Nephilim in the Gospel: Jesus Triumphant – Interview on View From the Bunker


NEPHILIM IN the New Testament? Surely Brian Godawa has stretched his Chronicles of the Nephilim series at least one book too far!

But no! Brian joins us to discuss his latest novel, Jesus Triumphant: Chronicles of the Nephilim Book Eight, and makes the case that the giants who caused so much trouble throughout the history of Israel were still in the land for one last attempt at preventing the Messiah from completing his mission.

Please join Derek and Sharon Gilbert each Sunday for the Gilbert House Fellowship, our Bible study podcast. Log on to for more details.

Chronicles of the Nephilim: #3. Christ’s Descent into Hades

The Apostle’s Creed, the oldest most universal Creed of Christianity, says Christ went down to hell. That word in the Bible is actually Hades, and it is the Abode of the Dead, not a fiery pit. Find out what he did down there. There’s way more to it than just a poetic description of Jesus dying. Oh, there’s so much more.

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The Gates of Hell: Christ’s Triumph Over the Powers


In Matthew 16:13-20 is the famous story of Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ, who then responds, “I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (v. 18). Shortly after, Jesus leads them up to a high mountain where he is transfigured.

First off, let’s get this straight. It isn’t “Hell” whose gates Jesus is talking about, but Hades, a very different thing than what most people think. The Greek words are actually “Gates of Hades,” which is not a place of eternal burning fire, but rather the temporary holding place of dead souls before the judgment. It was the Abode of the Dead. (More on that in future posts)

In order to understand the spiritual reality of what is going on in this polemical sequence and its relevance to the cosmic War of the Seed, we must first understand where it is going on.

Verse 13 says that Peter’s confession takes place in the district of Caesarea Philippi. This city was in the heart of Bashan on a rocky terrace in the foothills of Mount Hermon. This was the celebrated location of the grotto of Banias or Panias, where the satyr goat god Pan was worshipped and from where the mouth of the Jordan river flowed. This very location was what was known as the “gates of Hades,” the underworld abode of dead souls.

The Jewish historian Josephus wrote of this sacred grotto during his time, “a dark cave opens itself; within which there is a horrible precipice, that descends abruptly to a vast depth; it contains a mighty quantity of water, which is immovable; and when anybody lets down anything to measure the depth of the earth beneath the water, no length of cord is sufficient to reach it.”[1] (this cavern shows up in the new novel, Jesus Triumphant)

As scholar Judd Burton points out, this is a kind of ground zero for the gods against whom Jesus was fighting his cosmic spiritual war. Mount Hermon was the location where the Watchers came to earth, led their rebellion and miscegenation, which birthed the Nephilim (1 Enoch 13:7-10). It was their headquarters, in Bashan, the place of the Serpent, where Azazel may have been worshipped before Pan as a desert goat idol.[2]

When Jesus speaks of building his church upon a rock, it was more of a polemical contrast with the pagan city upon the rock, than it may have been a word play off of Peter’s name, meaning “stone.” In the ancient world, mountains were not only a gateway between heaven, earth, and the underworld, but also the habitations of the gods that represented their heavenly power and authority.[3]

The mountain before them, Hermon, was considered the heavenly habitation of Canaanite gods as well as the very Watchers before whose gates of Hades Jesus now stood.

The polemics become clearer when one realizes that gates are not offensive weapons, but defensive means. Christ’s kingship is storming the very gates of Hades/Sheol in the heart of darkness and he will build his cosmic holy mountain upon its ruins.[4]

But the battle is only beginning. Because the very next incident that occurs is the transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-13).

The text says that Jesus led three disciples up a high mountain. But it doesn’t say which mountain. Though tradition has sometimes concluded it was Mount Tabor, a more likely candidate is Mount Hermon itself. The reasons are because Tabor is not a high mountain at only 1800 feet compared to Hermon’s 9000 feet height, and Tabor was a well traveled location which would not allow Jesus to be alone with his disciples (17:1).[5]

Then the text says, that Jesus “was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him” (Matthew 17:2–3). When Peter offers to put up three tabernacles for each of his heroes, he hears a voice from the cloud say, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased, listen to him” (vs. 4-5).

The theological point of this being that Moses and Elijah are the representatives of the Old Covenant, summed up as the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah), but Jesus is the anointed King (Messiah) that both Law and Prophets pointed toward.

So God is anointing Jesus and transferring all covenantal authority to him as God’s own Son. And for what purpose? To become king upon the new cosmic mountain that God was establishing: Mount Zion in the city of God. But wait, didn’t you read me say he would build it upon Hermon? Follow me, here…

In the Mosaic Covenant, Mount Sinai was considered the cosmic mountain of God where God had his assembly of divine holy ones (Deut. 33:2-3). But now, as pronounced by the prophets, that mountain was being transferred out of the wilderness wandering into a new home in the Promised Land as Mount Zion (ultimately in Jerusalem).

And that new mountain was the displacement and replacement of the previous divine occupants of Mount Hermon. Of course, just like David the messianic type, Jesus was anointed as king, but there would be a delay of time before he would take that rightful throne because he had some Goliaths yet to conquer.

Take a look at this Psalm and see how the language of cosmic war against the anointed Messiah is portrayed as a victory of God establishing his new cosmic mountain. We see a repeat of the language of Jesus’ transfiguration at Hermon.

Psalm 2:1–8 (NASB95)
Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers [heavenly as well?] take counsel together Against the Lord and against His Anointed [Messiah], saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!” He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.” “I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.[6]
Like Moses’ transfiguration in Exodus 34:29, Jesus’ body was transformed by his anointing to shine with the glory of those who surround God’s throne, evidence of divine status (Dan. 10:6; Ezek 1:14-16, 21ff.; 10:9).[7]

But that description is no where near the ending of this spiritual parade of triumph being previewed in God’s Word. One last passage illustrates the conquering change of ownership of the cosmic mountain in Bashan. Notice the ironic language used of Bashan as God’s mountain, and the spiritual warfare imagery of its replacement.

Psalm 68:15–22
O mountain of God, mountain of Bashan; O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan! Why do you look with hatred, O many-peaked mountain, at the mount that God desired for his abode, yes, where the Lord will dwell forever? The chariots of God are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary. You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there… But God will strike the heads of his enemies, the hairy crown of him who walks in his guilty ways. The Lord said, “I will bring them back from Bashan, I will bring them back from the depths of the sea.

In this Psalm, God takes ownership of Bashan with his heavenly host of warriors, but then replaces it and refers to Sinai (soon to be Zion). It is not that God is making Bashan his mountain literally, but conquering its divinities and theologically replacing it with his new cosmic mountain elsewhere.

In verse 18 we see a foreshadowing of Christ’s own victorious heavenly ascension, where he leads captives in triumphal procession and receives tribute from them as spoils of war (v. 18). He will own and live where once the rebellious ruled (v. 18). He strikes the “hairy crown” (seir) of the people of that area (v. 21), the descendants of the cursed hairy Esau/Seir,[8] who worshipped the goat demons (as depicted in Joshua Valiant and Caleb Vigilant).[9] He will bring them all out from the sea of chaos, that wilderness where Leviathan reigns.[10]
But first, the Messiah must descend into that sea to claim his victory.

And that “sea” of descent is Hades. Stay tuned in the next post as we talk about Christ’s descent into Hades.

P.S. Need I say, this will all show up in Jesus Triumphant like you’ve never seen before?

For additional Biblical and historical research related to this novel, go to under the menu listing, “Links” > Jesus Triumphant.

[1] Wars of the Jews 1:405, Flavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987).
[2] Judd H. Burton, Interview With the Giant: Ethnohistorical Notes on the Nephilim (Burton Beyond Press, 2009) 15-23.
[3] Richard J. Clifford, The Cosmic Mountain in Canaan and the Old Testament(Wipf & Stock Pub, 2010), 1-8.
[4] Michael S. Heiser The Myth That is True First Draft,  Unpublished book, 266.
[5] Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 106.
[6] See also Psa. 48.
[7] Michael S. Heiser The Myth That is True, 65.
[8] “Edom,” Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979–1988), 18. See the Appendix on Satyrs and Seirim in Brian Godawa Joshua Valiant, (Los Angeles: Embedded Pictures, 2013), 310-314.
[9] Marvin E. Tate, Psalms 51–100, vol. 20, Word Biblical Commentary(Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998), 182.
[10] Heiser The Myth,  277-279.

What in Hell Happened to Satan?


In the last post, I explained how the nations had been allotted to the fallen Watchers (“Sons of God”) as territories over which they ruled (Deut. 32:8-11). The satan, as the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), was most likely the Watcher of Rome, because Rome ruled the known world at the time, AND it was the oppressor of Israel.

So how are we to understand the Biblical tension of the satan being “cast down” (Jn. 12:31) and without power (Heb. 2:14), while simultaneously having the ability to prowl around and devour people (1Pet. 5:8)?

Through the entire Chronicles series, I have used a concept called “binding” of angels, demons, and Watchers through either supernatural restraint or imprisonment in the earth or Tartarus. Continue reading

What in Hell Are Demons?

Demon_203473324In anticipation of the release of my next novel, Jesus Triumphant, Book 8 of the Chronicles of the Nephilim, I am going to post some articles on wild and bizarre spiritual stuff in the New Testament that will show up in the novel to come. July release. You better get cracking on the previous books in the series cause it all fits together with the Watchers, The Nephilim and the Cosmic War of the Seed.

Demons are a theological problem. Where do they come from? What are they? Why are they almost entirely absent in the Old Testament, and then all of a sudden, there is a flurry of demonic activity and possessions once Messiah comes to Israel? The casting out of demons is so frequently linked with Jesus’ proclamation of the Gospel that it seems to be more than a mere symbolic expression of his power over the spiritual world. It appears to be an essential theological component of the New Covenant.

First, just what are demons? We see in the New Testament that they are evil spirits that possess or inhabit the physical bodies of living individuals (Luke 11:24-26), and who are cast out by Jesus and his disciples by the power of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 8:16; Luke 10:17). Their presence sometimes causes physical infirmities like blindness (Matt. 12:22), deafness (Mark 9:17-29), or epilepsy (Matt. 17:15-18), as well as mental insanity (Mark 5:15). Many of them can inhabit one body (Mark 5:9), and bring great strength to the host (Mark 5:4).

But where did these evil spirits come from? In the Old Testament, there is very little explanation of demons. God sends an evil spirit to torment King Saul in 1 Sam. 16:14. Based on Saul’s insane behavior it is safe to say he was most likely possessed by that evil spirit (v. 15-23). 1 Kings 22:22-23 reveals that God sends a “lying spirit” into the mouths of false prophets. Demons? Maybe. But certainly subservient to God’s interests. Even the satan is depicted as a circumscribed servant of God’s will in the Old Testament (Job 1:12). As explained in other Appendices of the Chronicles, pagan idols are often referred to as demonic (“sheddim” Deut. 32:17; Psa. 106:34-37; Lev. 17:7; 2 Chron. 11:15) exposing the spiritual reality behind their earthly façade of graven images and foreign deities. But even these are not the same as what we traditionally think of as demons.
Other than these few examples, there is a dearth in the Old Testament of the kind of activity we read about in the New Testament, with raging demoniacs being exorcised by Christ and his disciples. It seems like the demons knew that the presence of Messiah was the final countdown of their own demise and they were throwing fits and tantrums. As if the Seed of the Woman was crushing the Seed of the Serpent’s head and the body was wriggling in pain.

But they are never described as fallen angels in the Bible. What then, are demons and from where do they come?

The church father Origen claimed that there was no clearly defined teaching on their genesis in the early church, but that a significant opinion was that “the devil was an angel, and that, having become an apostate, he induced as many of the angels as possible to fall away with himself, and these up to the present time are called his angels.”[1]

This common Christian idea of the satan and demons as fallen angels is often proof-texted from Isa. 14:12-15, Ezek. 28:12-16, and Rev. 12:4. But as explained in the Appendix to Enoch Primordial, I do not believe these passages apply to a satanic fall from heaven.[2] Isaiah 14 is the likening of the monstrous pride of the king of Babylon to a Canaanite myth of arrogant deities. Nothing about the satan there. And there is no reference to any others joining him either. Ezekiel 28 is a condemnation of the king of Tyre by likening him to Adam’s fall in the Garden, not the satan. This passage also fails to mention anyone in collusion with the arrogant prince. One has to import an alien notion of the satanic fall into these passages through eisegesis.

Lastly, Revelation 12 is not about a satanic fall or war in heaven before the Garden of Eden, or even in some future end of the world scenario. It is an apocalyptic parable that is describing the war of the satan at the incarnation of Christ, his ascension to the throne of authority over all principalities and powers, and his suppression of the satan’s power as the Gospel goes forth into the world.

So in the Bible there is no evidence of angels falling before the Garden of Eden. There is a satanic “fall” or a “casting out” of heaven (John 12:31) and a “throwing down” to the earth of the satan during the time of Christ (Luke 10:17-20). But that would be too late in the game to explain the few evil spirits in the Old Testament or their presence before the arrival of Messiah. The only other “fall” of angelic beings in the Bible is the Sons of God, the Watchers, in Genesis 6 coming to earth.[3]

But that presents another problem, namely that the ontological nature or “material being” of the angels as revealed in the Bible would seem to preclude these fallen angels from being the Old Testament or New Testament demons or “evil spirits.” While angels are multidimensional in their ability to traverse between the heavenlies and the earth, they are described as having flesh that eats food (Gen. 18; 19:1), and can have sexual congress with human beings (Gen. 6:1-4). This is a heavenly flesh that is different from human flesh (1 Cor. 15:39-40), but is flesh nonetheless. It is a body. This would make angels such as the Watchers unlikely candidates for incorporeal spirits seeking flesh to inhabit or possess.

There is no origin of demons detailed in the Bible. There is merely a description of their spiritual nature and evil activities. But there is a tradition of their origin that carries some weight beyond mere speculation. Regarding this origin, the Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible says, “The most popular myth, however, is found in the Bible, intertestamental literature, the rabbis and the Church fathers: demons are the souls of the offspring of angels who cohabited with humans.”[4] We are right back to that ancient text that keeps rearing its head in the New Testament; the book of 1 Enoch. There we read that the giants had unique ontological status as hybrids of both human and angel. So when they died in the Flood, their spirits became roaming entities seeking bodily possession of humans.

1 Enoch 15:8-16:1
“But now the giants who are born from the (union of) the spirits and the flesh shall be called evil spirits upon the earth, because their dwelling shall be upon the earth and inside the earth. Evil spirits have come out of their bodies. Because from the day that they were created from the holy ones they became the Watchers; their first origin is the spiritual foundation. They will become evil upon the earth and shall be called evil spirits…12 And these spirits shall rise up against the children of the people and against the women, because they have proceeded forth (from them)… From the days of the slaughter and destruction, and the death of the giants… they will corrupt until the day of the great conclusion, until the great age is consummated, until everything is concluded (upon) the Watchers and the wicked ones.”[5]

Chronicles of the Nephilim assumes this Enochic interpretation in its storyline as the last gasp attempt of the Seed of the Serpent to bite the heel of the Seed of Eve. Needless to say, their head is crushed in that attempt.

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[1] Origen, “De Principiis,” in The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Fathers of the Third Century: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Parts First and Second, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, trans. Frederick Crombie, vol. 4 (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885), 240.
[2] Brian Godawa, Enoch Primordial (Los Angeles: Embedded Pictures Publishing, 2013), 367-373.
[3] See the chapter “The Book of Enoch: Scripture, Heresy, or What?” in When Giants Were Upon the Earth: The Watchers, Nephilim and the Cosmic War of the Seed (Los Angeles: Embedded Pictures, 2014),.
[4] G. J. Riley, “Demon,” ed. Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van der Horst, Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (Leiden; Boston; Köln; Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge: Brill; Eerdmans, 1999), 238. Early church fathers who believed this are Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, Minuciux Felix, Irenaeus, among others: Bo Reicke, The Disobedient Spirits and Christian Baptism (New York: AMS Press, 1946), 80-81. Other Intertestamental literature that affirms demons as sons of the Watchers are Test. Of Solomon 5:3; 17:1; Jubilees 10:5; Dead Sea Scrolls 4Q510 v.5; 4Q511 Frag. 35; 4Q204 Col V.2-3 (1Enoch 10:15), that call the demons, sons of the Watchers or “spirits of the bastards.” Florentino Garcı́a Martı́nez and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar, “The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (translations)” (Leiden; New York: Brill, 1997–1998), 415, 1029, 1033-35. 11Q11 Col. V.6 calls demons “offspring of man and of the seed of the holy ones.” DSS Study Edition, 1203. See Loren T. Stuckenbruck, “The ‘Angels’ and ‘Giants’ of Genesis 6:1-4 in Second and Third Century BCE Jewish Interpretation: Reflections on the Posture of Early Apocalyptic Traditions,” Dead Sea Discoveries, Vol. 7, No. 3, Angels and Demons (2000), pp. 354-37; Ida Fröhlich,”Theology and Demonology in Qumran Texts,” Henoch; Vol. 32 Issue 1, June 2010, 101-129.
[5] James H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol. 1 (New York;  London: Yale University Press, 1983), 22.