There are over a dozen references in the Old and New Testaments to “books” in heaven. The idea of such books extends back to Sumer and Mesopotamian (“tablets of destinies”). In this episode, we trace the lineage of the idea through ancient Near Eastern examples, the Old Testament, 2nd temple Jewish texts, and the New Testament. Are these records “real time” record keeping? Proof of predestination?

Transcript 89 Book of Life

This episode focuses on Paul’s language, in 1 Cor 15 and elsewhere, about the “spiritual body” of the resurrected Jesus—a body that believers will also share.  In Paul’s day, Gentiles (Greco-Roman culture) and Jews (OT) both believed that gods had bodies — not made of flesh and blood, but of something that was superior to flesh and blood. In other words, gods weren’t simply formless, substance-less “energy” or spirit. Paul taught that Christians would one day share Christ’s body—that they would have the same sort of body.

Transcript 88 Spiritual Body

There is no direct talk in the Old Testament about the messiah, the son of David, would cast out demons. Yet that title (“son of David”) is found only in the synoptic gospels in association with Jesus’ healing and demonic exorcisms. While healing is a clear part of the messianic profile in the Old Testament, exorcising demons is not. What predisposed first century Jews to the idea that the Davidic messiah would cast out demons? How was that part of the messianic profile?

Transcript 87 Exorcism

This episode begins a series of topical episodes following the end of our series on Leviticus. The topic for this episode is the controversial head covering reference in 1 Cor. 11:13-15. The discussion summarizes the material discussed in a scholarly journal article published in 2004 by Dr. Troy Martin entitled, “Paul’s Argument from Nature for the Veil in 1 Cor. 11:13-15: A Testicle instead of a Head Covering” (Journal of Biblical Literature 123:1 [2004]: 75-84). Martin summarizes his approach as follows: “This article interprets Paul’s argument from nature in 1 Cor. 11:13-15 against the background of ancient physiology. The Greek and Roman medical texts provide useful information for interpreting not only Paul’s letters but also other NT texts.” The article (and the author’s subsequent responses to criticism, also published in academic literature) presents a compelling case and is, to Dr. Heiser’s knowledge, the only approach that provides a coherent explanation as to why the head covering warnings are important, in the words of Paul “because of the angels” (1 Cor. 11:10). This warning ultimately takes readers back to the incident with the Watchers (sons of God) in Gen. 6:1-4. One of Martin’s concluding application thoughts is also important: “Since the physiological conceptions of the body have changed, however, no physiological reason remains for continuing the practice of covering women’s heads in public worship, and many Christian communities reasonably abandon this practice.” In other words, Paul’s rationale for what he says here is no longer coherent today — but his teaching points are (modesty, sexual fidelity). As such, wearing veils (in church or elsewhere) is a conscience issue, not a point of doctrine.

The nature of this material is overtly sexual, so this episode is for adult listeners.

Papers referenced:
Paul’s argument from nature for the veil in 1 Corinthians 11.13-15: A Testicle instead of a Head Covering
Why Should Women Cover their Heads bc of the Angels

Transcript 86 Head Covering 1 Corinthians 11