One of the fundamental beliefs of the LDS Church is that there is a council of the gods over which God the Father presides.1 A related belief is that men, through their faith and good works, and by the instrumentality of the grace of God, may become like God our Father; literally transformed to become gods and dwell in God’s presence.2 One obscure and difficult to understand chapter in the Book of Zechariah shows that similar doctrines existed in post-exilic Judaism. Chapter 3 of Zechariah makes it clear that a righteous mortal man may be invited to enter into God’s presence, participate in the proceedings of the heavenly council, and actually become a member of that body. This paper will use the trial of Joshua the High Priest as a foundation to show that there is an established belief in Judaic and early Christian thought of a Heavenly council, or council of the gods, that men can be invited to participate in this assembly, and that they may actually become permanent members of God’s Heavenly court.
In chapter 3 of the Book of Zechariah, Joshua the High Priest of Israel finds himself in what could be described as the most uncomfortable circumstance imagined; namely, standing trial as a accused criminal before God and his heavenly tribunal. This trial takes place in the holy of holies of the heavenly temple where God sits in majestic glory.3 Members of the heavenly council of the gods are seated to the right and the left of God, acting as advisors to God and subordinates who carry out his final judgments. Two other figures are in attendance at the proceedings, a powerful officer of the court called “the angel of the LORD” (mal’ak Yahweh) and Satan (has satan, “the accuser” or “adversary”), who acts as the ancient equivalent of a prosecuting attorney. The angel of the Lord is the foremost official of the heavenly court, acting as the herald and mediator of God’s decisions.4 Satan’s presence in the heavenly court is as Joshua’s “accuser,” also an office in the heavenly tribunal.
The heavenly tribunal is one of the more important functions of the heavenly council. A scene similar to Zechariah chapter 3 is found in Psalms 82:1-8, when members of the heavenly council are judged by God and the assembled member of the heavenly court:
God standeth in the congregation of the mighty (adat ‘el); he judgeth among the gods (‘elohim)… I have said, Ye are gods (‘elohim); and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.5
E. Theodore Mullen suggests that Psalms 82 portrays God as he “presides in the adat el, the divine council of the gods.”6 The members of the heavenly council, referred to in Psalms 82, have sinned and are to be punished. The New Testament writers interpret the actions and” condemnation of the members of the council as, “God spared not the angels that sinned.”7 Thus, both gods and men can be judged before the heavenly council. God with his council judges the affairs of the universe, seeing that equity and justice prevail.8
The trial of Joshua begins as he is presented before God and the assembled members of the heavenly tribunal. Zechariah’s angelic guide takes him to a vantage point in the heavenly holy of holies where Joshua’s trial can be seen:9 “And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.” (3:1). Carol and Eric Meyers suggest that the verb ‘md, translated as “standing,” is “technical language” which “reveals the setting of the prophetic vision, the Heavenly Court over which Yahweh presides as chief judge.”10
The trial proceeds as Satan, standing to the right of Joshua as his accuser, claims that Joshua is guilty of misdeeds. God, however, exonerates Joshua from all guilt and condemns Satan: “And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, 0 Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?” (3:2). The imagery of a brand being plucked from a fire could be interpreted in several different ways. It could refer to a great test that Joshua has passed, or it could means the effectiveness of a red-hot fire for accomplishing work in the ancient world. Joshua, in the second interpretation, would be compared to a glowing brand drawn from the center of a fire. Intense heat, such as that found in the glowing coals of a fire, could be applied to some work such as the smelting of ore. Regardless of the reason, Joshua’s righteousness and ability to faithfully serve in his priestly office is vindicated. Instead of being in the most uncomfortable spot in the celestial world, Joshua now finds himself commended for his righteous stewardship.
One might expect that Joshua would now find himself dismissed from the council setting and returned to finish his ministry on the earth, but he first undergoes a rite of initiation. Having been found innocent of offenses, Joshua now finds himself the center of a renewed focus of the divine assembly. Joshua, by the command of the angel of the Lord, receives purification in the form of clean clothing, replacing the filthy articles of earthly clothing originally worn before the court, including a mitre (turban or cap). The contrast between the earthly clothing stripped from Joshua and the sacred heavenly raiment he is furnished with should be noted, as the gods themselves clothe Joshua:
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by. (3:3-5)
Being clothed in heavenly clothing is a theme common to post-exilic Judaism and early Christian thought. Celestial beings are seen as wearing white shining clothing,11 the faithful saints are told that in the hereafter they will shine in the presence of God12 wearing white clothing,13 and at the Mount of transfiguration Christ’s face and raiment shone “white as the light.”14 In addition, other early Pseudepigraphal materials portray God as enthroned in the holy of holies of the heavenly temple, dressed in white raiment and shining brilliantly. In 1 Enoch (circa 200 B.C.), Enoch is brought into the highest heaven to look upon God:
And I observed and saw inside it a lofty throne-its appearance was like crystal… It was difficult to look at it. And the Great Glory was sitting upon it-as for his gown, which was shining more brightly than the sun, it was whiter than any snow. None of the angels were able to come in and see the face of the Excellent and the Glorious One; and no one ” of the flesh can see him-the flaming fire was round about him, and a great fire stood before him.(14: 18-22)15
White clothing is clearly indicative of celestial status. In similar fashion, then, Joshua’s clean clothing is an indication that he has been purified and is now worthy to stand in the presence of God and the members of the council. Similar cleansing motifs are found in Isaiah 6:6-7, where a “live coal” is placed by a seraphim on Isaiah’s lips and his “iniquity is taken away” and” sin purged,” and Revelations 1: 17, where John is cleansed as Christ lays his “right hand” on the Revelator before he is allowed to enter God’s presence. A similar cleansing motif is found in the Testament of Levi (second century B.C.). In this text, Levi sees seven angels in vision who cleanse and clothe him in the elaborate vestments usually worn by the high priest:
And I saw seven men in white clothing, who were saying to me, ‘Arise, put on the vestments of the priesthood, the crown of righteousness, the oracle of understanding, the robe of truth, the breastplate of faith, the miter for the head, and the apron for prophetic power.’ Each carried one of these and put them on me and said, ‘From now on be a priest, you and all your posterity.’ The first anointed me with holy oil and gave me a staff. The second washed me with pure water, fed me by hand with bread and holy wine, and put on me a holy and glorious vestment. The third put on something made of linen, like an ephod. The fourth placed… around me a girdle which was like purple. The fifth gave me a branch of rich olive wood. The sixth placed a wreath on my head. The seventh placed the priestly diadem on me and filled my hands with incense, in order that I might serve as priest for the Lord God.16
The clothing now worn by Joshua is different from that usually worn by the high priest when officiating in his office. The high priest usually garbed himself in the elaborate ritual clothing required by the law; including a tunic, drawers, and sash-each of these articles of clothing being white-coat, robe, ephod, breastplate-on which twelve stones were placed representing the tribes of Israel-a white mitre (turban or cap), and a frontlet attached to the front of the mitre which is engraved with the words “Holiness to the Lord.”17 Each of these articles of clothing were made out of linen, the finest material known in the ancient world. The high priest would then perform various sacrifices, but with the majority of them taking place outside of the temple where those not of the priestly lineage could witness the various rituals as they took place.
On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, however, the dress of the high priest was entirely unassuming when compared to the elaborate raiment usually worn. The high priest would wear a simple white outfit consisting of a tunic, drawers, sash, and cap.18 The high priest would then offer up various sacrifices and enter the Holy of Holies wearing this modest outfit. Only the high priest could enter the holy of holies, and this could be done only once a year on Yom Kippur. There he would utter the sacred name of Yahweh (Jehovah) and perform the highest rituals that absolved Israel as a people of their sins. Entering the Holy of Holies was thought to be equivalent to entering into the very presence of God.19 The text of Zechariah 3 seems to indicate that Joshua has been clothed in the same sacred clothing that would be worn by the high priest when entering the holy of holies in the earthly temple. It seems altogether fitting that the high priest, who alone enters the holy of holies on the most sacred day of the year to atone for the sins of Israel, would stand in the presence of God in the heavenly holy of holies, clothed in the simple but most sacred garments of his priestly office. As Joshua is now dressed in the garb of the high priest of Israel he is prepared to officiate in the heavenly holy of holies as he would in the holy of holies on the earth.
Members of the court that “stood before” the angel of the Lord and clothed Joshua (3:4-5) are the gods who sit on the heavenly council.20 In addition to Psalms 82 previously cited, other Old Testament passages mention the council and it function. Psalms 89:6-9 clearly speaks of both the council and various titles of its members, including that of ‘gods’:
In the heavens they praise your promise, Yahweh, and your fidelity in the congregation of the holy ones (qedosim).21 For who in the skies can compare with Yahweh? Who resembles Yahweh among the gods? An EI too dreadful for the council of the holy ones, too great and awesome for all around him. Yahweh God of Hosts, who is like you? Mighty Yah, your faithful ones surround you.22
Psalms 29:1 also refers to the gods of the heavenly council: “Ascribe to the Lord, you gods (bene ‘elim), ascribe to the Lord glory and might.”23 In 1 Kings 22:19-38 the prophet Micaiah views a meeting of the heavenly assembly concerning the inevitable invasion of Ramoth Gilead by the kings of Israel and Judah. God asks members of the council how Ahab should be punished and lured into a battle that, because of a misaligned allegiance to foreign gods, they would not authorize first with God’s anointed prophet. A discussion takes place among the members of the council, a plan is presented to the assembly, God authorizes this plan, and a spirit is directed to proceed with the decision of the council. It should be seen in each of these proceedings that the gods are not yes-men; they are not mere decorations who have no legitimate function on the court. They are seen as having vital roles and make substantial contributions toward the purposes of God. Thus, the existence of the heavenly council and the role given to its members are clearly understood in the ancient world.
Joshua next receives a divine commission to continue his righteous ministry in the temple on the earth. God covenants with Joshua that if he will conform to the will of God and dutifully perform his role as the high priest of Israel, then he will be allowed to control the temple and its precincts on the earth:
And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts.24
Joshua then receives a further promise of continued access to the heavenly holy of holies, to God, and to the council of the gods in the heavenly temple. The text continues:
and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. Hear now, 0 Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows (reya) that sit before thee…25
Those who “stand by” are, again, members of the council.26 Joshua is to be allowed to have “access,”27 or “to come and go”28 among the council of the gods as a member of the assembly. Joshua is told that the members of the divine assembly are his “fellows.” This is the Hebrew noun reya meaning “friends,”29 but the better translation, used by King James translators, is “fellows.” This is a near archaic term related to “associates” and “colleagues,” modern translations of reya in Zechariah 3:8 found respectively in the Anchor and NEV versions. Mark Smith, an authority on Hebrew, Canaanite, and other early Semitic cultures, suggests that Zechariah “includes the high priest in the ranks of the celestial courts.”30 Joshua has literally been accepted as a member of the council of the gods.
Joshua is not merely given a token place on the council of the gods, but the text seems to imply that a transformation takes place that brings him to the level of deification had by his newly acquired peers. It also seems that Joshua’s transformation is to be temporary, as he is be returned to the earth to finish his ministry. Joshua, in this interpretation, would be welcomed from time to time into the heavenly assembly, experiencing a transformation each time he enters the presence of God.31 Joshua’s special status is again illustrated in Zecariah 6:11-13, where he is given a crown and is promised that he will to rule at the side of the proto-messianic figure “Branch.”32
This is an astonishing promise to be given to any man. To receive the right to walk among the gods in the heavenly temple is a great honor, but even more so if that man is yet a mortal. That he is allowed permanent access to the heavenly assembly and a seat on its council is additionally astonishing. Joshua’s acceptance into the assembly illustrates how much man is like God and the other members of the council. The ancient Hebrew poet expressed this by comparing mortal man to the members of the council:
What is man that you should think of him, or the son of man that you should care for him? Yet you have made him a little less than the gods (‘elohim), with honor and glory you crowned him.33
If man is only a little lower than the gods, and carries with him the image of God and the members of the council (the “us” of Genesis 1:26), then the differences between a righteous and glorified man and members of the council, including God, virtually disappear.
Some may argue that Joshua’s experience with the heavenly council is not a true theosis,34 that Joshua has not truly become a god. Other extant texts, however, show that theosis is a firmly fixed feature in Judaeo-Christian thought. These texts include an idea of transformation that the righteous experience when they are brought into the presence of God. 2 Baruch (circa 200 B.C.), for example, deals with the transformation the elect will experience at the resurrection:
Also, as for the glory of those who proved to be righteous on account of my law, those who possessed intelligence in their life, and those who planted the root of wisdom in their heart-their splendor will then be glorified by transformations, and the shape of their face will be changed into the light of their beauty so that they may acquire and receive the undying world which is promised to them. Therefore, especially they who will then come will be sad, because they despised my Law and stopped their ears lest they hear wisdom and receive intelligence. When they, therefore, will see that those over whom they are exalted now will then be more exalted and glorified than they, then both these and those will be changed, these into the splendor of angels and those into startling visions and horrible shapes. Miracles, however, will appear at their own time to those who are saved because of their works and for whom the Law is now a hope, and intelligence, expectation, and wisdom a trust. For they shall see that world which is now invisible to them, and they will see a time which is now hidden to them. And time will no longer make them older. For they will live in the heights of that world and they will be like the angels and be equal to the stars.35
Note the suggestion that the righteous will changed to “the splendor of angels” and be’ “like the angels” and “equal to the stars,” a theme common to the New Testament (Luke 20:36, 1 Cor 6:3). Another Pseudepigraphal account called the Ascension of Isaiah (200 B.C.-400 A.D.) records the increase of glory the prophet Isaiah experiences as he ascends to the highest heaven. Isaiah is told that he will see God after his transformation is complete and matches the appearance and likeness of God. The angel escorting him also tells Isaiah he has a throne, robes, and a crown waiting for him in the highest heaven:
For above all the heavens and their angels is placed your throne, and also your robes and your crown which you are to see.”… And I [Isaiah] said to the angel who (was) with me, for the glory of my face was being transformed as I went up from heaven to heaven… And he said unto me… “and (that) you may see the LORD of all these heavens and of these thrones being transformed until he resembles your appearance and your likeness… Hear then this also from your companion… you will receive the robe which you will see, and also other numbered robes placed (there) you will see, and then you will be equal to the angels who (are) in the seventh heaven… He who is to be in the corruptible world [Christ] has not (yet) been revealed, nor the robes, nor the thrones, nor the crowns which are placed (there) for the righteous…36
Isaiah also describes the faithful who have been accepted into the highest heaven:
And he took me up into the seventh heaven, and there I saw a wonderful light, and also angels without number. And there I saw all the righteous from the time of Adam onwards. And there I saw the holy Abel and all the righteous. And there I saw Enoch all who (were) with him, stripped of (their) robes of the flesh; and I saw them in their robes of above, and they were like the angels who stand there in great glory.37
2 Enoch describes the full process of exaltation as the prophet Enoch is deified. Enoch is lifted up to the highest heaven where he is brought face to face with God. He is glorified and admitted as a member of the council of the gods:
And Michael, the LORD’s archistratig,38 lifted me up and brought me in front of the face of the LORD. And the LORD said to his servants, sounding them out, “Let Enoch join in and stand in front of my face forever!” And the LORDS’s glorious ones did obeisance and said, “Let Enoch yield in accordance with your word, a LORD!”. And the glorious ones did obeisance and said, “Let him come up!” And the LORD said to Michael, “Go, and extract Enoch from [his] earthly clothing. And anoint him with my delightful oil, and put him into the clothes of my glory.” And so Michael did, just as the LORD had said to him. He anointed me and he clothed me. And the appearance of that oil is greater than the greatest light, and its ointment is like sweet dew, and it fragrance myrrh; and it is like the rays of the glittering sun. And I looked at myself, and I had become like one of his glorious ones, and there was no observable difference.39
In like manner the Dead Sea Scrolls show that Jews living at the time of Christ understood their future to be a part of the heavenly assembly. Smith translates the fragment 4Q491 as follows:
Thus Joshua’s is only the first deification to be described in detail. All the major prophets and other righteous figures, those who have stood before God’s throne in the heavenly temple, are to be exalted. Even the righteous faithful are understood to be eventual inheritors of the highest honor that can be conveyed to man
The trial of Joshua shows that there is a council of the gods over which God the Father presides. This council was not thought to be closed, as righteous women and men can be invited to participate in the assembly. These people will experience deification, actually becoming gods who will rule with God as a member of his council. Mormon doctrine, which likewise stresses a council of the gods and theosis, thus finds comfortable companionship in the virtually identical doctrine in the Judaeo/Christian tradition.
1 Joseph Fielding Smith, comp, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, (Salt Lake, Deseret Book, 1976) 348.
2 Ibid, 369-375.
3 For a brief treatment of the heavenly temple see: Roger Cook, The Hellenization of Christianity: Classical Christianity’s Headlong Rush to Reject its Own Heritage, Part 1: The Heavenly Temple, God’s Physical Location in the Heavens, also Jay and Donald Parry, “The Temple in Heaven: Its Description and Significance,” Temples of the Ancient World, edited by Donald Perry (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1994), 515-532.
4 Frank Moore Cross, “Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic,” Essays in the History of the Religion of Israel (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1973), 187; Carol and Eric Meyers, The Anchor Bible: Haggai, Zechariah 1-8, A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1987), 183. The angel of the Lord is most likely the captain of the heavenly host encountered by Joshua in the Joshua 5:14. He also appears in Genesis 16:7-11, 22:11-15; Exodus 3:2; Numbers 22:22-35; Judges 6:12,13:3-21; 2 Samuel 24:16; 2 Kings 1:3, 15, 19:25; 1 Chronicles 12:21-30; Isaiah 37:36; Zechariah 1:11-14, 12:8; Matthew 1:20, 24; 2:13, 28:2; Luke 2:9; Acts 5:19, 8:26, 12:7, 11, 23. 2 Enoch 22:6 identifies the angel of the Lord as Michael.
5 Psalms 82:1, 6-7.
6 E. Theodore Mullen, Jr., “The Assembly of the Gods; The Divine Council in Canaanite and Early Hebrew Literature,” Harvard Semitic Monographs 24 (Chico, California: Scholars Press, 1980), 118.
7 2 Peter 2:4, Jude 6.
8 The Book of Job also describes a meeting of the heavenly council. “The day came when the members of the court of heaven (bene ‘elim) took their places in the presence of the LORD, and Satan was there among them.” [Job 1 :6, The New English Bible, Oxford Study Edition, edited by Sandmel, Suggs, and Tkacik (New York, Oxford Press, 1976).] Bene ‘elim, literally translated as “sons of God,” is a title that simply means ‘gods’ [Patrick D. Miller, Jr., “The Divine Warrior in Early Israel,” Harvard Semitic Monographs, vol. 5, (Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard, 1973), 66-67; Michael Dahood, The Anchor Bible, Psalms I 1-50 (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1966), 175-176; Mullen, 15, 119, 192-193; Emanuel Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Fortress Press, 1992), 269; Arvid S. Kapelrud, “The Ras Sharnra,” translated by G.W. Anderson, Discoveries and the Old Testament (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963), 52, 58; Mark S. Smith, The Early History of God, Yahweh and the Other Ancient Deities in Ancient Israel (San Francisco, California: Harper and Row, 1990), 101; Intemreter’s Bible, Vol. 1, edited by G. Ernest Wright (New York: Abingdon Press, 1951), 360; Tryggve N.D. Mettinger, In Search of God, translated by Frederick H. Cryer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Fortress, 1988), 134.]
9 Mullen has the understanding that prophets are also participants in the heavenly council. He writes: “It is also clear from the prophetic material that the prophet was more than simply the mouthpiece of Yahweh. He was Yahweh’s messenger. The very designation nabi’, ‘one who is called’ … implies the background of the council, for the prophet was called to proclaim the will of the deity which was issued from the assembly… The prophet is the herald of the divine council. He delivers the decree of Yahweh, which is the decree of the council. The authority of the prophet as the herald/messenger of the assembly is that of the power which sent him. He is the vocal manifestation of the deity who dispatched him” (Mullen, 216, 226, see also 215, 218-220). B.W. Anderson writes about Isaiah’s call before the heavenly assembly: “Yahweh’s speech employs the plural ‘us’ (Is. 6:8), for he is surrounded by his Council, his heavenly host, to whom and for whom he speaks. Isaiah, then, is drawn into Yahweh’s Heavenly Council where the divine decrees are announced and where messengers are sent forth to execute them. In an ecstatic moment he is permitted to behold what is veiled to the sight of mortal man (see Ex. 33:20), for he exclaims that with his own eyes he has seen the King… no sooner is [Isaiah] ‘consecrated’-that is, made holy or cleansed for God’s service-than Yahweh, speaking in a manner which includes the whole Heavenly Council, says: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?'” [B.W. Anderson, Understanding the Old Testament (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1986), 263; see also Miller, 68-69; G. Ernest Wright, The Old Testament Against its Environment (Chicago: H. Regnery, 1962), 36.].
10 Meyers, 182.
11 Daniel 7:9; Matthew 28:3; Mark 16:5; Luke 9:29; 24:4; John 20:12; Acts 1:10; Revelation 15:6; 19:14.
12 Daniel 12:3; Matthew 13:43.
13 Revelation 3:4-5; 4:4; 6:11; 7:9, 13, 14; 19:8.
14 Matthew 17:2, Mark 9:3, Luke 24:4. See also 2 Esdras 2:35-48, Testament of Levi 8:2-10, 4Q405, 23 II.
15 Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Vol. 1, edited by James H. Charlesworth (New York: Doubleday, 1983).
16 Ibid., Testament of Levi 8:2-10.
17 Exodus 28, 39.
18 Leviticus 16:4, Ezekiel 44:17-19.
19 Exodus 25:22; Numbers 7:89; Leviticus 16:2; 1 Kings 8:10-28.
20 Carol and Eric Meyers explain that “those standing” are “the other members of the Divine Council or the other divine or angelic beings present in Yahweh’s court” (Meyers, 188).
21 Dahood explain that qedosim, translated as ‘holy ones,’ is another title of the gods who sit on the heavenly council. [Mitchell Dahood, The Anchor Bible, Psalms II 51-100 (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1968), 313 n 6.]
22 The Anchor Bible.
23 NEV. Mullen, page 200, concurs with this translation.
24 Zechariah 3:6-8.
25 Zechariah 3:7-8.
26 Meyers, 197.
27 The Anchor Bible and Revised Standard Version (RSV).
29 Revised Standard Version.
30 Smith, 102.
31 The transformation of the prophet Enoch, for example, is temporarily taken from him as he is returned to the Earth to relate his experiences to his children: “And the LORD called one of the senior angels… and his hands like ice… And he chilled my face… And the LORD said to me, “Enoch, if your face had not been chilled here, no human being would be able to look at your face” (2 Enoch J 37). After thirty days his transformation is to be reversed (2 Enoch J 36) and he will again be taken into the highest heaven. In like manner Christ’s glorification is lessened as he descends through each of the lower levels of heaven to the Earth, but his ascension and return to full glory is also anticipated (Ascension of Isaiah 10:7-9, 11, 14-15, 17-18, 20-25, 27-28, 30).
32 Some commentators are surprised that Joshua rules to the side of Branch, expecting that this originally refers to Zerubbable (for example see fts to the NEV and RSV), but Meyers suggests that Joshua is expected to rule with Zerubbable in a newly expanded priestly role (340-357).
33 The Anchor Bible, Psalm 8:4-6.
34 Theosis or apotheosis is the belief that righteous man can gain a divine nature, literally gaining salvation by becoming a god.
35 Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Vol. 1, 2, Baruch 51:1-10.
36 Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Vol 2, Ascension of Isaiah 7:22, 25, 8:7, 10, 14-15, 26
37 Ibid, 9:6-10.
38 Archistratig is a military term, analogous to the title of archangel in Jude 1:9; see Pseudepigrapha, Vol. 1, 138 n I.
39 2 Enoch J 22.6-10.
40 4Q491 (4QMa) 11, I, 11-24. “Ascent to the Heavens,:Studies in the Cult of Yahweh. Volume 2, New Testament. Early Christianity and Magic, edited by Morton Smith, Shaye J. D. Cohen (New York: Brill, 1996), 58.