p.2d. Jesus quoting Ps. 82 to Men, not to gods
Ps. 82 has often been misinterpreted by Mormons, and New Age teachers who misapply this passage to mean that people are, or can become gods.
The purpose of this writing is to refute the false notion that Psa. 82 is God speaking his divine council in heaven and not to men as Michael Heiser teaches.
Let’s look at what Jesus has to say, why he says it and how this also applies to Heiser (in a different way) with his unbiblical divine council of gods.
The word for gods in the Bible is Elohim. Elohim is a generic word that can be used for the true God, or when used in the plural form it can be used to refer to false gods, and in this case, it can refer to Men who represent God.
How can we know at which times that either one of these are the correct one to be applied? The answer is how Jesus applies it to the people of Israel in his day.
All of the requirements spoken about in Ps.82 are found by what God has said to the kings, the priests and the judges – (All of which are men).
Not one directive is found in the Bble that is given to a council of gods, you would think that if God had a council of gods that he appointed over the nations, that we would see the plain and direct mentioning of their rulership and influence throughout the Bible. If such an important doctrine were true, we would see a divine council of gods judging in the affairs of men throughout the Old Testament.
But it is not found in the Scripture because it’s a myth falsely laid over biblical history, transferred from pagan religious beliefs that were here prior to and during the time of Moses when he received the law. Mr. Heiser has not brought clarity to this but confusion.
Heiser advertises and promotes himself as a world-renowned Old Testament scholar, who is “Equipping Christians with a Deeper Understanding of the Bible.” In other words, if you are taught by him, you will have a deeper, better understanding and grasp on Scriptures that are not easily understood than you would if on your own. but what he’s really doing, is introducing doctrines that have been around and were not accepted by the Church. That is until now.
Heiser began his journey of new interpretation[s] by the pure speculation of his imagination that Israel adopted a council of gods like the pagan nations around them, i.e. the Ugarit writings,
The following is a thorough examination of the True history of this.
Let us begin with Jesus’ confrontation with the Jewish leaders in John 10, as he rebukes them by saying they are gods.
John 10:33-38 they accused Jesus of blasphemy, “You, being a Man, make Yourself God." Jesus’ answer is a response in the typical rabbinic way of arguing from the lesser to the greater, V.34 Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, "You are gods"'? 35 If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? 37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him."
Now, let’s focus on Jesus’ answer to them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, "You are gods.”
Heiser rejects men being called gods, as ‘his’ requirement of Elohim, is a council of gods, (in Ps.82 which is where Jesus lifts this statement from), by stating, “ they all inhabit the non-human realm…. they are by nature not part of the world of humankind,” then Jesus could not have used it toward the unbelieving Jews in John 10. for they then could not become the same as the Elohim sons of God that Heiser assigns those to be in Gn.1:26, (divine beings).
But clearly Jesus used this term in a representative sense, (that they are human leaders representing God) not referring to their human nature but to their position and activity for God as humans; Gods own words are explained in the text itself.
The judges were the representatives of God by having his delegated authority, they did the very works of God. Jesus (in Jn.10) referred to the representatives of Israel as Elohim because they were put in place to administer God’s justice by the law among themselves, by being (judges, magistrates, and kings) they would determine the outcome of disputes brought before them, not because they were gods by nature (nor in a heavenly assembly), but rather, they were to reflect Gods character, and His fairness in the conclusions of their judgment.
A.T. Robertson a well-respected Greek scholar writes “ Ye are gods theoi (NT:2282) este (NT:1491). Another direct quotation after eipa (NT:2008) but without hoti (NT:3706). The judges of Israel abused their office and God is represented in Ps 82:6 as calling them "gods" theoi (NT:2282), '¦lohiym (OT:430) because they were God's representatives. See the same use of '¦lohiym (OT:430) in Ex 21:6; 22:9,28. Jesus meets the rabbis on their own ground in a thoroughly Jewish way.
Jesus says they are disobedient, but Heiser states the sons of God are divine heavenly creatures (as in Gen.1:26).He assumes they fell after being given authority over the nations. If we are going to believe Jesus over Heiser, then Heiser’s interpretation has to be wrong.
V.35 “If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken)”
Deut. 31:9 “Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests”
The Word of God came to those by way of the law in the Old Testament. Jesus, was being sarcastic when he called them Elohim, (Judges) rebuking them using Ps. 82 in his statement in Jn. 10 because they were not living up to the standards of the authority that God had given them to live up to and to judge by. Jesus is mocking them because they were (representing God wrongly) and in Jn. 10 they were standing in the way! (blocking) people from Jesus Himself? Jesus called them gods because of the authority given to them by the law, (The Word), the judges were the very arm of Gods judgment upon those who broke the law, that is why God called them Elohim.
(it can only mean Judges because of the overwhelming abundance of other passages that are found in the bible and that are listed throughout the articles that prove Heiser is wrong.)
Jesus pointed out to them, that they did not recognize His authority as The Son God, and tells them to believe his works, which show who he actually He claims to be.
(Jesus also said to them that disbelieve, “the Devil is your father”, which is a problem to this passage as proof that the Elohim in Psa. 82 are council members, divine Gods.)
As they contended with Jesus who claimed He is God, (Not part of Elohim gods). Jesus used this very passage of Ps.82 on ‘human men’ who were questioning His authority after he had explained to them that He and the father are one. Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, "You are gods"'? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came…” (John 10:34-35).
This passage in Jn. 10 clearly shows who this verse is speaking about, Jesus directly applied it to them. Who was the Word of God given to? It was given to Mankind, specifically to Israel. If the Word of God was not given to Israel, this would make absolutely no sense.
Deut. 17:19-20 God instructed Israel to walk in his law, “careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left.”
The Word of God did not come to a divine council. The Lord Jesus understood what He meant by saying they are ‘gods,’ in the general sense of having authority as humans over humans ‘to whom the word of God came’ (Jn. 10:35).
John is the only one who cites this because he is presenting the deity of Christ in his gospel. If sons of God are spiritual beings / non-human as Heiser states, then Jesus is wrong by applying it incorrectly to men. Who would you rather believe, Heiser or Jesus? I side with Jesus.
Let’s take a look at the phrase used by Jesus in John 10 "to whom the word of God came" It is referring to the Jews who received the law - the Word.
" Is it not written in your law, 'I said, "You are gods" '? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God’?
Jesus said that it was written in the Law, I said, “You are gods’ This means then, that Jesus cannot be blaspheming, because he said 'I am the Son of God'!
Jesus is quoting Psalm 82:6, saying they are gods, and refers to what is written in the law. But the Psalms are not the law, Exodus is. So, when we read the passage as men being judges or rulers, we will see that the translation for Elohim is not to be assigned to a group of gods, as Gods council in heaven as Heiser teaches. Again, it is humans that are referenced in Exodus, and other books that refer to the law.
Jesus constantly referred to the scriptures correcting the Pharisees, who were teaching the people a Judaism not based on Moses and the law, but their traditions. Isa 8:20-21 “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Jesus said, “He called them gods to whom the Word of God came.
The word of God did not come to angels, or any so-called divine council. It came to men. It came specifically to the Israelites. To change this to a divine council would make the statement of Jesus foolish and utterly meaningless in relation to who Jesus was addressing and why.
Again, I refer to Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament” If he called them gods ei (NT:1467) ekeinous (NT:1544) eipen (NT:2008) theous (NT:2282). Condition of first class, assumed as true. The conclusion (John 10:36) is humeis (NT:5151) legete (NT:2963); (Do ye say?). As Jews (and rabbis) they are shut out from charging Jesus with blasphemy because of this usage in the Old Testament. It is a complete ad hominem argument. To be sure, it is in Ps 82:6 a lower use of the term Theos (NT:2282), but Jesus did not call himself "Son of Jahweh," but "huios (NT:5148) Theou (NT:2282)" which can mean only "Son of Elohiym (OT:430)." (From Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Heiser has inserted his own historical interpretation from Genesis onward. It’s is not only provably wrong, but impossible to fit this into the biblical record that has been understood to the contrary, for millennia. His claim that Judaism can only be understood in the context of first century Judaism, when they were following the Pharisees interpretation of the law is completely wrong, Jesus said it was wrong, and openly challenged their laws that were contrary to Moses.
Concerning Ps. 82 Heiser says, “I reje ct that idea, along with any other explanations that seek to hide the plain reading of the text. In all such cases, the thinking is misguided. The problem is rooted in a mistaken notion of what exactly the word elohim means. Since elohim is so often translated God, we look at the Hebrew word the same way we look at capitalized G-o-d. When we see the word God, we instinctively think of a divine being with a unique set of attributes—omnipresence, omnipotence, sovereignty, and so on. But this is not how a biblical writer thought about the term. Biblical authors did not assign a specific set of attributes to the word elohim. That is evident when we observe how they used the word.” (Unseen Realm, pp. 29-30)
What Heiser is saying, is exactly my point, for he is taking the passage completely out of context, the Scripture bears out what Elohim means. When you slice and dice the meaning of Elohim to mean something else that is not verified in Scripture, it becomes putty in one’s hands to shape any false concept.
It is a fact that Elohim is used in the plural for false gods at least 60 times, and also, in the Old Testament over 3,000 times for the one true God. Throughout the entire bible, we see it being used in no other way.
1 Chron. 16:26: “For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens.”
Ps 96:5 “ For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heaven s.”
There is no biblical support for a divine council (that is appointed to rule over the nations), the Bible only applies this to humans, specifically those humans who God appointed to be judges over the people. Again, Heiser is wrong.
Jeremiah 5:28 “They are waxen fat, they shine yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.” (Same statements made in Ps.82)
Heiser’s divine council is literally read into the Psalm at the expense of the rest of the Bible being ignored. A divine council does not align with what Scripture proclaims. There is no specific statement of a divine council exercising power over the nation found in Ps.82.
Now let us look at the Hebrew Bible (Masoretic) to see what is meant in the Scripture. The JPS 1917 Edition
A Psalm of Asaph.
The statement in v:7 “But ye shall die like men and fall like one of the princes.” Is used to show the distinction between men, and I presume the prince (Lucifer) who fell because of pride in heaven.
God has SAID they were elohim but they were really men and just like any other man they would die.
Again, it is pure assumption to think that this takes place in heaven. These admonishments are to earthly judges to act as God would to the people. This proves that earthly men as judges could be called "gods," and ends with the call for God Alone, to arise and judge the earth righteously.
The Psalmist is not writing about a heavenly council but human judges in the congregation of Israel who face the judgment by God Himself in Ps.82. Where does it even suggest that this is taking place in heaven? They are being chastised for not fulfilling their responsibility to judge righteously, of which, they were appointed to do daily.
There is no biblical support for any divine council,
Jeremiah scolded them (5:28) “They are waxen fat, they shine yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.” (Same statements made in Ps.82)
There is no divine council of other Elohim (gods) in Psalm 82, or anywhere else in the Bible. The bible gives no specific statement of any so-called council of gods in heaven unless of course, you use resources outside the bible, such as, in the Ugarit cuneiform writings, the Urantia book, and the book of Mormon, all who are enemies of God and His Word that speak about these councils as Heiser does.
Biblically, the term Elohim (gods) are applied to human judges as Elohim can be applied to idols and false gods. There should be Great concern’ with what Heiser is introducing, confusing and seducing the Church by weaving his divine council through the creation account in Genesis, to the resurrection and on into the Millennium.