If I could, I’d write a post about just about every chapter of Heiser’s The Unseen Realm. But since that might cross the line a bit, I thought I’d upload a few more to give you a better idea of what this book is about (Hint: the Nephilim only take up a small portion of the book). While I’ll go into the overall view of the book in my review, Heiser brings up a topic that causes many discussions in apologetic and religious circles.
There are “whispers” of the Godhead in the Old Testament.
Take Your Son, Your Only Son
I can’t name all of the instances Heiser writes about, but one example is when Abraham was going to sacrifice his promised son Isaac. So far in Genesis, Abraham has already had a few encounters with YHWH, whether it be:
- “The Word of YHWH” coming to Abraham (Gen 15.1)
- The Lord appearing to Abraham (Gen 17.1; 18.1; John 8.56; Gal 3.8)
- The Lord saying to Abraham (Gen 12.1; cf. Acts 7.2)
But now the visible YHWH figure will be referred to as the “Angel of the Lord.” Though the Angel of the Lord has appeared before (cf. Gen 16.7-11; 21.17), here the line between the Angel and YHWH is blurred.
In Genesis 22.1-9 Abraham follows the strange command of YHWH and takes Isaac up Mount Moriah to sacrifice him as a burnt offering.
Genesis 22.10-18 reads,
10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
15 And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”
The Angel of YHWH calls to Abraham. Abraham isn’t afraid that he might be associating with another god. He recognizes this new voice. But this isn’t YHWH, it’s his “angel,” or “messenger.” Yet this “messenger” commends Abraham for not withholding his son “from me.” Yet in 22.1-2 it was YHWH, not the angel, who commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.
“The wording of the text blurs the distinction between Yahweh and the angel by swapping the angel into the role of the person who initially demanded the sacrifice as a test — Yahweh himself…. Consequently the biblical writer had the opportunity to make sure Yahweh and the angel were distinguished but did not do so…. [This wasn’t] a failure. It’s not a careless oversight. The wording is designed to blur the two persons” (136).
This is a small example, one of many. Reading the NT texts along with the given Genesis texts may help reinforce the point for you. If you need more, I’ll be writing up a few more posts. Or, consequently, you could just buy the book.
- Who Were the Nephilim?
- Why This Topic?
- Three Interpretations on the Nephilim
- Why is Genesis 6.1-4 in the Bible?
- Weird Texts of the Bible
Dividing the Nations
The OT Trinity
- The Trinity in the Old Testament
- And He Struggled With the Angel
- He Rides the Clouds
- The Holy Spirit
And also Heiser’s more condensed version,