4b A Deeper look into the pseudo monotheism of Michael Heiser
Elohim as the divine Council
Heiser inserts the words, divine council whenever possible, even when there is no rhyme or reason to do so. He has made this doctrine his own mission in life, to convince the church of what he thinks none of us understand, from the Scriptures.
“Ugaritic mythology plainly states that the head of its pantheon, El (who, like the God of the Bible, is also referred to as El Elyon, the "Most High") fathered seventy sons ( p.54 BiBLiOTHECA SACRA)
But was el, elohim part of a pantheon according to the Hebrews (Torah) or Canaanites (Ugarit)?
“The God of the Old Testament was part of an assembly – a pantheon – of other gods ” (p. 11 Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible).
Was he part of a pantheon according to the Hebrews (Torah) or Canaanites (Ugarit)?
Remember, the God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament!
Mr. Heiser is obsessed with this unbiblical concept of a pantheon of other gods and inserts them as either the main topic or the sub-topic throughout his writings. That is why many see him as The spokesman for the divine council, the Mormon Church is certainly happy, even if he does not agree with some of their points.
Heiser asks, “ Are Yahweh and El Distinct Deities in Deut. 32:8-9 and Psalm 82 ?”(specifically this writing from logos software and numerous other books)
He continues by telling us of this divine council in nearly all his writings. In “Deuteronomy 32:8 and the Sons of God” the divine council is mentioned 50 times. “Divine Council” is mentioned 22 times. “Divine Council,” In The Lexham Bible Dictionary, it is mentioned well over 50 times. 13 times in “Are Yahweh and El Distinct Deities in Deut 32:8-9 and Psalm 82?” “Does Deuteronomy 32.17 Assume or Deny the Reality of other Gods?” it is mentioned 3 times. “Old Testament Godhead Language,” Faithlife Study Bible” mentioned 5 times. “Co-regency in Ancient Israel’s Divine Council as the Conceptual Backdrop to Ancient Jewish Binitarian Monotheism,” mentioned 32 times. Mentioned 20 times in “Does Divine Plurality in the Hebrew Bible Demonstrate an Evolution from Polytheism to Monotheism in Israelite Religion?” “The Unseen Realm” mentioned 65 times. In his book “The divine council in late canonical and non-canonical second temple Jewish literature,” it is mentioned over 410 times.
Biblically, to be divine means you have the same nature of deity (YHWH), of God Himself.
It becomes apparent to those who think biblically that these gods (divine beings) of whom Heiser claims are Elohim and that are a separate ‘species’ called sons of God, are not divine gods at all, but are only called gods by men who believe them to be. Those who think in the light of biblical context, see in reality that these so-called gods are always called false gods by the one and only true God of Israel.
Again Jer. 10:10-11 “But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. … Thus you shall say to them: " The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens.”
God is telling Jeremiah that only he is God, These imaginary gods will perish, every one of them, none will be rescued (Heiser says in the end, when we are transformed we will join their council of gods). This passage along with many others; affirm that God is saying that there are ‘no other gods!’ The qualification is stated in Deut. 4:39: “ that the LORD (YHWH) Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.”
Which in the following he admits, “Simply stated, these passages assert that there is no other Deity besides Yahweh. He is the only true God; all the other elohim have contingent existence and power, were created, and are not omnipotent or omniscient.” (Deuteronomy 32:8 and the Sons of God, p.69)
The problem here is that Heiser yet again contradicts himself, because now the same Elohim he calls deity (a word not often used by him in his writings) says there are no other gods!
Heiser is no doubt an intelligent person, but Theology is not his area of expertise, but rather theology is his area of greatest area of weakness.
He will not submit to the overwhelming amount of biblical scripture that disproves, refutes and exposes the fallacy of his divine council fairytale. Which is bringing great confusion to Gods Word.
What does God have to say about all of this?
YHWH, says there are no others besides Him as the TRUE Elohim. Therefore, when Elohim is used for other gods, it is being used to say that they are not true gods, they are simply false gods created by men to be gods. Heiser is wrong that God created other gods, The Bible loudly proclaims that there is only one true God, and we are to believe what is written.
Regardless of what Heiser says about men not worshipping or serving these gods, the True God who describes Himself in Deut. 6:4 states in v.14 “Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the peoples that are round about you; for YHWH your Elohim in the midst of you is a jealous God” (Deut.11:28; 13:3; Jer.25:6). God in the role of Israel’s husband warned Israel not to become as an adulterous wife playing with the other gods of the nations.
Heiser is using pagan writings, the enemies of Israel to interpret the Hebrew Scripture which is not only backwards but also is convoluted. He is reimagining and changing biblical history. What Heiser wants us to believe is not true and does not stand up to the biblical record, that not only claims to be ‘the truth, but has proven itself to be the truth.
We read, Israel worshiped gods they knew not Jer.19:3, so if El and Elohim are names found in pagan writings, they would not be the same God as the God of Israel, even if El nor Elohim are stated.
All polytheistic gods are false gods, the God of Israel stands alone, He alone is the one and only true Elohim, YHWH.
We read, Israel worshiped gods they knew not Jer.19:3, so if called El and Elohim are names found in pagan writings they would not be the same God as Israel in any way.
Israel was not to worship or serve the gods of any of the nations, furthermore, the customs of these cultures were forbidden for Israel to practice. God even said, “ You shall not make mention of the name of their gods” (Josh. 23:7). Lest they begin to think further on them and become attracted, for the nations surrounding them were seductive and had great influence.
Through Paul, the New Testament made this clear to the Gentiles, saying Gal. 4:8-9 “ when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God.”
In other words, these are not gods by nature, but yet they were called gods by the people and nations. Then Paul says, “but now that ye have come to know God.”
How? By studying their ancient pagan religious teachings about other gods in order to understand the Bible? NO! of course not, but rather by the truth of God’s Word itself, that teaches us about God, how to know God, and how to rightly live and serve the only true and living God of Israel.
YHWH Elohim instructs in Deut. 4:1-2 “ Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you “ You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it , that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you .”
Heiser proposes, “Israel derived their understanding of the Godhead from their version of the divine council, or pantheon (i.e., God and His heavenly host), and the binitarian (two persons) language used for Yahweh and other figures that the OT writers identify so closely with Yahweh that they are inseparable, yet distinct.” (Michael S. Heiser, “Old Testament Godhead Language,” Faithlife Study Bible)
Israel did not get their understanding of God from a divine council of gods, through a pagan culture, a teaching that is nowhere to be found in the Hebrew Scriptures? Again Deut 6:4 was Israel's religious anthem. This passage uses the Hebrew word for one, which is the Hebrew word echad. In the Old Testament this word is used as a compound one, not a strict numeral one. We find this definition from the very beginning in Gn. 1:5 the combination of evening and morning is a unit, echad, is one day.”
The following is stated by Heiser in many different books, in many different ways,
“The closest parallel to Israel’s (and therefore the OT‘s) conception of the assembly of the heavenly host under the authority of Yahweh is the divine council of Ugarit.” … “ Orthodox Yahwism replaced the co-regent slot that Baal occupied with a sort of binitarian Godhead, in which Yahweh occupied both slots. The OT in fact describes Yahweh with titles and abilities that Canaanite literature attributes to both El and Baal. Israelites thus fused El and Baal in their worship of Yahweh—a literary and theological strategy that asserted Yahweh’s superiority over the two main divine authority figures in wider Canaanite religion.” (Old Testament Godhead Language, Michael Heiser)
Did they need to do this? Yahweh does not find His origin in the Canaanites religion. Nor did Israel take the pagan gods and make Yahweh out of them. Facts are facts! Yahweh had nothing to do with Baal. Baal is all about idolatry and human sacrifice. The Biblical monotheism brought to Moses, Moses learned from Yahweh Himself, directly, it was God Himself, giving revelation to man.
The Canaanites are mentioned over 55 times in Scripture, not to mention all the other nations that were idolaters. Even hundreds of years later we read in Ezra 9:1-2 “ When these things were done, the leaders came to me, saying, "The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, with respect to the abominations of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.”
Israel was always in danger of myths, traditions, and the ways of other cultures becoming an influence into their way of life that was to be strictly under God. So why then, is Mr. Heiser leading the church back to very same things God told Israel to separate from, myths of the Canaanites and others? Israel was warned consistently of the Canaanites whom God was taking their land away from because of their abominations.
The criteria for consistency is when you make a statement that is true, you continually say that truth. But if you then proceed to bring error into the same statement, the error itself will eventually override the truth that was in your original statement.
In view of that, I would say that Heiser is either confused or that he is intentionally using the truth to validate his error.
He claims that by learning about paganisms view of their gods, that he has learned about the Hebrews more fully, accurately. This is how he learned and formulated his view of the Scripture, which in reality goes against everything Gods Word says. Very few things Heiser concludes concerning this matter is based purely on biblical truth and is rather, more a denial of the truth of God’s Word.
Heiser’s position is that the better or even correct understanding of the biblical text is only dependent upon these extra-biblical writings. Unless we read the biblical text in the light of the non-biblical writings, we will not come to an accurate understanding and meaning of its words; that is what he wants us to believe. He wants us to believe that the Bible promotes true gods as in Polytheism, he wants us to believe there is more than one God. But this one is greater than the other gods.
He states “Yahweh is described in the Hebrew Bible by means of titles and abilities that both El and Baal have in Canaanite literature—these two were conceptually fused in Yahweh . This literary and theological device shows Yahweh superior to the two main divine authority figures in wider Canaanite religion. ” (Michael S. Heiser, “Divine Council,” The Lexham Bible Dictionary)
Even if one were to concede that Hebrew is a possible derivative of or a parallel language of Ugarit, it doesn’t mean that Israel who spoke a similar language transferred what the pagans believed about their god[s] into something that the Hebrews synthesized to be from their God.
Heiser, who is supposed to be a scholar takes a Hebrew inferior position, But the Bible speaks of direct revelation given by God directly to Moses and others after him, revealing who He is, and had it written of how he wants mankind to live according to His Word. Moses was given the 10 commandments; and 603 other commands. Even though we find some similarity from centuries prior on certain topics, it is because of the moral code that God built within mankind, as we were made in Gods image. For example Gods law states, not to murder. This does not mean, that this was taken from another culture.
Approaching this as strictly an academic exercise, one might come to this erroneous conclusion, but to believe Gods Word is a revelation of Himself through the writers that He chose for each time period, including up to and through the New Testament revelation; one could never on his own, entertain the philosophical beliefs that Heiser has come to believe in these areas without denying Scripture as a revelation from God.
pt.4c The monotheism of Israel vs. the paganism of the nations- What is Michael Heiser REALLY TEACHING