Released at the same time as his larger, more academic work The Unseen Realm (my review here), Heiser made sure that he didn’t forget about the church. Both volumes are for the church, but Supernatural is specifically intended for “the person in the pew” (10). The question for “the person in the pew” is: Do you really believe what the Bible says? Do you really believe that God meets with a group of spirit beings to decide what happens on earth (1 Kgs 22.19-23)? Do you really believe that God sent a bunch of angels to an underground prison (Jude 1.6)? Have you ever heard about these things? Have you ever realized these scenarios take place within our Bible? Heiser sets out to blow off our modern day lenses so we can see that there is more to the supernatural world than what we think. And it matters. A lot.
Supernatural is separated into 16 chapters (as opposed to The Unseen Realm‘s 42 chapters) and follows the flow of The Unseen Realm (which is broadly divided into 8 sections). After his introduction, Heiser explains how the modern day Christian line of thought of “Trinity/angels/demons” is too simplistic. God has a divine council, a family, sons of God, and at a certain time a certain amount of this council rebelled. God had created his own family on earth, but then that family, Adam and Eve, also rebelled. God gave them a promise of redemption.
In Deuteronomy 32, we find out that when God separated those at the Tower of Babel, he placed them under the other gods of the council (but he called out Abraham to be Yahweh’s nation). Psalm 82 reveals that some (or all?) of these gods rebelled and that they rule unjustly over the nations. Yahweh places his name on his angel, the physical representation of Yahweh, the beginning seeds of what we know as the Trinity. Through holy war Joshua and Israel gain holy ground promised by Yahweh, but yet again Israel failed, eventually being subjugated to Assyria and Babylon. Yahweh himself would have to come to earth, in the flesh, to accomplish his plan.
Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, the cloud rider of Daniel 7, dies, rises again, and ascends to heaven. He pours out his Spirit onto his people, and a great reversal happens. Many of those listed in Genesis 10’s Table of Nations are mentioned as being in Jerusalem at Pentecost. When the Jews spoke different languages, many heard God’s word and were saved! So after repentance comes baptism, the declaration that one follows the resurrected Lord – and not the other gods (cf. Deut 4.19).
Those who put their trust in God and are loyal to him, are now sons of God through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Hebrews 2.10-13 shows that as Jesus came to earth to become human, and his family will become like him: divine (though not to be worshiped. But we will “be like him,” 1 Jn 3.2; Phil 3.21). Christians in the new heavens and earth will “rule over angels” (1 Cor 6.3).
“The final form of the kingdom is yet to come. When it does, the powers of darkness will be defeated. The demonic gods will lose their dominion over the nations permanently—replaced by God’s glorified human family and council” (157).
Revelation 3.20-21 says,
Behold, I stand at the door and knock! If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, indeed I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant to him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also have conquered and have sat down with my Father on his throne.
We will live in the eternal Eden, and we will not face the second death. We will have eternal life as sons (and daughters) of God in the presence of the Trinity.
The Chocolate Milk
One main difference with Supernatural comes at the end of each chapter. Here Heiser has placed a Why This Matters section. While much of this book is found in The Unseen Realm, I found the condensing of Heiser’s main points to be very helpful (a few more coins ‘dropped’ while reading this book), especially in the Why This Matters section. Why does learning about sacred space matter? Because while we no longer have tabernacles or temples, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. “Our bodies are sacred space” (84). Jesus completes the pattern that Adam and Israel failed to complete. As Christ’s body, the church follows that pattern. Because we follow the one who conquered death, “Satan has no claim on the children of God because they will rise from death” (106).
Why Does This Matter?
Why should you read Heiser’s book(s)? Why do we need to know about the other gods of Psalm 82, Deuteronomy 4 and 32, and so on and so forth?
“Salvation is about believing loyalty—trusting what Jesus did to defeat Satan’s claim and turning from all other gods and the belief systems of which they are a part. That is the message of God’s kingdom we are commissioned to tell to the nations (Matt. 28:19–20). And as we obey, the dominions of the enemy gods, the principalities and powers, shrink—soul by soul, moment by moment. The gates of hell, the realm of the dead, do not withstand the resurrection, and will not withstand the advance of the gospel.”
Ronn Johnson wrote this study guide with the intention for groups to work alongside Supernatural, which offers its readers the chance to work through Supernatural‘s material “with this guide . . . considering where one idea affects another.” The study guide consists of a preface, eight chapters, and a conclusion. Each chapter gives you a section of Supernatural to read along with some Scripture references. There are five sections to each chapter: The Big Picture, The Main Idea, Digging Deeper, Knowledge in Action, and Discussion Questions.
Rather than just going to heaven, we will receive our inheritance and rule with Christ in our resurrected bodies, bodies which are fashioned after him, the true and perfect image of God, who took on flesh, perfectly obeyed the Father, lived and died for us to rescue us from sin and death, was vindicated in his resurrection, and ascended to rule and reign on the throne while interceding for his people, Jesus Christ the Lord.
- Author: Michael S. Heiser
- Paperback: 224 pages (Supernatural); 96 pages (Supernatural Study Guide)
- Publisher: Lexham Press (November 10, 2015)
- Check out Mike’s Podcast: The Naked Bible (esp. Ep’s 86, 88, 94, 95, 109)
- My Review of The Unseen Realm
Buy Supernatural from Amazon or Logos!
Buy the Study Guide from Amazon or Lexham Press!
Special thanks to Lexham Press for sending me this book!
Previous Posts on The Unseen Realm
- Who Were the Nephilim?
- Why This Topic?
- Three Interpretations on the Nephilim
- Why is Genesis 6.1-4 in the Bible?
- Weird Texts of the Bible
Dividing the Nations
The OT Trinity
- The Trinity in the Old Testament
- And He Struggled With the Angel
- He Rides the Clouds
- The Holy Spirit
Review of The Unseen Realm
Disclosure: I received this book free from Lexham Press. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.
Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: I receive a percentage of revenue if you buy from Amazon on my blog.
10 thoughts on “Book Review: Supernatural (Michael Heiser)”
Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging and commented:
Excellent review, love Dr. Heiser’s work…”If it’s weird, it’s important”.
Thanks! And I’m seeing more and more that what’s weird is very important.
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wondering how soon it will be before we’re deemed Heiser’s Talmidim 😊
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I guess I ought to review his other books first 😉
Thanks for the review Spencer. I bought this book for my dad and was wondering how it compared to The Unseen Realm. I had hoped to read it this summer while we were visiting with my parents, but didn’t have the time. Your review was helpful.
Thanks, Randy. I hope your dad enjoys it.
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