The Divine Council
Angelic Rebellion Lesson #02
November 17, 2020
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.
“Father, it’s such a joy and pleasure to come together, to be with other like-minded believers who are meeting together. Just their presence is an encouragement to us, knowing there are others who are focused on the Word as we are.
“Father we thank You for Your grace and Your goodness to us and for all that You teach us in Your Word that opens our eyes to the realities of this fallen universe in which we live, where this cosmic system engineered by Satan is very much a part of everything that we’re involved in. Help us to understand the correlation between our lives and this angelic rebellion.
“Father we continue to pray for our nation. We’re very much a target of the sinister forces of the fallen angels and Satan. In this time of so much corruption and so much evil in the voting system, and so much underhandedness, we’re thankful that some are working even now to expose this and we pray that it might all come to light.
“We pray that You would expose the strategies of evil that have sought to destroy the integrity of our election system and thus, the integrity of this nation. We pray for us as we study that we might focus and rely upon You, knowing You are the God of history and You are the Sovereign Ruler of the universe.
“Though that does not negate our responsibility, we can relax and trust in You, knowing You are in control. Open our eyes to the truths that we study this evening. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
This evening we’re going to continue our study which we began Sunday morning in the Ephesians series. In the Ephesians series that was lesson #91. Tonight, this would be 1 and 2 Samuel #237 but we’re going to call it for now the Angelic Rebellion series and this is part two. Then we’re going to continue this on Thursday night and then again next Tuesday night. Then the next Sunday, November 29, we will come back to focusing on this topic.
There’s a lot of material to cover, a lot of very interesting things. I’ve covered some of them previously. I’ve looked at some languages and verses and vocabulary that I haven’t found so maybe I haven’t covered some of this, but that’s what we’re looking at tonight.
In terms of our lesson tonight, this is on the Angelic Rebellion, specifically looking at what is called the divine council. I want to review and add to the points I made on Sunday morning. This is introductory material on the angels, their identity, and their organization. This is just a basic summary.
If you were here Sunday, it’s not until we get to the tenth point which I did not have Sunday morning, but I put it together as I reviewed today to add to it, so we’ll just fly past it somewhat. If you missed Sunday morning, well you’re just going to have to buckle your seatbelt because you’re in for a bumpy ride.
First of all, we know angels exist only by one way. We can’t reach an understanding of their existence by reason alone and we can’t trust our feelings, our emotions, our dreams, our vibrations, or whatever it might be. Back with the rise of the New Age Movement in the ’80s people were saying, “Oh, I feel the presence of the angels in the room.” This, and all this kind of stuff, was charismatic and charimaniacs who often have all of this type of stuff present.
I attended a spiritual warfare conference in 1988 in Orange County at the flagship of the Vineyard movement. The speaker was talking about all kinds of things that he saw. I just wondered what kinds of drugs he had before he went up to speak, but he was seeing all kinds of things I never saw. The next night they even expanded on it. Ooh, the lights went out and there were red lights hovering over certain people, no, it was blue lights and sounded like he’s been to K-Mart and their blue light special. It was amazing the kinds of things. This is normative in a lot of churches that don’t focus on the Word. We always have to judge our experience by Scripture. Never judge or interpret Scripture on the basis of your experience. We always have to start with the Word of God.
We know angels exist because the Bible says so. As I pointed out Sunday, over 100 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament you have references to angels.
Secondly, in these occurrences the Scripture refers to angelic beings by a lot of different terms. Here on the slide is not a comprehensive list at all. We have the “im” in cherubim and seraphim. It’s the Hebrew plural ending, so sometimes it’s just transliterated as cherubim or seraphim, meaning more than one. A lot of more modern translations call them cherubs or seraphs. There’s one archangel named Michael. You have those referred to as a prince or princes, like the prince of Persia or the prince of Greece. We’ll get to those passages. They are called the “sons of God” and the “prince of the power of the air,” for example, so they are the ones who inhabit the air. The principalities, the powers, rulers of the darkness of the world—all of these terms—we’re going to look at them in a little more detail in just a minute.
The number of angels is not given but in passages like Revelation 5:11, they’re defined as “Ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands upon thousands”. Other Scriptures say “myriads upon myriads.” I was teaching this in Belarus in 1994 and the phrase was много и много . That’s Russian and it’s like many upon many, meaning you just can’t count them. That was one of the first Russian vocabulary terms that I learned.
Daniel 7:10, which we’ll come back to later for other reasons, refers to them as “A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.” This is in this convocation or assembly or divine council, as we’ll see later this evening. The court was seated so we’ll come back to this again. What is this court that is seated?
Then we have the term “angel” which comes from the Greek word ANGELOS, which means messenger. The Hebrew word malak also means messenger. This refers to certain roles of some of the angels. It might be rank-and-file angels who are primarily angels, but there are other ranks. There’s an order to their authority. We really don’t know how these various terms are used, which is what we’ll look at under the tenth point.
Angels are not material beings. I think this is important to understand. They’re not material. They’re not physical beings as in our realm, although they can take on a material, physical body with all the material, physical functions. You look at Genesis 18 when these three men are seen coming along way off. They’re walking to meet with Abraham by that time.
One turns out to be God, so this is the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ in a human body, a pre-incarnate body. Then you have two others who turn out to be angels, because they are the ones who go to Sodom and Gomorrah to rescue Lot and his family.
They eat. They sleep. They walk. They look for all practical purposes as if they’re human beings. They are able to transform themselves into a normal, fully functioning human body. How they do that no one knows, but they have the capability to do that.
Jesus contrasted Himself to their spiritual nature when He said, “A spirit does not have flesh and bones as I have.” In Ephesians 6:12 these enemies, the fallen angels, against whom we fight, are not flesh and blood. It says, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood”—in contrast to material flesh and blood bodies—but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age.”
In point six angels are not normally visible today. We do not see them. Colossians 1:16 talks about “The visible and the invisible.”
Point seven, angels are described in terms of their organizations. Colossians 1:16, “Thrones, dominions, principalities, powers.” Four different terms are used there. In point ten we’ll talk about the specifics of that.
Also, point eight is important for some people. The culture seems to think that when you die you become an angel. No! When you die you have your interim body and you’re face-to-face with the Lord. Then at the Rapture, Church Age believers receive their resurrection body, but they do not become angels. Angels are a totally different class of intelligent beings God has created for His purpose.
Ninth point was that there are many other descriptions of angels and their organizations. We have terms like “host,” or the army. Host is a more antiquated English word that means an army. I remember when Dan Inghram was going through seminary at the time he was still on active duty as a Marine Corps lieutenant colonel. He was taking first-year Hebrew and he translated the word sabaoth as army. His Hebrew professor said that it was a host, not an army. I thought, “That’s strange. Some scholars are that way. They can’t quite get out of their dusty old books and into the 20th century. It’s an army.”
When you sing the hymn, A Mighty Fortress is our God, it refers to the Lord Sabaoth. This is not Lord Sabbath. It is the Hebrew word with an “oth” at the end like “im” and it’s armies. He’s the Lord of the armies and the armies are the angelic armies.
There are cherubs. There are seraphs. There’s one archangel. There are also watchers. They’re divided into holy or elect angels and then the fallen angels. There’s the issue whether all fallen angels are demons or if all fallen angels are not demons. We’ll get to that question later. Angels are also described as beings of light and metaphorically as stars, so those are just some of the many terms.
Here’s new material. In the New Testament we have the following words used to describe these angelic organizations or their hierarchy or their spheres of authority. We’re not exactly sure. The sad thing is that in English translations, the translators do not always consistently translate the Greek words with the same English words.
That’s one of the reasons I’m going through this little exercise. I do this for myself. I have to figure this out as a basic exercise, so I can see all the distinctions. I figure it’s a good thing for you to see them as well. In Romans 8:38, a well-known verse, Paul says, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, …” We understand what that means, anything that is dead or the power of death or life.
“Nor angels nor principalities nor powers, …” There you really have three terms used to describe angels. The first word, which I don’t have on the slide, is ANGELOS for angel. “Principalities” is ARCHE. That’s the word that we have in Ephesians. Remember on Sunday we looked at Ephesians 3:10 where it says principalities or powers. At least they tend to be consistent, although there are exceptions.
ARCHE is translated as this word “principalities,” which has to do with the first or principal of something. Not principle in terms of like a principle of doctrine, but like a principal as a first thing. Here “powers” is DUNAMIS, so that’s an inconsistency, but DUNAMIS has to do with powers, which is also how it’s translated at times.
Then you have 1 Corinthians 15:24, “Then comes the end …” This is after God has defeated the forces of evil at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. “Then comes the end when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule …” That’s the same word for principalities, and all authorities and power. So “principalities” here is the word ARCHE. “Authority” is the second word EXOUSIA, which is the word that is used in Ephesians for power. In this passage it’s ARCHE and then authority and power. Authority here is EXOUSIA. Then power is DUNAMIS.
In Ephesians 1:21 the translation is consistent. ARCHE translates as “principality.” Power translates authority, really EXOUSIA. And might, that’s your real “power” word, it’s DUNAMIS and has to do with power or ability. You have three classes [of angels] there. ARCHE, EXOUSIA, and DUNAMIS. Then you have dominion which is KURIOTES from the noun KURIOS. These are power so you have four different categories there.
In Ephesians 2:2 it’s a slightly different word that says “according to the prince of the power of the air”. That’s ARCHON, which describes someone who is in the position of being the principal authority. It’s related to ARCHE but it’s not the same. It’s authority. The New King James Version consistently translates that as “power” when it’s “authority of the air”. The “spirit” again here is talking about the fact that that’s the nature of angels—that they’re spirit beings.
Ephesians 2:2, “In which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the ARCHON.”
Now Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities …” See principalities in Ephesians always translates ARCHE. “Against powers …” This is EXOUSIA, which really has to do with authority.
“Against the rulers …” Here’s a different word for ruler. It’s KOSMOKRATOR. KOSMOS is the Greek word for the world’s system, so this is someone who is powerful in the world’s system. “Against the rulers of the darkness of this age against spiritual hosts of wickedness …” That’s another phrase to describe these beings. That’s in the passage on spiritual warfare.
Let me make a note here. When I was an editor at R.B. Thieme Ministries, we were constantly refining and changing vocabulary. The only reason I say that is there are some people who ask why I change the terms. Because for seven or eight years I was an editor, and we changed the terms all the time. We refined and improved what was said.
It’s not an angelic conflict. You need to expunge that word “conflict” from your vocabulary. Look up the word “conflict” in a dictionary. In World War II the United States was in conflict with Germany. The United States was in conflict with Japan. It was not a revolt.
A conflict is between two opposing forces who are fighting one another, antagonistic to one another, whether in physical confrontation or not. The word “revolt” means to attempt to overthrow an authority. This is not an angelic conflict. It is an angelic revolt. That’s the more precise term, so we need to train ourselves to think in that language.
The conflict that occurred in Ephesians 6:12 is against these princes and principalities and powers, but that is part of the revolt. That revolt impacts our spiritual life and impacts the life around us.
Colossians 1:16, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and on earth, the visible and invisible, whether thrones …” There’s another word, new word. It’s THRONOS. We haven’t seen that one yet. Or dominions, KURIOTES. We saw that one once before, from KURIOS meaning a lord, a master in authority. ARCHE [principalities], EXOUSIA [powers].
Colossians 2:10, “All things were created through Him and for Him and you are complete in Him who is the Head over all.” Principality, ARCHE, whether elect or fallen angel, and power, EXOUSIA, which is authority again. At least we see a consistency in the way these things are treated in Colossians, which is the sister epistle to Ephesians. It talks about very similar material. Then Colossians 2:15, “Having disarmed principalities [ARCHE] and powers [EXOUSIA].”
Then the last use of this phraseology is in 1 Peter 3:22, “Who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels [ANGELOS] and authorities [EXOUSIA], and powers [DUNAMIS] having been made subject to Him.”
We have seven, maybe eight terms if you distinguish between ARCHON and ARCHE, which I think is important. These are the different terms.
One of the most prolific writers, and in many ways very helpful in his commentaries, is F.F. Bruce, who was an Anglican. He is very good to read on many things. You’re not going to agree with a lot of his stuff, but he does write good commentaries. He knows the Greek and Hebrew.
He makes this comment, In all, five classes (see I can count. I had seven, maybe eight. He had five because he sees a couple of them as individual or he’s not counting angels.) “In all, five classes of angel-princes seem to be distinguished in the New Testament—thrones, principalities, authorities, powers, and dominions. They probably represent the highest orders of the angelic realm, but the variety of ways in which the titles are combined in the New Testament warns us against the attempt to reconstruct a fixed hierarchy from them.”
I think that’s a good thing that we should be reminded of. Let’s not sit down and fry our brains trying to figure out what the chain of command is because it’s not consistent. As we look at these different terms, we are reminded that these terms represent the highest order of the angelic realm, but of what does that consist?
What would these highest orders be? In the military we talk about officer ranks and non-commissioned officer ranks and then the private soldier. Here you have a different category. These are the upper echelons. Is there another way in which this category might be described in the Old Testament?
I think there is. You’ve heard me use the phrase the angelic convocation or assemblies before when we’ve studied passages like in Job and 1 Kings 22 and other passages. The phrase you have in Psalm 82, which we’ll get to this evening, is the divine council.
I need to set the stage on this and remind you of things we already know, because Psalm 82 is that psalm we mentioned on Sunday morning which one writer says about this psalm there is the widest variety of interpretations and misinterpretations. That’s saying a lot considering how many passages are misinterpreted and have many different interpretations.
It’s not a psalm you’ll hear very many people ever teach through. This is our understanding of this divine council. We’ll get through most of it tonight, but here’s what you should get out of this. When God is ruling over His universe, He has an upper-level council that He consults, as it were, but He does what He will do. They are involved in that decision and this divine council includes both elect angels and fallen angels. The pictures that we see in Scripture are that within the framework of these divine council meetings is how God allows actions, evil actions, to take place.
We are sure from Scripture that no evil action on the part of Satan or the demons can ever take place without God’s permission. God in His omniscience knows exactly what he is doing. He never misses. He never gets distracted. He never thinks, “Oops, I left something out of that equation.” He gets it all right every time and so whatever occurs, we can say that was God’s will.
In saying something was God’s will is often a way in which Christians absolve themselves of taking any responsible action. We are in the midst of a corrupt election. There are people who are very active. They didn’t look at the results on November 3 and say, “Well, it’s God’s will.” They said, “This is wrong. There is evil.” There are wrong things that are taking place and we need to be able to see if we can identify them and if there is enough evidence to take to court to overturn what appears to be the results of that election.
Despite the media and their propaganda that we do have a president elect, we don’t. It was interesting that yesterday, Alan Dershowitz said that “It is wrong to call Vice-president Biden President-elect. He can call himself that if he wants, but he should not be called that by other people because he is not. The elections haven’t been certified.” [paraphrased]
If you didn’t see it today, there’s a large county, I believe in Michigan, that said they will not certify the vote in that county because they can’t explain the anomalies and the contradictions in the data. That’s important because that means Michigan can’t certify its vote. If Michigan can’t certify its vote, then that’s going to have a domino effect on the rest of the election. It’s just a starting point so we just have to see where it goes.
You have people like the lawyers, Sidney Powell and others, who won’t sit back and say passively that this is God’s will. No, we have to stop it. That’s using the first Divine Institution of individual responsibility and doing what you can in your field of expertise, without using a passive statement and giving up responsibility by saying that it must be God’s will.
We have to be very careful how we say that. You and I may say that it appears to be God’s will and there’s nothing you can do about it because there may be nothing you and I can do about it except to pray. There are people who are in positions of authority, power, and knowledge who can do some things. Don’t just fold your tent and somehow give it over to God, which is a backdoor way of blaming God for what happened. We have to be very, very careful about this.
Let’s open our Bibles and go to the first chapter of Job. We’ve been there before. We’ll be there again, but right now I just want to point out a few things that are important here. I put just some of the verses on this slide. I didn’t want to put all the verses up here, but just to give you a picture of these angelic convocations or the divine council.
Job 1:6 says, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before Yahweh, and Satan—which means the accuser—also came among them.” This is the angelic convocation and all of the fallen angels as well as the elect angels are present.
You have the evil angels, Satan, and all the other angels and they all make up this convocation. Does this involve all of the angels? I would say the use of the term sons of God suggests that at this point. We’ll talk about that term in just a minute.
“And the Lord said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”
1 Peter 5:8, when it says that Satan goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, shows he’s been cruising for victims for a very, very long time. He’s got a lot of experience, but Satan is not omniscient. He’s not omnipotent. He’s very bright, a lot brighter than any of us will ever be and he’s had a lot of experience observing human beings and human behavior.
When people say that Satan is attacking them, they ought to really be meaning that the forces of Satan are attacking them. It’s just a figure of speech. When Eisenhower attacked the Germans on Normandy Beach in 1944, he was not present, but his forces were present.
Sometimes people who say that Satan is attacking them are said to be too arrogant, that Satan doesn’t pay attention to most of us. Yes, but his demons do and he’s the head of the force, so that’s just a figure of speech for explaining that.
We read that the Lord then asks, “Have you taken a look at my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” So Satan answered Him and asks if Job feared God for nothing. He went on to say to God that He had made a hedge around Job and given him everything, so of course he worshipped Him. He accused God of making Job’s life easy and blessing him with everything.
In Job 1:11 Satan goes on to say, “But now, stretch our Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” The issue here is how loyal is Job to God.
God then gives permission to Satan. He says, “ ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power; only don’t lay a hand on his person.’ So Satan went out from the presence of God.”
We see something here that is comparable to providing evidence of something on the part of Job. This is why some have recognized that this has something of a legal, courtroom sense to it in that God is telling Satan to look at the evidence of Job’s life.
Satan is saying that, of course, Job presents good evidence because God has given him everything. There’s a legal aspect to this and I’ll explore this a little more in just a minute.
We look at this phrase “the sons of God” in verse 6. “There was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before Yahweh, and Satan also came among them.” The phrase in the Hebrew is bene ha’elohim. Let me break that down for you so it has a little meaning. The first word bene, like the Hebrew word ben, like if we talked about Jesus, son of Joseph, we would say Yeshua, ben Josef, which is Jesus, son of Joseph. Ben means son of.
It’s like when we’re referring to Peter, we can call him Peter Johnson. He is Simon ben Jonah. His father was John, which is Jonah. So he’s Simon Johnson. That’s how you would translate that. Here you have the word son and then ha’elohim. The ha is a definite article and that is indicating son of the god. It’s ’elohim. Notice that the last two letters [im] are plural. Is that son of the gods? How do we understand this word? We’ll talk about ’elohim in just a minute.
When we’re in the New Testament and we’re reading in passages like in John 1:12 where we read, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the authority or power to be called the sons of God.” You have other passages talking about our adoption as God’s sons, for example in Romans 8.
Christians tend to read this and think that these are believers. What they’re doing is reading a New Testament meaning of a phrase back into the Old Testament, which is really bad hermeneutics, bad interpretation. In the Old Testament this phrase has a technical meaning and there are other forms of it. You have bene ha’elohim, bene ha’elim—El, which is a name for God and mighty one. We’ll talk about that later. It’s very important to understand in Psalm 82. Another phrase is bene ’eloha.
These are different words, all of those words, ’elohim, ’elim, ’eloha, all are forms of different names for God. It’s the generic word for god, not the personal name for God. We, in English, for example, talk about “lower case god” in “something is his god”. This is lower case god and the word God, upper case, we tend to make the Christian God.
God in English is a generic term for a deity. It is not the name of God. We’ll demonstrate that as we go forward today.
So we had this phrase “sons of God” and it always refers to angels, to angelic beings, to heavenly beings. They are called sons of God, I think, for one primary reason. Each angel was created differently, directly by God. So God is their Father, as it were, because He has directly created them.
We human beings are referred to as the sons of Adam and we come into existence via natural procreation. There’s no procreation like that among the angels. You don’t have a male and female angel get together and have a baby angel. Angels are always and only described as males and only appear as males throughout the Scripture.
The other thing about this phrase, and I’ve taught you this many times, is that when you have in Hebrew a phrase “son of something” then it has a special meaning. For example, if you’re a bitter person then you would be described as a “son of bitterness,” because a child of a parent displays the characteristics and attributes of that parent.
They would refer to someone who was a destructive person as a “son of Belial.” Belial was a false god who brought destruction and chaos. So, if you’re a destructive, rebellious person you’re called a “son of Belial”. If you’re foolish, you’re called the “son of a fool”.
If you’re a murderer it’s not translated this way into English, but in a few places they translate it as murderer, but in the Hebrew it’s “son of a murderer”. It doesn’t mean your father was a murderer. It means that’s what you are.
When Jesus comes and He’s fully God, He’s called the Son of God. That is making a statement about His nature. He’s also a “son of Adam” because he has a human nature. That’s the idea when we see sons of God here, sons of ’Elohim. That’s important because it’s saying there’s something about the nature of these angels that reflects and is similar to that of God who is ’Elohim.
When angels are referred to as ’elohim it’s not saying they’re God like Yahweh is God. It’s not polytheism. I’ve been reading a couple of books on this and nearly everyone makes this point, because the first time a lot of people hear of what we’re going to get into in Psalm 82, they say it’s polytheism. No, it’s not, if you understand it correctly. It’s simply saying that angels represent something about God to man, and so they were called by this generic term. We’ll spend a lot of time investigating ’Elohim.
So in Job 38 in the section where God begins to answer to point out Job’s ignorance in Job 38:4–7, God asks a couple of questions related to the creation. He says to Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?”
When you build a building like going out to build a house, what’s the first thing you do? You lay down the foundation. You don’t repeat the foundation. It’s the first thing that’s put down. This would have occurred very, very early. This is the very foundation of the planet. It’s not described that way in Genesis 1:2. You have it in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
In Hebrew that means the universe, but it’s specifically stating the broad expanse of the heavens on the large side and on the small side, planet Earth. When God creates planet Earth, he asked Job where he was when he laid the foundations of the earth. “Can you tell Me how I created everything? Tell Me if you have understanding.”
“Who determined its measurements? Tell me if you know and who stretched the lights …” God is pointing out that Job is really pretty ignorant. When Job is asking questions of God about why He allowed this suffering to occur to him, God is pointing out that even if He told Job, he really couldn’t understand it because his knowledge was so limited.
God goes on to say, “To what were its foundations fashioned? Or who laid its cornerstone?” Then the phrase we’re looking for, “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” This is Hebrew poetry. This whole section is written in poetry, so that the first line is synonymous with the second line in this particular verse.
It’s the same thing in verse 6, “To what were its foundations fashioned or who laid its cornerstone?” That’s repeating the same idea. It’s a synonymous thought. So, the morning stars here are parallel to all the sons of God. That tells us that if the sons of God are angels, then they’re the same as these morning stars. Morning stars is a metaphor often used for angels.
We see right here that this phrase “sons of God” is not talking about human beings. It’s not talking about Old Testament believers. It’s talking about the angelic creation, the heavenly beings that God created directly at some time in eternity past.
We see this convocation or council again in Job 2:1–2, “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before Yahweh, and Satan came also among them to present himself before Yahweh. And Yahweh said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ Satan answered Yahweh and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.’ ” The point I’m making is the phrase “sons of God” refers to those who are called “mighty” in other passages and the morning stars. That shows us they meet together. Satan is there. He is the head of the fallen angels. We have the holy angels meeting with them.
Turn with me to a passage we studied not too long ago, Psalm 89. You ought to write in your margins when we go from verse to verse these other references so you can find this chain of evidence again. We studied Psalm 89 about three years ago in studying the Davidic Covenant and this was a contemplation, a prayer based on the Davidic Covenant to call upon God to reinstate the Davidic monarchy and to protect the Davidic monarchy.
It says a lot and we spent a long time looking at this and it was very important, but I just wanted to look at three verses which I brought out at the time we studied this. In Psalm 89:5 we read, “And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord; …”
The phrase “the heavens” is a metonymy. I’ve been telling you a lot about metonymies. It’s where you have the thing put for the result. Here it’s the thing put for what inhabits the thing. The heavens is where the angels are, so it’s not really talking about the inanimate heaven praising God’s wonders. It’s talking about the angels who live in the heavens.
“The heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord; Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints.” Who is this assembly of the saints? The first line talks about the heavens. This is a metonymy for what lives in the place and that’s the angels. Let me give you another example. When Moses is confirming the Covenant with the Israelites and he’s giving his last message in Deuteronomy 28, he calls upon the heavens and the earth to witness what he’s doing.
“The heavens” is inanimate. “The earth” is inanimate. They can’t witness anything so what he’s talking about is the inhabitants of the heavens, which is one witness, and the inhabitants of the earth, which is another witness. So, he’s calling upon angels and humans to witness this covenant. By the mouth of two witnesses something is confirmed. That’s what he’s doing there.
You find this kind of language all the time in the Bible. “The heavens” talks about the angels. That is in synonymous parallelism to the “assembly of the saints”. Here’s it’s the word in Hebrew qadshim, from the root kadosh which means holy or set apart or unique. These are the angels. This is not talking about human believers because they do not inhabit the heavens.
This is talking about heavenly beings. Then in Job 38:6 He says, “For who in the heavens can be compared to Yahweh?” We’re going to see this is important because when we get into this, how many times in the Bible does it say that God is not like any other god? Yahweh is not like any other ’elohim. We have to understand what that means. There are other gods. They are not really gods on the level God is God, but these are these created beings that are angels. One of the meanings for ’elohim is angels. We’ll see that in just a minute.
“Who among the sons of the mighty …” Those in the heavens now are parallel to the sons of the mighty. The phrase here in the Hebrew is bene ’elim. El for God. ’Elim is comparable to ’elohim. It’s just a shortened form.
“Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to Yahweh?” None of these angels are like Yahweh. In verse 7 it says, “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints.” This is the divine council. “And to be held in reverence by all those around Him.”
The next section just talks about why God is unique. What makes God distinct from all these others who are called ’elohim? Yahweh is God of the Armies. He is defined as the ’elohim of the armies. He’s the commander and chief of all the angelic armies. We’ll see that angels are referred to as ’elohim, but they are distinguished because they are not THE God.
Psalm 89:9–14 says, “You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.” No one else can still these waves. He has “broken Rahab in pieces.” We have studied a series of lessons on Rahab as a picture of Satan. This indicates that God is the one who has defeated Satan in the past by breaking him. “You have broken Rahab in pieces as one who is slain; You have scattered your enemies with Your mighty arm.—that is God’s omnipotence—The heavens are Yours; the earth also is Yours.” What else is there besides the heavens and the earth? There’s nothing. “The world and all its fullness, You have founded them. The north and the south, You have created them; Tabor and Hermon rejoice in Your name.”
“You have a mighty arm;—that is the phrase for His omnipotence—Strong is Your hand, and high is Your right hand. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face.” That’s what distinguishes Yahweh from all these other lesser gods, as it were.
Daniel 7:9–10 speak of this same heavenly convocation, this assembly of the gods. Actually, it’s a council of the gods. This is Daniel seeing this vision in the future. It occurs during the Tribulation and is a heavenly scene. Daniel says, “I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; …” Who’s sitting? These angelic hierarchies.
“His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.”
There are a couple of different ways in which we use the word “court” in the English. For example, you can talk about the assemblage of all the lords and all the titled aristocracy in a country as the court. This is like talking about the administration of a president. You can talk about the court of Queen Elizabeth and it’s talking about all of the lords, all of the peers, and all who have titles in England. That’s all part of the court.
The other way in which we use court is in a legal sense where a judge sits and decides legal issues, guilty or not guilty. That is how this word is used here. The primary meaning of the Aramaic word—remember this section of Daniel is written in Aramaic and not Hebrew—is judgment. Where are judgments handed down? In a court.
This is probably a metonymy. Nearly every English translation I looked at translated it as a court. One translated it as a courtroom so that is how this is understood. This is envisioning this assemblage of the divine council.
Notice how many are there. It’s enormous. It’s not eight or ten angels. It’s a huge crowd that is seated there in this court. So with that for background, let’s look at Psalm 82. This is a key psalm. There was a book that came out a few years ago called The Unseen Realm, written by a scholar-in-residence at Logos Bible Software, by the name of Michael Heiser. The book is good in some ways.
Michael Heiser is very bright. He has advanced degrees in multiple, biblical and biblically related languages including Akkadian, Ugaritic, hieroglyphics, and Hebrew and Greek and all the languages. Although I understand that he grew up as a dispensationalist, but I got this second-hand. I may he be wrong, but he is no longer a dispensationalist.
He wrote his own testimony. Tommy Ice and I used to refer to these testimonies as “I was a teenage dispensationalist, but now I know more about the Bible so I’m no longer a dispensationalist.” I was talking to someone else who knew him and asked if he was a covenant theologian. He said, “No, he sort of has his ersatz hermeneutic.”
The reason I say that is because there are a number of people I know, some who are listening here, and this has been advertised a lot and promoted a lot by Logos Bible Software so a number of people started reading it. I was asked what I thought about it and I skimmed it. While what he says about Psalm 82 is good, he tends to read it into a lot of places it shouldn’t be read into. That’s a bad hermeneutic. Also, there are some other aspects of what he has done that is really driven by his eschatology, which is no longer dispensational, so there are other problems.
There is a newer book that have been published dealing with many of these same themes entitled, Fallen: The Sons of God and the Nephilim written by Tim Chaffey. Chaffey is on staff at Answers in Genesis. Chaffey wrote his master’s thesis at the Master’s Seminary in California on the Nephilim. He’s done quite a bit of good work. I disagree with him on several things along the way. He’s going to be speaking in three weeks at the Pre-Trib Conference.
What he says in some areas where I disagree with him are going to get a lot of play in the next few weeks, which is one reason to kind of talk about this a little bit. Mike Heiser is being given the credit for coming out with this. He would not agree with that, I hope. He may have put a few things together with a new little twist.
I did a search. I’ve got probably, I don’t know, maybe fifty different theological journals in my Logos software. All you have to do is search for Psalm 82 to find all the places in all the journals where that’s the subject of these journal articles. I went back and discovered that people were taking this interpretation as far back as the 60s, if not before, so nothing is new.
I haven’t originated anything as a pastor. As John Hinz says, “Every idea I have I stole from somebody.” That’s the nature of being a pastor. Pastors aren’t called plagiarists because that’s what “common people” do; pastors just steal the ideas and the language and everything else.
This is just a warning because a lot of people have been swayed by some things and the theological framework of Dr. Heiser leaves a lot, in my opinion, to be desired. He’s also a very strong Calvinist. So, he’s not really within our framework at all.
Psalm 82 is written as a song of Asaph. Who was Asaph? Remember Asaph is the court choir director, the court musician appointed by David. He is also still the head of the choirs in the Temple when the Temple is built and Solomon dedicates the Temple. Asaph’s life bridged the gap from David’s life through the life of Solomon.
The reason I brought that out is that when we’ve been looking at the psalms of David, who is the one who mentored Asaph, as it were in the writing of these great hymns for Israel and are in the Book of Psalms? Asaph wrote a number of psalms. He’s the chief choir director later in his life. He wrote somewhere around the area of Psalm 72 to Psalm 83, I believe plus a few others.
He begins by saying in Psalm 82, “God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods.” His statement of judgment is what is in verse 2. Elohim is speaking in verse 1. He takes His stand, His position of authority in the congregation, the assembly, the council of the mighty. The El. It’s the El council. El is the name of God, so ’Elohim is taking His position of authority over this assembly, that is His assembly. He’s the authority.
“He judges among the mighty; …” The “mighty” is ’el, lower case. Who makes up this divine assembly? The angels. That’s the term we use in Psalm 82. “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?”
To whom is God speaking? He’s speaking to some of the sons of God, some of the ’elohim that are here, these angels and He is indicting them for their failure to oversee something and a failure to promote righteousness and justice. Remember we saw that righteousness and justice are the foundation of Yahweh’s throne, so they have failed in their mission.
We’ll get to that as we go through this study more. There’s a lot here. I’m trying to build this slowly, brick-by-brick. So ’elohim has three basic meanings. There are some other meanings. It’s used thousands of times in the Old Testament for God. That’s the primary meaning.
It also refers to this lower case god or gods which describes angels in passages like Psalm 18:32 and Daniel 11:38. I copied and pasted this right out of the Hebrew/Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. In all other instances it’s the true God. It’s not a name of God. It is a title or description of deity. It’s also used in 1 Samuel 28 to describe the spirit of a departed person. When the witch of Endor calls up and sees the spirit of Samuel, the word there isn’t ruach for spirit, it is ’elohim. Rightly it’s translated as a spirit. These words in Hebrew have a range of meanings.
If you’ve never heard this before, that may surprise you. Let’s look at this. ’Elohim meaning God as a title for Yahweh, is seen in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That means He created the whole universe, the physical universe.
Genesis 1:26, “Then ’Elohim said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth …” This is ’Elohim speaking.
We also have ’Elohim speaking giving the Mosaic Law to Moses in Exodus 20, “And ’Elohim spoke all these words.” That’s God, Yahweh. He identifies Himself. This ’Elohim of verse 1 says, “I am Yahweh Your ’Elohim, who brought You out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other ’elohim before Me.”
“You shall have no other gods before Me.” Here ’elohim, according to the context, is related to these lower case gods. You have to distinguish when ’Elohim is a singular, meaning God with a hint of the Trinity, and when ’elohim needs to be translated lower case gods, referring to idols.
In Psalm 8:5, it means angels. “For You have made him a little lower than the angels” This is quoted in Hebrews 1 talking about mankind, but in some versions it’s translated that you’ve made him a little lower than God. This is referring to angels. This is how it was translated into the Septuagint. This is how it’s cited in Hebrews 1. The word there isn’t malak. It’s ’elohim. So, ’elohim has as one of its meanings being angels.
Here’s a fun one for you. Talking about the pagan nations in Deuteronomy 32, which we’ll spend a lot of time on next time in Deuteronomy 32:17 and Deuteronomy 32:8–9. “They sacrificed to demons—talking about the Canaanites, the pagans who are sacrificing to idols, to Chemosh, to Moloch, to Baal, and Moses says they’re really sacrificing to the demon that is pictured by that idol. “They sacrifice to demons, not to ’Elohim—singular—and to ’elohim.” It says not to ’Elohim but to ’elohim. You have to understand the context. He’s calling these demons false gods. They may be false gods, or they may be idols, but they’re called ’elohim. “… To gods they did not know, to new ’elohim, new arrivals that your fathers did not fear.”
1 Samuel 28:13, “And the king said to her, ‘Do not be afraid. What did you see?’ And the woman said to Saul, ‘I saw an ’elohim ascending out of the earth.’ ” This is a conversation between Saul and the witch of Endor.
We come back to Psalm 82:1, “’Elohim stands in the congregation of the mighty [El]; God’s congregation—He judges among the ’elohim.” These are the angels, the angelic assembly, the divine assembly in Heaven.
“Father, we’re thankful to have Your Word to help us understand reality, to help us understand the universe You created and the reality of angels, humans, and Satan and their involvement in human history, and how they have been involved in human history since the very beginning.
“Help us to understand these things, not to twist it out of proportion. We’re not supposed to look for a demon behind every bush, but to recognize that there are invisible forces at work as well as that which is material and physical.
“Help us to understand these things and get a greater understand how our spiritual life intersects with the angels and why our spiritual life is important in relation to the angelic revolt. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”