In all wisdom and prudence making known to us the mystery of His will according to His
good pleasure which He purposed in Him the plan for the fullness of the times
the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth, in Him ….
(Ephesians 1:8b-10)
By – Stuart H. Pouliot
Article #36
Who Has Stood in the Council of the Lord?
January 2012
Each year I ask the Lord for a word for the year, and He has faithfully given me one, sometimes
two. One of the words given for 2012 is Jeremiah 23:18: "But who has stood in the council of
the LORD, that he should see and hear His word? Who has given heed to His word and
Before getting into the meaning of this verse, especially the word council , some background is
in order.
Around 931-930 BC, the United Kingdom of Israel was split into two kingdoms, Judah (holder
of the scepter, representative of the King) and Israel (holder of the birthright, representative
of the Kingdom) . This was brought about because Solomon had turned his heart from the Lord
(1 Kings 11:9-11). Unfortunately, it did not take very long for the houses of Judah and Israel to
turn from the Lord as well, leading to the Lord's judgment upon both houses. Jeremiah was
raised up to speak to Judah as they were about to enter into an iron-yoke judgment in 604 BC
at the hands of the Babylonians. Israel had already entered into their iron-yoke judgment in
745-721 BC at the hands of the Assyrians.
The whole of Jeremiah chapter 23 speaks encouragement and warning. The encouragement
was the fact that God was going to raise up for David a righteous Branch , namely, the Lord
Jesus, "the Lord our righteousness," as well as shepherds to tend His flock. God's Branch will
reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness. Praise God!
However, most of the chapter is directed to the many false prophets that had arisen in both
Israel and Judah. The land had become full of adulterers who were walking in falsehood. Even
the prophets and the priests had become polluted. The prophets were accused of speaking "a
vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the Lord." They were saying "Peace"
and "Calamity will not come upon you." It is in this context that the question was asked.
Apart from Jeremiah and like-minded prophets, there was no one among the so-called prophets
that was standing in the council of the Lord to see, hear, and heed His word. Simply, no one was
standing in the council of the Lord to receive and know His word. If they had, they would have
known their true condition before the Lord instead of living according to the lie that they were
God's chosen, and, simply because of their bloodline, they could get away with all sorts of
abominations and the Lord would not see it or care about it.
Who Has Stood in the Council of the Lord?
January 2012
This raises the question: What does this have to do with us today? Surely, the Lord's people are
not worshipping Baal as ancient Israel did. Further, we are living in the day which was spoken of
through the prophets that the Lord's people would prophesy and be given visions and dreams
(Acts 2:17). Yet even further, one could argue that the church is being continually immersed in
God's Word through all sorts of media. In fact, there seems to be no lack for the word of the
Lord going forth to believers. Surely, we cannot be in the same condition as ancient Judah was
in Jeremiah's day.
Let us not be so quick to glory in our day, for perhaps it is not much different from Jeremiah's
day. Are we so sure that we have no idols of the heart? Further, are we not surrounded by
many prophets, both true and false, both in the world and in the church? Keep in mind that, in
its broadest sense, a prophet is simply a spokesman for some cause, group, movement, etc, or
one who sees things, both now and in the future. A true prophet of God sees from God's
perspective and speaks for God, contemporaneously (the now) and predicatively (the future).
In the world, there is a countless number of secular prophets; ones that could be called media
prophets , for they peddle their so-called "expert opinions, analyses, and predictions" through
the many media outlets of our day. Just as Babylon was overrun by the Medes, so are we being
overrun by the Media (play on words). Surely, many of them are false prophets as they spin
truth and lies together to sell their "intellectual property."
In the church, there is a countless number of prophets and other voices purportedly speaking
for God according to His Spirit and in conformance with His Word. However, in aggregate, there
seems to be much contradiction in what is being sent forth across the spectrum of Christian
media. The word that often comes to me as I listen to it is babel , which means "confusion."
With so many voices speaking for God in our day and so many other voices trying to refute and
subvert God and His character, even His ways, His plan, and His purpose, it is truly a very
dangerous day. We need to be reminded that the Lord Jesus, along with Peter and John,
warned of false prophets as well as false teachers (Matthew 7:15; 24:11, 24; Mark 13:22; Luke
6:26; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1). To this we could add Paul's exhortation to beware of the
character of men in the last days, evil men and imposters, deceiving and being deceived (1
Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3). However, we must also guard against the tradition of men (Mark
7:8; Colossians 2:8) and the systematizing of the deception (deceitful scheming) that Paul
warned about (Ephesians 4:14).
Dear brethren, we are living in the midst of Mystery Babylon. It is a day of confusion ( Babel ).
What are we to do? How are we to navigate our way through this time, conquering all the
more? The answer lies in Jeremiah's question in verse 18: Who has stood in the council of the
Lord? But more specifically, it lies in the spiritual meaning and symbology of the Hebrew word
from which the English word council is derived. There are three layers of meaning. The first is
the definitional meaning of the Hebrew word. The second is the meaning of the three Hebrew
letters that make up the word. The third is the gematria of the word and its signification.
Who Has Stood in the Council of the Lord?
January 2012
Council Signifies Intimacy and a Secret
The word council or counsel (varies by translation) comes from the Hebrew word sod . According
to Strong's Concordance, sod (H5475) refers to "a session , that is, company of persons (in close
deliberation); by implication intimacy , consultation , a secret ." Sod comes from the primitive
root word yasad (H3245), which means "to set (literally or figuratively); intensively to found ;
reflexively to sit down together, that is, settle , consult. " Interestingly, Webster's English
Dictionary states that an archaic meaning is "wisdom; shrewd judgment," and an obsolete
meaning is "a confidential idea, plan; a secret."
There are two concepts built into the word council . The first and, by far, the most important is
the concept of intimacy. Specifically, it is about coming into personal intimacy with the Lord, to
know the secrets of His heart, to know His plan and purpose, to receive His wisdom, His
thoughts, and His judgment of things on earth. It implies coming into the secret chamber of the
Lord's heart.
Personally, I liken it to being in the very thumping heartbeat of God, not just hearing His
heartbeat but being caught up in the very beat of God's heart. It is moving up and down with
the very muscle of the heart of God, metaphorically speaking. Can you think of anything greater
than being in this type of intimacy?
Mind you, coming into His council is not an exclusive invitation, as if it were only for a few
select people of God. In his discourse with his friends, Job was questioned by Eliphaz on this
very ground: "Do you hear the secret counsel [sod] of God, and limit wisdom to yourself? (Job
15:8). No; this is for all who desire to hear His voice (word) and to heed it. "The secret of the
LORD is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant" (Psalm 25:14).
We all need to be drawn into intimacy with the Lord to hear the voice of the love of our life in
order to share His life and His thoughts with others, both within and without His Body. In
contrast, given the evil of our day, we need hearts that cry out like David: "Hide me from the
secret counsel [sod] of evildoers, from the tumult of those who do iniquity" (Psalm 64:2).
The second concept built into the word council is that of "a secret" or, as some translations
state, a "mystery." In several of his epistles, Paul referred to the secret or mystery (e.g., the
mystery of the gospel, the mystery of Christ, and the revelation of the mystery).
The Hebrew word sod in itself speaks of the very secret or mystery of God. Another way to
state this is that when we come into the very council of the Lord, we learn of His mystery, the
mystery relating to His plan and, most importantly, God's ultimate purpose. He takes us into His
confidence and reveals His plan and purpose, which leads to the next layer of meaning.
Who Has Stood in the Council of the Lord?
January 2012
Council is the Person of the Lord Jesus
The word sod is comprised of three Hebrew letters.
Numeric Value
Literal Meaning
Symbolic Meaning
Pathway, to enter
"And," to add, secure, hook
A prop
Support, to turn
A door signifies a pathway or a way to go, which could signify a plan . A nail signifies that the
plan is secure ; it is nailed down, so to speak. A prop could have several meanings. According to
Webster's Dictionary, as a noun, it could mean 1) a rigid support, as a beam, stake or pole,
placed under or against a structure; 2) a person who is one of the main supports of an
enterprise . As a verb, it means to support, hold up, or hold in place.
Taken together, these three Hebrew letters speak not of a thing but of the Person of our Lord
Jesus. He is the Door (John 10:9). He who was nailed to a cross is the same One who secures
the salvation of all mankind (1 Timothy 4:10). He is the entire enterprise, so to speak. He is the
one who upholds (holds up, props up) all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3).
Also, notice that vav refers to the conjunction and . Is Jesus not the and of all things; that is, is
He not the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End? Is He not
the One who is and who was and who is to come?
In other words, when we come into the council of the Lord, we come into the very One who is
the Word. It is more than coming into words, it is coming into the Word Himself to see and hear
Him. It is about seeing Jesus and hearing His voice and abiding in Him. It is about being intimate
with Him, being in His intimate Presence. It is about a face-to-face, heart-to-heart, heart-
thumping encounter with the Lord. It is about seeing Him, hearing Him, knowing Him, and
experiencing Him.
Council Signifies the Number 70
The third layer of meaning is discovered in the gematria or sum total of the Hebrew letters for
the word sod. Daleth (4), vav (6), and samech (60) total to the number 70. Numbers in Scripture
have meaning, and the number 70 is significant in regard to God's plan for the nations and for
all things in heaven and on earth. It is the number of restoration and universality.
In the Hebrew alphabet, the number 70 is assigned to the letter ayin , which literally means
"eye" and symbolically means to "see, know, or experience."
Also, the number 70 is made up of the number 7 and the number 10. The number 7 signifies
spiritual perfection , and the number 10 signifies ordinal completion of a series or perfection of
divine order . Thus, both numbers signify perfection or, we could say, completeness.
Who Has Stood in the Council of the Lord?
January 2012
In the book Number in Scripture , E.W. Bullinger states that "7 x 10 signifies perfect spiritual
order and carried out with all spiritual power and significance. Both spirit and power are greatly
To further understand the number 70, let us consider some places in Scripture where it
The first mention is discovered with the descendants of Shem, Japheth, and Ham that
repopulated the earth after the flood. Adding up the descendants of Noah as recorded in
Genesis 10 reveals that there were 70 of them, signifying 70 nations.
The house of Jacob that entered Egypt numbered 70, and from this group eventually came the
nation of Israel.
(26) All the persons belonging to Jacob, who came to Egypt, his direct descendants, not
including the wives of Jacob's sons, were sixty-six persons in all, (27) and the sons of Joseph,
who were born to him in Egypt were two; all the persons of the house of Jacob, who came to
Egypt, were seventy. (Genesis 46:26-27 NASB)
When the Lord delivered the sons of Israel from Egypt and led them into the wilderness under
the leadership of Moses, God gave Moses the command to choose 70 elders to help him judge
the people.
The LORD therefore said to Moses, "Gather for Me seventy men from the elders of Israel,
whom you know to be the elders of the people and their officers and bring them to the tent
of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you." (Numbers 11:16 NASB)
Later and after Solomon's United Kingdom of Israel was split into two kingdoms, Israel and
Judah, Judah was given the iron yoke of judgment (Jeremiah 28:13-14) and sent into
Babylonian captivity for 70 years, which was also the length of years for the Babylonian
monarchy. With the end of the 70 years, Judah was allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild
the city and its temple (Jeremiah 25:11, 12; Daniel 9:2; Zechariah 7:5).
The Lord told Daniel that 70 weeks were set for his people to finish the transgression.
"Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the
transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting
righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. (Daniel 9:24
These 70 weeks were actually 490 (7 x 70) years that ended with the crucifixion of Jesus in 33
AD. The last week or 7 years of Daniel's 70 weeks occurred from 26-33 AD. Jesus began His
ministry in the midst of the week in 29 AD when He went to John for baptism on the Day of
Atonement. This is when He presented Himself for ministry and made an end to sin, which was
fully consummated at the Cross.
Who Has Stood in the Council of the Lord?
January 2012
A bit more obscure reference to the number 70 is discovered in the Feast of Tabernacles . As a
reminder, this feast is a type of the sons of God being manifested in glorified, spiritual, celestial,
immortal bodies (new tabernacles) which commissions them to reign with Christ on earth and
in heaven for 1,000 years in what is called the Kingdom Age or the Tabernacles Age.
During the 7-day Feast of Tabernacles that the sons of Israel celebrated each year, starting on
the 15 th day of the 7 th month, they were required to present a specific number of bulls as burnt
(12) 'Then on the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; you
shall do no laborious work, and you shall observe a feast to the LORD for seven days. (13)
'You shall present a burnt offering, an offering by fire as a soothing aroma to the LORD:
thirteen bulls…. (17) 'Then on the second day: twelve bulls…. (20) 'Then on the third day:
eleven bulls…. (32) 'Then on the seventh day: seven bulls…. (Numbers 29:12-32 NASB)
Notice that on the first day, they sacrificed 13 bulls, and on the second day, they sacrificed 12
bulls. Each day they reduced the number of bulls to be sacrificed by one until on the 7 th day
they sacrificed 7 bulls. There were a total of 70 bulls sacrificed over this 7-day period.
Drawing from Genesis 10, the Jewish Talmud saw these 70 bulls as representative of the
number of the nations, 70, in the world. Thus, the purpose of these sacrifices during the Feast
of Tabernacles was to appeal to God for the restoration of all the nations of the world, to
restore them back to God. They were doing this with full knowledge of God's heart as revealed
through His prophets.
Jesus, who is the fulfillment of all the prophets, confirmed this when He sent out 70 of His
disciples into the harvest of the world, He did this as a sign that it is God's plan to restore all the
nations. God plans to harvest (i.e., restore) all the nations to Himself through His Son who has
the power to subject all things to Himself (1 Corinthians 15:25-28; Philippians 3:21).
Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to
every city and place where He Himself was going to come. (Luke 10:1 NASB)
Later, Peter reminded the men of Israel of the restoration of all things as spoken by God
through the ancient prophets.
(19) "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times
of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; (20) and that He may send Jesus, the
Christ appointed for you, (21) whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all
things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. (Acts
3:19-21 NASB)
Notice how Peter expanded the restoration to all things, not just the nations. Of all the
apostles, Paul most often used the comprehensive Greek phrase ta panta or the all , commonly
translated as all things . I have written much on this subject, so it won't be repeated here.
Nevertheless, consider some of the encouragement given to us by Paul.
Who Has Stood in the Council of the Lord?
January 2012
(19) For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, (20) and through
Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross;
through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. (Colossians 1:19-20 NASB)
(25) For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. (26) The last enemy
that will be abolished is death. (27) For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS
FEET. But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted
who put all things in subjection to Him. (1 Corinthians 15:25-27 NASB)
And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the
church…. (Ephesians 1:22 NASB)
Who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory,
by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (Philippians
3:21 NASB)
Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him;
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. (1 Corinthians
8:6 NASB)
(16) For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and
invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created
through Him and for Him. (17) He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
(Colossians 1:16-17 NASB)
(9) He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He
purposed in Him (10) with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times,
that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.
(Ephesians 1:9-10 NASB)
He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He
might fill all things.) (Ephesians 4:10 NASB)
These are but a few verses that speak of God's plan to head up or sum up all things in His Son in
order to achieve His ultimate purpose: So that God may be all in all, making all things new (1
Corinthians 15:28; Revelation 21:5), for From Him and through Him and to Him are all things
(Romans 11:36). God is not counting the world's trespasses against them (2 Corinthians 5:19);
He plans to restore not only all the nations, as representative of the number 70, but all things.
God's plan is being and will be worked out through Christ and His Body, the complement of the
One completing the all in all (Ephesians 1:23 CV). This is the true calling of the Ecclesia.
Dear beloved in Christ, the Holy Spirit is asking a question of God's people. Who? Who is
standing in the council of the Lord? But, it is more than a question; it is an invitation to enter
into the council of the Lord, to come into intimacy with the Lord to hear the secrets of His
heart. It is about abiding in Christ, that is, making home in Him, having a heart-to-heart
relationship with a hearing ear that leads to obedience.
Who Has Stood in the Council of the Lord?
January 2012
Another way to state this is that it is about having a seeing, listening, heeding, obeying, and
loving heart.
When we enter into His council, the love of our life will reveal to us and seal in our hearts the
most intimate desire of His heart, which is to restore all things back to the Father so that God
may be all in all. However, it is much more than restoration as if to simply clean up the old.
When God is all in all, all things are new. Hallelujah!