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Bible Studies/Pharmakiea and modern medicine


I was wondering if modern medicine is prophesied in the bible? Preferably Revelations 18:23 (PSR)  23.   And no longer may a light of a lamp shine at all in you (many people on neuroleptics have dark baggy eyes), and no longer may a voice of a bridegroom and bride be heard at all in you (The voice of Yahuwshua the savior), because your merchants (Doctors/pharmacists) were the big men (Big Pharma) of the earth, because all the heathen masses were misled by your drugs!" (Pharmakeia/pharmaceuticals)

This is from the PSR translation, in which, the word pharmakeia is translated as "drugs" Elsewhere, it is logical to see the drugs refer to getting high, drunk, etc.. the stereotypical party life so to speak. However, in the above verse, Big Pharma fits perfect...a lot of Christians say the psychiatric medicines are tools of the adversary to ultimately blind them and weaken their minds to more easily be manipulated and controlled. Does this verse refer to big pharma and pharmaceuticals? What does Pharmakeia mean, is it the use of medications? Are pharmacists sorcerers? do we commit sorcery when we take psychiatric medicines?

Hi Danne,

I'm glad to see you're reading and studying the Bible.

Revelation 18:23 (NIV) "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 great men. By your magic spell all the nations were led astray."

The phrase, "magic spell," is, as you have pointed out, "pharmakeia" in the original Greek. Pharmakeia means "drug," and is the word from which our English word, "pharmacy," is derived. The King James version uses the word, "sorcery."

Here, reference is being made to the occult, black magic, witchcraft. The use of mind-altering drugs is common in this context, and so the reference to the drugs is sometimes the primary focus.

Drugs are often used in the occult. Does that make the use of drugs evil? No, I don't believe so. Drugs can be used responsibly or irresponsibly--for good purposes or evil purposes. Just because the improper use of drugs is highlighted in this passage, that does not mean that drugs cannot be used properly.

Revelation 18 is a prediction of the fall of "Political Babylon"--the one-world political system headed by the Antichrist and characterized by secularism and rebellion towards God. At some point in the future, this system will fall, will face God's judgment, and will set the stage for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom on earth. The focus is on these significant events and is not a warning against the (responsible) use of drugs for legitimate medical reasons.

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Scott Talbot


I have studied the Bible and Bible-related topics since the time I was very young. My education includes a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Bible, and a Master of Divinity degree. I enjoy delving into deep theological issues and always enjoy a healthy debate. But more importantly, I like working with people and helping them to find the answers that they are looking for. And I am convinced that these answers are available in the Bible.


By the grace and mercy of God, I have been saved, born again, adopted into the family of God. God has given me a love for the Bible, and for Bible-related subjects. In addition, He has blessed me with ongoing training in the Scriptures, from my youth on up. The more I learn about God through His Word, the more I want to share!

Campus Crusade for Christ, Grace Church at Willow Valley

Pillsbury Baptist Bible College - B.S. Bible & Pastorology; Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary - M.Div.

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