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The Divine Council and Orthodox Theology: The Communion of Saints

The Divine Council and Orthodox Theology: The Communion of Saints

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"Seraphim Hamilton has an MA in Early Christian Studies from the University of Notre Dame and a Th.M from Duke University. He writes about the unity of the Bible in terms of Christ and the intersection between Scripture and Orthodox theology." from substack

What is the Divine Council?

"Psalm 89:5–7 says, “The heavens praise your wonders, LORD, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings? In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him.” These verses present a divine council: heavenly beings referred to as “the council of the holy ones.” Psalm 82:1 also indicates that “God has taken his place in the divine council” (Psalm 82:1, ESV). The “divine council” is also called the “great assembly” (NIV), “heaven’s court” (NLT), and “His own congregation” (NASB).

This divine council could also be referenced in Nehemiah 9:6, which says, “You alone are the LORD; You have made heaven, The heaven of heavens, with all their host, The earth and everything on it, The seas and all that is in them, And You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You” (NKJV). The “host” of the “heaven of heavens” are most likely angelic beings. God is the Lord of hosts (Psalm 24:10; Isaiah 44:6). The God who presides in the heavenly council is sovereign over all, including the spiritual beings in His divine council.

Other passages of Scripture describe scenes that could be interpreted as a meeting of the divine council. In Job 1:6, a conclave is held in heaven: “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord.” In 1 Kings 22:19, the prophet Micaiah relates a vision: “I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left.” Micaiah goes on to describe how the spiritual beings there suggested various means of accomplishing God’s will, and God chose one spirit to carry out the task. In Daniel 4:17, the angels present a decision made by the divine council: “This decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men” (NKJV). The divine council was in God’s presence and was given the task of deciding Nebuchadnezzar’s judgment and communicating the verdict to Daniel in a dream.

God does not need a divine council to give Him ideas or to approve His decisions. He is the omniscient God Almighty. In His wisdom, God has created a divine council to stand in His presence and graciously allows them to participate in various judgments and decrees.

It is a wonder that God allows created beings to be privy to His ways and even have input in His plan. The divine council is privileged to participate in God’s plans, and, to an extent, so are we: “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). And God chooses to use us as ministers of reconciliation in the sharing of the gospel: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:18–19; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:18)." from the article: What is the Divine Council?

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