Pt.6a Who is Satan? Michael Heiser’s Serpent of his divine council
Heiser's unbiblical interpretations, come from his looking through the lens of pagan religious writings, that contaminates every correct view of Scripture that he applies them to.
When it comes to Genesis 3, (The temptation and “fall” of man) he has added the fall of a completely different creature, who he alleges, is one of the members of an unbiblical Divine council. Which means that his creature is not the same Cherub being who rebelled and fell from heaven who was called Day Star, that God renamed Satan / The Devil, after his fall.
In doing this, Heiser denies the plain reading of Scripture that addresses the enmity between the serpent (Satan) and the woman, “The enmity between your seed and her Seed” (in Gen 3:14-15), which we see was introduced in the New Testament from the incarnation of Christ Jesus, through His earthly ministry. That enmity ended after Jesus Crucifixion, when Jesus said, “It Is Finished”.
Mr. Heiser says that the creature responsible for tempting Eve, was not Satan through the Serpent, but rather was one of the b'nai ha elohim, a so-called prominent member of the alleged Divine Council. The sons of God (not angels) were in Eden who along with other council members, prior to their fall, cohabitated with Adam and Eve in the garden. This particular Divine council member fell when he tempted Eve.
Heiser says these Divine Sons are not angels, but rather are a completely different species who exercise free will, of which, one of the divine sons (Not Satan) lied to and tempted Eve to believe the "serpents" lie, and to disobey God. Ignoring that she was deceived.
Heiser asks, “ Where does it have to say Satan is the same in Gn 3?”
Heiser believes that when Satan shows up in the Hebrew Bible, he is not the devil nor is he the tempter of Eve. “ The instances of satan in the Old Testament that lack the definite article also don’t refer to the devil or the serpent figure. … The function of the office of the satan is why later Jewish writings began to adopt it as a proper name for the serpent figure from Genesis 3 who brought ruin to Eden ” That figure opposed God’s choices for his human imagers. The dark figure of Genesis 3 was eventually thought of as the “mother of all adversaries,” and so the label satan got stuck to him. He deserves it. The point here is only that the Old Testament doesn’t use that term for the divine criminal of Eden .” (Unseen Realm Recovering the supernatural worldview of the Bible by Michael S. Heiser)
What Jewish writings are these? Does he mean the HOLY SCRIPTURES? No, he does not. Heiser is often referring to unbiblical writings.
Heiser relies on unbiblical writings, a persuasive con-fidence, and so-called scholarly sounding credentials in order to convince even pastors into assuming that he knows what he is talking about.
But the New Testament does clarify that Satan is indeed the Serpent in Gn.3. So is the Bible wrong and Mr. Heiser right? Or is Mr. Heiser wrong, and the Bible is right?
Understand that many of the events that happened in the ancient times are not explained until we received the New Testament revelation which answers most of our questions of the who or the what.
Despite what Heiser says, the New Testament clarifies that Satan is the Serpent in Gen 3.
It is essential to understand, that many events that happened in ancient times, God does not explain until He gave us the New Testament Revelation, which now gives us the who, what, when, where, how’s and whys of many things that were otherwise unknown previously.
Satan is mentioned 14 times in the first two chapters of Job. The term Devil is basically a New Testament word for Satan, that relates to Satan as being in complete opposition to God and to Gods children.
Let me point out that the Book of Revelation (the final book in the Bible), specifically tells us that the Devil and Satan are the same person mentioned in Genesis, (the first book of the Bible).
God’s Word is our standard, but Heiser definitely disagrees with it, and rather holds to a counterfeit as found in the Canaanite Ugarit as being as inspired as the Bible itself.
Describing what is in Job, Heiser says, “During the council meeting the satan shows up. His rank is not clear. The language is ambiguous with respect to whether he is of the same level as the sons of God or is on the scene as a servant official to the council. The lower status is more likely, given what we learn about his job.” (Unseen Realm)
Heiser takes the position that God is not telling us whom this creature is but later Jewish writers are. That he is not really the mother of all adversaries. That’s an interesting interpretation considering what Jesus called and described him as the adversary of all adversaries.
However, the inspired Jewish writers all throughout the inspiration of Scripture show that Gods Word disagrees with him, he does not believe that Satan is our adversary and does not believe that Satan is the ultimate enemy of our souls. Jesus named and described Satan as the adversary of all adversaries. Should we believe Heiser or Jesus the King of Kings who created all the angels, including Lucifer.
In Job 2:2 the phrase, walking to and fro, is found to be a similar statement that we also see in the New Testament with 1 Peter 5:8 “ Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour,” ( Job 2:2) “And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So, Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” He is looking who he can devour This proves to be, as Satan seeks to devour Jobs life.
As we go deeper into the Scriptures, it becomes crystal clear how far off Heiser really is with his teachings, and just how much he cannot be trusted as a reliable bible teacher.
The following are a few examples of the many contradicting flip flops in Heisers writing’s:
He states: “saṭan does not occur in Genesis 3, and I don’t believe the character in Job 1-2 is the NT devil.”’
First, he states Satan isn’t the devil: “When Satan shows up in the Hebrew Bible, it doesn’t refer the devil . So, he is different than the tempter of Eve, the devil. “The instances of satan in the Old Testament that lack the definite article also don’t refer to the devil or the serpent figure.” (Unseen Realm)
Then he states Satan is the Devil: “Most readers will acknowledge that the serpent (Heb. nāḥāš) was not simply a member of the animal kingdom. This conclusion seems obvious, since the New Testament identifies the serpent as Satan or the devil ( Rev 12:9 ). Michael S. Heiser June 12, 2020 What Eden tells us about Satan)
Heiser holds two opposite views, So, which is it? This is the duplicity of Heiserism. It all depends upon which of his books you read, or which talk he gives on you tube, what view point you will get.
“The Satan” that Heiser often speaks about, will be used in a general sense to refer to any adversary, while ignoring that Satan is identified in the Bible as a specific angel who is also called the Devil by the apostles. (Matt 4:1-11; Mark 3:22-26; Luke 10:18; John 13:27), Paul’s Epistles (Rom. 16:20; 1 Cor. 5:5; 7:5; 2 Cor. 2:11; 11:14), Rev. (2:24; 12:9; 20:2) Satan,
He then gives an opposing view that the adversary who deceived Eve, is not the same as the adversary Satan who is with the other angels before God recorded in Job. He concludes that the tempting Serpent of Eve in Genesis 3, is a so-called divine rebellious son of God, who became rebellious in a so-called heavenly council of God, (a council that does not exist in scripture the way he describes).
He falsely says, “Jewish writings began to adopt Satan as a proper name for the serpent figure from Genesis 3 who brought ruin to Eden” (Unseen Realm)
Heiser also incorrectly claims that El or Elohim are proper names, (Which they are not), Biblically, they are titles, but Heiser uses them as proper names, and even calls the Elohim sons of God, (A species). He changes the meanings of these words in order to make his unbiblical teachings appear to be biblical to benefit his inaccurate teaching.
A son of Gods rebellion in the garden
Heiser writes, “ My task in this chapter and the next is to help you think beyond the literalness of the serpent language. If it’s true that the enemy in the garden was a supernatural being, then he wasn’t a snake .”(Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the supernatural worldview of the Bible, p. 74)
He then spends his time allegorizing away what is to be the literal interpretation, missing the actual clarification of a supernatural being using a literal creature from the garden. Why could it not be both, a supernatural being possessing a reptile or some creature that stood erect?
The creature in the garden
The Bible says in Gn. 3:1 “ Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made .”
Notice the Serpent is compared to (other) beasts of the field that the Lord God made in the garden during the period of days before man was made. If (the serpent) is an Elohim as Heiser believes, it is certainly not affirmed in the Scripture. The One and Only Divine God creates creatures and things. God would not compare a creature to a divine being, (a god) because God Alone is Divine.
Again, “ the serpent was more subtil (Cunning) than any beast of the field, Satan chose to use the serpent because he was “more shrewd”, he was the most clever of the animal’s, and from this, a snake has been used as a representation of Satan who was the power behind, or from within The serpent.
Referring to the Serpent in Gen.3 Heiser states, “ An Israelite would have known that the episode described interference in the human drama by a divine being, a malcontent from within Yahweh’s council.”
Heiser says, it was obvious to the Hebrews that the serpent was a ‘divine’ son of God who rebelled in the garden (not in heaven). Which is utter nonsense, and completely unscriptural,
How could they have ever known that the serpent was a so-called divine being and a dissatisfied council member? They were never taught this; how could they contemplate something so against the Hebrew Scriptures.
However, this is actually what Mormonism teaches, but the Bible teaches that Lucifer / Satan was never a divine being, or part of any council, anywhere. The word divine is reserved only for, and relating to the Deity of God, (Gods Triune Nature). Satan is a being who was once the greatest of ‘creatures’ that God had made, a cherub who was above all the cherubim, and above all the Angels.
Heiser continues “In some respects, we know that the Genesis “serpent” wasn’t really a member of the animal kingdom.… We understand that, even though New Testament writers refer to the serpent back in Eden, they are really referring to a supernatural entity—not a mere member of the animal kingdom (2 Cor 11:3; 1 Thess 3:5; Rev 12:9).”
Heiser believes that the serpent was a divine spirit being, no animal was involved. But Biblically he was not just a spirit being; he actually was both.
This creature did not fall in the Garden, the text says nothing like this, he was already the Satan (accuser) when he came to Eve to deceive her. He came to Eve to tempt her and chose a certain and used this animal that was conducive to his means. Satan had already fallen prior to the creation of man, and he is called the tempter throughout Scripture. Which means he was fallen already. Gen. 3:1-6; this is why he is called the tempter throughout Scripture.
This is why we read in Gn. 3:14" Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.”
This creature is cursed more than any beast God made that was in garden, why? Because it was creature from the garden that the Satan used as his vehicle to speak through. The whole animal kingdom is cursed, but the serpent is cursed above all of them. I should point out Heiser’s other argument of a creature having legs. A snake standing does not mean they once had legs, they crawl on the bellies and today they can still stand erect.
It was the fallen angel, known as Satan, who in the Garden of Eden was speaking through the serpent (a reptile type creature that had vocal chords), not the serpent creature speaking on its own. The reason the serpent is judged is because Animals were created for man, to be under man’s dominion and not for man’s demise. It seems that there could have been the ability to exercise freewill to be used or to not be used to bring harm to the humans. (Gen. 9:5; Ex. 21:8).
Why is the creature cursed but not Satan who directly used him? because Day Star / Satan had already fell and under judgment awaiting for his sentence at the future White Throne Judgment of God.
To Adam God said, “Cursed is the ground for your sake.” What was under Adams authority was cursed just as the creature that was under Satan’s authority.
The serpent offered wisdom that could not be attained, this is why we find the serpent (a snake) as a symbol for wisdom throughout nearly all the ancient pagan and occult cultures whose many idols and drawings depict. Archaeologists have found ancient representations of these three figures appearing together: a woman, a serpent, and a tree.
Dave Hunt points out , “the Serpent deceived Eve: that through eating physical fruit she could gain spiritual blessings, including immortality and godhood (Gn 3:1-7). Satan, speaking through a serpent, seduced Eve into believing she could become like God through rejecting God’s will in favor of her own (Gn 3). This was the devil’s own prospect, which he, as Lucifer, deceived himself into believing (Is 14).”
The Serpent lied, he deceived Eve, and he attacked what God had said, Heiser is using the Ugarit in the same way. He too is either lying, or he is deceived, but he is definitely also attacking Gods Word and in the process is deceiving many.
“The function of the office of the satan is why later Jewish writings began to adopt it as a proper name for the serpent figure from Genesis 3 who brought ruin to Eden.” (Unseen Realm)
Satan is not an office? He is an individual Angelic being with independent freewill, (we will see this more clearly as we continue). Heiser’s view on this is certainly not what the Scripture reveals. In fact, it changes Satan from a powerful personal being into a generic non-entity, into an expression.
Jesus said Luke 11:18 “ If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?” “Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.” ( Luke 22:31)
Luke 22:3 “Satan entered Judas.” Was Judas possessed by an office? Or an intelligent being who wanted to bring ruin to Christ.
He says, “The more coherent alternative is the serpent—more pointedly, a divine being who has forgotten his place in the pecking order .” (Unseen Realm)
That is not a coherent explanation, as this creature was fallen before he came to Eve and was NEVER a divine being according to the Bible.
Heiser’s explanations can border on the absurd “…there are ZERO verses in the OT that have a personal name “satan”, and ZERO references to Satan as a cosmic evil entity as in the NT. ”
“…Basically, “the satan” in Job is an officer of the divine council (sort of like a prosecutor). His job is to “run to and fro throughout the earth” to see who is and who is not obeying Yahweh. When he finds someone who isn’t and is therefore under Yahweh’s wrath, he “accuses” that person. This is what we see in Job — and it actually has a distinct New Testament flavor. (We also see it in Zechariah 3). But the point here is that this satan is not evil; he’s doing his job.” (The Absence of Satan in the Old Testament Posted by Dr Heiser | Feb 1, 2010)
Satan not being evil! This is the same Satan in the New Testament, who is evil? Believers wake up to what he is teaching! This is a man who is changing Gods Word.
He concludes by changing the word Satan to ‘(the satan)’, (meaning any accuser). The one called Satan (who is the Devil) according to Heiser, becomes unnamed throughout the Entire Bible, according to Heiser we never know his creatures name, despite the fact that Jesus Himself personally addressed him as the Devil (which is overlooked by Mr. Heiser).
Biblically, being (a) accuser and “Being (The) Accuser” are two completely different terms.
Just because God doesn’t use the term Satan for the Serpent in the Old Testament; does not mean that Satan and the Serpent are not the same person all throughout the New Testament.
Satan is mentioned 18 times in the Old Testament (mostly in Job and Zechariah), 36 times in the New Testament, and 17 times in the gospels where Jesus addresses the Devil by the name Satan, you would have to discount the inspiration of the Bible to say that Satan is not the Devil.
(Names also, often describe the activities and/or characteristics of a person). For example, the Holy Spirit is not a name, neither is the Son or the Father, but we know they are persons who are YHWH.
So then names like Michael that means ‘like God,’ or Gabriel which means ‘mighty like God’ would not be names but terms as he uses the term “the satan.” And what about el or Elohim? Heiser claims are proper names? (Which they are not) they are used for the whole grouping of his divine sons of God. This is an example of Catachresis. He manipulates the Scripture to form it to what he wants it to mean. He is changing the Word of God to his predilection.
Now let’s see if what he has said is true. The apostle John who wrote 3 letters, a gospel and the Revealing of Christ called the book of Revelation. He explains the identification of this Serpent more than once.
Rv. 12:9 “ that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world .”
This is Gods word, not Heiser’s.
Rev 20:7-8 “Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nation s.”
Why would Satan be incarcerated for a thousand years if he is a good standing council member who does what God asks? The Bible answers this unequivocally as a no.
Rev 20:2 “ He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.”
You would think this would be clear to an academic Scholar like Heiser, but he assigns it to be a Canard. Why doesn’t Heiser yield to Gods Word?
But, rather persists in his denial by saying: This “Adversary” (the meaning of the Hebrew term) is therefore not the Devil, as known in the New Testament. Lowell Handy points out that the Adversary’s behavior in Job 1–2 is consistent with that of various deities in council scenes in Ugaritic material, where a lesser deity reports to a higher deity (Handy, “Authorization”). (Divine council) Heiser uses these scholar’s unbiblical references as verification for his false teachings that he has made a belief system out of.
Heiser makes this unequivocal statement, Satan is not the devil, referring to where he is mostly spoken of (Job) concluding“ This would mean there are ZERO verses in the OT that have a personal name “satan”, and ZERO references to Satan as a cosmic evil entity as in the NT.” (The Absence of Satan in the Old Testament Posted by DrHeiser | Feb 1, 2010 | AAG, Biblical Theology & Doctrine, Divine council)
??? Are we to believe that Satan fell after the attack on Job's life and family? Jesus says "he saw Satan fall from heaven, did it just happen or was he speaking of a past event?
And while Heiser says the devil is not found in the Old Testament, we read in Jude 9 that Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"
He the devil was active in the Old Testament and the New Testament tells us Satan is called The Devil. Why does Heiser reject Gods Word on this?
What does Jesus say on this?
In Luke 4:2 “being tempted for forty days by the devil.” The same person who is tempting Jesus had Jesus say to him,"Away with you, Satan!” (Matt. 4:10) Matt. 4:1 Jesus was “tempted by the devil.” “Matt.4:11” Then the devil left Him,” Mark 1:13 “ And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan .”
So the Scripture identifies them (the devil and Satan) as the same being. How many times do we see Heiser is wrong and is just a really bad bible teacher. What motivates a Bible teacher to deny Gods Word, over and over again like this? If he can’t see this then there is something very wrong with his understanding of Scripture.
Was it a different being who tempted Jesus, or the same? Is Scripture right or is Mr. Heiser right? We will continue toexamine his teachings with the biblical evidence