Nephilim Biblical Discussion

Jason_Ryock

Vice Admiral
I got LOAF's permission to post this, it's going to quote the Bible and delve pretty heavily into religious beliefs about the Nephilim, if you're going to be offended by this I truly am sorry. This is intended to be a discussion about how the Bible relates to the Nephilim, not a battle over religions.

So here we go.

I told LOAF in my PM I was going to talk about the Nephilim from a Christian perspective, and he reminded me that the Nephilim aren't only Christian as they appear in the Old Testament. However, the discussions I'm going to be bringing up here are from the New Testament, not the old, specifically, the book of Revelations.

Let me give you some brief background, first. The only reference in the bible to Nephilim is in the book of Genesis, Chapter Six. A story is discussed, I'm going to summarize for you here:

The Sons of God saw that the daughters of man were desirable, and so married any of them that they chose.

(Some people take this to mean the Sons of God, meaning literally the Angels of the Lord. Others take it to mean Adam and his line of descendants, which are spelled out in Genesis Chapter 5. Daughters of man is not ambiguous in this regard, it means literally the daughters of the men on earth.)

The story goes on to say that the Nephilim were on earth in those - and also afterward.

(Here begins our first major discussion. Genesis 6 is laying out the groundwork for the reasons God caused the earth to flood [because Man was becoming evil]. In those days, in this case, probably refers to pre-Flood, and also afterward is probably post-flood.

Nephilim has many differant meanings in Hebrew, two of the most oft discussed are "Strong" and "the Fallen". The writers intention was probably both. Here I believe he is telling the story of fallen Angels, who returned to earth and saw that Human Females were desirable with them, and so had relations with them [sex] to produce children.

The evilness of the Nephilim corrupted their mates and children, and so the race of man became corrupt, causing the Lord to bring about the flood.)

This is just one of MANY interpretations of the text, I'm only providing it to give background for the Nephilim. It's interesting to note, in WC's context, the Nephilim are given their name by Humans, as well.

Now we're going to jump from the beginning of the Bible, to the end. There are three points I wish to make about the book of Revelations in relation to Prophecy.

First, the number 7. This number has significant use as something "Supernatural" throughout the Bible. On the seventh day god rested, and he had seven son, the seven seals of Revelations. Somewhere ELSE the number seven appears: the Tiamet, the Drydock, and the Steller Accretion device. The Tiamet and the Drydock each have exactly seven appendages coming out of them, and the stellar accretion devices has exactly 7 sections to it. All worth noting.

Second, we're going to address the events of Revelations Chapter 8 and 9. Chapter nine is describing the events of the Angels blowing on their trumpers - I'm going to go through some of these events because I believe they can relate to Wing Commander events.

"The First angel sounded his trumpet and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth."

I believe this could be understood as reference to the events in the Battle of Terra in which Earth was bombed from orbit.

"The Second angel sounded his trumpet and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned to blood, and a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed."

This could be interpreted as the attack on Kilrah ("...a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea...") which is where the Nephilim attack originated from. They are describing the destruction of Kilrah, I believe.

"The Third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. A third of the waters turned bitter and many people died from the waters that had become bitter."

This is possibly a reference to the virus contacted from Nephilim remains, or more appropriately a reference to the virus that is mentioned as being released in Star Soldier.

"The Fourth angle sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night."

There are two possible references to this passage in Wing Commander, the first is the Kilrathi word (Forgive me, I don't know how to spell it) that means "Darkness" which is exactly what this event is describing. The second is a bit more of an obscure reference: Star*Soldier makes reference to "Super Nova Zones" with an emphasis on the Plural. This means that there are multiple places where stars have gone Nova - possibly before the Nephilim War, possibly during, possibly after. It is unknown. I think the combination of these two references is the most likely connection.

"The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shat of the abyss. When he opened the abyss smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and the sky were darkened by the smoke from the abyss. And out of the smoke locust came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads."

The most obvious reference to this is the opening of the Proxima wormhole, and of the "Aligned People" (people without the seal of God, perhaps.) The abyss and smoke could easily refer to the wormhole device, and the locus obviously would refer to the Nephilim. The abyss is possible a reference to "The Blackness" where the Nephilim are supposed to go when they die.

The last Revelations chapter we're going to look at before we present our conclusions is Chapter 13. Even before looking at the content, we see something interesting. Chapter 13 has a partial header entitled "The Beast out of the Sea". This provides us with two more Wing Commander references, first the Sea - which is what all Nephilim craft are associated with. Second, Nephilim "Fluid Space" from which they came. We know that ships need refits to travel in "Fluid Space" which leads us to conclude the Nephilim are the Locust, and yet to be seen from them is the Beast from the Sea.

This beast, interestingly enough, is described as having 7 heads. (Tiamet, anyone?) This beast goes on to rule earth, and is given power of everything, supported by another beast coming out of the earth (Another possible reference to the Aligned people). One beast, or the other, is possibly "The Mother Creature" which we know leads the Nephilim, and probably is destroyed eventually, leading to the Reprisal raids by the Nephilim. Just as, eventually, the beast is cast into a pit of Sulfur in Revelations and destroyed.

The book of Revelations goes on to describe "God's Wrath" at those who worshipped the beast, with SEVEN plagues that slowly kill off all of them (Reprisal Raids by the Nephilim at the end of the war, possibly).

So what does all of this mean? Nothing, as it's only my own conclusions based on the information provided, but this is what I believe:

The Nephilim are the fallen sons of God, sent by God, to destroy and punish Humanity for it's transgressions against him. These events are set forth by the Battle of Terra and the Destruction of Kilrah (as referenced above) and would have gone to have several stars destroyed by the Nephilim (a third of Confederation space) before the Confederation was able to kill the Mother Creature, sparking the "Wraith" of God and the reprisal raids by the Nephilim.

Why then doesn't the world end? Something, somewhere in there, that Confed does, disrupts the chain, and breaks the cycle of destruction, causing Armageddon to be avoided.

But that's just my take on the situation.
 

Lt.Overload

Rear Admiral
So Nephilim, in your perspective, were created by Christian Earthling God? I mean, there are many simalarities, but are the Aliens sons of Earth God.

I think they were God's second try to create "man" after Adam and Eve.
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
I only had time to skim-read that, but I just want to say that there are numerous games, movies, anime, books, etc which make some small references to things in the Bible, but have very little to do with it in reality.

The Nephilim are only mentioned a few times in the Old Testament, and personally, I think it's not very constructive to try to work out something we really don't have much information about. Numbers are also used symbollically throughout the Bible (7, 12, 144, etc) but again, I think some people attach too much meaning to that.

Of course, you're simply discussing the supernatural connotations of Biblical references within the context of Prophecy as the plot-device it serves as, so that's fine by me. :)
 

Jason_Ryock

Vice Admiral
Yeah, it's a bit much to link them Biblically, there's actually only one Reference to them anywhere in the Bible. But there are so many similarities...I had to try it out.
 

overmortal

Bearded Person
While I applaud you for your research and effort, I think you're reading too much into what is clearly a quick and easy way to find a 'spooky' name for a video game enemy. I highly doubt that the people at Origin, knowingly or unknowingly, created all of these bits of 'evidence' to suggest that the bugs are actually plagues from God upon two discinct species of the galaxy, whereas other species and their respective homeworlds seem to have gone unmolested.

However, I'll toss a ball your way to catch, and allow you to rumicate on it for a bit.

Human and Kilrathi both have their own respective religions. I would assume that the Kilrathi have more than one, as humans do, and we simply don't hear tell of the less popular ones. Would, then, human Christian values be held to the Kilrathi who'd heard them? If Kilrathi were told of Jesus, would Jesus then hold them to that knowledge? Or, if the reverse were true and Sivar was the one true god, would humans be able to find salvation by turning to Sivar in worship and adoration?

Consider this point before you answer; chew on it a bit. C.S. Lewis, known hugely for his works The Chronicles of Narnia, was also one of the best-known Christian apologists in modern history. In his book The Last Battle, a servant of Tash (the 'evil' deity of his canon) is accepted by Aslan (the 'good' deity, and a reference to Jesus) based on his dedication to serving the only God he knew of to the best of his ability, because he only knew of Tash, and not of Aslan. This was Lewis' way of hypothesizing that your service to "god" may be acceptable to whichever god turns out to be real in the end, if any god, because you were trying to do good and please "god", provided you didn't know of both gods and choose to worship the wrong one.

That being said, how, in your minds, would this dynamic apply to humans and kilrathi?
 

Nomad Terror

Rear Admiral
Well, the background of the book of Revelations of John is that John, while exiled on Patmos, has a series of visions from God in which he sees the end of the Earth, and he then describes it the best way he can.

One could imagine that, within the scope of the Wing Commander universe, that John saw the coming of the Nephilim horde and could only describe it as he wrote.
 

Jason_Ryock

Vice Admiral
That being said, how, in your minds, would this dynamic apply to humans and kilrathi?
My personal opinion is that the two faiths are predominatly incompatiable with each other. The entire premise behind Christianity is that it is a religion from a God of "Love". In fact, I think the majority of religions on earth believe that fact. And the Sivar Cult - if you want to refer to that as the predominate Kilrathi religion - seems to run counter culture to that.
 

Jason_Ryock

Vice Admiral
I'm going to assume that's a song...and ignore it.

I'm just going to say there are a few more things that (I believe) support the above conclusion:

"Stand and be judged!"
"The slave species shall bow before us."
"Newborn, your testing shall devour you!"
"Where is the warrior race that we were promised?"

These are taunts from the Nephilim in WCP/SO that I believe refer to many things. The first one, obviously, is Judgement from God, being sent from God, the Nephilim believe that the people they are "testing" (line three) need to prove their worth before God will decide their fate. The fourth line is included because they were "Promised" Something - a warrior race to engage in combat. I think the third line is also interesting because of the "Newborn" comment. I don't think this is a reference to the age of the character in question, I think it's more a reference to the age of the Human Race in general being "Newborn" in comparison with the Nephilim - which as fallen angels would have a differant concept of time then Terran Humans would.

The second line also contains a reference to "THE slave species" not "Your slave species" meaning that the humans are THE Slave Species, and have been defined to them as such. This is a direct reference (I believe) to the Jewish culture, which is often identified as such, even in the Bible.
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
For clarity's sake, this post deals with reality and not the WC universe. For the in-universe perspective, I really can't say that much. Despite the origin of the Nephilim code-name, I think trying to read too much into fiction is a bit pointless. :)

Human and Kilrathi both have their own respective religions. I would assume that the Kilrathi have more than one, as humans do, and we simply don't hear tell of the less popular ones. Would, then, human Christian values be held to the Kilrathi who'd heard them? If Kilrathi were told of Jesus, would Jesus then hold them to that knowledge? Or, if the reverse were true and Sivar was the one true god, would humans be able to find salvation by turning to Sivar in worship and adoration?
This question is something of a paradox because you're trying to relate a fictitious race and their religion (the Kilrathi and Sivarist beliefs) to real people and (what I and many others believe to be) God.

C.S. Lewis, known hugely for his works The Chronicles of Narnia, was also one of the best-known Christian apologists in modern history. In his book The Last Battle, a servant of Tash (the 'evil' deity of his canon) is accepted by Aslan (the 'good' deity, and a reference to Jesus) based on his dedication to serving the only God he knew of to the best of his ability, because he only knew of Tash, and not of Aslan. This was Lewis' way of hypothesizing that your service to "god" may be acceptable to whichever god turns out to be real in the end, if any god, because you were trying to do good and please "god", provided you didn't know of both gods and choose to worship the wrong one.
I would say that while C S Lewis most definitely wrote the Chronicles of Narnia with parallels to Christianity, I think it rather dangerous to try to take aspects of his writings and apply them to real life. That is to say, I consider the Bible the authority on how to live and how to relate to God, but not the Narnian Chronicles, despite them being written based on Christianity. It's a work of fiction with Christian references.

The entire premise behind Christianity is that it is a religion from a God of "Love".
To be precise, not just a religion, and not just love. :)
 

Jason_Ryock

Vice Admiral
For clarity's sake, this post deals with reality and not the WC universe. For the in-universe perspective, I really can't say that much. Despite the origin of the Nephilim code-name, I think trying to read too much into fiction is a bit pointless. :)
I feel the need to address this small point, as it has been brought up multiple times in this thread...


...isn't that the point of giving the Nephilim such a name, though? To get us to read into it?
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
I doubt it. As I said before, there are lots of loose Biblical references in pop-culture, and as overmortal mentioned, it's hightly unlikely Origin's intentions went beyond that. It wouldn't be in Origin's best interest to ostracise players who might be offended by religious references.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I will argue that there is an intentional biblical connection in Prophecy... but it's not the quesitonable one being discussed here. It is more than just the name value Overmortal and company ascribe to the choice... heck, the sequels were penciled in as 'Wing Commander: Revelation' and 'Wing Commander: Redemption.' There's a clear Judeo-Christian theme here which is exactly as unsubtle as the World War II theme in earlier games.

The suggestion was that the Nephilim visited both Earth and Kilrah in the distant past and that their appearance had some effect on both religions. In ours it's a distant part of Jewish lore and in the case of the Kilrathi it's partially central to why their culture is what it is today.

I'm not especially well versed in the bible - I would like to be, but I wasn't raised with it. My understanding is that the story described above is literally John being shown the apocalypse by God and then relaying the events.

That's a box narrative - a story within a story... which separates it from being *literally* about the Nephilim in the sense that we would like. The intention was, at most, to reference the Hebrew lore about the Nephilim as though it were a historical record of something which happened - that can't be the case here.

I can tell you that the points you've listed were not considered by Origin - I was involved in at least one of them and can confirm that it's just speculation on your part. At the same time, is this the origin of the Christian concept of armageddon? Because that *is* the Christian mirror of the Kilrathi kn'thrak - but only in the roughest sense (note that Wing Commander Prophecy was originally named Wing Commander Armageddon.) Could God have been showing John the destruction of the universe at the hands of the Nephilim? Eh, maybe - but by the nature of the story's setup that depends on what you believe in.

(Now, what might be beneficial would be to collect and discuss the Old Testament references to the Nephilim... and also the non-canonical Book of Enoch, which expands on them quite a bit, I believe.)
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
The enemy was created as an ancient legend, the coming of the nephilim, is described in the kilrathi stone tablets in the intro of WCP.

The kilrathi have a passage in their holy book wich describes a race of alien superwarriors for whom they were no match. From their holy book, when blair "reigned cleansing fire" upon them, the first part of the prophecy was fullfilled and then the Alien warrior race returned.

All references to this, and the passage linking back to the book of genesis, was to create an enemy whom all should fear...

As for the reality/fictional part... In WC, the fictional universe is a possible future scenerio. They are from earth, they are humanity, and have our civilisation, no doubt bibles, koran's, or even the book of mormon have been preserved for it's followers.

As for origin going out of line on the issue of referring to the bible in a fictional story, it is less, or at the most just as offensive as;
- The seventh sign
- Star Trek 5
- Raiders of the lost ark
- Dogma
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
Edit: I wrote this post in response to LOAF's. Clearly I have taken much longer than I originally thought.

I personally believe that when Jesus returns (Armageddon, Judgement Day, whatever you want to call it), everyone will know, both the living and the dead, and be called to account.

However, if this is the interpretation within the WC-universe and purely for entertainment's sake, then I am content with that, since that is no different to any other game, book or movie with Biblical references (edit: as Mace just pointed out).

So, with that in mind, the whole Nephilim being involved in both Human and Kilrathi religion is an interesting spin, sort of linking Humanity and Kilrathi in a parallel neither of them would know or consider until 'now' (WCP/SO time). It's not really made clear in Prophecy, I assume that idea would have been elaborated upon in the planned sequels.

Part of the reason I didn't think Origin planned such an elaborate connection to the Bible was the way Zero dismissed it so casually in the cutscene where he and Casey discuss their respective fathers. "I heard the word Kn’thrak once or twice before and it was in relation to some ancient Terran biblical text and a race called 'Nephilim'." To me, that sort of said, "yeah, this is where we took the name from, but we don't mean anything more than that".

As for references to the Nephilim, well the New International Version appears to have two: Genesis 6 (just before the story of Noah, the Ark and the Flood), and Numbers 13, the Israelite explorers giving the report to Moses about the land of Canaan (this is after the Exodus from Egypt, where the Israelites are travelling to the Promised Land).

Regarding the Numbers reference, most of the Israelite explorers were fearful of the Canaanites and may only have called them Nephilim as an exaggeration of their great size and apparent strength, especially when one could argue that the first mention of Nephilim was before the great flood. I am not a Bible scholar by any means, however, and I am willing to admit I could be wrong on this point. Of course, in the WC version of history, one could argue the Nephilim simply hopped into their spaceships during the flood. :)

I only know of Enoch from Genesis 5 (he was the first to go to heaven without dying), and Jude from the New Testament, where a few sentences are quoted from what I think is the apocryphal Book of Enoch. There's a reason why certain writings are not included in the Bible, but as I said, I'm no Bible scholar, so I'm not familar with the Book of Enoch itself.
 
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