By – Stuart H. Pouliot
Who Has Stood in the Council of the Lord?
March 2019
Each year I ask the Lord for a word for the year, and He has faithfully given me one, sometimes
two. The word given to me for 2012 was 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 listened? This
word is just as applicable today as it was seven years ago, perhaps even more so.
Before getting into the meaning of this verse, especially the word council , some background is in
Background of Two Kingdoms
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 of who has
stood in the council of the Lord.
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?
March 2019
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 ecclesia (called out ones; 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. Could we?
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? Look around you, listen and watch—it
won't be very long until you begin to see that heart idols abound. We need the spirit of the Lord
to search our hearts!
Further, are we not surrounded by many prophets, both true and false, both in the world and in
what I prefer to call the visible church (as opposed to the true spiritual church that Jesus is
building)? 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), but mostly, a prophet reveals the heart of God. It is said that the
prophet becomes the message, both in word and action.
In the world, there are many 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" for a profit (play on words; prophet).
In the church, there are many prophets and other voices, as well, 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 in their day (Matthew 7:15; 24:11, 24; Mark 13:22; Luke
6:26; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1). If they rose up in the apostle's day, surely, they could rise up in our
day just as well. 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).
Again, this was a warning for the apostle's day; they were in the last days of the Mosaic age that
fully ended in 70 AD. However, there is another danger that cropped up then and is still with us—
the tradition of men (Mark 7:8; Colossians 2:8) that leads to the systematizing of the deception
(deceitful scheming) that Paul warned about (Ephesians 4:14). Traditions of men can become
idols of the heart.
Who Has Stood in the Council of the Lord?
March 2019
Dear brethren, we are living in a day of much confusion ( babel ), and unrest (little peace, especially
of the soul). 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.
Council Signifies Union 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 union. The above definition uses the word intimacy instead of union . I have chosen
union because I see this as more biblical. Scripture, especially that of the new, speaks to us about
oneness. To the Ephesians, Paul stressed that there is one body, one spirit, one hope, one Lord,
one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father (Ephesians 4:4-6). This is union—all based on
oneness with God's Son, our Lord and King—Jesus. Some might say that intimacy is more
relational and union is more technical. Perhaps, but for me, intimacy has two relating to one
another (a division of sorts), but union means the two are actually one.
The Lord brought this home to me recently as I was quietly sitting before Him. I began to realize
that the thoughts coming to me were not only my thoughts, but they were also His thoughts,
meaning the two were one. He then began to speak to my heart that this is what union is all
about. It is not so much about having a conversation where we hear the Lord, as it is about
knowing in our spirits what He is thinking. His thoughts become our thoughts—thus, union.
Union with the Lord brings us into 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. I like to say it is coming into the thumping heartbeat of the
"God is love"—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 this? This is what I see as union!
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).
Who Has Stood in the Council of the Lord?
March 2019
We all need to be drawn into union-oneness 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.
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 in union
with Him, being in His constant 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.
Who Has Stood in the Council of the Lord?
March 2019
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.
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 appears.
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.
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, 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 (houses), 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).
Who Has Stood in the Council of the Lord?
March 2019
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 NASB)
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.
A bit more obscure reference to the number 70 is discovered in the feast of tabernacles (booths).
As a reminder, this feast is a type of the sons of God being manifested in glorified, spiritual,
celestial, immortal bodies (new tabernacles; new booths) that commissions them to reign with
Christ on earth and in heaven in the ages to come.
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
'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. 'You
shall present a burnt offering, an offering by fire as a soothing aroma to the LORD: thirteen
bulls…. 'Then on the second day: twelve bulls…. 'Then on the third day: eleven bulls…. '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 was 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)
Who Has Stood in the Council of the Lord?
March 2019
Later, Peter reminded the men of Israel of the restoration of all things as spoken by God through
the ancient prophets.
"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; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ
appointed for you, 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.
See Ta Panta—The All http://www.kingdomandglory.com/art/art56.pdf
For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 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)
For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will
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)
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. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
(Colossians 1:16-17 NASB)
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He
purposed in Him 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)
Who Has Stood in the Council of the Lord?
March 2019
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 CLV). This is the true calling of the ecclesia.
But let it be known that restoration, as good as it will be, is not the endpoint—new creation is!
Behold, I make all things new!
Dear beloved in Christ, the spirit of the Lord 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 union 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.
Another way to state this is that it is about having a seeing, listening, heeding, obeying, and loving
When we enter into His council, the love of our life will reveal to us and seal in our hearts the
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.
And, the all new starts a whole new beginning—new ages, new worlds, new creations upon
creations, new universes, new dimensions—new things we cannot even imagine!