Monday, October 30, 2017

Reading The Unseen Realm, by Michael Heiser #12

HeiserI am continuing to read through The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, by Michael S. Heiser. This post begins discussion of the New Testament from the Divine Council point of view and contains two sections; The Kingdom Already and The Kingdom Not Yet. I have been posting quotes from the book on my Facebook page on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (NT is Mon-Wed-Fri) and we can discuss comments and questions about the passage there. As usual my comments are in black and quotes from the commentary are in blue below. I am using the Kindle version of the book.…

Chapter 31, Who Will Go for Us?, opens section 7, The Kingdom Already, which begins the New Testament section of the book. Heiser's point here is that the visible YHWH has now been incarnated as a human being to complete God's plan to reclaim His creation. He focuses on two points made in the Gospels. One is that Jesus reveals the Name of God much as the Angel of YHWH did in the OT and that the Divine Council is in session. John the Baptist takes the role of Isaiah (Isaiah 40.1 ff) as the spokesman for the Council. Jesus is the Divine Davidic king who will lead all creation into a "new exodus."

Revealing God’s name to them meant showing them who God was and what he was like. He did that by living among them as a man. Jesus was God among them. He was the incarnation of God’s essence (Heb 1:3)...When Jesus says he has “kept them in your name,” he means he has kept those followers the Father gave to him by means of God’s own power and presence—the Name, now incarnated in Jesus. 269

Mark wants readers to see that a new exodus event is happening. The kingdom of God is back, and this time it will not fail because it’s being led by the visible Yahweh, now incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth...When God refers to Jesus as his “beloved” he is affirming the kingship of Jesus— his legitimate status as the heir to David’s throne. Heiser, Mark 1.11, 274

In Chapter 32, Preeminent Domain, Jesus begins the battle to take back the earth with two basic means: calling disciples and casting out demons. The sending out of the 70 to do this is a clear reference to the 70 nations, given over after Babel, that he intends to retake. This puts the evil powers on notice as to who he is. He chooses the occultic center of Mount Hermon to announce his identity in Peter's confession and in the Transfiguration. The evil powers will act in response which is exactly what Jesus expects them to do.

The kingdom of God is the aggressor. Jesus begins at ground zero in the cosmic geography of both testaments to announce the great reversal. It is the gates of hell that are under assault— and they will not hold up against the Church. Hell will one day be Satan’s tomb. 285

Jesus picks Mount Hermon to reveal to Peter, James, and John exactly who he is— the embodied glory-essence of God, the divine Name made visible by incarnation. The meaning is just as transparent: I’m putting the hostile powers of the unseen world on notice. I’ve come to earth to take back what is mine. The kingdom of God is at hand. 286

Chapter 33, A Beneficial Death, deals with what happened at the crucifixion. Heiser notes Matthew's connection of Psalm 22 to the events of the crucifixion and focuses on the reference in the Psalm, "surrounded by the bulls of Bashan." He sees this as a reference to the battle that was going on between Jesus and the forces of evil. Jesus wins this battle and one of the benefits of his victory is the giving of the Holy Spirit and his gifts. Thus, believers experience the benefits of Jesus' victory over the evil powers as they serve Him.

The implication is that Jesus, at the moment of agony and death, was surrounded by the “bulls of Bashan”— demonic elohim who had been the foes of Yahweh and his children for millennia. 291, Psalm 22.12, 68.18

First, not only did the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross mean the fall of Bashan, emblematic of the cosmic powers of evil, but it also triggered the empowerment of the Church by the gifts of the Spirit. Second, that victory and empowerment also had something to do with Pentecost. 295, Ephesians 4.8-9

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