In our study of 1 John 3:8 in dealing with the devil’s sin and his destruction we have talked a lot about the Divine Counsel. So, what I want to do this morning is to go into a little more depth about the Divine Counsel and look at Psalm 82.
A Psalm of Asaph. God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers. Psalms 82:1 NASB
The predominant view of this Psalm is that it is talking about Yahweh judging Israel's leaders. This view is way off, and I believe that I can prove that to you. The first thing I want you to understand here is that I believe that this faulty view comes from bad translations. The NASB obscures the meaning of this verse. "God" and "rulers" in this verse are both the Hebrew word elohim. Let's look at it in Young’s Literal Translation:
A Psalm of Asaph. God hath stood in the company of God, In the midst God doth judge. Psalms 82:1 YLT
The first thing you notice is that Young’s has "God" in it three times, but the NASB has it only once. Why the difference? In the Hebrew, elohim is in this verse twice. Young's adds the additional "God" in "company of God," which in Hebrew is, edah. It means "a stated assemblage (specifically a concourse, or generally a family.") The ESV translates it this way:
A Psalm of Asaph. God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: Psalms 82:1 ESV
Here the translators render edah as "divine council," and Young's translates it as "company of God." The term edah is normally translated as "congregation." So, Elohim has taken His place in the congregation of the elohim. The term "divine council" is used by Hebrew Bible scholars to refer to the "heavenly host" (the pantheon of divine beings who administer the affairs of the cosmos). The NASB says, "He judges in the midst of the rulers," and the ESV says, "In the midst of the gods he holds judgment." I can't understand why NASB translates elohim as rulers. It renders elohim as God in the first part of the verse, but then translates the second elohim as "rulers."
Let me say a word here about the ESV. In my opinion, it is one of the best translations available at this time. Here is why I think that. The starting point for the ESV translation was the 1971 edition of the Revised Standard Version (RSV). Each word of the text was also checked against and based upon the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible. The publisher, Crossway, states that in "exceptional, difficult cases, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Syriac Peshitta, the Latin Vulgate, and other sources were consulted to shed possible light on the text, or, if necessary, to support a divergence from the Masoretic text." So, they are using all resources available to get a proper translation.
The ESV is what would be called a formal equivalence translation ("word-for-word" translation) which attempts to translate the Bible as literally as possible, keeping the sentence structure and idioms intact if possible.
So, verse 1 of Psalm 82 tells us that “Elohim has taken his place in the divine council.” This divine council is made up of Yahweh and many other gods. Who are these gods and where did they come from? Yahweh, the divine Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) existed from all eternity. At a point in time, Yahweh created other gods, lesser gods to be part of His family, His divine council. Christ, who is Yahweh incarnate, is said to have created everything, including other gods:
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. Colossians 1:16 ESV
Yeshua designed all creation "visible" (that is, earthly kingdoms and empires) and "invisible" (that is, the divine principalities and powers). The words "thrones," "dominions," "rulers," and "authorities" probably refer to spirit beings and not to human government. In part, this refers to the hierarchy of spiritual beings. These gods were created before Yahweh created the world:
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Job 38:4-7 ESV
Here "morning stars" and "sons of God" are names of divine beings who are members of the divine council. So, before the creation of the earth and man, Yahweh and other (lesser created) divine beings made up the divine council. And this council is meeting in the heavens according to Psalm 89:
Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD, a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him? Psalms 89:5-7 ESV
Here we see an assembly of holy ones that is meeting in the skies. "Skies" is the Hebrew word shachaq, which means "clouds or heaven." This council is meeting in the heavens and not on earth where the Jewish judges are. This is not an earthly, human council. "Heavenly beings" here is ben el, “sons of God.” Then we have the “council of the holy ones.” The word "council" here is from the Hebrew sod which means "a session, that is, company of persons (in close deliberation); by implication intimacy, consultation, a secret— assembly." These texts in Psalms clearly depict a heavenly council ("in the skies") and not, as some scholars suggest, a council of earthly human judges.
This is speaking of the divine counsel which is made up of Yahweh and the sons of God—or the "watchers" as Daniel calls them. In the judgment on Nebuchadnezzar, notice what Daniel says:
The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’ Daniel 4:17 ESV
The word "watchers" is from the Hebrew ?űŲyr, which means "a watcher, that is, a divine guardian." The non-canonical Book of 1 Enoch has much to say about these Watchers. In fact, the first 36 chapters of First Enoch is called The Book of the Watchers. In Scripture, this word is only used by Daniel. If you look at the two other times he uses it, you can see that these are spiritual beings:
“I saw in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven. Daniel 4:13 ESV
Every time Daniel uses the term "watchers" he tells us that they are “holy ones.” Here he also says that they are from heaven. How many times have you read this verse and never stopped to ask about who the watchers and why they are making decisions? They are part of Yahweh's divine council. In the Hebrew Bible, we see a ruling body consisting of Yahweh as the supreme monarch and various supernatural attendants. Let’s look at the Divine Council in action:
And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; 1 Kings 22:19 ESV
This is a throne room occupied by Yahweh and His divine council. Micaiah is in Yahweh’s throne room seeing the interaction of Yahweh and the gods. Here we see mention of the "host of heaven" (Heb. tzeva' hashamayim) which stands before Yahweh. "The host of heaven" is a reference to divine beings. These "host of heaven" are not just the stars in the night sky:
“You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. Nehemiah 9:6 ESV
"You alone are Yahweh"—LORD here in all caps is from the Hebrew YHVH; this name includes the verb "hava" meaning "to exist" and the letter "yod" as a prefix meaning "He." So, YHVH means "He exists." If it is a causative verb, it would mean "He causes to exist." Both are true, Yahweh is the self-existent One who causes to exist.
Only living creatures can worship Yahweh. Clearly, the "heavenly host" here refers to created divine beings who reside in the heavens:
A Psalm of David. Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness. Psalms 29:1-2 ESV
Here the heavenly beings, "ben el,” are called upon to worship Yahweh. Psalm 97 tells us that Yahweh is exalted above all gods:
For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. Psalms 97:9 ESV
If there are no other gods, than this is saying that “Yahweh is far above things that don't exist."
For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Psalms 135:5-6 ESV
Yahweh is the supreme ruler over all Elohim. We see this demonstrated in Exodus 12:
For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. Exodus 12:12 ESV
In recounting the Exodus, Numbers 33 says:
while the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the LORD had struck down among them. On their gods also the LORD executed judgments. Numbers 33:4 ESV
So here we see it wasn’t just against the Egyptians that Yahweh brought judgment; he was also judging their gods.
Back to 1 Kings:
And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; and the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. 1 Kings 22:19-20 ESV
Yahweh is talking to the heavenly host (sons of God, watchers, divine beings) who are part of His council:
Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ And the LORD said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ 1 Kings 22:21-22 ESV
This vision seen by Micaiah shows that Yahweh is in complete control of events. He only approves the course of action that suits His purpose, which in this case was to bring about the death of evil King Ahab.
Daniel also shows us Yahweh's sovereignty over the host of heaven:
all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” Daniel 4:35 ESV
The hosts of heaven, therefore, are divine beings. They are gods whom Yahweh created and rules over. In our text in Psalms 82, He is judging these gods:
A Psalm of Asaph. God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: Psalms 82:1 ESV
As I said earlier, the NASB's, "He judges in the midst of the rulers" is a bad translation. Unfortunately, it reflects the majority view on this Psalm—that it is talking about human judges. John Calvin, in his commentary on Psalm 82, says, “The name gods here is to be understood of [human] judges.” [Calvin’s Commentaries, vol. 10: Psalms, part 3,tr.by John King].
Pastor Paul LeBoutillier (Calvary Chapel Ontario, Oregon), teaching on Psalm 82, says, “This is a Psalm written to judges, people who judge.” He uses the ESV and says that the word for “gods” is Elohim but that Elohim can be translated a myriad of ways. He says, “Because this word can be translated as judge or judges verse one could be read this way, ‘God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the judges he holds judgment.’ We know that there are no other gods, there’s only one God so he’s referring to those who judge.” LeBoutillier starts with a correct translation but then changes it so that Elohim means judges—something it never means in Scripture.
Let’s talk about Elohim because understanding this is critical to a correct interpretation of this text. Elohim is used 2,606 times in the NASB. It is the plural of El, which comes from a root word meaning "might, strength, power." Elohim is plural, but it is what grammarians would call a morphological plural. Hebrew nouns that end in "im" are plural. But in most cases throughout the Tanakh, the meaning is singular. We know this from Hebrew grammar. Elohim is like the English word deer or sheep. How do you know if "deer" is singular or plural? By the grammar of the sentence in which it is used. In the very first use of Elohim in Genesis 1:1, the verb, bara, identifies the subject of the verb as masculine singular.
You may think of Elohim as another name of Yahweh, but elohim is used in Scripture for many others beside Yahweh. Yahweh is called Elohim over 2,000 times in the way it is used in Gen 1:1. We know that Yahweh is called Elohim, but He is not the only one. As we see in Psalm 82, members of Yahweh's divine council are called elohim.
Elohim is also used of the gods of foreign nations:
because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the Ammonites, and they have not walked in my ways, doing what is right in my sight and keeping my statutes and my rules, as David his father did. 1 Kings 11:33 ESV
"Goddess and god" in this text are Elohim.
Elohim is also used of demons:
They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded. Deuteronomy 32:17 ESV
Here "God" and "gods" is elohim. So, demons are also called elohim.
Here's one that may surprise you. Speaking of Samuel, the witch of Endor said:
The king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What do you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I see a god coming up out of the earth.” 1 Samuel 28:13 ESV
"God" here is elohim. It seems like all uses of elohim in the Tanakh refer to spiritual beings. Hebrew scholar Michael H. Heiser notes that "Elohim is a place of residence locator." By that he means that elohim is only used of those in the spirit world. In Daniel 2, the Chaldeans say:
The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” Daniel 2:11 ESV
The gods dwell in a different realm.
Hopefully, you can now see that elohim has a broad range of uses and is not strictly referring to Yahweh. In attempting to find a human use of elohim, several people have referred me to this verse in Exodus:
He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him. Exodus 4:16 ESV
Here they say, "See, Moses is called elohim.'" Is he? Let's look at Deuteronomy 18:
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. Deuteronomy 18:18 ESV
Biblically defined, a prophet is the mouth of God; he is someone who speaks for God:
And the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. Exodus 7:1 ESV
Aaron was to speak for Moses, who was as God to Pharaoh. Aaron was Moses' mouth, and he spoke for Moses. A prophet, therefore, is someone who speaks for God. Aaron was like a prophet, and Moses was like a god. If Moses is an elohim, then Aaron is a mouth.
Another verse that is used to question that elohim is used only to refer to those in the spirit world is found in Exodus 22:
"If a man gives his neighbor money or goods to keep for him and it is stolen from the man's house, if the thief is caught, he shall pay double. "If the thief is not caught, then the owner of the house shall appear before the judges, to determine whether he laid his hands on his neighbor's property. Exodus 22:7-8 NASB
Here the word "judges" is elohim. But the translators wrongly translated it "judges." How are human judges to determine if the man stole the money? The English Standard Version translates it as "God" and not judges. There is NO justification for translating elohim as judges. None!
"For every breach of trust, whether it is for ox, for donkey, for sheep, for clothing, or for any lost thing about which one says, 'This is it,' the case of both parties shall come before the judges; he whom the judges condemn shall pay double to his neighbor. Exodus 22:9 NASB
Judges here both times is elohim. The Faithlife study Bible states:
The idea of God condemning the guilty party recalls other contexts where God's will was determined through casting lots (1 Sam 10:16-26; 14:42; Josh 7:14). Though the method of discerning God's will is not outlined here, God often makes His will known during a decision-making process. Since the scenario here is very similar to the one that follows (v. 10), God's will may have been determined by an oath taken in the name of Yahweh (on the presumption that God would reveal and condemn the one who took His name in vain). (Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. . Faithlife Study Bible [Ex 22:9]. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software)
Again, the ESV translates elohim as God, not judges:
For every breach of trust, whether it is for an ox, for a donkey, for a sheep, for a cloak, or for any kind of lost thing, of which one says, 'This is it,' the case of both parties shall come before God. The one whom God condemns shall pay double to his neighbor. Exodus 22:9 ESV
The next verses make it clear that it is Yahweh and not some human judges:
“If a man gives to his neighbor a donkey or an ox or a sheep or any beast to keep safe, and it dies or is injured or is driven away, without anyone seeing it, an oath by the LORD shall be between them both to see whether or not he has put his hand to his neighbor's property. The owner shall accept the oath, and he shall not make restitution. Exodus 22:10-11 ESV
For them to take an oath was to come before Yahweh.
Elohim, therefore, is not used of humans unless they are dead and in the spirit world. It is a place of residence locator. All elohim live in the spirit world. There is never a time in Scripture where a man is called "elohim." This is very important because it makes it clear the Psalm 82 is talking about gods and not about human judges.
We also have an example in early Judaism where people used Psalm 82 to talk about the judgment of the gods. When they dug up Qumran, they found this text, 11
Q. Melchizedek. It uses Psalm 82 to talk about the judgment of the gods. "It is the time of the year of Melchizedek and of his armies, the nation of the holy ones of God of the rule of judgment as it is written about him in the songs of David who said 'God will stand in the assembly of the gods; in the midst of the gods; he judges.'" This is talking about Christ who is the judge. The 11 Q. Melchizedek text goes on immediately in the next line and says, "To his aid shall come all the gods of justice." And so there's these good gods coming to aid Melchizedek in the destruction of the Belail and other spirits to redeem the people.
Let's continue in Psalm 82:
“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. Psalms 82:2-5 ESV
These gods are being judged for ruling the people unjustly. Look at Psalm 58:
Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods? Do you judge the children of man uprightly? No, in your hearts you devise wrongs; your hands deal out violence on earth. Psalms 58:1-2 ESV
Again, the NASB is not a good translation here. Just like Psalm 82, the gods are being judged for ruling wickedly.
Let me stop here and ask: How did these gods end up ruling over the people? I think that the Watchers, the lesser gods, were jealous over Yahweh’s bringing man into sacred space, the garden. The serpent, therefore, a divine being, got them kicked out of the garden by getting them to disobey Yahweh. Then Yahweh told of His plan to redeem man by the seed of the woman, so the Watchers sought to pollute the human race to stop the plan of redemption. We see this plan unfold in Genesis 6. As earth's population grows, it becomes more and more wicked as a result of a divine rebellion (Genesis 3 and 6). Man begins to worship the gods instead of the gods’ creator, Yahweh. This rebellion of man culminates in building a ziggurat at Babel:
So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth. Genesis 11:8-9 ESV
Things are in a state of chaos. They are in rebellion against Yahweh, and they are judged. What was the reason for building the ziggurat? The men of that time, in fear of another flood, may have erected it for themselves as a place of refuge and safety. They refused to follow Yahweh, so maybe they were trying to make themselves judgment proof. But He disburses them and turns them over to the Watchers. This is a very significant text, which we learn more about in Deuteronomy 32:8.
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. Deuteronomy 32:8 ESV
The English translations here based on the traditional Hebrew text of the Tanakh read "sons of Israel" instead of “sons of God.” But there is a variant rendering of this passage which is based on the 3rd-century BCE translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, the Septuagint, as well as Hebrew manuscripts of Deuteronomy found among the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran. In the Septuagint, the Greek phrase "aggelon theou" is translated as "angels of God." This interpretive phrase is found in nearly all the extant Septuagint manuscripts. However, several earlier manuscripts have instead "huion theou," or "sons of God." This is a literal rendering of the Hebrew phrase "beney 'elohim" found among the Dead Sea Scroll copies of Deuteronomy 32:8.
The Septuagint translators plainly understood that the "sons of God" (beney 'elohim), spoken of in Deuteronomy 32:8 and elsewhere, were spirit beings ("gods"). They, therefore, rendered it that way several times (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7) in order to clarify the meaning. Thus we have the textual change from "huion theou" to "aggelon theou."
In Genesis 10, the table of nations, Yahweh divides Noah's descendants into 70 different nations. This is recorded in Genesis 10:
These are the clans of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations, and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood. Genesis 10:32 ESV
Chapter 10 of Genesis is the backdrop for Moses' statement in Deuteronomy 32:8 that Yahweh is responsible for the creation and placement of the nations (Heb. goyim). In fact, variations of the same Hebrew root word parad ("separate") are used in both Genesis 10:32 and Deuteronomy 32:8.
The idea that the separation of mankind into 70 nations at the Tower of Babel was by and for the angelic "sons of God" is supported by the ancient Book of Jasher This book is mentioned in Joshua 10:13 ("Is it not written in the book of Jashar?") and in 2 Samuel 1:18 ("it is written in the book of Jashar").
And they built the tower and the city, and they did this thing daily until many days and years were elapsed. 32 And God said to the seventy angels who stood foremost before him, to those who were near to him, saying, Come let us descend and confuse their tongues, that one man shall not understand the language of his neighbor, and they did so unto them. JASHER 9:31
If in Deuteronomy 32, Moses was indeed referencing Yahweh's separation of the nations according to Noah's offspring (specifically their physical separation at the Tower of Babel), it is important to note that Israel is not listed in the index of the 70 nations found in Genesis 10. The nation of Israel did not yet exist at that time. Therefore, the statement that God "set the boundaries of the nations according to the number of the children of Israel" clearly seems out of context here.
At Babel man's disobedience caused Yahweh to divide them up and give them to the lesser gods. They were to worship the lesser gods because Yahweh was done with them. Man continued to reject Yahweh and served other gods so Yahweh gave them up. I think that this is what Paul refers to in Romans 1:
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, Romans 1:23-24 ESV
This could be Genesis 11 and the tower of Babel where Yahweh gave up the nations to the 70 watchers.
What happens after God gives up the people and turns them over to the lesser gods? He creates a people of his own from Abram:
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. Genesis 12:1-2 ESV
Yahweh calls Abraham and starts over with Israel as His people. Yahweh starts a new family. He has turned over the nations to the lesser gods, who, in fact, work for Him. They are all under His control and He will someday call the nations back.
Commenting on Deuteronomy 32:8-9, John Walton writes:
"These verses are intended to contrast the fact that the Lord has set Israel apart unto Himself from among all the nations, and Israel is not numbered with them. The nations have their own 'gods,' who are mortal, but they do not have Yahweh, who alone does not die and is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent." (John H Walton ,Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary [Old Testament] Volume 1: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 200),[ 516])
The point of Deuteronomy 32:8-9 is that sometime after God separated the people of the earth at Babel and established their location on the earth, He assigned each of the seventy nations to the sons of God.
According to Deuteronomy 4:19 this "giving up" of the nations was a punitive act:
And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. Deuteronomy 4:19 ESV
We saw earlier in this study that the "host of heaven" referred to sentient created spiritual beings which reside in the heavens. Notice here that these "host of heaven" have been "allotted to the peoples." The word "allotted" in Hebrew is chalaq, which literally means "apportioned" or "assigned." Here we are told that Yahweh has assigned "the host of heaven" to the peoples of the earth (i.e. "all non Israelites").
Israel is not to worship the watchers. Speaking of judgment that was to come upon disobedient Israel, Moses says:
all the nations will say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land? What caused the heat of this great anger?’ Then people will say, ‘It is because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt, and went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they had not known and whom he had not allotted to them. Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, bringing upon it all the curses written in this book, Deuteronomy 29:24-27 ESV
These gods that Israel worshiped were "not allotted to them"; they were allotted to the nations.
These gods did not rule in truth and justice, so Yahweh judged them and reclaimed the nations for Himself.
I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; Psalms 82:6 ESV
Here "gods" is elohim. Yahweh speaking to these gods says, "You are gods." But notice the next verse:
nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.” Psalms 82:7 ESV
If these elohim were men, why would Yahweh say that "You will die like men"? Yahweh is saying here that He will judge the disobedient gods and He will take away their immortality. Jeremiah says something similar in Jeremiah 10:
Thus shall you say to them: “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.” Jeremiah 10:11 ESV
We see in Psalm 82, then, that Yahweh reviewed their performance as "gods" and judges of the Gentiles and condemned them for failing to rule justly. They are supposed to copy the rule of the Father of all. They are supposed to rule in justice and law and keep the order of things. Notice the last verse:
Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations! Psalms 82:8 ESV
Who is the God here? Who is to judge these disobedient gods and the earth? In the LXX, the word "arise" here is anisteÝmi in Greek. This is the term used in the New Testament every time for resurrection. Peter uses this word, anistemi, in Acts 2:
This Yeshua God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Acts 2:32 ESV
“Arise, O God”—is a reference to Yeshua, the resurrected One. He is the God who arises and judges the earth. When does this judgment of the gods take place? Paul connects it to the resurrection and ascension of Christ:
that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, Ephesians 1:20-22 ESV
Christ has had "all things put under His feet." This is Christ's dominion—His managerial ruling of all things. Peter also speaks of the preeminence of Yeshua over all heavenly beings:
who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. 1 Peter 3:22 ESV
Yeshua arose from the grave and ascended into heaven. He judged these gods. Verse 8 tells us that when he judged these gods, he inherited all the nations. In Romans 15, Paul also connects the resurrection of Christ to the reclaiming of the Nations:
And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” Romans 15:12 ESV
The Nations that Yahweh had given over to the gods are now being reclaimed by Yeshua, starting at Pentecost. Pentecost is the undoing of the scattering of the nations at Babel. Yeshua is victorious over the gods.
Now, I’m sure that you are thinking that if the gods were judged by Yeshua in his resurrection and ascension, why does Paul tell the Ephesians thirty years after the resurrection and ascension that:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 ESV
"Cosmic powers" comes from the Greek kosmokrator. According to Strong’s Concordance, it means "a world ruler, an epithet of Satan." Thayer's says it means: "lord of the world, prince of this age, the devil and his demons."
This is the only use of kosmokrator in the New Testament, but it is used in Testament of Solomon of spiritual beings. In the Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, kosmokrator means “lord of the world, world ruler,” and it occurs in pagan literature as an epithet for gods, rulers, and heavenly bodies. Paul, therefore, tells the Ephesian believers round AD 60 that they are in a spiritual battle with divine beings. But if the gods were judged by Yeshua in his resurrection and ascension, why are believes still in a spiritual battle with them 30 years later?
The victory of Christ over the gods was won at Calvary, but it was not consummated until the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Notice what Matthew writes:
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Matthew 24:29 ESV
The "the stars" and "the powers of the heavens" are the same spiritual "cosmic powers" and "spiritual forces of evil" that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 6:12. We know that this is speaking of AD 70 and the destruction of Jerusalem. What began at Pentecost was completed in the holocaust of the AD 70 judgment on Jerusalem. Babel is reversed, and the nations are gathered and ruled by Yahweh.