Fellowship with God

Trances and Ecstasy

Definition
Examples of Ecstasy
Trances
Ecstasy of Prophesying
Ecstasy of Stephen
Ecstasy of Insanity
Other Forms of Ecstasy

Definition

A trance is a dissociative mental state, such as hypnosis, in which a person loses control of certain mental faculties, such as volition.  In this state the person can give himself over to higher powers, see visions, hear voices, have ecstasy, be possessed, or fall into various catatonic states.  Trances are entered by falling under the spell of a higher spiritual power, such as God or Satan.  Trances may also be entered by repeated visualization of an object, chanting, or dancing to induce mental dissociation.

The word, trance, is from the Greek e]kstasi" (ekstasis), from (e*k, out) + (stavsi", standing, existence), meaning trance or ecstasy.  The English word, trance, is from Old French transe, meaning passage from life to death; and from Latin transpire, meaning cross over.  A person in a trance crosses over from the physical to the spiritual realm.

Hypnotic comes from the Greek u{pon" (hupnos), for sleep.  Hypnotize (coined around 1843) means to put into an induced trance.

Ecstasy, from the Greek e[kstasi" (ekstasis), verb, e*xivsthmi (existemi) or  e*xistavnw (existano), means literally to drive out of one's senses or mind; lose one's senses or mind; refers to losing spiritual or mental balance; be out of one's mind (2 Cor 5:13); amaze, astonish, "of the feeling of astonishment mingled with fear, caused by events which are miraculous, extraordinary, or difficult to understand"1 (Gen 43:33; Ruth 3:8; Mk 2:12; 5:42; 6:51; Lk 2:47; 8:56; 24:22; Acts 2:12; 8:9, 11).

Thus, ecstasy in the Greek is different from today's use of the word for being carried away by emotion or an elevated state of bliss, or rapture.

Rapt (adjective) (from 14th Century) means "carried away in an ecstatic trance."2  This came from the Latin raptus, which was used for being carried up into Heaven in a dream or bodily.  From this came the word, Rapture.

Examples of Ecstasy

Some of the examples of the uses of the Greek word, ecstasy, in scripture include panic-stricken soldiers, driven out of their senses by the Lord.  Even the Lord Jesus Christ was accused of being driven out of his senses when He began casting out demons.

Panic of the Evil Kings

The Evil Kings who attacked Gibeon were driven into a panic by the Lord.

Joshua 10:10
And the LORD drove them into a panic before Israel, and He slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and pursued them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah.
The Lord drove the Evil Kings into a panic.  This is the Hebrew <m^h* (hamam), meaning to drive into a panic, and the Greek e*xivsthmi (existemi) in the Septuagint, meaning to drive out of one's senses or mind.  As the armies of the Evil Kings fled before Israel, the Lord rained down large hail stones on them.  More died from the hailstones than from the sword (Josh 10:11).

Panic Stricken Philistines

The Philistines at Michmash were driven out of their minds by a  supernatural terror.

1 Samuel 14:15
And there was panic in the Philistine camp, in the field, and among all the people.  Even the garrison and the raiders trembled, and the Earth quaked; and it became a very great panic.
"Panic" is the Hebrew  hd*r*j^ (charadah).  In the Septuagint, this is the Greek e[kstasi" (ekstasis), meaning to drive out of one's senses or mind.  There was panic in the Philistine camp because the Lord drove them out of their senses in fear.  Their raiders "trembled," which is the Hebrew dr^j* (charad), meaning to tremble, be terrified.  In the Septuagint, this is the Greek e*xivsthmi (existemi), meaning to drive out of one's senses or mind.  In addition, the Lord brought an earthquake, which drove them into a "very great panic."

Jesus

Jesus was accused of having lost His senses.

Mark 3:21
After the ones near Him (His relatives) heard of this (His casting out of demons), they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, "He has lost His senses."
After those near Jesus heard of Him casting out demons, they said "He has lost His senses."  This is the Greek e*xivsthmi (existemi), meaning lose one's senses or mind.

Trances

Abraham

When the Lord gave Abraham the Abrahamic Covenant, Abraham prepared sacrifices so the Lord could seal the Covenant by walking between the sacrifices (Gen 15:7-10).  As the cut-up sacrifices lay on the ground, the birds of prey came, but Abraham drove them away (Gen 15:11).  As the Sun was about to set, Abraham fell into a trance of deep sleep.

Genesis 15:12
Now when the Sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him.
The Lord caused Abraham to fall into the trance of deep sleep.  Abraham had night terrors and deep darkness fell upon him.

The Lord explained that Abraham's descendants would go down into slavery in Egypt for 400 years (Gen 15:13, 14).  Then, when the Sun had set, it became very dark, and a smoking furnace and a flaming torch passed between the pieces of the sacrifice (Gen 15:17).  This symbolized the holocaust.  Passing between the pieces by Himself without Abraham, who was sound asleep, symbolized the Lord's unconditional ratification of the Abrahamic Covenant.  The Covenant was unconditional.  It did not depend upon Abraham.  The Lord is a consuming fire (Ex 24:17; Deut 4:24; 9:3; Isa 30:27, 30; Heb 12:29).  He would destroy Egypt to free Israel, and later He would destroy Israel when it sinned.

Daniel

Like Abraham in the presence of the Lord, Daniel passed out when he met Gabriel.  Daniel fell asleep, but he did not fall into a trance.  Gabriel awakened him to communicate with him.  He did not communicate to him in a trance (Dan 8:18; 10:9).  So, falling into a deep sleep in the presence of a spiritual power does not necessarily mean falling into a trance.

Balaam

Balaam had been hired by Balak, King of Moab, to curse Israel. However, every time Balaam tried to curse Israel, the Lord intervened, and Balaam blessed Israel.  Balaam looked out and saw the massive camp of the nation of Israel, and the Spirit of God came upon him (Nu 24:2).  He had the Enduement of the Holy Spirit.

Numbers 24:3
He (Balaam) took up his discourse and said,
"The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor,
And the oracle of the man with closed eye;"
"Oracle" is the Hebrew <a%n+ (ne'um), for a Divine saying.  He said his eye was closed. "Closed" is the Hebrew <t^v* (shatham), meaning to close (Lam 3:8).  The closed eye meant that Balaam was in a trance.  His external senses were shut down, and his inner senses were opened up.  Perception by means of his external senses had ceased, and he was conscious only of the internal Spiritual vision from God.
Numbers 24:4
The oracle of him who hears the words of God,
Who sees the vision of the Almighty,
Falling down, yet having his eyes uncovered.
In his trance, Balaam was hearing the words of God and seeing the vision of the Almighty.  He fell down from the power of the Holy Spirit in his trance.  And his eyes were "uncovered."  This is a metaphor for Spiritual perception.  His Spiritual eyes were opened.  He was able to perceive the Spiritual truth by means of the revelation of the Holy Spirit.  He was enlightened.

Balaam continued to prophesy about Israel.  He even repeated words from the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen 12:3; Nu 24:9), "Blessed is everyone who blesses you, and cursed is everyone who curses you."   When he came out of the trance and quit prophesying, Balak was furious because he blessed Israel and did not curse Israel.

Then Balaam went into another trance and proceeded to bless Israel.  He repeated the verse about his eye being closed (Nu 24:15), and in the next verse he added a line.

Numbers 24:16
The oracle of him who hears the words of God,
And knows the knowledge of the Most High,
Who sees the vision of the Almighty,
Falling down, yet having his eyes uncovered.
He added the line, "And knows the knowledge of the Most High."  Balaam said that he knew the doctrine of the Most High, i. e. the Sovereign God.  God is Sovereign, and He will not be overruled to curse Israel.  He went on and prophesied about the star of Bethlehem associated with the birth of Christ.
Numbers 24:17
I see Him, but not now;
I behold Him, but not near.
A star shall come forth from Jacob;
A scepter shall rise from Israel
And shatter the sides of Moab
And destroy all the sons of desolation.


"I see him"  is a prophecy of the coming of Christ.  "I behold him, but not near" refers to the Second Advent.  The star of Jacob is prophecy of the Star of Bethlehem.

Jacob is a reference to the line of Christ, who was descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Jacob refers to the carnal believer.  Israel means 'prince of God' and refers to the Spiritual believer.

"A scepter shall rise from Israel" is a reference to the Second Advent and Millennium.

"And shatter the sides of Moab" is a reference to the destruction of Moab.  "And destroy all the sons of desolation" is a reference to the Moabites who were anti-Semitic.

Paul

After Paul was miraculously converted on the road to Damascus, he preached in Damascus for a while (Acts 9:22).  When the Jews plotted to kill him, he fled to Jerusalem, where he also preached for a while before the Hellenistic Jews attempted to put him to death (Acts 9:23, 29).  Jesus appeared to Paul in a trance and warned him to leave Jerusalem.

Acts 22:17-18 Paul Falls into a Trance
17  It came to pass after I returned to Jerusalem and while I was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance,
18  and I saw Him (Jesus) while He was saying to me, "Hurry, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me."
While Paul was praying in the Temple in Jerusalem, he fell into a trance.  "Trance" is the Greek e[kstasi" (ekstasis), for a trance.  In the trance Paul saw Jesus and heard Him speaking to him.  He told Paul to hurry and leave Jerusalem because the people there would not accept his testimony.  Paul continued in the trance to give his testimony to the Lord, as if to prove how good it was and how the Jews should listen to him (Acts 22:19, 20).  However, the Lord insisted that Paul should leave.
Acts 22:21
And He (Jesus) said to me, "Go!  For I will send you on a mission far away to the Gentiles."
Jesus told Paul to go because He would send him on a mission to the Gentiles.  The Lord met Paul at a strategic point in his life and sent him to the Gentiles.  The Jews had rejected Christ, and the Lord had called Paul to take the Gospel to the Gentiles, who would be called out as the Royal Family for Christ in the Church Age.

Jesus had previously appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, but Paul did not fall into a trance.  We know this because the people around Paul both saw the Light from the sky and heard the voice speaking to Paul (Acts 9:7).  However, they were unbelievers and didn't know what the voice was saying (Acts 22:9).  Later, Paul was put into a trance in order for Jesus to answer His prayer personally and privately.

However, Paul loved the Jews, and in spite of this graphic testimony, he went back to Jerusalem to try yet again to reach them.  After he went to Jerusalem to offer a vow in the Temple, some Jews from the Roman province of Asia saw him and tried to kill him because they thought he had brought a Gentile into the Temple (Acts 21:27-31).  Paul was rescued by Roman soldiers, but in spite of this, he still insisted on giving his testimony to the Jews (Acts 21:32-40).

Paul addressed the angry Jewish mob in Hebrew and proceeded to give his testimony.  They listened as he related how the Lord appeared to him on the road to Damascus.  Then he told them about the Lord appearing to him in the trance (Acts 22:1-20, 21).   However, when he told them the Lord had sent him to the Gentiles, the Jews went berserk because they were full of racial prejudice from the devil against the Gentiles (Acts 22:22-24).  The Roman soldiers had to take Paul into custody for his own protection.

Peter

While Peter was staying in Joppa after he had prayed and God had raised Tabitha from the dead, the Lord spoke to him in a trance.  The trance was associated with Cornelius, a Roman centurion in Caesarea who was a believer.  An angel appeared to Cornelius and told him to send for Peter.  So Cornelius dispatched two of his servants and an attaché to bring Peter to visit them.

Acts 10:9-10
9  On the next day, as they (the men from Cornelius) were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour (noon) to pray.
10  And he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were preparing the meal, a trance came upon him;
As the men sent by Cornelius were approaching, Peter went up on the roof to pray.  He was getting hungry about noon as he was waiting for the meal to be prepared.  As he was praying, "a trance came upon him."  "Trance" is the Greek e[kstasi" (ekstasis), for a trance.
Acts 10:11-14
11 and he observed Heaven opened and an object like a great table cloth coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground,
12  and there were in it all kinds of quadrupeds and reptiles of the Earth and birds of the sky.
13  A voice came to him, "Arise, Peter!  Kill and eat!"
14  But Peter said, "By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything common and unclean."
In the trance, Peter saw a great table cloth being lowered by its four corners from Heaven.  In it were all kinds of unclean animals, which Jews were prohibited by the Law from eating.  Peter was a devout Jew, and the Lord knew this would upset him.  Peter heard a voice, which he recognized to be the Lord, saying, "Kill and eat!"  This was a command from the Lord, but Peter argued with the Lord and tried to justify himself.  He said he had never eaten anything unclean.
Acts 10:15-16
15  Again a voice came to him a second time, "What God has cleansed, you stop declaring common!"
16  This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into Heaven.
The voice then explained to Peter, "What God has cleansed, you stop declaring common!"  This is a Greek imperative of prohibition, which means stop doing something you are doing.  Even after this strong command from the Lord, Peter apparently was stuck in his legalism because the Lord had to repeat it for the third time.  Then the table cloth was taken back up into Heaven.

Peter did not understand that the dietary regulations of the Mosaic Law no longer applied to the Church Age.  Nor did he understand that Gentiles and Jews were equal in the Church Age.  The Lord gave Peter a special vision to shock him and get his attention.  He saw a vision of animals on a table cloth.  The animals did not actually exist.  They were images that the Holy Spirit created for Peter in his trance.  In other words, the images of the animals were only in Peter's mind.  He was seeing things the Spirit produced in his mind.  Angels and demons can do the same thing.  The Lord had prepared a meeting between Peter and Cornelius, the Gentile centurion, and Peter needed to be shaken loose from his Jewish legalism to prepare for the meeting.

Acts 10:19-20
19  While Peter was reflecting about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are looking for you."
20  "But get up, go down, and accompany them without misgivings, because I Myself have sent them on a mission."
While Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit interrupted him.  This was the Holy Spirit, who is the agent of Christ.  The Spirit of Christ communicated to Peter that three men were looking for him, and he should go with them without misgivings because Christ Himself had sent them.

The next day Peter went with the men back to Caesarea to the home of Cornelius about 30 miles away.  A group of people were assembled in the home of Cornelius, who asked Peter to give them a message.  As Peter was giving the message, the Holy Spirit fell on those who were listening (Acts 10:44).  The Jews who were with Peter were amazed because the Holy Spirit was given to the Gentiles (Acts 10:45).  The Gentile believers were speaking in tongues and exalting God (Acts 10:46).

When Peter returned to Jerusalem, the legalistic Jews took issue with him for eating with Gentiles (Acts 11:2-3).  Peter related to them the testimony of how he was praying in Joppa and fell into a trance and saw the vision of the animals on the table cloth and heard the Lord command him to kill and eat (Acts 11:5).  After Peter told them about the Gentiles being baptized with the Holy Spirit, they quieted down and realized that the Gentiles could be saved the same as Jews (Acts 11:18).

Ecstasy of Prophesying

The Old Testament prophet had a Spiritual gift of communication like the pastor-teacher and evangelist in the Church.  The prophets prophesied by the Spirit of God to communicate His words to people.  Prophesying was characterized by bubbling over with words, even to the point of raving.  It also included singing, playing music, and praising God (1 Sam 10:5; 2 Ki 3:15).  Prophesying was a form of ecstasy.

Satan provided a counterfeit for prophesying.  He took the place of God for false prophets.  Prophets prophesied under the power of Baal, while people who were not prophets prophesied under the power of the Prostitute of Babylon.  The prophets of Baal even raved like mad men (1 Ki 18:29).  This continued into the Church Age in false teachers, antichrists, and Prostitutes of Babylon.  The prophesying and preaching of Satan's counterfeits was also ecstasy.

Even those who are mad, or insane, may behave with ecstasy.  An evil spirit drove King Saul out of his mind, and he raved at David and tried to kill him (1 Sam 18:10, 11).  Prophets, especially false prophets, were called mad men because their rants were like the babbling of lunatics (2 Ki 9:11).

Seventy Elders

Moses asked the Lord for some help judging the people of Israel.  So, the Lord told Moses to select 70 elders for the task and bring them to the Tabernacle (Nu 11:16, 17).  So, Moses gathered the elders before the Tabernacle (Nu 11:24).  Then the Lord came down in a cloud and took of the Spirit from Moses and placed it upon the 70 elders (Nu 11:25).

When the Spirit of God came upon the elders, they began to prophesy.  Even two of the men who had stayed in their tents prophesied (Nu 11:26, 27).  "Prophesied" is the Hebrew ab*n* (naba'), which means (1) to prophesy under the influence of the Divine Spirit in the ecstatic state (2) to sing or praise God, or (3) to be mad (insane).

King Saul

After Saul was anointed King, he received the Enduement of the Holy Spirit and began to prophesy (or praise God) (1 Sam 10:6, 11).  The ecstasy that Saul experienced changed him into another man.  He was out of his normal mind and under the power of the Spirit.  When his acquaintances saw that Saul was prophesying with the prophets, they had a saying, or proverb, "Is Saul also among the prophets?" (1 Sam 10:12).

Later, Saul became jealous of David and sought to put him to death (1 Sam 19:15).  However, David fled to Samuel at Ramah, and they went to Naioth, where there was a colony of prophets (1 Sam 19:18).  So Saul sent messengers to Naioth to seize David.  However, when the messengers encountered the prophets prophesying, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers, and they began to prophesy also (1 Sam 19:20).  They became ecstatic and forgot their mission.  Saul sent other messengers three times, and the same thing happened (1 Sam 19:21).

So, Saul decided to go to Naioth himself (1 Sam 19:22).

1 Samuel 19:23
He (Saul) went there to Naioth in Ramah; and the Spirit of God came upon him also, so that he went along prophesying continually until he came to Naioth in Ramah.
As Saul went to Naioth, the Spirit of God came upon him also, and he went along prophesying until he arrived at Naioth in a state of ecstasy.
1 Samuel 19:24
He also stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Therefore, they say, "Is Saul also among the prophets?"
Naked does not mean complete nudity.  It often refers to taking off the outer garment (Isa. 20:2; Micah 1:8; John 21:7).  Being seen in one's underwear was shocking in the Jewish culture in which women even covered their faces with veils.  "He also" implies the other prophets had also stripped off their outer garments.  However, Saul was in his ecstatic state all day and all night.  He was prophesying or raving in his ecstasy.  This revived the joke that had been applied to Saul when he was anointed King, "Is Saul also among the prophets?"

Deceiving Spirit

Ahab, King of Israel, asked Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, to join forces with him to deliver Ramoth from the Syrians.   Jehoshaphat agreed but asked that they first hear the word of the Lord (1 Ki 22:1-4, 5).  So, Ahab brought in 400 prophets who all prophesied favorably.  These were not prophets of Baal or Asherah, who could not inquire of the Lord, but they were false prophets (1 Ki 22:6).  However, Jehoshaphat asked for a prophet of the Lord (1 Ki 22:7).  So, Ahab sent for Micaiah, who had a reputation for prophesying evil against him.

They asked Micaiah if they should go up to Ramoth to battle.  Micaiah first gave the precise words of the other prophets, "Go up and succeed, and the Lord will give it into the hand of the king" (1 Ki 22:15).  From the answer and probably his tone or manner, Ahab realized that Micaiah was putting on a front.  So he demanded the whole truth (1 Ki 22:16).

1 Kings 22:17
So he (Micaiah) said,
"I saw all Israel
Scattered on the mountains,
Like sheep which have no shepherd.
And the Lord said, 'These have no master.
Let each man return to his house in peace.' "
Micaiah had predicted the death of King Ahab.  However, Ahab didn't believe him but accused him of always prophesying evil against him (1 Ki 22:18).
1 Kings 22:19-23
19  He (Micaiah) said, "Therefore, hear the word of the LORD.  I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of Heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left."
20  "The LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?' And one said this while another said that."
21  "Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD and said, 'I will entice him.' "
22  "The LORD said to him, 'How?' And he said, 'I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' Then He said, 'You are to entice him and you shall also prevail.  Go and do so.' "
23  "Now therefore, behold, the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and the LORD has declared disaster against you."
So the Lord held an angelic convocation and asked who would go and entice Ahab to fall in battle at Ramoth.  Then a spirit (an angel) volunteered to be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all Ahab's prophets.  These false prophets would then convince Ahab to go into battle where he would die the Sin Leading to Death.  The Lord approved the idea and sent the angel to entice Ahab and declared that he would prevail in doing so.  No one's volition would be compromised.  Ahab would have the right to say 'no,' and the prophets would have the right to reject the influence of the angel.

Now, the false prophets did not know God.  They may have previously been saved, but they were out of fellowship.  They were supposed to have the Enduement of the Holy Spirit along with Bible Doctrine in the soul.  One does not function effectively without the other.  In this case, they did not get their answer from the Lord but from an angel.  They had probably been getting their answers from demons because they didn't know the difference.  They were losers, but Ahab listened to their lies.

The angel influenced the false prophets to believe that Ahab should attack Ramoth and he would succeed, and the Lord would give it into the king's hand.  That was a lie.  It was false.  It was deceptive.  The angel was the source of false information.  His purpose was disinformation.  However, the prophets still had their volition.  They could choose to believe the lie or reject it.  Of course, they should have been listening to the Holy Spirit and Bible Doctrine, but they were not.

The Lord even sent a true prophet Micaiah, who told the whole truth, but no one would listen to him.  The prophets rejected the truth.  Ahab rejected the truth.  And even Jehoshaphat rejected the truth.  Jehoshaphat had already formed an alliance with Ahab by marrying his son to Ahab's daughter (2 Chron 18:1; 2 Ki 8:18).  Therefore, Micaiah prophesied to Ahab, "The LORD has declared disaster against you."

When the kings went into battle at Ramoth, Ahab had a foreboding of trouble.  So he took off his royal robe and disguised himself as a soldier (1 Ki 22:30).  The Syrian king commanded the 32 captains of chariots to attack only the King of Israel and no one else (1 Ki 22:31).  They took out after Jehoshaphat, but he screamed out, and they turned away from him (1 Ki 22:32-33).  Then a Syrian soldier shot an arrow at random and struck King Ahab between the scale armor and breastplate (1 Ki 22:34).

Ahab was forced to withdraw from the battle, and he lay propped up in his chariot as he bled to death (1 Ki 22:35).  He died, and word passed through his army close to Sunset, "Every man to his city and every man to his country" (1 Ki 22:36).  The army disbanded and went home in mourning because their king was dead.  When Jehoshaphat returned home, he was severely reprimanded by Jehu, the seer, who said "Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD and by this bring wrath on yourself from the LORD?" (2 Chron 19:2).

Prophesying by Baal

Elijah challenged the 450 prophets of Baal to a contest.  They would prepare an ox as a sacrifice, and he would do the same.  Then each would call on his God, and the one who answered by fire was the true God (1 Ki 18:22-25).  The prophets of Baal went first.  They prepared their ox and cried out to Baal all morning, but he did not answer (1 Ki 18:26).  They cried louder and cut themselves with swords until the blood gushed out (1 Ki 18:28).

1 Kings 18:29
As midday passed, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention.
"Raved" is the Hebrew ab*n* (naba'), which means to prophesy or to rave like a prophet in ecstasy; or to be mad (insane).  They were raving like prophets.  Yet, there was no fire from Heaven.  Baal did not answer.

Then Elijah repaired the altar of the Lord (1 Ki 18:30).  He made a trench around the altar (1 Ki 18:32).  Then he put the ox and wood on the altar (1 Ki 18:33).  Then he had four pitchers of water poured over the sacrifice.  This was done three times until the water filled the trench around the altar (1 Ki 18:34-35).  Then Elijah called on the Lord to answer him, and fire came down from Heaven and consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the dust and the water in the trench (1 Ki 18:38).

The Lord spoke through Jeremiah about how Israel went astray after He brought them into the Promised Land.

Jeremiah 2:8
The priests did not say, "Where is the LORD?"
And those who handle the law did not know Me;
The rulers also transgressed against Me,
And the prophets prophesied by Baal,
And they went after things that do not profit.
Israel forgot the Lord.  The priests did not seek the Lord.  Those who dealt with the law did not know the Lord. The rulers sinned.  And the prophets prophesied by Baal.  Satan appears as Baal as the Evil King and Prostitute of Babylon.  The prophets were under the power of Satan as the Prostitute of Babylon.  Their ecstasy came from Satan.

In Samaria in the Northern Kingdom, the prophets prophesied by Baal and led the people astray (Jer 23:13).  Instead of prophesying by the Holy Spirit, they were under the power of Satan who appeared as the Prostitute of Babylon.  Those who prophesy by Baal are like antichrists (2 Cor 11:13-15; 1 Jn 4:1, 3).

Ecstasy of StephenStoning of Stephen, Rembrandt

Stephen was one of the seven chosen to administer the daily serving of food in the early Church (Acts 6:5).  He was full of Grace and performed great wonders and signs among the people (Acts 6:8).  But some of the Jews became jealous and formed a conspiracy against him to falsely accuse him (Acts 6:9-12).  They brought him before the Sanhedrin (Acts 6:13-14).  His face was like an angel (Acts 6:15).

Stephen answered their charges with a sermon about how their forefathers had killed the prophets and failed to keep the Law (Acts 7:1-51).  And he accused them of betraying and killing the Messiah (Acts 7:52-53).  They began gnashing their teeth at him (Acts 7:54).

Acts 7:55-56
55 But being full of the Holy Spirit, having gazed intently into Heaven, he (Stephen) saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God;
56 and he said, "Behold, I see Heaven opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
In the face of the angry Jewish conspiracy under the power of Satan, Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed intently into Heaven.  He was able to see by the power of the Holy Spirit into Heaven.  As Heaven opened, he saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at His right hand.

This was not a vision or a Theophany, and he wasn't in a trance.  This was ecstasy according to the meaning of the Greek word as an experience beyond the senses.  Stephen had a miraculous experience in the Spiritual realm beyond human senses.  He was able to see the Lord at the right hand of God in Heaven.  It was not a vision, but a miraculous revelation of Spiritual Truth.

When Stephen related his ecstasy to the Jews, they rushed upon him, drove him out of town, and stoned him to death (Acts 7:58-60).  Those who stoned him, laid their robes at the feet of Saul, who would later be called Paul.

Ecstasy of Insanity

Those who are insane have been driven out of their mind.  This too is ecstasy.  The manic-depressive (bipolar complex) is characterized by alternating periods of euphoria (ecstasy) and depression.  Those who dissociate leave reality behind for oblivion.  The split personality type even switches personal identity as Saul's ecstasy in prophesying changed him into another man (1 Sam 10:6).  Saul also raved when he was terrorized by a demon.  He went into a jealous rage and tried to kill David (1 Sam 18:10, 11).  "Raved" is again the Hebrew ab*n* (naba'), which means here to be mad (insane).  Split personality is the result of being a double-souled person (Jas 1:8).  The person drives himself out of his mind to become two different people.

Other Forms of Ecstasy

Ecstasy has many forms and many levels.  According to modern usage, it means being carried away with overwhelming emotion or a sense of elated bliss.  It is pushing elation and happiness to the next level until the soul loses control and defense mechanisms kick in as a person spins out of control and loses his senses.  What begins as a quest for euphoria, or frantic search for happiness, is elevated to ecstasy at the expense of sanity.  Soul capacity for happiness and euphoria has limits, and when those limits are exceeded the person loses control and goes out of his senses into ecstasy.

The range of ecstasy is from happiness and euphoria to mind-blowing loss of the senses and out-of-body experiences.  The quest for the ecstatic high drives people to test the limits of Good and evil.  They may seek God or Satan to fulfill inordinate desire for ecstasy.  They may seek God through selfish ambition and asceticism, or they may seek Satan through evil or perversion.  They seek the spiritual realm to be free of the constraints of the human body.  Whether they are evangelical preachers or Buddhist monks, they may be seeking the same ecstatic high.

Techniques for entering a trance include visualizing an object, repeating a chant, and dancing to a beat.  Hallucinogenic drugs and meditation may also be used.  These techniques induce dissociation.  They drive the person out of his senses.  They breach the limits of soul control so the person can achieve a higher level of ecstasy.  Dissociation is a defense mechanism in which a person chooses not to believe something.  It is a method for divorcing a person from reality and believing a lie.  It is also insanity and ecstasy.

Dissociation is not the only method of entering ecstasy.  There are others, such as jealousy, which breeds inordinate ambition.  Jealousy causes division.  It breaks apart love and fuels strife, bitterness, hatred, anger, and animosity.  Jealousy can drive the frantic search for happiness or quest for ecstasy.  It can drive the double-souled reversionist and even result in split personality.

The desire for ecstasy is the motivation for many types of behavior.  Ecstasy exists in many forms.  Some are legitimate and even Spiritual.  Others are destructive and evil.  Singing and dancing may be legitimate expressions of happiness and euphoria, but they may also be used to induce trances and ecstasy.  The whirling dervishes of Turkey are dancers who whirl around repetitively to induce a trance and demon possession.  The beat and rhythm of dancing may arouse the emotion and induce ecstasy and demon possession.  The emotional antics of holy rollers are another form of ecstasy.

Speaking in Tongues

Speaking in tongues was one of the original miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the Church Age (Acts 2:4-13).  Galileans, who spoke Aramaic, were able to speak the languages of people from all over the world and evangelize them.  Many in the early Church were able to speak in tongues, which apparently included languages of angels, and others were able to interpret.  Since the gift was sensational, it soon attracted undue attention and was sought after to arouse the emotion and produce ecstasy.

The evangelism of the Jews by Gentiles who spoke to them in their native language was a sign of the approaching Fifth Cycle of Discipline, the destruction of the nation (1 Cor 14:21; Isa 28:11f).  Israel was indeed destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.  The gift of tongues was a temporary spiritual gift that ended by 70 AD.  However, Satan was able to mimic the gift, and people were still able to speak in tongues by the power of demons.  Speaking in tongues is no longer a Spiritual gift but a from of ecstasy induced by demon influence.

Drugs

Hallucinogenic drugs are used to drive a person out of his mind to produce ecstasy.  The desire for the ecstatic high drives drug users to addiction.  Drugs are used in various forms of sorcery to enter ecstasy and contact demons in the spiritual realm.  Drug abuse is the Greek farmakeiva (pharmakeia), which is sometimes translated sorcery (Gal 5:20; Rev 21:8).  Pharmacy comes from this Greek word.

Drug abuse is pursued out of the desire for ecstasy.  It is sponsored by Satan through sorcery as a way of contacting demonic powers.  It is evil and immoral, but it is not criminal.

Music

Singing, music, and dancing are all forms of ecstasy.  These activities can be used to express legitimate happiness but they can also be used to enter trances and ecstasy.  After Saul was anointed King, Samuel told him that he would meet a band of prophets who were playing music, singing, and praising God.

1 Samuel 10:5
After that you will come to Gibeath of God where the Philistine garrison is; and it shall come to pass when you come to the town there, you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the high place with lyre, tambourine, flute, and harp before them, and they will be prophesying (singing).
Samuel foretold that Saul would come to the town of Gibeath of God, where he would meet a band of prophets coming down from the high place (the sacrificial height).   Those in front would be playing musical instruments and those who followed would be prophesying, which means singing and praising God in a state of ecstaty.  "Prophesying" is the Hebrew ab*n* (naba'), which means (1) to prophesy under the influence of the Divine Spirit in ecstasy (2) to sing or praise God, or (3) to be mad (insane).  Here it includes playing music, singing, and praising God.
1 Samuel 10:6
Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you mightily, and you shall prophesy with them and be changed into another man.
When Saul met the prophets, the Enduement of the Holy Spirit would come upon him and he also would prophesy.  He would join the band of prophets in singing and praising God.  Under the power of the Spirit, he would be in ecstasy and be changed into a different person.

Just as music can be used for worship, it can also be used to lift a person into ecstasy apart from the Holy Spirit.  Singing, music, and dancing are all used in idolatry.  The beat and rhythm of music can lead to dissociation and loss of one's senses.  Music that is inspired by demons is even more effective.  Music can honor God or the devil, and the naïve believer may not recognize the difference.

Ecclesiastes 7:5
It is better to hear the wise man's reproach
Than to listen to the song of fools.
The criticism from a wise man is more useful that songs of praise from fools.  Fools and evil people also mock and malign people in songs (Ps 69:12; Isa 23:15; Lam 3:14).

In order to offer a testimony in song or music, a person must first have something genuine to offer.  After God destroyed the army of Pharaoh in the Red Sea and delivered Israel, Moses had a reason to celebrate and offer praise to God.  He wrote a song to commemorate the occasion, and the people sang and danced (Ex 15).  He wrote another song before his death (Deut 32).  After defeating the King of Canaan, Deborah and Barak sang a song of celebration (Judg 5).  Hannah sang a song after her prayer for a child was heard (1 Sam 2).  David sang a song after he was delivered from his enemies (2 Sam 22).  Solomon wrote many songs (1 Ki 4:32).  And Mary wrote the Magnificat after Gabriel told her about becoming pregnant (Lk 1:46f).  Worship in the Church includes songs and hymns (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16).  Angels sing praises (Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8; 5:9).  And the saints in Heaven sing praises (Rev 14:3).

Offering songs of praise to God requires that a right thing be done in a right way.  The right way means producing Divine Good.  If the person's testimony in song is not Divine Good, it is dead works.  A person without doctrinal content and Divine Viewpoint cannot communicate with God through song or any other way.  Songs of praise first require the filling of the Holy Spirit.  Then there must be doctrinal content and Divine Viewpoint.  In addition, the song must be performed correctly.  It must be in tune and with the right beat.  It is acceptable to perform a song written by another if it is understood.  But empty headed parrots who mimic the words of others or try to jazz up the tune are full of hypocrisy and arrogance, which destroy fellowship with God.  If the performer is not in fellowship with God, the song will not be accepted.  Sincerity cannot take up the slack for a person who is out of fellowship with God.

Drinking

Drinking produces ecstasy.  The high from alcohol coupled with the dulling of the inhibitions helps a person lose his senses.  People get drunk out of their mind, and do crazy things.  The antics of the inebriated are associated with ecstasy.

Proverbs 23:29-30
29  Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has contentions? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has dimness of eyes?
30  Those who linger long over wine,
Those who go to taste mixed wine.
The drunk is full of self inflicted wounds of soul and body.  In his depression he is full of sorrow and complaining.  His vision is impaired from alcohol.  He lingers too long over wine, drinking his fill.  And he runs to drink the mixed wine, pretending that he is an expert wine taster.
Proverbs 23:31-32
31  Do not look on wine when it is red,
When it sparkles in the cup,
And goes down smoothly;
32  At the end it bites like a serpent
And stings like a viper.
The advice is not to be mesmerized by the red wine that sparkles in the cup.  It looks bright and shiny and is smooth, but the hangover that follows bites like a serpent.  It is full of poison.
Proverbs 23:33-34
33  Your eyes will see strange things,
And your heart will utter perverse things.
34  And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea,
Or like one who lies down on the top of a mast.
The drunk has hallucinations and sees strange things like pink elephants.  And since he has lost his inhibitions, he utters perverse things.  He falls into a stupor like a person lying in the middle of the sea.  His sense of balance is upset, and when he lies down it is like lying down on the top of a mast in the rolling sea.  This is hyperbole, but the drunk would understand.
Proverbs 23:35
"They struck me, but I was not hurt;
They beat me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake?
I will seek another drink."
Then the drunk speaks.  He was struck and beaten, but he didn't feel pain due to the numbing effects of alcohol.  While he sleeps off his inebriation, the alcoholic thinks about what he will do when he awakes.  He will seek another drink the tail of the dog.

Sex

Sex is a form of ecstasy.  It was God's gift for Marriage.  It was designed to be an expression of Love and harmony between Right Man and Right Woman in Marriage.  It was a source of exhilaration and Happiness between man and woman in the Garden.  It was the primary source of recreation for perfect man and woman in the perfect environment of the Garden.

However, when man sinned, sexual ecstasy suffered some major breakdowns.  Sex and sin were incompatible.  To make matters worse, sex led to pregnancy and child bearing, which led to families, which produced in-laws and outlaws.  And society had its own problems dealing with human sexuality from protecting it to suffering its consequences.   Sexual sins associated with the breakdown of Marriage Culture became one of the chief ills of society.  The desire for sexual ecstasy was never completely satisfied.  It was a constant source of frustration.

Sexual ecstasy was plagued by a thousand perversions.  The world knew what it wanted but wasn't satisfied with what it got.  Sex and sin don't mix.  Sexual sins are not expressions of true love, and they don't bring Happiness.  They are a guarantee of intensified discipline from God, who personally Judges all sexual sins (Heb 13:4).

The answers to the problems of sexual ecstasy are all found in the Bible.  Those who promise any other solutions are the prophets of Baal or Prostitutes of Babylon.  Some of the basic requirements for Christians are:

  1. Sex is for Marriage only between one man and one woman.
  2. Sanctification is required no sin.  This requires Rebound and the filling of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Right Man Right Woman is preferred for Marriage.
  4. The couple should be Spiritually Mature with capacity for life and love.
  5. Satan and his demons must be resisted.
Sorcery, Witchcraft

Sorcery is the use of magic and divination to receive power from evil spirits.  Witchcraft is the use of sorcery, magic, and enchantments to commune with evil spirits.  Sorcery, witchcraft and other techniques for contacting evil spirits are forms of ecstasy in which the practitioner seeks supernatural power from evil spirits.  Those who engage in such activities with evil spirits will not receive the ecstasy they desire, but will be used by Satan and then discarded.  By being the friend of Satan, they become the enemies of God, who will destroy them (Jas 4:4).

Idolatry

The practice of idolatry is a form of ecstasy.  Those who worship idols do so to receive power from the demon god associated with the idol.4  In addition, the worship of many idols, such as Baal, included orgies for sexual ecstasy.

Sports

Sports are an opportunity for ecstasy.  The sports heroes and stars often drive themselves to extremes in order to be exalted to the highest levels of fame and greatness.  In this arena, the demons aren't silent.  They also empower athletes to perform superhuman feats.  And the fans cheer the athletes to push themselves beyond their pain and fatigue to achieve victory.

Combat

Combat, like sports, is an opportunity for ecstasy.   As Churchill said, "There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result."  Those who become heroes in combat may leave their senses behind and disregard their own safety to achieve victory.  They cheat death or risk all in hope of glory like George Custer.  This also is a form of ecstasy.

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References

1.  Arndt, W., Gingrich, F. W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (1979). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature : A translation and adaption of the fourth revised and augmented edition of Walter Bauer's Griechisch-deutsches Worterbuch zu den Schrift en des Neuen Testaments und der ubrigen urchristlichen Literatur (276). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
2.  Douglas Harper. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001-2013.
3.  Larry Wood.  Balaam, and His Talking Donkey, Dec. 10, 2012.
4.  Larry Wood.  Satan, the Super Creature, "Idolatry," July 21, 2013.

Author:  Larry Wood,   Released - September 12, 2013 - Revised June 1, 2014

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