The Divine Council

Psalm 82:1 talks about “the divine council,” and Psalm 82:6 says, “You are gods, children of the most high.” What is this divine council of (multiple) gods? Isn’t there just one true God?

Yes, there is just one true God. God is one in essence, but three in persons (the Trinity). Genesis 1:26 says, “And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,'” This indicates a plurality as well, but this is referring to the three members (persons) of the Triune God (the Trinity): the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

However, Psalm 82 presents us with the situation of “the divine council” which is more difficult to understand and to explain.

The Hebrew reference to “gods” there is the word “elohim.” It is masculine and plural. (See also Job 1:6, Job 2:1, and Job 38:7.) Many Christians shy away from these passages because they’re afraid that they’ll learn something that will upset their whole system of faith in God. However, I’ve always taken the approach that the Bible can defend itself. I don’t mind testing it, because I don’t want to believe something that’s not true anyway.

I’ll touch on the two primary (of many) schools of thought on this:

One argument is that, although “Elohim” is almost always used for God, there are exceptions. One exception is Exodus 7:1 where God told Moses that he would be as “God” to Pharaoh; that is, God’s representative to Pharaoh. But in Psalm 82 (as in Exodus 7:1), this could be referring here to human leaders who God has invested authority in (judges, kings, etc). Psalm 82 shows how these leaders were misusing their authority, so God pronounced judgment on them. The use of “gods” in Psalm 82:6 is also “Elohim” used to refer to human leaders in positions of God ordained authority. Jesus actually quoted this verse in John 10:34 and seems to be saying that if those dishonest judges can be called “gods” erroneously, why would these Jews He is talking to object to His legitimate claim to be the “Son of God” (John 10:36)?

However, I lean toward the second school of thought here, as Michael Heiser explains in his book The Unseen Realm. These “Elohim” are spirit beings – not humans. There is a hierarchical structure to the spirit world.

First of all, at the top of this structure is the one true God – the one essence of God, in the three persons of god (the Triune God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Only God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent (see The Essence of God). God has complete authority and control over everything, including the whole spirit world. This one true God may be referred to as Yahweh. Heiser says, “Yahweh is an elohim, but no other elohim is Yahweh.”

Then, under the one true God, there is a hierarchy of lesser spirit beings (which may be referred to loosely by the term Elohim). The Bible doesn’t spell out his hierarchy, but we have some clues. Before the fall of Satan, he was high up in this hierarchy. However, now Michael is the archangel. Gabriel is another angel mentioned in the Bible. There is also a host of good angels and a host of demon angels.

I hope this helps.

Thanks,

Owen

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What are The Foundations of the Earth?

What are The Foundations of the Earth?

Psalm 18:15 and Psalm 104:4 reference “the foundations of the earth.” Many verses state that God laid the foundations of the earth, but each verse adds a little to that simple fact.

Psalm 102:25 tells us that God laid the foundations “of old,” and Hebrews 1:10 echoes the thought that God laid the foundations of the earth “in the beginning.” Job 38:4 simply states that God laid the foundations of the earth, but Job 38:6 indicates that the foundations are themselves fastened upon something else. Hebrews 1:3 names this “something else” as the Lord Jesus Christ who “upholds all things by the word of His power.” Proverbs 8:29 tells us that the earth’s foundations were appointed. Proverbs 3:19 indicates that the earth was founded by wisdom while Jeremiah 31:37 indicates that the foundations are not searchable. Micah 6:2 tells us that they are strong; so strong that the earth should never be removed (Psalm 104:5).

So, the foundations themselves are fastened upon Christ, the sustainer of the universe. Also, these foundations are located somewhere under the earth, and they are not searchable (Jeremiah 31:37). Science would certainly agree that these foundations are not searchable. Whenever there is an earthquake, shock waves are propagated throughout the interior of the earth. But there is one area which the waves fail to penetrate. That area is the earth’s core, the very central part or “foundation” of the earth. Until recently seismologists assumed that the center of the earth was composed of molten iron. Scientists now believe that the core may be rocky. No one knows for certain. Man’s concept of the outer layers of the earth’s crust has significantly changed in recent years. How much more so will his ideas of the earth’s interior change in the future?

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Deaths Reported at the Debate

Various Democratic presidential candidates have waxed eloquent about many appalling statistics on death, both in the United States and other nations, mostly at the most recent Democratic Party presidential debate.  These included:

  • 72,000 deaths due to opioid overdoses in the U. S. every year.
  • 40,000 murders due to gun violence in the U. S. every year.
  • The deaths of “tens of thousands” of children in Yemen (over an unspecified time period).
  • The deaths of 11,000 Kurds who were fighting ISIS.  Again, the time period was not specified, but it was also noted that 440 Kurds died in the week after President Trump announced the removal of U. S. troops from Syria.
  • 29 deaths due to vaping in the U. S. so far, in total.

They also waxed eloquent over women’s rights to abortions in the U. S., but I noticed that they left out a couple of things:

  1. They didn’t refer to these abortion as “deaths.”
  2. They didn’t cite the statistics on these deaths:  one million every year for the past 47 years.

 

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The High Sabbath of Passover Week

Question:  

John 19:14 says, “It was the Day of Preparation for Passover Week, about the sixth hour. ‘Here is your King’, Pilate said to the Jews.”  Per other Gospels, on that day and that hour, Jesus was having His Last Supper with his disciples. Could you please shed some light and insight about this time ‘contradiction?’ 

Thank you for your question. It entails several things that most believers are not aware of.

Few Christians know that the Jewish Passover is currently a seven-day period in Israel and eight days for the Jews who live outside of Israel. At the time of Christ, the Jews had two names for the same festival; it was called the Feast of the Passover or the Feast of the Unleavened Bread.

The first month in the Jewish calendar is Nissan (also spelled “Nisan”), and it occurs during the months of March thru April in the Roman calendar. Nissan is the month in which the Passover is observed.

The 13th day (Tuesday) of Nissan is called the preparation day for the Passover. The Passover meal is eaten after 6:00 PM, which means that it is really eaten on the 14th day of Nissan. From the New Testament we know that Jesus and his disciples ate the Passover meal on a Tuesday night (Matt.26:17-19; Luke 22:13-20).

The 14th day (Wednesday) of Nissan was called the first day of the Passover and people still worked on this day. This was the day that Jesus was brought to Pilate at 6:00 AM,  (Matt.27:1-2) and was crucified the sixth hour (12:00 PM).

The 15th day (Thursday) of Nissan was the Feast of the Unleavened Bread and also known as the high Sabbath.

The Jews therefore felt, because it was the preparation day, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day (for that sabbath day was a high day). They besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. (John 19:31)

This is not to be confused with the regular Sabbath. The high Sabbath was a holy day for the Jews and no work could be done on this day. All roads and bridges leading to Jerusalem had been cleaned the day before from garbage and the corpses of dead animals were removed. Furthermore, all graves had been whitewashed so that the pilgrims coming to Jerusalem would not be defiled. This was the reason the Jewish leadership did not want to have anyone hanging on a cross on the high Sabbath.

The 16th day (Friday) of Nissan was called “The Morrow After” the Sabbath and this was the day of the cutting of barley sheaves.

The 17th day (Saturday) of Nissan in the year Jesus was crucified was the regular Sabbath. Jesus rose from the dead sometime between 6:00 PM Saturday night and 6:00 AM on the first day of the week (Sunday morning). This timeline is consistent with Jesus’ words that he would be dead for three days and three nights:

“Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:38-40)

Jesus was dead and in the grave at the beginning of the 15th day (Thursday) of Nissan. Using the timeline Jesus provided of three full days and nights, Thursday night was the first complete day, Friday night was the second complete day and Saturday night was the third complete day. If we correctly interpret the timeline provided by the four gospels, it is not possible for Jesus to have been crucified on Friday as commonly thought, but He was crucified and buried on Wednesday. Please refer to the Scripture citations of the Passover week timeline for the specifics of that week.

The period from the 17th day to the 20th day of Nissan was called The Lesser Festival.

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The Fall of the Roman Empire (& the USA)

Historians have given us five basic reasons historically that the magnificent Roman Empire fell, and each of these is an area of moral breakdown.  To see how the United States is following that same model, please click here.

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Marianne Williamson’s Department of (Some) Children

Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson has proposed a plan for a Department of Peace.  The plan mentions a follow-up agency called the “Department of Children and Youth” that the Department of Peace would work with, but it doesn’t go into details of that program. Williamson puts a heavy focus on early childhood intervention. Her plan seeks to “teach violence prevention and conflict resolution” in public schools, along with treating gang psychology.

I think she needs to rename the”Department of Children and Youth” to the “Department of Some Children.” She’s missing a whole segment of our population–the one million children that we intentionally kill by abortion each year.  Talk about early childhood intervention:  how about the “earliest” childhood intervention–when the child is still in the womb?  If she would adopt a pro-life position, she could start out by saving those million lives from violent abortions, and then she would have one million more kids to “teach violence prevention” to.

You can’t promote both violence prevention and (violent) abortions.

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The Genealogy of Christ -Matthew 1 / Luke 3

In Matthew chapter one it gives the ancestry of Jesus. In Luke chapter 3 it gives the ancestry again but it is different. I have been told that Luke is actually Mary’s ancestry and Matthew is Joseph’s ancestry. If this is true, then why does it say in Luke at the start of the ancestry that Joseph was the son of Heli and in Matthew it says Joseph was the son of Jacob? Are they skipping generations? We’re Joseph and Mary related? Why doesn’t it say this is the Mary’s ancestors?

Thank you for your question. You have hit upon some questions that are sort of complex to explain:

Both Matthew 1 and Luke 3 contain genealogies of Jesus. But as you noted, they are different. Luke’s genealogy starts at Adam and goes to David. Matthew’s genealogy starts at Abraham and goes to David. When the genealogies get to David, they split with David’s sons: Solomon (Joseph’s side); and, Nathan (Mary’s side). The genealogy in Matthew is for Joseph (his legal father), and the one in Luke is for Mary (who was also of the royal Davidic line). It was customary to mention the genealogy through the father even though it was clearly known that it was through Mary. Thus by both His mother and His earthly father, Jesus had a right to the throne of Israel. You can think of this as though the genealogy in Luke is Christ’s real line, while the one in Matthew is His reputed line.

As you noted, Matthew says that Joseph’s father was Jacob, but Luke says that Joseph’s father was Heli. Mary’s father was Heli, but men in ancient times often regarded their sons-in-law as their own sons. So, we can interpret that Joseph was “the son of Heli” to mean that he was his son-in-law, as the husband of his daughter Mary (as in Ruth 1:11, 12). Joseph’s name is only introduced instead of Mary’s, in conformity with the Jewish custom in such tables.

This also has to be considered in light of the fact that Matthew gives the descendants of David down the royal line (i.e. who was heir to the throne at any given time), but Luke gives the particular line to which Joseph belonged. Actually, these two passages and explanations complement each other:

Matthew 1 clearly explains that Joseph is Mary’s husband. Matthew recorded this for legal purposes, to show the Jews that Christ was the Messiah. It was the custom of the Jews to trace and record the father’s descent. The Jews simply saw Christ as legally Joseph’s Son (John 6:42).

Joseph’s lineage was also given to show that Jesus was, in fact, born of a virgin. If Joseph had been Christ’s natural father, then Christ could never have sat on the throne of David, because of a curse God placed on one of Joseph’s ancestors. This ancestor, Jechonias, is mentioned in Matthew 1:11-12. He is also referred to as Coniah in Jeremiah 22:24-30. Verse 30 states, “Thus says the LORD, Write you this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.” This man was so evil, that God cursed him and his descendants. Jeconiah (as his name is spelled in the Old Testament) did go on to have children (I Chronicles 3:17). But, this curse was fulfilled because none of his children went on to rule from the throne of David.

So how could Christ, a descendant of David, qualify to rule from the throne? This is how Luke 3 complements the Matthew account. Mary’s lineage did not have this curse as Joseph’s did. And Mary descended from Nathan—one of David’s sons! (see Luke 3:31). God honored Nathan, and made him the ancestor to the promised King—Jesus Christ—who would sit on David’s throne forever (Luke 1:31-33). This fulfills God’s promise of establishing David’s throne for eternity!

According to Israel’s law, if a daughter were the only heir to the father, she would inherit all his possessions, inheritance and rights—but only if she married within her tribe (Numbers 27:1-8; 36:6-8). Since Mary had no brothers who could be heirs to her father, she was able to transmit David’s royal inheritance—and the right to the throne—to her husband upon marriage. This made Joseph heir to Heli, giving him the right to David’s throne. This inheritance was then passed to Christ.

The genealogies in Matthew and Luke were both recorded to show Christ’s right to the throne. Matthew’s account showed that through Joseph’s genealogy, Christ was a legal descendant of Jeconiah (Coniah), but could not sit on and rule from the throne because of the curse. This account also proved how Christ was born of a virgin woman, because the curse would have passed onto Christ if Joseph were, in fact, His natural father. Of course, Christ was really the Son of God—begotten by the Holy Spirit!

Luke’s account showed that through Mary’s genealogy, Jesus was a descendant of Nathan—David’s son. This allowed the inheritance to pass to Joseph, who in turn passed it onto Christ. This firmly shows Christ to be completely human, yet a true descendant of David. This allows Him to claim the throne legitimately as a true human descendant of David, and as the adopted heir of the kingly line of Joseph.

I hope this helps.

Thanks,

Owen

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Climate Change for our Kids

Ann Carlton of UCLA argues that our U. S. government needs to take some radical measures in order to resolve the climate change problem. She recently said, “It’s not radical to ask the government to protect the health and the lives and the property of this current generation of kids.” I agree with her statement relative to both climate change and abortion. It’s not radical to ask the government to protect the lives of this current generation of kids, whether they are inside or outside of the womb. How can we protect their health and property when we don’t protect their lives?

She also said, “If you can’t have your life protected by government policy that saves the planet, then what’s the point of having a constitution?” Again, we need to have our lives protected by government policy–all of our lives, not just those deemed worthy by
a parent or a doctor.

Our Declaration refers to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as three examples of the “unalienable rights” which the Declaration says have been given to all humans by their creator, and which governments are created to protect. How does one possess the unalienable rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness without that of life? How does abortion not violate this concept?

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Viewing the Earth

Can the Whole Earth Be Viewed From a Mountain Top? 

Matthew 4:8 says, “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.” This passage implies neither a flat earth nor a mountain large enough to oversee the earth. Even on a flat earth, a high mountain would be a very poor place to observe the kingdoms of the world “in their glory.” Furthermore, if Matthew was implying that a mountain existed from which all the world was visible, then obviously, the mountain would be visible from all parts of the world. It is invalid to suggest that Matthew believed that such a mountain existed. Incidentally, the mountain in question was probably Mt. Quarantania, and it commands an incredible view of the Jordan Valley, which may be used in this passage to symbolize “all the kingdoms of the world.”

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37 Things God Did at Salvation

God did 37 specific things for you at salvation:  Click here.

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