EARTH'S EARLIEST AGES
Posted: July 22, 2012
by G. H. Pember
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first excerpt* in a series on the works of George Hawkins Pember (1836 - 1910), an English theologian and author affiliated with the Plymouth Brethren. His work Earth's Earliest Ages is considered by many his Magnum Opus and has been touted worldwide a masterpiece. It analyzes the prophecy of Jesus Christ in Matthew 24 that says the end times would be a repeat of “the days of Noah” and concludes that the final and most fearful sign heralding the Lord's Second Coming will be the return of the Nephilim, “the appearance upon earth of beings from the Principality of the Air, and their unlawful intercourse with the human race.”
*Following much history and background from G. H. Pember, our first excerpt in this series begins from page 180 of the upcoming Defender Publishing edition of Earth's Earliest Ages.
The residence of the fallen angels upon earth was the immediate cause of their alliances with the daughters of men.
Now, in speaking of the sin of some of these, Jude tells us that, despising the position of dignity and responsibility in which God had placed them, they voluntarily left their own home in the Kingdom of the Air, prompted it would seem by earthward desires, and began to exercise an unlawful influence over the human race. And, perhaps, as a punishment, their return was prohibited; they were banished altogether from heaven, and confined to the limits of earth; just as Satan and the remainder of his angels will be hereafter, a short time before the appearing of Christ to cast them into the still lower abyss.
But, however this may be, they were from some cause dwelling upon earth at the time, and the fact is apparently mentioned to account for their inter- marriages with the daughters of men. If, then, their continued residence below was voluntary, they soon passed on to a far more frightful sin: if, on the contrary, it was penal, instead of humbling themselves under the mighty hand of God, and patiently enduring until He remitted His just punishment, they did not hesitate to defy Him still more daringly, and to violate the law of their being.
The assertion of a similar occurrence after the Deluge agrees with the passage in Numbers where the sons of Anak are said to have been Nephilim, or of the Nephilim; and seems also to account for God’s command that the whole race of the Canaanites should be extirpated. For immediately after the commission of the antediluvian sin, the doom of the world was pronounced: and prophecy intimates that the future confinement of the angels of darkness to earth will be the proximate cause of the great rebellion which will call forth the Lord Jesus in flaming fire to take vengeance.
The children of these unlawful connections before the flood were the renowned heroes of old: the subsequent repetition of the crime doubtless gave rise to the countless legends of the loves of the gods, and explains the numerous passages in the Classics, as well as in the ancient literature of other languages, in which human families are traced to a half Divine origin.
Before passing on, we should, perhaps, notice the most common objection to our interpretation, which is, that angels, as spiritual beings, could not take wives of the daughters of men. We are, however, unable to recognise the cogency of such an argument, because those who advance it lay claim to a more intimate acquaintance with angelic nature than we can concede as possible. On this point, therefore, we will merely quote a passage from Augustine—an opponent of the angel-theory—containing an admission which has been made by many other writers of various ages and climes, and which, absurd as it may have seemed to ourselves some years ago, is now rendered more probable by the disclosures of modern Spiritualism.
After citing the hundred and fourteenth Psalm to prove that angels are spirits, the great theologian proceeds as follows:
“However, that angels have appeared to men in bodies of such a nature that they could not only be seen but even touched, the same most true Scripture declares. Moreover, there is a very general rumour that Silvans and Fauns, who are commonly termed incubi, improbos saepe exstitisse mulieribus, et earum appetlsse ac pcregisse concubitum. Many trustworthy persons assert that they have had personal experience of this, or that they have been informed by those who have experienced it. And that certain demons, whom the Gauls call Dusii, are continually attempting and effecting the crime is so generally affirmed that it would seem impudent to deny it.”
Augustine thus considered that Paul had some such thought in his mind when he bade the woman to worship with covered head “on account of the angels,” is, to say the least, within the limits of possibility.
We have thus endeavoured to trace the flow of history from its source to the great catastrophe which swept corruption and violence from the earth. We have seen its clear spring proceeding from the throne of the Everlasting God, and have then lost sight of it as it wound its way through vast regions that may not be trodden by mortal foot. Once or twice we have climbed an accessible height, and from the far distance gazed with strained eyes upon something which sparkled in the rays of God’s Word, and which we supposed to be the waters of the river we were seeking; but we could obtain no certain knowledge of the mysterious stream, until we saw its turbid and foaming torrent emerging in fearful cataract from between the dark mountains which concealed its previous course.
We have followed it into a land of delight, in which it gradually calmed and brightened again, while its banks teemed with all that is beautiful and lovely: we have traced it as it passed the limits of that joyous realm, and hurried through dry and barren tracts, with ever increasing volume and rapidity, till at length its agitated waters were violently engulphed in the great ocean of the flood.
The warning of Christ. Does it apply to our times?
We must not, however, dismiss the story of doom which we have just been considering without some reflections on the solemn warning drawn from it by the Saviour. “But as the days of Noah were,” is His awful declaration, “so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” Thus the closing scenes of this present age will be a reproduction of the days of Noah: the same intense worldliness, and at last positive inability to care for the things of God, which was displayed by the antediluvians, will also be characteristic of our world when Christ begins the judgments that will quickly culminate in the glory of His appearing.
It seems fair, then, to infer that this second manifestation of the spirit that worked in them which were disobedient before the flood will be effected by a conjunction of causes similar to that which formerly produced it. And hence, as we have already remarked, it becomes a matter of the greatest practical importance to comprehend those causes: for whenever they are again found to be simultaneously affecting the masses of the world’s population, the fact will afford a strong presumption that we are drifting rapidly to the great consummation of wickedness; that the avenging glory of the Lord is about to be revealed, so that all flesh shall see it together.
For us, therefore, the great question is, Are these fatal influences now in operation? Are they more universally characteristic of this epoch than of any other? Mature consideration has impelled many to return an affirmative answer: let us see whether facts warrant us in holding the same view. It is impossible to exaggerate our interest in the investigation. If the present times are only beginning to take the complexion of those of Noah, they send forth a piercing cry of warning, admonishing us to stand with our loins girded about and our lamps burning, waiting for the summons of the Lord. For He will remove His Church, as He removed Enoch, before the wickedness of man has come to its worst. He will take away that which He Himself has called the salt of the earth, and then the corruption of all flesh will go on unchecked, and the world speedily ripen for its doom.
The seven causes of antediluvian corruption. Are they all in present operation?
The seven great causes of the antediluvian apostacy have been already noticed, and may be summed up as follows.
I. A tendency to worship God as Elohim, that is, merely as the Creator and Benefactor, and not as Jehovah the covenant God of mercy, dealing with transgressors who are appointed to destruction, and finding a ransom for them.II. An undue prominence of the female sex, and a disregard of the primal law of marriage.III. A rapid progress in the mechanical arts, and the consequent invention of many devices whereby the hardships of the curse were mitigated, and life was rendered more easy and indulgent. Also a proficiency in the fine arts, which captivated the minds of men, and helped to induce an entire oblivion of God.IV. An alliance between the nominal Church and the World, which speedily resulted in a complete amalgamation.V. A vast increase of population.VI. The rejection of the preaching of Enoch, whose warnings thus became a savour of death unto the world, and hardened men beyond recovery.VII. The appearance upon earth of beings from the Principality of the Air, and their unlawful intercourse with the human race.
These causes concurred to envelope the world in a sensuous mist which no ray of truth could penetrate. They brought about a total forgetfulness of God and disregard of His will; and thus, by removing the great Centre Who alone is able to attract men from them- selves, rendered the dwellers upon earth so selfish and unscrupulous that the world was presently filled with lewdness, injustice, oppression, and bloodshed. It remains, therefore, for us to consider whether similar influences are now acting upon society.
Too be continued...