Today is my husband’s birthday. He would have been 52. It’s hard to believe another birthday has gone by without him. I miss him dearly. But we won’t let the day go by without a little celebration. I’ll be having a birthday donut from Halo Donuts, and a Pepsi, in his honour!
I have great faith that Kevin is living gloriously in the presence of our Creator, and that his life there is so much better than what it would have been here. Still, there are days when I struggle, and the grief of being on my own feels like the weight of a great boulder on my heart. It is only the grace of Yeshua that keeps my head lifted up and my eyes looking forward.
Tragedy breeds compassion and I have great empathy for anyone who suddenly finds themself with the new moniker of “widow”. This week my heart is heavy for Drenna Heiser who now bears this title. Drenna’s husband, Dr. Michael S. Heiser, passed away on Monday, February 20th. I trust that the faith community that surrounds Drenna remembers YHWH’s commission to care for the orphans, the foreigners, and the widows (Deuteronomy 10:18-21). The support of my church during my early days of sorrow were, literally, a God-send!
Dr. Michael S. Heiser was my professor. I only took one of his courses, but it was a game-changer! Mike was 10 years older than me, he was married 10 years before I was, and he lived 10 years longer than my Kevin, dying at age 60 and 4 days. It’s a weird kind of connection, but that’s what happens when you lose someone you love… you start to view time in mini-eras and patterns: our Ontario years, our PEI years, my life pre-Kevin, my life post-Kevin…
Of all the teachers I’ve studied under, Dr. Heiser has had the most impact, bar none. I have learned so much from this man and thankfully he has left a wealth of knowledge behind in the form of books, youtube videos, recorded online classes, and well over 450 episodes of the Naked Bible podcast. We can all be listening and learning from him for years and years to come.
The Michael Heiser mantra, “If it’s weird, it’s important!”, has permanently infiltrated my brain. His promise, “I’m not going to protect people from their Bible!” wasn’t a threat, it was an impassioned nudge to dive into the “problem” portions of the Bible that we all tend to run from.
Michael announced that “Yahweh is species unique,” and he also wittingly proclaimed, “You are unique, just like everyone else.” He championed humanity as God’s image bearers and told us all, “Believe it or not, YOU ARE sacred space.”
Michael saw the big picture, but didn’t shy away from the deep, multi-layered, complexities that make studying the Bible so much fun. (Hebrew Bible nerds, you know what I’m talking about!).
Most importantly, Michael wanted us to recognize that the Bible was a product of its own history and studying scripture makes so much more sense when you understand the world view of the Ancient Near East followers of YHWH (Tanakh) and the average Jew living the 1st century Israel (B’rit Chadashah).
Reading the Bible in the light of its own history and original language brings some startlingly unique (to us) revelations. Michael told us that, “Biblical theology, by definition, comes from the Biblical text (or ought to), not from Christian history or the writings of Christians about the Bible. We must be committed to the Biblical text, read and interpreted in its own ancient context—not a later context—for our theology.”
It’s important that we strip away our creedal biases and look at God’s word from the time it was written. Michael put it this way:
“Seeing the Bible through the eyes of an ancient reader requires shedding the filters of our traditions and presumptions. They processed life in supernatural terms. Today’s Christian processes it by a mixture of creedal statements and modern rationalism. My take—when we get to heaven and meet God He is not gonna ask us if we have been a good Methodist, Baptist, AOG… rather “What have you done with my Son? Who is He to you?”
Dr. Michael Heiser is now in the presence of God, perhaps answering this very question, and undoubtedly YHWH will open His arms wide and welcome him home.
Of course, I cannot end this blog posting here… Michael would want the ministry to continue, at all costs. So I will continue sharing Hebrew words with you all.
In the past, we’ve looked at the words truth truth (emet), living (khayim), and everlasting (olam). So, today we’re going to use them in a sentence because words, on their own, have little impact, but put them together and you can hear poetry.
Jeremiah was a fabulous and impactful prophetic poet. In the tenth chapter of his writings we get a sarcastic poem about the ridiculousness of idolatry. People were creating their own gods out of wood and metal. They were worshipping things made by their own hands and they couldn’t even seem to recognize how absurd that was. The little idol-thing needed a human to fashion it and then the human who created it bowed down to it. It made no sense.
There was no life or truth attached to human-made idols, and it had no lasting power. But, Jeremiah declared, YHWH was the antithesis of all of that. He was everything the idols were not. He was living; He was true; and He was everlasting. So, here’s the sentence I encourage you to learn this week:
ויהוה אלהים אמת הוא־אלהים חיים ומלך עולם
[Transliteration:] w-YHWH Elohim emet, hu Elohim khayim, u-melek olam.
[Pronunciation Guide:] w-Yahweh Eloheem e’met, hoo Eloheem kha’yeem, oo-melek oh’lawm.
[Literal English translation:] And YHWH is God true, He is God living, and King everlasting.
[21st century English translation:] But YHWH is the true God, He is the living God, and King everlasting!
This is a great sentence to learn in Hebrew because it really is a statement of faith.
YHWH Elohim emet, hu Elohim khayim, u-melek olam.
I recommend you to make this your statement-of-faith prayer this week! It’s a wonderful thing to learn a little Hebrew and incorporate it into your time of communication with God. It might give you a sense of connection that you haven’t felt before… It could be a game-changer for you!
In Dr. Heiser’s final letter to his worldwide collection of pupils he said this:
“I desired nothing more than to empower all of you to study Scripture more deeply, to unlock the Bible for you in ways inaccessible to all but scholars. This brought me a special joy.”
I only hope to do just a little bit of the same… to unlock the Bible for you, word by word.
Biblical Hebrew words are like strands of multi-coloured ribbons woven together, creating a story that shine out like a beacon of light! It is my special joy, honestly and truly, to share what I’ve learned with all of you.
Shalom aleichem, everyone! …and Happy Birthday, my Kevin.
Next week: TURNED OVER, OVERTURNED, DESTROYED, TRANSFORMED
14 thoughts on “My husband, Jeremiah 10:10, and Dr. Michael S. Heiser”
So touched to hear this backstory. Yes great people pass across our paths and we are never the same. I am almost 68, retired missionary, most all of those men and women in my past are now with the LORD. I think of them often. Being a Jewish boy from New York City, knew Hebrew from a young lad, but don’t know YHWH till hearing Billy Graham on TV from Madison Square Garden.
In those days, no born again Christians that I knew taught the Hebrew roots of the Bible.
I still have my beloved wife Ruth Chei, a Chinese gal, who graduated from Juilliard School, sings in nine languages, would go on to sing in Billy Graham crusades, in 40 countries. Mrs Ruth Bell Graham, also born in China, of missionary parents, made all that happen and more. She loved the Chinese people !!!
Well I better stop.
Hi Richard! Thanks for your message. You’re right, great people cross our paths and we’re never the same, for the better. YHWH has a way of bringing us together!
Oh, I think my message got lost! I worte more than just „Hi“. Here is another try: I
Oh dear… not sure what’s happening here. You can also email me at email@example.com Sarah
I believe that this work on Hebrew words and Dr Heiser’s work provides the answers when we obey Jesus to ask, seek, and knock. As we ask and seek for answers The Lord provides people with answers. For me it has been a life long search fulfilled.
Thank you for your encouraging words! I love sharing the Word of YHWH with others… I really do believe that it is what I was made to do and I’m blessed to do it!
Oh, how I felt that. God bless you, Sarah. Michael Heiser means a lot to me as well. I can only think of one book recommendation that the Holy Spirit ever gave me. And it was for “ The Unseen Realm” the first time I ever encountered it. Changed a lot for me. The Lord bless you, keep you, watch over you, give you peace, and show you his face. Michael
Thank you, Michael. I agree, the “Unseen Realm” opened up doors that highlighted God’s Truth in beautiful and startling new ways. It’s such an important message and the timing was right for it!
Well said, Sarah. Great post.
Thank you, Robert! 🙂
I have stumbled across you Hebrew word lessons recently and I am eternally grateful to YHWH for pointing me in your direction. Your thorough, humble and passionate studies are strengthening me personally and encouraging me again to pursue the study of the Hebrew Bible. Thank you thank you. Blessings from Australia! Bec 🙂
Hi Bec, from Australia! Thank you for your very encouraging words. Blessings from Prince Edward Island, Canada