Pharmakeia: Sorcery? Drugs? Both? :: By Lynda Janzen

“Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:21).

We’re hurting! The species Homo Sapiens is hurting and hurting, badly. It is almost as if the whole world were groaning, “Make the pain stop!”

And our modern world offers no end of ways to do that, from hypnotherapy to retail therapy; from transcendental meditation to total sense deprivation; from alcohol cocktails to medical cocktails; from Novocain to cocaine. All of these are designed to hide one’s pain from oneself – physical and mental, to be sure. But more importantly, it is spiritual pain that is endemic in our world today. And, ironically, it is being made worse by “Pharmakeia.”

Before the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden, there was no pain. God and man walked together, communicating on an intimate basis. There was no separation between the Creator and His beloved creatures. The first humans subsumed the love of their Creator God and knew no sorrow. There was no death, so there could be nothing to cause injury. Again, no pain. In the Garden, neither physical, nor mental, nor spiritual pain existed. The fall changed all of that.

When humans disobeyed their Creator, they consciously separated themselves from Him. It was their own free will that caused the rift. Into the gap rushed all the evils entailed in a life lived separately from the LORD God of the Universe. Chief among the evils was pain. It was the spiritual pain of separation that caused every other pain in the fallen world (Genesis 3:8-10).

For all the centuries between then and now, humankind has been trying to anesthetize this pain, until today, the use of opiates and other pain killers is rampant, especially among the young. While the Church Age held significance in the world, many people were learning to turn to Jesus for ‘the cleansing blood,” the remedy for sin and the pain of separation from God. But when the Church began heading down the slippery slope of apostasy and acquiring the ‘doctrine of devils,’ the use of drugs of all sorts began to soar. In our pandemic world, prescription as well as O.T.C. drugs fly off the shelves. Illicit drugs flow from underground streams of supply, keeping so many poor as they feed their habit.

As stated in the opening, “We are hurting!” Our world needs Our Saviour Jesus Messiah now more than ever. Yet, now, more than ever, people are turning away from Him as they embrace other ways to deaden their pain.

Strong’s Concordance #G5331 matches the Greek word “Pharmakeia” from which we get our English words pharmacy, pharmaceuticals, etc. It occurs four times in the New Testament: Galatians 5:20, Revelation 9:21, Revelation 18:23 and Revelation 22:15. Interesting that three of the four instances of “Pharmakeia” occur in the prophetic book of the End times — Revelation.


From ancient times, people have concocted perfumes and ointments to be used medicinally. In Israel, the Balm of Gilead was a rare ointment named for the region of Gilead, where it was produced. The expression has come to signify a universal cure, in figurative speech. The tree or shrub producing the balm is commonly identified as Commiphora gileadensis. Some botanical scholars have concluded that the actual source was a terebinth tree, referred to several times in the Scriptures.

The words of this Traditional Spiritual hymn actually refer to the healing power of Salvation in Jesus Christ.

1st Verse:

There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.
Sometimes I feel discouraged, and think my work’s in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.

2nd Verse:

There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.
If you cannot preach like Peter, if you cannot pray like Paul,
You can tell the love of Jesus, and say, “He died for all.”
There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.

SCRIPTURE READINGS: Galatians 5:19-21, Revelation 9:20-21, Revelation 18:23, Revelation 22:14-15

Galatians 5:19-21 “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft (Pharmakeia); hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, 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.”

Revelation 9:20-21 “The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood – idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts (Pharmakeia), their sexual immorality or their thefts.”

Revelation 18:23 “The light of a lamp will never shine in you again. The voice of bridegroom and bride will never be heard in you again. Your merchants were the world’s important people. By your magic spell (Pharmakeia) all the nations were led astray.”

Revelation 22:14-15 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts (Pharmakeia), the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”

Now, I’m not the first Christian writer to explore the relationship between drugs and sorcery. There have been whole books written about the evil that men do through the use of pharmaceuticals. If you are struggling to understand this concept, simply recall the ghastly experiments of Dr. Mengele of the Nazi era. Our four Bible verses refer very clearly to that kind of evil intent surrounding “the magic arts” of drug use, administration and addiction.

Apostles Paul and John, and Jesus (Rev. 22:15) lump Pharmakeia in with idol worship, debauchery, sexual immorality, murder and mendacity. It is obviously considered by the LORD God to be among the most egregious of sins. Whether the practice of sorcery solely entails the use of drugs or not, the two are, obviously, closely tied together.

Most drugs are actually categorized as poisons. It’s the dosage that makes them therapeutic rather than diabolical. Take the drug digitalis, for example. In the right amount, it is a powerful drug to treat problems of the heart. But even a small overdose can be lethal. Also, misuse of any drug can lead to all kinds of side effects. Just listen to a television ad for just about any prescription drug these days, and hear a whole litany of bad things which can result from taking this drug. It always makes me wonder why anyone would take it when the cure could be worse than the disease.

The LORD God has caused many medicinal and healing plants to grow on planet Earth. They are available for the benefit of mankind to help ease, a little, the massive pain of this fallen world. The Plan did not include, however, using these substances to put ourselves into a perpetual brain fog.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5:8-9).

There is a certain amount of suffering we will be called to undergo, in order, as Apostle Paul says, to learn to persevere in our faith (Romans 5:3-5). We ought not to try to live every waking moment in a pain-free state by doping ourselves into not feeling.

There is a movement around that says all forms of medication or medical intervention are contrary to God’s plan for human beings. Well, a very large part of Jesus’ ministry was healing the sick and lame, as well as the sick of mind and soul. If Jesus, Son of God Himself, thought human beings deserved to be healed from pain and ailments, in my humble opinion it is clearly wrong to deny medical intervention where it is needed.

The people of this movement need to look at passages such as 1 Timothy 5:23: “Stop drinking only water and use a little wine because of your stomach and our frequent illnesses.”

The problem is not with medications. The problem is with Pharmakeia – the evil use of any substance, even if that substance is intrinsically good. There is nothing Satan hasn’t turned his hand to in order to pervert God’s protection and love for His creatures. And I submit here that Pharmakeia is one of Satan’s last big hurrahs.

Satan knows Scripture. He knows he is not going to win. But he also knows that even if he is vanquished, he can still spit in God’s eye by spoiling as many souls as he can in the time he has left. And he knows he doesn’t have much time left now.

Revelation 12:12 – “But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”

Satan has been working his plan for centuries, getting ready for the big finish! Slowly but inevitably, over the centuries, science and medicine and politics have been taking people’s attention from God. It’s like the frog in boiling water, where the heat is turned up so gradually that the frog never notices that the pot is getting hot. So Satan has been deceiving humankind over the centuries … one step at a time. And here’s the thing: he never changes his modus operandi. “Did God really say …??? You will not certainly die” (Genesis 3). The lie never changes.

Now, as we can see the threads of the End Times beginning to be drawn together, the remnant church is watching aghast as Satan weaves his last big scheme. While a one-world government and one-world religion seemed too fantastic to contemplate even 20 years ago, with the internet of all things, and intimate worldwide communication, these potential organizations are not so fantastical anymore. We can see the possibility of borderless nations, of the world being run by remote rulers. Nations have gone beyond the possibility of cyborg armies — part human, part machine — and are even now in the throes of engineering them. Transhumanism is no longer in the realm of science fiction. We can also see the possibility of people not being able to buy or sell without a special mark.

And how could all this possibly come about in our day and age? Well, who foresaw a worldwide pestilence so deadly that the fear of it is seeing whole nations willing to throw away precious freedoms our ancestors fought and died for? Who could foresee that the people of our world would need to be vaccinated with an experimental Pharmaceutical in order to return to some semblance of an ordinary life?

It is not too much of a stretch to see that a vaccination passport will soon be needed to allow everyday transactions. New York State, as I write this, is issuing “Excelsior Pass,” an app for your phone that will allow you to “Be a part of New York’s safe re-opening.” At this point, Excelsior Pass is voluntary because “New Yorkers can always show alternative proof of vaccination or negative testing.” (All quotes taken from an online ad for Excelsior Pass.)

U.S. President Joe Biden said recently, “Ultimately, those who are not vaccinated will pay.” He didn’t elaborate on what that means or how the non-vaccinated will pay.

So, to sum up the thoughts in this treatise:

We live in a world overrun with drugs that anesthetize us to our spiritual pain.

People all over the world have become deadened to our spiritual heritage, which is Salvation in Jesus Christ;

There is a worldwide pestilence called COVID-19, the cure for which seems to be an experimental vaccination that many would like to see given to every human being on earth;

It seems likely that nations will likely issue vaccination passports to allow free passage for those who have taken it. The corollary is that those who haven’t take this Pharmaceutical will be banned from the everyday transactions of life;

Satan is working overtime to bring all this about, as he knows his time is short.

So long as the COVID-19 vaccinations continue to be offered on a voluntary basis, all seems right with the world. Sincerely, I hope this is how things will roll out. We know our God is capable of stopping all this momentum toward One-World Religion/Government at any time He desires. Yet, His own Book is clear that there will come a time of the end. And many descriptions of what the world will look like then are beginning to appear in our world of today. Are we there yet? No. The Remnant Church will not be here then. And it is hoped everyone reading this is part of the Remnant Church!

“For the LORD Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the LORD in the air. And so we will be with the LORD forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).



Please hear selected words from Psalm 16 as we pray:

Heavenly Father, “Keep us safe, our God, for in You we take refuge. We say to the LORD, ‘You are our LORD; apart from You we have no good thing.'” “We keep our eyes always on the LORD. With You at our right hand, we will not be shaken.”

Father, we praise You. We give You great thanks and glory for all You are and all You do. Thank You for guiding us through these troubled times. Keep us all from the evil one. Show us the Way, the Truth and the Life, through Yeshua Ha’Maschiach, our LORD Jesus Christ.” Amen.

If anyone reading this article has not yet received Jesus as their Saviour, but God has touched your heart by His Holy Word, please email me ( ) or find a Bible-believing local church and ask the Pastor what you must do to be saved in Grace. In the meantime, please consider the A.B.C.s of Salvation:

A – Admit

Admit what you have done wrong and ask forgiveness.

Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death.”

I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

B – Believe

Believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again as payment for your sins.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

C – Confess and Choose

Confess and choose to allow God to be in charge of your life.

Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

This article, based on God’s Holy Word, was written by the inspiration of God’s own Holy Spirit. All glory to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.