There are 10 thoughts on “The Divine Council in the Hebrew Bible and the Book of Mormon”.

  1. I just read again this excellent review of the information we have on the Sod. Let me add my belated congratulations on work excellently well done. As this article so well demonstrates, this is a topic that deserves much attention. The Restoration Joseph Smith mediated restored two things that had been lost to us: priesthood authority (which entails living prophets, new scripture, and ordinances authoritatively performed, something we hadn’t had since the meridian of time) and the Sod, the understanding that God exists as Father, Mother, Son, and the Host of Heaven, who sit in a Council of Gods that we are all invited to join (truths lost in the time of Lehi due to the Deuteronomist reform that Lehi rejected, truths revealed anew among other places in the King Follet discourse and the temple ordinances). It is becoming apparent that one of the purposes of the Book of Mormon is to help us recover that Sod truth suppressed by leaders in Israel who rejected the warnings of Lehi and who killed Zenos and Zenoch, two other prophets acquainted with the Sod and its members.

  2. Hey quick question. When it comes to transliterated hebrew what’s the current standard or authority? I have Strong’s but it seems like no scholar uses the same transliterated hebrew. Any help would be awesome!

  3. Why do the apparent divine-council episodes in the Book of Mormon mention only God and angels, or just angels, rather than saying plainly that multiple gods were involved?

    • I offer as my opinion:

      The Book of Mormon was sent forth to save and not to unnecessarily offend and thus harden hearts into reflexive defensiveness and consequent disbelief and rejection. Jesus did not have as his intent in publishing the Book of Mormon to condemn the world by offending their inherited traditions, such as monotheism. Therefore it is not mentioned that the angels, the messengers from the Throne, are the Gods, even the sons of God, comprising the Divine Council, and they are those who took the Holy Ghost for their guide and kept Jesus’s commandments with diligence until he came to them. The identity of the Council can be pieced together from the Bible, however. See, for example, Matthew 25:31-46: when he speaks of “these, my brethren,” he is referring to the angels he brought with him (cf. D&C 76:63; Luke 8:21). Notice his description of their manner of life in this world, and compare with the Beatitudes, and his words in John 1:11-13 and John 10:34-36, considering that Jesus is, himself, the Word of God who comes to one (John 1:1).

      To be saved it is only necessary to believe in the Father, and in his son, Jesus Christ, and to actually put into continual execution the commandments Jesus taught by his own mouth in both the Bible (Luke 6:20-49; Matthew 5-7) and the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 11-15; see 1 Nephi 13:38-41) until he comes to one (John 14:15-24; D&C 130:1-3, 132:21-25). A man will not keep the commandments of Jesus Christ, and thus fall short of salvation, when he disbelieves Christ’s commandments because of offense.

    • Translations are very quirkly. The closest approximation to elohim are indeed angels, as the term came to be used.

      Thus Angel Moroni is called an “angel” but his other status as a Son of God, replacement or not, isn’t mentioned because it’s not something mortals could handle at the time.

      The Divine won’t tell people certain things directly because the point is to test them and to see what they will choose of their own free will. There is no free will when the answers are given to you. Thus the Law of Confusion and Babel, makes it possible to be wrong in interpretation. Which is the point. You cannot be right if it is impossible to be wrong.

      Thus people are not given the “correct answer” because there is no correct answer necessarily. What the Godhead wants is to see Your Answer.

      Elohim is not necessarily the same as “gods” either, it was merely how the ancients interpreted it as. And even that, may be a post modern re interpretation that is in error.

  4. Excellent article and very thought-provoking. I appreciate the research expended towards an understanding of this apparent religious concept (Heavenly Council) that hitherto hasn’t been readily available and therefore accessible as a means of evaluating LDS doctrine. With our other Christian friends seemingly spooked by the concept of LDS polytheism and the dogma of the trinity, it’s interesting to find evidence of a Heavenly council in both ancient Old Testament scripture, but accordingly, perhaps also, in ancient manuscripts of the New Testament. (At least the ancient Christian fathers expressed their belief in separate Father, Son & Holy Ghost rather than the Nicean creed version of the Trinity.) Together, the evidence found in both arenas tend to highly favor the LDS viewpoint rather than not. It’s kind of a nice vindication after the strident arguments so recently pressed against us. (Think along the lines, for instance, of the movie “The Godmakers” for a small example of this effort.)

    On another note, I must agree that Melanie’s questions are also thought-provoking. Questions relative to the approbation or negation of decisions rendered by the Divine Council are probably something we won’t be able to learn a lot about due to the scarcity of anything relating to that type of information. Amazingly, it’s a miracle we have been blessed to find remnants of the pre-modified ancient Hebraic manuscripts, many of which this current article quotes. Additional information beyond these scarce finds may be exceedingly difficult to encounter at this late date. (At least until the time that the Lord sees fit to reveal other potential finds, or at the very least reveals the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon which may contain answers to these types of questions.)

    Anyway, once again, thoroughly interesting paper. Thanks Stephen!

  5. I enjoyed reading this article, and I have some tangential thoughts. I noticed the reference to the Greek word for ‘mystery’, and that it seems to allude (at least sometimes) to the divine council. In Alma 11:9-11, Alma talks about the ‘mysteries of God’. I imagine most read this passage, as I usually do, understanding that the term ‘mysteries of God’ here refers specifically to knowledge of what happens in the judgment, which was what Zeezrom asked about in verse 8. However, I also see in the next chapter (Alma 13:3) a passage about fore-ordination. I generally understand fore-ordination to refer to specific plans made in the great premortal divine council as described in Abraham 3. After reading this article, I wonder if there isn’t more connection between these two parts of Alma’s teachings to the people of Ammonihah than I have previously seen. I also wonder what Hebrew word Mormon recorded on the plates for the word ‘mysteries’, and I wonder what actual word (likely in pre-Uto-Aztecan) Alma verbally used in that same passage.
    Brother Smoot, any thoughts you might have on the subject will be of interest.

  6. Can I just ask a tangential question here? Or rather, a whole slew of random questions?

    I thought I understood that the seventy Sons of God were the sons of Heavenly Father, and that Jesus Christ was one of them. Then the Most High (Heavenly Father again) divided up the nations among His seventy Sons and let Jesus (Yahweh) have Jacob/Israel. I remember reading several times in the Bible that Yahweh told His people not to worship any other gods besides him (which I now take to mean the other 69 sons, who were the gods of other peoples.) So what happened to those other sons? Are they still in the Divine Council? Are they still gods to other peoples, or have they been taken over by Christianity and relieved, so to speak, of their godly responsibilities?

    And if they were in the Divine Council in the first place, were they not working together with Heavenly Father in the great and glorious purpose of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of mankind (us mortals)? Or were they more like unwilling participants of the UN, ostensibly working together for all of Earth, but more inclined to favour their own peoples until they were forcibly assimilated into Christianity?

    Sorry, I just can’t help wondering why we only hear of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ these days, and if the Divine Council is mentioned at all, it’s my understanding that it was/is made up of those great and noble spirits who came down to this earth to get mortal bodies because they were on their way to becoming gods, not that they were gods already.

    And Joseph Smith obviously had his theophany, making him a true prophet, but what about the other presidents of the church after him? Does the scripture from Amos 3:7 mean that God won’t work through a prophet unless He’s revealed His Divine Council to him first? I don’t think I’ve heard of (m)any latter-day prophets who’ve had such a call vision. Or does God only do this for the big and important stuff?

    I’m not trying to discredit the prophets or the church, I’m just trying to understand how this all works to-day.

  7. Great work! I think Blake Ostler’s work that you cite on the ancient patter of prophetic commission (“The Throne-Theophany and Prophetic Commission in 1 Nephi”) could be expanded upon as one of many additional avenues on this topic.

    In pondering your impressive array of modern scholarly views on the divine council, I am genuinely interested in how those attributing the Book of Mormon to Joseph’s plagiarism and osmosis from his environment would say he came up with this concept. It’s a question I posed today over at Mormanity (though somewhat tongue-in-cheek). Given the strictly monotheistic attitude among mainstream Christianity in his day and ours, where would a would-be plagiarizer and con man who couldn’t read Hebrew turn to in 1829 to learn about and then artfully build in the ancient divine council concept in his work? And of course, why would he? Just asking.

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