# Sons of God and Nephilim

Q. Who are the sons of God and Nephilim in Genesis 6?

I have answered a related question in Apr. 2014, so won’t repeat myself here. Please refer to:

As I said earlier, not all scholars agree with this view, but their objections can be answered. There are also hoaxes e.g. National Geographic discovering giant skeletons. So study all biblical evidence and decide which is more believable.

# Are You Smarter than a First Grader?

Received a quiz in my email yesterday. It is supposed to be a Hong Kong Elementary School First Grade Student Admissions Test Question, “What parking spot # is the car parked in?” Please answer within 20 seconds.

My mind kicked into hyper-drive right away. “16, 06, 68, 88, ？， 98” Hmmm … what might the missing number be? I immediately think of possible relationships between one number and the next, scanning first from the left and then from the right. No success. The seconds ticked away. No clue! How hard can it be, if it is a grade one problem? Then all of a sudden time’s up. Still no answer.

I am not as smart as a first grader, until I looked at the picture as if I were driving and looking for a parking space. Since I am north of the parking spaces and looking south, reading the numbers from my left to the right, the sequence is a simple “86, ?, 88, 89, 90, 91”! The missing # is 87! Elementary! My dear Watson! Why didn’t I think of that!

The problem is one of perspective. When I first looked at the picture, I automatically assumed “me” as the point of reference, since I am at the center of my universe. I therefore read the numbers from left to right, which did not make any sense. I was reading them upside down! However, once I put myself into the picture as a driver, I am to the north of the numbers. Now all the numbers are in sequence and made perfect sense.

Life is often like that. We looked at things from one point of view and can’t make heads or tails of it. Sometimes we even argue with others who looked at it from another angle, and have a different set of assumptions or presuppositions. What if we are humble enough to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and looked at things his way? May be it will start to make sense and the problem is solved! Wouldn’t that be nice?

# Jesus at 30?

Q. Why does the Bible say that Jesus started his ministry at 30? What about everything He did prior to that? What marked the actual “start”?

A. Aside from His birth, presentation in the Temple, visit of the magi, escape to Egypt and return to Nazareth, the canonical gospels recorded little of Jesus’ childhood except for one incident, His visiting the Temple at age 12, listening to and asking questions of the teachers. Although there are apocryphal stories, the Bible is silent on His adolescence and young adulthood, which is deemed not important for us to know for our salvation.

The four gospels are unanimous in recording Jesus’ baptism as the beginning of His public life. Jesus waited till He was 30 before launching His public ministry:
Lk 3:23 When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age

The Bible did not say why, but there are some clues based on “thirty years old” in Scripture:

1. Age of Service of Levites
Num 4:3 from thirty years and upward, even to fifty years old, all who enter the service to do the work in the tent of meeting. (See also 4:23, 30, 35, 39, 43, 47)
• 1 Chron 23:3 The Levites were numbered from thirty years old and upward, and their number by census of men was 38,000.
• 2 Chron 31:16 without regard to their genealogical enrollment, to the males from thirty years old and upward—everyone who entered the house of the LORD for his daily obligations—for their work in their duties according to their divisions;

The Kohathites, Gershonites, and Merarites, descendants of Levi, all entered the service of the tabernacle at age 30.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt [literally “tabernacled”] among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus as the true Tabernacle began ministry at the same age.

2. Age of David
2 Sam 5:4 David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years.
• Mt 1:1 The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham: (See also Mt 9:27; 15:22; 20:30-32; 21:9, 15; 22:42; Mk 10:47-48; 12:35; Lk 18:38-39)

David was 30 when he became king of Judah. Jesus as “son of David” began ministering at the same age.

Lastly, although I do not have scriptural proof for it, tradition has it that 30 is the age that scribes can legally teach. Jesus is the Master Teacher and started at the same age.

Jesus held a threefold office as Prophet, Priest, and King. His beginning His ministry at 30 is loosely connected to that:
• Prophet teaching Kingdom of God – teacher or rabbi;
• Priest sacrificing Himself – related to Levites, although Jesus is Great High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, not Levitical; and
• King – son of David.

# World Given to Satan?

Q. When the devil tempted Jesus in Luke 4, he said all the world had been given to him. Was that true when he was cast down from out of heaven, and if so, is it still true? Or was he just lying to test Jesus?

A. First let’s look at the text:
Lk 4:5-8 And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”
• Mt 4:8-10 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”

Jesus did not dispute the devil’s claim, neither in Luke 4 nor in the parallel account in Mt 4.

Secondly, Paul called the devil the “god of this world“:
2 Co 4:4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
This reinforced the above clue, so the devil’s claim is valid. But when and how did that happen?

Not when the devil was cast down from heaven, but when Adam and Eve fell. Originally God made man to rule over all the earth:
Gen 1:26, 28 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” … God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Note the word “over” occurs 8 times in two verses. Man had dominion.

However, when Adam and Eve trusted the serpent’s words over God’s, they sinned. They obeyed the devil rather than God, and lost their dominion to the devil.

Is it still true? I believe it is, based on:
1 Jn 5:19 We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
When will this end? At the end of the age:
Rev 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”
When Christ returns, He will bind up Satan and reign forever. Wait for His coming. And be watchful.

# Never Heard Gospel?

Q. How would God judge those who have never heard of the gospel before they died, or those who cannot comprehend i.e. infants, mentally incapable people?

A. When you’ve answered hundreds of Bible questions over the last decade, some of the same queries are bound to be raised by other inquirers. The one above is usually expressed in one of the following forms:
• What about the heathen? Those who have not heard the gospel. God did not give them a chance. It’s not fair if He sends them to hell.
• What about babies who died in infancy? They’re innocent! They haven’t done anything wrong. God wouldn’t send them to hell, would He?

Rather than repeat what I wrote earlier, let me refer you to the previous posts:
https://raykliu.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/no-excuse/
https://raykliu.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/original-sin-3/

There is a concept in theology called the “age of accountability“. The term is not found in the Bible, but refers to the age when a child understands the implications of his actions and becomes responsible for their consequences. The Jews take this to be age 13, the “bar mitzvah” for boys when they become “sons of commandment” accountable for their actions. Obviously, each child matures differently. Some understand right from wrong, good and evil, as young as three or even two. Personally I believe there is no fixed age. God knows the heart. He knows when a child is “ready” or not to understand the gospel, and judges accordingly. But we don’t know, so it is the responsibility of the parents to teach their children the gospel at an early age to establish their relationship with the Lord.

My second comment concerns the mentally challenged. I assume you are referring to those born that way, not those who became incompetent as a result of an accident or illness and had prior chances to accept or reject the gospel. Again, there is no defined “intelligent quotient” (IQ) below which a person could not understand the gospel. Most individuals with Down syndrome (DS) have mild (IQ 50-70) or moderate (IQ 35-50) mental disability. The average IQ of a young adult with DS is 50, equivalent to the mental age of an 8-9 year-old child. They can understand the gospel. I would say the same reasoning for the age of accountability applies to those with low IQ. God knows whether they are capable of understanding the gospel or not. He is always fair.

Don’t worry about those too young or too disabled to understand. Worry about those who can understand but are rejecting the Lord because of pride or other reasons. Pray and reach out to them before it’s too late.

# Can Jesus Sin? (2 of 2)

(Continued from yesterday)

There is another argument from His attributes – His immutability i.e. He never changes:
Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Now if Jesus could sin while He was on earth two thousand years ago, that means He could sin now even though He is in heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father. For that matter, He could sin even in the future, after the consummation of all things, since He is the same forever. That is a totally preposterous proposition! So reductio as absurdum argues that Jesus could not sin. It is impossible for Him to do so.

What about the peccable side’s argument? I think they can be easily answered. His temptations were real, even though He was not capable of succumbing to them. Again let me use an illustration. Roll back the calendar half a century. Let’s assume I challenged Bruce Lee the kung fu master in his prime to a duel. Although he will beat the daylight out of me and there is no chance at all for me to win, it does not mean that my duel was not real. It’s real alright, just that my opponent will not lose for sure.

The same is true for Satan tempting God the Son. He can tempt all he want, but there is absolutely no chance of a finite creature, no matter how powerful he may be in human terms, tempting his infinite Creator to sin and win. Jesus’ humanity always submitting to His deity guarantees that He cannot sin, period.

What about Jesus’ death proving that His humanity could be divorced from His deity, because God can’t die? And if His humanity is not inseparable from His deity, then isn’t He susceptible to be tempted to sin? I think this is a flawed argument.

Death is not inherent in human nature as God designed it. Death entered the world because of sin:
Rom 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—
All men die because all sinned. But Jesus the Perfect Man did not have a sin nature and never sinned, so it is not inevitable that He must die.

His death is not out of necessity, but voluntary – He chose to die for the sheep:
John 10:15, 17-18 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. … For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative.
• Php 2:8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Rather than prove that He is vulnerable in His human frailty, it proved the exact opposite, that as Perfect Man He is obedient to the Father and in full control every step of the way. Jesus had absolute resolve to love the Father and save the world; He could not have sinned because He never had any desire to.

Do not try to reason from the human to the divine. Think from the divine, the biblical revelation, to the human and you won’t go wrong.

# Can Jesus Sin? (1 of 2)

Q. I know Jesus did not sin, but can He? If not, how is His temptation real? If you say He couldn’t sin because He is also God, wouldn’t that be the same logic as saying He couldn’t die because God can’t die? But Jesus did die.

A. In theology the question you posed is called the “peccability” (can sin) or “impeccability” (cannot sin) of Jesus. Both sides agree that Jesus did not sin:
2 Co 5:41 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
• Heb 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
• 1 Pet 2:22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;
• 1 Jn 3:5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.

But could He? Those who think He can sin feel that for His temptation to be real, He must be capable of falling under the temptation; otherwise why bother? It’s just for show! They emphasized the true humanity of Jesus, and humans can fall.

Those who feel He is incapable of sinning emphasized His deity within His dual nature. God cannot sin, so Jesus can’t sin. I believe this side is correct, for the following reasons:

1. Logic
Jesus has two natures – He is fully divine (100% God) and fully human (100% man):
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
• John 1:14 And the Word (Jesus) became flesh (man), and dwelt among us,
• Col 2:9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,

Now which of these two natures submit to the other? Obviously the human nature submits to the divine nature, otherwise what kind of deity would it be? Can it even be deity if it submits to humanity? So if His deity always dominates and His humanity submits, He cannot sin.

2. Attributes
People sin usually for two reasons:
a. they do not have the power to resist the temptation,
b. they were deceived – they do not have the knowledge.
But Jesus as God is omnipotent and has infinite power to overcome any temptation. He is also omniscient and has infinite knowledge so He can’t be deceived. So He cannot sin.

An objection could be raised that Jesus as man was not omnipotent and omniscient, so He could have failed. But the counter-argument is that even though He emptied Himself (Php 2:7) i.e. He laid down the independent use of His power and knowledge, His attributes are part and parcel of His nature and cannot be eradicated.
Php 2:6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

To give a trivial example, my car can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 sec. Just because I pick up speed gradually and do not use all that power, it does not mean that the power is not there. Besides, as man Jesus always do the Father’s will and kept His commandments:
John 14:31 but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me.
• John 15:10 just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
• Heb 10:7 “THEN I SAID, ‘BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.’” (also v 9)

Therefore He cannot sin.

(To be continued)

# Curse on Rebekah?

Q. Jacob said to Rebekah that if Isaac found out he wasn’t Esau, it would bring a curse to him. Rebekah responded that let the curse be on her. Was there ever a curse on Rebekah in the end?

A. Isaac did not curse Jacob, because he himself said, “Cursed be those who curse you” (Gen 27:29), and he knew Jacob shall be blessed (Gen 27:33).

He did not curse Rebekah either, probably because he loved her (Gen 24:67), and likely knew that she was more aligned with God’s choice of the younger than he was, as he favored the older (Gen 25:28).

Her “curse” came in the form that she never saw her favorite son Jacob again. She thought she was sending Jacob away only a short time – a few days with Laban plus the duration for the return trip:
Gen 27:43-45 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice, and arise, flee to Haran, to my brother Laban! Stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury subsides, until your brother’s anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him. Then I will send and get you from there.

In fact Jacob stayed with Laban 20 years – 7 years for Leah, 7 years for Rachael, and 6 years for the sheep and goats:
Gen 31:38 These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten the rams of your flocks.

By the time Jacob returned, Rebekah already died. She never got to see him again for her trickery. Sin always pays.

# Rebekah’s Trick

Q. Rebekah already knew God would bless Jacob and put all his brothers under him. Why wouldn’t she just tell Isaac instead of using a plot to trick him?

A. Rebekah knew Esau would serve Jacob. At that point she did not know what would God bless Jacob with, nor that he will be master of his brothers (Gen 27:29), that knowledge came later, after Isaac blessed Jacob, not before:
Gen 25:23 The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger.”

Gen 25 did not say whether Rebekah told Isaac what the Lord said to her. I can only assume that she probably did, having received an important revelation from God, but the text did not state that explicitly.

She resorted to a trick because she, like her husband, was playing favorites, and knew that Isaac preferred Esau:
Gen 25:28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

Like her mother-in-law Sarai, Rebekah took matters into her own hands, which caused more problems than good:
Gen 16:2 So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.

Scripture is very truthful in recording the strengths and weaknesses of biblical characters. That’s why we believe it is reliable and trustworthy.

# Isaac Blessing Esau?

Q. Why would Isaac bless (predict) Esau to break away from Jacob? Isn’t that cursing Jacob with trouble in the future? Maybe that accounted for all the problems in Middle East today? Why was Jacob rewarded for deceiving Isaac and stealing Esau’s blessing?

A. Isaac blessed Esau because he loved him, even though God already told Rebekah “the older shall serve the younger” (Gen 25:23):
Gen 25:28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

Despite Isaac’s favoritism, all he could do was to state the negative of Jacob’s blessings for Esau:

Esau: Gen 27:39a Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling,
Isaac: Gen 27:28b And of the fatness of the earth,

Esau: Gen 27:39b And away from the dew of heaven from above.
Isaac: Gen 27:28a Now may God give you of the dew of heaven,

Esau： Gen 27:40a By your sword you shall live, And your brother you shall serve;
Isaac: Gen 27:29a Be master of your brothers,

Esau: Gen 27:40b But it shall come about when you become restless, That you will break his yoke from your neck.
Isaac: Gen 27:29b And may your mother’s sons bow down to you.

The best that Isaac could bless Esau with was that he will break Jacob’s yoke from his neck. I do not consider that as cursing Jacob with trouble in the future, as Isaac himself blessed Jacob with “Cursed be those who curse you,” (Gen 27:29). He knew better than to curse Jacob.

I also don’t think Isaac’s prediction or prophecy caused the problems in the Middle East today. The children, representing two nations and two peoples (Gen 27:23), struggled within Rebekah (Gen 27:22) even before they were born:
Rom 9:11-12 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.”

Jacob was not rewarded for deceiving Isaac and stealing Esau’s blessing. He was blessed because of God’s choice, before they were born and had done anything good or bad. God did not explain His choice, just as He did not explain why He allowed Esau (Edom) to break Jacob’s (Israel’s) yoke from his neck. The election was purely His sovereign choice, and He allowed Rebekah’s and Jacob’s deception to offset Isaac’s prejudice to accomplish His purpose. The Bible did not say anything beyond that, and I can go only as far as the Bible revealed.