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

Another point to be gleaned from verse 36 is that if the saints shall be equal to the angels and shall be sons of God, then the angels must be sons of God too. It's a mathematical law: If A=B and A=C, then B=C.

Other scriptures which support Psalms 82 are:

Mat 13:43 (NKJV) "Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! [If you are interested, pay attention.]

1 John 3:1-2 (NKJV) Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. {2} Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

We are now the unborn children of God but there is a powerful being out there who would love to abort us. But as Christ said, no one can take us out of the hand of God and Christ. No one but ourselves. We just read John 10:29 and 30 but now let's reread that scripture in regards to how we permanently belong to God and thereby to Christ.

John 10:28-29 (NKJV) "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. {29} "My Father, who has given <them> to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch <them> out of My Father's hand.

In Matthew 16:15, Christ asked His disciples who they thought He was and Peter told Him, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Christ responded by telling Peter that he could only know that because God the Father had revealed it to him, not because he just naturally figured it out by himself.

Having set the foundation, let me now give you some more scriptures supporting what we have covered already.

John 3:18 (KJV) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The words "only begotten Son of God" comes from the Greek "monogene huios Theos", G3439 plus G5207 plus G2316.

But those who heard his words and witnessed his deeds knew he was the son of God. They took his admonition to judge him on the works which he did, which the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees rejected. (John 10:38)

John 11:27 (NKJV) She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."

She recognizes him as the son of God. The focus is on "the son who comes into the world."

Gal 4:4-5 (NKJV) But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, {5} to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

This verse says it all. We see here the purpose of sending God's Son: To buy back those of us who have broken the law so that we can also be adopted by our Father as sons. What a loving gift!

Let's look at a few more scriptures which describe the relationship Christ had with His Father:

John 8:19 (NKJV) Then they said to Him, "Where is Your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also."

Christ was challenged for two reasons: First they wanted to imply Christ was a bastard. Second they wanted Him to say that He was the Son of God so they could charge Him with blasphemy. Christ's reply reinforced His statements that God was His Father and was greater than He. But His statement was also a lead-in to His statement in verse 38, which we will read in a moment, as to who their father was.

In verse 28, Christ makes the point that He was taught by God and depended totally on Him for all that He did on earth.

John 8:28 (NKJV) Then Jesus said to them, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am <He>, and <that> I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.

The words "lift up" are from the Greek word "hupsoo", G5312, which literally means to exalt or lift up. The words "lift up" here may literally refer to Christ being lifted up during the crucifixion or to exaltation. Hupsoo is used to describe Moses lifting up the snake in John 3:14 and as exaltation in Acts and other places. Now we need to ask the question, "Was Christ taught only while on earth?" Let's turn to verse 38 to find out.

John 8:38 (NKJV) "I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father."

Again, Christ lays it on the religious leaders. Christ states that He was taught while He was seen with His Father, but he also accuses them of being taught by their father, HaSatan, the adversary. Let's pick it up in verse 42.

John 8:42-47 (NKJV) Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. {43} "Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. {44} "You are of <your> father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and <does not> stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own <resources>, for he is a liar and the father of it. {45} "But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. {46} "Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? {47} "He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God."

We know that Christ was with God the Father before He was sent to live as a man. What was His position at that time? I don't think anyone knows. He was certainly part of the Host. I think we can be sure of that. But in what capacity? What were His duties? We could ask the same question about the 24 Elders. Are they advisors to God the Father and Jesus Christ? Where do they fit in the organization? I personally picture Christ's role as similar to what we today would call an Executive Assistant or Chief of Staff. But I don't really know.

Now let's look at some scriptures which describe the saints as sons of God.

John 1:12-13 (NKJV) But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: {13} who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

How are the saints born of God? Because God called them, they responded to God's call as we just read, and He gave them His Holy Spirit so they would be motivated to obey Him.

Rom 8:14-23 (NKJV) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. {15} For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." {16} The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, {17} and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with <Him>, that we may also be glorified together. {18} For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy <to be compared> with the glory which shall be revealed in us. {19} For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. [The physical creation is waiting for those of us who are accepted.] {20} For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected <it> in hope; {21} because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. {22} For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. {23} Not only <that>, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

These verses describe it perfectly, don't they? They also tie into the coming convulsions of the earth as described in the book of Revelation. Let's read a few more.

Phil 2:14-16 (NKJV) Do all things without complaining and disputing, {15} that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, {16} holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

1 John 4:10-15 (NKJV) In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son <to be> the propitiation for our sins. {11} Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. {12} No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. {13} By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. {14} And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son <as> Savior of the world. {15} Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

1 John 5:1-5 (NKJV) Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. {2} By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. {3} For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. {4} For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world; our faith [trust]. {5} Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

But the born again sons of God must be spirit. To be born again we must be resurrected from death just as Christ was. Before the first death we are only fetuses waiting to be born, but born into being a brother of Christ and spiritual Son of God.

 

In conclusion, let's reconsider the main points we have covered.

1. Pre-crucifixion references to the sons of God include all the heavenly host; all the angels.

2. Old and New Testament references to the singular Son of God refer to Christ.

3. Post-crucifixion references to the Sons of God refer to the resurrected saints; the people God has chosen to be His Sons.

The Feast of Tabernacles which we will soon celebrate pictures the Kingdom of God when His resurrected Saints will be the Sons of God.

This sermon has only scratched the surface. The scriptures we have covered today and many others contain all kinds of meaning we need to meditate on and apply. I hope you are motivated to do just that.

 

 

Sermon given by Wayne Bedwell

4 August 2012

 

 

Copyright 2012, Wayne Bedwell

 

 


 

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