Review of Ryken, Leland, James C. Wilhoit, and Tremper Longman III, eds., “Assembly, Divine.”

Ryken, Leland, James C. Wilhoit, and Tremper Longman III, eds., “Assembly, Divine.”  In Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, 50-51.  Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998.

In the Bible the view of the heavenly world “focuses primarily on the divine throne room and related elements of divine royalty.”  These images described their subject and engaged the imagination of the reader.  They were largely borrowed from neighboring cultures.  The Divine Assembly customarily spoke of the high gods as kingly figures in a heavenly palace where they had a “heavenly assembly, or council, a deliberative body invested with the task of guiding the fate of the cosmos.”   For example, in Ugarit the high god El presided over the major and minor gods and addressed them as “gods” or “my sons.”  The dwelling place of God was imagined as a cosmic mountain.  The divine assembly is the celestial counterpart to the social institution of the “elders in the gate.”  (Deut. 21:19; Ruth. 4:1-11; Ps. 107:32; Prov. 31:23).  Biblical prophets were admitted to the assembly through the process of vision and ascent.  The prophets Micaiah, Isaiah, Job, and Daniel were granted such admittance.  “In the NT the inner circle of the divine assembly consists of angels who surround the heavenly throne.  The primary theme is worship, and there is an implied understanding that the worship of the church mirrors the worship of heaven.”  NT discussions of the divine assembly are most prevalent in the writings of Paul, but most fully developed in Revelation 4-5.

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