Well the “can of worms” has surely been opened at The Blue Point Bible Church. Lately as we gather for Sunday School we have been talking through the details of Jeff McCormack’s article in Fulfilled! Magazine about the “divine heavenly council”.
I have made no effort to hide my frustration with the article, as I didn’t hide my frustration when I first heard an introductory teaching on the topic done by Pastor Dave Curtis at the Berean Bible Church conference in 2015. Simply put, as I mentioned in Part 1 and 2, this view seems to be out of sync with the Biblical narrative. If we actually understand the Biblical narrative and the context through which it comes.
I am hardly a Hebrew-perspective scholar, or a scholar in any regard, however I do believe my honest studying with a critical eye and a desire to know has led me to some clarity in these matters. Also, this is not an open and shut case for me, as this topic is surely close to the “secret things of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 29:29), therefore I am always furthering my studies, reading new resources, and the like. Actually have the following books sitting on my “Next Read Table”:
The Unseen Realm by Michael Heiser
Confronting the Powers by C. Peter Wagner
Antichrist by Bernard McGinn
Creation & The Persistence of Evil by Jon D. Levenson
The Origins of Evil Spirits by Archie T. Wright
I am constantly reading online materials as well, and who knows what will be sent to me, or I might purchase in the next couple months. Most of this study is being done to be sure of my thoughts as I write my upcoming release, Wicked: The Search for Spirituality & Life, which is hopefully going to be released in or around January 2017.
So I have sort of taken up lamenting the ever popular “understanding” (probably better said “misunderstanding”) of the “spiritual realm”. It seems that most “understandings” miss the powerful language, poetic imagery, as well as the metaphors and details that are brought forth by the Prophets. This is quite detrimental because a faulty of false spirituality will lead you to desperation rather than life- and many are living that reality while falsely cloaked in “being spiritual”.
For most, even most “Christians” the “spiritual realm” is an otherworldly/ imagined world wherein we fill in the blanks with out vain thoughts of what “spiritual” might mean and look like. This is hardly the Hebraic perspective of spirituality that seemingly opens the Bible with the Spirit of God hovering over the waters (cf. Genesis 1:2). It is vital that we understand the spiritual worldview that was being offered through Genesis in contrast to the worldview that seemed to captivate the Ancient Near East, as well as the later Hellenistic mind of the Greeks.
Hebrew Spirituality, which I posit begins at Genesis, seems to offer somewhat of an abstract, more conceptual than otherworldly, view of spirituality. The “spirit world” is not necessarily ‘out there’ or ‘up there’, but rather among us, even evident through us as we live our natural lives. Whereas the ancient pagans had a perspective of the natural being evil and a desire to one day become “otherworldly”or spiritual, the Hebrew perspective saw the natural as worthwhile, wholesome, and beautiful when looked at through the lens of the One True God. True Spirituality is found by living with clarity and obedience to God. We don’t need to go anywhere, we manifest ‘spirituality” whether we know it or not, good fruit or bad fruit.
Just recently we had a guest speaker at Blue Point Bible, and when she mentioned spirituality she said, “We are physical beings trying to be spiritual beings”. I concur. However, how would we explain the reality of becoming “spiritual beings”. Sadly, many would say when we die. This is false spirituality. Instead, we become spiritual when we die to the natural and put on Christ – thus walking in clarity and obedience to the will of God.
Understanding the details of the “spiritual realm” from this perspective, what I would like to call the Biblical perspective, at least for me provides clarity into details such as angels, the “cosmic battle”, Satan, and other “spiritual” things we commonly talk about.
Spirituality is that which contrasts carnality. I can walk in the confusion (darkness) of carnality, or even a pseudo-spirituality, however true life, clarity, and peace is found in true Spirituality. This is essentially the picture you should get from reading Genesis chapters 1-2. It’s not so much “otherworldly” as it is “other-mindedness” (not inclined toward carnality). The “cosmic battle” is between clarity (light) and confusion (darkness) which is between the truth of God and idolatry. Sadly, as John Calvin said, “The human mind is a manufacturer of idols”. So there is the battle.
So I detail all of that to simply point out that the “divine princely leaders” that captivates Mr. Jeff McCormack, Pastor David Curtis, and many others is simply a over-dramatized, otherworldly perspective of spirituality that seems more in line with the confused pagans than the narrative we read in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
As I continue to read and analyze the introductory details that Mr. McCormack seeks to bring forth, it seems evident that he is misreading apocalyptic details found in the Books of Daniel and the Psalms. Biblical commentators have long been divided on who the “archangel Michael” is and was, namely because the Book of Daniel is painting an apocalyptic picture (a couple actually). However, with a bit of historical information and a discerning eye one can see how the details of Daniel came to fulfillment, and we hardly need a rather wildly fantastic interpretation to confuse us. Instead, take some time to understand how the Hebrew prophets used “prophetic imagination” and “Hebrew metaphor” to detail natural happenings in rather powerful pictorial ways.
The same goes for the Book of Psalms, which is a “wisdom book” full of songs, imagery, and details that chronicle the ups and downs of David’s kingdom which you read about in the historical books such as 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, as well as 1 and 2 Chronicles. Who would dare take a book of songs and poems and try and make dogmatic doctrine out of the details? Take some time to read through Psalm chapter 82 and Isaiah 24 and find the historical details. You will notice the “spiritual” being made known (the truth and will of God) in the midst of the natural story, no need for added excitement.
I’ll conclude this Part 3 at this point.
Prayerfully in this blog I was able to exhort you to find the “spiritual” in the midst of the natural, that is the Hebraic understanding, in contrast to the pagan otherworldly concept. There is no need for us to add fantastic notions and interpretations to the Scripture, rather when we do so we end up in confusion and depression, the exact opposite of what God brings forth in true spirituality.
In Service to Him,
Pastor Michael Miano
P.S. – In the next and final part, we will explore the “cosmic battle” of the New Testament and what exactly was being “revealed”.