Pharmakeia In the Bible: Witchcraft & Sorcery :: By Geri Ungurean

And A Firsthand Story About These Devilish Drugs

First, an article from

What is pharmakeia in the Bible?

The Greek word pharmakeia appears in Galatians 5:20 and Revelation 18:23. Terms from the same root word appear in Revelation 9:21Revelation 21:8, and Revelation 22:15. These are typically translated into English as “sorcery,” “witchcraft,” or “sorcerer.” Ancient Greek uses of pharmakeia closely mirror the generic modern English word drugs; the same Greek root word produced English terms such as pharmacy and pharmacist.

Modern use of the word sorcery evokes images of supernatural power and spells; biblical use of pharmakeia doesn’t fit well with such ideas. Rather, the term suggests various forms of drug abuse. Those might include drug use in pagan worship, as an addiction, or as a poison used to manipulate and control others.

In modern English, separate terms distinguish medicines, chemicals, and illicit drugs. As used in most contexts, a “pharmacist” and a “drug dealer” both distribute chemicals, but of different kinds and for drastically different reasons. Because English vernacular uses entirely different words, phrases like selling drugs evoke something illicit while taking meds or prescription drugs don’t imply anything nefarious. Ancient Greek used words like pharmakeia to refer to that entire spectrum: from medicines to psychoactives to poisons. This makes cultural and biblical context crucial when interpreting terms related to pharmakeia.

Ancient societies were no stranger to mind-altering chemicals. Archaeologists note the presence of opium, hemp, and many other substances in Bible-era cultures. These compounds were not as potent as modern options but still capable of powerful effects. For example, synthetic drugs like carfentanyl are a hundred thousand times as powerful as an equivalent dose of natural opium—this is what allows a small dart to tranquilize an elephant. But opium itself is still a strong drug.

Mood-altering substances were also used in connection to ancient religious practices. Temples such as those in Greece sometimes used mind-altering drugs in fortune-telling and oracles. These may have included natural vapors and deliberately concocted mixtures. When Paul wrote Galatians and John recorded Revelation, these practices would have been part of pagan idolatry.

Substances that alter a person’s perceptions can be used as legitimate medicines (1 Timothy 4:4). They can also be abused for recreation. Even worse, they can be used in a predatory manner, influencing others and taking advantage of their skewed awareness. The biblical concept of “sorcery” seems to lean toward the latter end of this spectrum. A biblical “sorcerer” could be thought of as the equivalent of a modern “drug dealer.” Or as the type of person who slips chemicals into a woman’s drink to take advantage of her.

Galatians 5:20 is part of Paul’s list of contrasts to the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23). That list of works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19–21) does not appear to be random. The references are collected into groups of similar offenses. Paul begins by mentioning sexual sin, then idolatry, then “sorcery”—pharmakeia—and then division, before moving on to drunkenness and debauchery. His reference to pharmakeia is grouped closer to idolatry and sexuality than it is to drunkenness, which hints at the use of illicit drugs in ungodly spiritual practices.

John’s references might also be connected to pagan worship; Revelation 9:21 comes immediately after a condemnation of idolatry. Yet this reference also sits between mentions of murder and sexual sin. Revelation 18:23 is part of a condemnation of Babylon, referring to its “deception.” The phrasing closely echoes the statement of Nahum 3:4, which refers to “charms.” The Hebrew root word used in Nahum is kesheph. That is used in reference to idolatry and often translated as “sorcery,” and is seen in 2 Kings 9:22Isaiah 47:912, and Micah 5:12.

Combining these contexts, the exact meaning of pharmakeia isn’t crystal clear, but neither is it completely obscure. There’s no sense that Scripture uses terms such as pharmakeia in reference to supernatural powers. Instead, biblical “sorcery” seems to be about abusing drugs for idolatry, recreation, and/or oppression of others. Source


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And now a very personal story about some Devil Drugs:

Many of my friends know that I have been suffering with hives for over a year. When they first started, it was agonizing. I would wake up several times in the night, realizing that I had scratched myself to the the point of drawing blood. I was miserable.

I began to realize that there was a pattern to my hives. My children and grandchildren were jabbed and boosted, and if I was around them right after they received the jabs, I would break out in the hives.

The itching was so horrible. I finally called my GP’s office and spoke to one of the nurses about the hives. My doctor called me in an antihistamine called HydroxyZine. On the bottle, the dosage said 1 to 2 pills every 4 – 6 hours. These were 25 mg pills.

I trusted that my doctor was prescribing these pills in a safe manner. I soon found out that he was not. After about 3 days on HydroxyZine, the most frightening and horrific things were happening to me in the night.

The first night, I awoke about 3 am and saw faces which looked like demons at the foot of my bed. I clung to my husband and said to him, “Don’t let them get me!” Of course, Tim didn’t see the faces, but seeing me in such a state, he commanded them to leave in the name of Jesus – and they were gone.

I knew that I was seeing things which were not really there, but it was still so scary.

The next morning, I sent a message to my doctor and asked if there are known complications with HydroxyZine. He wrote back almost immediately and said that this antihistamine could cause hallucinations in older people. I am 71 years old, and my doctor has been seeing me for over 13 years. He knew my age and yet prescribed these devil drugs to me anyway.

I looked up HydroxyZine on to read about side effects. I read that people over 65 years old should not take any more than 50 mg in a 24-hour period. I was taking 2 pills every 4- 6 hours, which added up to 50 mg about 6 times a day = 300 mg. WAY TOO MUCH!!

Then my GP wanted me to see an immunologist/ dermatologist, and I did. I have numerous autoimmune issues, and when the doctor heard this, she said, “Well, your hives are Autoimmune hives, and we really do not know how to cure them.” She proceeded to tell me to take 4 Zyrtec a day for itching. I told her that the bottle says to only take one. She said, “I’m saying take 4 because of the extent of your hives.”

I’m glad now that I didn’t listen to her advice, and you will see why toward the end of this piece.

Tylenol PM

Not being able to take the HydroxyZine, I began to take Tylenol PM to help me get to sleep. I didn’t experience any hallucinations, but I did notice that I had excessive brain “fog” and was having trouble finding simple words. I just attributed this to my age – but I was wrong.

My daughter called me and told me that I could not take any “PM” products. She said that all of them have Benadryl in them and that Benadryl can make older people seem like they are having dementia or even Alzheimer’s.

I called my Neurologist who sees me for seizures and scheduled a video appointment with her. I made a list of OTC meds, and I asked her one by one if each was safe for me to take. She told me to NEVER take any “PM” pills for sleeping. I told her about the experience with the HydroxyZine, and she was shocked that my GP would even have prescribed those for me!

My neurologist told me that the only medication she wanted me on was my Clonazepam (Klonapin) because I have been on that for over 30 years for my seizures. She did not even want me to take Zyrtec. Remember, the immunologist wanted me to take 4 a day? The neurologist said that Zyrtec is not recommended for elderly people!

The reason I felt led to write this story

I know that many of my readers are older people. I wondered how many of my friends were taking drugs which were not good for them and could even cause hallucinations or worse – death!

Don’t ever forget what Pharmakeia means in the Bible! I had to learn this the hard way.

I even wondered if certain drugs can open up a demonic realm, and perhaps when I saw what appeared to be demons – may have been demons! Years ago, a sister in the Lord said to me that she read that if we could “see” the demonic activity around us, we’d most likely have heart attacks!