On my last blog post I showed how the word God/Elohim is just a category/title rather than an actual name, translated as ‘Powers’ in the mechanical Hebrew translation of Genesis. When the word ‘elohim’ is used in scripture it can refer to any spiritual being that inhabits the spiritual realm. Some could even receive worship (obedience) from different religious systems, as seen in the Old Testament.
- Question: Who were some of the other elohim who could receive worship?
- Answer: The Old Testament has many verses but I’ll just pick out this one from 1 Kings, showing the lesser gods.
Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess [elohim] of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god [elohim] of the Moabites, and Milcom the god [elohim] of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgements, as did David his father. ~ 1 Kings 11:33
- Question: Jesus is the son of God [Elohim] – but which god [elohim]?
- Answer: Jesus is the human incarnation of the God [Elohim] of Israel – who has a personal name – Yahweh / YHWH.
Why Don’t We See Yahweh’s Name More Clearly In The Bible?
We don’t see Yahweh’s personal name used often in bible because the Jewish writers, out of reverence, didn’t want to violate this commandment in the Mosaic Law: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain”. So in many places they changed Yahweh’s personal name to Adonai which means Lord.
Now let’s move on to see how Yahweh operates in His throne room.
Yahweh Is Incomparable To The Other gods In The Council
Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord (Yahweh), your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord (Yahweh)? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord (Yahweh), a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him? ~ Psalm 89:5-7 NASB
I believe this paints a picture of Yahweh in His throne room surrounded by these lesser gods, the council of the holy ones. These holy ones, the elohim ruled with Yahweh under His leadership in His ‘governing’ heavenly council. The bible clearly teaches that Yahweh is the most High God. He created the universe and everything in it from nothing, including the lesser gods, ‘elohim’ in scripture
“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? ~ Exodus 15:11
Who Were The Son’s of God?
I believe due to the biblical evidence, that the holy ones mentioned in Psalm 89 are also called the son’s of God, the bene ‘elohim. They were part of Yahweh’s heavenly council and were present during the Creation week.
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, 5 Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? 6 On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, 7 When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy? ~ Job 38
The Heavenly Council In Session – Yahweh’s Inner Circle
God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgement. ~ Psalm 82:1
I believe references in Job 1 and Job 2 paint a picture, where Yahweh has called a council meeting and the Son’s of God are presented before Him for that very purpose.
6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. …12 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord. ~ Job 1: 6-12
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. … 6 So the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.” ~ Job 2: 1-6
I Kings 22: 19- 22 paints a picture of how these heavenly council meetings are run. It’s here that we clearly see the council meeting in action. In this case the situation involves the demise of Ahab. It’s interesting to see that Yahweh invites His fellow council members for suggestions on how Ahab should meet his end.
Yahweh always has the final say, as He is the one who judges evil. In this case He agrees with the method suggested by one of the Council members, after rejecting several others.
Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the Lord. I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left. The Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this while another said that. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ The Lord said to him, ‘How?’ And he said, ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then He said, ‘You are to entice him and also prevail. Go and do so.’ ~ 1 Kings 22: 19-22
We also see the Heavenly council in Daniel with the Ancient of Days – Yahweh, on His mobile fiery chariot throne, with other thrones being put in place, surrounding His.
“As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgement,and the books were opened. ~ Daniel 7: 9-10
The Jews and the early church believed in a spiritual world that had actually got something in it. But nowadays we don’t use this vocabulary. We are not taught these things about spirit beings, because church tradition is thousands of years removed from the people who wrote scripture and the audience to whom it was written to.
In my next post from this series: How God Governs, we’ll discover how these Sons of God became the rulers over the nations.
The biblical words that are translated into English as “God/god” are Hebrew “elohim” and Greek “theos.” These words are often used in the Bible to refer to the one God of Israel who is portrayed as the ultimate source and creator of all reality, including other spiritual beings (see Genesis 1:1 or Deuteronomy 6:4). But, these words are also used in the Bible to refer to other spiritual beings: angels (see Psalm 8:5), the divine council (see Psalm 89:5-8), the deities worshipped by other nations (see Exodus 12:12, Deuteronomy 4:28, or 1 Corinthians 8:5-6). The word can even refer to the non-physical spirits of the dead (see 1 Samuel 28:13).
When the biblical call other spiritual beings “elohim,” they are not expressing a belief that these other beings are “god.” Rather, the words elohim/theos are category titles that refer to any being that inhabits the spiritual realm that, in the biblical story, exists parallel to the earthly realm. The one Creator God of Israel is an elohim, but no other elohim is the one Creator God. This helps us clarify the often misunderstood concept of “monotheism.” This word is a fusion of two Greek words mono- (“one”) and -theism (“god”). The modern definition of monotheism is the belief that there is only one God that exists. This is not how the biblical authors use the words elohim/theos. Nowhere in the Bible do they claim that there is only one spiritual being that exists. Rather, they believe that both the one Creator elohim who is the creator of all things, including the other elohim. Source: The Bible Project