What is the divine council?

The video is rather long and a bit old but if you truly care about theology, and more importantly understanding the Bible narrative, then it would behoove you to watch this entire video, buy his book, and seek this doctrine. 

Dr. Michael Heiser presented an eye opening, jaw dropping lecture on the Divine Council that should shake the established faith-based community to its core. Although most denominations or religions acknowledge angels and demons as evident in the Bible, their relevance or structure to modern day liturgy or doctrine is absent. I found his biblical evidence for such beings not only sound but relative to proper interpretation that misdirects proper hermeneutics in today’s society.

Dr. Heiser addresses the skepticism of tackling these issues of principalities, or as he calls them a “place of residence” term[1]. Erikson speaks of our society’s level of comfort handling these issues in that “we have noted the difficulty of the subject. One reason is that while there are abundant references to angels in the Bible, they are not very helpful for developing an understanding of angels.”[2]  Ordinarily, I would have agreed with Erickson, as would most believers. The subject has derivatives in fanaticism, insanity, and charlatans who claim to witness angels and demons. However, Heisler’s use of Psalm 82, and his breakdown in the ancient Hebrew text, revealing the Divine Council is hard to contend with.

 Even Erickson agreed that the Bible speaks of Angels and “by angels we mean those spiritual beings that God created higher than humans, some of whom have remained obedient to God and carry out his will, and others of whom disobeyed, lost their holy condition, and now oppose and hinder his work.”[3] Heiser carries this a bit further that was a revelation to me, that God spreads out the world, after Babel, appointing these fallen Gods to head these nations that turned from him and appoints a new nation of people (Israel) where he will use them to reveal himself to mankind. It basically becomes a story of God versus other Gods and the nation of Israel versus other nations.[4] This narrative is nothing like anything I have heard before but completely falls in line with biblical scripture.

Coming from a charismatic bent, the issue of angels and demons are more common in everyday life. However, their use of scripture and terminology gets distorted and misinterpreted into fear mongering relating sin to spirits. This was always troublesome to me, individually, because I had a hard time with this term of “spirits” over our lives.[5] It is rather common for followers of the Charismata to look upon addiction, sin, and other problems as supernatural controlling entities. Not only is this unsettling, but it is downright scary.

The supernatural of what I have been taught and the theological rundown of the Elohim’s were astonishing. YHWH being centered around demons disembodies dead, angel’s, demons, and gods of the council gave great perspective to the Old Testament[6]. The term YHWH doesn’t even show up until God reveals himself to Moses in Exodus 3:14 “and God said to Moses, ‘Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh.’ He continued, ‘thus shall you say to the Israelites, ‘Ehyeh sent me to you.”[7] Mostly we see God and the generic forms of gods being established and referred to in Genesis. When God pronounces himself distinctly different to Moses at the burning bush, he makes a point to distinguish himself differently from before. “YHWH is Elohim, but Elohim is not one of him”[8] This is profound in the Old Testament endorses pantheons that have been viewed as heretical throughout the centuries.

What seems to be missing is modern biblical interpretation is just that, correct interpretation. What Heisler started with establishing the correct conditions, in order to read and decipher the ancient text. I have recently been arguing for this in my studying of the Old Testament. Christians have the tendency to read the Old Testament through a Protestant, or twentieth-century framework. I struggle with sermons that try to modernize the Old Testament to our worldview. This always seemed illogical to me. Although I do agree that the Bible holds the same teachings and principles pertinent to mankind, despite the time-frame, to not consider the cultural and ethnically backgrounds of the ones writing it would be the same as interpreting the New Testament without considers the Roman rule. “God worked in and through ancient Israel as it culturally was. He did not change Israel’s worldview, so he could dispense revelation to them.”[9] I can only hope that more pastors and preachers can adapt to this way of viewing scripture interpretation. Too many times do I hear scripture used to correct or make a point that is taken out of context. With everything at the push of a computer key, the laisse-faire attitude from Bible colleges, and the over-saturation of Churches, improper hermeneutics and biblical interpretation is escalating to record numbers. And it seems as if no one is out there holding these people accountable.

Controversy and theology go hand in hand, Angelology and Demonology have proven to be no different. It is refreshing to see a resurgence of this in the late twentieth century, “in society, in general, there has been a considerable growth of interest in the supernatural, including a fascination with the occult.” [10] Unfortunately, much of this seems to coincide with the rise of Rock-n-roll and Hollywood. With the growing population towards visual entertainment and vulgarity, I fear that serious talk on the supernatural will be maligned to the religiously deranged or cinematically appealing. True scholarship on this topic is side-lined and professional such as Dr. Michael Heisler and Dr. Hugh Ross are not given much limelight. I am re-invigorated on this topic and look forward to further discussing this topic from a biblical based theological level.

Bibliography

Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013.

Heiser, Dr. Michael S. “The Naked Truth – The Divine Council.” Theology Survey. Lecture, n.d. Accessed May 23, 2018. https://myclasses.southuniversity.edu/d2l/le/content/26881/viewContent/678601/View.

Hinn, Costi W., and Anthony G. Wood. Defining Deception. El Cajon, CA: SCS Press, 2018.

“Wars of YHWH and the Fallen.” Other. Sky Watch T.V. YouTube, March 9, 2017. Accessed May 23, 2018. http://www.skywatchtv.com.

Footnotes:

[1] Dr. Michael S. Heiser, “The Naked Truth – The Divine Council” (lecture), 2015, accessed May 23, 2018, https://myclasses.southuniversity.edu/d2l/le/content/26881/viewContent/678601/View.

[2] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), 405.

[3] Ibid, 405.

[4] Dr. Michael S. Heiser, “Wars of YHWH and the Fallen,” interview, Sky Watch T.V., March 9, 2017, section goes here, accessed May 23, 2018, http://www.skywatchtv.com.

[5] Costi W. Hinn and Anthony G. Wood, Defining Deception (El Cajon, CA: SCS Press, 2018), 166.

[6] Dr. Michael S. Heiser, “The Naked Truth – The Divine Council” (lecture), 2015, accessed May 23, 2018, https://myclasses.southuniversity.edu/d2l/le/content/26881/viewContent/678601/View.

[7]  Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin, The Rational Bible: Exodus: God, Slavery, and Freedom (Washington, DC: Regnery Faith, 2018), 44.

[8] Dr. Michael S. Heiser, “The Naked Truth – The Divine Council” (lecture), 2015, accessed May 23, 2018, https://myclasses.southuniversity.edu/d2l/le/content/26881/viewContent/678601/View.

 [9] Ibid.

 [10]Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), 407.

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