p.7c Eden and the Heiser mythology
Heiser calls the Garden of Eden The Kingdom of God.
He proposes that we (the church) are to Recovering what Adam lost , “the kingdom of God becomes the real focus of the Bible.” He states, “The whole world needs to be like God’s home. He could do the job himself, but he chose to create human imagers to do it for him. He issued the decree; they were supposed to make it happen. They were to do that by multiplying and following God’s direction. Eden is where the idea of the kingdom of God begins. And it’s no coincidence that the Bible ends with the vision of a new Edenic Earth (Rev 21–22).” (Unseen Realm)
Does it say this? God says he will make a new heavens and earth where he describes, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind” (Isa 65:1.) Rv. 21:1 “ Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.”
Eden is not mentioned in the New Testament, and the Kingdom of God as Heiser describes is not mentioned in the Old Testament. God separated Israel from the other nations to be a theocracy. Ex 19:6 “And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' The only nation to be under his rule.
It never calls Eden the kingdom of God, and nothing is said like this in Scripture, this is Heiser inserting his own concepts upon the Scripture to make his unique theological construct that comes from the Ugarit’s pagan mythology to be merged with Gods Word. Eden was destroyed in the flood and became wasteland (Isa.51:3; Ez.31:9, 18, 35.)
Heiser writes, “God created humankind to extend Eden over all the earth. That’s what the command of Genesis 1:28 collectively referred to by theologians as the dominion mandate, are about.” (ibid) You mean certain theologians of the preterist mindset.
He states that God’s design was for humankind to expand Eden, “bringing God’s glory and perfection to the rest of the earth” (p. 48), Yes they were to multiply and fill the earth with children, but this occurred after the fall. The plan that was to be from Eden was negated.
“God had told Noah’s sons to be fruitful and multiply and overspread the earth ( Gen 9:1). It’s no accident that these were also the words given to Adam and Eve (Gen 1:22, 28). The sons of Noah were to expand God’s human family and carry on the original goal of an Edenic world. Babel undermined all that.” (Unseen realm) underline mine
In response, Yahweh made the nations outsiders. If his will was too burdensome, then they could serve other gods. Yahweh would transfer the Edenic dream to someone else—a people who didn’t yet exist, but soon would.” (Unseen realm)
What Heiser proposes is missing, for he only said to Noah and family to reproduce, not have dominion as he did to Adam; he did not repeat this command.
Noah and his sons were given a command in Gen. 9:1-2 “ Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth , on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea .”
So how can the command be extend Eden when man is eating animals, the very creatures God first said to have dominion over? ‘The dominion mandate’ of spreading Eden over the earth was no longer valid after the Eden was lost, especially after the worldwide flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 9:3-4; Psalm 8). God did not renew it with Noah and his family for the simple reason that with the first man God pronounced it was all good. After the fall and the judgment by the flood it all changed, the earth was cursed, sin was introduced. The Eden which had no sin was gone.
The first couple was instructed to subdue the earth (Gen 1:26-28), but once the earth was flawed it could not be perfected by people. When God made all things; nothing was flawed; Scripture has nothing to say of anything to be brought to perfection through the efforts of Adam and Eve.
Heiser, tells us, “An ancient Israelite would have thought of Eden as the dwelling of God and the place from which God and his council directed the affairs of humanity… Eden is described in Ezekiel 28:2 as the ‘seat of the gods. ’” Which he refers to in his book The Unseen Realm, Ugaritic yields a close parallel to moshab elohim (Ugar. m[t]b il, “seat of El”; KTU 1.4.i.13). See Richard J. Clifford, The Cosmic Mountain in Canaan and the Old Testament.
Eden is mentioned 7 times in Ezekiel, and it does not say this, it says he (singular) sits in the seat of God, (though the word is Elohim which Heiser sees as a council) it would have no importance if he was not about a specific speakers pride wanting to be God. The only true God addresses his goal, “you are a man, and not a god, Though you set your heart as the heart of a god.”
He claims that pre-creation gods ruled the earth from Eden, extending the kingdom over the earth. According to Heiser, Pentecost “began the process by which the disinherited nations would be brought back into Yahweh’s family . . . that would culminate in a global Eden ” (p. 306). “ Furthermore, the Holy Spirit’s commissioning at Pentecost provided believers with authority over the nations that were originally assigned to the divine council members . In this way, believers are effectively incorporated into the divine council and the latter becomes integrally connected with both the Creation Mandate” ( https://www.esv.org/Gen%201%3A28%E2%80%9330 Gen 1:28–30)
The main theme in the Bible is God’s restored relationship with individuals, with humanity by the Gospel not the kingdom being “restored on earth, now.” That only happens with Jesus returning to take possession of the earth and as king he appoints humans who are transformed, without sin to rule under him. Heiser as a preterist is promoting dominionism, which is a very obtuse combo.
Hesier states, “The curse levied at Adam (Gen 3:17–19) did not supersede God’s mandate to subdue the earth and take dominion. But it did make the task harder.” (Unseen Realm)
Sorry, it nullified the dominion command completely as man was now sinful and unable to rule as when the command was first given, the image of God he was given was now marred. This is why there is only one man who can fulfill this. This idea of a powerful victorious church taking over the world is a spiritual hoax. Speaking of Jesus “She bore a male Child (Christ the Son) who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron” (Revelation 12:5;19:15). Christ the God/man is to be the ruler of the kingdom, not any man or the church.
Psalm 2:6-8 speaks of Messiah, the king “I will declare the decree: the LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, andI will give You the nationsfor Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession.” Its Not the Church but Jesus.
(As in Dan.7:13-14 the son of man is given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him).Daniel 7:21-22: “ I was watching; and the same horn (little horn) was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom .”
There is no Church ruling prior to Christ coming back, nor is there a physical kingdom. Notice it is not until Jesus comes that we possess the kingdom, referring to His second coming. It is only when the Messiahs throne is established in Jerusalem, then His dominion will extend throughout the entire earth to ALL Gentile nations. This is where those who see the church as Gods instrument to rule over the nations are dead wrong. Christ come first and we are under his lordship.
This is what must take place first for the kingdom to commence. The Lord Jesus Christ “ will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom ” (2 Timothy 4:1).
Like other Preterists argue that the promises made to Israel were misunderstood as national promises. Therefore, when Israel rejected Christ, these “spiritual” promises passed to the church, the “true Israel” which eliminates Israel as a people, a nation that will inherit the land they live in today. In fact preterists apply much of the symbolism in Revelation to Rome, the Caesars, and their persecution of Christians, rather than to the Tribulation that is coming upon the whole world and to have Israel to repent.
To say the church replaces Israel is showing they do not rightly divide the Word when Jesus tells Israel to flee (Mt.24) when they hear of the abomination of desolation, is that the church fleeing?
When Scripture says all of Israel will be saved, is that church? What about the promises of the land to Israel is that for the Church?
He is among the preterists who does not understand the distinctions of eschatology, that the church is not Israel. Heiser has some of the worst explanations for eschatology I have ever seen.
He says in his book on Enoch (a book filled with inaccuracies and falsehoods) “reclaiming the nations from supernatural fallen sons of God is fulfilled in the global Eden, the new earth’ (A companion to the book of Enoch)
Stating, The mission of church age believers, as members of God’s earthly council, is to spread the kingdom rule of God which Adam and Eve failed to do. The church is on a mission to restore Eden: “Believers have a divinely appointed purpose. Adam and Eve were supposed to make all the world Eden—to spread the kingdom rule of God so that we could enjoy the love of God, our Father. That hasn’t changed ” (p. 310).
Of course this directive has changed, he prevented them from ruling in Eden after the fall, so how can it be the same directive over all the earth. And how does this command work with God assigning gods over the nations who fell as Heiser teaches in Gn.10? The Dominion Mandate was given to Adam and Eve in the garden, not to any supposed gods in the garden with them, the Scripture has no mention of this.
“So it is only when men become divine that the Dominion Mandate is fulfilled, as Eden is spread over the earth. ” If this statement is true then the Church cannot do this now. But Eden is not restored in the Millennium either, for there will be sinful men living on earth. It is then that the transformed believers living on earth will be co ruling under Christ who will be physically in Jerusalem.
The how can this be Eden again when man was kept out of the garden because of sin? People born at this time period will sin throughout the 1,000 years, throughout the whole Millennium. Animals will be sacrificed in the Millennium. In Eden Adam and Eve did not do sacrifices. The Millennial Temple, the millennial system of priesthood and sacrifices have both Jews and Gentiles involved. Ez. 40:35-47; 44; 45:13-46:15; 46:19-24 Isaiah 56:6-8: There is no getting back to the Garden of Eden.
He says, “Our inheritance of the nations with Jesus at the end of days (Rev 3:21) is in a glorified, resurrected—divine—state.”)
So when men become divine the Dominion Mandate is fulfilled, then Eden is spread over the earth. Again Eden is not restored in the Millennium for there will be sinful men among the transformed living on earth. It will be Eden like, but not as the original Eden with no sin.
We should consider that Catholic church has this teaching, "Having been enabled to see the world through God's eyes, and become ever more configured to Christ, religious men and women move towards the ultimate end for which man was created: divinization, sharing in the life of the Trinity." (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/2002/may/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20020525_rila-bulgaria_en.html Pope John Paul II. "Pilgrimage to the Holy Monastery of Rila." The Holy See. The Holy See, 25 May 2002.)
While the Bible explains that our transformation eliminates sin and give us eternal life in our immortal resurrected body, nowhere does it teach we become divine.
Heiser has some excellent story telling in his theories that combine Biblical texts with the pagan myths. It’s all made up in his mind from his learning from the pagan sources that he uses as priority to reinterpret the Bible; and people actually listen to this!
Some questions that need to be answered. Why would the divine Elohim who were ruling in Eden be made to leave with Adam and Eve (and the Serpent)? Where did they go, why does the Bible say NOTHING on this? This is why the Bible is absolute necessity for interpreting its own history.
With the entrance of rebellion, corruption and sin the major theme of Scripture is a spiritual restoration that would come about through the redemptive work of Christ, not through the efforts of either a divine or human council to restore Eden.
We become divine
Concerning man becoming gods, Heiser writes “When the kingdom is restored we (human believers) will become divine: “Believing followers of Jesus Christ are the fulfillment of God’s plan to have humanity join the divine family-council and restore Eden. But that’s still not the full story. We will be made like him (1 John 3:1-3). We will become divine” (p. 314). “Joining God’s divine family is inextricably linked to the New Testament concept of becoming like Jesus – becoming divine” (p. 319). Heiser surmises that the elders in heaven found (Rv. 5:11) are divine humans (p. 355). How did that happen before the transformation by the resurrection?
He states Christ is a divine being, thus the divine council are divine as Christ is, and we will become the same, which is a biiig problem. Why, because Jesus is the eternal God, that is why he would be called divine. Divine means according to any dictionary having the nature of a deity’ .
Heiser’s use of “divine” is more than problematic as it is applied to the sons of God and humanity. How do regenerated humans become divine? Exactly how does he define this, for he says this of both Jesus and the gods being divine before they fell.
What is more problematic is that we become part of this imaginary council when we are transformed to be gods like they already are. That our glorified, spiritual, resurrection bodies we will take our seats on the divine council with Jesus. According to Heiser this is what it means to reign with Christ, both in Revelation and elsewhere in the New Testament.
In Eden “where the council was present—then being in the presence of God is no guarantee that free-will beings will never stray or act out of self-will. Only God is perfect. Beings that are lesser than God, whether human or divine, are not perfect. The potential for error and disobedience is by definition possible.” (Unseen Realm)
Does this mean after we are transformed to be with the council we too can fall? Again where is this in the Bible? Heiser involves this divine council in nearly everything possible in the Word.
What made these divine beings fall, become corrupt. Is this a secret? The Bible explains how Day Star fell, became Satan the Devil in heaven. Do these Elohim speak to each other? Why must Heiser go to a pagan religious writing to find the pantheons, the gods? Because they are not found in Scripture. So he cleverly transfers it from the paganite's teachings into the Bible.
“Luminescence is a characteristic of divine beings or divine presence across the ancient Near Eastern world and the Old Testament (e.g., Ezek 1:4–7, 27–28 [cf. Ezek 10:19–20]; Dan 10:6; Rev 1:15). This description of the divine cherub in Eden is designed to convey divinity—a shining presence.”
This is not necessarily so. When Moses came down from the mount after 40 days of being in Gods presence his face glowed (2 Cor.3:7). Was he made into a divine being? What of 2 Cor. 11:14-15 which tells us “ For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” Is he divine?
After reading his points it becomes obvious that he using at his disposal many teachings outside the Bible to merge it to form a new view. Which is not what a accurate Bible interpreter does.
While he first claims Eden is the headquarters of the council and God he also states after Gn.10 “Yahweh had made the world habitable for all humanity. But the nations had been forsaken. Now the same God once again was described as subduing the forces of chaos to deliver his portion, Israel, for whom he had prepared a place of habitation—the promised land. But before getting to the land, Yahweh needed to teach his people a few things. It’s time for some theology lessons at a place called Mount Sinai, Yahweh’s new earthly abode, headquarters of his unseen council .”(Unseen realm)
A new Headquarters? The nation Israel was there in the wilderness a little over 11 months when they received the law. This mountain is not in Israel but Arabia (Gal.4:25). No one really knows the exact site of Mount Sinai except that it is in the south central part of the Sinai Peninsula. When did Israel ever go back there if it was the new headquarters? When did God? What of Jerusalem? This is just plain ludicrous.
Heiser’s fantasy theology - when Christ returns He will overthrow the corrupt gods he claims are said to be spoken of in Psalm 82 and deify men to take their place over the nations. “The corrupt divine sons of God of Deuteronomy 32:8 would be displaced by new divine sons of God—glorified believers .” Since they are Elohim, we will become Elohim.
Heiser implies he’s got Bible history figured out while others do not, but he can’t even explain What is PLAIN AND CLEAR IN Scripture. He reiterates, “ when the nations of the earth are taken back by Yahweh, the lesser elohim of those nations will be displaced by Yahweh’s reconstituted council, his earthly sons and daughters made divine and set over the nations.” (Unseen realm)
Where does it say this in the Bible? We do not replace fallen gods. There is no such teaching in the New Testament. It sounds more like from the New age writings.
The only council we find mentioned in the New Testament is the Jerusalem council of men. If there were a council of elohim ingrained in Judaism the New Testament would mention it. These gods are the invention of men, their imagination, made from materials of earth (idols) or nature itself. They are not gods, yet Heiser says there are many gods divine beings existing before there was man. Where is that in the Bible? Scripture verse for this- none. You can certainly find this teaching in Mormonism.
“God is starting his intended Edenic rule with Israel. Israel will have a single earthly leader (eventually the messianic king, the ultimate offspring of Eve) and a council of seventy. The number telegraphs that, as the kingdom of God is re-established on earth, the seventy nations will be reclaimed, a process that began with the ministry of Jesus and will continue to the end of days ”(Unseen Realm)
Exactly where does it say this in Scripture? The only thing right is Israel’s messianic ruler? Again Heiser says the Church replaces Israel and does this?
There are far more than 70 nations today, there are over 190. Lets go further into after the flood and Babylon