The Greek Word Pharmakeia


By David Canfil

In response to the question, "pharmakeia" is the Greek word that's translated "witchcraft" or "sorcery" in Gal. 5:20, i.e. one of the "works of the flesh". This Greek word is the source of our English words like "pharmacy", "pharmaceutical", etc. Drugs are inferred.

The study of the origin and development of words (called Etymology) can sometimes mislead as much as clarify. But narcotics and hallucinogenic drugs were not uncommon in NT times. For instance, the Oracles of Delphi apparently used *Datura* during their quests for visions. This is the scientific, Latin classification of Jimson weed. It contains powerful alkaloids (biochemical bases of vegetable origin which include many other drugs, quite a number of which have narcotic or hallucinogenic effects: e.g. mescaline, cocaine, morphine, etc. Etc.).

In Carlos Casteneda's books about his anthropological research with a Yaqui Indian "brujo" (Spanish for "witch" or "sorcerer"), we encounter Datura being employed for vision quests. The sorcerer also used mescaline, and various other substances.

Now, the majority of people abusing drugs today aren't using the drugs as parts of deliberate supernatural rituals, but for "recreation".

The supernatural, however, is inescapable whether a person believes in it or not.

One form of worship today which doesn't seem like religion at first, but which is very common and which does in fact have supernatural significance, is Self. People love pleasures rather than God. When we are selfish it does no harm to God, it hurts us.

Much drug use today begins as a quest for self-absorbed pleasure, or escape. The drugs are not inherently evil in themselves. The evil emerges from unredeemed hearts and minds as they commit spiritual adultery.

The enemy tries to fuel these processes along, trying to bring people under physical, psychological and spiritual bondage. Satanists are often involved in chains of supply, and they are involved in two ways.

First of all, people covenanted with the evil one are often the actual suppliers of drugs. Notice how it often happens that authorities arrest users, dealers and smugglers, but very seldom the actual, original suppliers? They seem "protected", and are, by dark forces.

Secondly, just as Christians seek God's will and blessings on their enterprises, Satanists often dose drug operations and the drugs themselves with "energy", i.e. spells, seeking their master's purposes. People who are not believers in anything then obtain and use the drugs, and they are extremely vulnerable.

I'm not communicating speculations here, and share things not ordinarily suspected or understood. As we seek to serve our Lord Jesus Christ in the world, Satanists seek to serve their master. We seek souls. They do too. We seek to free captives. They seek to captivate and bring souls under bondage.

Drugs can be "useful" operations. Also grab lots of money. The Mafia and others who help supply the drugs think they are getting power, but actually a power is using them.

Finally, it has to be said that kids are RIGHT to seek meanings beyond the "normal" values of middle-class American life, beyond the values of personal affluence plus personal "happiness" plus nothing. But drugs aren't the answer. They aren't a satisfactory alternative.

See also, by the way, Rev. 9:21 and 18:23

by David Canfil

By Rev. Jack Barr

The word "pharmakeia" is used three times in the New Testament. Once as "Witchcraft" in Gal. 5:20, and twice as "sorcery" in Rev. 9:21; 18:23.

It is listed as #5331 in Strong's Concordance. The definition given is as follows:

  1. The use or the administering of drugs
  2. poisoning
  3. sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and fostered by it.
  4. metaph. The deceptions and seductions of idolatry.

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