I am sad to announce that our dear friend Dr. Michael Heiser passed away yesterday afternoon.
When I first heard the news over a year ago about his pancreatic cancer prognosis I cannot tell you how much my heart was broken for him, his family, and for the world. He was such a huge blessing to me, my kids, and the SkyWatch family as wells as countless others worldwide over the years.
His time was short, but I assured him while he was still alive that his tremendous legacy work will live on in the hearts, minds, and theology of believers internationally as well as in his family into the distant future until we meet again in heaven. His efforts and abilities to parse out meaty theology and to make it comprehensible to what he called “Christian middle earthers” (laypeople that exist between academia and religious loonies) made him unequal in modern times.
And I am speaking personally.
From the days we first met around the time we were all going to Roswell NM with friends like David Flynn and Guy Malone 25-years ago, Mike quickly became one of my favorite thinkers and Bible scholars.
Of course, he was aware of that, because of the many times I came to him over the years with questions about Bible claims being made by others that sometimes I wished were true but relied on him to verify or debunk. He was always willing to help me in such important moments and I grew to trust him as one of my highest academic resources.
Who would have known years later that I would be privileged to produce what I esteem two of the most important works my Defender Publishing House has ever published—Mike’s masterpieces Reversing Hermon as well as his two-volume Companion to the Book of Enoch.
Of course, Mike’s Divine Council studies—which I have cited in numerous works—set him apart from all others both in terms of theology as well as history. This truly groundbreaking research and analysis is his Magnum Opus in my opinion and will be quoted (or plagiarized as Oscar Wilde wrote, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness”) until Jesus returns to earth.
Yet in the end, it is not what he accomplished academically but who he was personally to the rest of us that will mostly live on in our memories—a dedicated servant of God who gave his life to the mission of the Gospel and made lasting friendships along the way. Mike stayed in my home on numerous occasions, and we visited and laughed as equals even though that was never true intellectually. He was the sage, and I (like so many others) the student hungry to absorb as much as we could from this very insightful theologian.
When I first heard from him last year that he had cancer and that he might not make it, it hit me hard. Of course, we’re all dying. Maybe not today or this year—but in terms of eternity—someday soon all of us will breathe our final earthly breath should the Lord tarry. But I admired Mike for living the mission while he could and for giving so much to the rest of us by way of example. Dr. Heiser was a true standard in that way.
So, if you’re listening Mike, thank you for all the days you made better and brighter just by being you. You were such an exemplary part of my life and that of my kids, and for that, we’ll always be grateful.
I will never forget you and I anticipate the day when we meet again in a place far superior to this.
Your friend and student,
PS—Dr. Michael Heiser was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (M.A., Ancient History) and the University of Wisconsin- Madison (M.A., Ph.D., Hebrew Bible and Semitic Studies). He taught at the college level for many years in class and later via distance education. He served as Scholar-in-Residence at Logos Bible Software, a company that produces ancient text databases and other digital resources for study of the ancient world and biblical studies (among other things Dr. Heiser could translate numerous extinct languages). During his lifetime he received a list of academic honors including from the Society of Biblical Literature (Regional Scholar Award), the James L. Weinstein Fellowship in Hebrew Studies, the Ancient History Department at the University of Pennsylvania, and more. From 2019 until he passed away in 2023, he was Executive Director, Awakening School of Theology and Ministry, Jacksonville, FL.