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“Unseen Realm” author Dr. Michael Heiser has died

Dr. Michael Heiser has died after a battle with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. He passed away Sunday.

Heiser was a renowned biblical scholar who tackled some of the Bible’s most difficult packages, including his exploration of scriptures dealing with the “divine counsel”.

Just weeks before his death, Heiser alluded that the end of his journey was near. “I am at the end of the road in the late stage (4) of a very aggressive pancreatic cancer,” Heiser wrote in a Facebook on Jan. 22. “Nothing to date has reversed the tumor’s status. It has now invaded the upper GI and stomach areas causing slow, uncontrollable bleeding. No one on my medical team has a solution or knows of one.

Heiser was a scholar in the fields of biblical studies and the ancient Near East. He earned his Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible and Semitic Languages at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2004. He also earned an M.A. in the same field at Wisconsin, along with an M.A. in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania (major fields: Ancient Israel and Egyptology).

He also taught at the seminary level for over 20 years and was Scholar-in-Residence for Logos Bible Software for 15 years.

According to an abstract posted by Kaspars Ozolins, assistant professor of Old Testament Interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the “Divine Council” worldview is as follows:

“Several biblical passages speak of what some theologians call a ‘divine council,’ an assembly of heavenly beings or ‘gods.’ For Israel’s neighbors in the ancient Near East, such councils reflected polytheistic worldviews, where rival gods vied for power and supremacy. For Israel, however, the members of the divine council, though heavenly and supernatural, remained subject to the providence and decrees of the one Creator God. Furthermore, God disarmed all these malevolent spiritual powers at the cross of Christ, and one day He will strip them of all authority entirely.”

READ: New documentary on The Unseen Realm by Michael Heiser

But Heiser’s academic prowess didn’t just have a following in biblical academia. He engaged those outside traditional Christianity by discussing the power of the cross and biblical truths. He regularly appeared on stage with UFO believers, paranormal adherents and New Age proponents, debunking their beliefs and their attempts to discredit God as the creator of heaven and earth.

He earned praise from evangelistic organizations for his appearances in numerous television and documentary series like “Ancient Aliens” and “Zeitgeist,” bringing the truth of the Bible to an overlooked segment of culture that was often ignored by evangelistic efforts unprepared to respond to fringe belief worldviews.

Heiser’s academic work led to several best-selling books, including the 2015 The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible.  “Much of what we think we know about the spirit world isn’t true,” said Heiser. “It’s been filtered down through centuries of church tradition. Angels do not have wings, demons don’t have horns or tails. And for the biblical writers, the unseen realm was home to more than angels and demons. There were other bigger players. So do you believe what’s in your Bible?”

Watch the documentary below:

Other books include Supernatural: What the Bible Teaches about the Unseen World and Why it Matters; Angels: What the Bible Really Teaches About God’s Heavenly Host; and Reversing Hermon: Enoch, the Watchers, and the Forgotten Mission of Jesus Christ. He has also written over 100 articles for Bible Study Magazine and has several peer-reviewed articles in academic journals.

Up until his death he hosted the popular Naked Bible Podcast. Popular among Bible teachers as well as the public, the podcast surpassed five million downloads in 2019. His non-profit corporation, MIQLAT, provides free translations of his biblical studies content in over twenty languages.

Through his YouTube channel, Fringepop321, he promoted serious discussion and critical thinking about scriptures.

When “Unseen Realm” was released, praise for the book, and its scholarly examination of scripture, came from prominent leaders.

“This is a ‘big’ book in the best sense of the term. It is big in its scope and in its depth of analysis. Michael Heiser is a scholar who knows Scripture intimately in its ancient cultural context. All—scholars, clergy, and laypeople—who read this profound and accessible book will grow in their understanding of both the Old and New Testaments, particularly as their eyes are opened to the Bible’s “unseen world,” wrote Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College.

John Goldingay, Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary also praised the work, writing, “How was it possible that I had never seen that before? Dr Heiser’s survey of the complex reality of the supernatural world as the Scriptures portray it covers a subject that is strangely sidestepped. No one is going to agree with everything in his book, but the subject deserves careful study, and so does this book.”

“There is a world referred to in the Scripture that is quite unseen, but also quite present and active. Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm seeks to unmask this world. Heiser shows how prevalent and important it is to understand this world and appreciate how its contribution helps to make sense of Scripture. The book is clear and well done, treating many ideas and themes that often go unseen themselves. With this book, such themes will no longer be neglected, so read it and discover a new realm for reflection about what Scripture teaches,” wrote Darrell L. Bock, Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Heiser will be noted for helping believers embrace the difficult questions posed by some of the Bible’s most complex excerpts. Readers of his books, and viewers of his podcast and other media were guided into a more profound understanding of our spiritual origins and paramount purpose as citizens of God’s supernatural kingdom.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice



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