Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Obeying the Voices in Their Heads: Was Ezekiel Mentally Ill?

How would one ever know who was influencing who?
Was it the voice of God?
The Voice of Satan?
Mental Illness?
"Encouraging people to embrace those voices and then trying to normalize that behavior, is the most dangerous approach yet. Doctors will try anything. Well, almost anything. If you tell them this is a spiritual problem, you’ll be shot down. Voices, they reason, are just a product of physical abnormalities and we have to learn to live with them. There couldn’t possibly be any other explanation.
The answer is clear and simple, however, if you believe in God, read the Bible, and understand that there is a spirit world. 
Revelation 12 explains that Satan the devil “deceives the whole world.” The Bible says he was cast down to Earth along with the demons! This may sound strange or old-fashioned to the intellectuals of this world, but if they would work from this foundation, understanding that this world is held captive by the devil, they would be able to understand why so many people are hearing voices and why those numbers have increased since the mid-1980s. They would understand that encouraging people to entertain those voices is the most dangerous prescription they can give! It is incredibly dangerous for society to try to normalize this sort of behavior!"
Sam Livingston
"Is It Normal to Hear Voices in Your Head"
The Trumpet
July 3, 2017  

The Major Prophet Ezekiel listened to the voices in his head and obeyed them to the letter. His behaviors were bizarre. Was the stress of the times driving his psychosis?  How could we ever know any prophet or OT Patriarch such a Moses or Abraham wasn't simply mentally ill in a day and age when such behaviors were not understood but held to be a spiritual manifestation from God?  Why is Ezekiel considered a True Prophet while anyone else with the identical behaviors would be considered hearing the voice of Satan by religious zealots or mentally ill in the medical world?

Even Mary  and Jesus's brothers were troubled with Jesus behaviors and...

"When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind."
Mark 3:21 
(This Mary had never heard of the miraculous visitations by Angels and  Virgin Birth of Jesus obviously or she had a very short memory )

Back to the Major Prophet Ezekiel...

Ezekiel 4New International Version (NIV)

Siege of Jerusalem Symbolized

“Now, son of man, take a block of clay, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. Then lay siege to it: Erect siege works against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it. Then take an iron pan, place it as an iron wall between you and the city and turn your face toward it. It will be under siege, and you shall besiege it. This will be a sign to the people of Israel.
“Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the people of Israel upon yourself.[a] You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the people of Israel.
“After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the people of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year. Turn your face toward the siege of Jerusalem and with bared arm prophesy against her. I will tie you up with ropes so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have finished the days of your siege.
“Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side. 10 Weigh out twenty shekels[b]of food to eat each day and eat it at set times. 11 Also measure out a sixth of a hin[c] of water and drink it at set times. 12 Eat the food as you would a loaf of barley bread; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel.” 13 The Lord said, “In this way the people of Israel will eat defiled food among the nations where I will drive them.”
14 Then I said, “Not so, Sovereign Lord! I have never defiled myself. From my youth until now I have never eaten anything found dead or torn by wild animals. No impure meat has ever entered my mouth.
15 “Very well,” he said, “I will let you bake your bread over cow dung instead of human excrement.”  (The voice changes its mind)
Modern Psychiatry comments about Ezekiel's behaviors and symptoms...

"Like any prophet, Ezekiel hears the voice of God and it is his prophetic task to relay God’s message onto the people. He hears the voice of God more often (93 times) than any other prophet, and the way God addresses him as ‘ son of man’ or ‘mortal’ is also unique. Ezekiel experiences a variety of other auditory phenomena, including command hallucinations which are not described in any other prophet, 3:3 ‘He said to me; mortal eat this scroll that I give to you and fill your stomach with it. Then I ate it; and in my mouth it was as sweet as honey.’
Even the rabbis thought it was strange that Ezekiel actually ate the scroll and they explained it by saying he was ingesting the wisdom of the Torah (law). Other examples of command hallucinations which are carried out are the shaving of Ezekiel’s head (5:1) which would have gone against priestly prohibitions to shave. He is also commanded to dig a hole in a wall in his escape from the city of Jerusalem during the siege, 12:1 ‘ The word of the Lord came to me... 12:5 Dig a hole through the wall in their sight and carry the baggage through it... 12:7 I did just as I was commanded brought out my baggage by day as baggage for exile and in the evening I dug through the hole with my own hands.’ Note that the phrase ‘ in my sight’ denotes that others must have observed this. Ezekiel also hears people gossiping about him by the walls, 33:30 ‘As for you mortal your people who talk about you by the walls and at the doors of the house say to one another each to a neighbour “Come and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord”.’ Ezekiel hears the conversations God was having with others, 9:5’To others he said within my hearing “pass through the city and kill, your eyes shall not spare”.’ Sometimes this voice can be loud, 9:1 ‘Then he cried within my hearing with a loud voice saying “draw near your executioners of the city”.’ Like many individuals with schizophrenia, Ezekiel does his best not to listen to these malign voices, 8:18 ‘and though they cry within my hearing with a loud voice, I will not listen to them.’ In his visions he also sometimes hears voices, as for example in the ‘Chariot Vision’, 12:5 ‘And there came a voice from above the dome of their heads’. Also in these visions, as well as voices Ezekiel hears non-verbal auditory phenomena, 1:33 ‘each of the creatures had two wings covering its body. When I heard the sound of the wings like the sound of mighty waters like the thunder of the almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army’. No other prophet hears command hallucinations, conversations with third parties about himself, hears voices in their visions, or has non-verbal auditory experiences. All these auditory phenomena are said to be characteristic of schizophrenia.
What if?????


Anonymous 1968 said...

Was Ezekiel mentally ill? I would say yes and possibly the other prophets were as well. Was HWA mentally ill? My answer is a resounding yes! Let's face the facts, the vast majority of people who has ever been associated with the ACOG has suffered through some form of mental illness. Lot of it brought on by the made-up teachings of a false apostle/false prophet Hebert Armstrong.

RSK said...

before any butthurt bibliolators freak out, the suggestion of Ezekiel being a madman is much older tban the 2010 sourcing. I first learned of it around 1989, but it seems to me I found it later in a book from the 1940s.

DennisCDiehl said...

It is a common "diagnosis" if one just goes by the written descriptions of his behaviors. Amos is also well understood to be in a similar catagory and Jeremiah has always been seen as a very clinically depressed prophet in his writings. Of course Jesus himself is subject to questioning when one simply realizes that he said things such as "NO Man can come unto the father but my ME" "I am the way, the truth and the life"...and so on. Pretty bold stuff and it gets a pass because it is Jesus. The Mary of Mark, for some reason, felt he was insane and went to get him for his own protection. That scripture was left in the text only in Mark and removed for obvious reasons by other Gospel writers.

Time would fail us to discuss the behavior of Abraham obeying the voices in his head concerning killing Isaac. We give that story a pass as well, but it is horrific and how many mentally ill types today have said, "God told me to kill" The Son of Sam comes to mind as well as several moms with post partum depression who heard voices to kill their children.

Any physician would tell you Mark 9: 17 "A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

19“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

20So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

21Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. 22“It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

23“ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

with a bit of embellishment, is simply a boy who has had epileptic seizures since childhood. These are the classic symptoms. They last about 20 minutes and with good timing, anyone can cast out the demons in an ignorant society.

Paul's Damascus Road story with seeing a bright light, hearing voices especially with religious content is CLASSIC temporal lobe epilepsy. Luke tells the story of Paul in Acts. Paul himself does not say he ever has such an experience and says he was called from the womb in Galatians.

The child Samuel heard "Samuel" in the night while sleeping in the temple close to the Ark evidently. Very emotional place. The voice convinced him he was called of God. Schizophrenia perhaps or most likely religiously overwhelmed and ripe for hearing voices as a child in the temple where who knows what Eli the Priest had told him about God.

Fascinating topic. My point is that the PCG author was asking for this when he said that hearing voices was from Satan. The Bible is full of "men of God" hearing voices to launch their careers. Livingston walked into his own trap.

Anonymous said...

"What if?????"

I feel sorry for those whose hope is in the bible being false...

Byker Bob said...

These people are caught up in what I call the "Tom Sawyer" syndrome. Tom, Huck, and Joe Harper pretending to be pirates on a raft going down the Mississippi River. Except, the Armstrongites are traveling inCOGnito as Bible characters instead of the pirates. So they call themselves apostles, and prophets and such, and pretend that they hear voices because the prophets who lived during the age of miracles did, and then they get people to follow them and do their work just like Tom Sawyer got all the kids to do his job and paint a fence. They're playing a game of "Bible" without any real context, using their imagination about an era that passed a long time ago. All they know is what their leaders have told them, because you're not allowed to read widely and to get second opinions if you're in an ACOG. They don't even bat an eye when their pretend prophecies fail. They just make up new ones, or what we might call in classical music "Flurry's variations on a theme by Armstrong". LOL.


Helen Wheels said...

I feel sorry for those whose hope is in the bible being true...

I Knew John Cafourek In WCG Didn't Understand The Importance Of Baptism said...

Mentally Ill People Often Cling To Religious Cults Such As The ACOG.

Hoss said...

GTA once ridiculed Muhammad while incorrectly claiming that he wrote the Quran while rolled up in a carpet. Obviously GTA, once touted as the authority on Bible prophecy, wasn't concerned about the various contortions the Biblical prophets had to endure.

RSK said...

Makes me think of the Tell Tale Heart.

"True! - nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses - not destroyed - not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily - how calmly I can tell you the whole story."

DennisCDiehl said...

"I feel sorry for those whose hope is in the bible being false..."

Don't. It is not a matter of "hope in the Bible being false." It is a matter of simply being willing to address the issue of “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”― Carl Sagan

Nothing in a religious/God realm can be proven. That is why the Book admits that "he that comes to God MUST believe that he is and the rewarder of those who diligently seek him," or "Without faith it is impossible to please God," "the just shall live by faith" (The original OT quote is "The Just shall live by his faith"), and "Now faith is what we hope is true without absolutely evidence that it is true" rendered in Hebrews 11 as "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

That's fine if one is not interested in personal growth or understanding the reality of what actually is so but that approach does not set well for many and progress is not made being stuck in the views of those now long gone who wrote for their own times, needs and circumstances.

By the time one says "you'll think differently when you are IN the Lake of Fire" they have stopped growing both in the grace they claim to understand the knowledge they think they are open minded enough to receive along the way.

I met few ministers along my own path who had much intellectual curiosities or theological questions outside of what they were taught. Like the Bob Jones student told me when I asked them about where Neanderthals or early humans fit in the Bob Jones world, "I don't know...I just believe what they tell me."

It's ok to question what they, from "Moses" to "Jesus", tells us just as much as it is to question what Dave Pack or a Bob Thiel think we ought to accept as the really true truth on everything.

DennisCDiehl said...

rather...""Now faith is what we hope is true with absolutely no evidence that it is true" rendered in Hebrews 11 as "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Dennis Diehl said...

"The age of miracles" Haven't heard that one in ...well...agesšŸ˜±

Anonymous said...

The idea in Heb 11 is not that faith is based on no evidence at all. Just no evidence, other than God's character, that God will fulfill a particular promise.

Dennis Diehl said...

Nice quote RSK

Anonymous said...

So is there anything out there or not? I admit I don't know. I have avoided mental illness my whole life and now have to avoid senile dementia. I admit to occasionally hearing voices and seeing things which I know weren't there, but according to Dr.Sacks this can be quite normal especially in childhood. We do know the mind fills in blanks, this is part of the science of vision. We recognise something familiar way quicker than something strange because our brain fills in the details. The voice I heard was just a name called (not my own) and it did scare me, but I am not prepared to think I was insane, nor at that time using drugs.

So I wonder when someone is mentally ill and hears things, or is perhaps sane and hears things, are there things out there we are usually unaware of, but somehow we break the barrier normally present between us and them?

I know people attempt to explain these things away but they don't know for sure.

Anonymous said...

“The president of the United States has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ridiculous or offensive.”
― Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation

DennisCDiehl said...

While controversial as a theory, the research into the history of human contact with the gods , old Testament prophets and the fading of that contact such as we find in the psalms in the form of "why art thou so far from me" etc, but Julian Jaynes and his work, The Origins of Consciousness and the Bicameral Mind, is very fascinating and full of information on how the brain works to produce voices in the head and perhaps why.

"Bicameralism (the philosophy of "two-chamberedness") is a hypothesis in psychology that argues that the human mind once assumed a state in which cognitive functions were divided between one part of the brain which appears to be "speaking", and a second part which listens and obeys—a bicameral mind. The term was coined by Julian Jaynes, who presented the idea in his 1976 book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, wherein he made the case that a bicameral mentality was the normal and ubiquitous state of the human mind as recently as 3000 years ago."

Jaynes theorized that a shift from bicameralism marked the beginning of introspection and consciousness as we know it today. According to Jaynes, this bicameral mentality began malfunctioning or "breaking down" during the 2nd millennium BCE. He speculates that primitive ancient societies tended to collapse periodically (e.g., Egypt's Intermediate Periods, as well as the periodically vanishing cities of the Mayas) as changes in the environment strained the socio-cultural equilibria sustained by this bicameral mindset. The Bronze age collapse of the 2nd millennium BCE led to mass migrations and created a rash of unexpected situations and stresses which required ancient minds to become more flexible and creative. Self-awareness, or consciousness, was the culturally evolved solution to this problem. This necessity of communicating commonly observed phenomena among individuals who shared no common language or cultural upbringing encouraged those communities to become self-aware to survive in a new environment. Thus consciousness, like bicamerality, emerged as a neurological adaptation to social complexity in a changing world.[citation needed]

Jaynes further argues that divination, prayer, and oracles arose during this breakdown period, in an attempt to summon instructions from the "gods" whose voices could no longer be heard.[3] The consultation of special bicamerally operative individuals, or of divination by casting lots and so forth, was a response to this loss, a transitional era depicted, for example, in the book of 1 Samuel. It was also evidenced in children who could communicate with the gods, but as their neurology was set by language and society they gradually lost that ability. Those who continued prophesying, being bicameral according to Jaynes, could be killed.[6][7] Leftovers of the bicameral mind today, according to Jaynes, include religion, hypnosis, possession, schizophrenia, and the general sense of need for external authority in decision-making."


Anonymous said...

I've long realised that a type of insanity took me over at age 18. Before that, I had been quite the sceptic, but the hypnotic voice and printed messages from Pasadena overwhelmed for decades the basic analytical mind I was born with. I was able to shake it. Many others can't quite get there.

Allen C. Dexter

Anonymous said...

Hi all. This is the Dennis Diehl from the future. I borrowed Michael J Fox's back to the future car, and have returned to 2017 to give a warning to Banned readers.
It's all true. The tribulation has just ended, Europe has been wiped out by a Euro-Asian army of 200 million, and Christ has returned.
So please, please ignore all my apostate, crown stealing articles from 2017.
And be sure to be diligent in your prayer and bible study.
I better go and return Michaels car. Bye all.

Anonymous said...

Hebrew 11 does not say that faith is believing without evidence.
How can this be since we are instructed to 'prove all things' and 'beware of wolves in sheeps clothing' (which includes incorrect 'wolves' beliefs) and similar.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but your post is too short to have been written by Dennis. Have a ham sandwich and try again.

Dennis Diehl said...

It can be because two different authors are giving differing views on what faith is and proving. Both are mutually exclusive concepts

Dennis Diehl said...

And too..I am not a biblical wolf in sheep's clothing.

Cognac Willie said...

I Knew John Cafourek In WCG Didn't Understand The Importance Of Baptism said...
Mentally Ill People Often Cling To Religious Cults Such As The ACOG.

July 6, 2017 at 4:54 AM

Anon 4:54, I have observed that Cafourek is the classic case, as many of the cog so-called ministers are, of clinging to a religious cult. They cannot escape the brainwashing they received at AC, nor move into any enlightened thinking, even when shown to be right. That constitutes insanity. From my numerous interactions with Cafourek, I also have found him to be a very two-faced deceptive person. His lies have been well-documented by several that have known him. Perhaps, however, he was just listening to conflicting voices in his head. Life is so much better without having to deal with the insanity of those hirelings in the cogs.