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The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible

ISBN: 9781577995562


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An Unfiltered Look at the Unseen World

The psalmist declared that God presides over an assembly of divine beings (Psa. 82:1). Who are they? What does it mean when those beings participate in God’s decisions (1 Kings 22:19–23)? Why wasn’t Eve surprised when the serpent spoke to her? Why are Yahweh and his Angel fused together in Jacob’s prayer (Gen. 48:15–16)? How did descendants of the Nephilim (Gen. 6:4) survive the flood (Num. 13:33)? What are we to make of Peter and Jude’s belief in imprisoned spirits (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6)? Why does Paul describe evil spirits in terms of geographical rulership (thrones, principalities, rulers, authorities)? Who are the “glorious ones” that even angels dare not rebuke (2 Pet. 2:10–11)? Dr. Michael Heiser explores these biblical questions in The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible.

The Unseen Realm presents the fruit of Dr. Heiser’s fifteen years of research into what the Bible really says about the unseen world of the supernatural. His goal is to help readers view the biblical text unfiltered by tradition or by theological presuppositions. He presents a clear biblical theology that cuts through our modern worldview that tends to ignore the unseen world. “People shouldn’t be protected from the Bible,” Dr. Heiser says. But theological systems often do just that, by “explaining away” difficult or troublesome passages of Scripture because their literal meaning doesn’t fit into our tidy systems.

In The Unseen Realm, Michael Heiser shines a light on the supernatural world—not a new light, but rather the same light the original, ancient readers—and writers—of Scripture would have seen it in, given their historical and cultural milieu. This light allows today’s pastors and scholars to understand the biblical authors’ supernatural worldview by presenting a biblical theology that embraces, rather than avoids, the unseen realm.

This is a “big” book in the best sense of the term. It is big in its scope and in its depth of analysis. Michael Heiser is a scholar who knows Scripture intimately in its ancient cultural context. All—scholars, clergy, and laypeople—who read this profound and accessible book will grow in their understanding of both the Old and New Testaments, particularly as their eyes are opened to the Bible’s “unseen world.”

—Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College

“How was it possible that I had never seen that before?” Dr Heiser’s survey of the complex reality of the supernatural world as the Scriptures portray it covers a subject that is strangely sidestepped. No one is going to agree with everything in his book, but the subject deserves careful study, and so does this book.

—John Goldingay, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

There is a world referred to in the Scripture that is quite unseen, but also quite present and active. Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm seeks to unmask this world. Heiser shows how prevalent and important it is to understand this world and appreciate how its contribution helps to make sense of Scripture. The book is clear and well done, treating many ideas and themes that often go unseen themselves. With this book, such themes will no longer be neglected, so read it and discover a new realm for reflection about what Scripture teaches.

—Darrell L. Bock, Executive Director for Cultural Engagement, Howard G. Hendricks Center for Christian Leadership and Cultural Engagement. Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

Top Highlights

“Since foreknowledge doesn’t require predestination, foreknown events that happen may or may not have been predestined.” (Page 65)

“The proper context for interpreting the Bible is the context of the biblical writers—the context that produced the Bible.1 Every other context is alien to the biblical writers and, therefore, to the Bible. Yet there is a pervasive tendency in the believing Church to filter the Bible through creeds, confessions, and denominational preferences.” (Page 16)

“Why is this significant? This passage clearly establishes that divine foreknowledge does not necessitate divine predestination.” (Page 64)

“The biblical use of elohim is not hard to understand once we know that it isn’t about attributes. What all the figures on the list have in common is that they are inhabitants of the spiritual world. In that realm there is hierarchy.” (Pages 31–32)

“The Old Testament writers understood that Yahweh was an elohim—but no other elohim was Yahweh. He was species-unique among all residents of the spiritual world.” (Page 32)

There’s More to See in the Unseen Realm

Based on the bestselling book by Michael S. Heiser, the new feature-length documentary The Unseen Realm casts a light on the strange and enigmatic plane of the supernatural that lies within the pages of Scripture. And what we discover are two distinct worlds—with vastly different inhabitants—created and ruled by one loving triune God. Watch the movie on Faithlife TV.

  • Part 1: First Things
    • Reading Your Bible Again—for the First Time
    • Rules of Engagement
  • Part 2: The Households of God
    • God’s Entourage
    • God Alone
    • As in Heaven, So on Earth
    • Gardens and Mountains
    • Eden—Like No Place on Earth
    • Only God Is Perfect
    • Peril and Providence
  • Part 3: Divine Transgressions
    • Appearances Can Be Deceiving
    • Like the Most High?
    • Divine Transgression
    • The Bad Seed
    • Divine Allotment
    • Cosmic Geography
  • Part 4: Yahweh and His Portion
    • Abraham’s Word
    • Yahweh Visible and Invisible
    • What’s in a Name?
    • Who Is Like Yahweh?
    • Retooling the Template
    • God’s Law, God’s Council
    • Realm Distinction
  • Part 5: Conquest and Failure
    • Giant Problems
    • The Place of the Serpent
    • Holy War
  • Part 6: Thus Says The Lord
    • Mountains and Valleys
    • Standing in the Council
    • Divine Misdirection
    • The Rider of the Clouds
    • Prepare to Die
  • Part 7: The Kingdom Already
    • Who Will God for Us?
    • Preeminent Domain
    • A Beneficial Death
    • Infiltration
    • Son of God, Seed of Abraham
    • Lower Than the Elohim
    • This Means War
    • Choosing Sides
  • Part 8: The Kingdom Not Yet
    • Final Verdict
    • Foe from the North
    • The Mount of Assembly
    • Describing the Indescribable
  • Epilogue
  • Title: The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible
  • Author: Michael S. Heiser
  • Publisher: Lexham Press
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Pages: 384
  • Format: Logos Digital, Hardcover, Paperback
  • Trim Size: 6x9
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9781577995562
  • Paperback ISBN: 9781683592716
Michael S. Heiser

Dr. Michael S. Heiser was a former Scholar-in-Residence for Faithlife Corporation, the makers of Logos Bible Software. He then served as the Executive Director of the Awakening School of Theology and Ministry. His varied academic background enabled him to operate in the realm of critical scholarship and the wider Christian community. His experience in teaching at the undergraduate level and writing for the layperson both directly contributed to Logos’ goal of adapting scholarly tools for nonspecialists.

Dr. Heiser earned his PhD in Hebrew Bible and Semitic languages and holds an MA in ancient history and Hebrew studies. He was the coeditor of Old Testament Greek Pseudepigrapha with Morphology and Semitic Inscriptions: Analyzed Texts and English Translations, and he was able to do translation work in roughly a dozen ancient languages, including Biblical Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and Ugaritic cuneiform. He specialized in Israelite religion (especially Israel’s divine council), contextualizing biblical theology with Israelite and ancient Near Eastern religion, Jewish binitarianism, biblical languages, ancient Semitic languages, textual criticism, comparative philology, and Second Temple period Jewish literature. In 2007 he was named the Pacific Northwest Regional Scholar by the Society of Biblical Literature.


122 ratings

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  1. Raf Alaskarov
  2. Bashar Hanna

    Bashar Hanna


  3. Michael



    Dr. Heiser will be missed!

  4. Troy Payne

    Troy Payne


  5. Joseph E

    Joseph E


  6. Ryan



  7. Will Smith

    Will Smith


    Great book, I listened to the audio version and enjoyed it. It has been may I say an eye-opener and at the same time confirm some of the very things I had thought but certain Bible verses. I Highly recommend this book or the audio version of this book. Well done by Michael S. Heiser!

  8. Linda Larson

    Linda Larson


    I wonder…does Dr.Heizer refer to the Sumerian account of the Anunnaki? Perhaps shedding light on Psalm:82 where the Elohim (G-ds) receive a form of judgment.

  9. SophiaNixon



    I was interested in this topic. Must read

  10. Christopher. Stewart
    Issues with Dr. Heizer Unseen realm The God of the Old Testament was part of an assembly – a pantheon – of other gods” (p. 11). Yahweh as the supreme God, the creator of all the other gods (p. 34) He believes that, at some point, God created a divine family but never says when (pp. 25, 37) Heiser sees believers being made divine and joining the divine council in the unseen realm (pp. 159, 310-311, 355) He uses Babylonian myths to draw unprovable connections from extra biblical sources (pp. 198-199). Heiser theorizes that the serpent who deceived Eve was living in Eden as a member in good standing of God’s divine council until he became displeased by God’s decision to create humanity and give them dominion over the earth. In an act of defiance, he decides to sabotage God’s plan and in the process was expelled from both the divine council and Eden (pp. 74, 82). the Satan” is a member in good standing of God’s divine council who is simply doing a job assigned to him by God (pp. 57, 91) Non literal day creation Hermeneutics is not literal grammatical or historical Was my loyalty to the text or to Christian tradition? Did I really have to choose between the two? I wasn’t sure, but I knew that what I was reading in Psalm 82, taken at face value, simply didn’t fit the theological patterns I had always been taught. (page 12) Uses small quantity of biblical language texts to prove points (Coptic, Syriac...ect)


Print list price: $19.99
Save $2.00 (10%)