THE FALLEN SONS
“Because you have said in your heart, ‘I will ascend…'” – Isa 14:13
When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God [Heb. “bên ‘ĕlôhîym”] saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose…
…The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.
Genesis 6:1-2, 4 (ESV)
We are naive to suppose that the self-made utopian impulse is no temptation to those who have stood in the presence of the Holy One.
For doubtless these sons of God which sinned were once among those of whom it was said during the creation of earth,
On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God [Heb. “bên ‘ĕlôhîym”] shouted for joy?
Job 38:6-7 (ESV)
These who witnessed the creation of the earth and the forming of man, these who saw that God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and these who heard the blessing of the mandate with which God first charged His new human sons, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion…” – some of these heavenly beings apparently followed after the same abomination of Satan in his fivefold rejection of the state of grace: “I will ascend…I will…I will…I will…I will.” (Isa 14) They dawned independence as a king dawns a crown; but the Most High did not coronate them.
This infectious pride of the fall is so abominable to God that the sin of Adam is justly imputed to all his offspring, so that by one man’s disobedience, the many are made sinners (Rom 5:19). And within the heart of those who abide not in the Life of God, there arises the same impulse, the mantra of Babylon, constraining them to establish a heavenly kingdom on earth by the might of their own hands and the ingenuity of their own minds. They say, “These gifts are of God, and with them, let us build His kingdom.” Now, some do not even acknowledge God, and the folly of these is most obvious, as they are confessedly their own gods. But many do acknowledge Him; yet it renders their impulse toward the same ends no less grievous – if not more. Those who truly know the power of God ought to only look for a kingdom whose builder and maker is He: which temple is composed of righteous souls; and whose glory is imparted to it by obedience, not by the expectation of men upon the work of their own hands. For He has made no special covenant with any nation except the children of His faith.
Since the fall, it is not God’s prescribed will that all men should come together under their own banner of unity. For only in spirit and in truth, by the working of God Himself, does unity not compromise the holy with the profane.
But for those who attempt to build from the ashes of their own existing ruin, the Lord shows only disdain, and eventually disperses them from their project:
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth.
Genesis 11:1-9 (ESV)
THE BABYLONIAN IMPULSE
“Come out of her, My people.” – Rev 18:4
The Babylonian impulse is spiritual fornication. It is the attempt of fallen creatures to divinize apart from the method of the Divinity. It is a denial of the glory which is given to the creature through the creature’s attempt to have it’s own self-perpetuating glory. In this they have been detached from the singular and unique glory of God; a deviant path which can only produce corruption.
This corruption is perhaps most clearly illustrated in the earlier fornication of the sons of god with daughters of men (Gen 6), producing only a wicked offspring of unholy mixture, against which the people of God would have to make war for centuries to come. There is a real power in that witchcraft of Babylon: but it is a power that must feed upon flesh, and eventually can only further itself by the open practice of every form of depravity; until a people are left like the scattered remains of a rotting corpse, and the cancer moves on to its next willing victim.
And the discipline of God, upon both divine rebel and humankind alike for this building of their own kingdom, was that the latter should be ruled over by the former; until such a time as the Lord would reveal His heavenly kingdom in Christ unto a newly adopted people from out of every tribe and tongue and nation. I mentioned before that humanly derived unity is not God’s prescribed will for fallen man; since although His decree in creation was that man under God should subdue the earth and have dominion, man has since by the fall lost many freedoms within that privilege under God’s current prescription for him:
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He divided mankind, He fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. [Heb. “bên ‘ĕlôhîym” – DSS, LXX]. But the LORD’s portion is His people, Jacob His allotted heritage.
Deuteronomy 32:8-9 (ESV)
Notice two things from this scripture:
All nations were called to separate from one another (“When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He divided mankind, He fixed the borders of the peoples…”), but it is the church’s calling to separate from the nations, in the midst of the nations, unto God (“But the LORD’s portion is His people, Jacob His allotted heritage.”)
For the Israel of God in all ages is the body of Christ, which in heaven is never divided. God divided the nations upon earth purposefully; and His only intended place for an integrated unity of the nations is within His kingdom, that even fallen men might behold the glory of God by our love for one another. But the impulse of men to build Babylon ever perverts this wondrous goal even within the church, and God gives such a people over to their own devices, that their own towers may fall upon them. This is why all such unions inevitably fail, and the last and greatest of them shall also be crushed at His coming, when His bride from among every tribe and tongue and nation is finally done dancing with such idolatry, that at last for a chaste virgin He may come.
So He set up the nations, whom He had divided, under the rule of the principalities and powers – “He fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.” These still must answer to Him, and these He also chastens when they step out of their own bounds (we will cover this momentarily). And He began to re-establish His reign over man within the hearts of one obscure people (Jacob), raised up from the miry cesspool of mankind. To these He gave His oracles, and to these He began revealing His covenant. And among these was already a mixed multitude (Ex 12:38), so that men could not boast in their own flesh. The priesthood of the One coming was also prepared for and foreshadowed in the patience of God as He endured with a hand of discipline the waywardness of these children of Israel, His church in the wilderness.
THE LIGHT TO THE NATIONS
“Of Him shall the nations inquire.” – Isa 11:10
But regarding the nations round about them, He was not entirely silent; and for those whom He longed to graft into the Vine, He was preparing the table of mercy. For though His wrath is rightly kindled against iniquity, rebellion, and sin; still “He delights in steadfast love.” Therefore, His people out of all the world, whom He foreknew from of old, would not be forgotten; and in the hardness of earthly Israel’s heart, He remembered the nations.
In a Psalm it is said of those principalities who ruled over the nations of earth:
God [Heb. “ĕlôhîym”] has taken His place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods [Heb. “ĕlôhîym”] He holds judgment: “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?”
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. I said, “You are gods [Heb. “ĕlôhîym”], sons [Heb. “bên”] of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.” Arise, O God, judge the earth; for You shall inherit all the nations!
Psalm 82 (ESV)
This council is comprised of heavenly beings [Heb. “bên ĕlôhîym”], but their rule is here seen as unjust by He who both created and placed them in that role. The psalmist’s cry “Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit the nations!” is prophetic of the One coming, whose appearing would spell certain doom to the wicked schemes of those principalities, and in whom all His elect from the nations, who are found written in His book, would be redeemed (Rev 5:9-10). The “divine council” pictured here is not strange to the rest of scripture. In one instance, we even see that the most infamous rebel at times conversed among their ranks…
Now there was a day when the sons of God [Heb. “bên ‘ĕlôhîym”] came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them…
Job 1:6 (ESV)
Also consider what the prophet saw regarding the decree from God that Ahab must die:
And Micaiah said (to Ahab), “Therefore hear the word of the LORD:
I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside Him on His right hand and on His left; and the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ And the LORD said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And He said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ Now therefore behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the LORD has declared disaster for you.”
1 Kings 22:19-23
Now the above vision serves to illustrate a wider truth regarding the first coming of Christ. The decree was set: only the means was to be determined. For it is not in the nature of God Himself to lie; but if one insists to trespass His law, He will work even their iniquity toward His end. But regarding Christ; not only was the end decreed, but the means also – and the means was hidden in the scattered and cryptic sayings of the prophets. He has irreversibly confounded the wicked principalities and powers through the blindness of their own arrogance and rage; that by their pride they should deceive themselves into thinking that they could supplant the Holy One of God when He came. Little did they realize what an open shame His death would put them to, and what disarmament His rising would cause them!
For until His incarnation, the Son was not yet explicitly revealed, but only scattered in the words of the prophets, and occasionally appearing in pre-incarnate theophanies. And that He should die without immediately establishing a visible earthly kingdom was not what the “wisdom” of the world, nor its rulers, nor even the leaders of the Jews, had counted upon. Yet this Anointed One was not only decreed to die, but was even decreed to die at their very hands as the yet unnamed Suffering Servant (Isa 53); whom they considered not to be the same man as He who would rule the nations with a rod of iron. As He pointed out multiple times, they were the ones in contradiction with scripture regarding Him – particularly because they thought that His kingdom ought to be of this present world.
As the apostle Paul wrote, “But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God [Christ crucified], which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1Cor 2:8). And this same veil of blindness was afterward cast upon the stubborn practitioners of the law without grace “until the fullness of the nations has come in” (Rom 11:25). For the Israel of God is complete when He has gathered His people whom He foreknew of all nations, the elect who obtain salvation (Rom 11:2,7). It may then be of little wonder that Paul, no matter how far his gospel reached, would always say, “I must go…I must go to Spain… I must go further…” As one fluent in the Hebrew scriptures, and now being enlightened of Christ, he would see the nations as each requiring representation at the marriage supper of the Lamb, that the promise of God inheriting all the nations might be fulfilled.
And this He will do. Yes, all who deny Him His right and seek to thwart His work will likewise be denied and their own works thwarted. For He declares the end from the beginning, and “His works were finished from the foundation of the world.” The Book of Life is the book of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth. He has not reacted to man’s rebellion with a secondary plan, as though He took a “calculated risk” in the creation of man. No, in this He had but one plan, one decree, one mind, one means. And in that eternal purpose, He accounted for sin, (for sin is not a created thing, but is an opposing of the creaturely will to the divine will); causing what was meant for evil by the ungodly to result in the showing forth of His wisdom, glory, and power before the eyes of His lowly creatures. He will have His way, and He will take those worthy of His bride’s garments through the onslaught of the very councils of hell when necessary.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
Part 2 can be read HERE