Cannabis And Other Religions
Before we jump right into the scriptures of Christianity, it seems only right first to take a look at how cannabis is received amongst other religious groups as a whole.
Along with many well-known religions such as the aforementioned Rastafarian religion , there are now a number of religions that center massively on marijuana. These modern faith groups have come together to celebrate religion and cannabis!
Groups such as THC Ministries, Cantheism, The Cannabis Assembly, The Church of the Universe, The Free Marijuana Church of Honolulu, and The First Church of Cannabis concentrate on cannabis, just to name a few!
Among these are also other well-known religions that date back centuries who benefit from cannabis as part of their spiritual healing. Taoism, which originates back to 4th century China, uses cannabis incense as a cleansing tool while in Norse mythology the cannabis plant relates to beauty, fertility, and love.
These are merely a few examples of cannabis being implemented into the holy and ancient rituals of religion. But where does it fall with Christianity and the Bible?
Holy Cannabis: The Bible Tells Us So
This Saturday, the day after Valentine’s day, synagogues all over the world will be studying the Torah portion Ki Tissa, Exodus 30:11-34:35. It’s likely that most people who are asked to comment on the portion will focus on the dramatic story of the Golden Calf that is told in the portion.
I’m going to follow a different path. My focus is on a detail in the beginning of the portion that describes the laws concerning the holy tabernacle. I want to talk about one ingredient in the recipe for the anointing oil used to sanctify both the tabernacle and the priests themselves. .
The Torah: A Women’s Commentary explains that the oil used to anoint sacred objects as well as the priests was to be made of four precious spices — myrrh, cinnamon, cane and cassia — combined with olive oil.
The common English translation of the third ingredient, replicated in most English versions of the five books of the Old Testament, is “aromatic cane.” However, a different translation appears in The Living Torah where Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan writes that some sources identify “fragrant cane” — “keneh bosem” in Hebrew — with the English and Greek word “cannabis” referring to the hemp plant.
Kaplan’s reference is significant. The Ben Yehuda Hebrew-English Dictionary, written by Eliezer Ben Yehuda, the father of modern Hebrew, defines the Hebrew word “kanabos” as hemp, a botanical relative of marijuana.
What Does Marijuana Use Say About The Individuals Values
Christians have the responsibility to regulate their behavior in every area of their life according to Scripture. When deciding whether using marijuana recreationally is a sin, theres one more important consideration: the impact it may have on others.
Romans 14:20 states, Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. The issue in the verse had to do with whether or not to eat something previously deemed unclean. However, the principle may apply to marijuana use.
The individual may be able to justify using weed if it doesnt cause lapses in judgment or lead to addiction. However, their use may reflect poorly on their values and cause someone else to justify their own substance abuse. If their recreational substance use is instrumental in anothers addiction or relapse, then it would be better for them to abstain.
Before considering whether or not using marijuana is permissible, an individual should consider how it could affect their reputation and lifes focus. Talking to a respected friend or leader can bring clarity to an otherwise confusing topic. Ultimately, its important for the Christian to remember to care for the body God has given them and live free from vices.
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Jeremiah : 20 627 Bce
What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable your sacrifices do not please me.
In 586 BCE comes the fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian exile. This is one of the most traumatic and important chapters in Jewish history. Tyre, in modern day Lebanon, was the wealthy capital city of Canaan and also besieged by the Babylonians. Cannabis is listed among the items of trade that passed through the great city in the fifth explicit reference to the plant.
Cannabis Role In The Bible Remains Mysterious
As cannabis use continues to gain acceptance throughout the world, perhaps future Bible scholars will be inspired to dig even deeper and uncover its true significance in Biblical times. But for now, like most of the events described in the Bible, the early role of cannabis in the Hebrew and Christian faiths mostly remains a mystery.
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The Third Mention Book Of Isaiah : 24 711 Bce
The third mention is from the book of Isaiah, who was also a prophet of the Lord, just like Moses.
Isaiah was trying to lift the spirits of his fellow Israelites, preaching that they lost their way, and became immoral and faithless.
In this particular passage God is angry at his people, because they failed to deliver him his offerings, and it seems that cannabis was one of them.
You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me, or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offenses.
Where Is Kaneh Bosm In The Bible
Kaneh bosm in mentioned in the Bible five times:
1. In this verse, God is advising Moses on how to create holy anointing oil. He tells Moses to: Take the finest spices: of liquid myrrh 500 shekels, and of sweet-smelling cinnamon half as much, that is, 250, and 250 of fragrant reed.. -Exodus 30:22-23
2. Here Solomon is celebrating his wifes beauty, comparing her to a garden and, an orchard of pomegranates with all choicest fruits, henna with nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon.. -Song of Solomon 4:14
3. In this verse, Isaiah is predicting imminent judgement for the people of Judah and Jerusalem, and he tells them, You have not bought me sweet cane with money, or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices -Isaiah 43:23-24
4. Ezekiel is speaking to the Jews and says, and casks of wine from Uzal they exchanged for your wares wrought iron, cassia and calamus were bartered for your merchandise.. -Ezekiel 27:19
5. Jeremiah berates the people of Pathros for being sinful, and kaneh bosm is vaguely mentioned when the people of Pathros are talking about their offerings to God. -Jeremiah 44:15-23
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Where In The Bible Does It Say Marijuana Is A Sin
There are no passages in the Bible that mention the use of cannabis as something sinful, but there are two important factors to consider, and they are pretty conflicted.
The holy scripture mentions several times that allplants on Gods green Earth were created for consumption.
The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations.
Down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
Despite that, the Bible denounces all forms of intoxication and mind-alteration, so the psychoactivity caused by cannabis would probably be deemed as a sin.
This is evident in the following paragraphs:
Ephesians 5:18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
Galatians 5:21Envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
How Does God View Weed Smoking
Many people wonder, how does God feel about marijuana? What does the Bible say? The Bible warns against intoxication and altering your mind. You might say, thats for alcohol, but intoxication is not only for alcohol. You can drink a glass of wine and you will be fine, but the purpose of smoking is to alter your mind. You smoke for the purpose of getting high.
Proverbs 23:31-35 Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly. Afterward it bites like a snake, and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and your mind will speak perverse things. And you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, and like one who lies down on the top of the rigging. You will say, They have struck me, but I am not harmed! They beat me, but I did not know it! When will I awake? I will look for another drink.
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Can Christians Smoke Weed According To The Bible
Can you smoke weed, which is hurting your body for the glory of God? No!
1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
What Is Kaneh Bosm
Although weed is mentioned in the Bible, it is called by another name: kaneh bosm. The word kaneh bosm is a rough English transliteration of the original Hebrew. Etymologists have found that kaneh bosm has been frequently mistranslated to the word calamus, which is a fragrant reed found in the marshy climates of Egypt. Kaneh bosm is often credited to be the true root to the word cannabis.
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The Dope On Pot: What Everyone Needs To Know
Proponents of recreational pot point out that the Netherlands legalized it in the 1970s, and it did not lead to widespread crime, much less the collapse of Dutch society. Supporters of legalization argue that cannabis is safer than alcohol or tobacco, if used in moderation. A good book from the perspective of public policy on the pros and cons of legalized pot is .
While some users report a heightened awareness of sensory experience, studies conclude that the net effect of using pot is some degree of cognitive impairment, and a less executive executive function. The above book reports: Being under the influence of marijuana can impair verbal and working memory, attention, and psychomotor performance.
Regrading the short- and long-term effects of marijuana on the brain, one of the best resources is the National Institute on Drug Abuse page for marijuana, which concludes that frequent users of large amounts of marijuana are more likely to have lower life satisfaction, poorer mental and physical health, and greater relationship problems.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that marijuana use in teens and young adults results in impaired short-term memory and decreased concentration, attention span, and problem solving. . . . Alterations in motor control, coordination, judgment, reaction time, and tracking ability have also been documented.
Proof Of Marijuana Use Discovered At Ancient Biblical Site In Israel
An ancient biblical tribe in Israel likely used marijuana to produce hallucinogenic effects as part of cultic rituals, according to a new study that identified cannabis resin on an alter in a shrine built around 750 BCE.
Two alters that appeared near the entrance of the Holy of Holies in the Judahite shrine were excavated about 50 years ago and now an analysis of the materials on top of the alters turned up evidence of marijuana combustion at the site.
The study, published Thursday in the journal Tel Aviv, states that cannabis inflorescences were burnt there, conceivably as part of a ritual that took place in the shrine.
Via Tel Aviv.
It seems feasible to suggest that the use of cannabis on the Arad altar had a deliberate psychoactive role, the study concluded.
Cannabis odors are not appealing, the researchers opined, and do not justify bringing the inflorescences from afar. The frequent use of hallucinogenic materials for cultic purposes in the Ancient Near East and beyond is well known and goes back as early as prehistoric periods.
However, this is the first time physical evidence has been identified that indicates the tribe of Judah participated in marijuana-infused ceremonies. Evidence of frankincense being burned was also found at the site.
Researchers said its unclear where the ancient tribe obtained cannabis, but they suspect that it may have been imported from distant origins and were transported as dried resin .
Via Tel Aviv.
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Cannabis In The Bible
People have been using marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes for thousands of years. The cannabis plant is one of the oldest crops. Archaeologists have found marijuana paraphernalia as far back as 2,500 years ago in China, India, Africa and Assyria. In fact, theres even some evidence that marijuana was used for its hallucinogenic effects in ancient Israel. Marijuana use was likely a contemporary issue when the books of the Bible were written, yet the Scriptures are silent on the topic.
Does this mean that using marijuana recreationally is a theologically sound practice? Probably not. The Bible may not say anything about getting high, but it has plenty to say about similar vices such as alcohol. These cautions against getting drunk and losing the ability to make sound judgments would probably apply to marijuana as well.
Before The Fall Of Man
Genesis 1:29-30 God also said, Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This food will be for you, for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the eartheverything having the breath of life in it. I have given every green plant for food. And it was so.
For food not for smoking, not to be in a bong, not to be put in a blunt, but for food.
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Kaneh Bosm: Cannabis In The Old Testament
I GIVE YOU EVERY SEED-BEARINGPLANT ON THE FACE OF THE WHOLEEARTH, AND EVERY TREE THATHAS FRUIT IN IT.GENESIS 1:29-30
Those words seem straightforward enough, and yet cannabis and most other psychoactive medicine plants are outlawed in our society. Those who use these plant gateways to other states of consciousness are jailed for doing so.
Ironically, the major force for continuing this plant prohibition is a group referred to as the Christian Right. They claim to believe in both the Bible and old Yahweh, yet Yahwehs opinion on the matter is stated quite clearly in the above quotation.
This article shows how the Old Testament Prophets were none other than ancient shamans, and that cannabis and other entheogens played a very prominent role in ancient Hebrew culture.
THE ROOTS OF KANEH-BOSM
The first solid evidence of the Hebrew use of cannabis was established in 1936 by Sula Benet, a little known Polish etymologist from the Institute of Anthropological Sciences in Warsaw.
The word cannabis was generally thought to be of Scythian origin, but Benet showed that it has a much earlier origin in Semitic languages like Hebrew, and that it appears several times throughout the Old Testament. Benet explained that in the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament there are references to hemp, both as incense, which was an integral part of religious celebration, and as an intoxicant.
THE HIDDEN STORY
The First Mention Book Of Exodus : 23
The first time cannabis makes an appearance in the Bible is when the prophet Moses receives a message from God, who gives him precise instructions on how to set up the Tabernacle , and also how to make a holy anointing oil, which presumably contained cannabis.
This oil was used to bless both the temple and the priests.
Then the Lord said to Moses, Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of fragrant calamus , 500 shekels of cassia all according to the sanctuary shekel and a hin of olive oil.
Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil.
Here are the ancient measurements converted:
- Liquid myrrh 500 shekels 5.75 kg
- Cassia 500 shekels 5.75 kg
- Cinnamon leaf 250 shekels 2.87 kg
- Cannabis 250 shekels 2.87 kg
- Olive oil 1 hin 6.5 liters
If these were in fact real cannabis flowers used for the preparation of this oil, then this mixture would be highly psychoactive, if we consider the amount of cannabis and the amount of olive oil used in the process.
These ceremonies would include pouring of the sacred oil on both the priests and the temple , which would undoubtedly create powerful mind-altering effects.
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How Many Times Is Marijuana Mentioned In The Bible
If we acknowledge the mistranslation theory proposed by Benet, well find that cannabis is mentioned five times in the Bible, with three different words, all of which have the same root word .
The usage of different words can be explained by the passage of time, because the Old Testament covers approximately one thousand years.