Divine Council

Divine Council

Written by: Larry Elliott

There are a few places in scripture that seem to reference a sort of council around God’s throne. How are we to understand these references? What is the nature of the “heavenly hierarchy” in God’s presence and what is their role in the affairs of men?

Various words & phrases describe this truth - assembly of the holy ones, council of the holy ones, divine council, also translated great assembly (NIV), heavens court (NLT), His own congregation (NASB), the watchers, etc.

Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
    your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?
    Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord,
a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones,
    and awesome above all who are around him?  Psalm 89:5-7

God has taken his place in the divine council;
    in the midst of the gods he holds judgment Psalm 82:1

Other passages of Scripture describe scenes that could be interpreted as a meeting of the divine council. In Job 1:6, a conclave is held in heaven: “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord.” In 1 Kings 22:19, the prophet Micaiah relates a vision: “I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left.” Micaiah goes on to describe how the spiritual beings there suggested various means of accomplishing God’s will, and God chose one spirit to carry out the task. In Daniel 4:17, the angels present a decision made by the divine council: “This decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men” (NKJV). The divine council was in God’s presence and was given the task of deciding Nebuchadnezzar’s judgment and communicating the verdict to Daniel in a dream. "Divine Council" Got Questions Ministries, accessed February 23, 2021, [https://www.gotquestions.org/]

The N.T. frequently references “rulers and authorities” in heavenly places, it speaks of Satan’s prowling around like a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour (1 Pet 5:8), weapons of warfare being divinely powerful against the schemes of the devil (2 Cor 10:4,5 & Eph 6:10ff.) We are regularly confronted with this dichotomy of the physical realm being at odds with the spiritual realm and even conflict within the spiritual realm. It is clear that there are spiritual forces at work in our world, both good and evil. Consider:
  • The church is being watched by “rulers and authorities” in heavenly places (Eph. 3:10)
  • We wrestle with rulers and authorities and cosmic powers (Eph. 6:12)
  • All these “dominions” were created by God (Col. 1:16)
  • Christ put evil rulers and authorities to “open shame” at his resurrection (Col. 2:15)

It is equally clear that God has invited some of his created beings into the managing and disposition of his eternal plan on earth. The spiritual realm is real, and God has so worked as to use this realm to further his divine plan. Angelic beings carry out God’s bidding but apparently also have some input into how God’s purposes are accomplished. Again, we see a God who is desirous of fellowship and relationship with all that he has created.

For further info https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/divine-council/

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