Book Review: Supernatural by Michael S. Heiser

When I finished reading Supernatural: What the Bible Teaches us about the Unseen World – and Why it Matters by Dr. Michael S. Heiser, the first thought that came to mind was, “My goodness; it’s a manifesto.”

And then, “If we Christians can get this, we really will change the world.” The book offers truly good news.

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A Fresh (if Ancient) Examination of the Gospel

Supernatural will be released on November 10 by Lexham Press and it doesn’t start off as good news. Just like most of the Old Testament, Supernatural starts off with mainly bad news: the rebellion of both human and divine beings and the influence those divine beings have had on the affairs of the world. The efforts of both human and divine beings left God’s plans to bring an Edenic paradise to earth in a tattered ruin.

Seemingly.

All along, Dr. Heiser explains, God had a stealth plan in motion, so stealthy in fact, it went as unseen as the demonic entities who held sway over the world for so long.

When I read the section “Come and Get Me” in the chapter, “Supernatural Intent” about all the unstated messaging going on at the mountain of Jesus’ Transfiguration, I couldn’t stop the chills from coming. As the case in much of the bible, some of the most powerful stuff is unstated; the writer assumes his readers share his background and worldview, and in the case of New Testament authors, they assume their readers are well-versed, and I mean well-versed, in the various nuances of the Old Testament.  Dr. Heiser helps us to get up to speed, so we can share their assumptions.

You can’t just skip to that section to share my chills of awe. Dr. Heiser takes you through all the background first, and then at the proper time, you’ll understand how God needed Satan’s demonic horde to kill Jesus in order to mete out God’s plans for the Kingdom of God to invade the nations.  You’ll see perhaps for the first time that, to make sure the spiritual forces of darkness were properly motivated to kill him, Jesus went to the Old Testament symbol of satanic authority on earth and flipped Satan and his hordes off.

A week later Jesus was dead. Mission accomplished.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

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Unseen Realm For the Rest of Us.

A few weeks ago, I recommended Dr. Heiser’s recently released, Unseen Realm. I gushed over it. The only problem with Unseen Realm is its nature as a scholarly tome, which can be intimidating to many. It’s targeted to pastors and teachers, clergy and professors. I bought a copy and gave it to my daughter’s youth pastor and recommended it to the pastoral teaching team at my church.

But what about the laity? What about those who don’t enjoy examining every footnote, looking up sources, and generally geeking out on this stuff?

More to the point, I wanted a version of Unseen Realm that I could recommend to my sister, who is an elementary school teacher with loads of questions about the Bible and Christianity, but not needing or having the time to read a scholarly presentation.

Or a version I could recommend for my wife’s uncle, who comes over from time to time and we spend hours discussing the Bible.  He’s reading the Bible with vigor and understanding for the first time in his life after God has called him back to faith, but perhaps he would be intimidated by the level of discussion in Unseen Realm.

Or even closer to home, something I could recommend for my wife, with whom I talk about this stuff with all the time, but she doesn’t need all the defense and justification and explanations Dr. Heiser offers in Unseen Realm.  She trusts him and me and would just like something to cut to the chase: “Give me the bottom line, please.”

These needs are answered with the release of Supernatural.

Supernatural helps address

  • Modern concerns many Christians have with some of the violence of the Old Testament
  • The struggles many Christians have with trying to force natural or logical explanations on clearly supernatural biblical passages
  • Why so many 1st Century Jews so quickly accepted and worshiped a man named Jesus as God.
  • Why the cosmic battles in Eden, during the flood, at Babel, and in Canaan matter to us today.

This trade paperback is 167 pages for under $17 and it certainly leapt up my list as the book to give for Christmas.

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Dr. Heiser helps us to understand the cosmic narrative of the Bible with the supernatural eyes that the authors of the Bible had.  He strips away the confusion and cuts to the chase, explaining just what the authors meant in many confusing passages. Dr. Heiser gives you enough knowledge to motivate you to want to re-read the Bible with fresh eyes.

A Manifesto

After pointing out the several supernatural threads of the Old Testament we modern readers often miss, Dr. Heiser shows out how the New Testament authors weaved those threads into a cohesive garment of God’s plans. When believers don this garment, it will change how they think about the world and their faith. Their renewed thinking will change their actions, and these actions will change the world.

I’m telling you, the last few chapters of Supernatural pose a cross-denominational manifesto for Christians to change the world. I highly recommend you read this book.

You can order it from

Supernatural is essentially a primer to the material gone through at length in Unseen Realm.  If you read it and are left wanting more, then Unseen Realm is your next step.

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