4.d Who are these other Elohim?
Some points that need to be made on these ‘other Elohim’ that Heiser teaches on, who are not gods by any means described in the Scripture.
Where do we see the gods of the nations in action in the Scripture? Two examples to consider.
1 Samuel 5:2-7 “ Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside Dagon. And when the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord.”
Their god was a n idol who had no power.
Jonah 1:4-6 as the ship was about to be broken up, the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god to no avail Jonah had gone asleep below v.6 “ the captain came to him, and said to him, "What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish ."
They knew their gods had no power to control nature when they needed them most, when do we see any of these so called real pagan gods act?
Where do we see them interact with humanity? Where is Ps.82 exercised by these gods of the nations?
The Ugarit or the Pentateuch
The Jewish encyclopedia: “God thereupon revealed to Moses all the commandments and all the statutes and judgments, which Moses communicated to the people (ib. 31) This revelation on Mt. Sinai is therefore the chief foundation of the Jewish faith, and guarantees the divine origin of the Law as contained in the Pentateuch. Before his death Moses wrote down the five books named after him (the Pentateuch), and gave them to the people (ib. xxxi. 24-26); and he commanded them to observe everything therein written, and to transmit it to their children as the teaching of God.”
Their religious writings, the Ugarit have nothing to do with any influence on the Hebrew culture from Moses, only apostates to the faith that was given to Abraham. The academics that use the Ugarit do not acknowledge the writings Moses received as revelation directly from God. Don’t be fooled from these types of arguments that are useless ‘genealogies.’
The practices in the Ugarit and others are the teachings that stumbled Israel and took them away from the true God and his ways. And they will do that to you if you let them.
Deut. 9:4: “it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out from before you.”
Deut. 29:16-18: “for you know that we dwelt in the land of Egypt and that we came through the nations which you passed by, and you saw their abominations.”
This is the answer from the Bible on the Ugarit.
Judges 3:5-8: “Thus the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Andthey took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons; and they served their gods. So the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God, and served the Baals and Asherahs. ”
If this pantheon/ council was ingrained in Jerusalem as Heiser teaches, would it not have been mentioned or addressed in the New Testament, after all it went to their 2nd temple period. Is there a council of Elohim? This term or phrase of a council is obviously missing as a description for other gods in the Hebrew Scriptures, neither does the New Testament that reveals the mysteries in the old have anything to say on this.
The only council in the 2nd temple period was James in Jerusalem The only council Judaism knew of was run by the Sanhedrin.
Is the answer in the Ugarit
But there are other writings that have the same information in the Ugarit before the Ugarit was discovered, these are more ancient which shows the pagan influence of the region.
Heiser speaking “This writer contends, therefore, that the term אֱלֹהִים itself cannot be taken as an indication of polytheism. But what are we to make of the broad application of the term by biblical writers? (MONOTHEISM AND THE LANGUAGE OFDIVINE PLURALITY IN THE HEBREW BIBLEAND THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS)
Heiser asks the question and the bible answers it, for אֱלֹהִים was used for false gods which is the polytheism that Judaism was against. Are not numerous god’s polytheism? This is discounted because he claims the Hebrews did not worship them but acknowledged there existence. The problem that is as big as bozos red nose is, the pagans worshiped them and Heiser is claiming infusion to Judaism. Listen carefully to this mans bible teaching.
Job 38:7 —a group of heavenly sons of God. It also accords perfectly with other references to the sons of God as plural Elohim” (The unseen Realm).
You can’t have multiple gods and not call that Polytheism.
“Many scholars believe that Psalm 82 and other passages demonstrate that the religion of ancient Israel began as a polytheistic system and then evolved into monotheism. I reject that idea , … In all such cases, the thinking is misguided.” (Unseen Realm, pp. 29-30)
However denying any former polytheism does not mean that he considers Israel to not be polytheistic, for he argues that they held to other gods, therefore not monotheistic. As we have seen him say they fused baal into Yahweh. It does not matter if they did not worship them, for they acknowledged them as real according to Heiser.
It is exasperating to try and straighten out the twisting of Scripture that has been conformed to this fantasy of a council of gods that he claims God himself appointed in the Hebrew Scriptures.
There are layers of falsehood to Heiser’s proposition that need to be peeled away to get to the kernel. For example all the gymnastical hoops of interpretation he puts you through in circumventing Gn.1:26 with Ps.82. to force it become what it is not.
Gen 1:26-27 Then אֱלֹהִים (Elohim – God) said, "Let Us make man in Our בְּצַלְמֵנוּ (b·tzlm·nu (image of us) image, according to Our likeness”
… there is only one called elohim speaking here, there are no other Elohim in the Scripture that are present, so he could only be speaking in his plurality of persons, as ‘us’ and ‘our’. There is no divine sons, a council gods he is speaking to; they do not exist here. His interpretation is from his own imagination, sliding scriptures that are 1,000 years later in the Psalms to be his basis in Genesis.
We then read the application in v.27 “So God אֱלֹהִים (Elohim – God) created man הָאָדָם (ha adam- man, mankind) in His own image; בְּצֶלֶם (Btzim) the image בְּצַלְמֹו of God אֱלֹהִים He created him; male and female He created them.”
When read by itself it is self explanatory, unless one brings an intrusion into the text from somewhere else, which he has done.
“the prophets counted on familiarity with Baal to make their case that it was Yahweh, not Baal, who was the heavenly king. We know this was the case, since certain Old Testament books actually quote from the Ugaritic religious texts, most notably the one that modern scholars have called the Baal Cycle. Whereas the Baal Cycle would give Baal credit for things like sending rain and making the crops grow, the prophets would credit those things to Yahweh.” (1 Kings 17-18). What's Ugaritic Got to Do with Anything? ( Dr. Michael S. Heiser, Academic Editor, Logos Bible Software)
This is absurd to say the Old Testament quotes from the Ugarit. The prophets (including Moses) corrected those who spoke of other gods (like Baal) as do many prophetic books after Moses. If Heiser said there are some similar words it would be more believable, acceptable, but to say Old Testament books quote the Ugarit is just flat out wrong!
“ In time an elaborate system of beliefs in such natural forces was developed into mythology. Each civilization and culture had its own mythological structure, but these structures were often quite similar. The names of the gods may have been different, but their functions and actions were often the same ” (from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary). And this is what we see Heiser describing above.
1 Kings 18:17-18 Ahab said to him, "Is that you, O troubler of Israel?" And he answered, "I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father's house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and you have followed the Baals.”
Archeologist W.F. Albright wrote something significant, “the Canaanite scribes always show that they are translating their ideas from Hebrew into Accadian, the Hittite and Hurrian scribes reflect Hittite and Hurrian linguistic practice.’
Do you believe the pagans, the enemies of all that is holy and good influenced the writers of Scripture which are from God?
“…the formation of Deuteronomy is broadly conceived as including an original core, the codification of religious reforms in Deut 12-26. This core is framed by an introductory exhortation (Deut 5-11) and the addition of the curses and blessings of Deut 27-28 during the exile to explain that horrible event. Chapters 1-4 and 29-34 are thought to have been added during the exilic or post-exilic periods, but Deut 32-33 are considered independent pre-exilic poems re-purposed by the exilic or post-exilic editor. ( Heiser, Does Divine Plurality in the Hebrew Bible Demonstrate an Evolution From Polytheism to Monotheism in Israelite Religion?)
What he is saying is that Deuteronomy was not written fully at the time of moses, portions were added in haphazardly. The curses and blessings were incorporated in the mosaic system as part of the covenant of obedience to the law. In fact Deut.28 is a continuation of the renewing of the covenant. In Deut. 27:11-13 (giving the time period) And Moses commanded the people on the same day, saying, "These shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people, when you have crossed over the Jordan: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin; and these shall stand on Mount Ebal to curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.” The blessing and curse are listed after.
Consider this next statement of Heiser carefully, “ Biblical scholarship has reached a consensus with respect to the presence of a divine assembly of gods in Israel’s faith . Prior to the sixth century B.C.E., Israelite religion underwent an evolution from an initial polytheism to a firm monolatry,where the other gods of the divine council were tolerated but not worshipped.” The religious crisis of Israel’s early sixth century B.C.E. exile prompted the scribes to obscure the council in the canonical texts and compose new material declaring that Yahweh had punished Israel for her sins, … This historical turnabout and its literary response marked the birth of true monotheism in Israel, where no other gods existed except Yahweh.”
Heiser says he disagrees with an evolution from polytheism to monotheism, however he affirms the scribes hiding the divine council of Gods that is polytheism. He shows no proof of this except to quote other authors or pagan resources, as if they are the truth.
“The language of divine plurality in the Hebrew Bible and at Qumran is transparent, but does not justify the conclusion that either the biblical writers or Second Temple Jewish thinkers would have thought YHWH one among equals. Rather than propose that Judaism only became monotheistic at a much later time, divine plurality language in Jewish text corpuses like Qumran ought to prompt reconsideration of whether divine plurality language constitutes a coherent argument for the presumed evolution.” (P.87 Monotheism and Divine Plurality
Heiser constantly refers to the Second Temple period Jewish texts “ There are explicit references to gods and a divine council in Second Temple period Jewish literature. In the Qumran sectarian material alone, there are approximately 185 occurrences.”
Heiser opts for the Qumran texts ignoring that this does not mean all was endorsed as true, they were collectors of religious texts. You should know he is well aware of the conflicts as he writes in his booklet on reincarnation. “Other Second Temple Jewish texts, especially from Qumran, have Enoch and Melchizedek returning at the day of the Lord. Enoch returns—with Elijah—in several Pseudepigrapha (Apoc. El. [H] 4:7; 5:32; Apoc. Pet. [Eth] 2.) (.p.10 on Reincarnation)
The second temple period
Solomon constructed the First Temple of the Jews around 1000 B.C., it was destroyed 400 years later by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, as he took Israel into captivity. Between around 515 BCE, the Second Temple was rebuilt on the Temple Mount in the city of Jerusalem. (Isaiah 44:28; II Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra1:1-4). the Second Temple had two distinct phases. The first phase is called Zerubbabel's Temple. The second phase was called Herod's Temple.
Herod the Great, ruler of Judaea began Construction began in 20 BCE and continued for 46 years, until it was completed, known as Herod’s Temple. It stayed until 70 AD when it was destroyed by Titus and the Roman armies.
In this Temple Zacharias received his vision from the angel (Luke 1:8-23) who told him that he would have a son who was to be John the Baptizer and herald the Messiah. This second temple had no Ark of the Covenant, no visible glory, however it was during this time period a visible manifestation of Gods glory was at the temple embodied in the God-Man Jesus Christ who came and taught at the temple. He began his ministry going to the Temple and cleansing it and confronted the Pharisees that were leading the people astray from Gods commands.
Heiser’s view: “ There are hundreds of references to other gods in a divine council in exilic and post-exilic canonical texts and the non-canonical writings of Judaism’s Second Temple period. The context for these references disallows the conclusion that the writers are speaking of idols or of the beliefs of pagans. Rather, they reflect the worldview of late Israelite religion and Second Temple Judaism. This worldview included the belief in a deified vice-regent who ruled the gods at the behest of the high God . So transparent was this divine vice regency that Second Temple Jewish authors wrote of a deified second power in heaven. The rhetoric of Deuteronomy and Deutero-Isaiah that there are no other gods besides Yahweh fails as proof of the consensus view , since the same language is used in monolatrous preexilic texts and fails to account for t he plethora of references to other gods in late Jewish writings. This dissertation calls the consensus view of the development of monotheism in Israel into question by demonstrating that belief in a divine council survived the exile . As a result, this dissertation posits that the survival of Israel’s pre-exilic divine council has greater.” (ABSTRACT THE DIVINE COUNCIL IN LATE CANONICAL ANDNON-CANONICAL SECOND TEMPLE JEWISH LITERATURE Michael S. Heiser Under the supervision of Professor Michael V. Fox at the University of Wisconsin-Madison)
That is centuries of believing in other gods just like the pagans did around them! When the 5 books of Moses and others were already written and to be followed. This history Heiser presents is completely bogus on so many levels. We do not go by consensus but what the Bible says.
Let’s first understand the consensus view Heiser mentions. Conservative Bible scholars agree that Isaiah in the 8th century was the sole author of his book. However, liberal scholars question the supernatural inspiration of the Bible (God revealed) to explain the fulfilled prophecies in books like Isaiah by dating them to after the events occurred!
Claiming, Isaiah himself wrote the first 39 chapters, and then one of his students to wrote chapters 40–66 sometime after the Babylonian captivity started (after 586 BC). This later date would explain the mentioning of “Cyrus, King of Persia” (Isa.44:28-45:1) without requiring predictive prophecy. They ignore the consistent use of the same words throughout, the authors continual focus with Israel. Furthermore, Jewish tradition ascribes the entire book to Isaiah as the author.
Hundreds of years before Moses there is Abraham who believed in the one God. God took Abraham OUT from paganism and made a nation for Himself. Joshua reminded the people they came from worshipping idols, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'Your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times; and they served other gods” (Joshua 24:2).
So to propose that Israel did not worship or serve these gods but did acknowledge there are other gods is bogus. Israel knew well of the nation’s worshipping what is not God, after all Abraham came from them.
Through Moses and Joshua God said: Deut. 28:1-2: “if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, thatthe LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.”
We have first revelations given to Moses directly from God that are written between late 1400’s to 1450 BC., and they go completely against the paganism and polytheism Israel was surrounded by from the other nations. Whether Israel obeyed or disobeyed is inconsequential to what God spoke for them to do, or to obey. No, they did NOT believe in a divine council!
Heiser stretches the facts in Scripture far and wide.”Jereboam’s religion in the northern kingdom borrowed from Baal worship, and it soon began to look like there was no difference, or if there was a difference, they were so close that worshipping one or the other was just theological hair-splitting . This is what prophets like Elijah had to contend with. The people had no Bible. They had only the prophets and their words. When a prophet wasn’t around to set the record straight, it was easy to just do what the neighbors were doing—especially if your king didn’t care, or actually preferred it that way.” ( Dr. Michael S. Heiser , Academic Editor, Logos Bible Software)
The people did have a Bible, what is this man talking about? The had at least the first five books of Moses and more. He is proving that he does not believe what is written.
Jeroboam was a servant under King Solomon. The prophet Ahijah was given a prophecy to Jeroboam. The prophet tore a new cloak into 12 pieces and said, “ Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes ’” (1 Kings 11:31). The idol worship of the Israelites caused God to divide the kingdom (verse 33).
Jereboam was the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel, which included ten of the 12 tribes. He reigned for over 20 years, from 930–909 BC. Rehoboam Solomon’s son was king of Judah reigned from Jerusalem with 2 tribes.
To Jereboam, “If you do whatever I command you and walk in obedience to me and do what is right in my eyes by obeying my decrees and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you.” (1 Kings 11:38)
Jeroboam’s rule began with a promise from God. But instead of obeying God, Jeroboam led Israel to rebel against God. He had two golden calves made for the people to worship in the northern kingdom with priests and celebrations to accompany them.
“Jeroboam feared that if the people of his kingdom would continue to worship God in the Temple in Jerusalem, they would return to their old allegiance with the kings of Judah. He therefore created two new centers of worship and declared that the people of his kingdom should not go to Jerusalem to worship God (I Kings 12:26-29). https://theisraelbible.com/jeroboams-kingdom/
Jeroboam is remembered throughout the books of Kings as the one who made Israel sin (2 Kings 17:22). Near the end of his rule, God spoke through Ahijah again, delivering one of the strongest rebukes in the Bible: “You have done more evil than all who lived before you.” (1 Kings 14:9)
After Jereboam died Nadab his son reigned in his place for two years, continuing in his father’s idolatry. Baasha was a military commander who served King Nadab, the son of the former King Jeroboam. He continued the ongoing conflict with Judah and he encouraged the continuation of the Golden Calf Cult started by King Jeroboam.
A little over a century after Jeroboam’s death, another king named Jeroboam II came to power in 793 BC. He also did evil in the eyes of the Lord (2 Kings 14:24).
When Heiser says they were close in worship with Baal, it was because they were in rebellion,
they followed a bad ruler who promoted polytheism. As it is today when people follow bad teachers who promote other gods.
2 Kings 17:33 “ They feared the LORD, yet served their own gods--according to the rituals of the nations from among whom they were carried away.” They were confused, and unsettled in their faith because they were being misled.