November 3, 2018

First of all, kudos to Carey Newman and Baylor Press for producing this third edition of Richard Burridge’s now classic study entitled What Are the Gospels? which first appeared as an SNTS monograph in the early 90s and helped produce a sea change in the field’s assessment of whether the Gospels are like ancient biographies or not. The answer is— most now think they are. The reason for grabbing a copy of this edition are several: 1) there is now… Read more

November 2, 2018

Maybe you’ve not noticed it, but there has been a decline in religious language in public life over the course of the last 30 or so years. To give one small example, when TV newscasters want to say something sympathetic when a tragic illness has befallen someone in the news they simply say ‘our thoughts will be with you’. They rarely say ‘our thoughts and prayers will be with you’ any more. It’s gotten even worse elsewhere. A major British… Read more

November 1, 2018

There are two rather new exhibits at the Museum of the Bible, and I was able to review them both while I was there for the consultants meeting. The first of these exhibits is the Jerusalem and Rome exhibit— which has some fine murals about early Jewish history during and after the Jewish war. Here are a few of the shots of the murals. This depicts members of the Qumran community hiding scrolls in jars in caves near the Qumran… Read more

October 31, 2018

The last two briefer chapters of the book deal with special topics, and then erroneous ideas about angels that Michael has encountered along the way. Some of this material is helpful as well. One interesting point is that Heiser pp. 147-52 urges us to realize that reconciliation of all things in heaven and on earth, as indicated in Colossians 1.19-20 is not about the redemption of fallen angels. I agree. The reconciliation language doesn’t have to do with the forgiveness… Read more

October 30, 2018

Because the NT has less to say about angels than the OT and intertestamental Jewish literature, Heiser’s treatment of the subject is briefer (pp. 116-62), and if I were to have a general criticism of these two chapters, it would be that the NT resources, specifically commentaries, he refers to are in various cases dated. Still, there is much interesting and good discussion here as elsewhere in this book. One of the initial points Michael makes on p. 116 is… Read more

October 29, 2018

Picture courtesy of Mr. Weiss and the Red Sox Even God must be for the Red Sox today— look at that rainbow over Fenway! Best Sox team maybe ever. 119 wins, including 7 and 1 on the road in the playoffs against the Yankees, Houston the world champs, and the Dodgers… Read more

October 29, 2018

One of the major differences between angels and humans, as Heiser rightly points out, is that the former are deathless, and therefore they have no need to propagate their species by marriage. (p. 88). This is doubtless why Jesus says that in the Kingdom we will neither marry nor be given in marriage for we will be like the angels. This is not about become neuters or sexless beings, it’s about becoming deathless ones instead of mortals, and by implication… Read more

October 28, 2018

One of the very most helpful parts of Michael Heiser’s recent book is his charts on the use of language applied to angels. See pp. 76-81. This is excellent summarizing of the Hebrew terminology. One of the things one learns along the way of course, is that the NT writers relied much more heavily on the Greek OT (LXX and Old Greek) than on the Hebrew for their discussions of angels. As Heiser rightly notes: “NT writers quote the OT… Read more

October 27, 2018

Angels are not just private messengers, they are also public testifiers. Michael Heiser rightly points to the plurals in Is. 40.1-2– where the exhortation to comfort– is addressed to members of the divine council to go and comfort God’s people (p. 41). Jer. 23.16-22 is interesting because it refers to real earthly prophets standing in the divine council and listening to the discussion and then going and proclaiming God’s Word. Angels may do this… but so may human prophets. Why… Read more

October 26, 2018

Our next port of call is Ps. 104.4, where we hear of ‘ruah’ in the plural (‘spirits’– probably not to be translated winds here) and also ‘malakim’– messengers, plural. The later speaks more to a major function of these beings, the former to their very nature. Here these angels are also called God’s ministers. Ps. 103 is rightly compared to Ps. 104 on these scores (pp. 5-7). While the word ‘samayim’, which occurs over 400 times in the OT regularly… Read more

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