Recently we had started a study on the causes of disease. During this investigation, it became apparent that a large number of the diseases we suffer from today, are actually rooted in the spiritual realm. Although we all talk about the physical and the spiritual worlds, very few have done a study on this topic. The result is that we all walk around with different views of this spiritual dimension.
Most of us do acknowledge the existence of a spiritual world. This is where the common agreement stops. If we believe that some of our problems originate in the spiritual realm, we need to get a good understanding of what this truly means.
The spiritual realm exists
Let us start our journey by looking at the facts that we all can agree to. The first fact that is clear from Scripture is that YHVH is spiritual.
“YHVH is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Thus, if we believe in YHVH and we know that He is spiritual, we know that a spiritual dimension must exist. Most believers would even be willing to go further and acknowledge the existence if the spirit of YHVH – Ruach haKodesh. A lot of us came to know this as the “Holy Spirit” or even “Holy Ghost.” Y’Shua referred to the existence of the Ruach during the reign of King David.
“David himself said in the Holy Spirit, ‘YHVH said to my Master, “Sit at My right hand, Until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet.” ’
Thus we have the testimony of Y’Shua that the Ruach influences in a very direct way the words and actions of people. This implies that the spiritual, the Ruach, has an interaction with the physical, the words and thoughts of David. The first chapter of Scripture tells us that the Ruach existed even before the earth was formed.
1 In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit (Ruach) of YHVH was moving over the surface of the waters.
So far we have confirmation that a spiritual dimension exists, it interacts with the physical dimension and that it existed even before the world was formed.
The Bible also testifies that angels and demons exist and that people interacted with them.
The angel of YHVH appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.
The angel of Elohim, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them.
But Elohim was angry because he was going, and the angel of YHVH took his stand in the way as an adversary against him. Now he was riding on his donkey and his two servants were with him.
When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.
John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,
From these verses we can conclude that spiritual concepts are discussed throughout the Scripture, in the Tanakh as well as the Apostolic Writings. We also see that different names of roles being used, including spirit, angel and demon. This shows to us that the spiritual world consists of both good and evil. From these verses we also see that both the angels and the demons operate on earth, the physical dimension.
The concept of these two realms is also referred to by Y’Shua when He teaches His disciples about praying. We see that Y’Shua refers to the Kingdom of YHVH being in heaven and on earth.
‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
In our Bible, we have a number of “funny” stories that we simply do not understand. Examples:
- An animal that speaks to a woman and convinces her to commit the first sin.
- A donkey that talks to a man to explain to him the presence of an angel.
- A piece of land called the “Garden of Eden” where man is not allowed into after sin was committed.
If we would like to understand what these really mean, we need to understand some of the spiritual concepts better. If we understand some of these concepts better, we will look at the “funny” Scriptures in a different way.
Without knowing it, we all walk around with some ideas and perceptions about the spiritual realm. Depending on the religious environment you have grown up with, you could think that it is real and impacts us all today, or it is something that happened in the times of the Bible only. Yet, it is important for all of us to really study the Scriptures to see what YHVH has revealed to us in His Word.
Some of the facts that I have discovered in my study may come to you as a surprise and may even go contrary to what you have been taught, and still believe. Please do me the favor and study your Bible together with me as we explore this world. Do not simply dismiss what I say, without reading it for yourself.
Let us begin with one of these facts. YHVH is not alone in heaven. He has others with Him and He discusses His decisions with them.
YHVH has a heavenly council that He confers with
Let us start by determining where these spiritual being comes from. We all know that all that exists, were created by YHVH. Thus, it implies that these beings in the spiritual world were also created by YHVH. But exactly when were they created? In the story of the creation of the earth in Genesis 1 and 2, there is no reference to heavenly beings being created. Yet, the book of Job provides us with some indication.
5 Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? 6 “On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, 7 When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of Elohim shouted for joy?
From this answer that YHVH gives Job, we understand that the sons of Elohim were present when the bases of the earth were sunk. Thus, before the creation of the earth, the sons of Elohim existed. We can also confirm this by the specific section in the creation story where man is created. Let us look at this verse in a bit of detail.
26 Then Elohim said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 Elohim created man in His own image, in the image of Elohim He created him; male and female He created them.
Who was YHVH talking to when He spoke? Why is He using the plural when He talks about the image? If nothing else existed in the spiritual realm, this verse would actually make no sense at all. There must have been other creatures present during the creation of man. But, please take note that YHVH is the only one that creates. Verse 27 specifically jumps back to the singular form again when describing the act of creating. To clarify this a bit better, let us look at the word “Elohim”.
The Hebrew word Elohim can be both singular or plural. In Hebrew, plurals of masculine nouns end with -im. The word “elohim” is like the English words “sheep” or “ fish“. The word alone does not tell you if it is singular or plural. It has to be determined by the form of the verb. These words are called “Irregular Plurals of Nouns” Example: “the sheep is lost” vs. “the sheep are lost.” The noun does not reflect upon the plurality of the object. We must look at the complete sentence, including the verb, to determine if it is singular or plural. Also note that “The sheep is lost” does not imply that the animal exists of a bunch of different parts. Thus we cannot say the word “elohim” is used because He consists of different parts. Man also consists of body, mind and spirit, but we do not use a plural to describe a man.
Now we know that we need to look at the complete sentence when we see the Hebrew word “elohim” to determine exactly what or who is being referred to. We will touch a bit more on this later.
Most of us have the idea that YHVH is alone in His decision making process. This is not what Scripture shows us. Many verses point to the fact that YHVH has more than one being around Him. He confers with them on decisions and actions, but it is all in His will. The beings around YHVH, sometimes called “elohim”in the plural, other times “sons of Elohim,” also have the ability to make decisions, but these need to be in the will of YHVH. In the first book of Kings, we have a very good example to illustrate this.
1 Kings 22:19–23
19 Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of YHVH. I saw YHVH sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left. 20 “YHVH said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this while another said that. 21 “Then a spirit came forward and stood before YHVH and said, ‘I will entice him.’ 22 “YHVH said to him, ‘How?’ And he said, ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then He said, ‘You are to entice him and also prevail. Go and do so.’ 23 “Now therefore, behold, YHVH has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and YHVH has proclaimed disaster against you.”
In this short story we see a couple of very interesting things:
- YHVH has a heavenly host around Him
- YHVH has already made a decision – Ahab will fall at Ramoth-Gilead
- YHVH asks the host how this will be done
- The members of the host discuss with one another how YHVH’s will can be achieved
- One member decides that deception via the prophets is the best way
- YHVH allows a member of His host to deceive the prophets in order to ensure that Ahab will fall.
This is very interesting to analyze as it changes a couple of ideas we have about how things happen in the spiritual realm. The two points that struck me was the fact that the hosts around YHVH can decide how to execute His will and that they could even use deception as a means to get this done. What is also very clear from this is that YHVH discusses with them and they can make decisions, but the ultimate plan is still according to His will. They still operate within His grand plan.
Does He need a heavenly council?
One of the biggest arguments against the concept of a heavenly council is – YHVH does not need a council. This statement is true. YHVH does not need them. However, this statement is not conclusive, as we could also then ask – why does YHVH need mankind? He also does not really need us, but still we exist and He wants to commune with us. The fact that He does not need something is no proof that it does not exist.
There exist multiple gods
One of the things that Bible translators across all generations have tried to do was protecting us from ourselves. Why do I say that? These translators all wanted to ensure that we are clear that the faith in YHVH is different than the other faiths that believe in a number of gods. This is an absolute truth for me, and I assume for most of you as well. However, in order to protect us from ourselves, the translators have decided to hide references to multiple gods from out modern translations. Earlier in this article we have referred to the singular/plural of the word “elohim.” Now is the time to look at this in a bit more depth.
The place to start looking at this is in Psalm 82. Please take the time to read this Psalm now. We will look at a couple of verses of the Psalm to investigate the impact of this singular/plural concept of “elohim.”
We will start with Psalm 82:1 in a modern translation, the New American Standard – Updated Edition:
God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers.
This translation could lead us to a basic conclusion that YHVH judges His people and He does that by judging the rulers of the people. However, this was nowhere near the original intent of this verse in the Hebrew. Let’s look at key words from the Hebrew and then change this translation a bit to reflect better the Hebrew source.
Elohim takes His stand in the congregation of El; He judges in the midst of elohim.
If we look at this, the conclusion that the verse is referring to people becomes a bit more difficult. We need to pay special attention to the work “elohim.” Psalm 82:1 is very specific with the singular and the plural that can be inferred by the verbs. The first part of the sentence, the verb “takes His stand” indicate to us that it is a singular “elohim” that performs the action because the Hebrew verb’s grammar is singular/masculine/absolute. Thus, our conclusion is that it is referring to YHVH.
In the latter part of the sentence we can conclude that it must be plural because YHVH cannot stand in the midst of a singular object. Thus, the second “elohim” must be plural and refer to something other than Himself. Most translations will cover this by translating the second instance of “elohim” as something like “rulers.” However, the source text is telling us that YHVH judges in the midst of a congregation of gods.
From this translation some may still have the impression that YHVH may be speaking to rulers on earth. In other words, a group of men that is in leadership positions on earth. The word “elohim” may also be used to refer to earthly leaders. However, the rest of Psalm 82 tells us that this cannot be correct. Look at the following verses:
6 I said, “You are elohim, And all of you are sons of the Most High. 7 “Nevertheless you will die like men And fall like any one of the princes.”
If YHVH was speaking to a group of men, how would it be a punishment for men to die like men and fall like princes? From this it is apparent that Psalm 82 is teaching us about this congregation / council of Elohim that surrounds Him.
The accuser has access to this heavenly council
We know that this council of YHVH consists of more than one being. In the previous text, we saw that the members of the council discuss matters with one another. But, in Scripture we also found a mention of the accuser as being present at this council. The book of Job provides us some information regarding this.
6 Now there was a day when the sons of Elohim came to present themselves before YHVH, and the satan also came among them. 7 YHVH said to the satan, “From where do you come?” Then the satan answered YHVH and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”
Please note that the word “satan” is not a name. In the Hebrew it has the “ha” in front of it. Thus, the correct English translation should include “the” in front of the word “satan.” This implies that it is not the name of the spirit, but his role or function. From this verse in Job, we see that there is a spirit who has access to YHVH and has the role of accuser. Thus, in the court we have a “prosecuting general” function.
In a future study, we will do a more in-depth study of this role.
They also make mistakes
One of the other perceptions we have to fix about the members of this heavenly council of YHVH, is that they are not perfect. They can also make mistakes just like humans do. We see this mentioned in a number of texts.
14 “What is man, that he should be pure, Or he who is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? 15 “Behold, He puts no trust in His holy ones, And the heavens are not pure in His sight;
‘He puts no trust even in His servants; And against His angels He charges error.
3 So their slain will be thrown out, And their corpses will give off their stench, And the mountains will be drenched with their blood. 4 And all the host of heaven will wear away, And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; All their hosts will also wither away As a leaf withers from the vine, Or as one withers from the fig tree.
We also have another testimony to this fact when Y’Shua tells us that there is but one who is good.
And Y’Shua said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except YHVH alone.
The fact that one of these members of the heavenly council decided to rebel against YHVH also shows us that they are also in the position to sin against YHVH.
Y’Shua is different than the rest
When we look at this, one specific question tends to come up – Then what about Y’Shua? What then makes Him unique? Is Y’Shua just one more member of this council or does Y’Shua have a unique position in this council. Once again we need to go back to the source text of our Bible to get the answer. The following verses will be well known to most of you.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
“For YHVH so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Have you ever really thought about what these verses are telling us? What does it mean that Y’Shua was “the only begotten son” of YHVH? The word “begotten” indicates that the son was born at a specific point in time. This contradicts a number of verses that indicate that Y’Shua existed from the beginning. If Y’Shua existed from the beginning, how can He be “begotten?” Once again, we may need to look at what the translations are really hiding from us. In a recent book, called “The Unseen Realm”, I found this great explanation by Dr. Mike Heisser. He is a student of Biblical period languages and also an expert in the topic of the heavenly council. He explains this problem as follows:
“The Greek word translated by this phrase is monogenes. It doesn’t mean “only begotten” in some sort of “birthing” sense. The confusion extends from an old misunderstanding of the root of the Greek word. For years monogenes was thought to have derived from two Greek terms, monos (“only”) and gennao (“to beget, bear”). Greek scholars later discovered that the second part of the word monogenes does not come from the Greek verb gennao, but rather from the noun genos (“class, kind”). The term literally means “one of a kind” or “unique” without connotation of created origin. Consequently, since Jesus is indeed identified with Yahweh and is therefore, with Yahweh, unique among the elohim that serve God, the term monogenes does not contradict the Old Testament language.” 1
The notes of the New American Standard Bible translation also add the alternative translation of John 3:16: “Or unique, only one of His kind”.
This is supported by the fact that many other people in the Scripture are referred to as sons of YHVH. David, Israel and Ephraim are all called the sons of YHVH. Thus, Y’Shua cannot be the “only” son.
“Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says YHVH, “Israel is My son, My firstborn.
Later, the prophet Jeremiah records what YHVH says of Ephraim.
“With weeping they will come, And by supplication I will lead them; I will make them walk by streams of waters, On a straight path in which they will not stumble; For I am a father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn.”
The Scriptures also record of David:
2 Samuel 7:13–14
13 “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,
Thus, it is clear from these verses that Y´Shua is not the only one being called the son of YHVH. We also know that He has existed from the beginning, thus the translation that we know, should really be adjusted to reflect the more recent knowledge of the Greek languages.
This then falls in line to prove that Y´Shua is different from the other members of YHVH´s divine council.
From all of this it is pretty clear that we are dealing with two worlds, spiritual and physical. We now know that YHVH is the hosts of hosts, and that Y´Shua is unique among them. We also know that they operate with their own free will but within the ultimate plan of YHVH. But where does all of this leave mankind. What is the purpose with us?
Man’s purpose in the plan
We have already spoken a bit about the verses in which the initial creation of mankind is mentioned. We need to go back to these verses to find the purpose of man in the plan of YHVH’s creation. Why did YHVH need mankind as a part of the physical world if He was already surrounded by a host of spiritual beings that He could converse with?
Let us again have a look at the verses:
26 Then Elohim said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 Elohim created man in His own image, in the image of Elohim He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Elohim blessed them; and Elohim said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
We have to start with the source text of Gen 1:27. What exactly does the word “in” mean here? This English preposition can be used to mean many different things:
- There are beans in the soup.
- He will be here in five minutes.
- She broke the mirror in pieces
- I work in the IT Industry
It is clear to see that the preposition can imply many different things, and we normally pick up the right meaning from the context. The same is true for the Hebrew preposition being used here. The last example on the list above implies that I may be working as a programmer, or system administrator.
Can we really claim that there is one characteristic that sets us apart from all other forms of life? We have seen that animals can communicate, reason, experience emotions, plan in advance, etc… If this verse implies that we have a unique characteristic that is shared between us, YHVH and his hosts, what will it be?
Maybe the verse is trying to tell us something different. Maybe it is not a characteristic or property we have. It could be that this verse is actually trying to explain our purpose in the physical world. It could be that it is more like the last example I was showing above. It could be telling us that we would should be functioning as YHVH’s imagers. We are to be His representatives in the physical world. We should “image” Him here on earth. The next two verses confirm this approach. We are to act as His rulers (elohim) on earth. To do this well, we need to do what Y’Shua said:
49 “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 50 “I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”
We need to image the Father in all we do and be His agents in the physical world. He has agents in the spiritual realm and we need to take the same role in the physical world.
We know that YHVH longs to dwell with us and communicate directly with us. This implies He has a plan for the physical and spiritual worlds to interact. The beginning of the Scripture confirms this if we study it again with our new glasses.
The connection between the spiritual & the physical worlds
Most of us have the idea that the Garden of Eden was created as part of the initial six day creation. Please look at the following verse again.
YHVH Elohim planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.
It is clear that YHVH planted the garden in order for Him to place man in this garden. The rest of the world was not the same. This is the reason that, in Genesis 1:28, man is instructed to subdue the world. If the whole world was the same as the garden, why would man need to subdue it? It comes back again to the purpose of man. We are to be YHVH’s agents on all the earth.
The garden was also different from the rest of the world. It had two trees that did not exist anywhere else an also, YHVH walked in this garden and He spoke with mankind.
8 They heard the sound of YHVH Elohim walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of YHVH Elohim among the trees of the garden. 9 Then YHVH Elohim called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
We can see that in this garden YHVH could walk on earth and speak to mankind. Man was able to have a discussion with YHVH in this place. This means that the garden was the place where the physical (man) and the spiritual, YHVH, met. It was the intersection between the two worlds. When mankind sinned, they were pushed out of this special place. They were not allowed to return in their sinful state.
The same pattern repeats itself once YHVH frees the Israelites out of Egypt, and makes them His people in the land He had promised Abraham. (For more insights on the importance of the covenant with Abraham, please refer to: The Abrahamic Covenant – Covenants – Part 3. )
The Tabernacle and Temple as His earthly abode
Once YHVH has selected the Israelites as His people and they have acknowledged that they will obey Him, He provides to Moses His plan for dwelling again among His People. When Moses goes up on the mountain, YHVH shows Him how His abode on earth should look.
8 “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. 9 “According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it.
“Our fathers had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as He who spoke to Moses directed him to make it according to the pattern which he had seen.
We see that this tabernacle on earth is to be built based on what exists in the heavenly realm. YHVH will use this tabernacle, to once again dwell among His people, like in the garden of Eden. But due to the sin that has now entered the world, there are new rules for purity exists. People need to be ritually clean before they are allowed into His abode on earth.
The tabernacle was the temporary abode that traveled with Israel, though their journey to the promised land. Once they arrived in the land, they placed this Tabernacle at Silo for many years. Once king David had made Jerusalem the capital of the united kingdom, he had the tabernacle relocated to Jerusalem. Four hundred and eighty years after the people left Egypt, Solomon started to build a more permanent structure to replace the tabernacle. He built the temple according to the plans that his father David has drawn up. YHVH promised to Solomon that He would dwell among the people in this temple.
1 Kings 6:11–14
11 Now the word of YHVH came to Solomon saying, 12 “Concerning this house which you are building, if you will walk in My statutes and execute My ordinances and keep all My commandments by walking in them, then I will carry out My word with you which I spoke to David your father. 13 “I will dwell among the sons of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.” 14 So Solomon built the house and finished it.
Once Solomon finished the temple, Solomon had the ark of the covenant moved from the city of David to the temple. Once the priests had placed the ark in the Holy of Holies, the presence of YHVH filled this temple.
1 Kings 8:10–11
10 It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of YHVH, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of YHVH filled the house of YHVH.
Unfortunately, we know that the people did not keep to the condition that YHVH had placed for His dwelling among them. They did not walk according to His statutes, ordinances and commandments. Thus, YHVH left the temple. This is described for us in the vision of Ezekiel recorded in Ezekiel 8 to 11.
Then the glory of YHVH departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim.
We also know that YHVH still has the plan to dwell among His people in the future.
The future abodes of YHVH on earth
In Ezekiel 40 to 44 we have a detailed description of a vision that Ezekiel had regarding a future temple. Number of people hold to the belief that this temple will never be built, but is a purely spiritual temple. However, why would YHVH give such detailed dimensions of a spiritual temple?
In the final book of the Bible, we find several references to the temple in heaven.
And the temple of YHVH which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.
And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle.
What is most interesting is the conclusion of the book. In the last chapters of the book we see a “New Jerusalem.” But is is explicitly mentioned that this new city will not have a temple.
22 I saw no temple in it, for YHVH Elohim the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of YHVH has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
The vision clearly explains that YHVH and the Lamb are the temple of the New Jerusalem. Thus, there will once again be a permanent dwelling of YHVH among His people.
We have seen from this first study that the concept of Spiritual and Physical realms can be supported from the Scriptures. YHVH is a spiritual being that has created all. This includes both a host of spiritual beings as well as physical beings. They are all created to image Him. The heavenly beings do this in the spiritual realm and we, as mankind, need to do this in the physical world.
It is also clear from Scripture that there exists an intersection between the spiritual and physical worlds. This started with YHVH placing man in the garden of Eden and YHVH walking in the garden and speaking with His creations. Due to sin, this has changed a number of times. In the end days, YHVH and the Lamb will be in the New Jerusalem.
YHVH is not the only god in heaven, but He is unlike any other. He is the creator of all that exists and all His creations work according to His plans. Although bother spiritual and physical beings have a free will, YHVH is still in control of the ultimate plan. There exists none like Him. If we acknowledge these facts, there is no need for the translators to hide these from us. We need to study these topics in more detail to get the true picture of what YHVH is telling us in His Word.
This article has started to touch on a large and complex topic. It was not meant to be a complete and detailed study. We will continue to research this topic further. We currently have the following points as potential points for further investigation:
- The impact of the spiritual realm on defiled land
- Who is the satan
- More on angels and demons
Please subscribe below to ensure that you receive these studies as well.
- Heiser, M. S. (2015). The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible. (D. Lambert, Ed.) (First Edition., pp. 42–43). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
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