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Pt.3a Deuteronomy 32 Michael Heisers divine council’s rule over the nations

Heiser’s end run plan on Deut.32:8-9

Michael Heizer’s divine council worldview has brought a different interpretation of Deuteronomy 32 into the church, known as what he calls, “The Cosmic Geographical Worldview” (p. 116)

Deut. 32:7-9 "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 divided their inheritance to the nations, When He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples According to the number of the children of Israel. For the LORD's portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance.” (Masoretic Hebrew Text)

Notice at the end of vs.9 which summarizes the preceding verses. The Lord explains exactly what is meant. “By the name of Jacob, meaning, the name of the people, the Nation of Israel” The God of Israel is always synonymous with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Heiser’s Deuteronomy 32 worldview is based on his interpretation of Ps.82. When the Masoretic text has “sons (children) of Israel for the LORD's portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance,” by the Second Temple period they also had the Septuagint (A Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament.) In our day, only a few fragment manuscripts of Deuteronomy from the Dead Sea Scrolls have “sons of God” instead.

A fragment containing Deuteronomy 32:8 reads, “according to the number of the sons of God,” which is translated “angels of God” by the LXX, as in Genesis 6:4 (margin). Job 1:6; 2:1; and 38:7. the Masoretic Text reads, “according to the number of the children of Israel.” (Bakers Encyclopedia of Christian apologetics)

A fragment reads, “according to the number of the sons of God,” which is translated “angels of God” by the LXX (Septuagint). So, there are various readings in the manuscripts found. Heiser opts for this interpretation as he conforms to the opinion he adapted from a pagan Ugaritic text that he is implanting into the Hebrew Scripture (and other Scriptures) in order to arrive at his interpretation. There are no other Scriptures that say this, that would reinforce his imposing the council of gods ruling over the nations in the text, then or now.

Deuteronomy 32 from Scroll 4Q44 Deuteronomy

Vs.9 For Yahweh’s portion is his people. Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.”

Deuteronomy 32 from Scroll 4Q45 Paleo Deuteronomy

7 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.

8 When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the children of men, he set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel. [..]

Deuteronomy 32:8 The Dead Sea Scrolls (QT) בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִיל ( the sons of the God )

Other Dead Sea Scroll texts express synonymous usage of the term “gods” with what the biblical authors viewed as angels. For example,4q402, fr.4, 9-10 mentions, ‘gods.’ It is known fact that the Dead Sea scrolls speak a lot about angels.

Deuteronomy 32 from Scroll 4Q37 Deuteronomy

7 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.

8 When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,

when he separated the children of men,

he set the bounds of the peoples

according to the number of the children of Israel God.

For 1,500 years prior to Christ Deut. 32 said the same thing. But, Because of a Fragment of Deut. 32, along with what is found in the Septuagint, Heiser reformats the verse to say what it doesn’t, in order to get it to coincide with him introducing a council of gods that are allegedly involved with the nations: Polytheism into Moses’ words that became Scripture and Polytheism into Judaism. No Other Scriptures say what he is saying.

The Masoretic Text reads, “according to the number of the children of Israel.”

But Heiser asks, “Should the verse be rendered "sons of Israel" or "sons of God"? (Deuteronomy 32:8 and the Sons of God p.53)

He goes on to say: “Literary and conceptual parallels discovered in the literature of Ugarit, …have furnished support for textual scholars who argue against the "sons of Israel" reading. (54 Bibliotheca SACRA / January-March 2001)

Yes, of course it makes sense to him to use pagan sources and their gods, who are enemies of Israel, in order to influence and prove that his private interpretation of the Bible is accurate. This is not only embarrassing, but there is also something very sinister that might be revealed.

The Dead Sea fragment (QT) Reads: “sons of God” (בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים) the Lexham English Septuagint. Most of the Greek Septuagint (LXX) manuscripts have “ angels of God” (ἀγγέλων θεοῦ) Brenton’s translation. However, it needs to be mentioned that the Septuagint manuscript of Aquila (Codex X), Symmachus (also Codex X), and Theodotion reads “ according to the number of the sons of Israel.”

Heiser insists, “Sons of God” is the correct reading, as is now known from the Dead Sea Scrolls.” he is ultimately saying, that all through history it was wrong until a piece of fragment was discovered in the Qumran caves?

Heiser argues, this “ is what the verse originally said. You just need to think a bit about the wrong reading, the “sons of Israel. This means that the nations of the earth were divided at Babel before Israel even existed as a people. “ It would make no sense for God to divide up the nations of the earth “according to the number of the sons of Israel” if there was no Israel. This point is also brought home in another way, namely by the fact that Israel is not listed in the Table of Nations”.

Context, context, context, not just the words, but the meanings they convey within the context of the overall Scripture. Throughout the Bible Children of Israel is used 426 times from Genesis to the book of Joshua, sons of Israel are used 14 times, (sons of God are used only twice, found only in Gn.6 and it is not a favorable description. Over 950 times the term ‘children of God’ are said to be Israel.

We read what is written prior to chapt.32, in Deut. 14:1-2 “You are the children (sons) of the LORD your God. ” He is speaking of Israel, not a council in heaven. Further reading keeping it in its context, For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

Again, in the same book “the children of the LORD your God,” NOT sons of Elohim as other divine beings with God, but children (sons) of ‘YHWH (God) Elohim.’

God calls them children of Israel, ‘My people,’ which can certainly be understood as sons of God, Deut.14:1 “children, sons of the Lord your God.”

Heiser writes, Deut.32  When the Most High gave the nations as an inheritance “he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of [the sons of God"]. The answer of who they are is contained in the text,  "But the LORD’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance." (Are Yahweh and El Distinct Deities in Deut. 32:8-9 and Psalm 82)

Jacob who is Israel are whom the sons of God are in the inheritance.

In fact, in his book the ‘Unseen Realm’ Heiser himself says “ Israel was explicitly called the son of Yahweh in the confrontation with Pharaoh (Exod. 4:23; cf. Hos 11:1).” In other words, Israel is called the son of God. Referring to Exodus 4:22 and Hosea 11:1, Heiser proclaims, “ Adam was Yahweh’s son. Israel was Yahweh’s son.51) admitting the phrase “son[s] of God” is applied to humans in Scripture, i.e., Israel.

Consider that, even if it does say ‘sons of God’ it does not eliminate the meaning to be ‘the children of Israel’. A verse always depends upon how you interpret a passage and apply it. Remember this was copied by the Hebrews after Moses had written it. “For Yahweh's portion was his people,” which brings the point back to being Israel.

There are other scriptures that relate to this as well. Ex.4:22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD: "Israel is My son, My firstborn.” Ezek 34:30 the house of Israel, are My people," says the Lord GOD.' " 1 Sam. 2:29 Israel My people.” Isa 19:25 Israel My inheritance. Isa 41:8 “Israel, are My servant.

Israel collectively is called Gods sons (and daughters). This concept of calling mankind his children is carried into the New Testament. 2 Cor.6:18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty." 

This kind of extra biblical thinking (Going beyond what is written) has infiltrated the Church and has greatly affected Bible translators and Bible translations. For example: Deut. 32:8 “The Most High assigned nations their lands; he determined where peoples should live. But, an example of inaccurate bible translation is in the New living Translation of He assigned to each nation a heavenly being ” (New Living Translation).

One thing is certain, God did NOT turn the nations of the world over to 'other gods' called Elohim. This is Heiser’s interpretation of an ancient pagan cultures teaching that he is merging into the Scripture. Those pagan cultures chose to have nothing to do with the truth that God spoke to Israel and was delivered to us as the Bible.

The Jews were given the oracles of God that is why the correct rendering of Deut. 32 is of Israel; the Jews were scattered to all nations, but, as a result, the faithful Jews would bring the Word of God to the pagan heathen nations that they were in captivity to. God promised to scatter them early on if they were disobedient and continued as they brought in and out of the land of Promise. (Lev.26:33; Deut.4:27, 28:64; Neh.1:8) Along with this he promised to bring them back into their land in the last days.

The boundaries of the nations

Deut. 32:8-9 “ …He set the boundaries of the peoples According to the number of the children of Israel. For the LORD's portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance.”

Moses communicates, that from the beginning and forming of the nations, that God already had His people Israel in mind.

Hebrew Masoretic text 32:8 -9 “ When the Most High gave to the nations When He separated the children of men, He set the borders of the peoples According to the number of the children of Israel. For the portion of the LORD is His people, Jacob the lot of His inheritance. (JPS 1917)

Heiser states, “It would make no sense for God to divide up the nations of the earth “according to the number of the sons of Israel” if there was no Israel. This point is also brought home in another way, namely by the fact that Israel is not listed in the Table of Nations.”

Actually, it does make sense! God often does things with the future in mind, but I guess the Unseen Realm didn’t reveal this to Heiser. Is God not all-knowing, having the foreknowledge of all things? When we read how God would set boundaries of the nation’s according to a nation he would later call for himself, is it so farfetched to think that God would have a plan that He would eventually execute at a future time?

Heiser asks, “Why would God base the number of nations on the number of Israelites that are not existing? . . . or based the division on their number at the time they went to Egypt,

God himself answers his question in Isa.46:9 “I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand” V:11-13 “ “Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it. "Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted, who are far from righteousness: I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not linger. And I will place salvation in Zion, For Israel My glory .”

Apparently, Mr. Heiser’s education of the pagan cultures have become a stumbling stone in not being able to see how the Scriptures speak and are carried out by the Almighty God and His actions He takes upon the earth.

Does God not tell Israel, and the World, events and consequences before they happen? Of course, he does, it is all in His Word.

Isa. 44:8 “Besides Me there is no God. And who can proclaim as I do? Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me, Since I appointed the ancient people. And the things that are coming and shall come , let them show these to them. do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it?”

Does not Jesus say I have told you beforehand? Yes, numerous times. And Deuteronomy 32:8-9 has prophecy within its framework.

Is this not how God thinks and has often communicated what would take place before, especially when he is communicating to Moses his providential plan involving nations. As this occurred before the call of Abraham, who fathered the nation of Israel.

Heiser, in one of his discussions “Verse 26 he clearly alludes to the Babel event described in Deut. 32:8-9, that the nations were divided up among / allotted to the sons of God (and vice versa in Deut. 4:19-20).… He interprets this in this manner ‘Deuteronomy 32:9 has Yahweh calling Abraham to raise up Israel as his own “portion” and Gen 12:3 tells us that when he did so and then made a covenant with Abraham, it was with the intention that through Abraham the nations would be blessed.”

Remember, Heiser has stated, that God cannot be speaking of Israel in this way when they were not yet created. But he has no problem inserting Abraham into v.9 of the passage when Abraham has not yet been created. Clearly it is not in the text, but he has forced it to be there, in order for it to agree with his particular view.

Lets again look at what is being said.

Septuagint LXX -Deut.32:8 “ When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God.”

The LXX say αγγελων θεου, 'angels of God', other copies of the LXX say υιων θεου, 'sons of God' (as does the Qumran text (DSS) 4QDtj DSS 4QDtq )

If these are angels this would imply angels are only the number 70 (also the same if called the sons of god as Heiser claims are in heaven). Otherwise it would read that he set 'the number of nation' to the angels of God.

LXX ends with “ And his people Jacob became the portion of the Lord, Israel was the line of his inheritance.”

Masoretic: Deut. 32:8-9 “ According to the number of the children of Israel.”

“For the LORD's portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance.”

The whole chapter is about Israel, not the other nations. According to the number of the children of Israel makes far more sense in keeping with the context of what is being said here and throughout the chapter. Again, if sons of God is not a variant, it makes more sense it means the same as 'children of God '(i.e. the children of Israel )whom God says is HIS inheritance.

Israel and the nations

Gn. 28: we see Isaac's promise to Jacob about his inheritance of the land that God gave to Abraham (Psalm 33). And in Psalm 2:7-8 the nations and the earth are the Son of Gods Inheritance (Ps.82:8).

God said he would make Israel a nation above the other nations. He calls them the apple of his eye, and in Gn.12 God has set into record, the principle of blessing and cursing, of how God would deal with others, based upon how they would deal with Israel. (Where God says, (speaking to primarily to all gentiles) “I will bless those who bless thee, and I will curse those who curse thee.” This is established before Deut.32:8.

The nations are established under their human founders before Israel. Only Israel has God as its founder, God started with a single man, Abram and had it formed into a theocracy. He planned this before he began.

The children of Israel did not go into the land until after the Law was given, 400 years later after their Egyptian captivity, they came in the Promised Land by faith. The year approx.. 1,460 BC.

The Prophetic meaning

Acts 17:26- 27 “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us”

They would do this by hearing the truth from the Jews about who their God, the true God is. Just like the church today shares the gospel wherever we go, and exactly what we see Paul doing with the Gentiles on Mars Hill.

This is related to Deut. 32:8, 9. "He fixed the boundaries of the nation’s according to the number of the sons of Israel: for the Lord's portion is His people; Jacob the cord of His inheritance. "

From beginning to end, God establishes it. As when the Lord spoke it to the Prophet, to the time of its fulfillment. His extended plan has a prophetic significance, when the Lord seals the 144,000 Jews among all the nations to speak the gospel without hindrance in the Tribulation (which Heiser denies are Jews).

God began His division of the earth Gn.11 and decided to give the different portions to nations

Within these boundaries, Israel (the Jews) has a providential role in each particular nation's history, a prophetic significance. God brings a worldwide revival during the time of escalating persecution that is especially important in the end of the age.

Rv. 7:9-10 “ a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb! V.13-14 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?" 14 And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So, he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

God’s plan for Israel has always been for the Jews to be brought back into their land, the Scriptures are abundant on this, and it is being fulfilled before our very eyes, Jews are returning to their land from all over the world, but in the future at a certain point during what the Bible calls the Great Tribulation period, they will have to flee to a place called Petra in southwestern Jordan, Gods current plan for Christian Gentiles and for Christian Jews (inside and outside of Israel), is to the share the Gospel, fulfilling Mt.24:14.

This in part, explains Gods providence in setting down boundaries for the Gentile nations, He considered the number of Jews that will play a role in their nation’s history. According to Gods sovereignty He divided them in the nations for the call in Rv.7 to evangelize the nations in their own languages during the tribulation period of judgments.

For example, take the book of Esther and the nation of Persia (modern Iran) as king Ahasuerus  was tricked by Haman to make an edict to eliminate all the Jews within his land the other providences he ruled over. Est. 4:14 Mordacai says in wisdom to Esther in dealing with the King Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this ?" In this story one Jewess turned the situation around. Because of the Gn.12 promise of blessings and curses to those who bless or oppose Israel, God orchestrated a complete turnaround, and Israel was not only spared but lifted up.

The Tribulation will affect the whole earth in general (Rv.3:10; Mk.13:20), nevertheless, God's program for the Tribulation has a reserved role for Jews in their relationship with the Gentiles.

As Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum states: “Looking at all this purely from a human perspective, if one wanted to conduct a worldwide revival in a very short period of time, for this revival will occur during the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation, one could not think of a better group of people to use than the Jewish people.”

It is the two Jewish witnesses near the middle of the tribulation that will conduct a very effective evangelistic program directed to the people of Israel (Rv.11:1-6).

Pt.3.b The Ugarit or Israel - gods or God - Heiser's serious interpretation flaw 


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