Gateway: Living

Recommended reading to open the Bible in ways you never dreamed possible

On occasion in the past I have focused on larger Christian organizations that have been doing good work for a long time (Gideons/Salvation Army).

In this article I would like to introduce you to a man who has been a large influence in my life on both a personal and a scholarly level. Dr. Michael Heiser has been writing and researching for the last 20 years on a topic that both baffles and excites me at the same time.

But first a little background on Dr. Heiser. Mike has been the academic editor for Logos Bible Software in Bellingham for many years. This role as the editor allows Mike to work on the latest software to help pastors, educators and students have access to the latest and best technology and academic resources in Biblical studies. Lest you think that Mike has not paid his own academic dues, rest easy knowing he has two master’s degrees and a Ph.D in Semitic languages. While Mike is passionate about academic research (for himself and others) I know that he is also a man with a love of the church and is guided by high levels of personal integrity. I want you to know about this man so you can benefit from the research he’s been doing as this work has the potential to open your Bible in ways you never dreamed possible.

Dr. Heiser has just released two new books that are the fruit of labors the past 20 years, and they come with my highest recommendation. The first book is “The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible” and the second book is “Supernatural.” Both of these books are now available and I hope you will buy them, read them, and then read them again to integrate the material into your Biblical worldview. By reading the research Dr. Heiser has done, it will allow you to tie together parts of your Bible you never knew were connected. Often we read the Bible in isolation from the other parts of the Bible as if we have a few strings here and there. Dr. Heiser’s work takes strands from different parts of the Bible and allows you to weave them into a tapestry that is both intricate and beautiful.

Just over 20 years ago, while in graduate school, Dr. Heiser was presented with a text from the Psalms that changed the trajectory of his research and life. Having read the Psalm, the only thing Mike could do was either ignore it, deny its wording or find a way to embrace a different view of the Bible he’d never considered before. Mike chose the latter and today we are the beneficiaries of two decades of work that encompasses the whole Bible. The Psalm that Mike read was Psalm 82 which revealed that G-d (YHVH) resides over an assembly of other “elohim” (gods) in what is called “the Divine Council.”

The basic premise behind the “Divine Council” is that there are other-worldly “elohim” that take interest and are involved in what’s happening on earth. For many theologians/pastors, the idea of a supernatural world is something that they either ignore or deny. An example of a meeting of the “Divine Council” is the opening scenes we find in the book of Job. For many, these descriptions of G-d and a group of other “gods” having a meeting to determine what they will do with us here below is too much to swallow. However, if we understand the “Divine Council,” there are many parts of the Bible that begin to converge and we see a mosaic instead of snapshots.

For many, when I tell them about the “Divine Council” they think it’s just an Old Testament issue that didn’t carry over into the Apostolic Scripture (NT). Any honest read of the Gospel narratives and you can see that there are angels and demons which come from outside our world but interact with us. These angels and demons are factors in the overall “Unseen Realm” which impact the way we do business on earth. In case you think this is only a “Gospel” issue, the Apostle Paul says that we do not wrestle with flesh and blood (humans) but with “spiritual wickedness in high places.” The beauty of the “Divine Council” is that it’s systemic throughout the Bible and ties many disparate pieces together. Once you have a grasp on the “Divine Council” you will be able to see how the realm of this world works or is in conflict with the world above.

Dr. Heiser is coming to this area during the month of September, and if you’ve never heard him this is your chance to meet one of the brightest minds in Biblical studies. If you are interested, please email me at torah4today@comcast.net for more information.

For those who want to find out more about Mike and his books, there are two points of contact I recommend. First go to www.drmsh.com to learn more about Michael Heiser and then check out www.theunseenrealm.com for more on his research.

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