Mysticism and Ecstasy – part 1: Definitions and Debates

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(Ruach HaKodesh, Session 9a)


This episode of the Ruach HaKodesh series starts a three-part rabbit trail on the subject of mysticism and ecstasy. How we view the gifts of the Spirit, and how we view spirituality in general, is closely connected to this topic. How “mystical” is the Holy Spirit? Does the Spirit work in us rationally, or in ways that are irrational and out of control? Is there a proper balance between thinking and feeling? Does the Bible promote the same sort of spirituality as that espoused by the medieval Catholic and Jewish mystics? Should our goal as believers be to have ecstatic experiences?

This episode focuses on defining mysticism and ecstasy, and then explores the debate regarding “ecstatic” experiences described in Scripture. Ecstasy is a common feature of pagan religions, both ancient and modern. But the experiences described in the Bible have some important differences from pagan mysticism, and even later Christian and Jewish mysticism.

The audio teaching references these two charts from session 1. It also examines the following Scripture passages, among others:

  • Numbers 11:16ff.
  • 1 Samuel 10:5ff.
  • 1 Samuel 19:20-24
  • 1 Kings 18:26-29
  • Deuteronomy 18:9-14

For an outline of all the sessions in this series, click on this link. To subscribe to this podcast, click here.

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