My Reponse to “Follower Of Christ”

Below is a response to a comment that a brother sent after I had commented on his comment about being sober and vigilant. I am not placing this here for any other reason than to clarify some of what I believe about cannabis use and the fact that we live in a nation where our “leaders” have decided this very useful substance should illegal. Toward th end I also get into the whole idea that some believers have that wine in the Bible, at least when in context of believers is, somehow?, not really wine but grape juice. I could write pages about how this is not likely the case and why, particularly evangelical believers, seem to believe this. There is a whole historical reason as to how this idea came into present Christian thinking, (it was not an issue in the nearly 2 thousand year history of the church), and the whole psychology that has developed around this one issue. I may choose to address this in future but for now my comments below will have to suffice. (E)

His Comment

Brother, thanks for clarification.
I used to take cannabis daily as a lost soul, it made me a wreck, psychially, physically, socially…

Sure, it takes away pain and so one, but it is scientifically proven that it does it already in so small amounts without getting a buzz..

I have made the experience that the Holy Spirit is healing my illnesses.
Btw, Timothy’s wine was not fermented wine.

I concur that the US system should give more mercy on small cannabis dealers/users (lesser jail time/punishment), but
1) it IS a crime
2) Romans 13
3) if the people wouldnt abandon God, there would be much less cannabis ABUSE

I think, that this is the true root of evil in this country. Cannabis abuse is “just” a
symptom.
YHWH bless!

My Response

Brother,
I agree that it is unnecessary to get a buzz to get relief. I actually had a friend let me have a bit a couple of years ago, (I have Fibromyalgia), I took a couple of “hits” and for 4 hours I was pain free. Now that may not sound like much but I have NEVER been pain free for most of the past 10 years or so. My wide was amazed and tearful because I was like the man she married 15 years ago for those 4 hours. I was not high at all other than a bit of lightheadedness which with the 15 meds I am on for all my other health issues is not all that unusual for me anyway.
Unfortunately, I do not live in a state where medical cannabis is allowed so I would have to break the law in order to have sustained relief of my symptoms. That, in itself, does not bother me except for the fact that if I ended up in jail they might withhold my other meds including insulin and I could die. I have not felt strongly enough about it that I am willing to risk that.
That leads me to a question about your reply. I take it that you accept that if the government makes a law we as believers are bound to that because of what you believe Romans 13 teaches about obedience to authority. My question is whether this is always the case. In other words do you believe that we are to obey even if a law is unjust or immoral?
If that is the case, I guess we would have to agree to disagree because I believe if an authority asks us to violate our conscience we am being disobedient to YHWH who put that conscience in us to help us choose rightly. For instance, if the law says that one must not help the poor or the oppressed can one follow that law when YHWH so clearly says in His word that avoiding to care for those who are poor and oppressed brings His judgment.
I see the issue of cannabis in the same way. The word clearly states that YHWH gave us herbs for our benefit. The fact that some individuals might abuse those herbs does not negate the fact that Daddy gave them for our use. How then do we respond when a government attempts to take away something that is a gift from our Creator? The fact that a government says that something, that for thousands of years was used for mans benefit, is suddenly illegal is problematic.

 

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A crime by the original definition in common law set down many centuries ago is an act that causes direct harm to another person or that person’s property. By that definition most laws are illegitimate.To me this is no different than the Pharisees making oral law that went beyond or even t superseded Torah. They were adding to or taking away from it in such a way that the people could not even know how to follow the Torah properly. Yahshua made it clear that this was unacceptable.

The principle then is that if man’s laws go beyond or in some way try to negate Gods laws we are to ignore them and follow God. We “ought to obey God rather than man”. How does this apply to our discussion of the use and illegality of cannabis? The principal here is again clear. In the 17th and 18th century it began to be clear, even to unbelievers, that The Creator had invested within each person “certain inalienable rights”, and that among those rights were the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are not something that the government can decide to bestow upon the people or, for that matter, remove from them as they are innate to all individuals. That when governments attempt to restrict those rights individuals have a right to ignore the government or, in the case of this country, rise up and overthrow the government. (Revolutionary War)

Basically, this is much the same as what Yahshua stated. We are not to allow men, through any form of authority, restrict us from the right to our own conscience, (the Torah written on our hearts), even if some may misuse the liberty we are given by God. Misuse is no one’s business unless it brings harm to anothers’ property or person.

Romans 13 when studied out in the Greek is talking about giving respect to those in authority not absolute obedience. The best scriptural example of this is in Acts chapter 4 where Kepha (Peter) and Yochanan (John) were taken before the council in Jerusalem and commanded not to preach in the name of Yashua (Jesus). Kepha and Yochanan were respectful in their response. they made it clear that they must obey YHWH rather than the Council. They never say that the council has “no right to tell them what to do”, rather they are respectful and submissive.

Submission does not me absolute surrender of one’s right to hear from YHWH for one’s self. It only means that one acknowledges those in authority to do what they choose even though one may still have to disobey them because of conscience. This has been misunderstood in the Body and many believers have lost or never learned to hear from the Ruach (Spirit) for themselves.

Do not forget that Kepha and Yochanan were later beaten for their disobedience. We find no where in scripture where either man ever spoke against the council for having done so. They allowed that the council had the authority to choose to punish them for their disobedience even though their conscience would not allow them to obey. This is true submission to authority.

So, to conclude. Just because something is illegal does not mean that it is wrong. Certainly the government has a right to make their laws, but as an individual one has a right to disobey if it violates one’s conscience. Of course, one must weigh the consequences of that decision and decide if it is worth the risk. One is not a criminal just because one’s government has made a law against something that one is choosing to do. If you think that incorrect, consider the “criminal” Nobel Prize winner  Liu Xiaobo in China.

One last thing. The idea that the wine that Timothy drank was not fermented can not be proven either scripturally or from contemporaneous writings. Wine is wine not grape juice. New wine, possibly without fermentation, was only available immediately after the harvest, in the early fall. Grape juice, because of it’s high fructose content, will spoil very quickly without modern canning, refrigeration methods or processing it for fermentation. Even so called New Wine had probably undergone some fermentation. Grape juice begins to ferment pretty quickly. I have actually made wine in as little as a month that had a pretty strong alcohol content and had to be watered down.

That being true then, it would make no sense for Shaul (Paul) to recommend a little grape juice for Timothy’s apparent stomach problems. Modern science also helps us to understand why this is likely the case. We now know that many ulcers are caused by bacteria in the stomach. Wine, especially red wine, has anti-bacterial properties that can reduce or eliminate those ulcer causing bacteria and even have some healing properties for ulcers already present. Grape juice has none of those same properties and would, therefore, be of no benefit, and consequentially would not likely have been recommended by Shaul.

Blessings All

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