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Chapter 13 – Narrowing the Field

          Things were quiet after Babel. Satan must have wondered what God would do next because for several hundred years all was quiet. Meanwhile, Satan used the time to tighten his grip on humanity through the spreading of false religion, especially idolatry. A very small number retained the knowledge of God. Gen 14:18 tells of Melchizedek who was priest of the Most high God. But the vast majority of mankind had lost hold of the hand of God:

Though they knew God they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him. Their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image in the form of corruptible man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the desires of their hearts to impurity…Rom 1:18-32

          The passage goes on to emphasize that those who had become heathen had once known God but had willingly exchanged the truth of the knowledge of God for a lie, worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator. Because of this, God gave them up to homosexuality, a depraved mind, and every other kind of degrading passion and vice—both of mind and flesh. Paul concludes by saying they knew God’s sentence of death for such deeds but continued doing them anyhow, even giving their heartfelt approval to anyone else practicing them.

          This passage has its applications even today, but it speaks primarily of that time in history when man willingly let go of the hand of God, and deliberately embraced the practice of evil.

          Satan must have felt he had finally triumphed. What he accomplished in turning man aside from God, during and after Babel, has persisted to our present day in which the majority of mankind continues in spiritual darkness.

          God’s initial purpose remained, however, and that was to bring the promised seed into the world: the One who would crush the head of the serpent and, in so doing, provide a means of escape from humanity’s real enemy, Satan. From the day Adam heeded the enemy, God’s plan has never changed nor has He wavered in His objective of opening the way back to Himself.

          In order to do this, God would cease dealing with mankind as a whole and concentrate on one small portion of our race. He would be a Father God to that remnant: He would teach them; lead them through the training ground of adversity; give them a specific, written revelation of Himself; show them His power; give them pictures and imagery and types and representations and symbols; protect them, nurture them, love them, punish them, mold them—and then, at the proper time, bring forth through them the Deliverer, the eternal King.

          So God chose Abraham. He could have chosen an American Indian, an African Black, an Asian Chinese, a European Celt; but He chose Abraham, a Semite, and made a contract with him: If Abraham would believe and obey, God would bless all of mankind by him in bringing forth the promised seed through one of  his descendents.

          For the first time, God began to demonstrate His power, love, and intent through miracles, the first being the conception of a child in Sarah who was past child bearing age. About the time Isaac was conceived, Satan must have noticed something unusual was happening. After hundreds of years in which Satan must have felt totally triumphant, God was on the move again.

          The centuries following witnessed a continual battle between humanity’s ancient enemy and God’s chosen people. Out of the entire race of man, a bare handful had retained the knowledge of the one, true God and were willingly serving Him. Satan inspired Pharaoh to enslave them in Egypt but God defeated the Egyptians and delivered the Israelites with such a display of power that they remember it to this day.

          Satan was aware the Israelites had been calling out to God for a deliverer. Would God answer and bring forth the promised seed right there in the midst of bondage in Egypt? He must induce the pharaoh to order the killing of all male Hebrew babies. Then, if the Deliverer were born, he would not survive.

          But Moses was miraculously protected—and by an idol worshipping Egyptian, no less. These humans were difficult to corral. However, within a  short time, as Moses grew, Satan saw he was a sinner like everyone else and therefore could not be the Deliverer.

          Satan also took note of God’s promise made in Canaan to Abraham, “To your descendents I will give this land.” Whatever happened would happen in Canaan and Moses was to have some part in the re-settling of the Israelites there.

          Since Moses was not the one, Satan had no idea how soon the real Deliverer would come. For all he knew, the minute the Israelites were established in the promised land God would bring forth the Messiah. It must be headed off.

          Satan sorted through his skimpy bag of tricks—and we might well be astounded at what he came up with. In spite of all that had happened at the flood with the resultant binding in chains of great numbers of his angels, Satan was about to dust off his plan of sending the Nephilim.

          The scattering at Babel had made it impossible for the fallen angels to try once more corrupting all of human womankind, even if they had wanted to. All of humanity would never be in one place again. But it was unnecessary anyhow. The scene was now to be played out in a limited locality and Satan was willing to risk sending the Nephilim to Canaan. If God was going to effect His plan in Canaan, perhaps Satan, too, could so bring the inhabitants of God’s chosen land into oneness with his purposes that he could bring forth his own seed, the Antichrist. And if not, he could at least so corrupt the Israelites when they arrived that God would have to abandon His plan to use them to bless humanity.

          In Num 13:33 we are told the Nephilim were in the promised land when Moses sent the spies. However, most of our translations give a confused rendering of the verse, the KJ being the most unintelligible. It should read, “And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak come from [are the offspring of] the Nephilim)…” We should look back, also, at Gen 6:45, “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, [before the flood] and also afterward [in Canaan] when the sons of God came into the daughters of men…”

          Because of this state of affairs, God commanded the Israelites, when they entered the land, to utterly destroy the inhabitants of Canaan. God had promised Noah He would not send a flood again. Nevertheless, He wanted all those who had had contact with the Nephilim destroyed, right down to their animals. If the Israelites were to be God’s people, then they must be zealous to expunge every taint of evil. Of course Satan has inspired unbelievers and apostates ever since to cluck their tongues over such cruelty and merciless butchery of the poor Canaanites.

          (This task to exterminate evil looks forward to that day when God’s servants will again be called upon to do battle with hordes of demons loosed on the earth. In fact, that day has already come, though few know it.)

          So, once again Satan’s plan was foiled. These Nephilim were also bound in chains and cast into the pit. Jude 6 included them. (Note verse 5 mentions the coming out of Egypt, followed by the comment on the Nephilim in verse 6.) Their progeny, the Rephaim, who were of great height, were either killed or died out.

          We could continue on and on through the Old Testament listing the battles between God and the serpent: the Israelites were snared into sin by the Canaanites because they did not destroy them completely; the kingdom was split into Israel and Judah; Israel went into captivity, was scattered and lost (ten tribes down, two to go); Judah went into captivity to Babylon—but God brought them back after 70 years; Antiochus Epiphanes in the 2nd century BC came close to destroying the Jews and their worship; and so forth. During that age, all of Satan’s efforts were expended on the destruction of the Jewish people. Yet God preserved them in order to keep His promise to Abraham that the Deliverer should come from his lineage, and fulfill His promise to David that one of his descendants should reign over an everlasting kingdom. Acts 2:30, Ps 89:3-4, 132:11.

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