A Nation of Witches and Sorcerers

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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
I'm posting the article (attaching it, actually) on this forum as it pertains to a phenomena attending the end of last days of the New Testament era.

This topic is further dealt with in the literary work, A Great and Terrible Love: A Visionary Journey from Woodstock's Sorceries to God's Paradise (or here).

It is pertinent as New York's governor Andrew Coumo is preparing to legalize recreational marijuana here in 2019, and the churches are unprepared to deal with it biblically. This is already the case in many of our states.
 

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nickipicki123

Puritan Board Freshman
Something to consider... Now that it's legal in CA, the accents to research its medicinal uses have opened up quite a bit. Now they are breeding strands of MJ that are low in THC (which is what makes you high). Personally i don't see a problem with it if it doesn't make you high.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Now they are breeding strands of MJ that are low in THC (which is what makes you high).

I thought it was the exact opposite. I know they can make it low in THC, but nobody is doing that. The point is to get high. I thought the THC levels were exponentially higher now than during the hippie days.
 

nickipicki123

Puritan Board Freshman
I thought it was the exact opposite. I know they can make it low in THC, but nobody is doing that. The point is to get high. I thought the THC levels were exponentially higher now than during the hippie days.
I think there's both going on. Plenty of people want the medicinal uses but don't want to get high.
 

nickipicki123

Puritan Board Freshman
I thought it was the exact opposite. I know they can make it low in THC, but nobody is doing that. The point is to get high. I thought the THC levels were exponentially higher now than during the hippie days.
The illegal strands that come from places like Mexico are probably the worst, but i don't really know
 

Cedarbay

Puritan Board Freshman
Medicinal cannabis comes in various strengths and modes of injesting. The lowest ratio of THC is still psychogenic, which is the concern of the OP as it regards the church.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Why is the rise in marijuana a sign of the last times but not the opiods which have been killing people for decades?

I am assuming you are not a supporter of the legalization of CBD oil for epilepsy?
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
Perg, I do think the non-psychoactive CBD is fine for various medicinal uses. (I gather you didn't read the article.)

A lot of drugs kill people, but rending the veil between dimensions is in a different class. I had to briefly take opioids when I had a surgery recently, and it did me no harm. Even food kills people if overdone.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I read it. I just don't quite get it.

You seem to distinguish between drugs which dull the senses and drugs which heighten the senses. I was wondering where you held marijuana, since it makes stoners pretty dull. But you go the opposite way and write:

"Those folks who use the drug marijuana recreationally—to enhance the senses of taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing—may deny any occult experience, yet they still have been transported into the realm of spiritual power and influence, and the spirits now have access into their minds and spirits (Eph. 6:12, 16)."

You also seem to broadly condemn drugs for pain relief:

"But what of its medicinal use? This is important. For it is very appealing to many folks, of all ages, perhaps especially the more elderly, as we tend to fall apart as we get older! Although younger saints are more active, and may have injuries from sports or other strenuous activity. Plus we all have extended family, where others close to us may be casual users. Medicinal use is a more nuanced topic than the world realizes, not having spiritual discernment. But we who are Christ’s must have it especially given the times we live in. It is the much-praised medicinal use that opened the door of the culture’s reluctance to its recreational use. It is truly a proverbial Trojan Horse, and this one from Hell itself."

A proverbial Trojan Horse from hell itself seems strong for pot. It seems over-stated if one has intractable severe pain and this pain can be lessened by a medicine. Opium and other drugs do wonders for severe pain.

What is your stance on pain relief? What is permissible?

Of all the drugs, you focus on marijuana the most...which seems a little silly given the effects of pot versus the other drugs out there.

How do you define "high" in the case of patients taking medicinal marijuana for the relief of pain? Many pain relief drugs cloud the thoughts a bit. When is a cancer patient "high" exactly? when the pain goes away? And isn't that the point?

Conclusion: I think you make a leap too far. Many sorcerers and shamans take drugs to put them into spirit-trances, but this does not mean all who take drugs are practicing sorcery.

The Bible even speaks of giving strong drink to the depressed and dying, with the aim that they will not remember their woes. And wine is to make glad the hearts of men (i.e. mood-altering).
 
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A.Joseph

Puritan Board Senior
I do think it’s often a vicious cycle in which a ‘necessary’ evil can swiftly become dependency and normalcy.

Relief from pain in any/many forms are an undeserved blessing. However, there is another side to this equation.


“The action of hashish is as varied as life itself and seems to be determined almost entirely by the will or mood of the ‘assassin,’ and that within the hedges of his mental and moral form. I can get fantastic visions, or power of mind ? analysis, or spiritual exaltation, or sexual excitement of various kinds, or ravenous hunger, or vigor of imagination, whichever I please, absolutely at will, on a minute dose of the Parker Davis extract. This is simply because I have discovered the theory and perfected the practice of the instrument.”
– Aleister Crowley 1920

“If hashish-analogy be able to assist us here, it is in that supreme state in which man has built himself up into God” -AC
https://www.pot.tv/video/1999/11/01/80/
 
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timfost

Puritan Board Senior
If herbs are for eating, is topical use forbidden? It would seem that if we reject smoking/inhaling on the grounds that it is not eating, we should also forbid topical uses, such as essential oils which are derived from herbs, etc. and applied topically or diffused into the air which we inhale.

When taken in small enough doses, even THC has medicinal uses such as pain relief, which the article rejects outright. To say that this part of marijuana is demonic does not account for the facts. I know someone personally who smoked a little marijuana in a state where it was legalized and the effect was more like a little alcohol in contrast to what the article suggests.

Why blanketly bind Christian consciences with "do not touch, do not taste, do not handle"?

I agree that it is critical that Christians stay away from demonic influence. What the article lacks, in my opinion, is any proof that the use of marijuana necessarily invites demonic influence. Rather, I would treat it like alcohol, where a warning is in order since it can be abused.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
I focus on marijuana because it’s the one legal substance (in many American states) in the psychedelic class, even though the NY Times continually pushes the envelope as regards LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, etc. The NYT has already been a huge advocate for the legalization of pot.

About the state of being “high”: I can remember when I had open heart surgery in ’96 I was given Tylenol #3 (300 mg of acetaminophen and 15 mg of caffeine, in combination with 30 mg of codeine phosphate) to deal with the pain in the weeks following. At a certain point I got high taking the pills, and I stopped. The “high” was a sense of psychic and somatic euphoria, whereas before there was not, only relief of the pain. This “high” from narcotics and opioids is qualitatively different from the “high” of psychedelics. With the former it was “psychic and somatic euphoria” and with the latter it was an expansion of consciousness in another realm or dimension. While the above is merely personal and anecdotal, this “anecdotal” report is common to a great multitude of users. True, not all users experience extra-dimensional awareness, yet it is known that all users have been exposed to the demonic realm, whether aware of it or not.

Here at PB we have had many discussions regarding demonic activity in the NT age, and some here do not believe there is demonic activity that can affect the believer—or even the cultures themselves—due to the victory of Jesus Christ over Satan at the cross, His resurrection, and exaltation. Though many missionaries active in primitive cultures would affirm that Satan, although vanquished by the Saviour, is on a long leash, and the unregenerate, and sinful, are vulnerable to his influence and infiltration.

As regards standard pain relief, I believe it is both permissible and highly desirable, even though they can make one a bit groggy—though better groggy than acute pain.

Re Gen 1:29, whatever the mode of intake into the bloodstream is, the issue is the plants were not given “to change their consciousness and enter the spirit world”.

Many sorcerers and shamans take drugs to put them into spirit-trances, but this does not mean all who take drugs are practicing sorcery.

True in a sense of not deliberately “practicing”, but all who take such drugs expose themselves to the spirit realm nonetheless. It remains sorcery regardless of the intent or awareness. There are different “levels” of intention in this practicing.

If how I exegete the pharmakeia usage in the NT is accurate, then the prohibition of these psychedelic agents is not “bind[ing] Christian consciences with ‘do not touch, do not taste, do not handle’ ” legalism, but rather reflecting or restating the Lord’s prohibition in His word.

A question I would ask those who disagree, “What then is this pharmakeia—and its cognates—forbidden in Galatians 5:20,21 and Revelation 21:8 and 22:15, where practitioners ‘shall not inherit the kingdom of God’, but have their part in the lake of fire, barred from entering the gates of the heavenly City?” Surely such a sin would be clearly—unmistakably!—identifiable for us even in the 21st century. If you disagree, what then is it?
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
On a broader scale. I think we are seeing pharmakeia (Greek word for sorcery connected with drugs) at play in our culture. I think it has been going on for quite some time (importing heroin from Afghanistan, cocaine from Central and South America).

Not to mention that drug cartels are praying to Santa Muerta in Mexico.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
Hi Jacob,

Heroin would not be classified with sorcerous potions, not being a psychedelic, though it would be a pharmakon (drug) in the broad sense.

The psychedelics give a counterfeit experience of God and His Spirit / presence, if one is seeking that (and even if not, at times). Its use brought into the house of God is an evil thing.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
I think it’s important to know the classification of marijauna. Here is some information.

"Under the definitions strict of marijuana and psychedelics, they are two different substances not chemically related. Their actions in the body are different as are their effects on the body. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Drug Enforcement Administration, they are two different classes of drug. It is possible to argue that because of this difference in classification it is not a psychedelic. If you take the effects of each into consideration the essential ingredient in cannabis, acts like a psychedelic. Psychedelics cause what is termed expansion of consciousness, heightened cognition or thinking, and hallucinations. Cannabinoids do the same thing in different ways. Cannabinoids are unique to marijuana. Essentially the practical answer to is marijuana a psychedelic is yes, but not in the same way that LSD, MDMA, and others in that class. It contains many of the characteristics, properties, and effects that fall under the definitions of both. This is probably why marijuana is in a class on its own."

Marijuana can depress, excite and impair the central nervous system. This makes it difficult to classify. The effects of marijuana are dependent on the user's age, gender, genetic makeup, amount of the drug, and history of marijuana use. Many legal drugs fall into these categories, however.

DXM is found in cough syrup and is a hallucinogenic drug. Overuse of this med can cause hallucinations. There are other legal drugs that are not classified as being a psychedelic drug (like marijuana) which can cause hallucinations, delusions, and/or confusion.

As a nurse, I give many types of medications that can have these side effects on SOME patients, but again, it is dependent on the user's age, gender, genetic makeup, amount of the drug, and history of the drug's usage. The high you got from narcotics is the "normal" high that most people experience, but not all people. The high that some people experience would be the type of high you would experience if you did take a psychedelic drug.

We can say with assurance that psychedelic drugs will alter perception (awareness of surrounding objects and conditions), thoughts, and feelings causing hallucinations on the user. We must, however, acknowledge that legal drugs which are not classified as psychedelic drugs can have the same psychedelic effect on the user although it certainly is not the common side effect. I wouldn't suggest we rid ourselves of these helpful drugs, however.

You stated, "True, not all users experience extra-dimensional awareness, yet it is known that all users have been exposed to the demonic realm, whether aware of it or not." I find this to be an inaccurate statement based on Biblical logic and scientific logic. Here's why:

First, how do you test for "exposure to the demonic realm" which goes beyond the exposure we all experience (we fight not against flesh and blood but against but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places). Is there evidence based data which shows people have been exposed to the demonic realm either by their statements (they can state their demonic exposure which shows it to be in a greater quantity than normal) or by their actions (other people can identify the drug user's behavior to that of being exposed to the demonic realm)? I believe it can be shown Biblically that once a person has a greater exposure to the demonic realm that we all endure, that person is then indwelt by demons. Obviously, Christians can not be demon possessed and have the Holy Spirit indwelling them. If so, you would have to admonish all Christians to quit drinking alcohol (even a small amount would increase their risk to the demonic realm from what they normally encounter), stop using narcotics (even if it doesn't make you high it does alter your mind which is the reason you are not allowed to use narcotics and drive), stop using some seizure medications, never have general anaesthetic agents (which would be the greatest risk one could take), and the list goes on.

Secondly, it is nearly always untrue to say "all" in any statement of a truth claim (the exception being Biblical truth claims). You first would have to show that drug users (legally or illegally) are indeed exposed to the demonic realm who not involved in the demonic realm on a daily basis outside of drug use. I realize that there are those who worship or have some sort of dealings with the demonic realm as part of their religion or entertainment. Their drug usage would only heighten what they already engage in. However, to state that people outside of this activity who take certain drugs are exposed in a greater amount to the demonic realm all the time or even at times is stating a claim that has not been proven and I doubt could be proven. In fact, just the opposite can be claimed.
 

TheOldCourse

Puritan Board Sophomore
I've seen arguments like this before, usually from fundamentalist Baptist circles. If this is to be regarded as exegesis of Scripture which would accordingly have the authority of the Lord behind it, the reasoning needs to be far, far tighter. You sum up your argument like thus:

1) The testimony of Scripture: these drugs exist, are used in sorcerous activities, and are condemned by God on pain of spiritual death. 2) The testimony of exegetes, linguists, and commentators: who define what sorcery and witchcraft are by indicating the use of drugs to enter demonic realms, and the practicing of their crafts there by said users. 3) The testimony of those who have experienced these peculiar drugs, and they are of two classes: a) godly men and women who have been delivered from the use and effects of them; and b) ungodly men and women who continue in use of them and clearly tell of their properties, their affect within their beings, and their efficacy in facilitating entrance into the spirit world.

With respect to the first point, only the first two clauses have been demonstrated. While an attempt has been made to couch this conclusion in exegetical language, that drug use per se is condemned by God on pain of spiritual death is not warranted by the evidence put forth. Even the definitions of pharmakeia that have been marshalled in support as the most friendly to your argument include sorcerous use of drugs as only part of the semantic range of the word. It remains to be demonstrated that pharmakeia necessarily includes an element of psychoactive drug use (which not generally supported by the linguists) or, if not, that the context of the passage requires that particular interpretation. Even if either was demonstrated, it would need to be seen that the Scriptures ascribe spiritual characteristics to the substance itself rather than merely condemning the substance insofar as it is associated with sorcery. Indeed, I think that the majority of the paper moves to anecdotal evidence is an implicit acknowledgement that the exegetical evidence is far from conclusive.

The second point is more or less an elaboration of the first and is likewise incomplete.

The third point is fair, but it should be noted that there is a great deal of anecdotal and experiential evidence to the contrary as well. Whose witness are we to believe? I experimented with marijuana when I was a teenager and all it did was make me giggle a lot. That doesn't mean that I'm in favor of legalization and recreational use--far from it. I believe that it is a blight on our civilization and both a symptom and a cause of the great narcissism that is characteristic of our age. However, many of the same arguments used can be applied to alcohol which has psychoactive properties and has also been associated with pagan religious rites and sorcery as long as recorded history. Indeed, absinthe in particular has been associated closely with witchcraft and satanism in the modern world and yet modern studies have not found that it possesses significant psychoactive properties in excess of any other strong drink. Pagans and animists have often spiritualized natural phenomena. Why should we take their word for it? While we recognize the reality of the spiritual and it's impact on the natural, we reject an identity between the two.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Senior
This is a pretty good sermon on this topic....
https://www.trinityopcnovato.org/2018/02/11/permissibility-pot/
“As one further biblical application to speak against marijuana use are the several references to what is translated as sorcery in the New Testament. Galatians 5:20 and three references in Revelation speak against sorcery. But interestingly, the word in the Greek is actually pharmakeia, which could be literally translated as the dealing of drugs. Though that word had some historic usage about medicinal usage of drugs, by the time of the New Testament it seemed that the people who were thought of as the drug dealers at that time where the sorcerers and magicians in their evil craft, so the word pharmakeia became intimately connected with such people. But the emphasis on the word is less on the magic itself but on the dispensing of drugs. Such sorcerers obviously weren’t drug dealers in the sense of medical treatments. Seeing that the Bible forbids that kind of pharmakeia surely speaks against recreational marijuana use at least in some sense as well.”

So where is the line drawn? and who draws it? How do we properly discern?How do we properly summarize what the Bible speaks to and what is specifically condemned and or forbidden.... I don’t see marajuana as a liberty issue... the way alcohol is referenced. So instead of looking for loopholes, let’s see where marajuana is a problem and take if from there....

https://biblehub.com/greek/5331.htm
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
I think I'll let it rest at this point. I've made my case as best I can, and you will decide as to its merits or demerits. I won't seek to refute opposing arguments, though I could. And we all—especially myself, as a pastor-teacher—shall answer to the Lord on the day of Judgment. Thank you for considering my view.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I think I'll let it rest at this point. I've made my case as best I can, and you will decide as to its merits or demerits. I won't seek to refute opposing arguments, though I could. And we all—especially myself, as a pastor-teacher—shall answer to the Lord on the day of Judgment. Thank you for considering my view.
Thank you. I do always appreciate your thoughts and your thoroughness in explaining your beliefs.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
Also any topical use of meds, including creams with THC, enter the blood steam. In other words, how high is high?

Steve do you think that there is the possibility that getting high from marijuana is the same as getting drunk? I ask because from your article it appears the answer would be no to my question, because you have rule out such based on your use of the word pharmakeia.

PS. I do believe marijuana is a scourge to our society as is drunkenness and the like.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
Hello Earl,

From what I understand, there are topical drugs (lotions, creams, ointments) that do not go into the bloodstream, although “topicals” like patches are meant to. “How high is high?” That’s like being “a little pregnant”. Even a slight sorcerous affect is dangerous.

Alcohol is distinctly different from grass. They each have different affects in the human system. The term “high” that arose from the sixties counterculture (and perhaps before that among the beats, and other groups that early used pot and other psychedelics) referred to an elevated (i.e., “high”) state of awareness not normally attained by men. In the sixties we had no idea the realm we had entered was the demonic—it was all glory and light for most (though not all, to be sure)—and there was the perception that there was a spiritual dimension involved.

When an entire vast subculture experienced this phenomenal awareness—and this included many in academe of those times, politicians, psychotherapists, artists, poets and writers, musicians, intelligence agencies, etc—this was a major, global event.

What this psychic / spiritual event actually accomplished, however, was a new state of mind that went far beyond the beats and hippies. The ultimate message of LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, marijuana et al was truth resides within man and not outside; whatever deity is to be known likewise resides in man and not in some external “God”. This understanding came into human consciousness with power, for it was experienced by vast multitudes (for the evangelists of this revelation were many, and spoke, wrote, and sang with power), and it eventually became the reigning paradigm of the world, crowding out the exclusivist religions, especially delegitimizing the Christian faith in the eyes of many; it became the new zeitgeist. “Fundamentalist” Hindu, Islamic, and Buddhist religions filled the vacuum with a vengeance, and violent oppression of Christians.

This renewed “spirit of the age” affected even those who didn’t use the drugs, as the collective human consciousness is as the air we breathe, psychically speaking. And the manifest nature of this spirit? It resembles the days of Noah, filled with both random and mass violence—sexual, verbal, “religious”, ethnic, national, etc—as well as perversion, hatred of authority (much of which is corrupt anyway), with new twists, such as the collapse of human identity, biological identifiers no longer accepted, every person being whatever they want to be, in defiance of the Creator’s assignment of gender. Vulgarity and blatant immorality unashamedly displayed by those on the world stage, including those in the highest echelons of influence—politicians, newsmen and women, actors, etc. It certainly does appear that a dark spirit has entered into our national life and communications. 2 Thess 2:10-12 shows something clearly visible to those with discernment: “...with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 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.” [emphasis added]

This gives poignant slant to the words of judgment on latter-day Babylon, “for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived” (Rev 18:23).
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
as a pastor-teacher

On a practical note, in this position of authority in your church, would you seek to discipline a member that didn't share your views on this issue if they used marijuana in a way that does not get them high? Would you deal with the issue similarly to one who steals or gets drunk repeatedly without repentance?
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
Hello Tim,

First, as of Dec 9 of 2018 I retired due to age and health, so although I am afforded sort of an emeritus status, I do not have authority. Second, “if they used marijuana in a way that does not get them high”—such as in CBD, for instance—there would be no discipline involved.

To go beyond your question, if one were getting high on pot, even though about to be legalized here in NY (or other psychedelic drugs), the Scripture clearly forbids such—apart from the changing laws of man—and I would recommend to the pastors to speak to the person preliminary to discipline.

There are many things modern professing Christians think within themselves it is alright to do, despite the authoritative Bible-based teaching of the church, especially in these times where the influences and attitudes of the world are so strong even in the church. It will be the elders / pastor-teachers who will uphold the word of God. Churches may differ on this particular matter, and observers will note the ongoing condition of those flocks who allow either members or pastors to indulge in such drugs, and many will be edified.

It is a sad state of affairs, I know, but there will come a purification process, and the Lord will present to Himself a bride without spot or blemish.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
So you would say that the terms "drunk" and "high" differ?

Let's carry the reasoning further, assuming the two are analogous. It is not a sin to take some wine as long as you don't get drunk. Only fundies disagree with that. Yet, I am not ready to say you can take a few tokes as long as you don't get high.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Let's carry the reasoning further, assuming the two are analogous. It is not a sin to take some wine as long as you don't get drunk. Only fundies disagree with that. Yet, I am not ready to say you can take a few tokes as long as you don't get high.
Further, many Reformed speak of being allowed a "buzz" - Wine is meant to "make glad the hearts of men", after all. So, is a buzz allowed?

I am ok with medicinal uses of whatever substance. For intractable pain, etc. But I have never thought of the parameters of recreational use. For example, wine is good for the digestion in small quantities (2 glasses), but a whole bottle nullifies those healthy effects. And most of my pot-smoker friends from high school didn't really go far in life. So let's not overplay the positive benefits.

And does "taking the edge off" or "relaxing" count as a proper "medicinal use"? Will a "few tokes" accomplish this goal?

Many might think these questions are dumb, but the US population often pops a zanax for anxiety, and I am trying to see the difference.
 
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