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Love doesn't kill people and throw them into jail for possessing plants (Mark 12:31; Luke 6:31-32).

Drugs, a Biblical Perspective

Although unjust, drug laws nonetheless should be obeyed (Romans 13:1-2; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13), and also the Lord commands to have a sober mind (1 Peter 1:13).

See also Drug & Alcohol Recovery Programs Are Satanic.

Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, . . . . (Genesis 1:11)

And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food"; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. (Genesis 1:29-31)

Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. (Genesis 9:3)

On the third day when God made the plants of the earth, He said they were "good" (Genesis 1:12). Just because evil men misuse something, that does not make that something bad (Romans 14:14). Nevertheless, in a denial of God's Word, there are many who claim some plants are bad, so much so, they kill and incarcerate because of them.

I. Insanity

The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 9:3,

Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

The "evil" and "madness" of men is well illustrated in both the abuse of drugs and the laws prohibiting them. The abuse is quite self-evident, as evil men ruin their minds and lives in self-destructive behavior. But, the prohibition, though very destructive as well, is covered in deceit.

At the beginning of creation and after the flood all green herbs were given for food. That well sums up God's perspective of the lawfulness of possessing and consuming green plants. Unlike man's laws that make the simple possession of certain green plants illegal (e.g. hemp, marijuana, coca, poppy, peyote, etc.), God never commanded any such thing. But, "deceiving spirits" forbid what God has not.

1 Timothy 4:1-3 says,

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith,1 giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry,2 and commanding to abstain from foods3 which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

It is consistent with the working of Satan, "who deceives the whole world" (Revelation 12:9), to speak the opposite of God (e.g. Genesis 3:4). And, since the "whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one" (1 John 5:19), it is no surprise to see "the violent perversion of justice and righteousness" (Ecclesiastes 5:8) via governments "commanding to abstain" from what God "created to be received."

The prohibition man puts on plants and substances is just another example (of many) of man's perverted mind and deceived heart (Jeremiah 17:9). Isaiah 5:20 says,

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.

Government is "for the punishment of evildoers" (1 Peter 2:14). But, when they punish for that which is not evil, they become "God's ministers" (Romans 13:4-6) who oppress4 and bring the woe of Isaiah 5:20 upon themselves. Moreover, their "speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron" (1 Timothy 4:2) is well illustrated via the prohibition against hemp (a food).

The punishment for possessing industrial hemp is particularly evil and insane ("madness"), since it isn't even a mind altering drug. It has no psycho-active effect, and it is indeed good for human consumption (food) and quite useful in a variety of ways. Communist China is noted as the world's biggest producer of hemp, with over 30 other countries allowing industrial hemp cultivation as well.

Yet, in "the land of the free" (one of the most incarcerated countries in the world) the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) insanely forbids its cultivation and possession, not even allowing a "sovereign" nation to grow it. Historically, not too long ago, hemp was promoted by the very same government that now vehmently prohibits it. For example, see the video, "Hemp For Victory." The video well illustrates the government's hard-hearted hypocrisy, as it documents benefits of hemp. Forbidding this plant that is good for food, totally harmless, and quite useful and profitable in a variety of ways is a graphic example of a seared conscience, hypocrisy, and an oppression upon men that is downright evil.

Likewise, the prohibition against marijuana (another form of hemp/food) is grossly evil (as they kill and incarcerate), especially in light of its medicinal qualities. Marijuana can also be eaten without psycho-active effect and has been known for a long time to be quite medically beneficial. According to history, cannabis has been known and used as medicine in the United States at least as far back as 1850.

By 1850, marijuana had made its way into the United States Pharmacopeia [an official public standards-setting authority for all prescription and over-the counter medicines], which listed marijuana as treatment for numerous afflictions, including: neuralgia, tetanus, typhus, cholera, rabies, dysentery, alcoholism, opiate addiction, anthrax, leprosy, incontinence, gout, convulsive disorders, tonsillitis, insanity, excessive menstrual bleeding, and uterine bleeding, among others. Patented marijuana tinctures were sold... (http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.timeline.php?timelineID=000026)

From 1850 to 1941, cannabis was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) and National Formulary (NF). (www.uspharmacist.com/continuing_education/ceviewtest/lessonid/106975/)

Yet, in like manner as with industrial hemp, the Federal government's ban on marijuana is one of psychotic5 duplicity. The DEA claims cannabis (marijuana) has "no currently accepted medical use." Yet, it is reported that the U.S. government has been providing marijuana to patients for medical purposes since 1976. And, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services presently holds a U.S. patent citing medical benefits of cannabis (dated Oct. 7, 2003). In this patent abstract it says,

Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide (sic) variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzhiemer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia. (p. 1)

Later in the patent it notes,

As used herein, a "cannabinoid" is a chemical compound (such as cannabinol, THC or cannabidiol) that is found in the plant species Cannabis saliva (marijuana), . . . . (p. 14, column 10)

The following examples show that both nonpsychoactive cannabidiol, and psychoactive cannabinoids such as THC, can protect neurons from glutamate induced death, by a mechanism independent of cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoids are also be shown (sic) to be potent antioxidants capable of preventing ROS toxicity in neurons. (p. 15, column 12)

There are also several other U.S. granted patents concerning cannabis describing various medical benefits therein (e.g. 6,113,940; 6,132,762; 6,410,588 B1; 2004/0039048 A1; 7,597,910 B2; 8,071,641 B2). And, as of this date, there are about 23 States and the DEA's own DC that have legalized the use of marijuana for numerous medical purposes.

The DEA's ban on hemp (both industrial and medicinal) is a sad and gross example of an evil government that is not for the people (on these matters), but rather against them, against their health and against their prosperity. The DEA's stand is the polar opposite of 3 John 2:

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, . . . (3 John 2).

If the government truly cared about people on these things, hemp (both industrial and medicinal) would not be illegal. And if they were truly concerned about some misusing marijuana, they might offer help for those people, rather than killing them or throwing them into cages like wild beasts. They (those in government) would not want to be treated that way (Luke 6:31). Yet, they think nothing of doing so to others, just as it is written, they are "hateful and hating one another" (Titus 3:3).

II. Illegal Water//Illegal Plants

It is sad to see this folly prevail. The abuse of drugs is indeed sad, and the prohibition against certain plants and particular drugs just makes matters worse. When there is a law against something, it is normal human nature to now want it because it is illegal. As it is written,

Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. (Proverbs 9:17; see also Proverbs 20:17; Romans 7:7-11)

Men are evil (Psalm 14:1-3). People like to do evil things (e.g. Exodus 32:22; Micah 3:1-2). They like to rebel (Proverbs 17:11). So, what was once legal, but is now made illegal, simply making it illegal provokes evil men to want to break the law. Like in the proverb, stolen water is sweet. It's the illegal water that is sweet to men.

Thus, by these laws, the government provokes into existence a whole new class of criminals, who now find sweet savor in the new forbidden fruit (as in the days of prohibition of alcohol). Moreover, those who once peacefully and lawfully farmed, cultivated, prepared, transported, sold, used, and possessed these substances, now suddenly are criminals, if they continue to do so. The creation of these kinds of laws is a crime against peaceful law abiding citizens.

It is no wonder then that we have both a drug abuse problem and an enforcement issue. Of course, the former would not evaporate if drugs were legalized, since drug abuse is immoral by God's law (1 Peter 5:8); and men like to rebel against that (Proverbs 17:11). But the government, by making it illegal to possess, simply gives evil men another reason and provocation to rebel that wouldn't otherwise be there.

But, the enforcement issue would evaporate, since it is a creation of the State. It is reported that in the U.S. almost half of the prison population is incarcerated6 because of drug related crimes, and that America leads the world (except perhaps North Korea) in its incarceration rate (per capita). No such issue would be an issue if these laws were non-existent. Man often creates his own problems (Jeremiah 2:17).

Even worse, it is reported drug laws result in the deaths of thousands via violent drug cartels and street gangs, who are funded via the sales of illegal substances. They prosper, thrive, and get rich because of the drug war (like Al Capone in the days of prohibition) making large profits off the sales of high priced substances due to their illegality. Children are enticed into a life of crime, and police and innocents lose their lives fighting over plants.

Stories are told of death via police, who raid homes of private citizens (sometimes even the wrong homes) and kill people (even in the wrong homes). What a tragedy! Are these innocent people's lives, both police and citizens, really so worthless so as to keep this useless war raging? How many more police and innocent people have to die in this endless war on drugs?

In 2001 Portugal, in part, stopped this madness by decriminalizing drugs. The sky is still intact over Portugal. Colorado also appears to be doing quite well with its legalization of marijuana.

It is reported that Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said:

All we've achieved by prohibition is to fill our jails and make drug dealers quite rich.7

Sadly, most governments would rather see people dead or in prison rather than alive at home foolishly abusing their mind. Whether they realize it or not, that's the decision they make by inforcing the drug laws. Such insanity fits well with Satan's agenda, who himself wants people dead (John 8:44 "murderer") and oppressed (e.g. Acts 10:38). Man wages a drug war that God has never waged, and he causes serious harm and destruction, thinking he's doing good (Proverbs 16:2; 21:2); but he is not. It is reported in the U.S. drugs continue to be available to those who want them, children (even in the schools), adults, and even in prisons. Man thinks he knows better than God (Isaiah 55:8-9). Their pride is profound (Psalm 73:6).

The drug war, in truth, is not a war on "bad" drugs. There are plenty of legal drugs that are used and/or abused and most of them have in their list of possible bad side effects: "death." The drug war is really a war on humans. People are the ones who are being killed and taken prisoner in this war, and those doing the killing and imprisoning are Satan's pawns fulfilling his desire (as in John 8:44; 2 Timothy 2:26). The killing and imprisoning has been effective in removing people to their eternal doom (Hebrews 9:27), but the drugs continue, just as moonshine in the days of prohibition. No doubt, this is all the wrath of God upon men via men (Romans 1:18f; 11:36).

III. Biblical Standard

Although many foolishly think it to be the moral high ground to wage such a sociopathic8 and destructive drug war, Scripture dispels that folly. Before, during, and after the Law of Moses, the Lord in His perfect Word (Psalm 19:7) never prohibits either the possession or use of any plants, and plants are nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9-11). Likewise, no drug is ever generally forbidden, and drugs are nothing new to the mind of man (Ephesians 2:3 "desires of the . . . mind"). Soberness is commanded (1 Thessalonians 5:6, 8; Titus 2:2), but to possess a particular substance is never outlawed. God's law is perfect (Psalm 19:7). Man's law fits well into Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

Death and unnecessary incarceration (which can result in rape, ruin and death) well characterize the drug war. The prisons for this war could well be called, "Criminal Training Centers."

Evil company corrupts good habits. (1 Corinthians 15:33)

And,

the companion of fools will be destroyed. (Proverbs 13:20b)

Prisons are not a good environment.

Moreover, if and when people are released, because our system and our society are unforgiving (Romans 1:31, here for a crime that shouldn't even be a crime), they encourage further unlawful behavior and embolden people into a life of crime. For one, due to the stigma of a criminal record, it is difficult to obtain a decent job. Second, they have just come out of a "Criminal Training Center" in which they have had plenty of time to scheme evil plans and plenty of encouragement to do so. And third, it is quite enticing to make good money selling illegal drugs (1 Timothy 6:10). It's no wonder jail and imprisonment is a revolving door for some.

2 Samuel 23:3 says,

He who rules among man is righteous who rules in the fear of God. (a more literal translation)9

Making certain plants and drugs illegal to possess is neither righteous nor fearing God, because they forbid what God has not (Titus 1:15-16). Thus, they unjustly kill and imprison people for it.

Evil men do not understand justice (Proverbs 28:5).

They do not understand God's Word is the standard for right and wrong (Hebrews 4:12-13). Whether in government or anywhere else, to declare something as evil (e.g. possession of a certain plant or drug) what God has not declared to be evil, is evil (Isaiah 5:20). All those who do so will be judged by and for their ungodly standard (Isaiah 5:20; Matthew 7:1-2; Revelation 21:8).

The Law of Moses, the law God gave to govern sinful men,10 provides for great freedom in this area (Psalm 119:45; 2 Corinthians 3:17). But, unloving men (Romans 1:31; 2 Timothy 3:3) do not believe in nor understand such liberty (1 Peter 2:16). They do not know the liberty of love. The liberty that loves their neighbors as themselves (Mark 12:31). The liberty that treats others as they would want to be treated (Luke 6:31). Love doesn't kill people and throw them into jail for possessing plants.

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3)

God's Word (the love of God) lays no such burden upon men. But, unloving, deceived (2 Timothy 3:13), and perverted men do (Proverbs 14:2). As Israel of old (Hebrews 3:10), they do not know the ways of the Lord. Man's ways are not God's ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them. (Hosea 14:9)

IV. Biblical Example

The only example we have in Scripture of a drug is the drug of alcohol. With this drug, God's example is to give it to them, not forbid it. Proverbs 31 instructs,

Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to those who are bitter of heart. Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more (Proverbs 31:6-7; for more on this, see our report on DARP, particularly point III. Disregard The Word).

This imperative is given to a King (Proverbs 31:1). This instruction tells the one in power to "Give . . . ." the drug. In the days of the prohibition of alcohol the government took and confiscated the drug (alcohol). Instead of having compassion or mercy on the foolish, the government killed and punished the one "who is perishing." So, they do today likewise with other drugs.

Nevertheless, it is the rulers, the government, who should stay away from this particular drug (alcohol), as the verses immediately prior to this say.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes intoxicating drink; lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert the justice of all the afflicted. (Proverbs 31:4-5)

Have our rulers been drinking? They have certainly forgotten God's law, perverted justice, and thrown out compassion as they kill and incarcerate people over plants! Their heavy hand of government upon the people making even the simple possession of certain plants illegal (most don't realize) is driven by greed (1 Timothy 6:10).

Although never forbidden to possess, the only drug particularly regulated in Scripture is the drug of alcohol. Even though part of the worship of God involved alcohol (e.g. Exodus 29:40), even "strong drink" (Numbers 28:7 NAS), it was not to be consumed by the priest when he entered the tabernacle of meeting (Leviticus 10:9-11). This prohibition was given a specific reason. It was so that the priest,

may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean (Leviticus 10:10).

And that he,

may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand of Moses (Leviticus 10:11; see also Isaiah 28:7).

In addition, those under the Nazirite vow were forbidden to consume not only alcohol, but also any grapes along with other regulations as well (Numbers 6; see also Judges 13:3-5, 7, 14). Consequentially, those who gave a Nazirite wine were condemned (Amos 2:11-12).

Of course, abuse and misuse of alcohol is clearly forbidden (Deuteronomy 21:20; Proverbs 20:1; 23:21, 29-35; Isaiah 5:11, 22; Ephesians 5:18), but possession and moderate consumption is actually encouraged.

For example, in the worship of God the Israelites were told they could purchase both wine and strong drink and,

eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household (Deuteronomy 14:26; see KJV or NAS "strong drink").

Ecclesiastes says,

Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; . . . . (Ecclesiastes 9:7; see also Ecclesiastes 8:15; Proverbs 21:17)11

Wine and a merry heart go hand in hand. It makes a person happy, as it is written,

But the vine said to them, "Should I cease my new wine, which cheers both God and men, . . . ." (Judges 9:13)

Wine makes both God and man happy. So, evidently, even God drinks wine. He did so when He was here (Luke 7:33-34).

Moreover, Psalm 104 speaks of the works of God and says,

He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the service of man, that he may bring forth food from the earth, and wine that makes glad the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread which strengthens man's heart. (Psalm 104:14-15)

Wine makes the heart of man happy, as Ecclesiastes 9:19 also notes,

A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes merry; . . . .

Proverbs 17:22 reveals this is a good thing, as it is written,

A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.

Alcohol is also recommended to be used in a pharmaceutical way in 1 Timothy 5:23. Paul writes Timothy,

No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities. (1 Timothy 5:23)

Clearly, wine is good for the heart, stomach, and even other ailments. For more on alcohol in Scripture, see our article on Drinking Alcohol.

Therefore, as the drug of alcohol illustrates, there's a proper and an improper use. So it is with plants and/or drugs. Because some people misuse plants and/or drugs, and even abuse themselves and in excess, this does not make those plants or drugs evil. The people who do so are evil. The substance is not (Romans 14:14).

V. Pharmakeia

In regards to drugs in general, some may argue the use of the Greek word pharmakeia in Scripture shows God's disapproval of drugs. In the Greek NT there is the Greek term φαρμακεία (pharmakeia). It is found in Galatians 5:20; Revelation 9:21; and 18:23 all translated by the KJV; NKJV; NAS (etc.) as "sorcery," "sorceries," or "witchcraft." There is also the Greek word φάρμακοι (pharmakoi) found in Revelation 22:15 & 21:8 (M & CT, φαρμάκοις; RT φαρμάκεῦσι) typically translated "sorcerers." Depending on the English translation, these words (and a few others) are sometimes translated as "drug" or "drugs."

The following are a few examples of this:

  • Common English Bible (CEB) translates Galatians 5:20 as "drug use and casting spells," and Revelation 9:21; 21:8 "drugs" and 22:15 "drug." It translates Revelation 18:23 "spell you cast." "Drug" or "drugs" is not found elsewhere in the CEB except in the apcrypha (Wisdom 12:4; 18:13; 3 Maccabees 5:2, 10).
  • Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) in Galatians 5:20; Revelation 9:21; 21:8; 22:15 are all translated "drugs." JCB translates Revelation 18:23 "magic spell."
  • Contemporary English Version (CEV) translates the Greek word choles (χολῆς) in Matthew 27:34 as "drug" (NKJV, KJV "gall"). In Acts 8:23 it translates this same word as "jealous" (KJV "gall;" NKJV "poisoned"). Choles is found in the LXX in Deuteronomy 27:18 (LXX, H 17, KJV "gall"; NKJV "bitterness"); 32:32 (KJV, NKJV "gall"); Psalm 69:21 (LXX 68:22; H 69:22, KJV, NKJV "gall"); Proverbs 5:4 (KJV, NKJV "wormwood"); Job 16:13 (KJV, NKJV "gall"); 20:14 (KJV "gall"; NKJV "venom"); Jeremiah 8:14 (KJV, NKJV "gall"); 9:15 (LXX, H 14, KJV, NKJV "gall"); Lamentation 3:15 (KJV, NKJV "wormwood"); 3:19 (KJV, NKJV "gall").

In Mark 15:23 the CEV translates the participle esmurvismenon (ἐσμυρνισμένον NKJV, KJV "mingled with myrrh") as "mixed with a drug." This Greek word is only found here in Mark 15:23. The Greek word for "myrrh" is smurna (σμύρνα) and is found in the LXX in Exodus 30:23; Psalm 45:8 (H9; LXX 44:9); Song of Solomon 3:6; 4:6, 14; 5:1, 5 (2x), 13. In the NT it is found in Matthew 2:11 & John 19:39 and is the name of the city in Revelation 1:11 & 2:8, "Smyrna."

  • Darby translates the Hebrew word sammiym (סַמִּים) "fragrant drugs" in Exodus 25:6; 30:34; 31:11; 35:8, 15, 28; 37:29; 39:38. In Exodus 30:7; 40:27; Leviticus 4:7; 16:12; and Numbers 4:16 Darby translates the same word "fragrant" and in 2 Chronicles 2:4 & 13:11 "sweet."
  • GOD'S WORD Translation (GWT) translates Galatians 5:20 "drug use." It translates Revelation 9:21 "practicing witchcraft;" 18:23 "witchcraft;" 21:8 & 22:15 "sorcerers." For Matthew 27:34 GWT translates choles (χολῆς) "a drug called gall," and Mark 15:23 (esmurvismenon) "mixed with a drug called myrrh."
  • Good News Translation (GNT) translates Mark 15:23 (esmurvismenon) "mixed with a drug called myrrh." "Drug" or "drugs" is not found elsewhere in the GNT except in the apcrypha (Sirach 38:7 "druggist").
  • J. B. Phillips New Testament translates the Greek word choles in Matthew 27:34 as "drug." In Acts 8:23 it translates this same word as "jealousy." In Mark 15:23 the participle esmurvismenon is "drugged."
  • Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB, a paraphrase) for Revelation 22:15 (OJB, Hisgalus 22:15) reads,

    “Outside are the kelevim (dogs) and the mekhashfim (sorcerers, abusers of drugs; [T.N. the original language “pharmakoi” is where we derive the word for “drugs”; sorcerers often abused drugs to hallucinate or induce a passive state when they worked their magic and witchcraft; see Ga 5:20 and Rv 21:8] (bold added)

For Galatians 5:20 OJB has "kashefanut (sorcery, witchcraft)," Revelation 9:21 "kishufim (sorceries);" 18:23 "kashefanut (sorcery);" 21:8 "mekhashfim (sorcerers)." In 1 Timothy 3:2 (OJB Timotiyos I 3:2) they have "drug free and clear-headed" for the Greek word nephalion (νηφάλιον KJV "sober"; NKJV "sober-minded").

Even if these translations were correct, it would still come down to the misuse of drugs, not simply the use of them (Titus 1:15).

Nevertheless, we can look further at the above Greek words (and those related) via the Septuagint (LXX, Greek OT). In the LXX there is pharmaka (NKJV "witchcraft," 2 Kings 9:22; "sorceries," Micah 5:12 [LXX & H 11]; Nahum 3:4 [2x]), pharmakeia (NKJV "enchantments," Exodus 7:11, 22; 8:7 [LXX & H 3], 18 [LXX & H 14]; "sorceries," Isaiah 47:9, 12), pharmakos (NKJV "sorcerers" Exodus 7:11; "magicians," 9:11; "sorceress" 22:18 [LXX 17; H17]; "sorcerer" Deuteronomy 18:10; "charmers" Psalm 58:5 [LXX 57:6; H58:6]; "sorcerers" Jeremiah 27:9 [LXX 34:9]; Daniel 2:2; Malachi 3:5), and the verb pharmakeuo (NKJV "used sorcery," 2 Chronicles 33:6; "charming," Psalm 58:5 [LXX 57:6; H58:6]). It's evident from the usage, when the context is clear, these are used for a sorcery/witchcraft type of meaning.

The passage in Exodus 7:11 is particularly emphatic in that both pharmakeia and pharmakos are used in the verse and the context is clearly sorcery. To get an idea of how it reads, here is a translation of Exodus 7:11 (LXX) with those two Greek words transliterated (not translated).
And Pharaoh called together the wise of Egypt and the pharmakous, and the magicians of Egypt also did likewise with their pharmakeiais.

Here the pharmakous (plural of pharmakos) are the ones doing the pharmakeiais (plural of pharmakeia), and what do they do? They turn two rods into snakes (Exodus 7:12). That's sorcery. Likewise, as noted above, Exodus 7:22; 8:7, 18 (pharmakeia) and 9:11 (pharmakos) are all in this context of sorcery.

VI. "Christian" Folly

Nonetheless, many make an unbiblical case against drugs. For example, Steve Rudd ("church of Christ") has an article entitled "Drugs and the Bible: E, Shrooms, Cocaine, Crack, Marijuana" (www.bible.ca/s-marijuana.htm) in which he states,
Simon would give hallucinogen [sic] drugs like "THC" (cannabis) "Psylocibin" [sic]12 or "Cybelcyblin" [sic] (magic mushroom) "Cocaine", "Heroin" (poppy plant) to someone, wait a few minutes then as the drug starts to set in, start waving his hands around giving the impression that HIS POWER is causing all the pink elephants to fly.

The "Simon" he speaks of is the Simon of Acts 8:9. Rudd does well here at adding to God's Word (Proverbs 30:5-6). Scripture says no such thing.

Steve Rudd further writes,
"Where was Jesus offered drugs and refused?": on the cross "Gall" Mt 27:34.

Even if that was a "drug," it doesn't say why He refused it. People may claim to know why, but Scripture doesn't say; and so neither should we (Proverbs 30:5-6).

Also in this article Steve Rudd writes,
The argument of a glass of wine a day as a reduction in heart problems, is invented by wine companies who fail to tell you that you get 10 times the positive effect by just drinking straight grape juice!
Actually, as already noted, it was "invented" by God. The beneficial use of alcohol is clear in Judges 9:13; Psalm 104:15, and Proverbs 17:22. "Cheers" (Judges 9:13), "makes glad" (Psalm 104:15), and "merry" (Proverbs 17:22) are all from the same Hebrew root word שָׂ֭מֵחַ (sameach). When you put these verses together it can be seen that wine is good medicine for the heart, as Proverbs 17:22 more literally says,
A merry heart does good medicine . . . .
Rudd continues his argument against drugs and writes,
Illicit drugs destroy the body and are condemned: 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19.

Neither of those passages condemns drugs. First of all, the Bible knows nothing of illicit drugs, let alone drugs in particular (other than alcohol). Thus, there is no condemnation thereof (1 Corinthians 6:12). Second, it is the misuse of drugs that destroy the body. Scripture condemns the misuse of anything (Romans 2:8 "self-seeking"; 1 Corinthians 10:31).

Moreover, 1 Corinthians 3:16 says,

Do you not know that you [plural] are the temple [singular] of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you [plural]?

1 Corinthians 3:16 addresses the body of Christ, the church. 1 Corinthians 6:19 does indeed address the physical body of believers, but the immediate context (prior verse) is not about drugs, health issues, or putting things into the body, but rather sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18). Then, the following verse says,

For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

The believer's physical body is certainly God's, and the believer should surely "glorify God" in his body. But, how is that done? "By taking heed according to Your word" (Psalm 119:9), and the word says nothing about illicit drugs. Scripture does talk about obeying the governing authorities (Romans 13:1-5; 1 Peter 2:13-17). So, if the government has declared them illegal, then they are illegal (by the decree of men). But, the Bible itself does not declare any drugs illegal or illicit.

Rudd continues his argument against drugs saying,
5. Illicit drugs are condemned because its fruit is rotten. Matthew 7:17ff. Frequent drug users are losers with messed up lives constantly shooting themselves in the foot. Eventual loss of family, wealth, jobs, friends and life itself. Drug users are associated with biker gangs, going to bars, immoral sexual activity, illegal activity. Successful people do not use drugs. Take a look at the people who use drugs and line them up with people who do not... big difference!

That looks like it is written by a man who doesn't get out much. There are plenty of "successful" people in the world who use drugs, so much so that certain groups of successful people are stereo typed with this behavior (e.g. rock bands, artists, etc.).

Moreover, just because people misuse a substance that, in itself, does not mean the substance is "rotten." Water can be misused (Revelation 12:15). That doesn't make water "rotten." Furthermore, Rudd seriously twists Matthew 7:17. The bad fruit in Matthew 7:17-20 is from a human, a bad tree, a false prophet (Matthew 7:15-23). Drugs are from a literal plant (or substance) and are put into a human. Rudd has it backwards. But, so does the rest of the false Christian world. They are as Jesus said to the Jews:

Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15:7-9)

Endnotes:

1. Historically, the U.S. was founded largely by false Christians and throughout its history has had a great deal of influence from false Christianity (both Catholic and Protestant and otherwise). To this day, false Christianity is quite prevalent throughout the United States.

1 Timothy 4:1 says they "will depart from the faith." That is how false teachers are described in 2 Peter 2:21.

For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.

2. As the "commanding to abstain from foods" in 1 Timothy 4:1-3 is applicable to our wicked government, so is the "forbidding to marry" realized in our ungodly laws. It is illegal in the United States to marry more than one wife. That is explicity "forbidding to marry." God lays no such prohibition in His Word (see our article on polygamy), but "deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons" (1 Timothy 4:1-3) prohibit what God does not.

3. In 1 Timothy 4:3 what the NKJV translates as "foods" the KJV translates as "meats," but it is not technically the word for meats. Κρέα (krea, found in Romans 14:21 & 1 Corinthians 8:13) is the word for meat in the NT. The Greek word in 1 Timothy 4:3 translated "foods" (NKJV) or "meats" (KJV) is βρωμάτων (brômatôn), and it is a general word for food. That can be seen, for example, in Matthew 14:15 where it is translated "food" (NKJV) or "victuals" (KJV, "victuals" = food), or 1 Corinthians 10:3, spiritual "food" (KJV spiritual "meat"). For the spiritual food of 1 Corinthians 10:3 see Psalm 78:23-25 ("angels' food," more lit., "mighty ones' bread" לֶ֣חֶם אַ֭בִּירִים; see also Exodus 16:4 & Nehemiah 9:15). Likewise, LXX translates the Hebrew general word for "food," אֹ֭כֶל ('ochel), with this Greek word, βρῶμα (brôma), in Psalm 107:18, and likewise also in Ezekiel 4:10; and there the context is not meat (see Ezekiel 4:9).

Moreover, some may argue over the Greek word κτίσμα (ktisma) in 1 Timothy 4:4 which is translated "creature" by the NKJV & KJV (ASV; Douay-Rheims; Darby; ERV; Webster's; WEB; YLT). The argument might be that 1 Timothy 4:1-4 is only referring to the forbidding of eating certain animals. Therefore, the forbidding of certain plants could not be included here.

A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament (Arndt & Gringrich) defines κτίσμα (ktisma) as "that which is created." That is how the NAS translates it.

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude (1 Timothy 4:4 NAS; see also NLT; NIV; ESV; HCSB; WNT)

The prior verse, 1 Timothy 4:3, uses language consistent with this general wording. In 1 Timothy 4:3 in reference to the "foods" (βρωμάτων), these are the words used: "which God created" (1 Timothy 4:3, ἃ ὁ Θεὸς ἔκτισεν). The relative plural neuter pronoun, ἃ (ha) "which," in verse 3 refers to the plural neuter noun βρωμάτων (foods) in verse 3 and the singular neuter noun κτίσμα (ktisma) in verse 4.

Κτίσμα (ktisma) is also only found in the NT in James 1:18; Revelation 5:13 & 8:9. The use in those Scriptures begs the question: Is it biblically proper to call a plant a "creature" (a κτίσμα)? James 1:18 speaks of "the firstfruits of His creatures." Revelation 5:13 has "every creature" praising the Lamb. Who all does that include? Revelation 5:13 says,

And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!"

This praise is very much like the praise of Psalm 148 which commands virtually every created thing to praise the Lord (see also 1 Chronicles 16:33; Psalm 69:34; 96:12; 96:12; Isaiah 14:8). In Revelation 8:9 "a third of the creatures in the sea died" (KJV). From the context (verses 8-9), it would indicate any kind of life (sea vegetation included) would be dead, as even the ships themselves are destroyed (verse 9).

Nevertheless, God has given both plants and animals for food (Genesis 9:3), for βρῶμα (brôma). Thus, "commanding to abstain from" that "which God created to be received" (which includes both plants and animals) is consistent with the activity of "deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons" (1 Timothy 4:1-3).

4. Oppress: to crush or burden by abuse of power or authority (www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oppress). King Asa (2 Chronicles 14:1-16:14) is a classic Biblical example of a ruler who actually started out good, and for quite sometime (2 Chronicles 15:17), but in the end "oppressed some of the people" (2 Chronicles 16:10) and "did not seek the Lord" (2 Chronicles 16:12).

5. Psychotic: having or relating to a very serious mental illness that makes you act strangely or believe things that are not true (www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/psychotic).

6. Incarceration is an oppressive way to deal with mankind, particularly for something that shouldn't be illegal in the first place. In the Law of Moses God never gave locking up a criminal as a form of punishment, and "the law of the Lord is perfect" (Psalm 19:7).

But incarceration is nothing new under the Sun. Job knew prisons were oppressive. When he cursed the day of his birth, in speaking about the advantages of death, he says,

There the prisoners rest together; They do not hear the voice of the oppressor. (Job 3:18; see also Psalm 146:7)

Nevertheless, God Himself does use prisons and incarcerates men for their disobedience to Him, and when they turn to Him there, He delivers them. See Psalm 107:10-16. In the afterlife also, God has put some men in prison (1 Peter 3:19-20). But for those in that prison, there is a hope for salvation (1 Peter 3:18-20; 4:6).

7. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9728034/Washington-state-lights-up-as-smoking-marijuana-becomes-legal.html (last paragraph)

8. Sociopathic: of, relating to, or characterized by asocial or antisocial behavior (www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sociopathic). An appropriate term for such policies that are so antihuman and anticompassion.

9. אָמַר אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לִי דִבֶּר צוּר יִשְׂרָאֵל מוֹשֵׁל בָּאָדָם צַדִּיק מוֹשֵׁל יִרְאַת אֱלֹהִים (Hebrew for 2 Samuel 23:3)

The God of Israel said to me, the Rock of Israel spoke, “He who rules among man is righteous who rules in the fear of God.” (2 Samuel 23:3, a more literal translation)

10. The Law of Moses is a perfect law (Psalm 19:7) for governing sinful men (that's the context in which it was given). In God's perfect law, some sin is actually explicitly allowed. For example, Deuteronomy 24:1 allows husbands to divorce their wives. Such an act is a serious breach of love (Galatians 5:14), and in Matthew 19:3-6 Jesus reveals it was sin to do so from "the beginning." Yet, the Law explicitly allowed it nonetheless.

Likewise, drunkenness is sin (Ephesians 5:18), but the Law never punishes anyone for simply getting drunk. A rebellious unrepentant son who is a drunkard certainly receives the death penalty (Deuteronomy 21:18-21) along with any who might hit or curse their parents as well (Exodus 21:15, 17; Leviticus 20:9). Yet, for a person who might simply get drunk, there is not even so much as a sin offering for that, or even a specific prohibition against it.

11. Ecclesiastes 9:7 says, "and drink your wine with a merry heart." The Hebrew for this is וּשֲׁתֵה בְלֶב־טוֹב יֵינֶךָ
This reads more literally, "and drink your wine in a heart of good." Very similar language is used elsewhere.

For example, in 1 Samuel 25:36 it says in the Hebrew, וְלֵב נָבָל טוֹב עָלָיו וְהוּא שִׁכֹּר עַד־מְאֹד This more literally reads, "and the heart of Nabal was good upon him, and he was drunk unto excess." 2 Samuel 13:28 says, "when Amnon's heart is merry with wine." This more literally reads, "when Amnon's heart is good in wine" (כְּטוֹב לֵב־אַמְנוֹן בַּיַּיִן). Esther 1:10 likewise reads (more literally), "when the heart of the king was good in wine" (כְּטוֹב לֵב־הַמֶּלֶךְ בַּיָּיִן). Judges 16:25 also more literally reads, "And when their heart was good" (וַיְהִי כִּי טוֹב לִבָּם).

12. "Psylocibin" should be "psilocybin."

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