Michael S. Heiser (February 14, 1963 – February 20, 2023) was an American Old Testament scholar and Christian author with training in ancient history, Semitic languages, and the Hebrew Bible from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His expertise and work focused on the nature of the spiritual realm in the Bible and about spiritual matters more generally, and he wrote more than ten books on these subjects since 2010.

He served as executive director of the School of Ministry at Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida, and previously as scholar-in-residence at Faithlife Corporation. He ran The Naked Bible podcast and Miqlat, a ministry to disseminate his scholarship. He also hosted the Peeranormal Podcast until 2021 which discussed peer-reviewed research on the paranormal. He had additionally been active in media productions around his area of interest, and in response to popular presentations relating to spiritual matters (such as material in the Stranger Things series, and in rebutting ancient astronaut conjectures).

Heiser died from pancreatic cancer in 2023.[1]

Early life and education edit

Heiser was born on February 14, 1963,[2][third-party source needed] and raised in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. He was one of seven children.[3][third-party source needed]

He received an MA in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MA and PhD in the Hebrew Bible and Semitic Languages from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (with a minor in Classical studies).[4][5][third-party source needed]

Research interests edit

Heiser's area of expertise is the nature of the spiritual realm in the Bible, namely the "Divine Council" (e.g., in Psalm 82) and the hierarchy of spiritual order in the Bible.[6] In many of his works, Heiser stressed the overarching importance and role of the Divine Council in the Old Testament, and Kevin Bauder, Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, has referred to Heiser as the "most prominent evangelical defender" of the divine council interpretation of Psalm 82; he notes that Heiser "has become a[n]... evangelist for the divine council theory, giving it wide exposure in popular books and articles, and defending it..." through his blogging and other internet activities.[7]

Criticism of ancient astronaut arguments edit

Heiser spoke out critically against proponents of pseudoscientific ancient astronaut conjectures, especially as popularized by Zechariah Sitchin. Heiser appeared in Ancient Aliens Debunked as an expert on the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern texts.[8][9]

Career edit

Beginning in 2015, Heiser published at least ten books regarding the meaning of various biblical concepts, and on other topics related to popular understandings of spirituality; in addition, he produced two works of fiction, in the early 2010s.[10][11] Until 2019, Heiser was scholar-in-residence at Faithlife Corporation.[12]

He was Executive Director of the School of Ministry at Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida, and a distance-learning professor at Liberty University[13][14] and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.[15][16] He also produced a podcast (The Naked Bible), and created a ministry called Miqlat, dedicated to the production and dissemination of his content.[17]

Heiser appeared in the 2018 documentary film Fragments of Truth,[citation needed][18] and in the 2019 documentary film The Unseen Realm.[19][20] In 2019 he released the book The World Turned Upside Down: Finding the Gospel in Stranger Things, referencing the Netflix series Stranger Things as analogies to Christian theology.[21]

Personal life and death edit

Heiser was married to Drenna, and had three daughters and a son.[22]

In 2021, Heiser was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.[23] On January 4, 2023, his wife Drenna, posting on his Instagram page with an accompanying picture of the hospitalized Heiser, noted that he had been admitted for severe anemia, that physicians had stabilized him and were seeking to determine a source of blood loss.[24] On January 22, he announced on his Facebook page that he was "at the end of the road in the late stage (4) of a very aggressive pancreatic cancer".[25] Heiser succumbed to his illness on February 20, just a week after his 60th birthday.[26][27]

Selected works edit

  • Heiser, Michael S. (2012). The Facade: Book 1 of the Facade Saga. Kirkdale Press. ISBN 978-1577995685.
  • ——— (2014). The Portent: Book 2 of the Facade Saga. Kirkdale Press. ISBN 978-1577995616.
  • ——— (2015). I Dare You Not to Bore Me with The Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press. ISBN 978-1577995395.
  • ——— (2015). The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press. ISBN 978-1-577-99556-2.
  • ——— (2015). Supernatural: What the Bible Teaches About the Unseen World - and Why It Matters. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press. ISBN 978-1577995586.
  • ——— (2017). Reversing Hermon: Enoch, the Watchers, and the Forgotten Mission of Jesus Christ. Crane, MO: Defender Publishing. ISBN 978-0-998-14263-0.
  • ——— (2017). The Bible Unfiltered: Approaching Scripture on Its Own Terms. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press. ISBN 978-1-683-59040-8.
  • ——— (2018). Angels: What the Bible Really Says About God's Heavenly Host. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press. ISBN 978-1-683-59104-7.
  • ——— (2019). A Companion to the Book of Enoch: A Reader's commentary, Vol. I: The Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1-36). Crane, MO: Defender Publishing. ISBN 978-1-948-01430-4.
  • ——— (2019). The World Turned Upside Down: Finding the Gospel in Stranger Things. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press. ISBN 978-1-683-59322-5.
  • ——— (2020). Demons: What the Bible really says about the powers of darkness. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press. ISBN 978-1 683-59290-7.
  • ——— (2021). A Companion to the Book of Enoch: a reader's commentary, Vol. II: The Parables of Enoch (1 Enoch 37-71). Crane, MO: Defender Publishing. ISBN 978-1-948-01441-0.

Further reading edit

  • G.S. Staff (February 6, 2023). ""Michael S. Heiser" [search result]". Scholar.Google.com. Retrieved February 6, 2023. Access to the >400 entries at Google Scholar (G.S.), including citations for the Heiser graduate dissertation at Wisconsin, most Heiser books, and many scholarly papers.

References edit

  1. ^ Christian Headlines website, article by Milton Quintanilla dated February 22, 2023
  2. ^ Logos Staff (February 2023). "Michael Heiser (February 14, 1963 - February 20, 2023)". Retrieved February 21, 2023.
  3. ^ Dignity Memorial, obituary for Dr Heiser
  4. ^ Heiser, Michael S. (February 2014). "About". Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  5. ^ Heiser, Michael S. (February 2013). "Dr. Michael S. Heiser CV" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 1, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  6. ^ Markos, Louis (June 12, 2020). "The Truth About Angels and Demons Is Staring Us in the Face". Christianity Today. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  7. ^ Bauder, Kevin T. (2019). "Who Judges the Judge? Psalm 82". The Old Testament Yesterday and Today: Essays in Honor of Michael P.V. Barrett. Reformation Heritage Books. p. 167.
  8. ^ "NTR - Dr. Michael Heiser Interview". Nowhere to Run with Chris White. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  9. ^ "Ancient Aliens Debunked". Ancient Aliens Debunked. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  10. ^ GoodReads website, The Facade
  11. ^ GoodReads website, The Portent
  12. ^ Heiser, Michael S. "Logos Author Search | Michael S. Heiser". Logos. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  13. ^ Heiser, Michael S. "Bio for Dr. Michael Heiser, Ph.D." Logos. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  14. ^ Heiser, Michael S. (December 15, 2018). "Dr. Michael S. Heiser". Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  15. ^ Peaceful Science website
  16. ^ Heiser, Michael S. "Dr. Michael S. Heiser" (PDF).
  17. ^ Christian Headlines website, article by Milton Quintanilla dated February 22, 2023
  18. ^ Fragments of Truth | Official Trailer, retrieved April 24, 2018
  19. ^ IMDB website
  20. ^ The Unseen Realm | Official Film Website, retrieved November 27, 2019
  21. ^ Barnes and Noble website
  22. ^ Logos website, obituary for Dr Heiser
  23. ^ Heiser, Michael S. (November 2, 2021). "Brief Health Update". Dr. Michael Heiser. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  24. ^ Heiser, Drenna (January 3, 2022). "drmshphd From Drenna Heiser". Instagram.com. Retrieved February 6, 2023.
  25. ^ Lasher, James (January 23, 2023). "Bible Scholar Dr. Michael Heiser Shares Bleak Diagnosis". Charisma News. Retrieved February 6, 2023.
  26. ^ Christian Post website, article dated February 21, 2023
  27. ^ "Dr. Michael Heiser has passed into life everlasting after a long battle with cancer". Facebook. Lexham Press. Retrieved February 21, 2023.

External links edit