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The Sons of God

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God (Rom.8:14)

There are few personages defined in Scripture so plainly as 'The Sons of God'. Examples throughout Scripture define ordinary men (and women) believers as Sons and Daughters of God, For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God... (Rom.8:14-16).

Thus God is father to these children just as he was a father to the nation of Israel for the sake of Abraham their forefather, But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand (Isa.64:16).

Since the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, this adoption comes through faith and baptism, For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise (Gal.3:26-29).

Scripture gives no other definition for the Sons of God so there is no excuse for those who choose to interpret this term differently. Some examples of misunderstood passages are quoted below with their correct interpretation.

For example, we read in Genesis 6, And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose(vv1-2). This is simply the first recorded instance of marriages between believers and unbelievers - a recurring theme in Scripture which invariably leads to the corruption of the true faith and for which reason both Old and New Testament teaching forbids marriage outside the faith (Deut. 7:4, 1Cor.7:39, 2Cor.6:14-18). The context of Genesis 6 supports this interpretation. Verse 4 speaks of Giants1 being in the earth before the events of v2. A better translation would be 'fallen ones' - describing those who had fallen away from the faith as the population increased, preferring the things this world has to offer (1Jn.2:15-16). The female descendants of these apostates were those who proved too tempting to the Sons of God referred to in v3.

Other often misunderstood references to The Sons of God occur in the book of Job. Those in Job chapters 1 and 2 are dealt with in the article Notes on the Book of Job. Later in the book, Job is regaled by what God has achieved - without any help from Job, Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:1-7). In the four short verses 4 to 7 God summarises His whole creation - Old and New (there are no tenses in Hebrew). Thus, in the future, the Sons of God (the faithful redeemed) will rejoice at the establishment of The Kingdom of God on earth. That this is a correct interpretation is confirmed by the reference to the corner stone - the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof (Matt.21:42-43).

As an interesting aside: Moses said, in his admonition intended for future generations, Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee. When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel (Deut.32:7-8). The "Children of Israel" in the AV is rendered as "Sons of God" in the Septuagint, Dead Sea Scrolls and some other translations. However, by the definition given above they are synonymous.

[1]A similar word to that translated 'Giant' is used to describe the apostasy of Balaam in Nu.24:2-4 where it is rendered as 'falling' (the added words 'into a trance' not being in the original), And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him. And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling, but having his eyes open:. See also when The Lord Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for the third time.

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