Friday, March 24, 2017

El and the Elohim. Plural Plural or Uni-Plural?



An Edit That Missed the Cut
Deuteronomy 32:8-9 is one of those rare biblical passages that seemingly preserves a vestige of an earlier period in proto-Israelite religion where El and Yahweh were still depicted as separate deities: Yahweh was merely one of the gods of El’s council! This tradition undeniably comes from older Canaanite lore.
When the Most High (’elyรดn) gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated humanity, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of divine beings. For Yahweh’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.
"There are two points to take away from this passage. First, the passage presents an apparently older mythic theme that describes when the divine beings, that is each deity in the divine counsel, were assigned and allotted their own nation. Israel was the nation that Yahweh received. Second, Yahweh received his divine portion, Israel, through an action initiated by the god El, here identifiable through his epithet “the Most High.” In other words, the passage depicts two gods: one, the Most High (El), is seen as assigning nations to the divine beings or gods (the Hebrew word is elohim, plural “gods”) in his council; the other, Yahweh, is depicted as receiving from the first god, the Most High, his particular allotment, namely the people of Israel. Similarly, in another older tradition now preserved in Numbers 21:29, the god Chemosh is assigned to the people of Moab."

39 comments:

Connie Schmidt said...

How is "AMWAY" connected to all this?

Black Ops Mikey said...

What's the English language transliteration of the Hebrew for 'no god'?

And 'no gods'?

Anonymous said...

Cue fundy outrage from Troo B'lievers™ in 3...2...1...

Michael said...

"For Yahweh’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage."

And I'm sure Yahweh never forgave El for that allotment :)
He had to spend much of the rest of the OT chastising, punishing and prophesying the future doom of those "stiff-necked people" El decided to curse him with.

DennisCDiehl said...

Aside from the endless sermons on "There were two trees in the Garden", HWA talked endlessly about Elohim finally linking the "Let us make man in our image" and " And the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become as one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live for ever", to Jesus being the God of the Old Testament. HWA thought the "US" was God the Father and Jesus.

Being objective about the text would show this to be a mistaken notion and not what was meant originally. The concept evolved through the OT and Jesus and the meaning of Jesus was backwritten into these texts.

Dave Pack and Gerald Flurry do this all the time themselves. They read a text that doesn't mean what they make it mean and one ends up with a fairy tale in which they themselves become the chief characters.

It's not a bad thing to see where ideas in Armstrongsims got off the track early in the game nor how it is perpetuated to this day by those who see themselves as the repository of all things true.

If you don't like the concept then don't read it and wait for the next posting on who or whatever.





DennisCDiehl said...

The bottom line is that in Genesis, God is the El of the Canaanite religion adopted by Israel. YHVH is a member of the El-ohim (plura) or Council of the Gods as was Lucifer soon to evolve into Satan. El assigns YHVH his portion to rule and oversee which was Israel. Chemosh, who must also have been a member of the Council was assigned to the Moabites . Later, El was edited out or simply faded out as a haze in the background and YHVH took over as supreme God with all of El's traits. Then through slight of theological hand, Jesus ends up as YHVH all along and a son now to I expect good old El again. Throw in the person or force of the Holy Spirit and you have three Gods or one fully God and fully man because now they have created a theological can of worms that is better left to the experts who understand the mysteries better than the unwashed laity.

In short, gods, just like men evolve and it is clearly shown in the OT that ancient was as first Polytheistic as all the nations around them, if one has the objective eyes to see. Those who have to defend their entrenched beliefs over objective seeing are going to get upset and defensive. This is always the case with objective vs subjective seeing.

Questeruk said...


Dennis, as you no doubt remember, if you think about it, this fits in completely with COG theology.

To remind you, the COG theology is that Yahweh was the being that later became born as Jesus Christ, and was the being who in the OT communicated with mankind, and more specifically Israel.

God the Father, on the other hand, was the one who delegated this position to Yahweh/The Word/Jesus Christ. (You could check John1v1-3, and John 5v22 should you want, which collaborates this).

Deut 32 v8-9, the verses you quoted, also collaborates this statement, so thank you Dennis for pointing this out to readers of this blog!

DennisCDiehl said...


"God the Father, on the other hand, was the one who delegated this position to Yahweh/The Word/Jesus Christ. (You could check John1v1-3, and John 5v22 should you want, which collaborates this).

Which is what I meant by the figure of Jesus being written back into the OT story. In the OT, no Jesus was was any of these god figures just as no Jesus , "whose name shall be called Immanuel" was the least bit on the mind of Isaiah when writing about a young pregnant woman in Isaiah 7:14. It's the same as all of Matthew's "and thus it was fulfilled" inserts where Matthew uses the OT to tell the story of Jesus (according to the scriptures) making the OT mean what it never meant or could mean.

https://www.westarinstitute.org/resources/the-fourth-r/did-jesus-fulfill-prophecy/

The story of Jesus, including his deity, was cobbled together from OT scriptures giving them a new spin. Jesus was not the real "God of the Old Testament" Whoever Jesus actually was in history might also be surprised, as would Mother Mary, what they became after their deaths.

DennisCDiehl said...

Bible Prophecy is made into history by searching the scriptures and tale weaving. Or as they say, it is prophecy historized and not history prophesied. That's how and why the NT story of Jesus was written "according to the scriptures"

nck said...

I saw a 6 part documentary on Jesus and Mary in Islam. Very interesting since,according to Islam he was very special, but of course not Allah. There can only be one Allah the rest would be blasphemy. Of course the originators of Islam were aware of the theories surrounding Jesus living where the first christians and jews fled after the collapse of Jerusalem as a religious center. (where clearly God did not live in a physical structure anymore and thus tranformed into an omnipresent reality not contained by any tabernacle) Nck

Questeruk said...

So basically you are saying that Christianity is a hoax. Maybe, possibly, a good intentioned hoax, but hoax nevertheless.

We can know nothing from the writings of the Bible, or any other ancient document come to that.

Really comes down to not only the COGS, but all religions have no point. We can know nothing about any sort of purpose in life.

Sort of makes the existence of this board pointless as well, doesn't it?

Steve Carson said...

If you want an interesting take on this go to drmsh.com He also has a youtube channel... the naked bible podcast. He's an ancient language scholar. He knows his stuff.

Anonymous said...

"To remind you, the COG theology is that Yahweh was the being that later became born as Jesus Christ, and was the being who in the OT communicated with mankind, and more specifically Israel."

Quest, you don't appear to be that familiar with either the OT texts, the gospel of John, or COG theology. Were you even around then? You speak like you weren't.

In COG theology, it is the "Word" (Logos), from John 1 (which was lifted from the pre-Christian Jewish philosophy of Philo of Alexandria) who in COG theology became Jesus, just like it says in John 1, not Yahweh.

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Yahweh

Throughout the OT texts, you will find within a single story, the text we have alternating back and forth between El and Yahweh. Most textual critics accept some form of the DH, and that the reason for this alternation is the result of stitching together by a late editor different retellings of the same stories from different texts that existed at the time to create a new text with as many of the details from all of them now incorporated to a new text, which is what we have.

For an example, take the Balaam story from Numbers:

In Numbers 22:8, Balaam tells the officials of Moab, "Stay here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, just as Yahweh speaks to me," apparently from a Yawist source. But in the very next verse, it isn’t Yahweh who comes to speak to him, but Elohim! In verse 20, still reading from the Elohist source, Elohim instructs Balaam to go with the Moabites. And yet in verse 22, as soon as he has done so, Elohim’s anger burns hot against Balaam, and the reason given is ironically because he has done exactly as he was instructed! And because of that anger, who appears, blocking the way of the enlightened donkey? An angel of Yahweh! Apparently we're back reading from the Yawist source once again.

But clearly, from passages like Exodus 6 leading up to the Shema, the iconic declaration of Jewish "monotheism," we see the editorial intention to fuse Elohim and Yahweh, previously two different deities, into a single deity, just part of the editorial work required to redact Judaism's polytheistic roots from the texts and from the religion:

Exodus 6:
2 And Elohim spoke unto Moses, and said unto him, I am Yahweh:
3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of El Shaddai, but by my name Yahweh was I not known to them.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Magical thinking without abiding with the rules of magic.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm impressed. This is the most informative article I have ever read on this blog (which is usually devoted to the fun job of bashing spiritual imposters).

Anonymous said...

What about the Most High and/or Ancient of Days in the book of Daniel? I never did really get that. The COG interpretation was never compelling. It seems to be hard to figure out who that really was. Now I suspect it gets back to the chief of the gods.

And what about the psalm Jesus quoted about 'ye are gods' or some such thing, or 'god said unto god' or whatever. This was to refute the fairy-seas on some point about Jesus?

Anonymous said...

"If you want an interesting take on this go to drmsh.com He also has a youtube channel... the naked bible podcast. He's an ancient language scholar. He knows his stuff."

But he seems to have 1.5 zillion hour long videos. Which one deals with _this_ subject? A link would be nice.

DennisCDiehl said...


And what about the psalm Jesus quoted about 'ye are gods' or some such thing, or 'god said unto god' or whatever. This was to refute the fairy-seas on some point about Jesus?
Psalm 82

A psalm of Asaph.

1God presides in the great assembly;
he renders judgment among the “gods”:

2“How long will youa defend the unjust
and show partiality to the wicked?

3Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.

4Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

5“The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing.
They walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

6“I said, ‘You are “gods”;
you are all sons of the Most High.’

7But you will die like mere mortals;
you will fall like every other ruler.”

8Rise up, O God, judge the earth,
for all the nations are your inheritance.

The author of John has Jesus say: ""Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, "I have said you are gods’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came - and the Scripture cannot be broken - what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, "I am God's Son"?’" John 10:34-36"

to shore up Jesus saying "Can I not be God's son too?"

Of course the Psalms are not one of the Books of the Law, but that aside, some feel this Psalm is exactly reflecting El talking to his failed Council of the gods" and a Psalm written to install El or the Most High as the only God with all others having failed and dying like mere mortals now. Thus they are called "gods" or more aptly "failed former gods so called."

It could be about failed humans as well but in the evolution from polytheism in Israel to montheism, this Psalm makes sense. The John usage is an upgrade and NT tweek to make a point for Jesus but not the original intent of the Psalm.


"The nature and function of Psalm 82 has long been a subject of debate.

The text is rather brief and has no real textual instabilities, but it stands out within the Hebrew Bible as the most steeped in mythological imagery. Pre-critical exegetes understood the gods of the narrative to be human judges, but subsequent textual discoveries and concomitant lexicographical advances, combined with more critical methodologies have largely undermined that reading.

A divine assembly setting has become widely accepted since the middle of the twentieth century. More contemporary scholarship focuses on the possible distinction between Yhwh and El within the psalm,form, function and date of composition."

http://www.academia.edu/395686/An_Exegetical_Reading_of_Psalm_82

DennisCDiehl said...

... "Scholars have pointed out that this seems to indicate Yhwh is not sovereign in this assembly, but is one of the second tier deities."

http://www.academia.edu/395686/An_Exegetical_Reading_of_Psalm_82

DennisCDiehl said...

All that to say, the NT authors of the Gospels, the Epistles and the Church letters as well as Revelation, use the OT struggle and evolution of the polytheistic pantheon of Israel, El the Most High, His Council of lesser gods which included YHVH appointed to be over Israel, Chemosh over Moab and even "The Satan" "he who opposes" plus others not defined to flesh out the story of how Jesus becomes God. From El the Most High to YHVH , at once lesser and then supreme (Psalm 82) to Jesus as YHVH or the Lord in disguise and now revealed.

It took a lot of OT cobbling and searching to come up with Jesus as God in the Flesh.

I don't know personally if Jesus was a real person in history or totally made up as a literary construct based on OT scriptures or a bit of both, but that's another story.

But the evolution of the gods in the Book is fascinating and you can see it easily in the text if you have eyes to see and the curiosity to want to know how such things come to be in reality.

Anonymous said...

"I don't know personally if Jesus was a real person in history or totally made up as a literary construct based on OT scriptures or a bit of both, but that's another story."

Bart Ehrman basically said all the bible scholars think Jesus was a real person.

It sounds to me like Psalm 82 is saying the gods are corrupt and they are going to be punished with death as a result--they will die like mere mortals. And if so, that would leave just YHWH and the Most High? (And our old 'friend' Satan--he gets to live so we can have a bad guy to fight).

Anonymous said...

Great job Dennis! It puts the Bible in a whole new light.

When in the COGs we used to say "the bible does not contradict itself" and we would use that to READ INTO the scriptures a lot of things not actually written there. We had to do this to get rid of the contradictions. So the bible does contradict itself.

Finally I tried reading it at face value instead of putting my own ideas (actually COG ideas) into it and it was like scales falling from my eyes. I saw a lot of contradictions and things that just didn't make sense. It is a very flawed book. But if you insist it is perfect you can reinterpret and rationalized pretty much anything. Instead of recognizing these reinterpretations for what they are this is considered in the COG having deep insight.

k-baradanikto said...

You all better quit thinking or you're going to screw everything up.

Questeruk said...


Anonymous said...

“Quest, you don't appear to be that familiar with either the OT texts, the gospel of John, or COG theology. Were you even around then? You speak like you weren't.

In COG theology, it is the "Word" (Logos), from John 1 (which was lifted from the pre-Christian Jewish philosophy of Philo of Alexandria) who in COG theology became Jesus, just like it says in John 1, not Yahweh.

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”


Anonymous – ‘The Word’, Jesus Christ, also claimed to be Yahweh. That is COG theology, which is also the direct claim of Jesus Christ.

Joh 1:1 Defines that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

So this ‘Word’ was God.

In John 8v58, when asked by the Jews, Christ (the Word) very clearly claims to be Yahweh

Joh 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.

To the Jews this was blasphemy; Jesus Christ was referring to His previous existence, claiming that He had talked with Abraham. That He was the ‘I AM’. And this was why the Jews were then about to kill him (V59).


Christ was referring back to Exodus chapter 3, where Yahweh is talking to Moses.

Exo 3:7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows

Moses wants to know when the Israelites ask him to tell them this beings name, what should he say to them?

Exo 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Jesus Christ Himself was directly claiming to be Yahweh, by applying that name to himself, and the Jews fully understood what he was claiming.

That I think you will find is also COG theology.

Byker Bob said...

This was always an Armstrongite buzz topic. Basically, I think they were making a preemptive strike against the trinity, while setting up Jesus as the God of the Old Testament, soas to roll the Old Covenant into the New Covenant, only with a Messiah as the one permissable difference.

Armstrongism contained so much useless information!

BB

Anonymous said...

"You all better quit thinking or you're going to screw everything up."

For who? The blind fairy-sees like Gerald and Stevie-boy?

Anonymous said...

"1.5 zillion hour long videos"

What I meant was 1.5 zillion one-hour long videos.

Anonymous said...

Here's the other psalm I was wondering about.

Psalm 110:1 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

v. 4 The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

According to HWA (not that I really trust him) Melchizedek became the Messiah. So he must have had a Lord over him.

Anonymous said...

WTH?

Hoss said...

The Jewish understanding is that God has no names, but is only "named" by various attributes as apply to the situation at hand. Hebrew scholars connect the beginning of Deut 32 with accounts of the Flood and post-Flood period.

DennisCDiehl said...

Aside from the fact there was no Noah's Flood in reality the very existence of an Abraham or Moses is suspect historically. There is no credence to the Biblical account of the Exodus for many reasons. Israel Finkelstein, author of "The Bible Unearthed" and preeminent Israeli archaeologist makes it plain that no Abraham , Moses or Solomon with questions about David ever existed as noted in the Bible. He told me, "We were a cultic people looking for a huge pedigree." He also noted, "We exaggerate."

The Pentateuch was most likely written by different authors with different views of God and his names. The Documentary Hypothesis as to the origins of the Book of Moses covers this well.

Leading Rabbis have admitted their own doubts as to the Exodus story and the shear logistics of 3+ million leaving Egypt, "plus women and children" no to mention cattle "the self same night" is ridiculous in the extreme.

So with the names of God we really see fighting over whose God is God and as noted, the God of the Bible evolves over time, even writing his ,EL, consort Asherah out of the picture and turning her into a pole not to be worshipped or even regarded

Great story. Nothing like we were told in Sunday School or Church

nck said...

Yes. Dennis. The real history is very exciting. For instance Moses and his snakes and poles turning into snakes as compared to Obamacare or health insurance.

Nothing beats a peer review at Hebrew University with Finkelstein present though. Stuff of legends.

Nck

DennisCDiehl said...

NCK You'd think the Egyptian Priests would have done the amazing and turned the blood BACK to water! But oh no...wherever they found water they turned it to blood also. Nice move.

Moses was the original Harry Potter and what we call "miracles" most call magic

Exodus 7:20-24

"Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt.

But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh's heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said. Instead, he turned and went into his palace, and did not take even this to heart. And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile to get drinking water, because they could not drink the water of the river."

Anonymous said...

Quest, again, you don't appear to be familiar with either what your own bible says, or what COG theology was, not even when I copy the relevant verses that WCG used to justify it's doctrinal positions.

I was in Pasadena from 1970 onward, and I know what was taught by Herbert himself, and by all the leading ministers, and I know what was published in the vetted literature published by Pasadena. I don't know your local minister may have said there in the UK. Either this was his theology, or else it's simply your own theology.

I know it's human to think oneself to be right all the time, but it's also human to be mistaken a lot of the time, for various reasons.

Since you can't even seem to read what I cite for you, let's cover it again in greater detail:

1) "The God Family doctrine holds that the Godhead is not limited to God (the Creator) alone, or even to a trinitarian God, but is a divine family into which every human who ever lived may be spiritually born, through a master plan being enacted in stages. The Godhead now temporarily consists of two co-eternal individuals (see Binitarianism), Jesus the Messiah, as the creator and spokesman (The Word or Logos), and God the Father." —Wikipedia

2) WCG taught that Elohim = Yahweh = "the father", and "the Logos" was begotten by "the father" to become "the son" = Jesus.

Exodus 6:
2 And Elohim spoke unto Moses, and said unto him, I am Yahweh:
3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of El Shaddai, but by my name Yahweh was I not known to them.

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 6:46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. (Also see John 1:18, 1 John 4:12.)

3) Since "the father" has never appeared to anyone, who appeared to Moses in Exodus 33:18-34:9? Obviously, it could not have been "the father," so who is left? Well, in WCG's binitarian belief system, there's only one option left, as confirmed in 1 Corinthians 10:4, the "rock" that guided the Israelites in the wilderness was "christ," but prior to being begotten, back when he was "the Logos." That was WCG theology at least.

4) So, why then did "the Logos" identify himself as Yahweh/Elohim? Because he is the spokesman of Yahweh/Elohim/"the father", interfacing with sinful mankind which he cannot become tainted by contact with, so it was taught, and simply acting as a conduit.

To avoid bickering with you, this will be my last statement on it. Like it or not, this is what was taught by WCG. If it's that important to you, look it up in the old WCG literature online.

Anonymous said...

Herbie article on Melchizedek so you know what he taught about it.

http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/HWA/k/745/Mystery-Melchizedek-Solved.htm

Anonymous said...

To set the record straight, this is what Herbie said about YHWH and the Logos and Christ.

http://www.hwalibrary.com/cgi-bin/get/hwa.cgi?action=gettcast&InfoID=1382578649

Anonymous said...

HWA believed in the God Family, with himself near the top, which is known by scholars as pathological egocentric multiple schizophrenic anti-trinitarianism.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a great posting this has been. I have learned so much. Once again Dennis, through his research, has helped me fill in the blanks. These are questions I used to have as a child in the WCG. I tried asking my local pastor some of them once but could never get an answer which made any sense at all.

Thank you Dennis.

Questeruk said...


Anonymous,

Referring to me, you constantly claim that “You don't appear to be familiar with either what your own bible says, or what COG theology was, not even when I copy the relevant verses that WCG used to justify it's doctrinal positions.”

That is a very untrue statement.

What I am saying is very simple – COG theology is/was that Jesus Christ was ‘the Word’, and that ‘the Word’ was the Yahweh of the Old Testament.

You then give a reference (assuming you are also the anonymous March 25, 2017 at 5:13 PM) which is the transcript of a broadcast from HWA in 1978. That is completely fine, because it says EXACTLY what I have been saying!

Please read this quote from the transcript you provided:-

“Now Jesus came, and was born of the virgin Mary, one who was called the Yahweh, or the Lord in the Old Testament. He was the God of the Old Testament, and he is the one who became Jesus Christ. Now there are many, many scriptures quoted in the New Testament, quoted from the Old, speaking of God, but in the New, it shows it was speaking of Christ. So that it proves, absolutely proves, that the God of the Old Testament is the one who became Christ, not the Father.”

If you check the whole transcript, you will see this is repeated in other places as well.

You say you were “in Pasadena from 1970 onward, and I know what was taught by Herbert himself, and by all the leading ministers, and I know what was published in the vetted literature published by Pasadena.”

You may have been there, but it seems you weren’t listening too well. HWA claims that he has absolutely proved that Jesus was the one called Yahweh. HWA’s words, not mine.

I am not ‘bickering’ with you, just establishing the facts of the matter.