Yahweh is El; Yahweh is El-Elyon (Part 6)

John 10:34 has taken me back to Psalms 82 and a plethora of others.

First, are we agreed on the title of this post?

Secondly, concerning El, wouldn’t you agree that He is the ultimate Judge over every council that you can imagine to the farthest stretches of your thinking?  How much scope do you allow for the presidency of El?

Do you think there are elohim in existence beyond the jurisdiction of El?  I can imagine what the Canaanite ancients would say.  But what is the revelation of Yahweh?

27 comments

  1. Todd, Can I add a question to your list?

    What is the source of His authority?

  2. Hey, and I was about ready to add this question when I saw your question:

    Sincerely, is not the difference between this Elohim and all other elohim – self-government?

  3. So all of intelligence, all of life throughout the heavens, is under Elohim’s presiding stand (Ps. 82:1), Seth, in your knowledge of Mormon speculation?

    I am gathering from the unbroken O.T. biblical data that Yahweh/Elohim’s kingship has no boundaries, engulfing all conceptions of other ANE ideas of deified kings and their limitations.

    The biblical data is truly unique in comparison to all other literature in what it spells out as propositions and implications regarding Yahweh (or as the ANE groups recognize as El).

  4. Todd, if there are “other elohim” (which I am not asserting, by the way), they would be at one with “our Elohim” to such an extent that there is simply no room for disagreements or contradictions. If you get to the point of Mormon godhood, there is certainly “contradicting God the Father” going on.

    If there are other elohim, they participate in Elohim’s character and perfection to such an extent that there simply is no room for disunity.

    That’s why phrases such as “this is my turf, and that’s yours” or “jurisdiction” or whatever are pretty much alien to the whole issue. They can have no meaning in a system of perfect harmony between perfected beings.

  5. Well Seth, I would confirm that God never says “this is my turf, and that’s yours” in the Psalms.

    “The LORD (YHWH),hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.”

    “For the LORD (YHWH) is a great God (El), and a great King (melek) above all gods (elohim.”

    “For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty (elohim) can be likened unto the LORD (YHWH)?”

    No elohim has a higher rank than Jehovah, Chief in the Divine Council, King over all kings, Lord over all lords, Head El who dominates over all spiritual, physical, pagan, and political. He is the Most High.

    I am getting one clear picture from the scripture. He is at the top of the ladder, the ultimate source of life, the One with whom all are held accountable to.

    And today, the Lord’s Day, is a day to recognize Him as King of all and to glorify Him for His mercy. We glorify Him because He self appoints elohim. Who else can do that?

    Seth, can you tell that I am a little excited over all this? 😉

  6. Seth, so let me get this straight, you don’t think that the God of Israel has any rank over us on earth or those in the heavens.

    Would you please unpack for me your conception of the LDS heavenly order?

    Is it just the swallowing up of all beings as “one God?” where the worship of one above and beyond another becomes meaningless throughout eternity?

  7. It’s just my own opinion. Robert Millet, for example, might not agree with me. I’d emphasize that I’m not trying to speak for the LDS Church here.

    I don’t ever expect to stop worshiping God. But I do think that concepts such as “jurisdiction” are pretty-much mortal concerns. Sort of a zero-sum thinking where more for you means less for me. More divinity for us does not mean less for God. He has invited us to share in what He is, and what He has.

    Rank was probably a bad example, because I do feel like God will, in some sense, always be “over us.” Just like my own mortal father will always be respected by me and looked up to.

    But I think the notion of a universe of “competing” gods contradicting each other is utterly at odds with Mormon teachings. Just because there are plural “gods” does not require a universe of confusion. Why should they not all be in perfect unison and harmony? How could it be otherwise if there were many of them?

    I’ll say again, traditional Christianity has already reconciled how there can be “more than one” God and yet one orderly system through it’s teachings on the Trinity. Why can this same reasoning not be extended to Mormon notions of many gods (lower-case)?

    Why can’t pericoresis be extended to all who enter into God’s rest and not just the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?

  8. Todd: You have missed the important part. Yahweh is not Elyon. The name used in Ps. 82:6 is Elyon. It is fairly clear from Dt. 32:8 that Yahweh is not Elyon. In Dt 32:8 Elyon has a “higher rank” than Yahweh since Yahwe is the God of Israel and Elyon is over all of the gods.

    Further, Jesus is not the Father. The Father is greater than Jesus.

  9. Blake, not so – by your first paragraph, your systematic theology damages the totality of biblical theology in the ancient texts.

    Quickly, consider a couple verses that have popped in my mind. On Sunday evenings, we have been in Genesis.

    Genesis 14:22 – “And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lifted up mine hand unto the LORD (YHWH, the most high God (El Elyon), the possessor of heaven and earth,”

    In Sunday School, we have been studying Psalms.

    Psalm 7:17 – “I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD (YHWH) most high (Elyon).”

    Psalm 9:1-2 – “I will praise thee, O LORD (YHWH), with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High (Elyon).”

    Psalm 18:13 – “The LORD (YHWH) also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest (Elyon) gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.”

    Psalm 21:7 – “For the king trusteth in the LORD (YHWH, and through the mercy of the most High (Elyon) he shall not be moved.”

    And then consider two more, nestled fairly closely to the Ps. 82 text.

    Psalm 83:18 – “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH (YHWH), art the most high (Elyon) over all the earth.”

    Psalm 97:9 – “For thou, LORD (YHWH), art high (Elyon) above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods (elohim).”

    How can there be any other Elyon but Yahweh, for the scripture slashes right through Canaanite mythology.

    Furthermore, Jesus is not the Father but nonetheless one with the Father. The Father is greater than Jesus (John 14:28 ) in one sense that Jesus voluntarily, graciously became the suffering Servant/Mediator. But on the other side of the coin, Jesus is the fully visible, glorious exegesis of the Father, by nature, equal in every way.

  10. Todd: you’re just not getting it. First, the Old Testament is not systematic theology. Second, I referred only to the specific passage in Dt. 32:8. That Yahweh is called Elyon elsewhere in the OT doesn’t entail that Yahweh is Elyon here in this more ancient strata of Israelite belief. In this passage, Elyon clearly is not Yahweh! Your biblical fundamentalism isn’t adequate to the text because it refuses to see that there are different views of God and who Elyon was in the text.

    Now your statement that Jesus is the “exegesis of the Father by nature, equal in every way” is truly unintelligible and non-scriptural to boot! What do you mean by “nature”? Christ is a servant- mediator. If Christ is equal in every way, then in what way is the Father “greater” than he? Precisely in the sense that the Father commands and Jesus obeys. The Father sends, Jesus is sent. Jesus gives all glory to the Father and the Father shares that glory back with Jesus. However, it is the Father who restores Christ’s pre-earth glory to him; Christ does not restore glory to the Father. Jesus never commands the Father; he never sends the Father; he never asks the Father to obey him. It is always the other way around.

  11. Blake, if the name of Yahweh did appear in Psalm 82, I don’t think it would convince the critics. For already, the critics have the chapter layered. One hundred years ago, Charles Augustus Briggs, spelled out his rationale interpretation for everyone. Verse 5 is “an expansive gloss.” Verse 8 is “a gloss of petition.” Phew. Verse 6 remains relatively unscathed. Aren’t we lucky?

    Knowing what Briggs did with Yahweh in chapter 83, he would have done the same in chapter 82.

  12. Blake, sorry. Let me backtrack.

    Blake: It is fairly clear from Dt. 32:8 that Yahweh is not Elyon. In Dt 32:8 Elyon has a “higher rank” than Yahweh since Yahwe is the God of Israel and Elyon is over all of the gods.

    First, I don’t see the division between Yahweh and Elyon in Deuteronomy 32 because I don’t accept the subjective and often artificial divisions that higher criticism promotes in the Pentateuch. If you hadn’t pointed this out, it would not have crossed my mind – the naive, fundamentalistic simpleton that I am. 😉

    This reading confronts me immediately: God is sovereign Elyon over all, and indeed He is Yahweh to His own.

    I picked a book off my shelf, dated May 1st, 1879. C. H. Mackintosh writes, “Here we have the first note of reproof in this song, but no sooner has it fallen on the ear than it is followed by a most precious outpouring of testimony to the goodness, loving-kindness, faithfulness, and tender mercy of Jehovah, the Elohim of Israel, and the Most High, or Elion of all the earth.

    There is no splitting of the one God in both His sovereign rule over all, nor his loving, tender care for His own despite their perverse, ungrateful ways in the chapter. So I would make the case that not only is Elyon universally over all (Gen. 14:18 and Numbers 24:16) but revealed also as lovingly exclusive Yahweh to Israel.

    Would you use any other O.T. biblical data for the dividing of Elyon and Yahweh into two separate beings?

    Secondly, I do acknowledge the LXX variant, “sons of God” or “sons of gods”, outside of the MT reading, “sons of Israel”. For doesn’t a Qumran reading confirm the LXX? Obviously, this phrase would link one with Ps. 82:1, 6, and also get us thinking about Ps. 29:1 and then several references in Job. This brings us back to the divine council motif. But the way we unpack all the implications of “sons of elohim” — oh boy, it is very different, Blake.

  13. One more thing . . .

    According to The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible (Abegg, Flint, and Ulrich, 1999), we have these translations of Deuteronomy 32:8 and 32:43,

    v. 8 – When [the Most High] gave [to the nations] their inherit[ance, when] he separated [humankind, he set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of] the children of God.

    The translators note: In the famous poem found in Deuteronomy 32, verse 8 tells us that God set the bounds of the peoples according to a certain number. Following the Masoretic Text and the Samaritan Pentateuch, most modern Bibles describe this as the number of the “children of Israel.” 4QDeut[j], however, specifies it as the number of the “children of God,” apparently denoting the divine beings who would serve as protectors for various nations. See also vs. 43.

    v. 43 – Rejoice, O heavens, together with him; and bow down to him all you gods, for he will avenge the blood of his sons, and will render vengeance to his enemies, and will recompense those who hate him, and will atone for the land of his people.

    The translators note: Deuteronomy 32:43 is an unusual verse in view of its contents. As the list of variant readings shows, 4QDeut[q]–supported by the Septuigant–differs markedly from the Masoretic Text and the Samaritan Pentateuch. For example, in the Qumran scroll it is “the heavens” which rejoice, not the nations; and God will avenge the blood of “his sons,” not “his servants.” Moreover, the mention of gods “bowing down to God” and “recompensing those who hate him” is absent from the Masoretic Text and the Samaritan Pentateuch. This verse provides a striking example of the very different readings that sometimes appear in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    Blake, how do you connect Deut. 32:43 with Heb. 1:6? Or do you?

  14. Todd: What this shows is that the Masoretic text intentionally altered the text to try to avoid the conclusion that we are dealing with gods of the various nations and that Yahweh is one of them. The scholarly consensus is that this text in Dt. 32:8 refers to Yahweh as the God of Israel and other gods over nations. I treat it at great length in vol. 3 of Exploring Mormon Thought.

  15. Ahh, so now the MT (as we have it) is accused of an intentional coverup for not promoting Yahweh as just a subordinate deity alongside many others underneath the Most High?

    And you believe that the DSS material, as a whole, solidly confirms Yahweh as one God among all the other gods beneath the Supreme Being?

    —-

    What about this?

    Yahweh = God of all? No
    Yahweh = God of this earth? No
    Yahweh = God of just one nation? Yes

    Is this how Yahweh should be reduced in America today by the scholarly consensus?

  16. SIR; ITS COMMON KNOWLEDGE THAT IN THE TEXTS FOUND IN UGARIT FROM 6000BC EL ELYON IS GOD AND YAHWEH IS A SON. EL ELYON MEANS MOST HIGH GOD AND ITS IN THE BIBLE. ELOHIM MEANS A PANTHEON—-ALL OF HEAVENS BEINGS IS THE ELOHIM. MOST PEOPLE MISUSE THESE WORDS THANKS

  17. First, the Ugarit is not the end all be all, and second, YAH is not portrayed as a son. Elohim means a pantheon in YOUR 2008 sophisticated understanding, but it, as Elyon also, have been used several different ways. The best understanding is that El and Baal are of one Canaanite Pantheon, but YAH was recognized by Judah as the Creator alone. Israel embraced Canaanite linguistic terms as a means to gain legitimacy and wider acceptance. It has been proven that E was based on the older Y or J. The combination of the two, with E having an agenda other than communication of History and Facts, that of earning legitimacy and honoring the second born over the first born, created all this talk of contradiction and confusion, even going so far as to write: “By this name was I not known”–Rubbish. Jacob, upon entering his kin’s area was greeted with, “Come, O Blessed of Yah”
    Yahweh is not a son, although I am his.

  18. In reference to Todd Wood’s list of verses that equate El Elyon with Yahweh: None of the verses listed equate El Elyon with Yahweh. Genesis 14:22 doesn’t say Yahweh. You can check a bible that uses the Tetragrammaton like the New Jerusalem Bible and see that Yahweh is not used. In the other six Psalms verses it says elyon not El Elyon. They are decribing Yahweh by the adjective elyon not equating him with El Elyon. As far as I have read the Bible is consistent with Deuteronomy 32:8 that El Elyon is above Yahweh, with whom he created the world. This follows through to the New Testament with El Elyon equated with the Father and Yahweh equated with the Son of God, the Logos or Jesus.

  19. I don’t believe the Old Testament equates El Elyon with Yahweh other than co-creators. Any such references are most likely interpolations like Genesis 14:22. Editors wanted to rationalize the henotheism in the Bible by equating Yahweh with El Elyon.

  20. Hmm . . . those editor rascals that twisted the Bible.

    And I was going to ask you about the identity of Yahweh’s Servant.

  21. Dear Pastor,
    I have agreed to i have read from above that YAHWEH is equal with JESUS. Now I want to affiliate with you.Please pray that GOD to open that way way so we join hands in the LORD.
    YOURS BRO.IN CHRIST
    RICHARD MOGAKA

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