Dual Nature – Part II

To enter into covenant with God under the Old Covenant one must be circumcised, which was a removal of the flesh from the most intimate part of the body. Circumcision means a “cutting around”, and was the symbol that Israel was in covenant and intimate relationship with their God. The flesh that was “cut around” was in fact removed from the body. It was not just left in place to become irritated and scarred. And so, like circumcision, when we are born again, the old sin nature is completely removed, cut off, and a new spirit birthed within us. And that new spirit is perfect and has the nature of God Himself. Two other scriptures highlight this truth:

For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.  Romans 2:28-29

 In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions.  Colossians 2:11-13

Something amazing happens to us when we are truly born from above or born-again. God’s seed is birthed within us.  In I John 3:9-10 it says, His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious.  With God’s Spirit living within us, we all have the potential to become like Christ or Christ-like in character. In Greek the word for seed is sperma from which our English word “sperm” is derived. God’s seed, His sperm, is His DNA and it becomes the building blocks for the sum total of His nature to dwell in His children!

Amazing!

So, we see in examples given both by the Apostle Paul and the Apostle John, that a dual nature cannot coexist in a born again person. The terminology of circumcision is clear, the old flesh nature is “cut off”, and a new nature from God that is holy, righteous and pure is birthed within us. The very same nature that Jesus has.

A Dual Nature * Romans 7

Some believe and teach that when we are born again we still have an old sin nature, the old man or flesh, as well as the new re-created spirit (the new man). In other words they teach that we now have a dual nature. There is no precedent in God’s created order for this. He has not created a bird, fish or other animal with a dual nature much less a human being. To have a dual nature, one good and the other evil, violates the intent and the law of God. In 2 Corinthians 6:14 the Apostle Paul warns believers to “not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” There are many other references in scripture, both Old and New Covenants that convey this same truth. Even in nature, it is not light and dark at the same time.  An apple tree is not also and orange tree. Neither is a bird also a snake. So we see that two natures cannot coexist in the same body simultaneously.

To have a dual nature with two opposing natures warring within us would not be good news. That would leave us in a vulnerable condition that can lead to having more problems than we had before we were born again. It sounds more like something the devil would try to do than God. As a matter of fact this is what a demon-possessed person is like.

For we know that the Law is spiritual; but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not wish to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that it is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.                                                                                                                                                                              Romans 7:14-25 NASB

I used to read this passage of scripture for comfort as I could identify with it. It is one that many Christians reference to prove that we still have a sin nature after being born again. Is that really what the Apostle Paul is saying here? On the surface it sounds like he has two natures that operate by two separate laws within him and that are in a constant state of war. Before he was born again, Paul was a Pharisee. He observed the Law with strict adherence as he says in Philippians 3:4-6. Notice how many times the word “I” is used. You see, Paul is writing this from the perspective of one who is not born again but living by the works of the Law, a legalistic person. In other words he is trying to be obedient and pleasing to God in his own strength and power.

In verse 14 he says that, “but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.” When you are born again you are not sold into bondage to sin. That is the very thing God delivers you from. Then he says that he is doing the very thing he hates and finds that he is no longer the one doing it, but sin that indwells him. When you are born again you are not given a “master of sin” to obey its every lust. Verse 18 says, “for I know that nothing good dwells in me”. Well, if you are born again there is something great and very good in you! “Christ in you the hope of glory”, Colossian 1:27.

In verse 24 he says, “Wretched man that I am”. Once again, a wretched state is not the condition that you are born again into. And, in the same verse he says, “who will set me free from the body of this death”? He is saying who will set me free from this condition he just described. He is not saying this is what happens to us when we are born again. This would not be good news at all. This is not even in line with the character or nature of God.

We see the answer to this wretched condition in verse twenty-five, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Praise the Lord that it is Jesus Christ who delivers us from this wretched condition! Thank God because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we can experience the very same “abundant life” that Jesus experienced and that He said He came to give to us in John 10:10.

If we believe what Paul describes in chapter seven of Romans that we have a dual nature and these two natures are at war with each other within us, then what was written before this chapter in chapter six or what comes after in chapter eight doesn’t make any sense and is actually a contradiction.

Joe Nicola

Nephilim

There has been a lot of talk about the Nephilim recently. The word Nephilim is in the Bible in two places. Let’s take a closer look at these two scriptures and who the Nephilim were.

Genesis 6:1-8 (NASB)  Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them,  that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.  Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”  The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.  Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.  The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”  But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

Numbers 13:33 (NASB)  “There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

 Before I lay out my evidence for who I believe the Nephilim were we need to lay a foundation for proper interpretation of scripture. In every passage of scripture we need to be able to answer at least five basic questions.

Who is talking? Who are they talking to? What are they talking about? What is the cultural relevance of the day? What do other scriptures have to say about the same topic?

These questions are fundamental but very helpful. There are some other rules for interpretation, here are just a couple more that will be helpful. We need to understand the definition of words. So, what is the definition of the original word used in scripture (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic) at the time it was written? Using an English dictionary to understand the meaning of a word in the Bible can be misleading, especially since definition of words can change with time.

Secondly, and this should be our number one most important rule for all correct interpretation, we must begin with the understanding that the Bible (scripture in its original language) is absolute truth for all people in all places at all times. Scripture is the standard by which we measure all truth. We should never use extra-biblical sources to validate scripture. We must begin with scripture and use it to measure all other sources regardless where they come from. There are no other books that God “forgot” to add to the Bible. If He created the universe and the intricacies of the human body I think He is well able to have the 66 books He wanted written and put into a larger Book exactly the way He wanted to.

Here is why I believe Nephilim are not fallen angels.

Nowhere else in scripture do we have any evidence of this being true.

Genesis 6 says they took wives for themselves. Jesus specifically says angels do not marry, which is a prerequisite for procreation.

The Septuagint translates this passage as angels, but no other manuscript does, only the Alexandrian.

Why would judgment fall on humans on the earth when the sin was obviously the fault of fallen angels?

In Genesis 6:5-7, look how often it says “man” and God was sorry He made “man”, He didn’t say He was sorry He made these particular angels.

Genesis 6:5-7 (NASB) – Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.  The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” 

How is it possible for angels to procreate when there is no other evidence in scripture that they have this ability?

If they can procreate, are they still and if not, why?

It is not a good idea to use any extra biblical sources to validate scripture. For instance, the Book of Enoch, when this book had been corrupted. Use scripture to validate any other source.

How did these angels get human bodies?  We do know that angels appeared as human in scripture for God’s purposes, but, this was not or God’s purpose.

If angels could procreate with human women, why didn’t Satan use this strategy in the Garden? Seems to me if he just took Eve and raped her it could have stopped the whole human race before it began.

This also appears to be a second time angels fell from Heaven. No other scripture validates this either. Or, they were already on the earth just waiting, for some reason.

If these so called giant babies had fallen angels for fathers, would they still be human especially since it is the seed of the man that determines the identity of the child? Why does God say they are men?

Who the Nephilim were:

“Sons of God” is a very old title for aristocrats, kings and nobles.  These were ungodly, wicked men, who took what they wanted when they wanted.

This verse says “man” (Gen. 6:4) “Mighty men, who were of old men of renown.”  Renown meaning widespread fame, honor and authority.

This also explains why they lived before and after the flood. They weren’t a particular race, but Nephilim is a title for a type of people.

Why they were giants, meaning very large stature like Goliath, if indeed they were, I do not know. In Genesis 6 it doesn’t say they were giants in the sense of very large humans. Only in Numbers 13 where Nephilim is mentioned in reference to the sons of Anak.  Giants, similar to “renown” can also mean, popular, famous, etc. (see below)

It is interesting that the Hebrew word for “renown” is “shem”, the name of one of Noah’s sons.

My name is Joe Nicola and this is what I believe

Here are some other helpful word studies;

From “Hard Sayings of the Bible”

There are five lines of evidence. (1) The ancient Aramaic Targums render “sons of God” as “sons of nobles” (Targums of Onkelos), and the Greek translation of Symmachus reads “the sons of the kings or lords.” (2) The word gods (Hebrew elōhîm is used in Scripture for men who served as magistrates or judges (“Then his master must take him before the judges [elōhîm],” Exodus 21:6; see also Exodus 22:8Psalm 82:16). (3) Structurally, the account of the Cainite Lamech (Genesis 4:19-24) and that of the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:1-4 are very much alike. In each there is the taking of wives, the bearing of children and the dynastic exploits. The former passage ends with a boast of judgment by Lamech, and the other ends with God’s decree of judgment. Lamech practiced bigamy (Genesis 4:19), and he enforced his policies by using tyranny. The portraits are parallel and depict states of tyranny, corruption and polygamy. (4) Near Eastern discoveries have validated the pagan use of all sorts of gods’ and goddesses’ names in order to give more clout and prestige to the governments of Egypt and Mesopotamia—hence the title “sons of God.”

The fifth and final line of evidence concerns the nepilîm / gibbôrīm of Genesis 6:4. The word nepilîm occurs only here and in Numbers 13:33, where it refers to the Anakim, who were people of great stature. The root meaning of the word nepilîm is “to fall.” However in Genesis 6:4 the nepilîm are associated with the term gibbôrīm. The word gibbôrīm comes from gibbôr meaning “a mighty man of valor, strength, wealth or power.” Nimrod, in Genesis 10:8, was such a gibbôr. He also was clearly a king in the land of Shinar. Hence the meaning of nepilîm / gibbôrīm is not “giants,” but something more like “princes,” “aristocrats” or “great men.”

From the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.

The word nepel is the root word of Nephilim

1393 ‏נפל‎ (npl) II. Assumed root of the following.

1393a †‏נְפִילִים‎ (nepîlîm<H5303> giants, the Nephilim (Genesis 6:4Numbers 13:33, only).

While some scholars attempt to relate this term etymologically to nāpal I via the noun nēpel “untimely birth” or “miscarriage” (as productive of superhuman monstrosities), a more likely reconstruction is the proposal of a root nāpal II, akin to other weak verbs, pûl II “be wonderful, strong, mighty,” pālāʾ “be wonderful,” and even pālâ “separate, distinguish,” pālal “discriminate.” This pattern of semantically related groups of weak verbs with two strong consonants in common is a notably recurrent phenomenon in Hebrew lexicography. Actually, the translation “giants” is supported mainly by the LXX and may be quite misleading. The word may be of unknown origin and mean “heroes” or “fierce warriors” etc. The RSV and NIV transliteration “Nephilim” is safer and may be correct in referring the noun to a race or nation.

M.C.F.

Authority to Rule

The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the Earth He has given to the sons of men. Psalm 115: 16 Authority is good; it gets things done. Authority is the power and the right to act. However, just like Adam and Eve, our authority is supported by God only as long as we are born again and in submission to Him. The Jewish exorcists in Acts found this out the hard way. But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Acts 19: 13-15 The evil spirit only recognized those who belonged to the Lord, those whose authority came from being in submission to Him. “I recognize Jesus and know about Paul, but who are you?” The seven sons of Sceva were using the name of Jesus without being true sons of God and therefore without true authority. This lesson is as true today as it was in Paul’s time. The name of Jesus is not a talisman. Evil spirits only obey true authority. When we are born again, we submit to God and He begins to delegate His authority to us. When we exercise our authority in Christ, demons obey! Powerful! You see, God has ultimate authority over everything, and, all authority flows from Him. But at creation, He delegated some of His authority over the Earth to man. 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.” Genesis 1: 28 Please note the conditional nature of man’s position. As long as he remained submitted to God, he retained the authority to fulfill God’s commission to subdue the Earth, bringing it under man’s rule and God’s rule. What a great deal. Incidentally, God intended for man to reign over the Earth; man— not Satan, or demons, or animals, or any other created being. In Genesis when Adam exercised his right to name the animals, he did so through the authority God gave him, meaning that man was in authority over these creatures from the beginning. Unfortunately, man did not retain his authority for long. It is also interesting to note that God did not give man authority to subdue and rule over other men in order to control and manipulate them.

Joe Nicola

Excerpt from my book “Ekklesia: The Government of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth”