The Council Of The Gods

The Psalmist declared:

“God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods.” (Psalm 82:1).

What does this passage mean? One author has well written:

“Much scholarly debate has occurred over the identity of these “gods” of the divine council. Are they human judges who merely represent divine justice or are they actual divine beings? I am convinced that they are Yahweh’s heavenly host of divine beings surrounding his throne, referred to with the technical term, “Sons of God.” Here’s why…First off, the Psalm itself uses the Hebrew word “Elohim” which is accurately translated as “gods.” As much as Christians have been conditioned to think that the Bible says there are no other gods that exist but Yahweh, this simply is not biblical. I have explained elsewhere, based on orthodox scholars smarter than me (see here and here and here), that the Hebrew word for “gods,” elohim, is not a metaphor, and it is not polytheistic. It is a reference to created yet divine beings that we sometimes imprecisely refer to as “angels.” They are biblically referred to as “holy ones” (Deut 33: 2-3; Heb 2: 2), “host of heaven” (1 King 22: 19-23) or “Sons of God” (Job 1: 6; 38: 7). Both the Old Testament and the New Testament refer to false gods as having demonic spiritual reality behind their earthly façade (Deut 32: 17; Psa 95: 5-6 LXX; Psa 106: 37-38; 1 Cor 8: 4-6; 10: 18-20). It is not polytheistic or henotheistic to acknowledge this biblical reality. But it does open up a view of the world that includes supernatural agents other than Yahweh and “angels” who interact with humans in history. Psalm 89 clarifies this “assembly of gods” as being divine, not human, because it is in the heavens, not on earth. Psalm 89: 5–7 5 Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Yahweh, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! 6 For who in the skies can be compared to Yahweh? Who among the gods is like Yahweh, 7 a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him? In this text, we see that there is an assembly of gods/ holy ones who surround Yahweh in the heavens. The text explicitly calls the assembly of Yahweh’s holy ones “gods.” But it uses the hypothetical question of incomparability with Yahweh, “who among the gods is like Yahweh?” The implied answer is none of them. They are gods, but not in the same sense as Yahweh is God. So, there you have it. The Bible itself saying that there are gods, but they are not the same kind of divinity as Yahweh. But they are called “gods.” Something that makes Evangelical Christians skittish, but something one must accept if one accepts the Evangelical principle of Sola Scriptura. If the Bible says it, it’s true, regardless of where our pre-conceived biases may lean…. Jesus, God in the flesh, used this very Psalm 82 to justify his claims to deity in John 10: 31-39. So if Jesus himself exegetes Psalm 82 gods to be divine, then we need to agree with the author and finisher of our faith…. Jesus did not claim to be a representative human judge like other Israelite judges as some propose. That would have been a denial of his deity. Jesus was claiming to be divine. He was defining Sons of God as actual divine beings, not mere human judges. And his point in reciting Psalm 82 was to prove to them that his own claim to divinity was not blasphemous because they already accepted other beings has having divinity.” (Brian Godawa, Psalm 82: The Divine Council Of The Gods, The Judgment Of The Watchers, & The Inheritance Of The Nations, 74-108 (Kindle Edition); Los Angeles, CA; Embedded Pictures Publishing)

What we are seeing today is a war between God and the fallen angels who are masquerading as “gods” and “goddesses” to the people of the world. Yet as Psalm 82 reminds us, God and His people will be the victors!

Tell me, whose side are you standing on?

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