Pt.5b The Angel of the Lord, Binitarianism fused into Judaism
“The idea of a godhead was not a Christian innovation; it is rooted in Israelite religion and Jewish theology, and was acceptable doctrine for Jews until the second century A.D…
Who would have suspected? We are able to see the beginnings of the Christian doctrine of the godhead in the Hebrew Bible with the help of the context supplied by the literature of Ugarit .” (What's Ugaritic Got to Do with Anything? Dr. Michael S. Heiser)
YHWH The God of Israel, needed help from a pagan culture and their pagan writing’s?
Heiser says we learn about the Trinity from the Ugarit, (A Pagan writing) being the primary source. Did God reveal Himself to the Cannanites? When? His view is unbiblical and worse than speculation. How would they know anything about this, especially since the Ugarit was written prior to Moses’ 5 books!
This messenger of the Lord goes strictly to Israel, (no other nation). He is revealed to Moses.
This Messenger of the Lord goes strictly to Israel, (No Other Nation). God revealed Himself to Moses, then to the children of Israel, and last, the children of Israel proclaimed Him to the rest of the known world. God established this in the same way the Gospel was given to the Jews first, (Through the Apostles), then to Israel and last, to the rest of the world (To the Gentiles).
His merging of Canaanite paganism, along with his adding to and subtracting from Gods Word and true Biblical history is a serious breach of biblical teaching and as we go forward we are going to see some of the most grievous assumptions anyone can make, especially one who is called an Academic and a follower of Christ.
Heiser constantly includes the Ugarit pagan writings to determine the meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures. In fact he cannot seem to understand Scripture apart from them. That is a major problem.
Does The Angel of the Lord parallel Canaanite Baal from the Ugarit? He explains that this exclusive emissary, (sent only) to the nation of Israel, is somehow known intimately by the Canaanites and their Ugarit.
“The Angel that embodies Yahweh’s presence parallels the role of Baal not only as co-regent but also as the warrior who fights for El.”
“Thus, while orthodox worship of Yahweh precluded cosmic rule by two separate and distinct deities (El and Baal in Ugaritic religion, Yahweh plus another distinct deity in Israelite religion), it could tolerate two personages of Yahweh. That the Angel had the Presence (Name) of Yahweh in Him but was a distinct personage meant He was Yahweh’s presence, but not Him in His fullness.” (Michael S. Heiser, “Old Testament Godhead Language,” Faithlife Study Bible)
First Heiser equates the presence with the name, which becomes a problem as we unfold his teaching. Heiser combines these two different religious systems to prove that the Ugarit has a revelation of God. That is el and Baal; who he says are 2 SEPARATE deities. One needs to pay attention to what he defines in his descriptions along with his use (misuse) of biblical terminology to explain the Hebrew Scripture.
“a co-regency involving a high sovereign deity (El) who ruled heaven and earth through the agency of a second, appointed co-regent deity (Baʿal). The co-regent Baʿal, referred to as “king of the gods” outranked the other deities in council, including the “sons of El” and divine messengers (mlʾkm). ( p.11 198 Bulletin for Biblical Research 26.2)
Even if the Ugarit did say this? This goes completely against the Hebrew Scripture’s. Jesus is not some king of ‘other’ gods, but rather, He is God The King, there is no created thing that shares the same nature, or that shares as any part of any same system of rank. Why say as Heiser says, that he outranks creatures that he created, unless you want to create a point that is contrary to the boundaries of Scriptural context.
Since he said that el is God, He then is also saying that God is ruling through Baal! (A Pagan god) this is an unequally yoked comparison that he seems to intentionally pop up often, in his writings.
Speaking of the Hebrew Bible he says “…both of which describe the angel of Yahweh (Num 22:23; 1 Chr 21:16). The result is that—while orthodox Yahwism could not accommodate cosmic rule being shared by two separate and distinct deities (El and Baal)—it could tolerate Yahweh in two personages. That the angel had the presence/name/essence of Yahweh in him, but was a distinct personage, meant he “was but wasn’t” Yahweh.” (Heiser, “Divine Council,” The Lexham Bible Dictionary) underline mine
He is comparing fruits and vegetables, Yahwism (which is a made up word of Gods name) which seems to be a term invented by Heiser himself, in order to offer comparison of these two religions, sometimes for good and most times bad. Notice he says, the angel had his (presence) but again states he was not Yahweh! Which is typical Heiseratic confusion and contradiction, because numerous times he puts, “presence/name and essence as synonymous with one another, (being identically the same) with No distinction.
Having the name (ha Shem) in him refers to his nature, andauthority, this is why God said Ex .23:21 “obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions,” something only God does (this messenger had all of Gods abilities and authority.) which from the New Testament we know is Jesus. (The preincarnate Christ)
Heiser says This Angel ‘wasn’t God.’ But was God, … which is it? As mentioned previously, this is more Heiser confusion and contradiction, but in the Bible the Angel himself says he is Israel’s God, (more than one time), that “He is Israel’s God
The fact the Heiser cannot teach from the Bible alone, but must include the Ugarit pagan writings as his basis for understanding in an attempt to prove his false premises using the Hebrew Scripture incorrectly to do so, is more than troubling. Because of the confusion it creates, and because of how often it is found in his writings it seems that Heiser is doing it on purpose, or, that he is being moved by something unseen, and doesn’t realize it.
The Angel of the Lord is Not a second Yahweh, The Son of God is the ‘Eternal Second person’ of the Triune God, “(who IS Yahweh)”, and comes (was sent by God) as God’s messenger, (angel- malak), to Israel. The many examples in Scripture, presents this Angel as a Christophany whom is the totality of God sent to Israel throughout the Old Testament period.
In the New Testament, the eternal Son of God as the Pre-incarnate Christ (The Angel of The Lord) is no longer seen, because He had become a human through the promised virgin birth. That is why the Angel of The Lord, stopped appearing after the Son of God became the man Jesus, (God With Us, in the flesh), dwelling with His people Israel, Fulfilling all the Old Testament first coming prophecies concerning Himself.
Does the scripture say anything like what Heiser is saying on this; no it does not! Heiser proposes that two Yahweh’s, (binitarianism) is spoken of in the Old Testament but to the contrary, is nowhere to be found.
“understand how postbiblical Judaism read the Hebrew Bible with respect to a two-powers doctrine. ” Why do this when we have the New Testament, which has been written by believing Jews, who God uses to tell us EXACTLY what He means. In other words, you do not have to speculate, use pagan writings, or have to cite any other author (Larry Hurtado; E. T. Mullen Jr.; Alan Segal, etc.) to come to the conclusion that the Bible already offers, and contains within itself
Continuing, he says, “The second Yhwh figure is visibly portrayed in human form and serves the invisible, sovereign Yhwh. 13 The end result was a binitarian or ditheistic portrayal of Yhwh as both high sovereign (the “El role”) and the co-regent (the “Baʿal role ”).(Co-regency in Ancient Israel’s Divine Council as the Conceptual Backdrop to Ancient Jewish Binitarian Monotheism)
This absolutely does NOT explain a Triunity (the echad in Deut. 6:4), a dual (two) does not equal three.
Heiser tells us what he believes the difference is between the divine council in Ugaritic literature and the Hebrew Bible. “ n Ugarit religion there was a divine council consisting of three tiers, maybe four. The first tier consisted of El and his wife; the second of the royal family, the sons of God, of whom Baal served as El's co-regent; and the third was for 'craftsman deities' (which he does not explain what these are); and a possible fourth tier consisted of mere messengers, the malakim.” ( Old Testament Godhead Language pdf)
“Orthodox Yahwism replaced the co-regent spot that Baal occupied with a sort of binitarian Godhead, in which Yahweh occupied both slots. Within Israelite religion, Yahweh's occupation of both of the two highest tiers resulted conceptually in two Yahwehs - one visible, the other invisible.”
“In Israel’s divine council, the highest tier is different from the Canaanites’ conception. Instead of El and Baal, his vice-regent, Yahweh occupied both slots in a sort of binitarian godhead (Heiser, “Divine Council”). Yahweh is described in the Hebrew Bible by means of titles and abilities that both El and Baal have in Canaanite literature—these two were conceptually fused in Yahweh .” (Divine Council)
He explains to us, how he believes that Yahweh has both, (or two) ‘slots but his angel of the Lord is not fully Yahweh, which fails the Biblical doctrine. I personally so not like his descriptive words used, as they are divorced from any biblical meaning.
He claims the Hebrews used pagan forms for their doctrine of Yahweh, which is simply false. His implication is that the Hebrews did not get a direct revelation from God, but rather, took it from the Pagan Ugarit and that, (and only then), did Israel formulate its theology from their enemies who they had conquered.
He sees Jesus as a second Yahweh. Heiser's scheme has Jesus replace the Baal figure of the Ugarit, even though he is called Son of God. He has fused the Canaanite concept of a divine council with orthodox Christology. He adjusts the Ugarit divine council to form an Israelite divine council, which in reality (has never existed). Heisers assumption that any two powers coming from these other writings is simply untrue, which is made crystal clear to us in the Bible. Two different persons (identities) are within the same passage.
Heiser's stresses throughout his books the second power is Jesus, to affirm orthodox Christology, and to acclimate it to a Biblical sounding Christology). But then he asserts that this binitarian Godhead (of the Canaanites) at some point became part of the orthodox Hebrew worship of Yahweh. But Biblically the Godhead was, is, and will always be a Triune. Again, two Does not equal three.
He says Jesus must be ontologically the same (have the same nature) as Yahweh; but then says this angel is not fully God. If the angel Is NOT “Fully God’ then he cannot be a second Yahweh. Heiser is using a completely false Biblical terminology and is teaching a different Yahweh from the Scripture.
If he (the second, visible) and is not fully Yahweh, then neither is the invisible first Yahweh fully Yahweh either. Because is the same presence too. And thus, we have a major flaw in his unbiblical assumption of who the Angel of the Lord is.
But what does the Scripture say? In Ex. 3:2 we read, “ And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. ” V:6 He said, " I am the God of your father--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. " vv.13-15 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you. ' " Moreover God said to Moses, " Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: 'The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.' (see Ex.14:9)
Biblically the angel (messenger) has a name, the name, ‘I am who I am’ contains the letters YHWH used for God all throughout the Old Testament Scriptures. He, the angel (Messenger of God) was fully God. In fact Jesus himself reaffirms the Angel of the Lord being himself before he incarnated as man. The Jews questioned Jesus “ Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad ." Jesus said to them, " Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:56-57
When did Abraham see his day, when he was instructed to bring his only son to Mt. Moriah to be sacrificed. And the Angel of the Lord stopped him during his test. Gen 22:13-14 Abraham then sees a ram caught in a thicket by its horns . “So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, "In the Mount of The LORD it shall be provided. " And it was provided with Jesus on the same mount. The Hebrew literally means that the Lord ‘will provide himself’ as the lamb.
Heiser continually states “ Israel derived their understanding of the Godhead from their version of the divine council, or pantheon (i.e., God and His heavenly host), and the binitarian (two persons) language used for Yahweh and other figures that the OT writers identify so closely with Yahweh that they are inseparable, yet distinct.” Michael S. Heiser, “Old Testament Godhead Language,” logos software)
A pantheon is a group of created beings, that according to Heiser, is apparently needed, not for Israel to understand the Trinity, but to rather understand and to receive a binitarian god. This is completely unfounded in Gods Scripture!
Heiser presumes the Holy Spirit is a “Third Yahweh” as an angel of the Lord in the Old Testament.
“Writers in the OT occasionally make statements about Yahweh that actually reference the Holy Spirit—equating the two. For example, in Isa 63:7, the prophet refers to Yahweh as doing good to His people. But according to Isa 63:9, “the angel of his presence” saved Israel. This is a reference to Yahweh’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt. Israel is then recorded as responding by “rebelling” (marah) against and “grieving” (atsab) the Holy Spirit (Isa 63:10). In Psalm 78:40–41, which directly parallels this passage, the same two Hebrew verbs refer directly to God (“they rebelled against him”; “they grieved him”). Consequently, these two passages identify the Holy Spirit with God. ”(Michael S. Heiser, “Old Testament Godhead Language”)
The way Heiser explains this does not bring clarity.
There are Not two angels sent to Israel, the Angel of the Lord and the Angel of His (Gods) presence are one and the same messenger. Besides that, the Holy Spirit is also God, (Sharing the same Eternal Nature) which Heiser ignores in Gn.1 as the Elohim who is YHWH) and is mentioned separate from the angel. Again Heiser is performing theological gymnastics in order to stick with his pantheon multiplicity as binitariansm. The Angel of the Lord is mentioned over 55 times and as the Angel of God 10 times in the Old Testament.
Heiser further explains in regard to his re-purposing the two Yahwehs’ theology with respect to the Holy Spirit, I wrote:
“ Jesus is the second Yahweh, the embodied Yahweh of the Old Testament. But Jesus is not the “Father” Yahweh.He therefore is but isn’t Yahweh. It’s the same with the Spirit. The Spirit is Yahweh, and so he is Jesus as well, but not incarnate or embodied. The Spirit is but isn’t Jesus, just as Jesus is but isn’t Yahweh the Father. The same sort of “two Yahwehs” idea from the Old Testament is found in the New Testament with respect to Jesus and the Spirit.”
Wow, he is Yahweh but he isn’t Yahweh. What type of explanation is this? You may as well say ‘God exists but doesn’t exist’ which is just as conflicting. It is unfortunate and painfully clear that Heiser does not understand the basics to Gods nature. To then continue and convolute it even more by saying The Spirit is but isn’t Jesus, just as Jesus is but isn’t Yahweh the Father…”
The Spirit is Yahweh, and so he is Jesus as well? That is Modalism, a heresy that was dealt with in the early church.
Heiser is separating the three persons from the singular name of the triune God, which is Yahweh Elohim in the Hebrew. They, plural, all three are the One Yahweh, the Lord Our God Is One (Echad) in the Hebrew. In other words, together they are what God Is.
If you take any person (Father, Son or Helper/ Holy Spirit) away from this, then God would not be the same God of the Scripture (not binitarian).
Does he actually understand or reject that there are three distinct persons of the one Yahweh? Each person, the Father, the Son and the Spirit and are 100% deity, so when they appear singularly there is no division of that deity or of their Divine Nature, it is Indivisible.
Heiser misconstrues the hypostatic nature of Christ with his own unbiblical definition of elohim.
The Bible teaches that Christ remains fully God and fully man (1Tim.2:5) after his incarnation and resurrection. This is not possible as Heiser defines any elohim “gods” or “God” as disembodied. If that is true, (which it is not), How then can the kenosis (Incarnation) of Philippians 2:6-7 be explained? It can’t be, at least not the way it is in Scripture.
Did the Son cease to be God to become the incarnate (man)? (No). With Heisers alternate view, Jesus Christ would have to be disembodied. This would also invalidate the person of Christ after the resurrection, because he could not be Elohim and man in heaven!
This would mean it is a docetic view like the ancient Gnostics held. Heiser has major false theological issues to deal with and to iron out, not only with his disembodied definition of Elohim, but in many other areas as well. If he holds to Christ remaining as God than He as God cannot have a physical glorified resurrected body.
We would be as Paul said: “ We would have no hope, our faith would be in vain, we would be worse off than people who didn’t believe, and we would be pitied more than all people. ” Because Jesus (the human body) would not have literally raised from the dead.