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

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