UFOs, Conspiracies, and Biblical Theology: An Interview with Dr. Michael Heiser

The Portent

Today’s interview is with Dr. Michael Heiser, who is the academic editor for Logos Bible Software, Bible Study Magazine, and the Faithlife Study Bible. His latest book, The Portent, picks up where the cliffhanger ending of The Façade, left off.

1. For those who have not yet read the previous book, can you tell us a little about The Façade?

The plot of The Façade is driven by the fate of a team of scholars who were “recruited” for an above-top-secret project against their will by a mysterious cabal of military insiders referred to only as “the Group.” Comprised of experts in fields as diverse and unrelated as psychology, atmospheric science, bovine biochemistry, environmental biology, apocalyptic cults and militia groups, and the Hebrew Bible, the team is only told that they represent the last line of defense against a global climatic disaster.

In order to gain the team’s trust, the Group authorizes successive levels of disclosure and access to classified documents, technologies, and artifacts. But it soon becomes apparent that nothing is what it seems at their undisclosed location—and the reason they’ve been assembled is quite different than what they’ve been told. The Façade follows the team as they unpeel layer after layer of deception and counter-deception, heading toward a shocking revelation that will alter mankind’s perception of itself forever—if they can discern which lie to believe.

Fundamentally, The Façade asks two questions: (1) If humanity learned that intelligent extraterrestrial life existed and had been to earth, how would that impact traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs? (2) What if the beings everyone thought were extraterrestrial life were something worse?

2. For those who have read The Façade, what new things can they expect from The Portent?

The Portent picks up several months after the ending of The Façade. Brian and Melissa have managed to maintain anonymity in view of their circumstances at the end of The Façade. They’re trying to build new lives, while living in constant fear of exposure. But they’re in it together, and they’re absolutely committed to each other, though there’s a lot of personal uncertainty about what that means for the future. As readers of The Façade will know, they both have issues.

Eventually the unthinkable—but inevitable—happens. A series of seemingly disconnected and unanticipated events leaves them vulnerable to exposure, forcing them to make more life-altering decisions. One of the things I want readers to think about in The Portent is the role of providence in our lives. Brian and Melissa get caught up (again) in circumstances beyond their control that converge in both advantageous and deadly ways.

Like The Façade, the sequel takes readers into all sorts of subjects. For me, writing fiction is like writing a thesis. I do an enormous amount of research for all the elements in the story. Just like it was in The Façade, every ancient text, every quotation from historical figures, every academic study or journal article, and every government document in the story is real. The Portent takes readers into the intellectual roots of ancient astronaut theory (philosophical, religious, occult), technological achievements during the second world war and the Cold War era that are not part of mainstream knowledge, and true elements of Cold War conspiracy. But the sequel—along with its plot and sub-plots—involves much more. The Portent draws from serious scholarship in biblical studies, archaeology, Vedic studies (Indo-Aryan origins), astronomy, Nazi occultism, Gnosticism, Minoan studies, human migration, genetics, synthetic biology, and nanotechnology.

3. The word portent refers to something ominous coming in the future—an omen—why that title?

I picked the title because the plotline of The Portent gets into the future plans of the adversary introduced in The Façade. The Portent gave me an opportunity to put myself in the place of intelligent evil and ask how I might use common expectations and beliefs to accomplish my ends. How might I simultaneously confirm and undermine what people believe and think—and to what end? The agenda has something to do with the extraterrestrial and theological breadcrumb trails that were part of the storyline in The Façade.

4. What prompted you to write these books?

I’m interested in all the subjects touched on in The Façade and The Portent. They all connect to biblical theology and biblical history. Too many Christians isolate the Bible from other disciplines and subjects. I want Christians to see how theology and these other ideas are more inter-related than they suppose. I also want my readers to know that there’s a lot of mystery in the world. The truth really is often stranger than fiction, but sometimes it takes fiction to get people to realize that.

5. To what extent are the things described in these books based on reality?

As was the case with The Façade, all of the data points are real—historical figures, ancient texts, research that characters refer to, government programs and documents, etc. Readers often doubt this, so I’ve provided a pretty extensive bibliography. In the case of The Portent, all that data is available in a separate handbook, which is available through my website. I use the novel to connect the data points together in a story driven by fictional characters.

6. What would you like people to walk away with after reading The Portent?

I’d like them to see that Christian fiction can be intelligent and unpredictable. I want to challenge readers to think carefully about cutting-edge ideas and technology that will alter our perception of who we are, human destiny, and the role of faith in the future. I also want readers see that the spiritual world they think they know would be thought of quite differently if we viewed Scripture through ancient eyes. I use the discoveries, conspiracies, and technologies of the “black” world of the military industrial complex to help readers understand that the spiritual world is closer to us than we realize, emphasizing the importance of careful theological thinking.

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Pick up Dr. Heiser’s new book The Portent today! And if you haven’t read it yet, be sure to get The Façade to read first.

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Making Your Faith Your Own: A Bundle for Students

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For the rest of the week, we’ll be featuring titles that are perfect for students heading back to school— teens and elementary kids. Today’s bundle is perfect for teens who want to ignite their faith during the new school year.

The Student Faith Bundle contains three titles that will help students and teenagers gain a greater perspective on faith through the stories of revolutionaries and two helpful 365 day devotionals.

What’s inside the Student Faith Bundle?

Martyrs by DC Talk

With life-changing impact, Jesus Freaks: Martyrs has captured the attention of Christians of all ages with their stories of Christian martyrs who took a stand for Christ against the culture of their day. Through these influential books, DC Talk challenges readers to pray for the persecuted church around the world and openly stand for Jesus.

Total Devotion by Kevin Johnson

Bestselling author Kevin Johnson has selected some of his best devotions, written some new ones, and packed them into one handy, 365-day guide for today’s young teens. Tackling difficult issues such as school blues, parental relationships, and future fears, these quick-witted and humorous devotions each include an attention-grabbing opener, an explanation with application of Scripture, and a take-away Bible verse. Parents and youth alike agree that these fun, fresh devotions will keep teens reading.

Ignite Faith by Campus Life’s Ignite Your Faith

Young Christians often want to spend more time with God but don’t know where to start. This devotional from the team at Ignite Your Faith magazine aims to help with a collection of 365 reflections and activities that turns daily devotions into an adventure. Using a variety of approaches to spiritual growth, Ignite Your Faith handles topics, such as faith, friendship, family relationships, school, and church, with a relevance and skill that will make this a go-to devotional for teens hungry to meet God in new ways each day.

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Download the Student Faith bundle for just $10.99—that’s over $25 in savings! Be sure to get this bundle before it expires tomorrow morning at 7:59 a.m. (EDT).

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Four Titles on Connecting: How to Speak Teen

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Being a parent of teenagers can often times be a season of great joy and difficulty. Your teen is on an emotional roller coaster as their bodies change, responsibilities grow, and relationships become more complicated. There is a new opportunity for them to make deepen their faith while learning bigger life lessons. Whether you have a pre-teen transitioning into their teenage years or a high schooler becoming more independent, we’ve created a unique bundle of four top-notch ebooks that we think you’ll find useful in connecting.

Get the Connecting with Your Teen Bundle today for $14.99—that’s a 70% savings!

Connecting with Your Teen

Get Your Teenager Talking by Jonathan McKee

Veteran youth expert Jonathan McKee presents 180 creative discussion starters to help teens open up about issues that matter. And unique to this book, he provides tips for interpreting their responses and follow-up questions. From light-hearted to more serious, these conversation springboards will get even the most reluctant teen to talk about friends, school, values, struggles, and much more. Perfect for anyone who wants to make a teen feel noticed and heard.

Teenology by Jim Burns

Raising a teen is not an easy job. The challenges parents face can be overwhelming—“What happened to my sweet-tempered kid?” “How do I help her make better choices” “I’m afraid my teen is going to walk away from his faith.” “How do I teach my teen to stay pure?” “Is this teen behavior normal?” In Teenology, author Jim Burns covers all these issues and more. His no-holds-barred approach tackles even the most sensitive topics, providing parents with the answers and advice they need to raise their teens to become responsible adults. An invaluable section on common problems and solutions addresses everything from curfew to bullying to pornography and beyond. Don’t overlook this must-have resource!

 

Raising Responsible Teens in the Digital World by Brian Housman

Brian Housman helps parents become a greater influence in their teen’s world, revealing which values motivate teens and offering practical ideas on how families can engage the world through service and love.

 

The Jesus Survey by Mike Nappa

Who do Christian teens say Jesus is and what does he mean in their lives? The answers might surprise you. In The Jesus Survey, Mike Nappa shares the groundbreaking results of a nationwide survey of Christian teenagers from sixteen different denominations. He shares his discoveries of how core beliefs about Jesus–and the Holy Spirit, prayer, evangelism, and more–influence the way a teen actually experiences God personally and offers ideas for helping teens overcome faulty perceptions. Pastors, youth pastors, parents, and educators will find in The Jesus Survey both an enlightening and invaluable tool for understanding the faith of teens around them and a guide for helping teens nurture an authentic, satisfying, and vibrant relationship with Christ.

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Download the Connecting with Your Teen Bundle today for $14.99—that’s over $30 in savings! This bundle won’t last long, so be sure to pick it up before 7:59am EDT tomorrow morning!

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Three Ebooks to Help You Transition

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There are often points—especially in times of transitions—that we feel like we are in over our heads. For many parents, balancing work, their kid’s sports schedule, and some version of a family life can become overwhelming. If you are in over your head right now, or just want to be adequately prepared for what might be ahead, our Making it Through Bundle has the perfect combination of ebooks for you.

Get the Making it Through Bundle today only for $15.99—that’s over $35 in savings!

 

Making it Through Bundle

Walking into Walls by Stephen Arterburn

All of us crash into self-constructed walls and bloody our noses from time to time. These walls block growth, healthy relationships and overall contentment and happiness. Most of us are blind to our own self-defeating behaviors and attitudes, so we repeatedly walk into the same walls again and again. Bestselling author Stephen Arterburn leads us through the process of deconstructing the issues that built those walls as well as find the permanent healing that frees us to live the joyful life we were meant to live.

The Best Advice I Ever Got on Parenting by Jim Daly

Nearly 20 of today’s Christian authors, speakers, and entertainers relay their joys and fears, their triumphs and failures—and the advice that got them through—in this inspiring collection from Focus on the Family and Worthy Publishing. Contributors include: Andy Stanley, Ken Blanchard, Gary Smalley, Les and Leslie Parrott, Joni Eareckson Tada, Stormie Omartian, Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn, Lee Strobel, and singer Phil Joel (Newsboys).

The Road We Must Travel by Francis Chan, Eugene Peterson, Bill Hybels, and others

There is a road everyone must travel. Who among us doesn’t need a mentor and guide to help us along the way? The Bible provides guidelines for navigating the roadblocks, detours, and potholes that keep us from reaching our desired destination. The authors deliver insights that assures spiritual helath and well-being, despite the obstacles we face on our journey.

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Get 70% Off Three Prayer Resources by Stormie Omartian

The Power of Praying Through the Bible

The next 24-hour bundle is here! Today we’ve bundled three powerful resources on prayer by Christian speaker and bestselling author Stormie Omartian. If you’re looking to focus and revitalize your prayer life, these resources are a great starting point, offering  guidance and encouragement to pray more often, more effectively, and about specific topics.

Today only, get the Prayers to Get You Through Bundle for just $10.99—that’s over 70% off.

Here’s what you’ll get:

Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On: Book of Prayers by Stormie Omartian
Bestselling author Stormie Omartian offers this collection of short, powerful prayers to help readers pray more effectively. Prayer topics include surviving disappointment, embracing the moment, walking in the midst of the overwhelming, and more.

The Power of Praying Through the Bible by Stormie Omartian
This collection of devotionals takes readers from Genesis to Revelation to reveal how God designed prayer for us to communicate with him, embrace the promises of Scripture, release burdens to God’s care, and more.

The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian
After 20 years of raising her son and daughter alongside her husband, Michael, Stormie looks back at the trials and joys of parenting and the power in praying for her children. In these easy-to-read chapters, Stormie shares from personal experience how parents can pray for for their kids’ safety, character development, relationship with God, and more.

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The Prayers to Get you Through Bundle will only be available until 7:59am EDT tomorrow morning. Be sure to check back on Monday for more Back to School Bundles!

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Save 70% on Three Marriage Resources

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Save 70% on Three Marriage Resources

If you’re anything like me, the end of summer and the beginning of fall signals a transition from a season of relaxing and playing to a season of hard work. People are returning from vacation, kids are heading back to school, there are new church commitments, football games, and many other things that crowd our schedule and attention. We can very easily become overwhelmed with the day to day and forget to cultivate the relationships that matter most to us. As you head into this next season, Vyrso has created a bundle to help you focus on one of the most important relationships God has given you—your marriage.

Today only, we’re offering the Focused Marriage bundle that contains three titles to help you grow a fruitful marriage in the midst of a busy fall. Get it today for $14.99—that’s 70% off!

The Focused Marriage Bundle

10 Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage by Peter & Heather Larson & David & Claudia Arp

While juggling the kids, work, church, and community commitments, are you and your spouse finding time to connect? When was the last time you had a good talk about faith or did a devotional together? To help you jump-start deeper connections, four marriage experts have come up with 10 creative date ideas, each centered on a spiritual theme, including appreciating your differences, experiencing God together, facing the storms of life, and connecting through prayer.

 

Moments of Peace in the Presence of God for Couples by Unknown

This devotional will encourage and inspire couples of all ages, whether newly married or lifelong partners. Each of the 170 readings covers themes such as unity, faithfulness, discovery, perspective, and more. This resource includes a devotional meditation, a pertinent Scripture, and a concluding prayer.

 

Draw Close: A Devotional for Couples by Willard Harley Jr. and Joyce Harley

Nothing brings a couple closer quite like sharing a regular devotional time. Willard F. Harley Jr., the bestselling author of His Needs, Her Needs, joined forces with his wife, Joyce, to bring readers devotions to help them increase their intimacy with God and each other. The 36 chapters are each divided into five brief sections and explore Harley’s proven marriage principles in connection with God’s Word. Each devotion begins with a story and includes a brief meditation, a relevant Scripture passage, and application questions to help make the principles a reality.

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Four Books to Help You Pray

Developing a Healthy Habit of Prayer Bundle

Prayer is undoubtedly an important part of creating a strong spiritual foundation and a growing faith for yourself and your family. But sometimes it can be difficult to know where to begin in prayer when life’s circumstances and obstacles are overwhelming. What do we pray for in the face of adversity or temptation? How do we pray for wisdom in making tough decisions? Vyrso has put together a 24-hour bundle of four resources that offer guidance and help for your prayer life.

Today only, get the Developing a Healthy Habit of Prayer Bundle for just $11.99—that’s over 70% off.

Developing a Healthy Habit of Prayer Bundle

A Little Book of Powerful Prayers by Stormie Omartian
This book provides a selection of heartfelt prayers from a selection of works from bestselling author Stormie Omartian, including The Power of Praying Through the Bible and The Power of a Praying Life. Included are prayers on health and healing, love and relationships, purpose, and direction. Stormie’s warm, compassionate, and insightful words will lead readers to God’s presence and a life given over to His guidance and covering.

Conversation with God by Lloyd Ogilvie
In Conversation with God, bestselling author Lloyd Ogilvie shows readers a fresh approach to prayer—one that is as much listening as speaking. Ogilvie clearly and simply explains the many dimensions of prayer and then provides a 30-day guide for readers to put into practice what they’re learning. This book is excellent for group Bible studies or as a personal guide.

Covering Your Life in Prayer by Erwin Lutzer
Every Christian longs for a better and more intimate prayer life. And one of the most effective ways to grow more powerful in prayer is to learn from the prayers of others. This book includes prayers for personal peace, faithfulness in difficult situations, wisdom while making tough decisions, and more. Readers will find this a wonderful resource for expanding their prayer horizons and enriching their relationship with God.

Emergency Prayers by Deborah Smith Pegues
Deborah Smith Pegues, a behavioral consultant and the author of 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue, offers readers a prayer book for life’s many circumstances and needs. Brief and heartfelt, these prayers lift up cries for resistance of temptations, guidance in important decisions, and more.

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Smart Parenting: How to Slow Down and be Smart as a Parent

Busy Mom

Get the Smart Parenting Bundle now, and save over $42!

The next 24 hour bundle is here! Vyrso is providing bundles of top notch books that help you stay sane as school starts again, develop a healthy spiritual foundation for yourself and your kids, and great titles for teenagers and elementary kids. Today only, get the Smart Parenting Bundle—filled with ebooks on parenting and ideas in how to slow down and live an unrushed life. Get the Smart Parenting Bundle today for just $16.94—that’s over $42 in savings!

Smart Parenting Bundle

Not So Fast by Ann Kroeker

Ann Kroeker offers a refreshing alternative to our over committed culture. With helpful stories from her own journey, Kroeker helps readers embrace a slower pace of life. Not So Fast lets you see how these changes can result in a more meaningful family and spiritual life. This book includes practical ideas and insight that will spark creativity and personal reflection. Ponder real-life stories from parents who chucked the high-speed lifestyle and reaped the rewards of richer relationships.

Spiritual Parenting by Dr. Michelle Anthony

Dr. Michelle Anthony is the pastor of Family ministries at Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa, California and Talbot School of Theology. She has written dozens of resources for Christian education and Family/Youth Ministries. In this revolutionary book, Dr. Anthony introduces how to create a home environment that God can use to work in children’s lives. This simple, biblical concept will allow parents to obey and depend on God in order to create an environment God can use to beckon their children to him.

Hopeful Parenting: Encouragement for Raising Kids Who Love God by David Jeremiah

From New York Times best-selling author David Jeremiah comes a new and heartwarming look at the adventure of parenting. Drawing upon his own experience as a father, Pastor David Jeremiah shares wit and wisdom for nurturing one of God’s most precious gifts. Every chapter features timeless truths from God’s Word, offering encouragement for the road ahead. Be refreshed, challenged, and inspirited to build a rich and deep legacy of faith for your family.

Addicted to Busy by Brady Boyd – Pre-order ships September 1, 2014

We are all spread too thin, taking on more than we can handle, trying to do too much—almost as if we are afraid of rest. God never meant for us to be so busy. God desires for us peace. God desires rest. Brady Boyd shows you how to live a life that embraces stillness and solitude and finds the peace that God wants for you.

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The Smart Parenting Bundle will only be available until 7:59am EDT—so be sure to take advantage of the 70% savings!

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70% Off Back to School Bundles

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Get today’s 24 hour bundle right now, and save over 75% off the regular price!

School is coming. Your kids might not be happy about it, but for you, this time of year means savings galore! Vyrso wants to help set you up for success this school year, so for the next two weeks we’re offering a new 24-hour ebook bundle to equip you and your kids for what’s next. These bundles will help you stay calm amidst the craziness of life, improve your prayer life, learn valuable parenting skills, and encourage your kids to read.

Today only, get three resources that equip parent of students for just $15.29—it’s the Parents That Teach While Juggling Bundle. Get it now.

Creative Teaching Methods by Marlene LeFever

Do you ever wonder why Jeffery talks all the time? Or why Toni can’t sit still? Or why Alex loves work sheets? Or why Jordan is always trying something new? Each chapter of this practical guide is fun to read, stimulating, and immensely practical. This book is valuable for parents, teachers, preachers interested in expanding their understanding of creative ways to teach children.

Learning Styles by Marlene LeFever

Learning Styles is full of practical, helpful, and eye-opening information about the different ways kids convert information into knowledge they can use. When we understand different learning styles—imaginative, analytic, common sense, and dynamic—and adjust our teaching or parenting to accommodate those styles, we start becoming the teachers God designed us all to be.

The Juggling Act by Pat Gelsinger

Our demanding schedules crowd out what matters most: family, friends, even our faith. Although it may feel like living under the Big Top, take heart! You don’t have to be a circus professional to keep all the plates spinning. The Juggling Act shares Pat’s time-tested wisdom for keeping your life in perspective. This ebook details the guidelines for balanced living with insights on:
• Prioritizing your work, family, and God
• Developing a personal mission statement
• Becoming an effective employee
• Creating a support system
• Sharing your faith in the workplace

Today only get all three resources in the Parents that Teach While Juggling Bundle for just $15.29—that’s over 75% off the normal price. But hurry this bundle only lasts until 7:59am EDT tomorrow morning! (more…)

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Last Chance: Vyrso’s Biggest Bundle Ends Today

Crossway Bundle

In less than 24 hours, the biggest bundle in Vyrso’s history will be gone forever.

Get it now.

The Crossway Bundle gives you one hundred popular Christian titles for $499.97—less than $5 per book.

At regular prices, $500 would get you 50 ebooks. With this bundle, you save hundreds of dollars off the regular price. It’s like getting 50—that’s right, 50—of these books for free. We’re packing your library full of titles that help you explore biblical concepts like grace, marriage, the church, the kingdom, and more—all for a fraction of the regular cost.

With one hundred titles in your pocket, on your desktop, and anywhere else you like to read, you’ll easily fill your 2015 reading list—or if you’re like me, your 2016 and 2017 reading lists as well!

Think about how many days it takes you to read a book, and multiply that by one hundred. That’s how long this bundle will last you. And with popular titles like these, you should probably factor in reading some of them twice or starting reading groups.

You get one hundred additional Christian titles that have one-touch Bible references, so you can go deeper into Scripture citations and get to the root of the discussion without even leaving the page. Imagine searching across one hundred titles to find quotes, passages, and topics—instantly.

Vyrso’s functionality lets you stuff each ebook with notes and highlighting you can share with your friends and family, and easily navigate to find again. Every single one of these Christian ebooks integrate with your Logos library, and they go wherever you go.

When you choose The Crossway Bundle, you get an entire library that you can access from your desktop, tablet, or even your smart phone.

This bundle is huge, and this is your last chance to make it yours. Get The Crossway Bundle now.

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