The Bible Unfiltered (Michael Heiser)


Heiser, Michael. The Bible Unfiltered.  Lexham Press, 2017. Kindle.

Michael Heiser takes several of his core ideas and distills them into a short, readable book.  Each chapter is only several pages long. If you are familiar with his work, then most of this is review.  However, several ideas are readily available for quick retrieval.

Context: the right context for understanding the Bible is the context that produced the Bible (Heiser loc. 240).  This means a supernatural context with supernatural entities. This means not protecting the Bible from the “weird stuff.”

There is an interesting chapter combating cultural marxism.  While it sort of appears out of nowhere, it is much appreciated.  The one thing missing in the Bible’s command to care for the poor is the intermediate role of the bureaucratic, Leviathan state.

Is Heiser (and others) arrogant on modern commentaries?  We might bristle at the claim that older commentaries aren’t superior on the languages, but consider the argument: “Archaeology produces more discoveries. Computer technology makes ancient language analysis more thorough (and faster).  Information becomes more accessible and searchable. It’s no exaggeration to say that what scholars had access to years ago is literally a fraction of what’s available to you today using only a smartphone” (loc. 661).

He isn’t saying Calvin and Matthew Henry are bad.  He’s just doing what Luther did: what right did Luther have to say that his understanding of dikaioo was superior to that of St Barsanuphius?  The sword cuts both ways.

Parsing Yahweh: Yahweh is a third-person form in the Hiphil imperfect.

He repeats his sections on the Angel of Yahweh = Yahweh.  It’s worth considering but I won’t spend much time on it here, save to say that Yahweh is inseparable from his presence.

Good section on the goat demons in Israel’s worldview.  They are the se’irim, to whom there was a constant temptation to sacrifice (Lev. 17:7).

Secret things belong to the Lord: This verse in Deut does not mean we shouldn’t work hard in bible study. Rather, it is the climax of Moses’s sermon about the curses and blessings they will receive for obeying the law.  Rather, it is God’s seeing the secret sins. They are known to God (loc. 1073).

In Mark 5 the demons inhabiting Legion say something rather unique.  Unlike earlier demons, they say Jesus is the God Most High. This language is reminiscent of the Deuteronomy 32 worldview.  The Most High God had disinherited the nations and assigned them to the sons of God. The demons know this. They know Jesus is reclaiming the nations.  He is removing the legal rights.

The Inspiration Process: God didn’t usually download material to his people’s brains.  He didn’t make them “automatically write.” That sounds like divination. If God did do something like that, then why are there differences in the gospels (or the first chapter of Ezekiel)?  Rather, God used instruments, not puppets.

Demons and the Shema:  James isn’t saying that demons acknowledge the existence of a supernatural being, pace literally every sermon on James 2.  Rather, James is connecting this with Shema. The demons know they are outside the plan of God, that God has disinherited them forever.  That is why they are scared.


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