Book Sale

Monday 24 October 2022

The sons of God?

About five years ago now, an older gentleman came up to me at Church, and asked me about my views on the sons of God and the divine council. I said, "You mean the high angels, the arch angels?" He responded, "I guess you could call them that." He handed me this book, The Unseen Realm, and suggested I read it. I thought it was a bit of an odd subject and put the book on a shelf. 

We readers do this often. Because we already have a massive reading pile on a shelf somewhere in our house. So we don't have time to get to a new book right away. It might take months, a year or even more. Plus, this issue seemed odd to me, a divine council of the sons of God? Was this a Mormon book? I just put this in the strange basket. 

I forgot about the book for a few months, until I came to preaching on Genesis 6, and the 'Sons of God', the 'Benoy Elohim'. I decided to pick up the book, and wow, was I wrong. 

The Unseen Realm is fantastic, thoroughly orthodox in its theology, and well laid out. It presents a clear argument that the highest rank of Angels, the 'Benoy Elohim', are a significant class of divine beings that have an incredible impact on this world, for good, and for ill. Some are holy, some are fallen. It was the results of the fall of some of these beings that precipitated the flood, and a significant portion of scripture is dedicated to this remarkable topic. 

For instance, Psalm 82: 

"God has taken his place in the divine council;

    in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly
    and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
    maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
    they walk about in darkness;
    all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

I said, “You are gods,
    sons of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, like men you shall die,
    and fall like any prince.”

Arise, O God, judge the earth;
    for you shall inherit all the nations!"

This is a remarkable Psalm which lays out the divine council, the existence of lower case "gods", and their identity. They are not divine in the sense that God the Father or God the Son are. They are divine in the sense that they inhabit the divine, or unseen realm; they are heavenly beings who are supposed to worship God alone (Ps. 29:1-2). They are created beings of great power, and authority, and some of them were confused by people with gods and they liked it. They are also called the Watchers, as we are told in Daniel (Dan. 4:17). 

They hold great authority in the world, and are in some way responsible for the nations:

"7 Remember the days of old;
    consider the years of many generations;
ask your father, and he will show you,
    your elders, and they will tell you.
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
    when he divided mankind,
he fixed the borders of the peoples
    according to the number of the sons of God" (Deut 32:7-8). 

And God judges them according to how they administer this authority as well. And Psalm 82 shows he is not happy with at least some of them. 

They also have great access to the throne of God, Job 1:6 -  "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them." And the Great Deceiver was at one point among their midst  

The most remarkable element of Unseen Realm is that Heiser shows how this topic of the sons of God all folds into God's redemption plan for humanity. Which makes sense when you read passages like this: 

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not" (1 John 3:1, KJV). 

It is the destiny of those of us who believe to be granted the rank of "sons of God." We are told this often in the New Testament, but Heiser's powerful book fills in the picture of what this means in a remarkable way. Those of us who believe truly have a great destiny. One to really look forward to. 

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