"Angels is not guided by traditions, stories, speculations, or myths about angels. Heiser's study is grounded in the terms the Bible itself uses to describe members of God's heavenly host; he examines the terms in their biblical context while drawing on insights from the wider context of the ancient Near Eastern world. The Bible's view on heavenly beings begins with Old Testament terms but then moves into literature from the Second Temple period--Jewish writings from around the 5th century BC to the 1st century AD. This ...
"Angels is not guided by traditions, stories, speculations, or myths about angels. Heiser's study is grounded in the terms the Bible itself uses to describe members of God's heavenly host; he examines the terms in their biblical context while drawing on insights from the wider context of the ancient Near Eastern world. The Bible's view on heavenly beings begins with Old Testament terms but then moves into literature from the Second Temple period--Jewish writings from around the 5th century BC to the 1st century AD. This literature from the time between the Old Testament and the New Testament influenced the New Testament writers in significant ways. With that important background established, the book focuses on what the New Testament tells us about God's holy ones. Finally, the book reflects on common misconceptions about angels and addresses why the topic is still important and relevant for Christians today"--
See my full review at Spoiledmilks (1/3/19)
Yes, we need another book on angels, one centered on the biblical text by someone who studies the entire Bible, knows the biblical languages, and understands how ideas of spiritual beings have changed from the Old Testament to the New.
In the introduction, Heiser poses a question: why would we need to know this information? Why bother? Heiser answers, saying, "A life well lived extends from wisdom. Biblical wisdom involves not only practical, principled, decision-making skills but eternal perspective. Eternal perspective requires understanding what makes God tick. That's only discoverable with a firm grasp of who God is, what he's done, why he's done it, what else he intends to do, and why he doesn't want to do it alone" (xiv-xv).
He continues, "God's supernatural family is a theological template for understanding God's relationship to his human family of believers-and our greater importance compared to them. Learning what the Bible says about angels ultimately is tied to thinking well about how God thinks about us" (xv).
God's heavenly host (or here, "angels," because it's easier) image him through representation. God's human family also image him by representing him. Heiser says, "We image God by doing what he would do, when he would do it, and with the motivation he would have for doing it" (xvi). God wants to reside with his human family, and so Jesus, in order to save us so that we could be in his presence, "was made lower than the angels" in order to help "the offspring of Abraham" (Hebrews 2:9, 16). Christians are God's children who will judge angels (1 Cor 6:3) and who will rule the nations (Rev 3:21). "Knowledge of God's heavenly host helps us to think more clearly about our status, our purpose, and our destiny" (xiv).
Certainly, there is some overlap with Heiser's The Unseen Realm, but there is much that is new here. There is little to complain about, only that I wish it were longer.
I should warn some of you that this is an academic book. Footnotes and block quotes are numerous throughout the book. Should that be off-putting to anyone wanting to learn more about angels? I sure hope not. We live in an age where guys like Bill Maher associate Christianity with anti-intellectualism. Clearly, he has never picked up a commentary or read a dissertation by Christians. There is much more going on in the Bible with spiritual beings than we realize, and most books will either be too difficult to understand or they will teach you nothing about the Bible (so a waste of time). While two chapters probably won't interesting to many laypeople (i.e., those on the intertestamental period-though academics should look there), the rest of the book is great and fills a gap for both the layperson and the academic. Looking for his upcoming book on demons.
I received this book from Lexham Press with no requirement for a positive review.
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