Review of Samuel A. Meier, “Themes and Transformations in Old Testament Prophecy” -- By: John D. Currid
ATJ vol 43 p. 120
Review of Samuel A. Meier, “Themes and Transformations in Old Testament Prophecy”
and L. K. Larson*
Meier observes the transition in the institution of prophecy, correlating the decline and disappearance of prophecy to the decreased involvement of the prophet with the divine council. Meier marks the sixth century as the pivot point, which accelerates these transitions. He further identifies a decrease in miracles, a decline in a prophet’s ability to see and understand God’s revelation, and a shift in how God reveals his message to his prophets as significant transitions in Old Testament prophecy. This review will focus specifically on Meier’s view of the divine council and his view of God’s sovereignty as they relate to prophecy.
God’s deliberating council
Critical to Meier’s argument is the prophet’s relationship to “God’s deliberating council” (19). The council consists of God, supernatural creatures and at times a prophet. Meier notes that the prophet is the only human in the Bible allowed to attend God’s council meeting (21). Meier describes God’s council much like a board of directors where God seeks advice and ideas from either the supernatural beings or a prophet like a chairman would from his board. God is described as deferring to angels, seeking input from a prophet regarding “the appropriateness” of his plans (20, 22). However, the council is not a democracy; God remains in control. Meier delineates a shift in the prophet’s role on the council. The early prophets, according to Meier, enjoy a friendly relationship with God. God seeks their advice and can be persuaded by them to alter his plans (e.g. Amos 7:4–6). However, a transition occurs during Ezekiel’s prophetic ministry. There is no dialogue between Ezekiel and God; Ezekiel cannot argue or persuade God to a different course of action as Amos did. The plan is set, and Ezekiel is not an active participant in the deliberations of God’s council (Ezek 2:8–3:4). After the exile, the prophet is no longer even a passive member on the divine council, but he is excluded from the council altogether.
ATJ vol 43 p. 121
God’s sovereignty and man’s influence
Meier’s observation of the transformation of the prophet’s role on the divine council hinges on his concept of “God’s deliberating council,” a term which sheds light on Meier’s view of God’s sovereignty and man’s influence on God’s revealed plan (19). This concept reveals Meier’s interpretation that God’s purpose behind posing questions to supernatural beings or huma...
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