*Notes and references for this article.
Possession & Prophets
In the annals of history, there are times when ordinary people are confronted with a spiritual (non-human) entity which temporarily replaces their personality. This is commonly associated with deity, or God. This personality communicates a message which is then interpreted as "divine". These messengers are the prophets.
In the 1980s, an academic group studied the Old Testament prophets to determine the nature and origin of their communication with Yah (Yahweh, Jehovah), their deity. They were especially interested in the Possession Trance State:
"...a condition in which a person is believed to be inhabited by the spirit of a supernatural being... characterized by acting like the inhabitating spirit, lapsing into a coma-like state; speaking unintelligibly, exhibiting physical symptoms such as twitching, wild dancing, frothing at the mouth, and so on.
The group was surprised to learn that the Biblical translations from Hebrew to Greek and English had misinterpreted words such as "prophet" and "prophecy" when, in fact, they referred to "being in a trance state." There was no intended reference to prophecy at all.
"YAH talkin' to me?"
The "trance" of YAH was not God-like. It was usually experienced in a group context, induced by music, and produced grotesque contortions, a painful expression ("as if one had just learned bad news." Is. 13:7-8; Hab. 3:16; Ezek. 21:11-12) and, for some reason, the urge to disrobe.
"Therefore all hands will fall limp,
"I heard and my heart pounded,
"And when they ask you, 'Why are you groaning?' you shall say, 'Because of the news that is coming. Every heart will melt and every hand go limp; every spirit will become faint and every knee become as weak as water.' It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD."
Some have described it as an "animal" state.
EXAMPLE: In 1-Samuel 19:20-23 the new Israeli king, Saul, feels threatened by his chief warrior, David. He decides to kill David and sends messengers on three occasions to locate David and bring him back. Three times, the messengers arrive at David's village and see the nebi'im (people in a trance) and "...the spirit of YAH came upon Saul's messengers, so they too yitnabbe (in a trance)." Finally Saul goes in person, "...and a spirit of YAH came upon him too, so that he continued on his way wayyitnabbe (in a trance)..." until he arrived where David was (verse 23).
The trance is involuntary, replaces the host personality with something unpleasant, and is attributed to YAH.
Here is the same YAH trance, recorded in Isaiah 21:3-4:
" At this my limbs writhe in anguish,
And once again, this same trance occurs in another group event with Moses:
Numbers 11:16-17 and 24 -- Yah tells Moses to gather seventy men from among Israel's elders, and to have the men stand with him at the tent of meeting. Yah says he will then come down to speak with Moses, and transfer some of Moses's spirit on to the men, so that they can help Moses bear the burden of governing the people: he will not have to manage on his own...
The wayyitnabbe translates to what we might today call a "rave" -- a group trance. [see commentary on this word]. It didn't enhance the elders with some special knowledge or abilities, but the altered state was enough of an amazing experience that it galvanized their effort. In many ways, the trance was used as a "team builder." In 1-Samuel 19:24 we see that the YAH trance also serves to legitimize Saul's office:
"...That is why they came to say: 'Is Saul also wayyitnabe (one who has experienced the trance)?"
Although the trance is attributed to YAH (aka Yahweh, Jehovah), the tribal deity of Israel, it does not originate from God. In fact, it couldn't be God. Here's why.
In Israel, man is a physical unity, and God is transcendent and holy. It is certain death for those who see, touch, or confront him face to face. Thus, when God comes down to "meet" with his people in early times, He is hidden by a pillar of clouds and fire.  So God could not do something as intimate as replacing a man's personality by invading his mind without annihilating man. So what is YAH?
YAH appears to have God-like abilities but in the early Biblical accounts, YAH has the capacity for anger, vengeance and pride. These human-like characteristics perhaps suggest the origin and appeal of the alter personality (and perhaps new signficance to Ephesians 6:12).
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
Communicating with The Dark Side
This possession by YAH, the Israeli deity, has a dark side. In 1-Samuel 11:6 we read,
"A bad spirit of Yahweh overwhelmed Saul, wayyitnabbe, and [he] threw his spear at David."Here we can see the old (real) meaning of the Hebrew word wayyitnabbe. It's not a prophet or prophecy but a trance -- a new personality that "comes out" in Saul, originating in Yahweh. And it is "bad". There are many more "bad" references to YAH (1-Sam 28:10; 19:9; 16:14,15,16; Judges 9:23), including Yahweh's endorsement of deception and lies as a means to an end (1-Kings 22:19-24).
 Micaiah continued, "Therefore hear the word of the Yahweh: I saw the Yahweh sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left.  And the Yahweh said, 'Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?'
This sounds more evil than good.
The YAH possession trance is reminiscent of the mental state experienced by victims of alien abduction. It's involuntary, immobilizing, unpleasant and deceptive. Also, during the abduction trance, the aliens seem to be able to elicit visions from the victim, often described as, "Like I was watching a film of my life playing in my head."
Regardless of your belief in "aliens", anyone familiar with the reported cases will immediately recognize this common phenomenon in alleged abduction debriefing. Even small children have referred to it as "a movie in my head".
Is this what our personality looks and feels like while it is being examined, copied or transferred? Recall that the hippocampus, the source of our personality and indentity, is composed of critical historic memories, decisions and events that have shaped our pattern of reaction to life [source]. These memories are crucial in establishing the continuity of our identity.
Is this the same trance? What could that mean? Most important: Who is Yahweh REALLY?
I think you can guess.
© Gary Vey for viewzone