By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
Quotation For Contemplation
“You may have fallen in with some [Gnostics] who are called Christians. However, they do not admit this [intermediate state], and they venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham. . . . They say there is no resurrection of the dead. Rather, they say that when they die, their souls are taken to heaven. Do not imagine that they are Christians. Justin Martyr ((c. 160, E), 1.239.)
In this study, we will continue our studies in the Afterlife from the Book of Job regarding the inhabitants of Sheol.
Who exactly is In Sheol?
Sheol Is The World Of The Dead For (Most) Humans
Throughout the Bible we see that most humans go to Sheol after death.
Genesis 37:35-And all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and he said, “For I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning.” Thus his father wept for him.
Job 14:13-Oh, that You would hide me in the grave, That You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, That You would appoint me a set time, and remember me!
Job 30:23 (CEV)-Soon he will send me home to the world of the dead, where we all must go.
Psalm 9:17-The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God.
Psalm 16:10-For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
Psalm 31:17-Do not let me be ashamed, O LORD, for I have called upon You; Let the wicked be ashamed; Let them be silent in the grave.
Psalm 49:14-15-14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave; Death shall feed on them; The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; And their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling. 15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me. Selah.
Psalm 88:3-4-For my soul is full of troubles, And my life draws near to the grave.
4 I am counted with those who go down to the pit; I am like a man who has no strength,
Isaiah 5:14-Therefore Sheol has enlarged itself And opened its mouth beyond measure; Their glory and their multitude and their pomp, And he who is jubilant, shall descend into it.
Isaiah 38:10-I said, “In the prime of my life I shall go to the gates of Sheol; I am deprived of the remainder of my years.”
Therefore, Job says that at some point, all dead humans must go to this world.
How is it then, that we are specifically told that not all of the dead humans are in Sheol?
For example, we noticed in our study of demons that demons are the spirits of the wicked dead.
Evidence of this may be cited from both Scripture (cf. Numbers 25:1-3; Deuteronomy 32:17; Psalm 106:28), and the etymology of the word “demon” as it was used in the first century:
“We have, from a careful survey of the history of the term demon, concluded that the demons of Paganism, Judaism, and Christianity were the ghosts of dead men. But we build not only upon the definition of the term, nor on its philological history; but upon the following seven pillars: 1. All the Pagan authors of note, whose works have survived the wreck of ages, affirm the opinion that demons were the spirits or ghosts of dead men. From Hesiod down to the more polished Celsus, their historians, poets, and philosophers occasionally express this opinion. 2. The Jewish historians, Josephus and Philo, also avow this conviction. Josephus says, “Demons are the spirits of wicked men, who enter into living men and destroy them, unless they are so happy as to meet with speedy relief. Philo says, “The souls of dead men are called demons.” 3. The Christian Fathers, Justin Martyr, Ireneus, Origen, &c. depose to the same effect. Justin, when arguing for a future state, alleges, “Those who are seized and tormented by the souls of the dead, whom all call demons, and madmen.” Lardner, after examining with the most laborious care the works of these, and all the Fathers of the first two centuries, says, “The notion of demons, or the souls of dead men, having power over living men, was universally prevalent among the heathen of these times, and believed by many Christians. 4. The Evangelists and Apostles of Jesus Christ so understood the matter. As this is a very important, and of itself a sufficient pillar on which to rest our edifice, we shall be at more pains to illustrate and enforce it. We shall first state the philological law or canon of criticism, on the generality and truth of which all our dictionaries, grammars, and translations are formed. Every word not specially explained  or defined in a particular sense, by any standard writer of any particular age and country, is to be taken and applied in the current or commonly received signification of that country and age in which the writer lived and wrote. If this canon of translation and of criticism be denied, then we affirm there is no value in dictionaries, nor in the acquisition of ancient languages in which any book may be written; nor is there any confidence in any translation of any ancient work, sacred or profane: for they are all made upon the assumption of the truth of this law.” (Alexander Campbell, Demonology, 135-160 (Kindle Edition))
“Although it would be a rare reader today who would equate the “demons” exorcised by Jesus with ghosts, i.e., spirits of deceased human beings who still exert an influence upon the living, many ancient readers of the Gospels would have done so automatically… To sum up the discussion thus far: it can be argued that the continued presence of the connection between the daimons and the dead in the philosophical literature, alongside the more elaborate emergent daimoniology, may indicate that ‘even these circles to had to orientate themselves by popular ideas, despite combating, or seek to move beyond them… For my purposes, the dating question is not crucial, since the testimony of the papyri and the curse tables combine to show that the connection between the daimons and the dead was made across the several centuries on either side of the NT period… Many of the spells in the Magical papyri show us that the daimons manipulated by the magicians were patently connected to the spirits of the dead… Several passages in Josephus assume the connection between the daimons and the dead. To provide but one example, Josephus says that, despite its tendency to kill the one attempting to pluck it, the plant rue possesses one highly-prized value…“ for the so-called daimons—in other words, the spirits of wicked men which enter the living and kill them unless aid is forthcoming-are promptly expelled by this root, if merely applied to the patients.” Here the daimons are defined in terms of the ghosts of the wicked, bent on human destruction.” (Peter Bolt, quoted in Anthony N.S. Lane, The Unseen World: Christian Reflections on Angels, Demons, and the Heavenly Realm (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996), 75, 88-89, 95-96).
With this mind, we read dozens of passages which show that demons were on the Earth and not in Sheol in the first century.
Furthermore, some of these demons specifically begged Jesus not to send them to Sheol:
Luke 8:31-And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.
So, which is it?
Do all humans go to Sheol, or are some still in the world?
First, it is possible that the Prophets mentioned above are teaching that all of dead humanity will ONE DAY go to Sheol.
Is it possible that some of the dead do not go immediately to this realm at the moment of death? We must concede this as a possibility.
Second, the Scriptures make it clear that, at least on some occasions, those in Hades are somehow released from this realm of the dead.
We could consider how Samuel the Prophet was temporarily brought forth from Sheol by the summoning of the witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28). Certainly, Samuel was brought forth (as the text of 1 Samuel 28 makes clear), and he had been at “rest” (1 Samuel 28:15) in Sheol (cf. Isaiah 57:1-2).
The New Testament also teaches that Christ released many from the Captivity in Hades after He preached to the spirits in prison:
Psalm 68:18-You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive; You have received gifts among men, Even from the rebellious, That the LORD God might dwell there.
Ephesians 4:8-10-8 Therefore He says: “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE, AND GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”
9 (Now this, “HE ASCENDED”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
Third, the Book of Revelation teaches that before the Second Coming, the world of Sheol will be opened, and some of the spirits will leave that realm:
Revelation 9:1-3-1 Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit.
2 And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit.
3 Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
Therefore, we may conclude the following.
One, Sheol is the world of the dead for deceased humans.
Two, it is possible that not all of the dead go there immediately at the point of death.
Third, under certain circumstances, those dead humans in the world of the dead may leave that realm.
Sheol Is The World Of The Dead For (Some) Of The Fallen Angels
The New Testament also teaches that some of the fallen angels have been banished to a specific level of Sheol until the Day of Judgement.
2 Peter 2:4-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;
Jude 6-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;
The word used by Peter (translated as Hell in most English translations) is actually the Greek word Tartarus.
Many consider Tartarus to be a separate “level” of the world of the dead, and not Hades itself.
“The verb tartaroo, translated “cast down to hell” in 2 Pet. 2: 4, signifies to consign to Tartarus, which is neither Sheol nor hades nor hell, but the place where those angels whose special sin is referred to in that passage are confined “to be reserved unto judgment”; the region is described as “pits of darkness.” RV.” (W.E. Vine with F.F. Bruce, New Testament Word Pictures: A Commentary Drawn From The Original Language-Romans To Revelation-Every Verse Explained, 48892 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson)
“Tartarus was regarded by the ancient Greeks as that abiding place where rebellious gods and other wicked ones were punished. Its only NT use is in 2 Pet. 2:4 which says that the angels that sinned “were confined in Tartarus” and “kept unto judgment.”” (David G. Shackelford and E. Ray Clendenen, “Hell,” in Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, 25395 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN; Holman Reference)
It is also interesting to notice that Tartarus is referenced in the Greek Old Testament on at least three occasions:
“The word Peter uses for “hell” here is the Greek tartarus. This term is used in Greek mythology to refer to the place where giants such as Cyclopes and the Titans were cast. Tartarus is also used in Hellenistic, or Greek, branches of Judaism, as seen, for instance, in the Septuagint of Job (40:20; 41:24), Proverbs (30:16), and other early Jewish writers (e.g., Sib. Or. 4:186; 1 En. 20:2; Philo, Mos. 2.433; Praem. 152).” (Francis Chan & Preston Speinkle, Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity, And The Things We’ve Made Up, 110-111 (Kindle Edition); Colorado Speings, CO; David C Cook)
Please observe that Peter and Jude specify that the Angels which sinned sexually are bound in Tartarus. In a previous lesson (The Bible And Evil, Pain, And Suffering # 2-The Angels), we learned that the Greek of both 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 bear out this interpretation.
What About Satan?
One more point needs to be made regarding the angels who sinned.
In Revelation 20, as John describes the beginning and duration of the church age, we are told that Satan is bound in Hades as well:
Revelation 20:1-3-1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;
3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.
Yet the Scriptures teach us that Satan and his forces are NOT bound in Sheol, but are working even now upon the Earth:
Ephesians 6:10-12-10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
1 Peter 5:8-Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
How is Satan “bound” in Hades, and still prowling around on Earth, seeking to destroy us?
To answer that, we need to consider four very important facts.
First, the symbolic language of Revelation 20 must be remembered. This is a figurative binding.
Indeed, the text itself makes this clear. Is the angel going to use a literal chain to bind the devil in a literal pit for a literal thousand years?
To ask is to answer (especially in light of Revelation 1:1-2, where John specifies he is using symbolic language throughout his Book).
Second, following the general structure of Revelation, we see this “binding” has to do with what took place at the First Coming.
The Book of Revelation is a series of seven visions which John witnesses that span the triumph of Christ in His First Coming, proceeding through the church age, and culminating in the Second Coming.
At the end of each vision, the next vision resets, following the same pattern. Here in Revelation 20, we are at the beginning of the seventh vision.
Thus, this binding of Satan takes place at the First Coming of Christ (just like in the previous sections of Revelation).
So, the “binding” of the passage will deal primarily with some way in which Christ “bound” Satan at His First Coming.
Third, the limits and boundaries of the binding of Satan here described are clearly set forth.
In what way is Satan bound? “So that he should deceive the nations no more.”
This is not a complete binding of Satan. It is in this specific way (i.e., “so that he should deceive the nations no more,”) that Satan is “bound.”
Finally, other passages in the Mew Testament make it clear that this “binding” has reference to what happened to Satan when Jesus triumphed over him at Calvary.
Matthew 12:29-29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.
John 12:31-Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
One author has explained it very well:
“Bear in mind, however, that all this is symbolism. Upon the angel’s hand lies a chain, the two ends hanging down. Evidently, he is going to bind someone in order to lock him up in the abyss. What happens? John suddenly sees ‘the dragon’, strong, crafty, ugly. It is ‘the old serpent’, cunning and deceptive. In order to describe him still more accurately he is also called ‘the devil’, that is, ‘slanderer’; and ‘Satan’, that is, ‘adversary’ or ‘false accuser’. Being in the Spirit John now notices that the angel overpowers Satan. He renders him helpless and binds him securely and firmly. The devil remains bound for a thousand years. The angel hurls him into the abyss and locks it. He places a seal over it. Thus, Satan remains ‘locked up’ for a thousand years. After that he must be loosed for a short time. What is the meaning of this symbol?  In order to arrive at the real meaning of ‘the binding and hurling into the abyss’ of Satan we must first ask the question, just what meaning or value did this passage have for the persecuted Christians of John’s day? Let us, accordingly, forget for a moment the fact that we are living in the twentieth century. Let us ‘transplant’ ourselves to the world of John the apostle. What a picture of spiritual darkness and desolation! Try to count the many idols that disgrace the streets and sanctuaries of imperial Rome. The abominations, the filth and corruption attendant upon the celebration of pagan festivals, the superstitions, vices, and so on, are truly staggering. Temples and shrines throughout the world are crowded with ignorant, half-despairing worshippers. We see a few scattered churches established through the efforts of Paul and others. For the rest, heathendom is everywhere triumphant….With a sigh of horror we exclaim, ‘Is this condition never going to change? Will this Old Testament era continue for ever? Will the devil maintain his rule over the peoples of the earth? Will the light of the glorious gospel never penetrate into the palaces and hovels of Asia and Europe? Will this intense moral and spiritual darkness always continue? Has an angry God forgotten mercy?’…The spiritual darkness that covers the nations shall not continue; Satan shall deceive the nations no more. Late comes the fulfilment. Jesus is born. He begins His ministry. The Pharisees accuse Him of casting out demons by the power of Satan himself. He answers, ‘How can one enter into the house of the strong one (namely Satan) and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong one? Then he shall plunder his goods.’ Please notice that exactly the same word ‘binding’ is used here in Matthew as in Revelation 20. This work of binding the devil was begun when our Lord triumphed over him in the temptations in the wilderness (Mt. 4: 1–11). As a result, Christ begins to ‘cast out’ demons. The power and influence of Satan over the deluded masses was beginning to be curtailed. Again, when the seventy missionaries returned, they said: ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in thy name’. Observe what follows: ‘And he said to them, I beheld Satan falling as lightning from heaven’ (Lk. 10: 17, 18). Here the devil’s ‘falling from heaven’ is associated with the missionary activity of the seventy. This is a very significant passage which does much to explain Revelation 20. At another time certain Greeks wished to see Jesus. Jesus remarks: ‘Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.’ Be sure to observe that a word is used which has the same root, in the original, as the term which we translate ‘casting’ or ‘hurling’ into the abyss (Rev. 20). Even more important is the fact that here, in John 12: 20–32, the casting out of Satan is associated with the fact that not only the Jews, as was the rule in the past, but ‘all men’—Greeks as well as Jews—shall be drawn to Christ. All this shall happen as a result of Christ’s suffering on the cross and the sending of the Holy Spirit. Colossians 2: 15 very definitely associates the ‘despoiling’ of Satan and his armies with Christ’s triumph on the cross. Revelation 12: 5 ff. clearly shows that ‘the casting out’ of Satan was a result of Christ’s coronation. Realize, therefore, that in all these passages the binding and casting out or falling of Satan is in some way associated with the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. When we say ‘the first coming’ we refer to all the events associated with it, from the incarnation to the coronation. We may say, therefore, that the binding of Satan, according to all these passages, begins with that first coming. Again, in some of the texts which we have quoted, this binding, etc., is definitely associated with the work of missions and with the extension of the witnessing Church among the nations. Before the coming of Christ, His victory over the devil in the temptations, His ministry, His death, ascension and coronation, salvation had been largely limited to the Jews. God had suffered Satan to blind the eyes of the nations, so that these nations walked in their own ways. A great change was to take place. The ‘truth’ of the gospel would gradually replace the ‘lie’ of the devil. Satan is bound so that he can deceive the nations no more. Christ will draw ‘all men’ to Himself. The chosen from every nation will be saved. In close harmony with all these scriptural passages—and our exegesis must always be based upon the analogy of Scripture—we conclude that here also in Revelation 20: 1–3 the binding of Satan and the fact that he is hurled into the abyss to remain there for a thousand years indicates that throughout this present gospel age the devil’s influence on earth is curtailed. He is unable to prevent the extension of the Church among the nations by means of an active missionary programme. During this entire period he is prevented from causing the nations—the world in general—to destroy the Church as a mighty, missionary institution. By means of the preaching of the Word as applied by the Holy Spirit, the elect, from all parts of the world, are brought from darkness to light. In that sense the Church conquers the nations, and the nations do not conquer the Church. Throughout this entire period churches are established. Not only individuals but institutions and ordinances are affected more or less by the gospel of God’s grace. In regions where the devil had been allowed to exercise almost unlimited authority, during Old Testament times, he is now compelled to see the servants of Christ gaining territory little by little…The Church, indeed, exerts a tremendous influence for good upon almost the entire complex of human life. In that sense—not in every sense—the devil is bound. We repeat, the devil is not bound in every sense. His influence is not completely destroyed. On the contrary, within the sphere in which Satan is permitted to exert his influence for evil he rages most furiously. A dog securely bound with a long and heavy chain can do great damage within the circle of his imprisonment. Outside that circle, however, the animal can do no damage and can hurt no-one. Thus also Revelation 20: 1–3 teaches us that Satan’s power is curbed and his influence curtailed with respect to one definite sphere of activity: ‘that he should deceive the nations no more’. The devil can do much, indeed, during this present period of one thousand years. But there is one thing which, during this period, he cannot do. With respect to this one thing he is definitely and securely bound. He cannot destroy the Church as a mighty missionary organization heralding the gospel to all the nations. He cannot do that until the thousand years are finished.” (William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation Of The Book Of Revelation, 185-190 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books)
Satan is not literally bound in Hades.
Instead, his power has been greatly reduced in that he cannot completely deceive the nations any more and he cannot completely destroy the church.
Further, this was all accomplished by the work of Jesus during His First Coming, and culminating in His death, burial, and resurrection on the third day (Colossians 2:12-15).
Sheol Is The World Of The Dead For (Many Of) The Nephilim
The Word of God teaches us that at one time, some of the fallen angels (referenced above) took human wives, in direct rebellion to God’s commands.
From these unions, another race was formed: the nephilim.
Being half-angel and half-human, these beings were Giants which enslaved humanity:
Genesis 6:1-4-1 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 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.
Deuteronomy 2:9-11- Then the LORD said to me, ‘Do not harass Moab, nor contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land as a possession, because I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as a possession.’ ”
10 (The Emim had dwelt there in times past, a people as great and numerous and tall as the Anakim.
11 They were also regarded as giants, like the Anakim, but the Moabites call them Emim.
Numbers 13:28-Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.
Numbers 13:32-33-32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.
33 There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
Deuteronomy 2:20-23-20 (That was also regarded as a land of giants; giants formerly dwelt there. But the Ammonites call them Zamzummim,
21 a people as great and numerous and tall as the Anakim. But the LORD destroyed them before them, and they dispossessed them and dwelt in their place,
22 just as He had done for the descendants of Esau, who dwelt in Seir, when He destroyed the Horites from before them. They dispossessed them and dwelt in their place, even to this day.
23 And the Avim, who dwelt in villages as far as Gaza—the Caphtorim, who came from Caphtor, destroyed them and dwelt in their place.)
Deuteronomy 3:11-For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of the giants. Indeed his bedstead was an iron bedstead. (Is it not in Rabbah of the people of Ammon?) Nine cubits is its length and four cubits its width, according to the standard cubit.
1 Chronicles 20:6-Yet again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, with twenty-four fingers and toes, six on each hand and six on each foot; and he also was born to the giant.
These Giants were destroyed in the Flood, and their souls were then bound in Sheol. Job describes this to us:
Job 26:5-“The dead tremble, Those under the waters and those inhabiting them.
Job 26:5 (DRB)-Behold the giants groan under the waters, and they that dwell with them.
The root word translated here as “dead” (NKJV) and “Giants” (DRB) is a Hebrew word that had specific reference to the giants which inhabited the ancient world.
In the KJV of the Bible, the word is translated in the following ways: giants, giant, rephaim, rephaims, and rapha.
Other passages specifically point out that the giants are in Sheol:
Isaiah 14:9-“Hell from beneath is excited about you, To meet you at your coming; It stirs up the dead for you, All the chief ones of the earth; It has raised up from their thrones All the kings of the nations.
Ezekiel 28:17-“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you.
How, then, did the giants “come back” after the Flood?
Ken Johnson provides some fascinating historical information regarding that subject:
“Genesis tells us that after the flood Noah divided the planet among his three sons. Ham was given what we call Africa and Shem, the middle east. Canaan, Ham’s son, left his territory and ventured north along the Mediterranean Sea. Why did Canaan travel all the way up the coast to found Sidon, his first city, in an area he knew was not his territory, then quickly settle another city, Tyre? The map at the right shows that those two locations are the closest he could get to mount an expedition to Mount Hermon. He wanted to find information about the pre-flood giants! “And Canaan grew, and his father taught him writing, and he went to seek for himself a place where he might seize for himself a city. And he found a writing which former (generations) had carved on the rock, and he read what was thereon, and he transcribed it and sinned owing to it; for it contained the teaching of the Watchers in accordance with which they used to observe the omens of the sun and moon and stars in all the signs of heaven. And he wrote it down and said nothing regarding it; for he was afraid to speak to Noah about it lest he should be angry with him on account of it.” Jubilees 8.1-5 After finding the writing containing the science of the Watchers, Canaan sought to create a race of warrior giants using the same type of genetic tampering which was done before the Flood. This explains how the giants came to be, but with a few problems. Second Samuel 21:20 describes giants with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. Moses led the children of Israel into battle with Og, the king of Bashan, who being a true giant, stood at least twelve feet tall (Deuteronomy 3:11). Bashan was anciently called the Land of the Giants. Og actually reigned from Mt. Hermon (Joshua 12:4-5), the place where the angels descended. Even up to King David’s time, Goliath remained (1 Samuel 17:4). He was one-quarter giant and three-quarters Philistine and reached only nine feet, nine inches tall. Another race of giants were the Anakim (Numbers 13:21-33). Some of the Amorites were as tall as a cedar tree (Amos 2:9), probably referring to the sons of Anak. Other giant races found in the Old Testament included the Emim (Deuteronomy 2:9-11), and the Zamzummim (Deuteronomy 2:20-21). The Anakim, Emim, and the Zamzummim were all equally tall. The Valley of Hinnom was anciently called the Valley of Giants (Joshua 15:8; 18:16). Joshua destroyed all the Anakim except for a giant who escaped to Gaza (Joshua 11:21-22), the later home of Goliath. David’s men killed Goliath’s brother and one other son of the giant (2 Samuel 21:20-21). In four hundred years time the giant out bred, so that Goliath and his brothers were only nine feet tall instead of thirteen feet tall. The Genesis 6 word for giants (Nephilim) occurs in only one other place: Numbers 13:33. These same post-flood giants who are called Nephilim in Numbers, are referred to as Rephaim in Deuteronomy 2:11 and Genesis 14:5. These passages show that the post-flood giants were a special kind of Nephilim called Rephaim. This means they were not the procreation of another angelic rebellion, but a genetic tampering by man in a similar fashion as the angels did in the pre-flood world.” (Ken Johnson, Th. D., Fallen Angels, 37-39 (Kindle Edition))
It is important to point out that just as the Bible teaches that not all human souls who were confined to Hades remained there, Jewish and early Christian literature suggests that the same is true for the nephilim souls.
In other words, some of the Jewish and Christian writings suggest that some of the “demons” which afflict humans are the spirits of the nephilim.
“The angels transgressed this appointment and were captivated by love of women. And they begat children, who are those who are called demons. (Justin Martyr (c. 160, E), 1.190).
“These angels, then, who have fallen from heaven, and haunt the air and the earth, and are no longer able to rise to heavenly things, and the souls of the giants, who are the demons who wander about the world, perform similar actions. (Athenagoras (c. 175, E), 2.142.)
We see that Sheol is the world of the dead for:
(Most) dead humans;
(Some) of the fallen angels;
(Many) of the nephilim giants.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.
What textual clues from the Book of Revelation suggest that the binding of Satan (Revelation 20:2-4) was figurative and not literal? _________________________________________________________________________________
List some passages which show that some of the dead in Sheol are released from there (at least temporarily)before the Second Coming? ________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Bible mentions Tartarus (2 Peter 2:4). Where was this located, and what did this word mean in the original Greek speaking language of the first century? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Drawing upon extra-biblical literature, what is one possible way that the giants were brought back to the world after the Flood? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What four ideas should be considered in studying about the meaning of Satan’s binding? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
For Prayer Partners:
1. Consider the New Testament teaching about Christ’s preaching to the spirits in Hades (especially as found in 1 Peter 3:18-4:6). When did preaching take place? To whom did Christ preach? What was the message that was preached to the spirits in prison?