The Cloud Rider

Shared from Spoiledmilks, a snippet of Lindsay’s excellent review of Dr. Mike S Heiser’s amazing book The Unseen Realm.


One of the biggest enemies of God’s people was another god called Baal. Israel was a monotheistic community, but they usually didn’t live like it. Baal was the storm and fertility god. So if his followers needed crops, they would pray for rain and grain. In some ways it was easier to be polytheistic, at least for the placebo affect. You don’t just pray to one god because, really, how can one God do it all? So you pray to all gods to get all of your prayers fulfilled.

Yet Baal wasn’t just another face in the crowd. He was one of the higher deities in the polytheistic pantheon. And Israel like to worship him, especially since one form of worship involved sexual rituals. Who could say no to that?

In some of the texts of Ugarit, Israel’s northern neighbor, Baal is called “the one who rides the clouds.” It pretty much became his official title. LeBron James shoots hoops, Baal rides cloud.

Yet, it wasn’t just Baal who rode clouds. To turn all the attention back to Yahweh instead of Baal, the biblical authors “occasionally pilfered this stock description of Baal… and assigned it to Yahweh…” (251). 

There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty (Deut 33.26)

O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God; sing praises to the Lord, Selah
to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice (Ps 68.32-33)

Bless the Lord, O my soul!… He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire (Ps 104.1-4)

An oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them (Isa 19.1)

“The effect was to… hold up Yahweh as the deity who legitimately rode through the heavens surveying and governing the world” (252).

Every instance in the OT where someone is riding the clouds, that “someone” is Yahweh. Except, there is… one exception. There is a second figure. A human figure…


Source: The Cloud Rider

Brief response to Scot McKnight’s latest

Shared from Dr. Chris Tilling’s blog, a snippet of this excellent review!

I’m a big fan of Tom Wright even if I’m largely convinced by certain apocalyptic readings of Paul. So I am invested in these conversations at numerous levels. Here’s a few thoughts, then, in response to Scot McKnight’s most recent review post of Sam Adams’ The Reality of God and Historical Method. I’ve grow a little frustrated with Scot’s reading of Adams, you see, but I don’t have time to read and comment on them all. I’m sure Sam is honoured that Scot is spending so much time on his book, though. I would have been blown away if Scot had done the same for my published PhD!…


Source: Brief response to Scot McKnight’s latest

Book Review | Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage

Shared from Heather C King, a snippet, book review.

Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage by Greg Smalley and Erin Smalley

Greg and Erin Smalley share what they call 12 Secrets for a Lifelong Romance in their new book, Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage.   Each chapter offers up a tip/secret/marriage principle, such as honoring one another, communication strategies, serving each other, and being committed to each other and to the relationship.  The Smalleys specifically combat some of the lies we buy into about marriage like “marriage is easy when you find ‘the one’ or ‘marriage is about being happy.’  crazylittlethingcalledmarriage

The book is written with a great deal of humor and honest stories from their own marriage.  Most of it seems written from Greg Smalley’s perspective with Erin jumping in occasionally.  I thought some of the best content in the book covered the area of the husband struggling as the spiritual leader in a marriage.  For so many women, when we say we want our men to be spiritual leaders, we define that very specifically:  He needs to initiate prayer time with us every day.  He needs to lead us in family devotions and devotions for us as a couple.  He needs to have daily quiet times that include a prayer journal and then talk about those spiritual insights with us…


Source: Book Review | Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage

And He Struggled With the Angel

Shared from Spoiledmilks, a snippet of this excellent book review!


Since I didn’t want you to think The Unseen Realm was only about Nephilim, I wanted to write about the Trinity as seen in the Old Testament. Last time I looked at the blurring between the Angel of YHWH and YHWH himself in Genesis 22. In this post I’ll look at a few texts that deal with God appearing to Jacob. He Struggled With the AngelGenesis 32.24-30 says, 24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”…

Source: And He Struggled With the Angel

Book Review: A Reader’s Greek New Testament (3d ed)

Shared from Eis Doxan, a snippet of this excellent review.


Zondervan has recently released the third edition of its Reader’s Greek New Testament and I will say, having used it for a little while now, it is a noticeable improvement over the previous edition. On the one hand, there are no drastic changes. The same eclectic Greek text still underlies this edition, the same lexicon and the same maps are included in the back, and the same disappointing layout for the definitions below the Greek text, etc. The most obvious difference in this third edition is the aesthetic change, namely a different font was used. While this may seem a small matter, it makes a noticeable difference in the appearance of the text and the difference is much better. I’m not sure what font was used in the second edition, but it was too narrow and the paper used for bibles already thin, this font made it more difficult to read, thus in a sense undermining the volume’s ultimate purpose. The font choice in this edition is much better…

Source: Book Review: A Reader’s Greek New Testament (3d ed)

Rafael Rodriguez Reviews My Reading John (Skinner)

Shared from Crux Solar, a snippet of this review.


Many thanks to Rafael Rodriguezfor offering such a kind review of my recent book,Reading John over at the Jesus Blog. I appreciate him taking the time to give it a fair hearing. Also, it’s always gratifying when someone ‘gets’ what you’re trying to do….

Source: Rafael Rodriguez Reviews My Reading John (Skinner)

Book Review: Understanding the Times (Myers and Noebel)

Shared from Pursuing Veritas, a snippet of this excellent review.


Every so often a book comes along and truly rewrites the paradigms of a field. Some twenty-five years ago, David Noebel penned such a book, titled Understanding the Times. In this 900-page tome Noebel outlined the clash between competing worldviews – ways of viewing and interpreting the world – which were occurring throughout in the late 20thcentury. The original edition of UTT was one of the most popular and influential books ever on culture and worldviews from a Christian perspective, transforming how many people understand the battle of ideas taking place in our times. But the contours of major worldviews have changed since 1991 and the world has changed along with them. To address this new worldviews context, Jeff Myers, in conjunction with David Noebel, undertook a substantial revision of Noebel’s classic work, now calledUnderstanding the Times: A Survey of Competing Worldviews (Manitou Springs, CO: Summit Ministries and Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2015. 510pp.).


Source: Book Review: Understanding the Times (Myers and Noebel)

Review: Philippians (Mentor)

Shared from Spoiledmilks, a snippet, excellent review.


In signing up for my first Bible college semester in York, one of the classes to be taught by my (now) good friend Lindsay Kennedy was Job. Since Job is a big book, I knew that by taking it as a semester class I would get at least a bird’s-eye view of the book. However, about a week before leaving for York, the class changed to Philippians/Colossians, and I was pretty disappointed ( – just think of how many sermons you’ve heard on Philippians/Colossians, and then how many you’ve heard on each chapter of Job). But that disappointment left as soon as I entered the classroom. There were enough nuggets in those two books to make Gold Rushers envious.

Even still, Philippians has never been a book that’s been on my radar. There are parts of it that still stumped me, but it still never really caught my interest. And most Philippians commentaries haven’t had the right pull for me to look into Philippians. That is, until Matthew Harmon’s commentary in the Mentor series came out.


In his Introduction, Harmon covers topics like authorship, information on the city of Philippi and its citizens, Paul’s circumstances, and where he wrote the letter from. He looks at the unity of the letter, the purpose, and the false teachers. He summarizes key themes of the book such as the Gospel, Jesus Christ, the Day of Christ, Joy, Already/Not-Yet, the Use of the OT, Adam-Christ, the Isaianic Servant, and more. It’s a huge benefit having this summary in the beginning, especially when it’s as well written as it is here


Source: Review: Philippians (Mentor)

Book Review: ‘Crucified and Resurrected’, by Ingolf U. Dalferth

Shared from Theologians Inc., a snippet, excellent review.


In ‘Crucified and Resurrected: Resurrecting the Grammar of Christology’, Ingolf Dalferth seeks to show that christology is, first and foremost, about God, and not, as has been traditionally assumed, the Incarnation. This is a densely argued volume that requires (but repays) close reading, and even after a fairly close reading I can’t claim to fully grasp every single point Dalferth makes.The foreword of the book makes it clear that Dalferth sees Christian dogmatics not aiming at knowledge of God but rather as studying the divine action that orients and changes human life. This should be borne closely in mind as the book is read, because to confuse this volume as a work of speculative theology would be to misread it entirely. In a nutshell, this work is concerned with the practical, not the theoretical…

Source: Book Review: ‘Crucified and Resurrected’, by Ingolf U. Dalferth