Dr. Michael Heiser is a smart guy who is trying to educate the masses of Christians who are “withering from content malnutrition” according to his website. Although he is probably a saved man and he has decent goals, he is a typical member of the Alexandrian cult who wouldn’t know good Bible doctrine if it hit him on the head with a sledge hammer.
As an Alexandrian, his main problem is that he doesn’t think God preserved his words. Of course, he will deny that and teach people that if they listen to HIM enough, he will get God’s words to them. As I said before, this is typical speech and behavior from a “scholar”. But Bible Believers are not stupid enough to fall for that charade…
I would liken Dr. Heiser and his influence on many evangelicals to Chuck Missler. But Missler spent a lot less time in the Greek and Hebrew (which is how you LOSE light) and gave out a lot of Scofield and Larkin’s material. Many Christians, including my wife and I, ate up the material and it got us fired up for more. Whatever problems I may have had with Missler’s material, it got me pointed in the right direction.
Dr. Heiser is trying to get the same people. But with his ridiculous forays into the original languages (none of which he can prove are anything more than his or some other scholar’s interpretation of the languages), Dr. Heiser points people in the WRONG direction.
I plan on writing two articles about this man’s materials and the second will be about Dr. Heiser’s “Divine Council” ideas which are a not-too-thinly veiled way of blaming idolatry on God himself. It will be interesting to watch that material burn up at the Judgement Seat (something he can’t find in his original language texts…) This article will come after I finish his book on the subject.
This article is my usual format of responding to his article about eschatology or the study of end times. The level of doubt that this man sows is almost incredible to me. I’m not surprised that someone believes this junk, but I am surprised that a man who believes this garbage has such a loud voice in American Christianity. It should not be so. Hopefully, someone reading his material will come across this article and understand that Dr. Heiser doesn’t know any Bible. If so, my advice is to go and read the King James Bible instead of his books and articles.
As usual, my comments are in bold.
Thanks to Debra for provoking this post earlier than I had thought! 🙂 (His smiley face, not mine)
ANY view of eschatology is about the presuppositions that are brought TO the text. The only correct presupposition that is needed is the Law of NONCONTRADICTION. As we go through Dr. Heiser’s material, we will find that his thinking results in contradiction after contradiction. God doesn’t write like this. If two texts look like they contradict, then we can sort them out EVERY TIME by asking simple, basic questions. “Who is talking?” “Who is the audience?” “What are we talking about?” These are basic questions that kids learn to ask even in the decrepit American Public School system, but Alexandrians are unable to think about them, for some reason… NONE of the views are self-evident (“I just look at my Bible and there it is–Amen!” Aaarrgghh!). How you answer the following questions dictates completely where you end up: Notice how he starts by asking questions. Sound familiar? It should. You’ll find the first being to do this in Genesis 3.
1. Are Israel and the Church distinct from each other, or does the Church replace Israel in God’s program for the ages? They are distinct. One has Sabbaths (Ex 20:12), Signs (I Cor 1:22), a Physical Kingdom (Luke 1:33), Food Regulations (Lev 11), A Temple Set Up, Beard Regulations (Lev 19:27), Clothing Regulations (Deut 22:11), and Specific Holy Days(Num 23, Deut 16). Good works played a part keeping them out of Hell (Eze 18:21) and by bad works they could lose any salvation they had (Eze 18:24). Try and put any one of those on a Christian and you end up preaching a false gospel of works and legalism. If Dr. Heiser is a Bible Scholar, how does he not already know all of this? I suppose this is just another proof that years of studying the Hebrew doesn’t help a man learn the Bible. If they are distinct, it would seem that Israel might still have a national future, apart from the church. They do. The events surrounding the reestablishment of the nation of Israel in 1948 prove that we’re on the right track. Keeping Israel and the Church distinct is key to any view of a rapture (because the Church is taken, not Israel). Agreed. But it is also the key to any truth about Eternal Security and whether salvation is by faith alone or by faith plus works. If you can’t keep Israel and the Church separate, then you’ll mess everything up, like Dr. Heiser, Steven Anderson, and the Pope.
2. Were the covenants given to Abraham and David about the Promised Land and a never-ending dynasty unconditional or conditional? Why is this guy asking this question? All that matters is “What saith the Scripture? Go there and find out if these covenants were conditional. Clearly, the Abrahamic Covenant is UNCONDITIONAL. Look at the text and see that in Gen 15, where God gives the covenant, Abraham is asleep. There are no conditions attached to the covenant. If that’s not unconditional, I don’t know what is. Now look in 2 Sam 7 and I Chron 17 to see if the Davidic Covenant is conditional. Look at how the texts use the word “for ever”. If the phrase “for ever” doesn’t mean “for ever” to you, then you are being unreasonable and you cannot be trusted. There is even a reminder in Jer 33:17-36 that these promises are eternal and unconditional. If these promises are conditional then your eternal life is conditional as well. If the latter, then the promises were conditioned by obedience to the Law and, since Israel went into exile, the promises were “sinned away.” They were inherited by the Church in a spiritual sense (cf. Gal 3 – Christians are “Abraham’s seed and heirs to the promises”). There will be no literal kingdom, just the Church. If the former is the case, then it didn’t matter that Israel was wicked–the Land promises are still in effect and a descendant of David MUST sit on the literal throne. He will (Luke 1:32,33).
3. Was the Land promised fulfilled under the reign of Solomon or not? The Land promises were PARTIALLY fulfilled in Solomon, but not completely fulled. They will be in the future as we see from the references in Jer 33 which were written after the reign of Solomon. If you read the description of Solomon’s kingdom and INCLUDE the areas he had under tribute, the boundaries match the description of the promised Land given to Abraham–hence the kingdom promises are already fulfilled and there is no more to be had. Israel sinned away the kingdom, though, and it was replaced by the church. Nice assumption. This is simply not true. The church is just a gap that is intended to make Israel mad. (Rom 10:19) But should we include the land only under tribute to Israel, but not actually inhabited by Israel? That’s the question. That’s not the question.
4. Is there any biblical proof that the 70th week of Daniel = the tribulation period? This is assumed by many, but the fact is that there isn’t a single verse that makes this equation. Sounds right, but is it? Here, I will depart from the typical teaching for a bit. The tribulation (more correctly called “The time of Jacob’s trouble”) is only 3.5 years long as found over and over again in many forms in the Book of Revelation. The church does not go through any of the 70th week of Daniel. I could spend more time on this subject, but this will suffice to answer his question. Isn’t it amazing how the scriptures can straighten out even the most die hard Bible questioners like Dr. Heiser???
5. When it comes to passages that describe the return of Jesus, should we harmonize them, or separate them? Only a Bible Critic would ask a stupid question like that when the answer has already been given in clear language only a “scholar” could miss. II Time 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly DIVIDING the word of truth.”
Here’s what I mean. Say a critic of the Bible came up to you and said, “hey, your Bible is full of errors–just look at the gospels; they have differing accounts of the same event–they can’t all be right; at lest one has to be wrong!” I’m guessing your response would be something like, “they can all be right even if they disagree, just like a newspaper story–if you took all the newspaper accounts of 911, they wouldn’t all say the same thing, but they could all be right–they just complement each other — you have to join them together to get the full picture. That’s what we should do with the gospels.” Baloney. Each supposed error should be treated differently. There are no contradictions as per the Law of Noncontradiction. Now, I agree with “joining” and I think just about every Christian would. So why is it, when we come to description of the Lord’s return, that so many people do NOT harmonize them? Because of II Tim 2:15. We take 1 Thess 4 as being different than Zech 14, because in 1 Thess 4 Jesus never touches the ground! Amen. That must be a different return–and so we have two returns-one a rapture and the other is the second coming. There’s more to it, you deceiver. This decision–to NOT harmonize these accounts is at the heart of the doctrine of a rapture. You really can’t have a rapture if you harmonize, but that’s what we do everywhere else. So…are you a splitter or a joiner? Which one is right? How would we know for sure? The one that doesn’t contradict. If you can’t keep these straight, then you can’t keep Rom 4 and James 2 straight or eternal security and a bunch of other important doctrines. This is clear as day, unless you are a Hebrew scholar apparently…
6. Was the book of Revelation written before or after 70 AD? This makes all the difference in the world for holding that Revelation has yet to be fulfilled, as opposed to being fulfilled by AD 70. THere’s evidence for either conclusion. Which is right? After. But it doesn’t really affect anything. Unless you abort the text, there in NO WAY to force Rev 11, and the 1000 years of Rev 20 and dozens of other passages into the events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the Church Age. Thousands of Hillbillies in North Carolina and Tennessee have this figured out. What is it about messing around in the Hebrew makes Dr. Heiser unable to see these clear truths. Maybe there’s something in I Cor about that.
7. Are we to read the book of Revelation in a linear, chronological fashion, or does the book repeat the same several events in cycles? Those who see Revelation as future prophecy assume the book is to be read straight through as a linear chronology. Others see the events of the book “recapitulating.” If it’s linear, you have a literal kingdom aside from the Church when you get to the end. If it’s not linear, you don’t. The Church = the Kingdom. HAHA. I know of people who teach that Revelation ch 4-19 is linear and those that teach it repeats itself 4 times. Either way, none of them are dumb enough to think it has already happened. But nice unfounded accusation though…
8. All OT prophecy was fulfilled literally, so the prophecy that’s still left will be as well. Well, this assumes that all OT prophecy was fulfilled “literally” (whatever that means). There you have it, folks. Spend years in the Hebrew and you no longer know what the word “literally” means. Wow. But is that what how the NT authors see the OT? Do they always see an OT passage fulfilled literally? No, not always, but many times. Was Christ literally from Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)? Was he literally the seed of a woman (Gen 3:15)? Did he literally die on a cross (Ps 22)? Did Christ literally suffer for the sins of others (Is 53)? To say no to any of these questions would mark you as a literal heretic. But Dr. Heiser doesn’t understand what “literally” means? Come on, don’t be so stupid. So that is the nature of MOST of the prophecies fulfilled at the first coming. We will admit that God has the liberty to make a spiritual fulfillment, but that does NOT negate a future literal fulfillment. When things are being applied spiritually, we can be absolutely clear in the context. For instance Matt 4:14 claims to be a fulfillment of Isaiah 9:1. But there are many words missing. Why? Because the fulfillment is a spiritual fulfillment and the exact words of the prophecy of Isaiah await future, literal fulfillment. We can be sure of it. Maybe a prophecy gets a REAL fulfillment but it isn’t what you’d literally expect. For one example, read Amos 9:10-12 and ask yourself what YOU would expect to be the fulfillment (David’s house is in ruins and will be rebuilt). Then go to Acts 15 and see how James interprets this passage in Amos. Have fun.
Ok, we will.
Amos 9:10-12 – All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us. In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.
Acts 15:16,17 – After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
Notice the context. The Church Age is in vs 14, “Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.” Then James adds the words, “After that” in vs 15 to make it CLEAR to anybody (except Hebrew scholars) that he is talking about after the Church Age. James isn’t applying the prophecy to the Church age. He says that the fulfillment will be AFTER the Church Age. What is so hard about that? Ever the bible scholar, Dr. Heiser can’t digest the plain facts of the text and chokes on the meat.
There are more fundamental questions, but they become more technical. I think this is enough. Yep, you have exposed yourself enough. Better stop now. HAHA.
So how does everyone cheat? They make decisions on all these questions, and then act like their view is the “biblical” view–as though they didn’t have to presuppose and assume a whole list of things at the start. They cheat by not telling you that what they believe about eschatology is based on assumptions about verses, not verses themselves. The Bible didn’t come with a handbook with the “right” answers to these questions. The answers are not self-evident. There is uncertainty (to put it mildly). This is called by the psychologists as “projecting”. Dr. Heiser is a cheater so he likes to think that everyone else is a “cheater” too. As you have seen. The only presupposition that you need to come to the truth is the Law of Noncontradiction. As any Alexandrian cult member would, Dr. Heiser wants to spread a good amount of doubt in people’s minds as to the clear meaning of the text, in order to get people to look to him for truth. This goes back to Gen 3 and has been perfected by the Pope for 2000 years.
Now you know why I don’t like any of the views. ALL the views make assumptions and then erect their system on those assumptions. Passages that don’t quite fit are “problem passages” (yeah, right). Each view has its own set of those. I have yet to see one. Acts 15 isn’t a problem as I have demonstrated.
Personally, I think there’s a reason for the ambiguity in the Bible on these issues, which itself is the path to not cheating. But that’s for another time. This is the tip of the iceberg, and I’m already feeling ill over eschatology. Probably because the Holy Spirit in you is telling you that you have an unclean attitude towards the Book that you are supposed to be teaching. That is understandable.
People need to understand how important this issue is. As we have seen in other articles, this attitude will eventually affect even the preaching of the Gospel. For we see an angel in Rev 14 preaching a different gospel than ours which is found in I Cor 15:1-4. He preaches in Rev 14:6,7 “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” If you preach that a man can be saved by believing this, then none of your hearers will end up in heaven. The stakes are high, folks.
Also, we have seen that if you can’t “rightly divide” you will get all messed up on even the very act of preaching. Christ said in Matt 10:5 not to go and preach to Gentiles but then later said to preach to the whole world in Matt 28. This is further complicated when we read that the Book of Hebrews teaches that no one should preach at all. Heb 8:11, “And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” Which is it? If you can’t look at the setting of these statements and apply the law of Noncontradiction, then you have a complete mess. Heiser will, no doubt, run to the Hebrew to try and save himself and his theology. I recommend just believing what you read in your King James Bible and believing that God would never contradict himself.
Soon, I hope to have an article showing why no one should listen to Dr. Heiser for 5 seconds. We will look at his “Divine Council” heresy.