Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible
By Michael Heiser
Dr. Michael Heiser presents a groundbreaking work that explains much of the “strange things” in the Bible. Psalm 82 talks about God’s divine council. What is this council? Who is on it? We have many questions but few answers, even with the scholars investigating the subject.
What you read this extensive research and informative book will surprise you and give color to your reading of Scripture. Because the Bible is mainly about God’s plan of salvation, some of these issues Dr. Heiser addresses are in the background of the main themes of the Bible.
When you discover what is behind the word for God and gods in Hebrew, Heiser unlocks a new world, the unseen realm. God’s divine council is just the first step through that door. Elohim (Hebrew word for God/gods) does not only refer to God Almighty, but two other beings from the same sphere of heaven. These can be good or bad celestial beings that have a surprising role in biblical events.
From there, Heiser unlocks Scripture in a new way that helps you read the Bible with more understanding. Through the opening chapters 1-9, he traces biblical truths about his heaven. Only God is perfect, leaving divine entities and humans with free will that can cause them to sin, or be imperfect and even turn against God. This is what led to the war in heaven.
He unpacks how the Bible talks about Satan and the heavenly rebellion mentioned by the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel. This sheds light on the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2-3. Satan was one of the divine entities. He further shows how the prophets expound on Satan’s role in the fall of humanity.
All of this gives clarity in many texts of the Bible we read and may notice the echoes of the divine council. Heiser further illustrate these heavenly beings with interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4, the sons of God and the daughters of men. He highlights how these gods have affected the earth and the nations from the Table of Nations in Genesis 10, followed by interpretation of Moses’s words in Deuteronomy 32:8-9, and similar texts. God has allotted the nations to these elohim, but reserved Israel for Himself.
The author shows a firm grip on the understanding of the Old Testament. He shows how the possibility of two members of the Godhead are revealed in the Old Testament. Showing from the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) that the Angel of the Lord, the Name of God as His presence, and visible appearances of the Word of God demonstrates a blurring of God in heaven and God’s voice and the Angel of the Lord are both God.
The author continues to track through the historical and prophetic books of the Bible with the themes of the Nephilim and Anakim. Genesis 6 says that the Nephilim were there before the flood and after. So Heiser shows how they show up when Israel takes the Promised Land and destroys the Anakim, descendants of the Nephilim. He also continues to follow how the divine council is behind many of the texts we read in the Old Testament.
Heiser then transitions to show how the divine council influences the New Testament, especially the inauguration of the Kingdom of God, and its effects on the gods of the nations. God has never stopped seeking a people of His own. The Name of God is also in Jesus. Many passages we read in the Gospels have an effect on this cosmic battle between God and the gods of this world.
Paul is thoroughly influenced by the Deuteronomy 32 worldview in everything he talks about, whether that is idols, meat sacrificed to idols, and Christ’s victory over the gods of this world. The author tracks these biblical theologies through the General Epistles as well. Especially the writer of Hebrews understands how Jesus has the name above all names, and is greater than the angels and anyone else in the divine council.
Peter and Jude quote from 1 Enoch, but they accept the worldview the writer of Enoch presents. Understanding the spiritual influences of such a worldview helps us to see how the divine council is thoroughly involved throughout Scripture.
The biblical theology of the divine council culminates in the final book of the Bible, Revelation. He presents a different understanding of Armageddon, based on a supernatural understanding of what Armageddon is in Hebrew, and what it refers to. While avoiding the systematic theology of end times debates, the author presents a glorious picture of our inheritance in Christ. I really like Heiser’s approach to the biblical text and how he tracks the theology of a supernatural, Ancient Near East view of the passages of the Bible that can be explained with such a view. He certainly present a way of seeing the Bible and the divine council, and how it explains much of what we read. The best way for you to understand this approach is to get this book and read it for yourself. I recommend The Unseen Realm to give you an appreciation for Heiser’s explanation of the strange things we read in the Bible.