Have you ever felt moved to do things due to crowds about you? Have you seen crowds shouting as one voice, and mobs turning violent? Have you heard of the madness of crowds? Due to strange illogical behaviours regarding vaccines recently a doctor who worked on inventing the current generation of vaccines popularised the scientific term “Mass Formation Psychosis” to describe the strange global crowd behaviour where some even seek that people die.
The whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre. (Acts 19:29)
There is indeed nothing new under the sun. The modern person can't look back at the events recorded in ancient Ephesus in Acts 19 and scoff, as we see multiple similar crowd behaviours right now globally, as people flock like starlings. Recently a conversation between Mattias Desmet a researcher in psychology from Ghent University Belgium and a vaccine inventor revealed that doctors who would not agree with consensus and who had not succumbed to the strange mass formation behaviour of fear were practicing Christian or Jewish faith. It is known that more intelligent people are more susceptible for reasons not fully understood possibly due to social status, so it made these faithful doctors stand against 'consensus' even more remarkable.
In prosperous Ancient Ephesus when the Gospel of the truth of the Bible comes preaching only an unseen God is Great, all people began thinking, questioning and talking. A healthy debate begins, that leads to uncertainly among many. Demetrius a silversmith reveals there was a narrative that the idol of Diana was great. Nobody knows why Diana was great, but Demetrius who had big profits at stake in selling likely vastly overpriced poor quality mass-produced cast icons began stirring up other workmen regarding their profits, when in truth they might have made bookends, pointers, platters, cups, lamps and other items to meet the needs of the new worship. Going further Demetrius suggested the whole city was going to lose, as 'all the world' (Acts 19:27) according to Demetrius worshiped in their city. In fact Ephesus is now visited by millions only because it was a centre of a ancient Christianity, so there was no truth in that argument either. But orators stirring up fear might prefer exaggeration over logic.
After the craftsmen were stirred up the mass formation begins and the whole city instead of going about its important day to day business is cast into confusion. The Mass Formation at Ephesus meets the criteria that Mattias Desmet notes. Mass formations come from all the factors of a irreligious society: social isolation in lack of community, life as meaningless and purposeless which when combined with widespread free-floating anxiety and discontent lead to frustration and aggression, which then become utilised by a leader who focuses on just one matter of the anxiety. We may think of the modern role of politicians and media in stirring up people in fear so they stop working.
The next act of Mass Formation in Ephesus occurred without any thought at all on the part of those involved – and this we must consider as it would be so easy to be caught up in it as even Paul had to be warned stay away. The mass formation 'as one person' finds two of the newcomers with Paul. The crowd know them as people of the new idea that challenges the dominant narrative causing the anxiety and the mass formed group violently takes Gaius and Aristarchus. How many talking heads in focusing on the faithless crisis they have made of a virus facing the modern city have you heard saying that the non-vaxed or non-cloth masked should be removed and banished from this place or that and scorn poured on the doctors or leaders who advocate a different approach and various early treatments? It is one step away from people being seized. In some places people have been seized and removed from places. In others they have been banned from the cyber public forums the modern version of the public square and canceled. With one accord in Mass Formation the people of the city took Gaius and Aristarchus to the theater, a place of mass gathering.
Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. (Acts 19:32)
We are told that most didn't even know why they were there in the Mass Formation, and in a modern parallel most who support the dominant narrative of how to treat the virus, the modern threat facing the city, do not know why logically they should do what they are doing to meet the expressed aims. But look what happens when someone tries to stand up before the Mass Formation and reason using logic,
And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people. But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. (Acts 19:33-34)
In the new disputations of the city causing divisions and anxiety Jews were neither 'of Diana' or 'of Christ'. Before even listening to what this objective neutral party had to say the Mass Formation were as a group without logic, looking at his tribe, or in modern idiom his 'race' or the colour of his skin! Alexander was canceled before he could utter one possibly non-acceptable thought.
Then we see something truly amazing, they shout 'as one person' for fully two hours about something they do not know they fully believe! Could any prove that Diana was great, had Demetrius offered any proof to show Diana was great? We as servants of Christ need to consider how this happens, and that there is now a field of study as to how and why it happens in the modern world on a nation wide and global scale. The ancient Theatre is now our lounge room and even the phone for those with Internet on their phone. The Ancient city is nearly all the world due to the speed of travel of ideas. They know that mass formations of people are now national and global and they last for longer than in the past.
Birds gather as 'one bird'
We do not know what would have happened to the hapless men Gaius and Aristarchus if by Providence the Town Clerk had not had influence. Even so the Clerk only gains control of the Mass Formation as he affirms the myths of their superstition. He then suggests that they have control of the legal system and then he points out that there is a higher authority they have to answer to: Rome. The Clerk resting in the military power of Rome ends with a truth bomb.
For we are in danger to be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. (Acts 19:40)
Desmet the scholar studying the social phenomena of modern mass formation speaks of the fear of the French revolution terror that ended up turning on itself, the Russian communist revolution that also illogically in fear turned on itself, the fears of the national socialism phenomena and even McCarthyism. We can see that Demetrius in Ancient Ephesus used the tool of irrational fear. Objective analysis in the recent virus crisis of the global city, many have been puzzled as to the overreaction of authority and media as if they are in fear and seek to stoke fears. It was not only in the matter of the virus, but also in politics of race. It is often hard to see modern events clearly. The ancient example is much more easily seen.
To show that the Ephesian debacle is not peculiar to the Greek 'race', but of all people. Stephen whose long logical argument had no answer, is stoned by a Mass Formation.
Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. (Acts 7:56-58)
Paul who could not defeat Stephen's logic was a leader in that illogical mass formation stoning Stephen, later as if his life is a mirror, he also is threated by another Mass Formation
And some cried one thing, some another, among the multitude: and when he (the Captain) could not know the certainty for the tumult, he commanded him (Paul) to be carried into the castle. And when he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people. For the multitude of the people followed after, crying, Away with him. (Acts 21:34-36)
The most famous mass formation, based on the leaders irrational fear of losing influence both from Rome and from the people, was the one stirred by the Jewish leaders of Roman Judea that led to the crucifixion of Y'shua anointed king and son of God.
In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. (Mat 26:55)
But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. (Mat 27:20)
When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. (Mat 27:24)
It might be easy in the arm chair of history to think that it was in another world, when in fact it is this one we live in. Can we persuade ourselves we would have done better than John or Peter and by shouting out the logical truth stop the mass-'unthinking' forming that deadly mob? How many protesters would go out and stand for wisdom and justice in small numbers when the justice isn't popular? Its easy to protest when the matter is itself arising from a popular Mass Formation among people the most part, who like the Ephesians, do not know why they are there and could not argue a case as to why their voice should be heard! Paul when he comes to himself after being caught up in the mass formation that killed Christ and Stephen and led him to go to other cities such as Damascus to kill others, says the crowd killing was due to a lack of wisdom!
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1Corinthians 2:7-8)
Christ's servants seek the wisdom of God. We need it now more than ever. We live in a age where the whole world is one city of Ephesus and there are many such as Demetrius. We have also been told specifically that God sends national mass delusions as nations now do evil.
I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. (Isaiah 66:4)
Paul implies that the principle Isaiah speaks of applies to all nations and peoples if they reject God's ways
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, (Romans 1:21-22)
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Thess 2:11-12)
As the state of evil of the last days of Noah and Lot is reached causing irreligious anxiety, there is one great delusion and fear sent forth we need to take note of: the call of the nations by 'the frog-like spirits' of revolution to the battle of Armageddon in the place with the Hebrew name in Israel (Revelation 16). Many who call themselves Christians will fall into the trap of the delusional mass formation of peoples standing against Israel which is God's work in Zion.
Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind. (Isaiah 17:12-13)
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. (Joel 3:14)
Desmet warns that the Mass Formations are bigger and longer than in the past. Let us as Servants of Christ beware to maintain right thinking and uphold God's mercy and justice, not rushing with multitudes to lynch people before they hear even the facts of a matter.
Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: (1Peter 4:4)
Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment: (Exodus 23:2)
Our Lord prayed for us that we be kept separate from the world and its thinking,
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (Joh 17:15-16)
The Apostle John warns us that we need to be of the Father.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (1Jn 2:16)
Mass Formations that can be subjected to effective unthinking hypnosis have leaders such as Demetrius. The Servants of Christ seek truth (Jn 18:37) and follow none but their Shepherd Lamb!
When he puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. (John 10:4-5)
These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. (Rev 14:4)
Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God. (3John 1:11)