Wade Balzer (2 Nov 2011)
"[Revelation2217] Christian Meditation:  Is it Biblical or New Age?"


 

Sunday, I went to my church as I would normally do, but afterwards decided to visit another.   I had arrived somewhat late, and a lady was teaching the congregation about meditation.  The pastor was licking it up as a cat on milk.  I on the other hand felt it was a little off flavored as she raved of finding all the places in the Bible where you see the patriarchs practiced “meditation”, but her viewpoint seemed to be bent toward a New Age or some form of Eastern mysticism. 

 

Though she seemed to be thoroughly prepared to speak, she reminded me of someone whose hunger into the unknown leads her to embrace teachings that have been so-called “lost” from the church.   Some people are very content to remain their whole life reading the scriptures and planted in a denominational church.  Then there are people who find fault in mainstream Christianity, and end up embracing a different gospel.  You know people who have varying degrees of weirdness mixed with their Christianity.

 

The flavor of her teaching seamed to a little too encompassing as if she has extended her appetite beyond Christianity.  Since the pastor didn’t seem to notice the difference, I thought it might be good to bring a sharp-edged sword to bring precise clarity to the words used for “meditation” in the Scripture.   If you define meditation in the same way that it is universally defined, you will find yourself at odds with the Biblical definition.

 

Consider the Wikipedia definition:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation

 

Meditation refers to any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit.

 

Meditation is generally an inwardly oriented, personal practice, which individuals can do by themselves. Prayer beads or other ritual objects may be used during meditation. Meditation may involve invoking or cultivating a feeling or internal state, such as compassion, or attending to a specific focal point. The term can refer to the state itself, as well as to practices or techniques employed to cultivate the state.[

 

Furthermore, Christian Meditation, so-called, though it may differ in several ways from that of Eastern Religions, it still maintains aspects that are unnecessary or unbiblical.  Consider the person who has daily devotions, reading their Bible, and praying, but then also adds “meditation” to their daily practice.  What are they doing?   It depends on what they define as “meditation”.  Perhaps it is a time they spend quietly thinking about what they read, and certainly there is nothing wrong about that.  Perhaps such reflections are beneficial.   But what happens if it crosses the boundaries into a form that looks like an Eastern style of meditation?   You might think that if the Catholic church was the “great whore” of Revelation as some preach, they would have embraced a pantheistic practice of Eastern meditation, but instead they write against it.

 

In Aspects of Christian meditation, the Catholic Church warned of potential incompatibilities in mixing Christian and eastern styles of meditation.  In 2003, in A Christian reflection on the New Age the Vatican announced that the "Church avoids any concept that is close to those of the New Age".

 

As you can see, there is a slippery slope to Eastern mysticism if you follow down that road without any clearly defined boundaries and definitions.  Let’s look at the Biblical definitions, and see if they are anything like the Wikipedia picture of meditation.   Let’s look at the first time we see this word used.

 

Gen 24:63

And Isaac went out to meditateH7742 in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels [were] coming.

 

The Hebrew word is Hebrew Strong’s # 7742 = suach, and it appears only ONCE in the Bible.  It is not the same word that you find elsewhere when David says, “… to meditate day and night.”   I will get to that.   This word, suach, is probably best described as a picture.  Consider when you have something that is “heavy on your mind”.  Perhaps, it is so heavy, you are incapacitated.  It is a close kin to anxiety to the point that you can’t do two things at once.   You can’t work because you have such anxiety, that you have to “get away” into a quiet place to deal with it.   That could mean that you “take a walk” or “take a drive” just so that you can process all that is so heavy on your mind.  There is probably not a word in English that is adequately describes taking a walk to process heavy thoughts because you must.   That is this word.

 

Does that sound like “meditation”?  

 

A closely related word is Hebrew Strong’s # 7878 = siyach.

 

Ps 119:15

I will meditateH7878 in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

 

Think of both of these words as remedies or a way to process troubled thoughts.

 

Ps 77:3

I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained,H7878 and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.

Ps 77:4

Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak.

 

As you might see in the context, David is speaking of the inner turmoil, and attempting to “process it” and still being overwhelmed.

 

Does that sound like “meditation”?

 

Hebrew Strong’s # 7879 = siyach.

 

Ps 102:1

<A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaintH7879 before the LORD.> Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee.

 

Ps 104:34

My meditationH7879 of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.

 

Both are the same kind of picture.   Psa 104:34 is declaring the outcome after “processing troubled thoughts”.

 

Hebrew Strong’s # 7881 = siychah

 

Job 15:4

Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayerH7881 before God.

 

You can see the connection to being weighed down and troubled, but directing the weightedness toward God.

 

Ps 119:97

<MEM.> O how love I thy law! it [is] my meditationH7881 all the day.

 

Ps 119:99

I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies [are] my meditation.H7881

 

You could clearly communicate the same picture saying, “O how I love thy law! It is my medication for troubled thoughts all the day.”

 

The other words that are translated “meditate” in Hebrew are:

 

Hebrew Strong’s # 1897 = hagah

Hebrew Strong’s # 1900 = haguwth

Hebrew Strong’s # 1901 = hagiyg

Hebrew Strong’s # 1902 = haggayown

 

These words are closely related, but unlike the other words, these are not specifically processing troubled or heavy thoughts.

 

Josh 1:8

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditateH1897 therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

 

The Hebrew word, hagah, is a “thinking to oneself”.  It is your internal dialogue that you may or may not say with your lips.

 

Ps 1:2

But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditateH1897 day and night.

 

Sometimes you might hear a person talking to themselves, and most generally it is the uttering of the internal dialogue that is not meant for anyone to hear.   That is this word.   Paul is using the same picture when writing:

 

Eph 5:19

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

 

The other Hebrew words are derivatives of this picture.

 

Job 37:2

Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the soundH1899 [that] goeth out of his mouth.

 

Ps 49:3

My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditationH1900 of my heart [shall be] of understanding.

 

Ps 5:1

<To the chief Musician upon Nehiloth, A Psalm of David.> Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.H1901

 

Ps 39:3

My heart was hot within me, while I was musingH1901 the fire burned: [then] spake I with my tongue,

 

As you can see, this word is clearly pictured when Jesus said:

 

Luke 6:45

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

 

Furthermore, the last use is:

 

Ps 19:14

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditationH1902 of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

 

You should CLEARLY see that in EVERY FORM of the word MEDITATE in Hebrew is nothing more than what you ALREADY do as you think.   What you think, and how you think is all about what you are dealing with internally.

 

Phil 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.

 

The Greek words for meditate are:

 

Greek Strong’s # 3191 = meletao – meaning to imagine, think, muse, ponder

Greek Strong’s # 4304 = promeletao – meaning to premeditate or to meditate before.

 

Mark 13:11

But when they shall lead [you], and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate:G3191 but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

 

Luke 21:14

Settle [it] therefore in your hearts, not to meditate beforeG4304 what ye shall answer:

 

Do you ever have that dialogue in yourself on how you will answer someone who is speaking to you?

 

Acts 4:25

Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagineG3191 vain things?

 

This word is directly related to Hebrew Strong’s # 1897 which is used in that Psalms.

 

Ps 2:1

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagineH1897 a vain thing?

 

Do any of these pictures of MEDITATION look anything like the practices of Eastern religion?

 

Let me PROVE again that I KNOW what I am talking about.   Here is my odometer when I arrived at church Sunday morning BEFORE going to the other.  I almost didn’t take the picture.

 

 

NT Verse # 6618

1Tim 4:15

Meditate uponG3191 these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

 

The last verse in the Bible that has the weight = 3191 is:

 

Verse # 23145

Mal 4:6

And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.  Gematria = 3191

 

Webster’s Vol 1 Word # 6618 = BOOK'WORM, n. [book and worm.] A worm or mite that eats holes in books.

Webster’s Vol 2 Word # 6618 = PERVA'DE, v.t. [L. pervado; per and vado,to go; Eng. to wade.]

 

If you were a “bookworm” of Scripture, isn’t that this picture?

 

Rev 10:9

And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take [it], and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.

 

Considering the position of:

 

NT Verse # 6618

1Tim 4:15

Meditate uponG3191 these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

 

Notice the same picture of what comes out of the heart.

 

6618 Verses from the End.

Mark 7:20

And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

Mark 7:21

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

Mark 7:22

Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

Mark 7:23

All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

 

Basically Jesus is saying, whatever is in your heart, is what WILL come out, and if it is evil, WILL defile you.

 

Does any of this look like “meditation” that is practiced in Eastern religion?  None of it is.  The Bible basically is saying the thoughts of your heart is your meditation regardless of how you do it.   Furthermore, to go one step further…

 

Greek Strong’s # 3670 = Confession

 

Rom 10:10

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is madeG3670 unto salvation.

 

This word is a REVEALING of your heart.   It is impossible to “confess” what you don’t believe.   If you don’t believe that Jesus is LORD even if you say you do, it is not a confession.   Every person who prays the “sinners prayer”, UNLESS their heart has embraced the Lord, they have never made a confession of faith in Christ.   They may go through all the motions hiding what is in their heart, but the reality is their walk is not a confession of their faith.  Their walk might merely be a disguise of their heart.

 

Therefore according to Scripture, your meditation is what you are already thinking about, whether it be good or whether it be bad.  Your confession reveals your meditation in your word or deeds.   That is why James says, Faith without works is dead.  If Christ is real in your heart, it would be impossible to not show it in your actions.

 

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Blessings,

 

Wade Balzer

wbalzer@newjerusalem.org