Next up on my reading list is Demons: What the Bible Really Says About the Powers of Darkness by Dr. Michael Heiser.
This spooky non-fiction book choice is a break from my typical reading and thus requires an explanation.
I got the idea for doing a book study on demons after coming across another book during a dive down an internet rabbit hole about the allegedly sinister origin of Unicode and emojis. (Yes, you read that correctly, yes, my rabbit hole dives are strange, yes, I will discuss it in the comments if you’re interested, and yes, I will admit that I was surprised by how much depth there was to the theory.) Anyway, the book referred to on that rabbit trail is titled The 72 Demon Sigils, Seals And Symbols Of The Lesser Key Of Solomon, A Pocket Reference Book by D. Brewer. That sounded like a lot ot digest, so I decided that before I get to the bottom of the emoji mystery, or before I start reading about sigils and seals and the like, I should probably do a more baseline study of the topic, first.
When you think about the topic of “demons,” it is usually presented in a Judeo-Christian context (at least in the West) but the specific textual sources for that topical knowledge are hazy and hard to pin down. When looking for answers in the Bible, you run into a lot of potential questions. Are demons real? Why aren’t exorcisms happening in the Old Testament (or are they?) Why had exorcisms become practiced by the time of Jesus? Are demons and “Fallen Angels” one and the same? Why do the authors of the New Testament write about them as though their specifics are common knowledge in the Second Temple Period Jewish world? How much should we rely on or trust extra-Biblical texts on this topic?
The book by Dr. Heiser addresses (hopefully) these questions.
The truth about demons is far stranger – and even more fascinating – than what’s commonly believed.
Are demons real? Are they red creatures with goatees holding pitchforks and sitting on people’s shoulders while whispering bad things? Did a third of the angels really rebel with Satan? Are demons and “principalities and powers” just terms for the same entities, or are they different members of the kingdom of darkness? Is the world a chaotic mess because of what happened in Eden, or is there more to the story of evil?
What people believed about evil spiritual forces in ancient biblical times is often very different than what people have been led to believe about them today. And this ancient worldview is missing from most attempts to treat the topic.
In Demons, Michael Heiser debunks popular presuppositions about the very real powers of darkness. Rather than traditions, stories, speculations, or myths, Demons is grounded in what ancient people of both the Old and New Testament eras believed about evil spiritual forces and in what the Bible actually says. You’ll come away with a sound, biblical understanding of demons, supernatural rebellion, evil spirits, and spiritual warfare.
©2020 Lexham Press (P)2020 Lexham Press
Who is Dr. Michael S. Heiser?
Michael S. Heiser (February 14, 1963 – February 20, 2023) was an American Old Testament scholar and Christian author with training in ancient history, Semitic languages, and the Hebrew Bible from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His expertise and work focused on the nature of the spiritual realm in the Bible and about spiritual matters more generally, and he wrote more than ten books on these subjects since 2010.