Dr. Hamblin posted a great paper on the topic of the sons of God, or Divine Council here. Among other things it points out the early Israelite belief that there was a divine council of gods (“sons of God”) presided over by the Most High God (“El”) and that this divine council apparently consisted of 70 sons of God. While reading about this concept, it occurred to me that W. W. Phelps apparently made reference to this same idea in Joseph and Hyrum’s funeral sermon.
Surely, as one of the holy ones commissioned by his father among the royal seventy, when the high council of heaven set them apart to come down and “multiply and replenish this earth,” he was the “last,” and who knows but the “greatest,” for he declared —we knew not who he was! (See BYU Studies, 1983, Richard Van Wagoner and Steven C. Walker)
Now, this seemed speculative on W. W. Phelps’s part, but it’s interesting that he referred to the “royal seventy.” Where would have W. W. Phelps have learned this concept? Seems like a direct reference to the similar concept believed by the early Israelites.