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Vos Group #60 — The Intra-Mental State of the Prophet

We turn to pages 224–229 of Vos’s book, Biblical Theology, to speak about the intra-mental state of the prophet, by which Vos means to inquire into “how the soul felt and reacted under the things shown within the vision” (p. 224).

Far too much attention has been given to what is represented by the Greek term ecstasis. The term served first as a translation of the Hebrew tardemah (cf. Gen. 2:21 with Adam and Genesis 15:12 with Abram). In Adam’s case, there is no visionary state. In Abram’s case, there is such a vision (expound the theology of the theophany). But tardemah does not throw any light on Abram’s state of mind.

Ecstasis, on the other hand, has a very definite conception in Greek consciousness that leads in the direction of error. That conception is that of “insanity or mania” and was applied to the oracular process—the process of receiving visions and the resultant state in which it put the seer-prophet. This led to a close association between the prophet and some feature of instability—some manic tendency that seems inherent to the process of receiving a vision.

Vos points us to God’s inspired, inerrant, and infallible revelation in history, which does not bypass the human mind or allow the recipient to escape his humanity, but elevates him to greater communion with God.

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