3rd Compass -> Group News and Articles -> A new national symbol for Israel and the church - The cannabis leaf?

A new national symbol for Israel and the church - The cannabis leaf? (Teaching)
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Minister Ty Alexander

Yom HaAtmaut or Israel’s Independence Day celebrates the formation of the modern state of Israel. However, during this holiday Israel also remembers her ancient history from the Bible – especially after leaving Egypt in the Exodus, because that is when God formed the ancient nation of Israel through the leadership of Moses/Moshe and the giving of the Torah or Law of Moses at Mount Sinai.

Something often highlighted during Independence Days are national symbols and most people associate the Star of David and the menorah lampstand with Israel. But for ancient Israel, there was no Star of David and the highest symbol of Israel was the ark of the covenant, not the menorah, though the menorah was made at the same time as the ark after the Jews left Egypt (Exodus/Shemot 25:10-16, 25:31-40, 37:1-24).

During the last major holiday, Pesach/Passover, I shared the Exodus story, which covered the journey from the morning after that very first Passover night and the last plague of Egypt. The story brought you through the Red Sea crossing, the wilderness wanderings, and ended after the Jews had made all the holy articles of the tabernacle, priesthood, and ark of the covenant at Mount Sinai.

All of those holy items were anointed with a holy oil of anointment, which God described in Exodus/Shemot 30:22-33. It is this oil that is at the center of many claims that marijuana was mentioned in the Bible, but not only that, some claim cannabis also played a role in God’s rituals and ceremonies, such as being used as an incense offering.

Their arguments are compelling, but are they really correct that cannabis was one of the ingredients for God’s holy anointment oil and also one of the incense fragrances that was burnt as offerings to God? Should the marijuana leaf (below) also be a symbol for God and Israel?

I first heard these claims from a lay-preacher who wanted to work with me earlier this year. He wanted to get spiritual insights from me, which is not something I am against. However, the Spirit did not want me to work with him, because, though, he sought more knowledge, he was also a false teacher given to excessive love doctrine (see Ministry Warnings for more) and resisted correction. I cannot work with anyone who refuses to leave the sins and ways of the Harlot Babylon nor with anyone who refuses correction, so to work with this man, I asked him to profess that he had no allegiance to any sect or to anything false, and that he would strive to remove anything that should be removed among God’s people, whether it be lies, sin, false teachings, or any other darkness.

He did not want to do that and so we ended our conversations. However, even though the Lord already guided me that smoking marijuana for recreational use, as well as smoking or vaping in general, is a sin (see God's Proof For Sin for more), what this person claimed about cannabis in scripture needed further looking into. There was compelling evidence for it, and when I looked at this further, I noted a lot of people were also saying cannabis is in the Bible. This scriptural link was even mentioned in a lengthy documentary about cannabis called The God Plant[1.1].

I’m sure the title of the documentary is a willful marketing ploy to link it to God and scripture so that conservatives would stop resisting cannabis use. The documentary was a device to open people and governments up to the legalization of marijuana. They made many excellent points which went with another “God Plant” analogy in that cannabis can also help remedy many ailments, because it helps regulate the cannabinoid hormonal system in our bodies, a system that goes throughout our entire body and affects many functions.

The medical benefits of cannabis is undisputable if you look at the evidence and testimonies objectively. I do not reject medical cannabis use and it should be legalized for that. For recreational use, however, is a different story. God guided me it is sin, as I said, and furthermore, like other documentaries and promotional pieces that try to paint something in a good light, The God Plant and other cannabis advocates also often do not give the whole picture and jump to conclusions about things, portraying things as absolute fact when they are not. The bad effects of smoking or vaping cannabis was completely omitted in The God Plant, and claims that cannabis is simply a natural compound that our bodies generate is incorrect. Our bodies do create cannabinoid chemicals naturally, but they are not the same as the THC and CBD in marijuana (THC and CBC are the chemical compounds in cannabis responsible for its psychoactive and medicinal effects).

THC and CBD are only similar and able to link up to receptors in our body, much like synthetic sugars do the same – they are chemically similar so that our taste receptors perceive them as sweet in the case of synthetic sugars, but they are not the same as natural sugars and some are harmful, just as cannabis can also be very harmful.

This article, though, is not about legalizing cannabis, as common sense would make its medical use approved and both its recreational and medical use should be regulated, like other “mild” drugs and alcohol (as opposed to “hard” drugs, like heroine and cocaine). The main reason for this article is to share what God gave me about whether or not kaneh-bosem in scripture is truly cannabis or not.

As someone who has been in contact with cannabis users and knows how it affects people and that its scent is unpleasant, I could not simply accept these cannabis claims in scripture without sufficient back up and guidance from God. So I asked the Lord to guide me on whether or not the scriptural references really were about cannabis.

The primary place where people say cannabis is in scripture is where God gives the ingredients for the holy anointment oil. It comes from the compound Hebrew word, kaneh-bosem ( קנה-בשם ) in Exodus/Shemot 30:23, which is usually translated as fragrant cane or calamus, which is a pleasant smelling reed-type plant. Kaneh-bosem and its alternate pronunciations do sound very similar to cannabis, and some linguists and researchers suggest the word cannabis came from kaneh-bosem in the Bible changing into the Hebrew qannabbos or kannabbos ( קנבוס ) later[1.5].

However, that is speculation. A more solid linguistic trail traces the word cannabis from Greek, κάνναβις (kánnabis), which came from Scythian (Assyrian) influence[1.2] in the lands far north and east of the holy land (parts of modern day Iraq are included, which is where the capital of ancient Babylon was). The ancient origins of cannabis do come from the Far East and India, and it was in use in the cultures of the East and Middle East for about 5000 years[1.1] (China is one of the oldest users of cannabis and it was documented in ancient Indian society; today, a cannabis milk drink connected to the Hindu god Shiva and holiday of Holi is still used[1.8]). There’s also a lot of evidence for cannabis use in ancient Egypt, which is where the Jews came out of, so cannabis would have been familiar to the ancient Hebrews, which would give claims that kaneh-bosem is cannabis more credit.

However, all these things don’t automatically mean kaneh-bosem in the Bible and cannabis are the same thing. God taught me a long time ago that not everything is as it seems, especially with linguistics. God’s guidance about His names is an example. Words can change through many different ways and words that sound the same can have completely different origins and meanings.

An example I found when studying Irish language is the name Tyrone. County Tyrone in Ireland and the same name from Greek origin are completely different, even though today, they look and sound exactly the same. Ireland’s Tyrone came from the contraction and anglicization of the Irish, Tír Eoghan, which means Land of Eoghan. It is pronounced "tier owen" or "cheer owen," but after centuries of English influence, the name was contracted into Tyrone because English translators wrote it as Tyrone because Tír Eoghan sounds like Tier-own (Tyr-own). Over time, the original pronunciation was lost, so when people see County Tyrone in Ireland, they assume it is the same as the older Greek name, Tyrone.

Because I knew linguistic and phonetic (sounds the same) similarity cannot be definitive proof that kaneh-bosem is cannabis, I needed more proof and God’s guidance. After all, the oil recipe God gave was to be considered holy and never to be made for other purposes, nor used on any laypeople (unanointed priests; Exodus/Shemot 30:31-33). So because it was holy and used only for God’s holy items (the tabernacle, its articles, and priestly garments were for God’s sacred rituals, and the ark of the covenant was where God’s presence resided), the notion that He would use cannabis, which has unholy and unpleasant associations, to anoint what is holy was hard to believe.

And furthermore, because I know what cannabis smells like (the smoke turns my stomach), I couldn’t simply take peoples’ word that kaneh-bosem is truly cannabis. Even cannabis smokers admit and describe its scent as “skunky” or “super dank,” something like extremely earthy and moist soil – all adjectives that are certainly not associated with holiness.

Can you imagine God wanted to make a fragrantly perfumed anointment oil with 17% of something that smells like earthy soil, which is the smell of decaying organic matter, or even worse, skunk? (God gives the proportions in Exodus/Shemot 30:23-24). And would God want cannabis as a burnt offering, too?

God is of heaven, not of the earth, so musky or earthy smells, and certainly not “skunky,” would go with the truly divine. And though God does like fragrant aromas from burnt offerings (Genesis/ Bereishit 8:20-21; Exodus/Shemot 29:18; Leviticus/Vayikra 1:9; Numbers/Bamidbar 15:3), I would not include cannabis with them, not just because of its unpleasant smell, but because of its psychoactive effects, which WAS used in pagan rituals where marijuana’s inducement of an altered state of mind was desired for divination and connecting with the spirits. A pagan shrine dating to the time of the first temple in Jerusalem was even discovered in Israel that had burnt cannabis on its altar[1.4].

These are things God would NOT use in His rituals. The Bible gives no indication that burnt offerings for Him ever made the priests “high,” drunk, or induced any altered state of mind. But furthermore, God does NOT want His anointed leaders, much less, His priests to be under the influence of any drugs when they are making judgments, performing rituals, or giving counsel. This is why God said, It is not for kings to drink wine or for rulers to desire strong drink, otherwise they will drink and forget what is decreed and pervert justice (Proverbs/Mishlei 31:4-5). This verse is not about complete prohibition of alcohol, but of using it properly - those in positions of authority, teaching, and judgment cannot be drunk or "high" when they are working.

Clearly, preachers have not thought things through with these cannabis claims, and to show this further, I will share even more of God’s revelations.

First, I will state that the strange fire or unauthorized fire that killed those who offered it to God was actually an incense offering of cannabis (Leviticus/ Vayikra 10:1). Two sons of Aaron made the burnt offering but were killed because of it. Some would say God killed them because they made the offering without being asked (Leviticus/Vayikra 10:1), but it was actually because they did not treat God as holy and actually dishonored Him by the offering.

Why? Because God said afterwards, By those who come near Me, I will be sanctified, and before all the people, I will be glorified (Leviticus/Vayikra 10:3). Obviously, the strange incense did the opposite of glorifying God. He was dishonored, which kept Aaron silent after God killed his sons, and it is no stretch to say the dishonor was to give a burnt offering of cannabis to God. It was used in pagan offerings and for its psychoactive effects to connect with pagan gods. And because Egypt used cannabis for their ritual offerings, as well as medicine, at the time of the Exodus, it isn’t hard to imagine Aaron’s sons had cannabis.

The meaning in the Hebrew word, kaneh-bosem, also gives further insight. It refers to a fragrant or sweet smelling, reed-like plant (like a hollow tube, not a thin stick), because kaneh means “reed, stalk, bone, balances”[1.6] which is why kaneh is often translated as cane or calamus (a fragrant reed), while bosem means “spice, balsam, perfume, sweet, sweet smell”[1.7]. Cannabis is not reed-like, but looks like a typical green leafy plant with thin branches (nothing tube or reed-like; see photos below).

Kaneh-bosem is supposed to be a pleasant smelling plant, which is further backed up by the use of kaneh in Song of Songs/Shir HaShirim to describe the female lover in a list of pleasant smelling fragrances along with cinnamon (also used in the holy anointment oil), frankincense, myrrh, and aloe (Song of Songs/Shir HaShirim 4:14).

There is no way cannabis would make it into that list of fragrant scents, and in fact, I’ve found no evidence that the ancients used cannabis to make perfume. It was mostly used to make rope and paper from the mild or non-psychoactive variety (hemp) and for medicine and its psychoactive effects with the variety we commonly think of as cannabis or marijuana.

Furthermore, when I was being guided on this cannabis issue, the Lord had me notice this scripture which went with painting a picture of the preacher who told me cannabis is in the Bible. It goes with all those like him who teach lies: "Yet the people do not turn back to Him who struck them, nor do they seek Yahovah of hosts. So Yahovah cuts off head and tail from Israel, both palm branch and bulrush in a single day. The head is the elder and esteemed man, and the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail. For those who guide this people are leading them astray, and those who are guided by them are led to destruction" (Isaiah 9:13-15/Yeshayahu 9:12-15).

False teachers and prophets often interpret by their own mind and ways of the world, and not by God’s Spirit or Mind, which is how I strive to teach. Even though many preachers ask God to guide them in matters, they also are loyal to what is false which keeps the hooks of the devil in them so that most of their spiritual guidance is not truly from the Lord. The results of this are evident – those whom most believers esteem, teach lies, and none of them can discern it until someone approved by God speaks for Him to give the correct picture. Relying on unapproved servants is to the people's destruction as Isaiah 9 says, because false teaching leads and keeps the people in sin.

I’ve said enough to show that kaneh-bosem is not cannabis and that cannabis was not supposed to be used for God’s burnt offerings. Its properties are not in line with Godliness even if it is useful as a medicine. "Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us reveals the fragrance of the knowledge of Him in every place" (2 Corinthians 2:14). Amen.

This article was written with God’s guidance and direction and not simply by doing Internet research. Just Googling for information will not give you the best information, because the best information is often not freely accessible on the Internet, such as in print books, behind paid services, or in unrecorded knowledge given by God.

Please help this ministry continue to mature and heal God’s people and kingdom by donating or subscribing. Thank you and the Lord bless you in the name of Mashiach Yeshua for your help. Amen.

[1.1] John K. Webster. "The God Plant". Video Documentary. 2018.

[1.2] "Cannabis". Wikipedia. Retrieved 2024 May 14.

[1.3] Franz Parsche and Andreas Nerlich. "Presence of drugs in different tissues of an Egyptian mummy". Fresenius' Journal of Analytical Chemistry. 1995. Retrieved 2024 May 14.

[1.4] Aristos Georgian. "Cannabis Discovered in Shrine From Biblical Israeli Kingdom May Have Been Used in Hallucinogenic Cult Rituals". Newsweek. 2020 May 28. Retrieved 2024 May 14.

[1.5] "Etymology of cannabis". Wikipedia. Retrieved 2024 May 14.

[1.6] "Entry for Strong's #7070 - קנה (reed, stalk, bone, balances)". Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. BibleSoft, Inc. 2002, 2003, 2006.

[1.7] "Entry for Strong's #1314 - בשם (spice, balsam, perfume, sweet, sweet smell)". Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. BibleSoft, Inc. 2002, 2003, 2006.

[1.8] Christine Bednarz. "9 things to know about Holi, India’s most colorful festival". National Geographic. 2023 Mar. 1. Retrieved 2024 Mar. 25.

3rd Compass -> Group News and Articles -> A new national symbol for Israel and the church - The cannabis leaf?


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