Paul and Jesus Disclaim a Divine Council

In him we were also chosen,  having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will (Eph. 1.11 NIV)

In this verse, Paul affirms God’s working in all things, solely by His own will. This, of course, does not mean He cannot teach and interact with angelic beings. It seems appropriate that The Divine would have relational interactions with other beings not human as He has with the children of Adam. However, here in Ephesians, Paul informs us that God’s purpose is entirely His own.

Jesus Interprets Psalm 82

It seems that some biblical scholars ignore Jesus’ teaching of the meaning of statements found in Psalm 82. Here is Psalm 82 in full:

A psalm of Asaph. God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the “gods”: “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. “The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’ But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.” Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.

In John 10.34-35, Jesus gives the meaning regarding the reference to “gods” from Psalm 82:

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods” ’  ? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— (NIV)

Therefore, what Psalm 82 speaks about is humans who are connected with God by a relationship. The Old Covenant (The Mosaic Law), established a relationship where God would forgive their sins through sacrifice. The heads of the Old Covenant were the Aaronic Priests and Levites who taught and ruled the Israelites in spiritual matters. These are the “gods to whom the word of God came.”

Commentary on Psalm 82

Though some want to render verse one where the Hebrew “the congregation of El” means “divine council,” this translation is impossible from the context. The verses that follow all refer to human judges and rulers. Therefore the text is about how they will be judged according to the way they ruled God’s people. The judges are not counseling God on how to rule but will be on the receiving end of judgment themselves based on their actions.

The words of Jesus and Paul show there is no such thing as a divine council. It is not needed. Instead, God will hold accountable those who are set over His people during this earthly life.

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