Next week I’ll be traveling once again to the annual academic conferences for scholarship in biblical studies, theology, and archaeology related to biblical studies. One of the agenda items will be getting advanced reader copies (ARC) of The Unseen Realm into the hands of scholars whom I hope will find the content stimulating and agreeable, at least in the sense of being sympathetic to the purpose and intent of the book. The idea is to get some short blurbs recommending the book and a promise to contact a journal or serious blog to review it when the final version publishes in March 2015. So, something for you all to pray for with me.
The book itself has come to just over 380 pages. It’s undergoing a second editorial pass. Here’s the front and back cover of the ARC (in PDF) for Unseen Realm. There will likely be tiny changes made for the final book (e.g., my job title has changed), but this gives you a good idea. Since the “lite” version was a third of the word count, you can do the math for that one.
I’m almost a year into this effort. It was last December when the very first meeting was held to begin work on taking the existing manuscript and doing a lot of serious re-writing. I’ve learned some things along the way about the publishing industry and how books are born. One thing in particular has become crystal clear to me: the book will only succeed if people like those of you reading this care about it. What’s necessary is word-of-mouth. There’s really no substitute for it.
The reasons are simple. Those of you who read the old “Myth That is True” draft know that its rebirth as The Unseen Realm means the book is an academic one. This isn’t the sort of fluff one finds in Christian bookstores. That means I don’t expect Unseen Realm to show up in those stores (although I certainly expect Supernatural to land in those stores). In other words, I need you all to talk about it at church, to your friends, and on social media. People looking for content like you aren’t just going to run into it. You need to help them find it.
The intended audience for Unseen Realm are people like you who want biblical theology. I say it that way because I’m not here to repeat familiar Bible stories, do character sketches, and otherwise provide devotional material. Someone else can do that. I’m looking for the handful of people in every church that preaches the gospel who are starving for content. That’s the target audience, along with those in the pulpit charged with feeding their people. For me the book will be a success when those people discover what they’ve been missing. I also hope that the intended audience of Supernatural, for whom I imagine the content in that book will be largely new, will get fascinated by the supernatural storyline of the Bible. It’s that simple.
Put another way, the basics are important, but you only get to the good stuff when you get past them, when you understand how they work together and the events and ideas that produced them. As I like to say, Sunday School shouldn’t be forever. So success for me means producing things that both pull people out of Sunday School and provide direction to those who outgrew it a long time ago.
So start thinking about spreading the word. It’s going to happen. I’ll have some specific ideas in the months to come (already do — just waiting for the right time), so stay tuned!
I personally can not wait. I’ve been waiting for this since you first talked about it VFTB or futurequake, I don’t remember which. I’m going to make sure to tell my friends and the theologians I know about it, if not put a copy in their hands.
Hi Mike – I’ve already started compiling my personal list for distribution and as you know shared the sample chapters with hundreds (thousands) on the Gilder Telecosm Forum given the ripe audience.
Praying the final work is in our hands sooner rather than later to fill this much needed void of content.
thanks, John; March is the soonest realistic deadline; I feel no reason to doubt it at this stage of editorial work.
Praying for good success! I’m super excited for this one and have already been telling like-minded friends about it.
tell all your friends – and maybe even some enemies!
Enemies of the Gospel…How about Marcus Borg, Leonard Sweet, John Dominic Crossan, and Bart Ehrman to name a few! Maybe they could learn something!
Your servant here Mike–Whats really neat is I had those ideas about spreading this by word of mouth concerning the books and what you are doing when I first found you-so you will be happy to know I have been talking about it all over the place, and I have big connections with a church in San Jose Ca and also here in Bend Or.I am spreading it around to the many different groups I go to here. I am attending a Lutheran church at present , the de-nomination I was rassed in , just think if it spreads around THAT de-nomination! I am not dull in the way I do it either. I say something like “Hey, did you here about the guy who discovered what the book of Hebrews is all about and that God wants us all to be part of his Divine Council??”–Or, “did you hear about the ancient language scholar who discovered the actual meanings of vereses telling us Who are, and What the sons of God are up to”???
Just the sort of pot-stirrer (er…troublemaker) I need! Stay tuned!
Are you sure you can’t release this in time for my birthday in December? My wife is going to look at me funny when I buy it for her birthday in March.
Funny! Nope; that’s the target! 🙂
*chuckle* No problem then. Quick question: Reading your material online and listening to some of your talks got me into doing some of my own research in this area. Does your book go into comparing the symbolism of Israel to that of the Divine Council (e.g. twelve tribes to the twelve signs of the zodiac, four principle camps for the four cherubim, seventy elders against the seventy “gods”)?
yes – to varying degrees; the astral element is something I’m saving for a second book, though it gets some attention in this one and on the website that will be created as a companion resource to the book.
Awesome. One more question, maybe off-topic. I’ve been looking at Psalm 68 with an eye towards sacred geography. Is it possible to read v.16b as, “The mountain of delight [for] gods to dwell [in],” applying a different set of vowels than the Masorites and taking the Hebrew L-Sh-B-Th-W (“for His abode” in the NASB) as a plural verb rather than a second-person noun? If so, could the point of the Psalm be that Hashem is threatening to come reclaim Baal’s sacred space?
Thanks in advance!
I wish it was out now! I have been presenting the Divine Council and Dual Powers concept at my Bible Study and people are really catching on. But I need more meat! One question comes up in the context of Genesis 19:24. One attendee was asking me why this was not an example of Hebrew parallelism, rather than disclosing or at least hinting at two persons as YHVH? I stated that it did not look like a parallel construct to me, but I do not have the authoritative background to answer the question. I know you have stated that it is “just weird” as I recall you in interviews, which I take to mean it is vaguely ungrammatical, even for ancient Hebrews or other semites. Hopefully such matters will be addressed in the book! (you can answer now if you like!). I took him to the other passages in your Two Powers PowerPoint, but he is still a little skeptical.
you’re right – it’s not a parallel construction. On your own efforts, stay tuned. This audience will be part of promoting the book.
Stephen – great seeing your post as you were always a thoughtful contributor to the KHOUSE online Bible study forums. Hope you’re doing well, brother.
Mike, George and Matt are thankful for the gift packages. I’m looking forward to your call next month and getting your new books the launch they deserve in 2015.
Hey John! Great to hear from you! House as a forum seems kaput as far as I can see. Too bad. As Chuck Missler is slowing down I am not sure his designated replacements are quite as inspiring, shall I say. Meanwhile, I am looking forward to Dr. Heiser’s books. I need ammo for my Bible study friends!
KHouse autocorrected to House. Arrgh! Shalom!
I plan on buying 10 copies. 5 to my best friends, and 5 to my worst enemies…
that’s the spirit!
I share your scholarship with anyone willing to listen. If questions come up I still have all your facade newsletters and find the information there, or send them to your site.
Having had the chance to read tthe first draft, the only thing that I hope you have changed is that you use YHWH instead of a generic title.
Without giving away to much, let me say if I am going to lace up my skates and hit the ice, I at least want to know my coachs name. Got to know what side I play for!
“Yahweh” isn’t a title, so I’m not sure what you mean.
I really really am excited.
THANK YOU for 3 chapters of Unseen Realm. I am one of the people craving content. I plan to purchase your books. Ray Aguilera at prophecy.org says God has been speaking to him directly and telling him to put messages on the internet. I think he is telling the truth.Thank you.
stay tuned! Thanks!
Again, can’t wait to see the books, as it would have helped me last night! I am sharing this question here because I think it might help others, as I am now sure this objection will be seen again. I wonder if the books will address this unusual question.
In my Bible study we have taken on the Divine Council, and I fielded an unusual question/complaint based on John 10:35. The phrase “to whom the word of God came” was the basis on my friend’s objection, as he challenged me, saying, “show me where in the Bible Jesus or the Lord ever came to angels!” He made an entire argument based on an inferred reading of this text that since Jesus came to humans for salvation, it is impossible for the entities in Psalm 82 to be angelic, because Jesus does not or did not come to, or for angels, at least in the humble or salvifiic sense. He seems to regard the word “came” as a kind of debasement or humiliation, or subordination. He justified this anachronistic reading on the principle that the NT informs the OT. Thus he reads back that the elohim must be therefore be human, and the Divine Council paradigm must thus be heretical, since angels are not special like humans!
I was knocked over by the objection for a moment, as it seemed to me to be from left field. I used the usual arguments, that they cannot be men if they die “like men,” and the and the idea that Jesus scores no deity points in John if all men can be elohim. But I now further reason that he is in error first by context, since the John passage is not salvific. Second, as I look at the Greek, I think there is some relevance in the verb translated “came,” since this is where all the dispute arises.
If Jesus meant this the way my friend understands it I think He would have used a verb like proserchomai, meaning worship, assent, nearness. Instead he uses ginomai. My reading in Louw & Nida shows this to have an immense semantic domain, I guess mostly meaning to appear, come into existence, but much more. It seems to me that ginomai is about as generic as it gets regarding a term for appearance.
Thus Jesus’ “coming” in John 10:35 is not a formal arrival as in the Incarnation, but is a generic term of arrival, like coming to a meeting, which is what it appears He did! I showed him other council texts, like 1Kings 22:20, and the verses in Job. So, in lieu of the book, am I on the right track defending the Divine Council reading of the Johannine passage?
Yeah, he missed the point of the John 10 passage. On that, see http://www.thedivinecouncil.com/Heiser%20Psa82inJohn10%20RegSBL2011.pdf
Here’s a summary from what will become the companion website to Unseen Realm:
Thanks! Indeed, he missed the point. But the novelty I am struggling to answer is that rather than deal with the position of who the elders are, he is looking at it in this logical way:
1: Jesus “came” to the “gods.”
2: However NT teaches that Jesus “came” to mankind.
3: Jesus did not “come” to angels.
4: Ergo, the “gods” cannot be angels.
5: Thus, the “gods” in Psalm 82 are not angels.
In my analysis, the logical error is in the understanding on what it means to “come” to the “gods.”
I had already shown him the article you cited, but he sees it, strangely, as heretical. It just seems interesting to me that the very idea of coming conflates salvation, deference and subordination in an otherwise innocuous action.
More and more I see the church and the world as struggling with needless determinism. We seem, pardon the pun, but hellbent on putting the Lord in a box of our own design!
That’s not surprising. Some people think anything they’ve never heard of is heretical. How saying it builds a stronger case for Jesus’ deity is heretical is, of course, laughable. Right now you’re dealing with a closed mind, one more focused on tradition and authority figures than the text. I was there once, too.
Very much looking forward to anything you write on the astral aspect of the biblical view/ background. I am currently reading Malina and Chevalier on astral aspects of Apocalypse. Also reading several of Enns books.
I know you likely don’t have to comment on another topic but I’d love to know what you think of the Andersen/Forbes analysis in Logos Hebrew tools. I love it.
I’ve read Malina, of course, only parts of Chevalier. I’ll have to return to that for the third book in the Facade saga. AFAT is pretty cool. Very detailed – so much to explore. I talked to Dean (Forbes) at SBL – love seeing him every year. He has plans to do more work on the data. Frank is willing but it’s uncertain, given his advanced age (and he had a stroke last year) how much he’ll be involved.
Of course my comment should have said “you likely dont have time to comment …”