The Assembly of Heaven—Part 2

(Ps 103:20) Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.
(Ps 103:21) Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.

The passage above reminds us that another reason the Lord discusses his decisions in his assembly is that the Lord implements his decisions by means of angels. In the assembly they learn what is to be done and why. Another related passage is found in Mt 24:36. The passage states that not even the angels in heaven know the day when the Lord will come. The fact that the angels are mentioned in this context is an indication that they are well informed. The Lord shows them what he is doing. Now, Job 1:7-12 is a reminder that not everyone in the audience is favorable to the Lord. When Satan accused Job, he accused indirectly also the Lord, because he implied that the Lord had been too favorable to Job. In Ps 51:4 we read " ... that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest". This reminds us that it is important in the eyes of the Lord to show the righteousness of all his actions.

About the Lord we read:

(Is 11:3) ... he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
(Is 11:4) But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

The Lord is not like man, for man can be deceived by appearance. The Lord cannot be deceived, for he sees and hears all things the way they are. Moreover, the Lord is not like man, for man can see and hear only little. The Lord sees and hears everything. Nonetheless, we read that he will not judge according to what he sees or reprove according to what he hears. This statement could be explained as follows. If a judge desires the righteousness of his decisions to be seen by all, he would probably not say that he makes a decision based on something that he knows but the others do not know. Rather, he will make his decision based on visible evidence. This could explain why the Lord uses visible evidence when he justifies his decisions. Therefore, it appears that when the Lord justifies a decision, he is determined to hear and to see only that which his audience can hear and see, and to know only that which his audience can know. This point can be illustrated on the following passage.

(Ge 18:20) And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
(Ge 18:21) I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

As indicated in the passage above, the Lord did not justify his decision to destroy those cities based on his own knowledge, neither based on reports against them, but rather he tested them in the sight of his heavenly assembly, so as to confirm the reports. Since we read "I will ... see" and "I will know", we could understand that in the context of God revealing his decision to destroy those cities, the Lord was determined to see and to know nothing beyond what the others could see and know. Another related passage is found in Jer 36, also in the context of a judgment of the Lord.

(Jer 36:1) And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
(Jer 36:2) Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.
(Jer 36:3) It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.

The Lord knew in advance how the people will respond to the message of Jeremiah. However, the phrase "it may be that" in Jer 36:3 indicates a context in which the Lord did not want to reveal his foreknowledge. The Lord was testing the people in the sight of his angels in order to explain the actions that he was planning. Two other similar passages are Jer 26:3 and Eze 12:3. Similar is also the passage in Jdg 2:20-22. It speaks explicitly of a time when the Lord intended to test Israel.

(Jdg 2:20) And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice;
(Jdg 2:21) I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died:
(Jdg 2:22) That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.

The Lord knew in advance whether they would keep his way or not. He did not learn anything new by testing them. However, he tested them in order to explain his decisions towards them. While the passage above is in a context of disobedience, the following passage reminds us that testing, and sometimes even severe testing, comes also to those who please the Lord.

(1Pt 4:12) Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you

One purpose of the trials of the believers is the praise that results from them.

(1Pt 1:6)Darby ... for a little while at present, if needed, put to grief by various trials,
(1Pt 1:7) that the proving of your faith, much more precious than of gold which perishes, though it be proved by fire, be found to praise and glory and honour in the revelation of Jesus Christ

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