Prophets as Representatives of the Divine Council

LDS scholar, Michael T. Griffith shares with us how Prophets are representatives of the Divine Council as he quotes non-LDS scholars:
An important doctrine of the ancient Hebrew was that prophets spoke to mankind on behalf of the divine council. E. Theodore Mullen explains:
"As G.E. Wright has asserted, when the prophet proclaimed Yahweh’s indictment of Israel, as in Isaiah 1:2 or Micah 6:2, the background must be seen as that of the divine council. In like manner, F.M. Cross has noted that the address of the divine assembly is marked by plural imperative, as well as by the usage of the first person plural form of address (cf. Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Judges 5:3, 23; Isaiah 35:3-4; 40:1-8, 48:20-21; 51:7-10; 57:14; 62:10-12; Zechariah 3:4)….
That the divine council formed the background for prophecy was first shown beyond dispute by H.W. Robinson. This position was even further established by F.M. Cross in his analysis of Isaiah 40:1-8….
This is the true prophet’s claim to authority. From the pronouncement of the council he receives the decree that he is to deliver. Those prophets who have not participated in the council are unable to proclaim the divine decree." (215-219)
Joseph Fielding McConkie, a professor ancient scripture at Brigham Young university, has said the following about prophets and the divine council in light of Jeremiah 23:18-22 and Amos 3:7:
"The root from which councel or secret comes [Jeremiah 23:18, 21-22] is the Hebrew sod (also rendered sodh, or sode), which should have been translated “council,” which is the way it reads, for instance, in the New English and Jerusalem Bibles. Hebrew dictionaries indicate to us that what we are dealing with is a circle of people assembled in a sacred or secret council. After pursuing the etymology of sod, Raymond Brown concludes that its basic meaning is “council or assembly.” He further concludes that in our Jeremiah text we are dealing with a heavenly assembly.
What Jeremiah is telling us, then, is that all true prophets will profess to have stood in a heavenly council or assembly, where they received their message and the commission to declare it. Any not so professing are, according to Jeremiah’s standard, to be rejected as false prophets…..
A natural companion to the above-quoted Jeremiah passage is one of our most often quoted [LDS] missionary scriptures, Amos 3:7: “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” The word secret in this text is the same as that found in the marginal reading in Jeremiah. As in Jeremiah, its root is sod, and again the context is that of heavenly councils. What Amos is telling us is that the Lord doesn’t act independently of the heavenly council where all prophets are instructed and ordained." (1986: 185-186)
Thomas Overholt, a professor of religious studies at the University of Wisconsin, agrees that the subject of Jeremiah 23:18-22 is the condemnation of false prophets for not having stood in the divine council, i.e., for not having received their guidance from the heavenly assembly:
"…this text proposes a norm for the reception of authentic messages, which seems to presuppose some type of visionary experience, namely, standing “in the council of Yahweh” (vv. 18,22)….Since the prophets were not commissioned by Yahweh (v. 21), we may infer that they had not stood in his council and were guilty of uttering a message that contradicted what was spoken there." (629-630)
(Michael T. Griffith; One Lord, One Faith: Writings of the Early Christian Fathers As Evidences of the Restoration; pgs 103-104)
Joseph Smith, as a true prophet of God, taught about the Divine Council of God at a time when no one else understood this Bible theme. He professed to be a prophet of God and carried out his commission to restore the Lord's gospel in this dispensation of time. He passed the test that Jeremiah set forth to be a prophet and a true representative of God.

Council of the Gods - Kerry Shirts

LDS scholar, Kerry Shirts goes through on 48 videos to show how the Council of the Gods is throughout the Bible. Some of these videos are in other posts on this blog. This is the collection all together and on Autoplay so all can be watched without missing any videos.

Go to second video and make sure Autoplay is on for the remaining videos:
Pt 2 Adam & the Council of the Gods

Yahweh is Israel's God Alone - "Mono-Yahwism"

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (Deuteronomy 6: 4-9)

"The Shema literally translated reads "Hear O Israel: Yahweh is our God, Yahweh alone." He concludes his thoughts on this saying "Israel was required to worship only one God...Israelite religion did not systematically deny the existence of other gods or divine powers" (Frank Moore Cross, "The Development of Israelite Religion," in Bible Review, (Oct. 1992): 27).

Examining Six Key Concepts in Joseph Smith’s Understanding of Genesis 1:1

Kevin L. Barney also mentions the topic of the Council of Gods in this FARMS article, "Examining Six Key Concepts in Joseph Smith’s Understanding of Genesis 1:1." (Free PDF Download) A review of this article tells us:

Revelation often results after wrestling with ideas, and Joseph’s struggle with the Hebrew of Genesis 1:1 seems to have yielded six concepts, which he expressed either in the King Follett Discourse or in a parallel discourse he gave on June 16, 1844.

When propounded in 1844, each of these six ideas was no doubt considered unusual or unorthodox by those of other religious traditions (as well as by certain Latter-day Saints and former Latter-day Saints), and some people would certainly consider these doctrines no less theologically heterodox today. Yet the first five concepts are widely acknowledged by current biblical scholars to be accurate expressions of religious belief among the Hebrews during the time of the patriarchs. The sixth concept, while still representing a minority view, has also received strong scholarly support in recent decades. This article reviews the writings of a wide array of Old Testament commentators with reference to each of these six points.
Barney lists the six concepts as:
1. The creation was effected, not “out of nothing” but from preexisting matter.
2. In the very beginning, there was a plurality of Gods.
3. Among this plurality, there was a head God (or there were head Gods).
4. These Gods met in a grand council.
5. These Gods in council appointed one God over us.
6. The idea of a plurality of Gods, which is most easily seen “at the beginning,” is found throughout the Bible.

Hebrew Council of the Gods, Monotheism & Creation Ex Nihilo

LDS scholar, Kerry Shirts goes over in detail about the Hebrew Council of the Gods in this 12 Part video series.

Pt 2 Hebrew Council of the Gods (This link will automatically play the remaining 10 videos - just be sure the Autoplay at the top right is "On" for the next video to play.)

Works sited:

Of God and Gods by Blake Ostler (LDS)

"Strict Monotheism" and the Council of God

Volume 3
In a detailed summary of his book, "Of God and Gods," LDS scholar, Blake Ostler tells us, "Although it has been held that Christianity grew up in an environment of intense monotheistic commitment, that assumption recently has been called in to question. The earliest Christians did not adopt a "strict monotheism" in the period of Second Temple Judaism. Instead, the evidence strongly suggests that it was a common belief in Second Temple Judaism that there is a Most High God who had a chief agent or primary vizier who represented God and who ruled over other divine beings, heavenly armies, and heavenly messengers."
Ostler outlines the premise of each chapter in his book and explains how, “A generation ago, when I was a graduate student, biblical scholars were nearly unanimous in thinking that monotheism had been predominant in ancient Israelite religion from the beginning ”not just as an “ideal,” but as the reality. Today all that has changed. Virtually all mainstream scholars (and even a few conservatives) acknowledge that true monotheism emerged only in the period of the exile in Babylon in the 6th century B.C.E., as the canon of the Hebrew Bible was taking shape. . . .”

Psalms 82, Can Elohim Refer to Judges?

LDS scholar David Bokovoys gives a podcast, Psalms 82, Can Elohim Refer to Judges?

David Bokovoy holds a BA in History and Near Eastern studies from Brigham Young University and an MA in Ancient Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University where he is currently a doctoral candidate in Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East.
David is an LDS Institute instructor at the Boston Institute of Religion and a CES Field writer for Institute curriculum. He is a five-time recipient of the Hugh Nibley Fellowship from the Neil A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Studies.
David has published articles in a variety of journals and books including BYU Studies, the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, FARMS Insights, and the FARMS Review. He is the co-author of the book, Testaments: Links Between the Book of Mormon and the Hebrew Bible

True Prophets Commissioned by the Council of the Gods

There is a stunning admission about true Prophets of God in Michael Heiser's paper, Deuteronomy 32:8 and the Sons of God especially in light of the teachings of the Mormon Prophet, Joseph Smith about the Divine Council. (See: Joseph Smith and the Divine Council of the Gods.)
Joseph Smith was the only one in his day, the mid 1800's to teach about the Divine Council of the Gods. Mainstream Christians at that time and even now do not have this unique doctrine as part of their beliefs and consider Joseph's teachings blasphemous. Yet most present day biblical scholars (some conservatives) are now teaching and writing about the Council of God or the Divine Council as found in the Hebrew Bible. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Nag Hammadi Codexs and other ancient writings have given scholars more information into exactly what the Hebrew Bible really says.

Heiser, an Evangelical, has this to say about the commission of Prophets and the link to the Council of God at the bottom of page 14 and top of page 15 of his paper (link listed above). In referring to Jeremiah 23:18, 22, he quotes:

"But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?" (Jeremiah 23: 18)

"But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds." (Jeremiah 23: 22)

Heiser explains, "Reminiscent of this scene is Isaiah’s vision of Yahweh in Isaiah, where Isaiah, upon seeing Yahweh enthroned and ministered to by seraphim, hears Yahweh speak: “Who shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6: 8)....visions or auditory revelations of Yahweh and His divine council were viewed in the Hebrew Bible as an authentication of the veracity of the prophet’s message and status – a sort of test of true “propheticity.”73

Heiser's footnote #73 tells that: "The foundational study for demonstrating that the divine council forms the background for the commissioning of the prophet was that of H. Wheeler Robinson, 'The Council of Yahweh,'” Journal of Theological Studies 45 (1944): 151–57.

Heiser also list three other important works in his notes on the commission of a prophet through the Council of God. They are:

Christopher Seitz, “The Divine Council: Temporal Transition and New Prophecy in the Book of Isaiah,” Journal of Biblical Literature 109:2 (1990): 229–47.

Frank M. Cross, “The Council of Yahweh in Second Isaiah,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 12 (1953): 274-277.

E. Theodore Mullen, The Divine Council in Canaanite and Early Hebrew Literature, Harvard Semitic Monographs, no. 24 (Missoula, Montana: Scholars Press, 1980), 215ff. This work is a very hard scholarly text to find. Copies can sometimes be located in used bookstores, but they are often quite expensive. The link above is an electronic copy to download....caution, it is a very large file.

LDS scholar, David Bokovoy tells us, 
Few topics prove more intriguing to Latter-day Saints than the biblical view of the divine council. Toward the end of his ministry, the Prophet Joseph Smith devoted considerable attention to this controversial subject. For Joseph, the issue of the council of Gods was no mere piece of theological trivia. In a discussion concerning his views regarding the council, the Prophet once taught that when Latter-day Saints "begin to learn this way, we begin to learn the only true God, and what kind of a being we have got to worship." Since the nineteenth century, Joseph Smith's views regarding a divine council of celestial deities have provided the focus of considerable criticism for many Bible-believing Christians. Yet biblical scholars, however unwittingly, have in recent years followed the Prophet's lead in devoting substantial consideration to the role of the divine council in the Hebrew Bible.
Recent textual and archaeological discoveries have convinced scholars of the fundamental position held by the heavenly council of deities within Israelite theology. "The council of God in the Hebrew Bible is no novelty," writes biblical scholar Martti Nissinen. "The occurrences are well known." As prominent Near Eastern archaeologist William Dever has explained, this view has affected the scholarly perception concerning the development of Israelite monotheism:
A generation ago, when I was a graduate student, biblical scholars were nearly unanimous in thinking that monotheism had been predominant in ancient Israelite religion from the beginning—not just as an "ideal," but as the reality. Today all that has changed. Virtually all mainstream scholars (and even a few conservatives) acknowledge that true monotheism emerged only in the period of the exile in Babylon in the 6th century B.C.E., as the canon of the Hebrew Bible was taking shape. . . .
I have suggested, along with most scholars, that the emergence of monotheism—of exclusive Yahwism—was largely a response to the tragic experience of the exile.
To date, the most exhaustive study of the biblical view of the divine council by a Latter-day Saint is Daniel C. Peterson's "'Ye Are Gods': Psalm 82 and John 10 as Witnesses to the Divine Nature of Humankind." Peterson provides an impressive analysis of LDS theology and Jesus's use of Psalm 82 in the Gospel of John. For Peterson, the Latter-day Saint doctrine regarding the divine nature of humanity provides a strong interpretive crux for understanding Jesus's use of the council text: "God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment" (Psalm 82:1 New Revised Standard Version, NRSV). (See "Ye Really Are Gods": A Response to Michael Heiser concerning the LDS Use of Psalm 82 and the Gospel of John by David Bokovoy.)
Knowing how a prophet is commissioned in the 'Council of Gods' gives more weight and understanding to the scripture in the Old Testament which specifically states, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." (Amos 3: 7)

LDS scholar, John Welsh inform us:
Jeremiah 23:18 asks rhetorically about those who are true prophets: "For who hath stood in Yahweh's council [sod], and seen and heard his word? Who has carefully marked [obeyed] his word?" This passage not only stresses the importance for a prophet to stand in the council of God, but also to both "see and hear" what goes on there, and then to carry out his assignment meticulously by delivering the precise words of the council's decree. To so report and do, it has been concluded, was certification in that day that the prophet was a true messenger of God.
Welch also tells how, "many ancient Near Eastern accounts show the messenger delivering the identical words he received from the council, it has been concluded that it was apparently important to these people that "the message [be] delivered in precisely the same words that had been given to the divine couriers," and that this gave divine authority and legitimacy to the decrees the prophet or messenger delivered. That council, its decrees, its intimate confidences, and the heavenly principles upon which this council was based, were known in Hebrew as the sod (Greek mysterion), and knowing the sod conferred great power and wisdom."
Joseph Smith explained how this authority was conferred: "All the prophets had the Melchizedek Priesthood and were ordained by God himself," TPJS, p. 181.
(See 'The Calling of a Prophet' by John W. Welch)

In Yahweh, as "Speaker" and Further Considerations on the Council of the Gods by Kerry A. Shirts, we are told how,
E. Theodore Mullen, Jr, has demonstrated how the Prophets are the messengers of Yahweh directly from his heavenly Council. (Mullen, The Divine Council in Canaanite & Hebrew Literature, Scholars Press, reprint, 1986: 215). The messenger of the Council was the haruach, designated also as the mal’al YHWH, the phrase occuring frequently in the Old Testament (Exo. 3:2; 14:19; Num. 22:31; Josh 5:13-15; 2 Sam 24:16-17; Zech 3:1. Notice the Mal’ake ha’elohim of Gen 32:2-3).The verb, "to send," (shalah) in reference to the commissioning of the divine messengers by Yahweh also occur in his dispatching the Prophets (Exo. 3:10, 15; 7:16; Deut. 34:11; Josh 24:5; Micah 6:4; Ps 105:26). Haggai is explicitly called the "Messenger of Yahweh," (Mal’ak YHWH) (Mal1:13; cf. also Malachi 3:1).

"The very designation Nabi "one who is called," (Cf. Akkadian Nabi’um) implies the background of the council, for the prophet was called to proclaim the will of the deity which was issued from the assembly"[of the bene Elohim, the Sons of the Gods]. (Mullen, p. 216). What is interesting is that Nabi and Malak are terms used interchangeably in Haggai, the nabi, being, of course, a prophet.

In these videos, LDS scholar, TheBackyardProfessor, Kerry Shrits goes over David Bokovoy's 2008 article published in the "Journal of Biblical Literature" on the Council of the Gods in Amos chapter 3 and he shows how it is "a nifty piece of detective work!"

Kerry A. Shirts in his article, The 'Adat El, "Council of the Gods" & Bene Elohim, "Sons of God": Ancient Near Eastern Concepts in the Book of Abraham tells us,
"....the Peshitta's rendition of Ezra 2:63 (Nehemiah 7:65) which says a priest who can ask, and who can see [hz']. This term, Van Dam notes, "is used of prophets (seers) in the Old Testament."17 The significance of this for the council in heaven is seen with a few examples from the Bible. Micaiah claims he "saw" Yahweh on his throne, "and (I saw) all the host of heaven standing around him..." (1 Kings 22:19-23). Isaiah "saw" Yahweh sitting on his throne with the heavenly creatures standing around him, (Isa. 6:1-13). And Ezekiel's vision culminated in his "seeing" one "in the likeness as it were of human form, and sitting upon a throne propelled by heavenly beings, living creatures, or Cherubim," (Ezekiel 1:26; 10:15. One of Jeremiah's complaints was the false prophets had never stood in the heavenly council, (Jeremiah 23:18). The idea here is clear. "The prophet standing in the council heard Yahweh speak and relayed the oracle of the fates to the waiting congregation."18 Their "seeing" Yahweh and hearing his counsel could easily have been through the Urim and Thummim as "seers" giving the congregation the counsels of the council of Yahweh.

17. Cornelis Van Dam, Urim and Thummim, 222.
18. The examples are from Edwin C. Kingsbury, "The Prophets and the Council of Yahweh," JBL, 83(1964): quote on p. 285; John Bright, Jeremiah, Anchor Bible, (Doubleday, NY, 1965): 152, "The phrase at Jeremiah 23:18, "who has stood in Yahweh's council," means the "heavenly court." H. W. Saggs, The Encounter with the Divine in Mesopotamia and Israel, University of London, (London, 1978): 145, where he shows the Hebrew term for "seer" and "prophet" could have been one, two, or three types of functionary, along with prophecy, "the word of Yahweh came spontaneously to a prophet was another form...[of communication]"

At the beginning of his article Shirts also had this to say about the Council of God:
"The Book of Abraham (Chapter 3) discusses the council of the Gods, their discussing the creation and birth of the spirits and the differences of the spirits, as well as the promises to the faithful spirits to the commands of God. These themes are not fully developed nor coherent in the Bible or any literature in Joseph Smith's day. "Since Cumorah" we have a rather remarkable picture of this process of gathering and interpreting the council of the gods, yet nowhere has it been found so fully described and logically presented than in the Book of Abraham in the 1830's fully a century before much was found, interpreted and analyzed. Much new archaeological information of the ancient Canaanites and Ugarit, as well as Phoenician inscriptions, have shed new light on the council of the gods."
Also See:
Divine Council motif in the Hebrew Bible (An essay by Alan Hooker a non-LDS student of Theology at Exeter University in the UK - Section 5, The Divine Council Motif in Prophecy.)
Ascension, Testaments, of Prophets, Apocalyptic Instructions, and Prophetic Warnings

Adam and the Council of God - tzelem - eikon

Ye Are Gods: Psalm 82 and John 10 as Witnesses to the Divine Nature of Humankind
By Daniel C. Peterson

You've Seen One Elohim, You've Seen Them All? A Critique of Mormonism's Use of Psalm 82 By Michael S. Heiser (Evangelical)

"Ye Really Are Gods": A Response to Michael Heiser concerning the LDS Use of Psalm 82 and the Gospel of John By David Bokovoy (LDS)

Israel's Divine Council, Mormonism, and Evangelicalism: Clarifying the Issues and Directions for Future Study By Michael S. Heiser

(numbered wrong)

El Shadday - God Almighty - The Mother Goddess in the Divine Council of the Gods

Harmonizing the Bible - "Strict Monotheism" or Mono-Yahwism

Evangelical, Michael Heiser in his paper, Introduction to the Divine Council tells us "the council of the Gods"
"is one of the most neglected, misunderstood, side-stepped—and critical—doctrinal areas in the Old Testament. In fact, it is the backdrop for most of New Testament theology.
"I don’t make that last assertion lightly. I’m not saying that without an understanding of this issue you can’t comprehend the Bible. I’m saying that without it you can’t comprehend it precisely or fully, or even well. You will inevitably miss out on the context for much of what goes on in the New Testament, a context understood and utilized by the apostles at every turn. Remember back....I talked about how the church has been missing the ancient context for its theology for millennia? How we’ve lost the ancient Israelite and first century lenses for understanding what’s going on in the Bible?
"...Read prayerfully and closely, because you’ll never look at your Bible the same way again once you meet God’s original heavenly family—the sons of God."

Heiser gives a masterful dissertation showing how the Hebrew Bible gives a more insightful understanding of the council of the Gods than do the English translations. Yet this doctrine still comes through. You will need to read the full paper to get a true understanding as he builds, gives examples and argues how the scriptures are clear. For example, Heiser explains:
The first list below contains passages where the word elohim or ha-elohim is in the Hebrew text where you read “gods.” The second list has verses where the Hebrew word is elim.
The plural elohim / ha-elohim
Psalm 86:8 - Among the gods there is none like you, O Yahweh; neither [are there any works] like your works.
Psalm 95:3 - For Yahweh is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
Psalm 96:4 - For Yahweh is great, and deserving of exceedingly great praise: he is to be feared above all gods.
Psalm 97:7 - All who served images were put to shame; those who boasted in mere idols; even all the gods bow down before him [Yahweh, see v. 5 preceding]
Psalm 97:9 - For you, O Yahweh, are Most High above all the earth: you are exalted far above all gods.
Psalm 135:5 - For I know that Yahweh is great, and that our lord is above all gods.
Psalm 136:2 - O give thanks to the God of gods: for his mercy endures for ever.
Psalm 138:1 - I will praise you with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise to you.
The plural elim
Exodus 15:11 – Who is like you, O Yahweh, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in splendor, doing wonders?9
Psalm 58:1 - Do you indeed decree what is right, O gods? Do you judge people fairly?
The Hebrew writers referred to the God of Israel as “THE God” (par excellence) or “Most High” (greater and more exalted than all others) and these verses imply more than one god. And this is the reason why so many evangelical scholars and pastors want the “sons of God” to be human beings in certain passages. They think having heavenly sons of God in certain passages puts polytheism in the Bible. Heiser explains the difference between polytheism and monothesism. This is only a brief look at his arguement:
Those who want to argue that these references to other gods cannot be taken as reflecting what Israelites really believed don’t realize how that objection does injustice to both the biblical text and the God of Israel. What I mean here is that, if the above verses are not conveying factual information relative to biblical theology, then God’s superiority is a mockery. For example, if Moses is comparing Yahweh to beings that don’t exist, how is Yahweh glorified. To have Moses “really” saying “Who is like you, O Yahweh, among the beings that aren’t real” is to judge God’s greatness by nothing. We’re greater than something that doesn’t exist! So is a microbe. This view unintentionally brings God down quite a few notches, to say nothing of the deception involved on Moses’ part—and even God’s since he inspired the words. Saying “among the beings that we all know don’t exist there is none like Yahweh” is tantamount to comparing Yahweh with Mickey Mouse, Spiderman, or some fictional literary figure. This reduces praise to a snicker. It also makes the writer somewhat mentally unbalanced. He sings Yahweh’s praise before beings he really believes aren’t there? He commands the same imaginary beings to worship Yahweh (Psa. 29:1)? Worse yet, Yahweh presides over a council of beings that don’t exist? Why would the Holy Spirit inspire such nonsense?

More substantive is the fact that those who don’t want to take the text for what it says in such verses fear that they might be affirming polytheism as part of the belief system of the biblical writers. This is a concern only in that we use the word “monotheism” in a particular way that means “the belief that no other gods exist,” as opposed to “the belief that there is one unique God.”11 Polytheistic religions typically have a group of gods who fight and scheme against one another for power, and sometimes leadership of the lead god in charge can (and does) change in such religions. These systems also universally assume that the gods can be identified with parts of the creation, and that at least subset of the pantheon is basically equal in power and ability (or they have powers and abilities that offset the powers and abilities of the other “top tier” gods). Other terms relevant to this question are also flawed, such as henotheism (the belief in one superior god among other gods) and monolatry (the belief that you should worship only one god though others exist). These terms are deficient in that they do not sufficiently describe what the biblical writers believed. Henotheistic systems can have the lead god toppled and replaced by another god who then becomes “superior” (one wonders on what grounds, since just prior to that the god was inferior). Monolatry fails to articulate why one God is superior and what criteria make him superior—it comments only on worship.

LDS Critics who say that the LDS cannot be Christians because we believe in polytheism, the belief of many Gods. These are the Bible verses they use to show that there is only one God, "strict monotheism." With a true understanding of the divine council of the Gods these verses reveal only that as far as Israel is concerned Yahweh is their ONLY God, the only one they are to worship, there is no other who compares:

Deuteronomy 4:39 ...the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.
Deuteronomy 4:35 ...that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.
Deuteronomy 6:4 — Hear, O Israel: The LORD thy God is one LORD. (Hebrew Shema-Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
Deuteronomy32:39 — See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
2 Samuel 7:22 — Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God; for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.
2 Samuel 22:32 For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?
1 Kings 8:60 — That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.
2 Kings 19:15 — And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth.
2 KINGS 5:15 — And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel; now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.
1 Chronicles 17:20 — O LORD, there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.
Nehemiah 9:6 — Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou has made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.
Psalm 18:31 — For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?
Psalm 86:10 — For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.
Isaiah 37:16 — O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou has made heaven and earth.
Isaiah 37:20 Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only.
Isaiah 43:10-11 — Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior.
Isaiah 44:6 ... I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
Isaiah 44:8 ... Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
Isaiah 45:5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: ...
Isaiah 45:21 — Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time: who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me.
Isaiah 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
Isaiah 46:9 — For I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me.
Hosea 13:4 — Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me; for there is no savior beside me.
Joel 2:27 — And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.
Zechariah 14:9 — And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.


Mark 12:28-34 — And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.
John 17:3 — And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Romans 3:30 — Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
1 Corinthians 8:1-6 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him. As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
Galatians 3:20 — Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
Ephesians 4:6 — One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
1 Timothy 1:17 — Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 2:5 — For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
James 2:19 — Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

The Family of the Gods

Council of & Kin With the Gods

"For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." (1 Corinthian 8: 5-6)
"If, for instance, any one asks, 'What was God doing before He made the world?' we reply that the answer to such a question lies with God Himself. For that this world was formed perfect by God, receiving a beginning in time, the Scriptures teach us; but no Scripture reveals to us what God was employed about before this event . . . . The Father, therefore, has been declared by our Lord to excel with respect to knowledge; for this reason, that we, too, as long as we are connected with the scheme of things in this world, should leave perfect knowledge, and such questions [as have been mentioned], to God, and should not by any chance, while we seek to investigate the sublime nature of the Father, fall into the danger of starting the question whether there is another God above God."
(Irenaeus, Against Heresies 4:38:1-4, in ANF 1:521-522.)