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Drug Abuse in Scripture

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                          Babylon the Great
'For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have Everlasting Life' St. John 3:16 KJV



Drug Abuse in Scripture and Other extra-Biblical Writings



Φαρμακεία pharmakeia

A Magical Love Philtre

 (i) Literally - the Temple of Magic through drugs media

Confer New English Translation (NET Bible)  at the Exodus 22:18 footnote = ‘drugs for occult purposes’ from the Hebrew כּשׁף kashŠph = φαρμακεία pharmakeia in the LXX

(ii) Metaphorically - the poison, addictions and sorcery of false religious teaching

Confer 2 Thessalonian 2:1-10 The Great Apostasy


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An elucidation of

Revelation 17:5 / 18:23

Babylon the Great KJV

Φαρμακεία pharmakeia ‘Drug Magic’

in the literal and metaphorical terms from


Hastings’ Dictionary of the Apostolic Church (1915) Article ‘Sorcery’

 vol. 2  p.520 =

Poisoning - A Magical Love Philtre

Hastings' Dictionary of the Apostolic Church vol ii p.520 Article 'Sorcery' Public domain

 James Hastings M.A. D.D. 1852-1922

Public Domain



The Expositors Greek Testament (1910) vol. 5  p.461

A Commentary on the Greek Text of

Rev 18:23 KJV - NT Greek TR

Φαρμακεία pharmakeia ‘Drug Magic’ =

The Black Arts both Figuratively and Literally

Cf Rev 18:23 KJV (Babylon the Great) NT Greek TR

Expositors Greek Testament vol 5, p.461 Public domain

 Nicoll, W. Robertson (William Robertson), Sir, 1851-1923

Public Domain

The academics of the Cambridge Greek Testament (vol. Galatians ‘Notes’ p.124) point out the connection of such sorcery (Lat. venificia from venefica ‘a drug witch’) with the φαρμακεία pharmak(e)ia, the ‘drug magic’ or ‘enchantments’ of Exodus 7:11 al. whereby the Egyptian magicians - in the translation Greek of the LXX, the φαρμακεύς pharmakťus, literally the ‘drug magicians’, an esoteric priest cult of Pharaohs’ Court - performed there wonders. See also Revelation  9:21, 21:8, 22:15, 18:23. plus Concordance.

The same ancient Greek is used of the corresponding Nineveh in the LXX Nahum 3:4 and of the Idolatrous (the corresponding Babylonian world term remnant) in the New Testament:

‘That repented not of their murders , nor of their sorceries (φαρμακεία pharmakeia, ‘drug enchantments’) nor of their fornication’ - in the original Greek  πορνείας  porneias harlotry’,  ‘pornography’,  ‘adulteries’ [both literal and Spiritual].

 Cf. Revelation 9:21, 18:3, 23.

See also Isaiah 47:1-15, the ‘Lament over Babylon’ where again ‘sorcery’ = כשף kashph and  φαρμακεία pharmakeia in the Hebrew and Greek versions.



For a further exegesis of Babylon the Great in both the literal and metaphorical terms


FREE eBOOK Drug Abuse in Scripture.


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The name Babylon is the Greek form of the Hebrew בבל Bbel meaning ‘gate of the gods’, or ‘confusion’ ‘gate of Bel’ (בל) the Babylonian deity. The great city gate of Ishtar  was also the street or ‘way’ of Ishtar as patron of the Babylonian capital.  Ishtar, as the goddess of love, sex and war was also the national deity of Nineveh where the religion of Assyria was derived mainly from early Babylonian.

Confer ISBE vol. 1 p.293.

The metropolis itself, said to have been founded by Nimrod from early times  was the center of trade and commerce in the ancient near-east.

Genesis 10:8-10.

The famed ‘hanging gardens’ were classed as one of the seven wonders of the world in which, in common with the gardens of Nineveh, are said to have flourished every tree and cultivated plant of the ancient world.

The Hebrews were carried captive to Babylon in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar where they remained from about c 509-538 BC until they were freed by Cyrus the Persian.

New Testament

Metaphorically, as applied to Rome in early times as the corrupter of true morality and religion, all reference to Babylon in the Apocalypse is  symbolic and universal, the ‘Mother of Harlots’, the poisoner and  ‘deceiver of nations’; and her traffickers the ‘great men’ μέγιστανες of the world (Babylonian) empire.

Revelation 17:5 / 18:23

Lion of Babylon from the Ishtar Gate Public domain


The Lion of Babylon from the Ishtar-Gate

Public domain