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In this interview with Mike Spaulding, I explain my Biblical aesthetic in terms of word and image.
And then we talk about the entire Chronicles of the Nephilim.
Another strange legendary creature shows up in the Bible that made it into my novel David Ascendant: Lion Men of Moab. In Hebrew, they are called Ariels. They are kind of like werewolves – but more like werelions.
Some translators translate the phrase “ariels of Moab” as “sons of Ariel of Moab” after the unlikely LXX Greek translation, or “lion-like heroes of Moab.” But there is no Hebrew word for “sons of” in the sentence, no indication of ariel being a personal name, and no Hebrew word for warrior used in the sentence. The Hebrew word for mighty warrior, gibborim, is used frequently throughout David’s narrative and that word is not here. The text says “two ariels of Moab.”
Some suggest it may be a reference to killing two lions. But the very next sentence states that Benaiah, the killer of the ariels, then killed a lion in a pit.
2 Samuel 23:20
And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant man of Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds. He struck down two ariels of Moab. He also went down and struck down a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen.
1 Chronicles 12:8
8 From the Gadites there went over to David at the stronghold in the wilderness mighty and experienced warriors, expert with shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions and who were swift as gazelles upon the mountains:
Though animal-like abilities is a common metaphor used to describe extraordinary warrior skills, having faces like the faces of lions could mean more in light of the existence of these ariels, or Lion Men of Moab. Since the tribal location of Gad was precisely all the land of Moab across the Jordan, I decided to make the Gadite lion-faced men be those very Lion Men of Moab who converted to Israel and joined David. Two of these hybrid warriors then become the two traitors who face down Benaiah.
Psalm 57 was written when David was on the run and hiding out in a cave from Saul’s bounty hunters. Verse 4 says, “My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts— the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.” Though a surface reading of this text appears to be an obvious figurative expression of David’s enemies, scholar B. Mazar suggests it may be a reference to a mercenary military corps of archers whose emblem was the lion-goddess. Could they have come from Moab?
So what if these ariels are hybrid creatures reminiscent of the Watchers’ miscegenation in Genesis 6? What if they are elite warriors with hairy bodies and lion-like faces that only one of David’s own gibborim Mighty Men could slay? After all, the exploits of those Mighty Men in the passages we have been looking at are supernatural slayings of giants and hundreds of soldiers by single warriors. If these ariels were mere warriors, then the feat accomplished by Benaiah in slaying them would be the only one in the entire passage that was banal and without significance.
These ariels were something more than men, something supernatural.The ancient understanding of ariel as a lion-like hybrid humanoid finds support in a later Nag Hammadi text that speaks of a gnostic deity, Yaldabaoth, who was an ariel (spelled slightly different): “Ariael is what the perfect call him, for he was like a lion.”
This interpretation could be supported by a recently found bronze-silver figurine from Tell Abū el-Kharaz in Transjordan representing, according to the excavator’s opinion a male lion-faced warrior(-god?), which can be viewed, because of its appearance and its attributes, as a male pendant.
The author then reveals that the word ariel shows up in the Mesha Stele, a Moabite stone inscription not too long after the time of King David. These are the very Moabites from which 2 Samuel says the ariels come. The line of text in question could be translated, “the lion figure [ariel] of their beloved (god)’ which was dragged before Chemosh after the fall of the Israelite city.”
Bible scholar B. Mazar notes this Mesha Stele connection and adds that the word ariel became a synonym for the lion-headed cherubim at the base of kingly thrones.
So in David Ascendant, I created a special unit of these Ariels, lion-headed warriors of Moab, to explore that supernatural dimension with imagination that fit the thread of the cosmic War of the Seed.
The ancient Book of Jasher was a source text for both Joshua and David’s stories (Josh. 10:13, 2 Sam. 1:18). The extant version we have of the Book of Jasher, though dubitable, tells of two different stories that contain hybrid creatures that may be similar to the lion-men of Moab or the satyrs of Banias. In Jasher 36:29-35 we read of Anah, one of the sons of Seir the Horite, (remember the Seirites’ connection to satyrs) during the days of Abraham. There is a large storm that the writer says caused a group of about 120 “great and terrible animals” to come out of the forest by the seashore to be witnessed by Anah feeding his asses.
And those animals, from their middle downward, were in the shape of the children of men, and from their middle upward, some had the likeness of bears, and some the likeness of the keephas, with tails behind them from between their shoulders reaching down to the earth, like the tails of the ducheephath, and these animals came and mounted and rode upon these asses, and led them away, and they went away unto this day.
he came into the cave and he looked and behold, a large animal was devouring the ox; from the middle upward it resembled a man, and from the middle downward it resembled an animal, and Zepho rose up against the animal and slew it with his swords.
Were these creatures mere legends or were they genetic hybrid remnants of the miscegenation of the Watchers?
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I have great respect for these guys. They are funny, smart and creative.
They do some comedy skits about current issues with sharp wit.
And I LOVE Jay’s News Bulletin in Haiku. Brilliant and Funny.
And one of the best interviews on my series Chronicles of the Nephilim and the new novel, Jesus Triumphant. We talk about the Cosmic War of the Seed, the Watchers, and how the gods of the nations are real beings who battle the messianic bloodline ending in Jesus, who then disinherits those gods and takes back the earth. Jesus demon exorcism was not a mere display of power over spirits, it was a very specific action that is related to the Nephilim of Genesis 6. Listen and you’ll see why. We talked a little about self publishing novels as well.
Listen to Epic Voyages Radio Interview of Godawa here.We talk about the rise and fall of the Nephilim in the Biblical Cosmic War of the Seed. Watchers, giants, and other bizarre phenomena of the Bible as it appears in the novel series, Chronicles of the Nephilim.
The host of the show, Dr. Aaron Judkins aka “Maverick” is an author, explorer, & archaeologist from Texas. He has a passion for searching for the truth about the mysteries of the past- exposing forbidden archaeology & forbidden history. He appears in the new documentary “Finding Noah,” about the current search for Noah’s Ark.
In a previous post, we started looking at one of the most difficult and strange passages in the New Testament, 1 Peter 3:18-22. Many Christians avoid passages like this because they are difficult and hint at content that doesn’t fit well with their own theological views.
Let’s take another look at it with an attempt to clarify its meaning.
1 Peter 3:18–22
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
In the previous post, I explained the two main views that Christ either “went” somewhere in his spirit body during his death on the cross or he “went” after he resurrected BEFORE he ascended into heaven. Then I proved that the “spirits in prison” were not humans but the angelic powers who had fallen during the days of Noah, and were imprisoned much like the book of 1Enoch says. (And Peter is borrowing from 1Enoch)
The last two questions we now want to address are:
Where did he go to proclaim to the spirits? (v. 19)
What did he proclaim? (v. 19)
Where is the “Prison”?
One interpretation of the prison is that it is a metaphor for human beings on earth who are “imprisoned” in their sin. But the context of the passage mitigates against this view.
When the New Testament refers to preaching the Gospel to people on earth, the Greek term for “soul,” is used (psyche). But this is not a term about a ghost in a machine, but rather an expression of the life of an individual human, their inner being, their “person,” or their “self.” Thus, Peter writes in 3:20 that “eight persons (psyche) were brought safely through the waters” in the ark during the Flood.
When Peter preaches the Gospel in Acts 2, it says that “those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls [psyche]… and awe came upon every soul [psyche]” (Acts 2:42-43). “Soul” could be used synonymously with “individuals” or “persons.”
But in 1 Peter 3, the distinct Greek term for “spirit” (pneuma), not “soul” (psyche), is used in contrast to the physical flesh. And these “spirits” are those who were disobedient in the days of Noah (v. 20), so they could not be people on earth at the time of Christ. Christ was proclaiming to spirits.
During the time of Christ, those who were around in the days of Noah could only be in one place according to the Old Testament: The underworld of Hades or Sheol.
What was Hades?
Hades was well known in the Greco-Roman world as the holding cell of the spirits of the dead until the judgment. Sheol was the Hebrew equivalent for Hades so the two could be used interchangeably. Prisons in that time period were exactly that, holding cells for punishment. So when Peter refers to a prison for spirits, this view concludes that he is referring to Hades, just as he did in 2 Peter 2:4 when he said that the disobedient angels were cast into Tartarus, the lowest prison region in Hades.
There are orthodox traditions of Christian scholars who have supported this passage as referring to Christ’s proclamation as occurring at his physical ascension into heaven and others as referring to Christ’s spiritual descent into Hades. I take the position in Jesus Triumphant that Christ spiritually descended into Hades. So did early church fathers like Tertullian, Augustine, Jerome, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, Cyril, and Origen, as well as Medieval scholastics like Robert Bellarmine, John Calvin, Thomas Aquinas, and modern scholars like Charles B. Cranfield, and Bo Reicke. But I also incorporate the post-resurrection interpretation as well, with its fascinating possibilities.
1 Enoch, which seems to be the source of the Biblical text, does in fact depict Enoch as visiting the place of the condemned Watchers who were “formerly in heaven” (1 Enoch 16:2), and that place is described as a “deep pit,” in the bottom of a mountain, just like Tartarus of Hades (Sheol), “an empty place with neither heaven above nor an earth below” (1 Enoch 21:1-2).
The descent of Christ in 1 Pet. 3:19 is poetically structured to counterbalance the ascent of Christ into heaven in verse 22. In the same way that Christ went down into Sheol, he later ascended up into heaven. But more importantly, if Christ makes a proclamation to the spirits in prison, those dead and bound prisoners are certainly not in heaven. They are most likely in Sheol.
Another passage, Ephesians 4:8 quotes Psalms 68:18 about Christ “ascending on high and leading a host of captives.” Paul then adds a parenthetical,
“In saying, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.”
Christ “descending into the lower regions, the earth” can legitimately be interpreted as referring to Christ’s incarnation or even his descent in the Spirit on Pentecost. But other scholarship argues that the phrase is better translated as “descending into the lowest parts of the earth,” in other words into Sheol.
This underworld (Sheol) interpretation would seem to coincide with the memes presented in 1 Peter 3. The contrast of the heights of heaven with the depths of Sheol, and the tying of Christ’s death, descent into Sheol, resurrection, and ascension into the totality of his victory over the angelic principalities and powers.
Psalm 68 says that after leading the host of captives, God “received gifts from men,” a reference to the notion of ancient victors receiving tribute from their conquered foes. Paul changes that “receiving of gifts” into “giving of gifts” as a expansion of that victory over foes into a sharing of victory with his army, the people of God. Perhaps this is the meaning of the Old Testament saints resurrected at the time of Christ’s resurrection (Matt. 27:52-53). They too were sharing in the long awaited victory train of Messiah to free them from Hades and ascend into heaven.
The context of conquest over the angelic powers is also apparent in Eph. 1:20-21, “when he raised [Jesus] from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named.”
Christ’s death on the Cross becomes the apparent defeat by God’s enemies, led by angelic principalities and powers. But it turns around and becomes a disarming of those spiritual powers and the beginning of his triumph over them (Col. 2:15). In this view, Christ goes down into Sheol (in his spirit or later, in his resurrected body) to make a proclamation to the original minions of evil, now held captive. After he raises from the dead, he ascends into heaven to be coronated as king over all authority and powers of heaven and earth (Eph. 1:20-21). And that victory over spiritual powers brings us to the next element of 1 Peter 3:18-22.
What was the Proclamation?
Uri is a great interviewer. We talk about the storyline of the Cosmic War of the Seed in the Bible, which could also be referred to as the “Christus Victor” motif. We speak of the Tower of Babel, and the Alottment of the nations under the Watcher Sons of God. And how Jesus disinherits the nations from the gods and has victory over the heavenly principalities and powers. We talked about the Divine Council, and the Nephilim throughout the entire Bible, and how they even show up in the Gospels. I’m not kidding. It’s all orthodox and affirms a high view of the Bible as God’s Word.
Buy Jesus Triumphant on Kindle and paperback at Amazon here.
This interview was lively. I talk with James Swagger and Susan Kornacki about the Biblical and ancient historical and mythical research of the Nephilim.
The Nephilim in the Bible is controversial. But Genesis 6 is not the only place they show up. This interview explores everywhere giants appear in the Bible, and there are many of them. Nephilim and demons. Satan’s place as “god of this world.” The Transfiguration of Christ as a declaration of war on the Watchers.
Capricorn Radio website (The website of James Swagger)
I was interviewed by Alex about Chronicles of the Nephilim as well as strange Bible interpretations. It was a quite lively and very helpful discussion for those who may not understand or know about the War of the Seed storyline that is in the Bible. It helps explain a lot of things that seem bizarre to our culturally prejudiced western modern eyes when we read the Bible.
Alex is not a Christian, but I appreciate his cordiality and openness to discussing things. You’ll hear near the end that I realized he wasn’t a Christian after treating me so well. And then he had some strong problems with the Bible, but he was kind in letting me explain my perspective, and we could disagree with civility, while also finding where we could agree.
This is what civil discourse should be in our sad era of fascist political correctness that usually seeks to stifle debate and silence Christians.