Doorstep Theory

Stranger things = Those fringe[1] subjects of the Bible which exist at the intersection of the supernatural and natural, the immaterial and material worlds.

Why we are discussing these kinds of subjects = So that we are viewing of our world in the same way Jesus and those living in the ancient near east (the bible’s authors) viewed their world since this is not only the real world but also vital to proper biblical interpretation (or the avoidance of projecting on the text/reading into the text our modern ideas and assumptions [eisegesis] – e.g., Gen 2:18-20).

“It would be dishonest of us to claim that the biblical writers read and understood the text the way we do as modern people, or intended meanings that conform to theological systems created centuries after the text was written. Our context is not their context. The proper context for interpreting the Bible is …not the modern world at all, or any period of its history. The proper context is the context of the biblical writers-the context that produced the Bible…The biblical context was produced by men who lived in the ancient near east (ANE). Seeing the Bible through the eyes of an ancient reader [therefore] requires shedding the filters of our [modern] traditions and presumptions. They processed life in supernatural terms.” – Michael S. Heiser (The Unseen Realm)

Doorstep theory (def.,): Many of those currently living today (2024) will witness the return of Jesus (i.e., we are living on the “doorstep” of Jesus’ return) (Mat 24:32-35).

1. What makes this kind of claim (theory) provocative or (once more) fringe?

1.1. The great number of people who misunderstand what Jesus taught regarding knowledge of His return:

1.1.1. They think Jesus taught that the time of His return was unknown (even to Him) (Mat 24:36, 25:13; Mar 13:32-33).

1.1.2. Though Jesus did say we cannot know the exact day or hour, such statements were made in the context of telling His disciples what to look for as the sure-fire signs that His return was imminent (or would take place during the lifetime of many who witnessed them; again Mat 24:32-34; Mar 13:29). IOW: we may not know the exact day or hour, but we can be confident with respect to a small window of years (Mat 24:22).

1.2. The great number of people who fail to consider that Jesus gave such sure-fire signs so that those living at the time of His return would be prepared.

1.2.1. (Mat 24:42-51) = Those who are ignorant – or not convinced that Jesus’ return is imminent run the risk of falling away or being found unfaithful when He comes.

1.2.2. We as a church would therefore be foolish to avoid discussing such things if the evidence of these sure-fire signs seem to be present in our time.

2. What are the reasons for believing that we may be on the doorstep of Jesus’ return? Four sure-fire signs have been confirmed:

2.1. We are living less than ten years away from the 7th or Sabbath millenium.

Per God’s perspective and plan, each millennium represents one of the days of Creation. As such, the time the world will end and Messiah will return is on the Sabbath -or the beginning (seventh) millennium (i.e., 6,000 years after the 1st day of Creation).[2] We will officially enter the Sabbath or seventh millennium in 2033/34.

Support for saying Jesus will return during the Sabbath millennium which begins in 2033/34:

2.1.1. Peter confirms this as God’s view (2Pe 3:8).

2.1.2. The context of Peter’s words (in 2Pe 3) is Jesus’ return and the end of human history (2Pe 3:1-10).

2.1.3. Peter confirmed 2033/34 as the year we enter the Sabbath millennium in his preaching on Pentecost.

(Act 2:17-20) = Peter’s divinely inspired interpretation of Joel 2:28 as “And it shall be in the last days” indicates that the IPO of the indwelling Spirit marks the beginning of the final two millennia before the Sabbath millennium/time of Christ’s return. Why? 1) Peter indicates there will be plural days [or millennia] before the end – or Christ’s return (17, “last days”). 2) At the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, we were already somewhere in the range of 4,000 years – which means Peter’s reference cannot be more than two.

This puts Jesus’ return somewhere around 2033/34 (or two thousand years after Christian Pentecost which took place in 33/34 A.D.).

2.1.4. Ancient Jewish tradition also taught this view (e.g., Talmud, Midrash literature).

2.2. Satan’s global misinformation campaign has begun and been successful.

(Rev 20:7-8a) = One thousand years after Satan’s incarceration in the abyss – or the advent of the church age (Rev 19:1-20:6), the dimensional portal will be opened allowing him to “deceive the nations” into thinking they are worshipping Jesus – when in reality, they have embraced false gospels and gods.

Support for saying that Satan has been released and poisoned the world w/false versions of Christianity and the gospel:

2.2.1. The official start of the false Christian religions of Roman Catholicism (RC) and Eastern Orthodoxy (EO) happened almost exactly 1,000 years (11th century Great Schism) after the establishment of Christ’s church on earth (Rev 20:7).

2.2.2. In fulfillment of Peter’s words, Martin Luther twisted the words of Paul and invented the FAG leading to the equally false Protestant Reformation (16th century) (2Pe 3:15-17) = As before, the context of these verses is the end of human history/the return of Christ.

2.2.3. False Christianity is now not only the predominant form of Christianity in the world but also the largest group of people on the planet. Almost 3 billion human beings (37.5% of all humanity) claim to be Christian according to some version of its main three false religions (PR, RC, EO).

2.3. The FAG has become the dominant gospel and those not adhering to it are heavily persecuted.

(Mat 24:8[3]-13) = The gospel being preached by the “false prophets” just before Christ’s return will be antinomian in nature (it will amount to “lawlessness”). IOW: obedience to God’s Law will be considered “nice but no longer necessary.” This lawless/antinomian gospel will also be the dominant gospel of the day. Hence the reason it “mislead many” (not few) causing “many” to “fall away and betray one another and hate another” (i.e., violate their covenant allegiance to Christ and/or His people, the church).

The desire for this gospel to remain dominant will also cause its lawless recipients to heavily persecute those who preach against it and lay siege to those remaining vestiges of God’s divine council on earth (Jud 1:8-10 w/14-15 = Rejection of the church’s DC/authority will also characterize the time just before Jesus’ return).

Support for saying the FAG gospel has become dominant and the authority of Christ’s churches and gospel are rejected and reviled:

2.3.1. The FAG is now a part of all popular versions of Christianity around the world – including RC/EO.

IOW: Most – including those in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, teach some version of the FAG in that obedience is nice but not ultimately necessary to that person getting to heaven.

2.3.2. It is currently hard (impossible?) to find churches teaching a gospel where obedience to all of God’s Law is necessary to be saved (Rev 20:8-9) “surrounded the camp of the saints” = Indicates that Christ’s churches – or those covenant community embracing the true gospel, will (at that time) be few in number and therefore easily outnumbered (“surrounded”) by those in Satan’s false gospel (FAG) churches.

2.3.3. The Evangelical church’s rejection of church authority/DC (2Pe 2:10).

2.3.4. With respect to persecution: our experience at Christ Covenant Church (e.g., the lies, slander and other forms of ill-treatment we have endured for speaking against the FAG, asking questions or attempting to create dialogue) (Mat 10:25).

2.4. Just before Christ’s return, the true gospel will be recovered and revealed to the world.

(Mat 24:14) “preached to the whole world as a testimony to all the nations and then the end will come.” = Just before Christ’s return, the gospel lost through the deception of Satan and suppression of false Christianity will be found and bore witness to as not only part of God’s final judgment against the nations, but also the means to saving those few who remain welcome to Him (2Pe 3:9).

Support that the true gospel has been recovered and is being preached to the whole world:

2.4.1. The gospel of G&M preached throughout redemptive history by Jesus has been recovered by Christ Covenant Church (“Judaism 2.0.”, covenantal nomism).

2.4.2. Our internet presence has allowed us to accomplish this global gospel witness almost instantaneously given that most (if not all) of the civilized world (who Paul is referring to) has access to the internet.

3. What things remain unfulfilled – yet seem to be on the horizon (what should we be looking out for)? Two things:

3.1. Satan and his demons’ returning to earth as Jesus and His angels/holy ones.

Satan’s entire global misinformation campaign has been leading to one major event: the great Jesus fake-out. He and his demon’s will return to the 3rd dimension as Jesus and his angels/holy ones in supposed fulfillment of the Scriptures – or more specifically, its Dispensational Premillennial interpretation. This means the immediate establishment an earthly, global kingdom of unified peace, healing miracles (e.g., healing cancer), massive blessings and last chance salvation. All nations and people (even those formerly not Christian) will unite under him (as Jesus) given he will (in his big reveal) also save the planet from nuclear war; a war he has secretly been instigating and influencing between the US and Russia for many years (also consistent w/Dispy Pre-mill doctrine).

Support for this view:

3.1.1. (Mat 24:15-28) = Satan presenting himself to the world as the returning Jesus; (2Th 2:1-10) [v3, 9] “apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction…the one whose coming is in accord with/conforming to the activity of Satan with all power and signs and false wonders” = Satan disguising and designating himself as the returning Jesus and promoting the lawless – “lawless” obedience is nice but not necessary FAG. [v7a] “mystery of lawlessness is already at work” = The seeds of the Evangelical FAG will precede and prepare the stage for his arrival along w/its most popular eschatological system: Dispensational [Pre-Trib Rapture] Premillennialism. [v6,7b] “what restrains him now” = Not who but what: the tech to not only get back to the 3rd dimension in corporeal form but also stop the nuclear war he secretly instigated to win the rest of the planet to him. [v8] = The reign of Satan-Jesus will be short lived as the real Jesus’ return will bring immediate destruction [“slay with the breath of his mouth”] to him and his rebellious FAG followers (2Th 1:7b-10 and Rev 20:9b).

3.1.2. (Rev 20:8 “Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war”; See also Eze 382 and 39:1) = Many scholars believe this is a reference to modern day Russia and the (nuclear) war they will (be influenced by Satan – vv7-8) to start.

3.1.3. Becoming the savior of the problem/war you (secretly created for that very purpose) is a proven age-old tactic for winning the masses to you or your cause (e.g., create gun violence as a means to getting legislation against gun ownership; “Lest we forget…[we must acknowledge] the very first radical…known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer.” – Saul Alinsky, Rules For Radicals).

3.1.4. Evidence of UAPs/UFOs shutting down nuclear missile silos in the US and Russia coupled w/the fact that the rise in UAP/UFO activity started when we gained nuclear capability in 1945. Is it possible this is also the reason for the frequent number of UAP/UFO sightings off our coasts by our Navy? In all of this are we simply witnessing the test flights of the vessels they intend to bring down the missiles, stop the war and save the planet? Is it possible that alien abductions are real and additionally a means to testing the tech they will eventually use to stage a mass “pre-trib rapture” of Evangelicals (before the nuclear launch)? Is it possible Satan is behind all of the recent pre-occupation with aliens and UFO/UAPs(e.g. Government and govt official’s admission of UAPs and/or alien lifeforms, Congressional hearing with David Grusch [Air Force intelligence officer], David Fravor [Navy pilot] and Ryan Graves [Navy pilot], Jacques Vallee [famous astronomer, computer scientist who believes aliens may be angels: “when God exited, the angels beamed in”], Cymone’s Homeland Security briefs [w/Space Force, regarding disclosure from the Vatican]) as a means to getting us ready to receive the supernatural w/open arms? (e.g., military dropping propaganda leaflets to influence/prepare the people to be favorable to them when they arrive).

3.2. A large number of Jews will become true Christians.

The nation of Israel will receive the recovered gospel and convert to true Christianity rejecting the counterfeit Jesus and his false FAG.

Support for this view:

3.2.1. The Jews will never receive or recognize as Messiah anyone who rejects their Law as necessary to salvation.

3.2.2. Paul seems to predict a future mass conversion of Israel (Rom 11:25-27; Also Hos 3:4-5)

3.2.2. John seems to predict that the time of Israel’s conversion will be right after the great Jesus fake out – or just before true Jesus’ return (Rev 20:9) “camp of the saints and the beloved city” = Very possibly a reference to the nation of Israel’s conversion to Christianity [G&M gospel/law-loving gospel/Judaism 2.0.] in defiance of Satan-Jesus and his “lawless” FAG. If so, then God’s justice will prove to truly be poetic (since according to Premillennial doctrine and expectations, Israel will not oppose – but submit to Pre-mill Jesus).

4. What are the practical implications and application of what we just learned?

4.1. Deep conviction in relation to Marriage Covenant Gospel and the ability to prove it from the Scriptures will be the only thing that will keep you from being duped by Satan-Jesus and falling away when things get crazy (Mat 24:13,35-44 22; 2Th 2:11-15).

4.2. There is no time to waste when it comes to not only doing what it takes to produce the aforementioned conviction and knowledge but also faithfulness to God’s law, church and gospel (Mat 24:42-25:46).

 

 

[1] Subjects not part of the mainstream; topics or understanding that are unconventional and/or uncomfortable to modern culture and thinking.

[2] “The belief that the seventh millennium will correspond to the Messianic Age is founded upon a universalized application of the concept of Shabbat—the 7th day of the week—the sanctified ‘day of rest’. This tradition maintains that each day of the week corresponds to one thousand years of creation: Just as the six days of the work week culminate in the sanctified seventh day of Shabbat, so too will the six millennia of creation culminate in the sanctified seventh millennium (Hebrew years 6000–7000) — the Messianic Age.” – Wikipedia (Year 6000)

[3] “the beginning of the birth pangs” = Adverse weather and wars (vv6-7) are not the definitive signs that the end is near but “merely” the pre-requisites or precursors to what will be.

Divine Council – Part 3

Stranger things = Those fringe[1] subjects of the Bible which exist at the intersection of the supernatural and natural, the immaterial and material worlds.

Why we are discussing these kinds of subjects = So that we are viewing of our world in the same way Jesus and those living in the ancient near east (the bible’s authors) viewed their world since this is not only the real world but also vital to proper biblical interpretation (or the avoidance of projecting on the text/reading into the text our modern ideas and assumptions [eisegesis] – e.g., Gen 2:18-20).

“It would be dishonest of us to claim that the biblical writers read and understood the text the way we do as modern people, or intended meanings that conform to theological systems created centuries after the text was written. Our context is not their context. The proper context for interpreting the Bible is …not the modern world at all, or any period of its history. The proper context is the context of the biblical writers-the context that produced the Bible…The biblical context was produced by men who lived in the ancient near east (ANE). Seeing the Bible through the eyes of an ancient reader [therefore] requires shedding the filters of our [modern] traditions and presumptions. They processed life in supernatural terms.” – Michael S. Heiser (The Unseen Realm)

Divine council (def.,): a heavenly assembly of beings who have been deputized by God to function as His vice-regents on earth governing and judging the nations on His behalf.

1. Biblical evidence of their existence

(Psa 82:1-8)

(1) “God (Heb., elohim [singular – see underlined] = Divine being/God) takes His stand taking His stand(participle -singular) in His own the divine (Heb., be el = the divine [See ESV], e.g., el shaddai = God of the mountain, Gen 35:11) congregation (or council); He judges in the midst of the rulers (or gods) (Heb., elohim [plural – see verse 2], “you” [plural] = Divine beings/Gods/gods). See also verse 6, “I said, ‘you are gods’” (again, elohim).

2. Who are the plural elohim that make up this divine council? After considering the possible options, there is only one that meets all the biblical tests: the anointed priests and levites (judges) of the covenant community.[2]

3. What are the practical implications and application associated with the God’s divine council being the priests and levites in Christ’s churches (the New Covenant community)?

3.1. Deacons/officers are a part of the DC by proxy (i.e., they are deputized not anointed, e.g., Korah the levite – Num 16:3 “we are all holy” [anointed]) (Deu 21:5 [priests are judges] w/2Sa 15:1-4 and 2Ch 26:21 [kings are judges] = Deu 17:8-9) = The king and priests are the anointed judges in the CC (high court judges or divines[3]). Levites and the heads of households help the king and priests in judging. They are the low court judges (2Ch 19:8). They have been deputized to represent the high court judges – i.e., the divine council or council possessing divines or those w/divine authority/anointing (Deu 16:18 “judge the people…tribes…in all your towns”; “judging ones [participle; the wise heads of household in each tribe[4]] and officers” [Levites] versus 17:8-9 “if any… cases of dispute” are “too difficult…then you shall arise and go to…the Levitical priests and judge” [priests and king/the anointed/divines]; NC = Pastors and deacons, Isa 66:21 [priests and deacons selected as heads of their households] w/1Ch 17:6 “the judges of Israel whom I commanded to shepherd My people”).

3.2. Jesus confirms that the NC possesses a DC just like the OC which means there is supernatural authority, power, protection and guidance in our church that Jesus Himself backs up or supports – which is what makes it a divine council issuing divine judgments:

1) (Mat 18:15-16) = [Deu 16:18, 17:6],

2) (Mat 18:17a) = [Deu 17:8],

3) (Mat 18:17b-20) = [Deu 17:9-12].

3.3. The way God perfectly cares for and leads His people to heaven is through the fallible and fallen leadership of His DC which means:

1) though fallible and fallen, God’s DC can judge/rule with justice (or equity) and righteousness (e.g., 2Sa 8:15).

2) unless it can be disproven to the congregation, our default position as a congregation should be to view the decisions and judgments made by our DC as coming directly from God (Pro 16:10; 2Co 1:21 w/4:6-7; Consider also 1Ti 3:1-16 = The P+D are what make the church the pillar and buttress [fortress] of truth; Mat 10:40 and 18:19-20; Act 15:22).

 

3.4. Anyone who thinks the church possesses no DC (i.e., no human judges w/divine authority):

1) is ignorant of the Scriptures and God’s power (in the church) (Mat 22:29).

2) has not considered the implications of such thinking w/respect to not only the preservation of justice and righteousness in the church but protection from demons and demonic influence (e.g., how many of us wb okay w/getting rid of the American judicial system which appoints secular men as judges w/final authority in relation to laws and issues of justice? If we deem them necessary to procuring the aforementioned things in this country, why would the same not be necessary for the church? [1Co 6:3-4]. Do we not view the secular judges as possessing authority from God? [Rom 13:1] Then why not those leaders in the church?).

3) are more than likely rebels who despise such authority or judges since they are a threat to their wicked way of life (Pro 21:15).

3.5. The church’s DC will be under stricter judgment by God and so should be careful in their decisions and judgments to make sure they are always promoting justice and preserving equity (Deu 16:20; Jam 3:1; the result of such carefulness wb the ignorant/disobedient viewing many of their decisions/policies as petty or unrighteous – e.g., late = absent; Pro 28:5).

3.6. Understanding that the DC in the church is actually referred to as elohim, brings further clarity and certainty to why insubordination or insurrection amounts to apostasy from God (Deu 17:9-12 [Num 15:30-31; Deu 29:18-20] w/Mat 18:17b-20 [Mat 12:32]; Mat 10:14-15; Rom 13:2 w/5; the crayon-eaters dilemma = When you refuse or reject the counsel of the DC, you have pushed your case to God on J-Day – which allows for no recourse/redemption after judgment).

3.7. It makes sense that the DC of the church will be involved in the final judgment of those who were a part of their congregation given they will also be involved in the judgment of those angels who caused their office and congregation pain and distress (1Co 6:3 = Those angels who caused trouble to the CC over which that DC was responsible. The righteous angels will face no judgment; Heb 13:17; Hence why then even the archangel Michael chose never to speak against the DC – Jud 8-9; Consider the context of Jude: humans treading where no angel would dare to tread; 1Th 5:12-13 “live in peace w/one another” = CC w/their DC; Num 12:1 w/9-10).

3.8. The existence of a DC in the church means that though Jesus has left us for heaven, He has not left us as orphans (i.e., persons w/o a father – or one who through their vision and discernment, discipline and discipleship, provides them with the tools to prospering in this world and passing the eternal test).

In the ANE, it was assumed that those w/o fathers were also those w/o the proper leadership in their lives to become wise or make wise decisions. Orphans – or those left as orphans, were as a result, often the idiots and criminals of society.

How (then) Jesus (though again in heaven), keeps His church from becoming aimless idiots and crooks who ultimately damn their souls b/c of such folly or lack of wisdom = Through the special anointing of “another Helper…the spirit of truth…the Holy Spirit” on certain members of His DC (Joh 14:16-18a w/25-26).

Why we cb confident that John 14 is a reference to the HS’ special anointing of the priests (in Jesus’ DC) and not the HS given to all at baptism:

1) bc the three things Jesus says about it are in perfect agreement w/what Jesus says at the initial special anointing: 1] He will personally deliver it after His death (18-20), 2] it will be associated w/Jesus’ special peace (26-27), 3] it will strengthen their belief (28-29). All three of these things are only found in (Joh 20:19-22).

2) the purpose of the John 14 HS is not the purpose of the Spirit given at baptism/@Pentecost. It can make someone a prophet (the gift of revelation – Act 2:15-18) but not a judge/part of the DC (the gift of remembrance in re: to truth – Joh 14:26; Consider also 1Co 15:29 “others judge” = The judges/DC [v28 w/Act 15:19 “my judgment” = James the anointed priest]. IOW: prophets are not judges. What about the prophet Samuel who “judged Israel”? [1Sa 7:15] Sam was also a priest – 1Sa 2:18 w/22:18 and 7:9 in contrast to 13:12]).

[1] Subjects not part of the mainstream; topics or understanding that are unconventional and/or uncomfortable to modern culture and thinking.

[2] In the ANE, the spiritual realm and humanity were inextricably linked. To believe in the spiritual realm meant also believing that its supernatural power had also been given to certain humans who functioned as authorities within specific spiritual communities. Those communities were identified as religions (or the old term, cults) and the dispensers of this power, their priests (e.g., Psa 132:16). To assume then that no such power or authority existed – or still exists today, would have been for those in the Bible, the same as believing the spiritual realm itself was fantasy. The question should therefore never be, are their human beings functioning as God’s divine council today? But rather, who are they?

[3] Old term for priests and theologians (e.g., Westminster Divines)

[4] In ancient times, being the head of a household or tribe did not require you be the oldest in the family (e.g., David; hence Psa 119:100). It meant that those in the community (or household) viewed you as among the wisest and most righteous of their clan (Exo 18:21).

Divine Council – Part 2

Stranger things = Those fringe[1] subjects of the Bible which exist at the intersection of the supernatural and natural, the immaterial and material worlds.

Why we are discussing these kinds of subjects = So that we are viewing of our world in the same way Jesus and those living in the ancient near east (the bible’s authors) viewed their world since this is not only the real world but also vital to proper biblical interpretation (or the avoidance of projecting on the text/reading into the text our modern ideas and assumptions [eisegesis] – e.g., Gen 2:18-20).

“It would be dishonest of us to claim that the biblical writers read and understood the text the way we do as modern people, or intended meanings that conform to theological systems created centuries after the text was written. Our context is not their context. The proper context for interpreting the Bible is …not the modern world at all, or any period of its history. The proper context is the context of the biblical writers-the context that produced the Bible…The biblical context was produced by men who lived in the ancient near east (ANE). Seeing the Bible through the eyes of an ancient reader [therefore] requires shedding the filters of our [modern] traditions and presumptions. They processed life in supernatural terms.” – Michael S. Heiser (The Unseen Realm)

Previously discussed: Dimensional portals (def.,): doors or gates and their accompanying bridges connecting the immaterial/spiritual/supernatural world to the material/physical/natural world allowing those with access, the ability to travel or send/receive things from one dimension (or realm) to the other (e.g., Rev 4:1 “door” = Portal; Consider also 2Co 12:2 – Like John, Paul most likely travelled through a dimensional portal). BIG TAKEAWAY: In Christ’s churches, we have access to a heavenly portal that allows us to give and receive from God those persons (e.g., receive angels for help – Heb 1:14) and things (e.g., give praise to God, receive forgiveness through the sacraments – 1Pe 3:21; Joh 13:5-15 [context is the LT – v26]) important to our saving relationship with Him.

Divine council (def.,): a heavenly assembly of beings who have been deputized by God to function as His vice-regents on earth governing and judging the nations on His behalf.[2]

1. Biblical evidence of their existence

(Psa 82:1-8)

(1) “God (Heb., elohim [singular – see underlined] = Divine being/God) takes His stand taking His stand(participle -singular) in His own the divine (Heb., be el = the divine [See ESV], e.g., el shaddai = God of the mountain, Gen 35:11) congregation (or council); He judges in the midst of the rulers (or gods) (Heb., elohim [plural – see verse 2], “you” [plural] = Divine beings/Gods/gods). See also verse 6, “I said, ‘you are gods’” (again, elohim). [3]

2. Who are the plural elohim that make up this divine council? Considering the options:

2.1. other members of the Trinity (Jesus and the Holy Spirit) (Heb 1:8; Act 5:3-5)

Why this is not a viable option: God not only condemns the elohim (“rulers”) of verse 1b of judging unjustly and walking in darkness but also promises they will one day “die like men” because of such behavior (2-7).

2.2. other deities (or the gods of other religions) 1) (Exo 20:3; 1Ki 11:33)

Why this is not a viable option: Other deities do not exist (Deu 4:35, 39; Isa 45:5-6)

2.3. Dead people – particularly dead saints (1Sa 28:13)

Why this is not a viable option: 1) Dead people play no role in governing or judging the affairs of those currently living (2-4). 2) Though communication with or by them is possible, God strictly prohibits such interaction as punishable by death (Lev 20:27).

2.4. Angelic beings (the view of Michael Heiser)

Specifically: Satan and the other fallen angels who are identified as “sons of God” before His throne (Job 1-2) and are responsible not only for the Fall but mating with humanity and promoting global rebellion against God leading to the Flood (Gen 6 w/1Enoch 6-11). God placed these demons over the Gentile nations as their divine council (or spiritual authorities) after their rebellion at Babel (Deu 32:8-9 w/17 = “Sons of Israel” sb “sons of God” referring to “demons”, who inherited the Table of “Nations” as God’s judgment against the Gentiles for the Tower of Babel event [Gen 10-11]). God’s rebuke and condemnation of this council in Psalm 82 is the result of their poor oversight. Though wicked they were still expected to rule righteously.

Why this is not a viable option:

1) God never gives angels authority positions over humans – including archangels (Jud 8-9). Rather, it is humans who function as judges (rulers) over the angels (1Co 6:3). Angels exist to serve humans – specifically, those inheriting salvation (Heb 1:14). [4]

2) The idea that angels had sex with women infers not only that angels have the ability to procreate. Yet Jesus makes it clear that angels possess no such capability given they lack the proper context for such activity, marriage (Mat 22:30). To assume sexual activity were possible by angels is to therefore equally accuse God of sin – or providing moral creatures with natural desires and capabilities that possess no righteous application or solution. The fact that giants existed after the global flood (Gen 6:4) lends additional support. They are the mutated offspring of men – not angels[5].

3) Viewing the word “nations” in Deuteronomy 32 as a reference to the 70 nations of Genesis 10 is not only a false assumption – one leading directly to Heiser’s change of the phrase “sons of Israel” (MT) to “sons of God” (DSS), but a failure in reading comprehension.[6]

The entire context and focus of the Deuteronomy 32 (Moses’ Song) is God’s inheritance for the people of Israel, a group made up of twelve nations (Gen 17:4-6 w/16) which means the phrase, “sons of Israel” found in the MT is correct.

Regarding the reference to “demons” in (v17), Moses is simply recounting the idolatrous acts of the first generation (e.g., Exo 32:1-6; Lev 17:7; Act 7:43 [Amo 5:26-27]) since this is what prohibited them from receiving or realizing this land inheritance.

4) Jesus applies (6) to humans not angels (Joh 10:34 = Jesus’ defense only makes sense if the Jews understood Psalm 82 – including verse 6, as referring to humans).

2.5. the anointed priests/judges of the covenant community (Deu 17:8-9 w/Deu 21:5 = Priests/levites are the judges in the CC)

1) the place where the elohim carry out their office as rulers/judges is on earth (not heaven), the same place as the priests/judges of the covenant community (1-4; hence why God will also judge them on the earth – v8 “Arise O God, judge [the unrighteous judges] on the earth for it is You [God] who possesses [owns] all the nations”).

2) the judges (priests and levites) of the covenant community are also referred to as elohim (e.g., Exo 21:6 [See “God” Fn]; Exo 22:8-9).

3) the word translated “earth” in (5,8 [eretz]) can also be translated as land – as in the land of Israel (i.e., the covenant community) (e.g., 2Ki 5:2 “land” [eretz]).

4) the word translated “nations” in (8) can refer to the tribes of Israel (i.e., the covenant community) (e.g., again Gen 17:4-6).

5) The predominant concern and scope of Scripture is justice in the covenant community and among its leaders – not the other leaders or nations. To therefore assign a context bigger than God’s people to Psalm 82 (as Heiser does – the 70 nations of the Gentiles from Gen 10-11), is to assume an interpretive position or approach contrary what is most common in the OT – including its largest literary portion, the Prophets (e.g., Jer 22:1-17; Eze 45:9; Amo 5:10-24)[7].

6) Paul uses divine council language to speak of Old and New Covenant priests and levites:

1] (Eph 2:6) “seated us” = Paul’s audience according to 1:1-3, is the church (“Paul” along w/the “saints…and faithful…in Ephesus”) not the individual. At the very least then, the “us” of ch.2 refers to the covenant community – most specifically, her priests and levites (“faithful” = Or “faithful ones” – most likely a reference to her priests and levites – See Phi 1:1[8]). This is further supported by Paul’s connecting phrase “with Him in the heavenly places” – a direct allusion to (Psa 89:5-7) = The leaders of God’s assembly/covenant community are viewed as existing in heaven. IOW: this is the origin of their office and authority (Eph 3:10).

2] That Paul is indeed referring to spiritual leaders in the covenant community when using the phrase “rulers and authorities in the heavenly places”) versus spiritual beings such as angels or demons (again, Heiser’s view) is confirmed by the role of the church in explaining and proclaiming the “mystery” and “gospel” of God’s Messiah [Jesus] – most especially to the Jewish nation (Act 1:8; Rom 2:10) – including its spiritual leaders (Eph 3:1-10) = Assuming Heiser’s view, why would the gospel need to be preached to demons or angels – those with no hope of salvation? These verses therefore have to be referring to a human occupied divine council – most specifically those in the OC community. Why the OC divine council (priests and levites) and not those under the NC? Because of (Eph 3:11-15) = Paul’s preaching this gospel (as the ambassador of the “church”) to the aforementioned rulers and authorities has caused him “tribulations” that will bring the Ephesians “glory” (or “glory in the church”). It can’t therefore be New Covenant priests and levites Paul is referring to since not only would they not be guilty of persecuting him, but by such tribulation, bring glory to the church (such actions – if true, would bring shame to the church). How then will Paul’s preaching to OC divine coucil bring glory to the church (one that makes the tribulation/persecutions suffered bc of it worth it)? Through their conversion. They remain a part of “God’s family” (again, vv14-15) and therefore the field of final harvest for the church before Christ’s return (Rom 11:11-12). Consider (Rom 11:11-12).

3] What Paul says about these heavenly rulers or authorities in his letter to the Colossians confirms this is who Paul has in mind (the OC divine council/priests and levites) (Col 2:15-16) “When He (God) had disarmed (or defrocked and dismissed) the rulers and authorities” (through Jesus’ atoning death that removed our debt before God – v14), He made a public display of them having triumphed over them through Him” = IOW: Christ was able to make us righteous before God without the OC priesthood which in turn made them essentially obsolete (Heb 7:12 w/8:13). Additional support: (v16) = B/C the priests of the OC community have been defrocked and dismissed, we are to no longer recognize them as our spiritual authorities (our divine council).

4] Lastly, consider how Paul uses this phrase (“rulers…in the heavenly places”) at the end of his Ephesian epistle. Close cross examination of this phrase with earlier portions of the letter and other Scripture also points to Old Covenant priesthood.

(Eph 6:11-12) “schemes of the devil” = Schemes accomplished thru the “deceitful scheming” and trickery of men (4:14) = More than likely a reference to the Jews since this was – once more, the main antagonist in Paul’s ministry – and the apostolic church[9]. Additional support (1Th 2:14-18) = Notice Paul views the Jews “hindering” his mission in the gospel as satanic [“Satan hindered us”]). Paul’s point (then) in verse 12 of Ephesians 6: “Our struggle is not (only) against flesh and blood but against the rulers…in the heavenly places” (i.e., the OC divine council) who – though they have been defrocked/dismissed from their former poisitons, are now being empowered by “the powers” related to “the world forces of this darkness…the spiritual forces of wickedness” (i.e., Satan). That Paul is in these verses referring specifically to the Jewish rulers and authorities (“in the heavenly places”) is also supported by the fact that the Greek term Ioudaioi (v14, “Jews”) was the common way to refer to the Jewish priesthood and its levites (e.g., Joh 2:13-18).

7) If the anointed leaders of the Old Covenant community possessed spiritual authority (i.e., represented God’s divine council), how much more this would be true for the New Covenant community given:

1] the biblical evidence of priests and levites (judges) existing under the New Covenant just as they did under the Old (Isa 66:21; Deu 17:8-9 w/Mat 18:15-20; Consider also 1Co 6:1-4 = The church will appoint her own judges who will not only be competent enough to make righteous decisions concerning “matters of this life” but also one day judge the angels. How is that possible unless they like their predecessors have been anointed and/or deputized as God earthly vice-regents?).

2] the Body of Christ has also been given the indwelling Spirit to help her leaders – something not present under the OC.

3] We possess the “perfect” or completed corpus of God’s revelation for securing justice in the covenant community (i.e., the completed canon of Scripture – 1Co 13:10).

8) In the ANE, the spiritual realm and humanity were inextricably linked. To believe in the spiritual realm meant also believing that its supernatural power had also been given to certain humans who functioned as authorities within specific spiritual communities. Those communities were identified as religions (or the old term, cults) and the dispensers of this power, their priests (e.g., Psa 132:16). To assume then that no such power or authority existed – or still exists today, would have been for those in the Bible, the same as believing the spiritual realm itself was fantasy. The question should therefore never be, are their human beings functioning as God’s divine council today? But rather, who are they?

 

CLOSING CHALLENGE/CONTEMPLATION: What are the practical implications and application associated with the divine council being God’s anointed leaders in the church (the New Covenant community)? List as many as you can and discuss with others.

 

[1] Subjects not part of the mainstream; topics or understanding that are unconventional and/or uncomfortable to modern culture and thinking.

[2] “All ancient Mediterranean cultures had some conception of a divine council.” – Michael Heiser (“So What Exactly Is an Elohim?”)

[3] That the office of this assembly or council is indeed located in the heavens is supported not only by the fact that it is identified as “divine” – a word implying heavenly or spiritual origins, but also passages such as Eph 3:10 and 6:12.

[4] Ancient Jewish tradition teaches that this was the reason for Satan’s initial rebellion. Though stronger and more knowledgeable, God placed humans above the angels in authority and made them their servants. It should be mentioned also that though Scripture speaks of Satan as the ruler of this world (1Jo 5:19; also 2Co 4:4 “god”/elohim), his office and authority are illegitimate – having no appointment by God. To assume God did give such appointments/authority to angels (including Satan) would mean as humans we are required to submit to them and all rebellion against them would be viewed as rebellion against God (Rom 13:1-2).

[5] The purpose of Genesis 6:1-4 is to communicate the level of devastation produced by the global flood. At the time it took place, the earth was covered by human beings – including their mutated offspring, the giants (“the sons of God [human males] came into [procreated with] the daughters of men” [human females]; See 1Co 11:7).

[6] Though I do believe that the intention of God’s language confusion – or the forfeiture of His divine language (Hebrew), was a means of judgment that would ultimately send Babel’s rebels further into the direction of spiritual darkness and false religion (i.e., worshipping and serving demons – Deu 4:19-20 “beware not to…be drawn away and worship them [the moon and the stars] those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven”), such conclusions are of no import to our understanding of Deuteronomy 32 whose concern are the nations of Israel not the world.

[7] The Prophets (major and minor) contribute 250 chapters to the Old Testament’s total of 929 chapters – almost as many as the entire New Testament (260 chapters).

[8] The Ephesian church is made up of Christians (or “saints”) including also “faithful ones” (priests and levites). See similar in Col 1:2.

[9] This only changed after 70 A.D. and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Neronic persecution – influenced, aided and abetted by the Jewish priesthood, ultimately back-fired, turning Rome’s destructive forces against them and their religion.

Divine Council – Part 1

Stranger things = Those fringe subjects of the Bible which exist at the intersection of the supernatural and natural, the immaterial and material worlds.

“It would be dishonest of us to claim that the biblical writers read and understood the text the way we do as modern people, or intended meanings that conform to theological systems created centuries after the text was written. Our context is not their context. The proper context for interpreting the Bible is …not the modern world at all, or any period of its history. The proper context is the context of the biblical writers-the context that produced the Bible…The biblical context was produced by men who lived in the ancient near east (ANE). Seeing the Bible through the eyes of an ancient reader [therefore] requires shedding the filters of our [modern] traditions and presumptions. They processed life in supernatural terms.” – Michael S. Heiser (The Unseen Realm)

Previously discussed: Dimensional portals (def.,): doors or gates and their accompanying bridges connecting the immaterial/spiritual/supernatural world to the material/physical/natural world allowing those with access, the ability to travel or send/receive things from one dimension (or realm) to the other (e.g., Rev 4:1 “door” = Portal; Consider also 2Co 12:2 – Like John, Paul most likely travelled through a dimensional portal). BIG TAKEAWAY: In Christ’s churches, we have access to a heavenly portal that allows us to give and receive from God those persons (e.g., receive angels for help – Heb 1:14) and things (e.g., give praise to God, receive forgiveness through the sacraments – 1Pe 3:21; Joh 13:5-15 [context is the LT – v26]) important to our saving relationship with Him.

Divine council (def.,): a heavenly assembly of beings who have been deputized by God to function as His vice-regents on earth governing and judging the nations on His behalf.[1]

1. Biblical evidence of their existence

(Psa 82:1-8)

(1) “God (Heb., elohim [singular – see underlined] = Divine being/God) takes His stand ([participle -singular], “taking His stand) in His own the divine (Heb., be el = the divine [See ESV], e.g., el shaddai = God of the mountain, Gen 35:11) congregation (or council); He judges in the midst of the rulers (Heb., elohim [plural – see verse 2], “you” [plural] = Divine beings/Gods/gods; See also verse 6, “I said, ‘you are gods’” [again, elohim]). [2]

2. Who are the plural elohim that make up this divine council? Considering the options:

2.1. other members of the Trinity (Jesus and the Holy Spirit) (Heb 1:8; Act 5:3-5)

Why this is not a viable option: God not only condemns the elohim (“rulers”) of verse 1b of judging unjustly and walking in darkness but also promises they will one day “die like men” because of such behavior (2-7).

2.2. other deities (or the gods of other religions) 1) (Exo 20:3) “You shall have no other gods (elohim) before Me”, 2) (1Ki 11:33) “Ashtoreth the goddess (elohim) of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god (elohim) of Moab, and Milcom the god (elohim) of the sons of Ammon.”

Why this is not a viable option: (Deu 4:35, 39; Isa 45:5-6)

2.3. Dead people – particularly dead saints (1Sa 28:13) [in reference to Samuel the witch of En-dor says],“I see a god (elohim) coming up out of the earth.”

Why this is not a viable option: 1) Dead people play no role in governing or judging the affairs of those currently living (2-4). 2) Though communication with or by them is possible (e.g., besides 1Sa 28:13, see also Isa 29:4), God strictly prohibits such interaction as punishable by death (Lev 20:27).

2.4. Angelic beings

1) (Psa 8:5) “gods” [elohim] translated as “angels” in (Heb 2:7); (6) “I said, ‘You are gods (elohim), and all of you sons of the Most High (a reference to God) = elohim are sons of God w/(Job 1:6) “sons of God” (elohim) which included “Satan” who exists as part of the angelic class known as Watchers/archangels [Dan 4][3] or cherubim [Isa 28]). In the case of Psalm 82, fallen watchers/cherubim -i.e., demons, hence the rebuke and condemnation of (2-7). This is the view of Dr. Michael Heiser.[4] Included in Heiser’s view, is the belief that the global flood was the result of Satan and his fallen watchers/cherubim having sexual relations w/human women (which produced the Nephilim or giants) and convincing humanity to (once more) rebel against God. Heiser’s view comes from an Enochian understanding of (Gen 6:1-4).

“The divine transgression before the flood is retold in several Jewish texts from the intertestamental period. At least one has the divine offenders coming to earth to ‘fix’ the mess that was humankind—to provide direction and leadership through their knowledge. They were trying to help, but once they had assumed flesh, they failed to resist its urges. The more common version of events, one with a more sinister flavor, is found in 1 Enoch 6–11…The story begins very much like Genesis 6: “And when the sons of men had multiplied, in those days, beautiful and comely daughters were born to them. And the watchers, the sons of heaven, saw them and desired them. And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us choose for ourselves wives from the daughters of men, and let us beget for ourselves children’…The offspring of the Watchers (sons of God) in 1 Enoch were giants (1 Enoch 7)…But what does it all mean? Why is Genesis 6:1–4 in the Bible? What was its theological message? Yes, there were giants, renowned men, both before and after the flood (Gen 6:4). But those offspring and their knowledge were not of the true God—they were the result of rebellion against Yahweh by lesser divine beings. Genesis 6:1–4, portrays…a horrific transgression and, even worse, the catalyst that spread corruption throughout humankind. Genesis 6:5 is essentially a summary of the effect of the transgression. It gets little space—it’s a restrained account. The later Second Temple Jewish literature goes after it full bore. First Enoch 8 goes on to elaborate how certain watchers corrupted humankind by means of forbidden knowledge.” – Heiser (ibid)

 

“They [the Watchers] became servants of Satan and led astray those who dwell upon the dry ground” (1 Enoch 54:6)… “These are the Watchers (Grigori), who turned aside from the Lord, 200 myriads, together with their prince Satan(ail)”(2 Enoch 18:3).

2) (Deu 32:8-9 w/17) “When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, When He separated the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the sons of Israel” (Masoretic Text) – versus “sons of God” (elohim) (Dead Sea Scrolls) = A reference to God giving over the 70 nations of Genesis 10 (the “table of nations”) to Enoch’s watchers (the “demons” of verse 17) due to the people’s rebellion at the tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9). It is therefore also these individuals that God is rebuking and condemning in (2-7). Though fallen, the demons were still expected to exercise righteous judgment.

“Deuteronomy 32:8–9 describes how Yahweh’s dispersal of the nations at Babel resulted in his disinheriting those nations as his people. This is the Old Testament equivalent of Romans 1:18–25, a familiar passage wherein God ‘gave [humankind] over’ to their persistent rebellion. The statement in Deuteronomy 32:9 that ‘the LORD’s [i.e., Yahweh’s] portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage’ tips us off that a contrast in affection and ownership is intended. Yahweh in effect decided that the people of the world’s nations were no longer going to be in relationship to him. He would begin anew. He would enter into covenant relationship with a new people that did not yet exist: Israel. The implications of this decision and this passage are crucial to understanding much of what’s in the Old Testament. Most English Bibles do not read “according to the number of the sons of God” in Deuteronomy 32:8. Rather, they read ‘according to the number of the sons of Israel…’ The difference derives from disagreements between manuscripts of the Old Testament. ‘Sons of God’ is the correct reading, as is now known from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Frankly, you don’t need to know all the technical reasons for why the “sons of God” reading in Deuteronomy 32:8–9 is what the verse originally said. You just need to think a bit about the wrong reading, the “sons of Israel.” Deuteronomy 32:8–9 harks back to events at the Tower of Babel, an event that occurred before the call of Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel. This means that the nations of the earth were divided at Babel before Israel even existed as a people. It would make no sense for God to divide up the nations of the earth ‘according to the number of the sons of Israel’ if there was no Israel. This point is also brought home in another way, namely by the fact that Israel is not listed in the Table of Nations. So what happened to the other nations? What does it mean that they were apportioned as an inheritance according to the number of the sons of God? As odd as it sounds, the rest of the nations were placed under the authority of members of Yahweh’s divine council. The other nations were assigned to lesser elohim as a judgment from the Most High, Yahweh… God decreed, in the wake of Babel, that the other nations he had forsaken would have other gods besides himself to worship. It is as though God was saying, ‘If you don’t want to obey me, I’m not interested in being your god—I’ll match you up with some other god.’ Psalm 82, where we started our divine council discussion, echoes this decision. That psalm has Yahweh judging other elohim, sons of the Most High, for their corruption in administering the nations.” – Heiser (ibid)

3) (6b) “sons of the Most High” (elyon).

“Elyon is a completely transparent title for deity, both in Hebrew and Ugaritic. The word refers only to God in the Bible and Ugaritic religious texts. The point here is that the phrase ‘sons of Elyon’ in Canaanite (Ugaritic) material always refers to gods/divine beings.” – Heiser (“Divine Council 101: Lesson 2: The elohim of Psalm 82 – gods or men?”).

Why this is not a viable option:

1) God never gives angels authority positions over humans – including archangels (Jud 8-9). Rather, it is humans who function as judges (rulers) over the angels (1Co 6:3). Angels exist to serve humans – specifically, those inheriting salvation (e.g., guardian angels) (Heb 1:14). [5] The idea that angels had sex with women (Enochian understanding of Gen 6) infers not only that angels have penises, but sperm – or the ability to procreate. Yet Jesus makes it clear that angels possess no such capability given they lack the proper context for such activity, marriage (Mat 22:30). To assume sexual activity were possible by angels is to therefore equally accuse God of sin – or providing moral creatures with natural desires and capabilities that possess no righteous application or solution. The fact that giants existed after the global flood (Gen 6:4) lends additional support. They are the mutated offspring of men – not angels[6].

2) Viewing the word “nations” in Deuteronomy 32 as a reference to the 70 nations of Genesis 10 and the Tower of Babel incident in Gen 11 is a false assumption[7]. The entire context and focus of the chapter (Moses’ Song) is instead about God’s allotment to the people of Israel, a group made up of twelve tribes or nations (Gen 17:4-6 w/16 = All references to nations in these verses are speaking about the twelve tribes of Israel; See also God’s words to Jacob in Gen 35:11) which means the phrase, “sons of Israel” found in the Masoretic text is correct. How then we should understand Deu 32:8-9:

“When the Most High (God) gave the nations (the twelve nations of Israel) their inheritance (Israel btw is the only one ever spoken of in the OT as receiving an inheritance from God), when He separated the sons of man (the Jews), He set the boundaries of the peoples (God pre-determined the borders of the land that wb given to each Jewish tribe when they entered the Promised Land) according to the number of the sons of Israel (twelve sons equaling twelve nations within the one nation of Israel).”

Regarding the reference to “demons” in (v17), Moses is recounting the idolatrous acts of the first generation which eventually led them to being prohibited from entering into the Promised Land (e.g., Exo 32:1-6; Lev 17:7; Act 7:43 [Amo 5:26-27]).

3) Jesus applies (6) to humans not angels (Joh 10:34 = Jesus’ defense only makes sense if the Jews understood Psalm 82 – including verse 6, as referring to humans). Furthermore, though the term “sons of God” can be used for angels and other spiritual beings, the term “sons of the Most High” is only used in relation to humans (Christians) (Luk 6:35).

 

CLOSING CONTEMPLATION: Who are the members of God’s divine council?

 

[1] “All ancient Mediterranean cultures had some conception of a divine council.” – Michael Heiser (“So What Exactly Is an Elohim?”)

[2] That the office of this assembly or council is indeed located in the heavens is supported not only by the fact that it is identified as “divine” – a word implying heavenly or spiritual origins, but also passages such as Eph 3:10 and 6:12.

[3] “The term ‘Watchers,’ meaning ‘wakeful ones’ (Aramaic ןיריע), glossed as ‘sons of Heaven’ in 1 En. 6:2, refers to a class of angels, mentioned in the Bible only in Dan. 4:10, 14, 20. – Angela Kim Harkins (The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions)

[4] “The term elohim more broadly does not refer to ‘deity attributes.’ Rather, it points to a plane of existence. An elohim is simply a being whose proper habitation [or origin of office and authority] is the spirit world…An elohim is a divine being, in that an elohim is an inhabitant of [or office-bearer in] the spiritual place of reality.” – Heiser (ibid)

[5] Ancient Jewish tradition teaches that this was the reason for Satan’s initial rebellion. Though stronger and more knowledgeable, God placed humans above the angels in authority and made them their servants. It should be mentioned also that though Scripture speaks of Satan as the ruler of this world (1Jo 5:19; also 2co 4:4 “god”/elohim), his office and authority are illegitimate – having no appointment by God. To assume God did give such appointments/authority to angels (including Satan) would mean as humans we are required to submit to them and all rebellion against them would be viewed as rebellion against God (Rom 13:1-2).

[6] The purpose of Genesis 6:1-4 is to communicate the level of devastation produced by the global flood. At the time it took place, the earth was covered by human beings – including their mutated offspring, the giants (“the sons of God [human males] came into [procreated with] the daughters of men”[human females]; See 1Co 11:7).

[7] Though I do believe that the intention of God’s language confusion – or the forfeiture of His divine language (Hebrew), was a means of judgment that would ultimately send Babel’s rebels further into the direction of spiritual darkness and false religion (i.e., worshipping and serving demons – Deu 4:19-20 “beware not to…be drawn away and worship them [the moon and the stars] those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven”), such conclusions are of no import to our understanding of Deuteronomy 32 whose concern are the nations of Israel not the world.

Dimensional Portals – Part 3

Stranger things = Those fringe subjects of the Bible which exist at the intersection of the supernatural and natural, the immaterial and material worlds.

 

“It would be dishonest of us to claim that the biblical writers read and understood the text the way we do as modern people, or intended meanings that conform to theological systems created centuries after the text was written. Our context is not their context. The proper context for interpreting the Bible is …not the modern world at all, or any period of its history. The proper context is the context of the biblical writers-the context that produced the Bible….The biblical context was produced by men who lived in the ancient near east (ANE). Seeing the Bible through the eyes of an ancient reader [therefore] requires shedding the filters of our [modern] traditions and presumptions. They processed life in supernatural terms.” – Michael S. Heiser (The Unseen Realm)

 

Dimensional portals (def.,): doors or gates and their accompanying bridges connecting the immaterial/spiritual/supernatural world to the material/physical/natural world allowing those with access, the ability to travel or send/receive things from one dimension (or realm) to the other (e.g., Rev 4:1 “door” = Portal; Consider also 2Co 12:2 – Like John, Paul most likely travelled through a dimensional portal).

1. Summary of what we learned in our previous two discussions:

1.1. In the Bible, access to the divine (a heavenly portal/gate which in most cases, is also identified as the house of God) is associated w/mountains (including hills and high places). Hence the name, “El Shaddai” (Literally, “God of the Mountain”):

1) Mt. Eden (Eze 28:13-14 “Every precious stone was your covering” = This statement along w/what follows could be a reference to a temple like structure that existed as God’s house on the mountain – Precious stones were a part of Solomon’s Temple – 1Ch 29:2)

2) Mt. Ephraim (Gen 28:10-22 “a ladder was set on earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it…‘This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate [portal] of heaven [Bethel].’” w/Jug 4:5 “Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim”)

3) Mt. Sinai/tabernacle (Exo 24:1-18 w/the tabernacle being constructed at the base of the mountain – Exo 40)

4) Mt. Zion/Jerusalem Temple (Psa 84:1-3, 9), 5) Jesus as the eschatological Mt. Zion/Temple (house of God) (Mat 16:18 “rock” [mountain] w/Dan 2:35 [7:13] w/Isa 2:1-3; Joh 1:14 “dwelt” = Literally, “tabernacled”; Joh 2:19-21 w/Rev 21:22; Mat 16:19 “keys [to the portal/gate] of the kingdom of heaven”). Hence why also (Gen 11:1-9 “Babel” – later, “Babylon” or “Gate of Heaven”).

 

1.2. In the Bible, bodies of water (seas, lakes and rivers) are associated with death, the wicked and demons (Psa Psa 9:17 “the wicked…Sheol”; Luk 8:31 “demons…the abyss”, 16:23 “[wicked] in Hades”; Mat 8:31-32 “[the demons possessing the swine] rushed…into the sea” w/12:43 “[exorcised demon] passes through waterless places seeking rest [a water-filled place]”) (In re: to both Psa 18:1-17).

 

*For further study see L. Michael Morales (Who Shall Ascend The Mountain of the Lord?)

 

2. Conclusions (Inferences/Hypotheses) that can be drawn from what we have learned:

2.1. The above two truths, are why God’s salvation often involves (or is depicted as) deliverance from the watery depths and ascent to the mountain heights (bc we are moving from death to life/new life):

1) Noah and family: were delivered from the global flood to Mt. Ararat (Gen 7:6-7 w/17w/21-8:4)

2) Moses and Israel were delivered thru the Red Sea to Mt. Sinai (Exo 14:29-30 and 19:1-2)

3) David (in re: to Saul’s deadly manhunt) was delivered from “the torrents (rushing water) of ungodliness (or demonic assault, 1Sa 16:14)…the cords of Sheol…the snares of death…the many waters” to a place “on high” to the mountain of God – or God who is the mountain (“rock”) (Psa 18:1-7 w/15-17)

4) Us/Christians were delivered thru the waters of baptism symbolizing the place of our sin/death to new life on the mountain that is Christ (1Pe 3:20-21 w/Rom 8:3-4) Who experienced the same path in His mission to save us: baptism unto death (Luk 12:50) leading to resurrection and heavenly ascension from the top of a sacred mtn (Mt. Olivet).

 

2.2. Access to God – or His sacred mountain (for forgiveness, blessings, empowerment, guidance) has never been something available in any place, at any time or in any way (Exo 19:10-19 w/Psa 15 = Access to God/His mtn is limited and restrictive; Joh 12:25-26 = Access to El Shaddai Jesus is limited and restrictive; Again Mat 16:18-19 [Joh 20:21-23] = Forgiveness exists only in the church planted on El Shaddai Jesus and thru the hands of His anointed priests [Jam 5:14-16]).

2.3. Only God can open portals to heaven. The only portals we can open, are those to Hades (e.g., Gen 28:16 “surely God is in this place and I did not know it”) = Jacob plays no role in opening the portal, only in recognizing it. (Gen 11:4 w/6) = Their efforts in opening a heavenly portal was an exercise in futility, what however they could open in respect to evil had no limits [“nothing evil which they purpose to do will be impossible for them”]; 1Co 10:20 “sharers in demons” = Sacrifice to demons opens portals to [contact w/] demons).

 

2.4. Heavenly portals are necessary for salvation (Joh 3:3 “born again”) = Literally, born from above (Grk., anothen = Above, e.g., Joh 3:31 [“He who comes from above”]). Hence the reason the sacraments reside w/the church (i.e., the house of God/gate of heaven where these portals exist) (Mat 16:19).

 

2.5. The closer the portal the closer the help or hindrance (Dan 10:2-13) = It seems as though the angel was not able to simply appear at the place where Daniel was praying and fasting, but rather had to travel (from Jerusalem) through Persia to get to him (i.e., God was not willing to open a portal in Babylon). This implies that portals are not everywhere and the time it takes to receive supernatural help is determined by their proximity (See Num 1:51-2:2 w/Psa 34:7; Consider also Mar 5:25-30 = Jesus as the new house of God, was a walking portal). The proximity principle should also be assumed in relation to demonic activity (1Th 2:18 “Satan hindered us”).

 

2.6. The world is filled w/churches (sacred mountains) who, because their gospel is false and/or are compromising, have filled the world w/portals open to the demonic realm (Mat 16:18 “gates of Hades” w/Rev 18:2; Combined w/the previous point consider all the Evangelical churches that start in public schools – or false Christian schools [Roman Catholic, Evangelical] and what that means for those places – i.e., they are being overrun by demons. Could this be the reason for the uptick in violence, idolatry and immorality in our schools today?).

 

2.7. It should come as no surprise that false versions of Christianity share many similarities to true Christianity since this is how all effective false religions work. Consider the false religions of the ANE started by the 70 nations who are the descendants of Noah’s rebellious sons Ham and Japheth (Gen 10 Table of Nations). Because they share the same ancestors and experiences as the true followers of YHWH, what they produce as their god and religion share many of the same names, stories and beliefs (e.g., portals, sacred mtns and high places, the necessity of sacrifice, stories of Creation and the Flood, etc). The differences (in these false versions) exist in those areas where the truth is incompatible with their desires or agenda (e.g., a gospel req’g only faith to be saved).

The PNTM: counterfeits versions of YHWHism are bound to look like what is legitimate because of their past history or prior connection to the truth. Yet in the end, what they are – no matter the level of similarities, is a religion worshipping demons (e.g., Evangelicals are worshipping demons they call YHWH or Jesus. How many demons have been afforded the name YHWH or Jesus?).

 

2.8. Our tithing (or lack thereof) affects whether or not the heavenly portal (and its benefits) are available to us (Gen 28:22) = The ancient religion passed down to Jacob by Isaac and Abraham taught him the necessity of tithing to maintaining access to God’s heavenly portal and receiving His blessings (Mal 3:8-10 “windows” [Heb., arrubbah] = Flood-gate).

 

2.9. The biblical relationship between the sea and the demonic (Rev 13:1), as the alternate, acceptable existence for demons (Mat 8:32), could be the reason for UFOs entering and exiting from our oceans.

 

2.10. False churches are our world’s greatest threat: they promise a portal to heaven yet open those leading to the Hades and the devil (Rev 18:2)

 

2.11. The safest place on earth: Christ’s church (Joh 1:51; Mat 7:24 w/Psa 18:1-3),

 

2.12. Is it by accident that Christ Covenant Church sits on a high place (a hill) in the Mile High City – or is it poetic providence?

Dimensional Portals – Part 2

Stranger things = Those fringe subjects of the Bible which exist in the intersection of the supernatural and natural, the immaterial and material worlds.

 

What to keep in mind when discussing subjects like this: (1Ti 1:3 “strange doctrines”) = Doctrine that does not agree with orthodoxy – e.g., Gen 6:1-4 according to 1Enoch (fallen angels mated with human women who gave birth to the giants who actions and dead, demonic spirits are the main reason for humanity’s corruption [tbd under Divine Council]).

Why talking about these subjects are important:

1) we are living in stranger times (e.g., The US secret program that employed what is known as remote viewing [clairvoyance] from 1978-1995 [Project Stargate]; UFO/UAP and alien phenomena and their possible connection to world govts, the divine or demonic and other dimensions, our culture’s current obsession w/the supernatural [super-heroes, aliens, stargates/portals to other dimensions or multiverses [The Marvels, Avengers Infinity War and End Game, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Spiderman Across the Spiderverse, Zac Snyder’s Justice League, Stargate, Fringe, Resident Alien, Ancient Aliens, Stranger Things, etc.], quantum mechanics/physics and its belief in multiple dimensions).

2) much of what the Scriptures have to say about these kinds of subjects were suppressed in the over correction of the Protestant Reformation [16th century] as the means to not only curtailing the myths of Roman Catholicism but also the hyper-supernaturalism that characterized much of the Middle Ages [400 – 1500 A.D.].

3) the evidence for dimensional portals (or “stargates”) or divine councils are not only present in the Scriptures but also other ANE[1] literature (Sumerian, Babylonian, Akkadian, Egyptian and Assyrian [e.g., the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Book of Gates).

4) the Bible presents a material world that is very connected to, dependent on, impacted and affected by an immaterial world filled with supernatural beings and power.

“Human events are inextricably intertwined with the events in heavenly places.” – Sinclair Ferguson (“Preaching From The Book Of Daniel”)

5) to speak of the events of life without consideration of their connection or impact on the spiritual realm would have seemed strange to the biblical authors living in the ANE. If we are to understand our bibles and its message to us, we must then understand it from their perspective.

“It would be dishonest of us to claim that the biblical writers read and understood the text the way we do as modern people, or intended meanings that conform to theological systems created centuries after the text was written. Our context is not their context. The proper context for interpreting the Bible is not Augustine or any other church father. It is not the Catholic church. It is not the rabbinic movements of late antiquity and the Middle Ages. It is not the Reformation and the Puritans. It is not evangelicalism in any of its many flavors. It is not the modern world at all, or any period of its history. The proper context is the context of the biblical writers-the context that produced the Bible. Every other context is alien to the biblical writers and, therefore, to the Bible….The biblical context was produced by men who lived in the ancient near east (ANE). Seeing the Bible through the eyes of an ancient reader [therefore] requires shedding the filters of our [modern] traditions and presumptions. They processed life in supernatural terms.” – Michael S. Heiser (The Unseen Realm)

 

Dimensional portals (def.,): doors or gates and their accompanying bridges connecting the immaterial/spiritual/supernatural world to the material/physical/natural world allowing those with access, the ability to travel or send things from one dimension (or realm) to the other (e.g., Rev 4:1 “door” = Portal; Consider also 2Co 12:2 – Like John, Paul most likely travelled through a dimensional portal).

 

1. The cosmology[2] established by the Bible seems to identify certain geographical locations as more likely to possess dimensional portals. The geographical locations most frequented by those living in the ANE for the purpose of connecting with the spiritual/immaterial/supernatural realm were the high places. Hence the reason communication w/God (or false gods), religious sacrifices and temples often existed on mountains (e.g., Mt. Sinai, Mt. Zion) or mountain-like structures (e.g., pyramids, ziggurats; the Tower of Babel)(See Tabernacle Prefigured: Cosmic Mountain Ideology In Genesis and Exodus, Who Shall Ascend The Mountain Of The Lord? by L. Michael Morales).

 

2. Those high places confirmed to be dimensional portals between heaven and earth are also referred to as the “house of God” (other by its other terms: “sanctuary”, “tabernacle” or “temple”). This is the point behind God resting on the seventh day [after the six days of Creation] – and the reason we are told to be gathering for worship on the Sabbath in God’s house. ANE thought teaches us that though God’s home is in heaven, the place He chooses to rest is in His house [think vacation home] on earth. In the beginning that was Mt. Eden, later it was Mt. Sinai.[3] Other houses of God and dimensional portals associated w/high places/mountains: 1) Jacob’s Bethel (Gen 28:10-19 [“Beth-el” = House of God; “gate of heaven” = Dimensional portal] w/Jug 4:5 [“hill country of Ephraim” = Mt. Ephraim; See also Gen 35:3, “let us go up to Bethel”]),

2) Israel’s tabernacle (Exo 29:44-45 w/1Chr 6:48 [“the tabernacle of the house of God”]; Exo 40:34 w/24:15-16 [“cloud…glory of the Lord” = God’s Presence transfers to the tabernacle identifying it as the new sacred mountain of God and gate to heaven] [4]), 3) Jerusalem’s temple/sanctuary (2Chr 6:6 w/Psa 78:68-69; Psa 48:1-3 w/9 w/13 [“Mount Zion…His holy mountain…Your temple…her palaces”] w/Psa 27:4 [“house of the Lord…His temple”]).

Understanding the connection between high places and heavenly portals (the presence of God/the divine) helps us to better appreciate why: 1) important events or meetings are often referred to as “Summit Meetings” (e.g., G5 Summit; Gen 31:51-32:2 = The fact that Jacob and Laban are on a mountain when all these things happen [covenant/“pillar” of “witness” est’d, God invoked for judgment, sacrifice is made] and supernatural events are experienced [“angels of God” are on the mtn] is not by accident. Jacob and Laban no doubt saw this place as a potential portal [“This is God’s camp”]), 2) Jesus and His disciples found solace in the high places or mountain gardens (Mt. Olivet, Luk 21:37; its mountain garden:: the Garden of Gethsemane – consider also the angels who are there – Luk 22:39-43), 3) the gospel is connected to a high place/mountain (Isa 52:7 [Rom 10:15; Eph 6:15]) = Reference to the mountain tells us the messenger possesses a message from “on high” – i.e., it comes from God.

 

3. Jesus moves the house of God or dimensional portal between heaven and earth off the former sacred mountains and on to Himself and His churches. The physical location of Jesus’ churches wb be global and no longer require the need of a literal high place or sacred mountain (Joh 4:20-24 “worship in spirit and truth”) = Access to God (for forgiveness, blessings, empowerment, authority) would no longer be based on Jewish bloodline or its former sacred mountain (Zion/Jerusalem). God’s people would instead be born by the Spirit and building their lives on the truth/teachings of Jesus – God’s new sacred mountain – the eschatological Mt. Zion of the prophets. (Mat 16:13-18a) “I also say to you that you are Peter” = Jesus seems to be indicating that the reason He gave “Simon Barjona” (v17) this nickname (“Peter [Grk.-masc., petros] is a modified version of the actual term for rock [Grk., – fem., petra])[5] at the beginning of His ministry (Joh 1:42 “Cephas” [Aramaic for rock]) was for this divinely orchestrated moment, Simon (or Peter’s) powerful proclamation of Jesus’s identity (“You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” – v16) a statement which also identifies Jesus as eschatological Mt. Zion of the nations, the foundation of God’s new house and fountain of His new laws (Isa 2:1-3 w/Dan 2:35) = The eschatological “mountain” of Isaiah and Daniel’s visions are the same. And according to Dan 7:13-14, the divine mountain is a Divine Person (Dan 7:1-18 is a repeat of Dan 2:31-45). Jesus alludes to Himself as the mountain and His church where His laws/truth will not only be taught but obeyed in (Mat 7:24 “rock” = An epithet for mountain often used when speaking of God – e.g., Psa 18:2, 31, 46[6]). Like before however, worship on this new mountain (and new house) would require a portal/access to heaven since it too would possess spiritual commodities to be received by heaven (the sacraments). Hence (Mat 16:19). The church is therefore the new Jacob’s ladder or heavenly highway, the sacred space on earth where an influx of celestial traffic and new spiritual commodities [e.g., the sacraments; judgments – Mat 18:18-20” I am there in your midst” = The heavenly portal is open and I am participating w/you in your judgments; See also 1Co 5:4 and Act 15:19-20 w/28-29][7] pass through on a regular basis (Mat 28:20b “I am with you always” [i.e. there on a regular basis] w/Joh 1:51; Heb 12:22-29; Hence Eph 1:23 “fills all in all” = Christ’s full presence resides in the church b/c of the heavenly portal that exists there).

4. Like those worshipping false deities (demons), those churches given to moral compromise or false gospels, can become portals and/or open portals of Hades. Like those houses of God before it, Jesus’s promise in Mat 16:18b (“gates [or portals] of Hades will not overpower it [the church]”is conditioned upon the church’s practice of righteousness and justice – and embracing the true gospel.[8] (e.g., Rev 3:8 [notice the implied condition, they “kept His word and did not deny His name”] in contrast to Rev18:2 w/16:13-14 [“false prophet” = Israel’s priesthood] = B/C of her rejection of Jesus and His gospel, the OC church [Israel] not only became a false religion but a portal to Hades that filled Jerusalem w/demons]; Deu 32:15-17 [“Jeshrun” = Israel] w/Psa 106:37-38 and 1Co 10:16 w/19-20) = As in the case w/God, what can be safely assumed is that worship [sacrifice] to demons [knowingly or unknowingly] likewise opens portals allowing them passage into our dimension – or bodies. Hence the reason the global corruption of the church will eventually accomplish the permanent emancipation of Satan and the demons from Hades (Rev 20:7-8).

 

CLOSING COMTEMPLATION: What conclusions (inferences or hypotheses) can be drawn from what we have learned about the Bible’s cosmology and teaching on dimensional portals? [Make a list and discuss!]

[1] ANE: Ancient Near East. The world of the bible’s authors and teachers (2,000 BC – 100 AD).

[2] Cosmology refers to the way we understand the structure of the universe. According to ANE thought, the universe was comprised of three realms or dimensions: 1) heavenly for God and angels, 2) earthly for humans, 3) underworld (under the earth) for the dead, the devil and his angels. All three are depicted in the second of the Ten Commandments (Exo 20:4).

[3] It is possible that like Moses on Mt. Sinai, so also Adam would summit Eden to meet w/God on the Sabbath. On the other days, God could be found walking in the garden at its base (e.g., Gen 3:8).

[4] “The experience at Sinai as mountain of God will give way to another reality as this approach to God in worship is carried though the tabernacle as a portable mountain of God…Because the tabernacle is an architectural embodiment of the mountain of God, the transfer of God’s Presence from Sinai to the tabernacle yields other links and correspondences between them. Commentators, at least since Ramban in the Middle Ages, have noted the similarity between Mount Sinai and the tabernacle, first in relation to their tripartite divisions whereby the holy of holies (the priest’s sole access) corresponds to the summit, the holy place (accessed by the priesthood) corresponds to the second one partway up the mountain, and the outer court with the altar (accessed by the people) corresponds to the base of the mountain, also with an altar (Exo 19:1-25 w/24:1-2, 9-18)…After Adam’s and Eve’s expulsion from the garden of Eden, YHWH installed cherubim to guard the entrance – specifically to bar access to the tree of life (Gen 3:24). The only other place within the Pentateuch where one reads of the cherubim is in relation to the tabernacle (Exo 36:8, 35). Also, the tree of life in the garden…symbolizing God’s life-giving Presence, appears to find correspondence in the stylized tree the menorah – of the tabernacle.” – Morales (ibid)

[5] The Roman Catholic church’s attempt to identify Simon as the same rock where Jesus will build His church reveals either their ignorance – or deliberate choice to ignore that these words are different and therefore referring to two different things.

[6] “The word ‘rock’, sometimes a synonym for mountain, is also an epithet for YHWH.” – Morales (The Tabernacle Pre-Figured)

[7] With respect to spiritual commodities consider the OT sacrifices or burnt offerings whose very name implies movement upward through God’s portal. “The supreme sacrifice, the burnt offering, or holocaust, is in Hebrew ‘ola, a going up.’” – Morales (ibid)

[8] It is worth noting that where Jesus makes this promise (“the gates of Hades”) is also on a mountain, Mt. Hermon, a place known in the ANE as “the gates of the dead.”

Dimensional Portals – Part 1

Stranger things = Those fringe subjects of the Bible which exist in the intersection of the supernatural and natural, the immaterial and material worlds.

 

 

What to keep in mind when discussing subjects like this: (1Ti 1:3 “strange doctrines”) = Doctrine that does not agree with orthodoxy – e.g., Gen 6:1-4 according to 1Enoch (fallen angels mated with human women who gave birth to the giants who actions and dead, demonic spirits are the main reason for humanity’s corruption [tbd under Divine Council]).

 

Why talking about these subjects are important:

1) we are living in stranger times (e.g., The US secret program that employed what is known as remote viewing [clairvoyance] from 1978-1995 [Project Stargate]; UFO/UAP and alien phenomena and their possible connection to world govts, the divine or demonic and other dimensions, our culture’s current obsession w/the supernatural [super-heroes, aliens, stargates/portals to other dimensions or multiverses [The Marvels, Avengers Infinity War and End Game, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Spiderman Across the Spiderverse, Zac Snyder’s Justice League, Stargate, Fringe, Resident Alien, Ancient Aliens, Stranger Things, etc.], quantum mechanics/physics and its belief in multiple dimensions).

2) much of what the Scriptures have to say about these kinds of subjects were suppressed in the over correction of the Protestant Reformation [16th century] to not only curtail the myths of Roman Catholicism but hyper-supernaturalism that characterized much of the Middle Ages [400 – 1500 A.D.] and its theology.

3) the evidence for dimensional portals (or “stargates”) or divine councils are not only present in the Scriptures but also other ANE[1] literature (Sumerian, Babylonian, Akkadian, Egyptian and Assyrian [e.g., the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Book of Gates).

4) the Bible presents a material world that is very connected to, dependent on, impacted and affected by an immaterial world filled with supernatural beings and power.

“Human events are inextricably intertwined with the events in heavenly places.” – Sinclair Ferguson (“Preaching From The Book Of Daniel”)

5) to speak of the events of life without consideration of their connection or impact on the spiritual realm would have seemed strange to the biblical authors living in the ANE. If we are to understand our bibles and its message to us, we must then understand it from their perspective.

“It would be dishonest of us to claim that the biblical writers read and understood the text the way we do as modern people, or intended meanings that conform to theological systems created centuries after the text was written. Our context is not their context. The proper context for interpreting the Bible is not Augustine or any other church father. It is not the Catholic church. It is not the rabbinic movements of late antiquity and the Middle Ages. It is not the Reformation and the Puritans. It is not evangelicalism in any of its many flavors. It is not the modern world at all, or any period of its history. The proper context is the context of the biblical writers-the context that produced the Bible. Every other context is alien to the biblical writers and, therefore, to the Bible….The biblical context was produced by men who lived in the ancient near east (ANE). Seeing the Bible through the eyes of an ancient reader [therefore] requires shedding the filters of our [modern] traditions and presumptions. They processed life in supernatural terms.” – Michael S. Heiser (The Unseen Realm)

 

 

Dimensional portals (def.,): doors or gates and their accompanying bridges connecting the immaterial/spiritual/supernatural world to the material/physical/natural world allowing those with access, the ability to travel or send things from one dimension (or realm) to the other (e.g., Rev 4:1 “door” = Portal; Consider also 2Co 12:2 – Like John, Paul most likely travelled through a dimensional portal).

 

 

1. The cosmology[2] established by the Bible seems to identify certain geographical locations as more likely to possess dimensional portals. 1.1. The earth’s oceans or large bodies of water are depicted as uncreated space, the place of darkness, chaos and evil – and therefore the place where those go who are now dead (uncreated physically, no longer attached to a physical body, spirits) those who have left the “light” of creation or “light of life” (life/creation being associated w/life – Gen 1:3-4; Job 33:30; Psa 56:13; Joh 1:4, 8:12). The sea was therefore thought of as a portal to the underworld (again Exo 20:4). Most common biblical terms used to identify the underworld: “Sheol or Abbadon”– Job 26:5-6[3]). Support: (Gen 1:1-2, “formless and void” = Uncreated; Gen 6:17 w/7:21-23 w/1Pe 3:20-21 [Like the blood of the sacrifice, water removes what should not exist in creation – i.e., sin, to the place of uncreation[4]]; See also 2Pe 3:5-6 [“formed out of water by water” = The water represents the instrument of creation rather than creation itself. Peter also associates it w/destruction – which coincides with the idea of uncreation since this is the end product of destruction]; Psa 18:4-6 w/16-19, 49:14 [Sheol is associated w/darkness in contrast to the upright who rule in the light/“morning.” It is also the place where our created “form” is uncreated or “consumed”]; Job 17:13]; Jon 2:2-3; Isa 57:20-21; Jam 1:6; Jud 1:13; Hence Rev 21:1)[5].

Given this understanding consider water’s connection to demons or demon possession (Mat 8:31-32 w/12:43 = Water shares much in common w/physical bodies making it a nice alternative. In this sense, pigs are also a reasonable option as a transport vessel back to the water – especially given their recent eviction from their human host – the ideal home for sentient life-forms/spirits)[6].

1.2. In contrast, the earth’s land is depicted as created space and her gardens and high places or mountains (think Eden and the mountain of God in Eden) are depicted as sacred space, or the place where dimensional portals often exist. Hence the reason, ancient religions (those whose origins are closest to Creation and “religion zero”, or that originally instituted by God and practiced by Adam and Eve) are frequently associated with sacred gardens or high places, natural (mountains) or engineered (e.g., man-made ziggurats/pyramids of Mesopotamia and Egypt) (Exo 3:1; Deu 9:10; 1Ki 3:4; Psa 48:1-2, 68:15; Isa 2:3, 8:18, 14:13-5; 18:7, 51:3, 57:15; Jer 17:12; Eze 20:40, 28:13-14 [“Eden, the garden of God” in on the “holy mountain of God”]; Mic 1:5, 4:2; Heb 12:22; Rev 14:1, 21:10). With respect to the false religions existing in the ANE consider (Gen 4:12-14[7]; Gen 11:1-9[8]; Lev 26:30; Num 33:52; Deu 12:2; 1Ki 11:7, 12:31-32, 13:33; 2Ki 17:9-11, 29 Isa 65:3, 66:17). Mountains as sacred space also played a role in how those living in the ANE perceived the watery depths of the underworld. It existed at “the roots of the mountains” (Jon 2:5-6).

“[In the Bible] sacred space was poetically conceived as a world-mountain surrounded by the primeval waters. At the cloud-covered summit of the mountain is the temple, the dwelling of God, and at the base are the chaos waters, underneath which lies Sheol, the place of the dead. Representing God’s life-giving Presence, the waters of life flow from the summit of the mountain. Movement away from life (creation) toward death (chaos); and, conversely, movement toward God is expressed as an ascent from death to life…Hence the movement from death to life, from exile to entry into God’s Presence, involves a pattern of deliverance through waters to the mountain of God. Noah and his household…will be delivered through the waters of deluge to the Ararat mount where he will offer sacrifices and receive divine blessing. Later, Israel will be delivered through the waters of the sea and brought to Sinai, entering into covenant with YHWH. The pattern of exile or expulsion entails the reverse movement: from the temple of God to the waters of destruction.” – L. Michael Morales (Who Shall Ascend)

“God’s holy mountain, where His temple is located, is the center of the cosmos, or orderly creation. The farther away from the center of the cosmos one goes, the more one moves into the realm of chaos or non-creation. The spatial image is equally vertical and horizontal. Vertical, the heavens are the source of existence and creation; the underworld and abyss are the place of death and nonexistence. Horizontally, the land around the mountain of one’s god is known and understood and therefore thought of as most ‘created’; the sea which lay beyond the limits of the land was unsolid, non-formed – in other words, ‘uncreated’.” – B.F. Batto (“The Reed Sea: Requiescat in Pace”).

[1] ANE: Ancient Near East. The world of the bible’s authors and teachers (2,000 BC – 100 AD).

[2] Cosmology refers to the way we understand the structure of the universe. According to ANE thought, the universe was comprised of three realms or dimensions: 1) heavenly for God and angels, 2) earthly for humans, 3) underworld (under the earth) for the dead, the devil and his angels. All three are depicted in the second of the Ten Commandments (Exo 20:4).

[3] When referring to the unrighteous dead, the NT uses the terms, “Hades” or the “abyss” or the “bottomless pit.” This underworld place is also associated w/Satan and the demons (e.g., Luk 16:23; Mat 11:23; Luk 8:31; Rev 9:1-11, 20:1-3).

[4] With respect to the animal sacrifices of the Bible, the reason God prescribes them is so that sin – a corrupting element to the code of creation or life, can be properly dispensed of (or cleansed) through (or upon) something which (through its death) is leaving creation (i.e., being uncreated). What however man needs to truly experience freedom (from sin), is new creation. This then is what was accomplished and has been applied to us through Christ’s “uncreation” (death) and “recreation” (resurrection).

[5] That the sea is more than simply a metaphor can be seen by its use in Revelation where it also provides clues to the Beast’s geographical origin (e.g., Rev 13:1).

[6] The underworld is itself not filled with water. According to Zechariah, it is a “waterless pit” (Zec 9:11) implying that it is also a place of some level of discomfort or unrest (compare again to Mat 12:43 and also Luk 16:23 [Hades]).

[7] The first deviation from “religion zero” is connected to the Bible’s first apostate, Cain. After being driven from the presence of God and Eden’s east door/gate (the established place of sacrifice after the Fall – Gen 3:24 w/11-16), Cain, no longer able to receive forgiveness (hence his response, v13, “my punishment is too great to bear!”), finds spiritual solace (and “new religion”) in his son (Enoch) and seeks a high place (or mountain) to build a city in dedication to his name (versus the name of God) (v17; archeology: Mesopotamian island hill-city of Eridu; in Sumerian, Nun-ki) . Hence the contrast mentioned in vv25-26. Archeology believes Cain’s city to also be the later site of the Tower of Babel/Babylon (which means, “Gate of God”) – the engineered (man-made) religious high place constructed on a now very flat (post Flood) area (Gen 11:1-4).

[8] “The ziggurat builders wanted access to the divine through the gate [portal] of heaven.” – L. Michael Morales (Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord?); “Such cultic towers were typical of the time in ancient Mesopotamia. Their purpose was to serve as a gateway between heaven and earth whereby the god could come down and even refresh himself on the way down to the earthly temple.” -G.K. Beale (“The Descent of the Eschatological Temple in the Form of the Spirit at Pentecost.”); “The Sin of the tower builders is their desire to storm the heavens and make a name for themselves, which symbolically means that they seek to invade the divine realm and become immortal like gods [to dethrone God and set themselves in His place].” – A. Gnuse (“An Overlooked Message: The Critique of Kings and Affirmation of Equality in the Primeval History.”).