How God Governs From Heaven Part 3

Over the past few weeks we’ve discovered how Yahweh ruled over a heavenly council of gods (see part 1 and part 2)  While in today’s post we’re looking at how these sons of God became the rulers over the nations.

  • So when did the lesser gods / elohim start to rule over the nations?

Before we can even answer that question we need to discover how the nations were formed in the first place!


Mankind Rebels And Builds The Tower of Babel

After the flood, God recommissioned mankind to go forth “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth”. Instead, under the leadership of Nimrod they rebelled against God. They were determined to stay at one location and build a city with a tower, that in their eyes would link heaven with earth. They wanted to ‘make a name for themselves’. [1]

Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” ~ Genesis 11

 


God Disciplines Mankind

Because of man’s rebellion Yahweh started a disciplinary action that would affect the history of mankind to come throughout the ages. He went down with His heavenly council in attendance and confused the people’s language, “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language.”

The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”

So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth. ~ Genesis 11

 

Without being able to communicate to one another, Nimrod and his followers were unable to carry out their grandiose building plan. As a result of Yahweh confusing their language, mankind separated and formed new communities. These would later become the nations that inhabited the lands surrounding the Mediterranean sea and inland regions of the Middle East.


The Table of Nations

Genesis 10 presents a historical narrative that traces those people groups / nations after Yahweh dispersed them from Babel across the face of the earth (their known world).

These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations. Of these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood ~ Genesis 10: 32

 

  • 26 nations originated from Shem
  • 30 nations originated from Ham
  • 14 nations originated from Japheth

Added together this gives us a total of 70 nations, whose origins could be traced from the Tower of Babel incident.


How Yahweh Set Out the Boundaries

Yahweh decided that as part of His discipline, He would put these newly formed nations under the guardianship and authority of some of the members of His Heavenly Council – Sons of God. As a result, the 70 nations mentioned in Genesis were created and their boundaries set in place, with a Son of God (a lesser elohim) ruling over the peoples of each nation and their allotted territories. [2]

Remember the days of old;
consider the years of many generations;
ask your father, and he will show you,
your elders, and they will tell you.
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
when he divided mankind,
he fixed the borders of the peoples
according to the number of the sons of God.~ Deut 32: 7-8 ESV

 


The Purpose Of These Boundaries

These lesser gods as part of the heavenly council were given the mandate to rule over these nations and lead them back to Yahweh.

Yahweh may have disciplined the people at Babel, but His hope was for the lesser elohim to reflect Yahweh’s image as His spiritual image bearers, so that the people would eventually seek God Most High and find Him.

Paul explained to the Greeks, the purpose of creating the nations and the setting of their boundaries in Acts 17 when he addressed them on Mars Hill. He referred to the time, under these elohim as being ‘times of ignorance’. [3]

Paul’s Sermon on Mars Hill

So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; ~ Acts 17:22-27

 

Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance (strongs G52), God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, ~ Acts 17:30

 

strongs G52 ἄγνοια
1. lack of knowledge, ignorance
a. esp. of divine things
b. of moral blindness


The Sons of God Became Corrupt

Although Yahweh gave the Sons of God a mandate to govern over these nations in order to lead them back to Himself, He also gave them freewill.  As a result they had the choice whether or not to serve and interact with Him out of love. However, it is our understanding that the satan managed to influence these gods to rebel against the Most High God.

Jethro said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh and has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people.” ~ Exodus 18:10

 

From here on out it might be helpful to see the satan as the head of a criminal organisation, much in the style of the mafia.

Psalm 82 gives us insight into Yahweh presiding over a council meeting and issuing judgement on the Sons of God.

God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgement:
“How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
they walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

I said, “You are gods,
sons of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, like men you shall die,
and fall like any prince.”

Arise, O God, judge the earth;
for you shall inherit all the nations! ~ Psalm 82 ESV

 

But there was a much bigger plan hinted at in Psalm 82. Yahweh, in the future would give these nations as an inheritance to His son Yeshua, who would reconcile the nations back to Yahweh, God Most High.

“I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. ~ Psalm 2: 6-8

 


The Table of Nations Defines The Battle Ground For The Entire Biblical Narrative

The focus for the entire bible narrative from Genesis 10 onward will be over the control of the affections and allegiance of these nations. In the future, the beasts described in Daniel will rule over these nations under the leadership of the satan. However, Daniel is also a book that predicts that one day the Kingdom of God will replace those beasts and rule over these nations instead.

In our next blog post we’ll see how Yahweh sets up His own nation for Himself, as a light to all the other Nations.

 

 


Footnotes:

[1] Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18-27 both refer to the extra biblical Book of Jasher, therefore, the 1st century church would also have been very aware of the following texts – From the Book of Jasher chpt 9:

25 And the building of the tower was unto them a transgression and a sin, and they began to build it, and whilst they were building against the Lord God of heaven, they imagined in their hearts to war against him and to ascend into heaven. 26 And all these people and all the families divided themselves in three parts; the first said We will ascend into heaven and fight against him; the second said, We will ascend to heaven and place our own gods there and serve them; and the third part said, We will ascend to heaven and smite him with bows and spears; and God knew all their works and all their evil thoughts, and he saw the city and the tower which they were building.

 

[2] Again from the Book of Jasher:

And they built the tower and the city, and they did this thing daily until many days and years were elapsed. And God said to the seventy angels who stood foremost before him, to those who were near to him, saying, Come let us descend and confuse their tongues, that one man shall not understand the language of his neighbor, and they did so unto them ~ Book of Jasher 9:31

 

[2] The Targums are a group of various Aramaic versions of the Old Testament that contained both paraphrase and interpretation and were used by the ancient Jews. The Targum of Deuteronomy gives even more detail about the elohim.

“He cast the lot among the seventy angels, the princes of the nations” ~ Targrum of Deuteronomy 32:8

 

While the Book of Jubilees gives more information from that same Old Testament worldview:

For the command is ordained for a covenant, that they should observe it for ever among all the children of Israel.
For Ishmael and his sons and his brothers and Esau, the Lord did not cause to approach Him, and he chose them not because they are the children of Abraham, because He knew them, but He chose Israel to be His people.
And He sanctified it, and gathered it from amongst all the children of men; for there are many nations and many peoples, and all are His, and over all hath He placed spirits in authority to lead them astray from Him.
But over Israel He did not appoint any angel or spirit, for He alone is their ruler, and He will preserve them and require them at the hand of His angels and His spirits, and at the hand of all His powers in order that He may preserve them and bless them, and that they may be His and He may be theirs from henceforth for ever.

 

[3] Ares was the Greek god of war and according to Greek mythology Mars Hill was the place where Ares stood trial before the other gods for the murder of Poseidon’s son Alirrothios.

Image: wiki commons The Phillip Medhurst Picture Torah 74. Tower of Babel

1 Comment

  1. This is getting exciting, the battle lines have been drawn.
    It will be Yahweh against the satan and his criminal organisation.
    The battle will rage for hundreds of years and there can be only one side left standing.

    Liked by 1 person

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