Sunday, January 29, 2023

Hail and Farewell

I probably disagree with Michael Heiser as much as I agree with him. As I commented in an earlier post, Heiser “seems like a guy who has gone down a bit of a theological rabbit hole and may be in danger of seeing nothing but rabbits everywhere he looks”. That said, I have found what Heiser calls his “divine council worldview” exceedingly useful in broadening and fine-tuning my understanding of how God works. His books The Unseen Realm and Reversing Hermon are well worth reading and a good place to start if you have never heard of the man.

I was understandably saddened to read that Mike will not be writing any more books.

Yesterday, Bernie sent me this update from his Facebook page:

“Dear friends and ministry colleagues

I wanted to post a short summary of where my cancer diagnosis has brought me. The short version is that I am at the end of the road in the late stage (4) of a very aggressive pancreatic cancer. Nothing to date has reversed the tumor’s status. It has now invaded the upper GI and stomach areas causing slow, uncontrollable bleeding. No one on my medical team has a solution or knows of one. During the latest endoscopy an effort was made to cauterize as many of the bleeding points as possible to at least slow the bleeding. In essence, I am bleeding out at a slow rate with no solution. I am presently not in pain, but am very weak, a condition that will worsen until I am gone. Since there are no further treatment options available to us, we have chosen to spend my remaining time at home. We are guessing (we have not been given a number) that this means I’ll live anywhere from a week to several weeks.

I know this news is depressing, but you should all know I will die happy to have served the Lord and you all in the ways I have. God has been very good to us, gifting me in discernible ways and, I think just as importantly, given me heart for the lay community — all of you. I desired nothing more than to empower all of you to study Scripture more deeply, to unlock the Bible for you in ways inaccessible to all but scholars. This brought me a special joy.

Let’s turn to the future. As you all know, when I pass I will join the family of God and his council, to which all of us as believers presently belong but not yet in its fullness. This is what awaits me, and I am glad. We will see each other in the future in unimaginably glorious ways.”

We all come to the end of the road eventually. For the Christian, the death of a fellow believer is an uneven and frequently unpredictable admixture of grief and joy, and we are wise not to minimize either response. Moments before raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus wept at his grave. And yet Paul could write, “We would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” and mean every word of it. As Mike himself says, “We will see each other in the future in unimaginably glorious ways.” Amen to that.

I have written far less about Mr. Heiser and his divine council worldview than I might have, not least because in many respects I was thinking along the same lines prior to being introduced to his work by Immanuel Can a few years back. Much of The Unseen Realm came to me as affirmation rather than revelation; I had already expressed no small number of the beliefs Mr. Heiser and I share about God’s sovereignty and his delegation of authority in this space over the previous six or seven years. To append “I’ve just discovered Michael Heiser agrees with me about ____” would not have added anything substantive to those posts. So this post from last year is pretty much it for my Heiser commentary. Nevertheless, I greatly appreciate the thoroughness of Mike’s research and his respect for the word of God even if I don’t agree with all his conclusions.

I have not watched many of Mike’s YouTube videos, as I prefer the written word to the spoken word, but here’s a link to his YouTube channel as well as a list of his books. IC says he’s a better speaker than a writer, so you may prefer the former to the latter.


  1. Well said, Tom. I've appreciated Dr. Heiser's work immensely over the last couple of years. He will be missed.