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P.4 Heiser’s questionable scholarly references

A reminder that these are just a few points extracted from each author that have the commonality of denying Gods special revelation to his people Israel through Abraham, Moses and the prophets. This revelation of himself which the one true God has confirmed since antiquity with successive revelations to mankind; beginning with Adam, Cain, Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham (in Genesis) Job, and many others after.

You can identify the liberal fingerprint on scholarship because of their common belief that dismisses the Bible's claim that the first religion to appear on earth was a monotheistic instead of polytheistic. (This will be addressed at the end of the article.)

In other words, these ‘progressives’ erased distinctions between "true" and "false" religion as archeologically meaningless. Lumping all religions in the same crucible, they advanced their bold hypothesis: that the very religions the Bible calls "false" originated first!

Very few of these cited have a biblical worldview or a historical Biblical view on how the Bible was given by Gods direct revelation to his prophets and spokesman.

Mark S. Smith

In the Early History of God: Yahweh and Other Deities in Ancient Israel Mark Smith explains how Israel's religion evolved from a cult of Yahweh as a primary deity among many to a fully defined monotheistic faith with Yahweh as sole god.

Dr. Heiser quotes and attributes to Smith “Mark S. Smith has brought scholarship on the divine council up to date. All the scholarship to date on the divine council has focused on Israel’s religion prior to the sixth century B.C.E., since it is commonly believed that after Israel emerged from exile, the idea of a pantheon of gods headed by Yahweh had been abandoned in favor of an intolerant monotheism” ( THE DIVINE COUNCIL IN LATE CANONICAL AND NON-CANONICAL SECOND TEMPLE JEWISH LITERATURE. quoting Mark S. Smith, The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel’s Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003).

Smith “ Even in the Hebrew Bible, where mythology is largely replaced with the “historiographic” account of Israel’s story, the relationship between Yahweh and his people is placed on a quasi-mythological ground in the account of the building of Yahweh’s tabernacle in Exodus 25–31 and 35–40, which culminates with Yahweh’s divine presence, in the form of a cloud, entering the shrine.”

found in the Hebrew Bible. Thus the temple mount in Jerusalem is called “his holy mountain” (har qodšô; Ps 48:2) and “the holy dwelling-place of the Most High” (qĕdôš mišk ĕnê ‘elyôn; Ps 46:5). Israelite texts also mention the Holy Ones collectively as a divine body or assembly led by Yahweh, their king (Ps 89:6b–7a). It is the god’s presence, of course, that imparts holiness to the location, and thus the temple gains its status through its participation with the god. (the Baal cycle)

Smith writes, “I am interested not only in describing Israelite monotheism but also in examining the conceptual unity and coherence of its religious congener, Israelite polytheism, as well as the religious unity expressed in the polytheism revealed in the largest cache of relevant extra-biblical texts, namely the myths and rituals from the ancient city of Ugari t (modern Ras Shamra).” (The Origins of Biblical Monotheism Mark S. Smith) underline mine

This is a complete untrue nonsensical view of Israel’s history as Israel was to purge all polytheism among them, to be separate from the pagans. His position is “According to the story of the Bible, monotheism was not the original condition of the world. Instead, it stepped onto the world stage with the appearance of Israel. For when Israel’s god, Yahweh, was revealed first to the patriarchs and then definitively to Moses and the Israelite people on Mount Sinai, the central moment in world history occurred: the revelation of the one God known by the one name of the Tetragrammaton.”

He claimed, polytheism stands not only as the backdrop to biblical monotheism;

In fact he came to the erroneous conclusion “ polytheism was a system of division of powers corresponding to different deities.80 In this view, each deity has a prime characteristic or profile (e.g., Baal as a storm-god) and these characteristics, or at least the positives ones, cumulatively

equal the total that monotheism claims for its single deity. In other words, polytheism

is simply monotheism multiplied by number of divinities and their functions .” (The Origins of Biblical Monotheism Mark S. Smith)

Continual misunderstanding of interpreting biblical events like “ Yahweh offers Moses the experience of seeing the divine “back,” …. Yahweh instructs Moses in 33:21–23: “See, there is a place near Me. Station yourself on the rock and, as My Presence passes by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock and shield you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you will see My back; but My face must not be seen.” The divine hand suggests a superhuman appendage that can cover a human being, further pointing to a superhuman sized deity.” (The Origins of Biblical Monotheism Mark S. Smith)

Add his untrue statements like “monotheism emerged only midway through Israel’s history.” These are indicative of liberal academia.

His view is that the religion is formed by man and his conclusions come from a darkened understanding or no comprehension of the scripture and its events.

Along with The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel’s Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Other Books by Mark S. Smith, The Early History of God: Yahweh and Other Deities in Ancient Israel.

Theodore Mullen

The major work on the divine council is by E. Theodore Mullen, The Divine Council in Canaanite and Early Hebrew Literature, Harvard Semitic Monographs, no. 24 (Missoula, Montana: Scholars Press, 1980). Related to Mullen’s work, but focusing on more specific aspects of the divine council are: Lowell K. Handy, Among the Host of Heaven: The Syro–Palestinian Pantheon as Bureaucracy (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1994), and Conrad L’Heureux, Rank among the Canaanite Gods: El, Ba(al, and the Repha)im, Harvard Semitic Monographs, no. 21 (Scholars Press, 1979).

‘E. T. Mullen Jr., The Divine Council in Canaanite and Early Hebrew Literature (HSM 24; Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1980); idem, “Divine Assembly,” ABD 2.214–17; S. B. Parker, “Sons of (the) God(s),” DDD 794–98;

Heiser quoting Handy: “ The Satan works for God, not against him . . . [his] duty is to patrol the universe for those who break the rules of the cosmic authority of Yahweh” ( THE DIVINE COUNCIL IN LATE CANONICAL AND NON-CANONICAL SECOND TEMPLE JEWISH LITERATURE

The scholar’s quotes are chosen by who are in agreement with Heiser, though occasionally he includes those who disagree.

Example of Heiser using their quote- 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 to endorse a divine council of gods in heaven, using the Ugarit as verification for this false teaching which he has made a belief system out of and inserting it into the biblical record as truth.

Larry Hurtado

Hurtado, Larry W. How on Earth Did Jesus Become a God? Historical Questions about Earliest Jesus Devotion . Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.

Heiser Quotes from him 18 times in his book ‘the Unseen Realm’, also 6 times in the divine council; 6 times in Co-regency in Ancient Israel’s Divine Council:5 times in THE DIVINE COUNCIL IN LATE CANONICAL AND NON-CANONICAL SECOND TEMPLE as well as other of Heiser's works.

Hurtado was a historian of early Christianity and Emeritus Professor of New Testament Language, Literature and Theology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland (Professor 1996-2011). He was the Head of the School of Divinity 2007-2010, and was until August 2011 [1] Director of the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins, at the University of Edinburgh.

Hurtado is well known for his studies on the early emergence of a devotion to Jesus expressed in beliefs about Jesus sharing God's glory, however Hurtado did not see the Son of God as equality with God (Phili.2). He denied the New Testament teaching that Jesus is worshiped as God. Dr. Hurtado denounced the Trinity - Dr Larry Hurtado Deals a Blow to the Trinity Doctrine ("I clearly agree that Jesus did not claim to be this God, and did not imagine himself to be a second person of the Trinity"). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AtcEaVA2x0

Jesus said unless you believe I am you will die in your sins. To deny the Trinity shows one does not understand the revelation of Gods nature. Biblically To say I’m one with the Father, to say you are the Son of, meant to have the same character and nature of the father that no one else had. This denial of his deity would also affect the doctrine of the resurrection.

Hurtado writes of “ devotional reverence that I have cataloged briefly. Thus, at least in this sense, we can say that Jesus clearly "became a god" and "on earth" (i.e., expressed in historically observable phenomena) in early Christian devotional practice.”

He further states “ we can say that Jesus did not really "become a god." Instead, he was given devotion that expressed the distinctively Christian recognition that Jesus was God's unique emissary, in whom the glory of the one God was singularly reflected and to whom God "the Father" now demanded full reverence "as to a god."

In other words it was what man assigned to him in their devotion

In referring to John 5 “ linking Jesus with God so directly that it is not difficult to see how such a view of Jesus could generate the judgment that it amounted to making Jesus a rival to God, or a second god. But we must also note that, as emphatic as this author is about Jesus' divine status, he is equally clear that Jesus' divine glory derives from the one God.”

(How on earth did Jesus become a God)

He writes on the crucifixion, Some scholars assert that it was simply an unfortunate mix-up; Jesus seized by overzealous officials, having been in the wrong place (the Temple) at the wrong time (Passover). Well, anything is possible. But let’s talk probable. And for many more reasons than I have space here to elucidate, it’s simply much more probable that Jesus was crucified because he was judged guilty of charges sufficient to justify execution—and one in a form that was intended to humiliate and thoroughly degrade the offender, not simply kill him.”

The Bible speaks numerous times that Jesus went to the cross willingly, that this was the plan for him being born, this is not included in Hurtado’s calculations

Hurtado says, " Christians in the first few centuries also had difficulty embracing the idea of a real, bodily resurrection ."

The obvious contradiction taught from Scripture is that the resurrection is part of the gospel that one MUST believe to even be a Christian. That the resurrection is as ancient as in Jobs time and Abraham’s day.

Two of the major influences on Larry Hurtado’s work were from his friendship with and Alan Segal who wrote Two Powers in Heaven: Early Rabbinic Reports about Christianity and Gnosticism (SJLA, 25; Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1977)

Also E.P. Sanders Jesus book was one of Hurtado's favorite. Sanders thought Jesus was part of a renewal movement within Judaism, which divorces his mission from being the figure and enactor of the new covenant fulfilling the Scripture itself.

Sanders identified himself as a "liberal, modern, secularized Protestant" who saw Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet who created an eschatological Jewish movement by him appointing the Apostles. After being executed his followers continued the movement, expecting his return to restore Israel. As with many scholars of this type they separated the historical Jesus from the prophecies of the Messiah fulfilling the Scriptures that give light to the many questions and viewpoints they hold.

Sanders held an agnostic approach on the resurrection. He writes, in The Historical Figure of Jesus: “ That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had Resurrection experiences is, in my judgement, a fact. What the reality was that gave rise to the experiences I do not know .”

Hurtado similarly writes in a questionable fashion of how the early church came to its conclusions on Jesus. " So the most likely crime for which Jesus was crucified is reflected in the Gospels’ account of the charge attached to Jesus’ cross: “King of the Jews.” That is, either Jesus himself claimed to be the Jewish royal messiah, or his followers put out this claim. That would do to get yourself crucified by the Romans.” (what does the bible say?)

Michael J. Kruger studied under Larry Hurtado. Kruger was influenced by Sonship Theology. Kruger writes “Scholars have noticed that in the Baal Cycle all the gods of the second tier pay obeisance to El, “but nowhere is it said that El, being the superior god, is expressing obeisance to anyone.”(quotes in The Divine Council – Heiser) Thus insinuating the Ugarit el ios the same God of Israel.

John Day Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan , JSOTS up 265 (New York: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002) is quoted by Heiser in ‘The Unseen Realm’; ‘Co-regency in Ancient Israel’s Divine Council as the Conceptual Backdrop to Ancient Jewish Binitarian Monotheism’; and quoted 10 times in THE DIVINE COUNCIL IN LATE CANONICAL AND NON-CANONICAL SECOND TEMPLE JEWISH LITERATURE

Day writes, “Just as an earthly king is supported by a body of courtiers, so Yahweh has a heavenly court. Originally, these were gods, but as monotheism became absolute, so these were demoted to the status of angels.”

“the cult of Asherah disappeared among the Jews as absolute monotheism became solidified

There has been a general rejection in recent decades of the view (once associated with W.F. Albright) that absolute monotheism can be traced back to the time of Moses.

He gives the example, the seventy sons of God, originally denoting the gods of the pantheon

under El, with whom Yahweh became identified, now became demoted to the status of angels, the seventy guardian angels of the nations attested in 1 Enoch.

Days states, “ My overall conclusion is that Yahweh was very much the chief god in ancient Israel, and the other gods and goddesses would have been worshipped as part of his pantheon”

“Those who worshipped other gods and goddesses surely still saw Yahweh as the chief god, with the

other deities being regarded as subordinate members of his pantheon.

In referring to Cannanite imagery of deity in a storm theophany “ It is probable that the cherubim in the Holy of Holies, on which Yahweh was seated, symbolized the clouds. Cf. Ps.18.10-11 (ET 9-10), where Yahweh rides on a cherub and has thick darkness ( <a rdpel) under his feet (v. 10 [ET 9]) in the context of a storm theophany.”

The fact that Heiser regurgitates these teachings is problematic.

Especially in the Baal imagery was appropriated to Yahweh “ The most plausible view is that Baal was literally regarded as the son of Dagon, but that he was also understood as the son of El in the sense that all the Ugaritic gods were, that is, they were his descendants, members of the pantheon which had its origin in El. 66 One may compare the New Testament's references to Jesus Christ as 'son of David'.

Or “ the construction of the deity's mountain sanctuary, described in language reminiscent of that of Baal on Zaphon

And “ if Anat was Baal's consort, and Baal could be equated with Yahweh, as we have seen from Chapter 3, it is plausible that Yahweh could appropriate Anat as his wife. The idea that Anat could

serve as Yahweh's consort has often been thought to be confirmed by a reference to the goddess Anat-Yahu in the fifth-century BCE Jewish Aramaic papyri from Elephantine in Egypt (AP 44.3). Yahu (Yahweh) was very much the main deity worshipped there.”

All this shows how illiterate they are on the Bible’s truthful revelation from the only God who stepped into our history to reveal himself.


We are to learn the Word, not men’s words that reinterpret the Word by other pagan cultures.

Heiser uses a pagan religion, who were enemies of God to claim Israel adopted their teachings, what Bible student would accept this against the Scripture they trust in that is the Word of God. Academics dissect the language north, east, south and west but cannot grasp the plain meaning!

None of these theories these men present are new nor contrary to the evolutionary theory that began in the 1800’s by liberals. Today, they are educated in the presuppositions of modern universities, who hold to the view that Pantheism (worshiping rocks, trees and nature, many gods) gradually evolved into monotheistic religions (in one God), when it is actually is the opposite.

Challenging all these new liberal unbelieving scholars, skeptics of Scripture in our day, Wilhelm Schmidt found that there had been a monotheistic belief before mankind declined to have numerous of gods. He said we deteriorated into pluralism, polytheistic worship. Schmidt documented and compiled evidence for "original monotheism," from evi­dence which was found from all parts of the world. That monotheism was the common denominator in the ancient past.

Belief in the One Creator God which at a certain point in history very rapidly declined into polytheism.

Which Scripture agrees with; Rom 1:20-25 “ For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.”

Schmidt had addressed among his fellow nineteenth and twentieth century anthropologists by giving a detailed analysis that man began by believing in one God and as he turned away his belief was corrupted.

Monotheism gradually degenerated, leaving only the remnants of supreme beings and pantheons, and sky gods and henotheism in the various cultures in history.

Schmidt published over 600 books and articles. In 1912 Schmidt published his massive work Ursprung Der Gottesidee (The Origin of the Concept of God). More evidence kept appearing, so he published another volume, and another, and another until, by 1955, he had accumulated more than 4,000 pages of evidence contained in 12 large volumes!

The thirteenth chapter of Schmidt's The Origin and Growth of Religion is devoted to quota­tions from dozens of anthropologists, showing that acceptance of Schmidt's research was virtually uni­versal; that early man was originally monotheistic, not polytheistic as these modern scholars claim.

For example, Mark Smith whom many refer to today describes an original Jewish pantheon of gods and its far later development into monotheism.

This popularized belief that the Israelites first begin to worship YHWH, and still recognize other deities is just a flat out lie. As Deut.6:4 clearly depicts there is one God and that they are to teach this to their children. Monotheism was introduced by God himself when written by Moses, and he expected them to obey his word.

Mark S. Smith explains it this way,” Why do the Ten Commandments command that there should be no other gods "before Me" (the Lord), if there are no other gods as claimed by other biblical texts? Why should the Israelites sing at the crossing of the Red Sea that "there is no god like You, O Lord?" (Exodus 15:11). Such passages suggest that Israelites knew about other gods and did not simply reject them. It seems that Israelites may have known of other deities and perhaps various passages suggest that behind the Bible's broader picture of monotheism was a spectrum of polytheisms that centered on the worship of Yahweh as the pantheon's greatest figure.”

What has evaded him and others is exactly what Paul stated in 1 Cor. 8:4-6 “an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods , whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.”

Also Gal 4:8-9 when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?

These elements were of nature and making them gods.

Let me sum this up simply, --just because one has letters after their name does not mean all is well, it all depends whom one learns from. Scholars/ academics who do not believe in the supernatural revelation from God and the actual historical record should not be listened to because they have a bias on what has been communicated?

As God said through Paul Rom 3:4 “ let God be true but every man a liar.” Gods truth is his Word.



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