Friday, November 12, 2010

Biblical evidence of council of the gods

Biblical evidence of council of the gods
by Rocky Hulse
In the LDS Church weekly periodical, Church News, for the “Week Ending August 14, 2010”, on page 5 we find the article titled “Biblical evidence of council of the gods,” by Church News Staff Writer R. Scott Lloyd. I read the article with interest and from its first paragraph I found the article to be very deceptive. The first paragraph reads as follows:
A frequent point of contention by critics against the Church is the doctrine that there is not just one, but a multiplicity of gods. Yet allusions to that concept pervade the Bible as well as ancient Near Eastern culture, Mormon scholar David Bolovoy said Aug. 6 at the annual conference of the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research. (FAIR is not affiliated with the Church.)
Two important points jumped out at me in this first paragraph. The first point is the “multiplicity of gods.” The paragraph rightly notes that “critics” of the “Church” contend against the teaching of multiplicity of gods. Then the author promotes the concept that multiplicity of gods “pervades” the Bible and Near Eastern culture. I won’t argue that polytheism (many gods) is seen in the Old Testament as well as the cultures of the Biblical lands. What I find deceptive is the failure of the author to point out that this polytheistic belief and worship was not of God, but rather, of those who departed from God’s teachings and were condemned and punished by Him for their following after “other gods.” The failure to point this out is a deliberately deceptive omission done to support the non-Christian teaching of Mormonism that there are many gods.
The second point of this paragraph that jumped out at me was the deliberate distancing from the Mormon scholar, David Bokovoy’s speech delivered at the annual conference of the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR) from which the article is derived. The author highlights the fact that “FAIR is not affiliated with the Church.” The author takes great pains to point this out, yet nowhere in the rest of the article does he disagree with the Mormon doctrinal point that was made in the speech at the conference. I call this tactic: “Plausible Deniability.” This article and the Mormon doctrinal position it advocates would not be allowed in the “Church News” if the LDS Church leaders didn’t agree with it; yet, stating that “FAIR is not affiliated with the Church,” gives them the perfect “deniability” if any questions are raised about this doctrine. Neither the LDS Church prophet, his counselors, nor their twelve apostles, all of which can speak for the Church, will “officially” comment on such controversial doctrinal positions; so, they allow FAIR and other organizations to do their commenting for them and if anyone disagrees they pull out their “plausible deniability” statement: “FAIR is not affiliated with the Church.” It’s the perfect out. This allows LDS Church Authorities autonomy from controversial doctrines all the while indoctrinating the masses. It just doesn’t get any better than that! This tactic works well for them and is being employed in this article.
The second paragraph lays out Mormon scholar Bolovoy’s credentials as a means of credibility for the unsubstantiated statements from his speech “Joseph Smith and the Biblical Council of Gods.” Paragraphs 3-5 of the article quote from the referenced speech:
“The Prophet Joseph Smith, of course, produces that inspired Book of Abraham that really rocks the foundation of the Christian world at that time,” Brother Bolovoy said, “when he, through this translation, revises Genesis, chapter 1, the priestly version of the Creation, and introduces this concept of gods organizing the world.”
This paragraph is also very deceptive. The author specifically relates that the Book of Abraham was a “translation” and revised Genesis Chapter 1 from creation to “gods organizing the world.” The author again fails to bring to the attention of the reader that the “translation” of the Mormon Church canonized “Book of Abraham,” has been completely proven to be a fraud. The Egyptian papyri from which the “translation” supposedly occurred, were once thought to be lost, however, they were located in 1967 in the archives of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and subsequently turned over to LDS Church. Immediate “translation” efforts were begun and it was found that the papyri were not the “Book of Abraham” but rather the “Book of the Dead,” an Egyptian funerary document. So, not only did the “translation” of the Egyptian papyri not support a rewriting of Genesis Chapter 1, but neither does the manuscript evidence of the Old Testament. The first chapter of Genesis is not in question amongst Biblical scholars.
In paragraph four R. Scott Lloyd, quotes Bokovoy promoting the Book of Abraham’s false doctrine of a pre-earth council of gods:
He quoted the Prophet as sermonizing, “In the beginning the head of the gods called a council of the gods. They came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it. When we begin to learn this way, that God exists in this council structure with other divine beings that he calls gods, we begin to learn the only true God and what kind of being we have got to worship.”
The above quote is used as a segue, attempting to utilize Psalm 82 in support of the false doctrine of polytheism through a “council of gods”. The Church News article continues:
Hebrew words associated with the heavenly council of Gods include those translated as “council,” “meeting,” “assembly,” “congregation,” “the holy ones” and “sons of God,” a reference to the gods of the council, Brother Bokovoy said.
“One of the great ‘council’ texts is Psalm 82:1,” he said. He quoted the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, which reads, “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment.”
Psalm 82 is a classic prooftext used by Mormon Apologists in their attempt to support Mormon polytheism; however, this Psalm is anything but supportive of that false doctrine. Proper exegesis (exegesis: critical explanation or interpretation of a text or portion of a text) of Psalm 82 clearly shows that this is not a heavenly council of gods, but rather, a chastisement of earthly judges. Psalm 82 is a short psalm:
1 A Psalm of Asaph. God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.
2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.
3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.
6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.
Elementary hermeneutics (hermeneutics: the science of interpretation, esp. of the Scriptures) demands that we ask of any text: who, what, when, where, and how? The author of the subject article and the quoted Mormon scholar from the conference, want us to believe that God is in a council of “Gods,” a council of Deity. Rightfully, the King James translators, from verse one, identify the “whom” of this psalm with a lower case “g” as “gods,” not being Deity. A cursory reading of the psalm finds that these “gods” are being chastised: “2. How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked?” Does Deity judge unjustly? Does Deity accept the wicked? The author of the article, quoting Mormon scholar Bokovoy, leaves the King James Version of the text because another version uses the word ‘council’ which is the support beam he’s looking for:
“One of the great ‘council’ texts is Psalm 82:1,” he said. He quoted the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, which reads, “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment.”
“This is an exciting text,” he exclaimed. “It is, of course, the one Jesus cites when He defends His divinity in the New Testament.”
A simple reading of the text following verse 1 clearly shows us that this could not be a “council” of Gods, because these “gods” are being chastised for improper judging. These same “gods” are told in verse 7 that they “shall die like men.” Is this a possibility for “Deity?”
The word “elohim” in the Bible is usually translated “God”; however, it is sometimes translated as human authorities, as the context dictates. In Exodus 21:6, and 22:8-9, the word “elohim” is translated “judges,” denoting earthly judges. In an excellent book titled, “Hard Sayings of the Bible,” by Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Peter H. Davids, F.F. Bruce, and Manfred T. Brauch, we read the following discussion concerning the use of the word “elohim” in this text on page 279 and 280:
Therefore, it should not be altogether surprising that Psalm 82:1 should use this same word to refer to the executive or judicial branches of government – or that scholars have translated the word as “gods” in the past. In fact, Psalm 82:6 makes the case crystal clear by making all believers who “are sons of the Most High” to be “gods.”
In John 10:34, when accused of blasphemy, our Lord appealed to Psalm 82:6 by saying, “Is it not written in your Law ‘I have said you are gods’?” In so doing Jesus was demonstrating that the title could be attached to certain men “to whom the word of God came” (Jn 10:35), and therefore there could not be any prima facie objections lodged against his claims to be divine. There was a legitimate attachment of the word elohim to those people who had been specially prepared by God to administer his law and word to the people…
God now sits in judgment of these magistrates, for all they do goes on before his eyes. The question from on high is “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?” This is the great assembly over which our Lord presides and the ones he now questions for their shabby handling of the complaints of the oppressed. But there is no hint of a belief in many gods or goddesses. Nor does God thereby imply they have the divine nature exclusive to the Trinity. It is simply a case where one term, elohim, must do double duty, referring not only to God but also to his special servants appointed for the unique tasks described in these contexts.
The article ends with these last two paragraphs:
There are two ways to understand “sons” in the expression “sons of God,” he said. One is that they are the literal offspring of God. But, he said, the word for “son” in all Semitic languages “has the connotation of referring to members of the group, caste or guild.”
“So quite frequently, in contemporary translations of ancient Near Eastern documents, one will see the expression ‘sons of God’ simply translated as ‘the gods,’ the members of that group,” Bokovoy said.
Mormonism uses singular Biblical texts to bolster its non-Christian doctrines while ignoring the whole of Bible. Wherever Biblical text disagrees with Mormon doctrine, the Bible is disregarded as “not translated correctly.” Within the world of scholarly exegesis of Biblical text, it is foundational practice that “scripture interprets scripture.” The premise being, that the Bible is God’s infallible word and is the standard from which interpretation begins. The Christian position is that scripture was written by the Holy Spirit as He moved upon the individual writers (II Pet 1:21). Jesus told us in Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away”; this is not the premise in Mormonism. Mormon interpretation begins with their “living prophets,” and all else is secondary. If Bible scriptures disagree with the “living prophet,” then they cannot be trusted and the LDS belief is that they must have been polluted down through history (existing Biblical manuscript evidence clearly shows just the opposite: the Biblical text we have today can be fully trusted).
Mormon doctrine promotes that the human race is God’s literal offspring from a marital relationship between Him and his harem of wives in a pre-existent world, where we were born as “spirit babies” as a result of that marital relationship. This doctrine of the “pre-existence” where all of humanity is directly descended from “Father God,” who is an exalted man, is not Biblical. John 1:12 tells us: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:” We are all God’s creation, but this scripture clearly tells us that only those who “received Him,” “He gave the right to become children of God.” If we were already “children of God” we would have no reason for him to give us “the right to become children of God.” That “right” would be irrelevant. Two other scriptures (as scripture interprets scripture) tell us that the physical was created first, then spiritual, not vice versa:
Zechariah 12:1 “The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.”  
I Corinthians 15:46 “Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.”
Zechariah clearly tells us in 12:1 that the Lord formed the spirit of man “within him.” The body had to be in existence for the spirit to be formed in it. Paul tells us quite specifically in I Cor 15:46 that the natural (physical) was first and the spiritual “afterward.”
This article in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “Church News” I believe is the epitome of deception. The LDS Church is allowing an outside organization that they specifically disavow as having authority to speak for the Church, do its heavy lifting on its controversial doctrine of plurality of God and allows the use of Psalm 82 to bolster this doctrine when clearly the text of the scripture is not talking about a heavenly council of Gods. It is unconscionable that, in spite of textual evidence to the contrary, this church is determined to promote its false doctrine above God’s written word.
Please pray for the Mormon people. Jesus died on the Cross for them the same as for you and me.


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7 comments:

  1. Mormons are awesome and always have been.

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  2. Mormons have the wrong Jesus and a totally false belief in who God is and that they may become Gods themselves. This is blasphemy.

    Rocky

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  3. I guess you either a) did not read my comments and deleted them with total disrespect; or b)afraid that the truth exposes the false and logical fallacies published in these articles. I will post a response by the end of the week to this article in full view where people are able to read exactly how and why this article is in error and needs correcting.

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  4. Have you ever heard of internet problems Timothy? I have no idea why your other three comments did not post, but I do have them word for word in my email box. You posted one comment right after another perhaps that caused the problems.

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  5. Timothy, I just came home from work and found your posts in my gmail account, but not posted here. If they were, I wouldn't respond to them until this weekend anyway as I work 12 hour days during the week and must work many weekend days as well. Your accusation that we are afraid of "truth" is inconsistent with our history in this ministry. Mormon arguments that Mormonism's belief in polytheism is a restoration of the original teachings of Israel have never been validated; and, your new "evidence" will not be found to be consistent with evidence against that concept that have lasted for the last 2,000 years; no matter how many "burnings in the bosom" you may get to the contrary.

    Rocky

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  6. Rocky is what one would call a Mormon-Hater. Keep on hatin there big boy, have fun.

    ReplyDelete

Rocky and Helen Hulse

Rocky and Helen Hulse
Defending Christianity From Mormon Doctrine