Drugs were an integral part of many ancient Near East societies. For example, the pagan cultures surrounding the nation of Israel used drugs as part of their religious ceremonies. Both the OT and New Testament condemn sorcery and witchcraft. In those days, drug use was associated with sorcery (the word translated “sorcery” comes from the Greek word from which we get the English words pharmacy and pharmaceutical). A witch or shaman prepared drugs. They used drugs to induce an altered state of consciousness that allowed demons to take over the mind of the user. In our day, many use drugs merely for so-called recreational purposes, but we cannot discount the occult connection.
Galatians 5:19-21 says: The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissentions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
The word witchcraft (pharmakeia) here is also translated “sorcery” and refers to the use of drugs. The Apostle Paul calls witchcraft associated with drug use a sin. The non-medical use of drugs is considered one of the acts of a sinful nature. Using drugs, whether to “get a high” or to tap into the occult, is one of the acts of a sinful nature where users demonstrate their depraved and carnal nature.
The psychological and potentially demonic effects of drug abuse should not be discounted. A questionnaire sent to marijuana users documented some disturbing findings. One-fourth of those who responded reported that they were taken over and controlled by an evil person or power during their drug-induced experience. And over half of those questioned said they have experienced religious or “spiritual” sensations in which they met spiritual beings.
Further, drugs like marijuana, cocaine and crack are illegal substances. The use, possession and sale of these drugs is against the law. Law-abiding citizens should not participate in the use of illegal drugs.
Adapted from Brad Anderson
– David De Bruyn, Professor of Church History, Shepherds’ Seminary Africa