Angels!– Michael Heiser’s New Book– Part One

The Bible and Culture | 10/23/2018 | Staff
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Reading a Michael Heiser book is like eating marzipan— its rich, and requires only digesting small bites at a time. Some of the things I appreciate most about his books are: 1) his notes are rich with detail for those who want to pursue matters further; 2) he brings in ANE detail in a way many scholars cannot do; 3) he writes in a way that laity and clergy can benefit from such a study without being overwhelmed. I’m not surprised to see the big response to these books. They are filling a niche too little explored in Evangelical Christianity. Though this most recent book is only 248 pages counting footnotes and bibliography, it packs a punch and deserves several posts not least because it raises some important questions. From a scholarly point of view, one of these questions is— to what degree should we rely on evidence and ideas from Ugarit and other ANE languages and cultures to unpack the meaning of various OT Biblical texts? I am one who is all for such comparisons, and linguistic and cultural studies, but at the end of the day, precisely because there are differences between these religious cultures and languages one has to ask how far the comparisons can be pressed. For example, one of the more surprising conclusions of this book is that angels don’t have wings, despite texts like Isaiah 6 or Ezekiel 1. One of the reasons Michael comes to this conclusion is because of his taxonomy in regard to spiritual or supernatural beings— cherubim are guardians of God and his glory, they are not ‘angels’ in the sense that they are not messengers from God to humanity unlike say Gabriel in Lk. 1-2. One reads this book and gets a sense of a major corporation with a...
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