What the Bible Really Says about the Powers of Darkness
Heiser writes about demons from the supernatural perspective of the Bible, based off his dynamic books of The Unseen Realm and the Supernatural. In this book, he dives deeper into demons in the Old and New Testaments. Many scholars don’t approach the Bible as God’s Word, let alone so that it has supernatural connections, and many questions for many readers.
The author introduces this study by pointing out some of the places the Bible that show a supernatural approach to demons that anyone reading the text closely would have questioned about. He approaches it in a scholarly way with many footnotes, but it is not a scholarly book. I can easily recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about demons in the Bible.
The first section and Chapter 1 comb through the Old Testament terminology for demonic agents. The English versions of the Bible often limit the reader to see how much demonic activity is there. The word for demon is only used three times by most English translations. Heiser gives six words for the humans of the various types this goes a long way in helping you understand demonic activity in the Old Testament, laying the foundation for the New Testament.
Heiser talks about how the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, differs in its terminology for demons and other beings from the Masoretic text in Chapter 2. The interpretive and translation decisions made by the translators change how New Testament authors use the terminology of demonic activity. The Septuagint for the most part was the Bible of the New Testament writers.
Chapters 3-4 discussed Satan in the Old Testament. There are some fascinating points the writer makes about how we see Satan in the Old Testament and what we understand about him. He talks a lot about Genesis 3 with the surfing in the garden of Eden and other passages dealing with The Satan, like Job 1-2. I found these chapters some of the most interesting in the book.
Chapter 5-6 cover the divide rebellion in heaven when Satan and his angels rebelled against God. There are many ties to this throughout the Bible and Second Temple Judaism. Heiser ties all these texts and traditions together to help you understand how the New Testament deals with these events and ideas throughout history.
In chapter 7-8, the author shows the importance of the nation’s and how Satan controls them from the ideas in Second Temple Judaism and how these affect the New Testament, especially with Jesus going into the wilderness where demonic spirits are believed to do well, and when Satan offers to give him the nation’s (controlled by territorial spirits, etc.) if He would bow down and worship him.
The author moves into the New Testament in chapter 9, once again dealing with the language and the terminology of Satan. I am grateful for his detail and care.to these parts of the book. It is helpful to define things before you use them.
Chapter 10 describes demons and evil spirits in the New Testament, especially the Gospels. While demons are not referred to cleverly, evil spirits and unclean spirits are found throughout the Gospels. Heiser deals with those episodes. The author goes into detail about demonic possession, how demons could affect people with diseases, and other matters of demonic activity in the New Testament. This was also a great chapter!
Chapter 11 discusses the ruling spiritual powers mentioned by Paul and others. Dr. Heiser talks about how these ruling powers have been obliterated by Christ. Indeed, they are all subservient to Him. He provides a conclusion to the book by talking about the destination of Satan, demons, and evil spiritual powers. I really like his approach on these matters, as they are current issues for Christians today.
The final chapter of the book is a Q&A about all things discussed in the book which people have asked the author questions about. It does not repeat or rehash what the book has already discussed, it makes it a valuable resource for dealing with spiritual matters and all things supernatural. I enjoyed hearing his answers on some matters like spiritual warfare, demonic activity in Christians, etc. Like the other books I have read from Dr. Heiser, this book does not disappoint. He is specific and gives a detailed analysis of demons in the Bible. It’s definitely a book you want on your shelf. Of all the things that interest believers today and that may distract them, the author puts these things into perspective. People want to know about demonic activity, and this book thoroughly answers those questions.