Mysteries Of The Bible: A Plant Of Renown

So, yesterday, while one of my roommates was watching tv, someone (I think it was Willie Nelson, but I’m not sure) made a comment about marijuana in the Bible, and I was asked if that was the case. I said, “Of course not,” and then Ezekiel 34:29 was quoted about a ‘plant of reknown’ with that plant obviously referring to cannabis. In dealing with this sort of obvious and self-serving misinterpretation of scripture, we need to examine a few matters to solve the ‘mystery’ that this particular verse presents. First, we need to examine how and why this verse is viewed in such a way. Then, we need to look at what this verse actually means, in its immediate and its larger context to see what the reality is behind this mystery.

First of of all, let us look at the verse itself and see how and why it is misused by advocates for the legitimacy and legalization of pot. Ezekiel 34:29 reads: “I will raise up for them a garden of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the Gentiles anymore.” At first glance, this particular millennial verse could have any number of meanings, which makes it an easy enough target for those who claim that any sort of renowned plant must refer to mary jane. To be sure, there are useful purposes of the plant, but it is not the fulfillment in any way of a biblical prophecy. Anyone who has even a slight familiarity with the side effects of smoking marijuana knows that the use of pot carries with it two effects that are contrary to this verse (and its immediate context). First, pot use tends to give one the munchies, which is not the way that someone is kept from being consumed with hunger. Any plant that meets this definition (or any garden) is going have to either dull hunger or (to fulfill the promise of this verse) fill it. Pot simply does not meet that standard. Furthermore, this plant is related to promises of an absence of fear and terror, and pot is among the plants that makes one the most afraid and paranoid (helping, no doubt, to fuel the paranoia of libertarians in our contemporary political scene). For these two reasons, there is no possible way this verse is talking about pot.

Why would this verse be so transparently misused to advocate for pot use, though? That is itself a bit of a mystery, but it can be related to a couple of interrelated factors. For one, a lack of general biblical knowledge means that most people could reference this verse and make it seem at least plausible to uninformed listeners that the Bible does indeed have something that could be approving to marijuana use. Likewise, the frequent use of prooftexting and quoting sections of verses out of context to support one’s preconceived notions allows this sort of travesty of biblical eisegesis to occur, though seldom with the violence that scripture suffers here. There are other verses that would better support the use of marijuana in teas (to give but one example) as a mild pain reliever, when the Bible gives Adam and Eve and their descendents every green herb for food, provided (of course) that it was not poisonous. Yet this sort of verse is not used because the use of plants for food, rather than smoking, cuts against the desire of those who would wish to legitimize pot use. Yet the fact that the Bible still retains some cachet in political discourse suggests that those who do not understand the Bible or necessarily believe it would still want to find a verse of scripture to justify their behavior if one could be found or twisted.

So, if this particular verse is obviously not referring to marijuana, what does it actually mean? First, let us look at this verse in its immediate context, Ezekiel 34:25-30, which reads: “I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land, and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the Eternal, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. And they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely and no one shall make them afraid. I will raise up for them a garden of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the Gentiles anymore. Thus they shall know that I, the Eternal their God, am with them. and they, the house of Israel, are My people, says the Lord God.” This particular passage is a straightforward account of the blessings that will result when God makes peace with Israel, brings them back from captivity, and gives them a secure place in a millennial rule. It belongs to a lengthy list of scriptures about the restoration of Israel that have yet to be fulfilled, but that represent a promise of restoration that is at least part of what we long for, a world at peace without dangers and fear, under the rule of the returned Messiah.

This dream of restoration is a far better dream than the twisting and violence suffered by this passage in order to support a bogus and immoral political agenda. The cases that can be made for the use of marijuana in non-smoking for health benefits, and the equivalences that can be argued between pot and smoking tobacco or alcohol, if one wants to make them, are a subject for lengthy study and serious argument. It is not my intent in this particular passage to discuss that much larger and more contentious matter. That said, if one wants to make the case for the legitimacy of cannabis, one has to do so in an honest matter, without trying to illegitimately smuggle in nonexistent scriptural support for one’s position. To do so is not only grossly immoral, but also a sign of substantial intellectual laziness and dishonesty, in that one has so little support for one’s own judgments that one feels the need to twist scriptures to attempt a justification for one’s position. Fortunately, even a surface level understanding of the text in question will make the false interpretation of it go up in smoke, as it so richly merits.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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29 Responses to Mysteries Of The Bible: A Plant Of Renown

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  2. Jeannie Renninger says:

    I am happy to leave my response. You state that the verses do not attain to Marijuana. You are wrong. God has provided MANY plants and trees for us to heal and to stop hunger from when we are in sickness. When sick we have NO appetite and there for the marijuana plant will help in this time of sickness. Also you speak of paranoid actions off marijuana, if you have experienced this you are not in-taking the proper strain or you smoked imitation marijuana. I have smoked over 40 years and have never felt the paranoid feeling.
    The comment from you – {To do so is not only grossly immoral, but also a sign of substantial intellectual laziness and dishonesty, in that one has so little support for one’s own judgments that one feels the need to twist scriptures to attempt a justification for one’s position.} This is a very immature statement, I think you need to study allot more of the truth that has been written in stone. If you would like to speak to me further it would be my pleasure to talk with you. Not looking for argument but you need to see the truth and stop spreading word that is not truth.
    Sincerely , Jeannie

    • You are free to leave your comment, but all you have done is try to justify marijuana use, rather than demonstrate from scripture that what is mentioned in the verses could refer to marijuana, especially in the way it is used.

    • Steven says:

      It’s good to see here that people are standing up for their beliefs. That’s the beginning of being able to ultimately getting to the actual truth. I’m not a marijuana advocate, but I am a seeker of the truth in His Word. I’m not yet certain either way on whether or not this scripture is referring to pot. I will say that Jeanie, you have a good point on the subject. This is a subject that warrants much prayer and research, especially in the original language. I plan on doing just that. I definitely think this was written with very little personal knowledge, or any knowledge, education or the research on the subject that as deserves. It appears to be written “off the cuff” from a defensive, almost knee jerk reaction to being upset that someone could possibly understand something from such a different standpoint on a subject that someone else is against at all cost. It feels like it’s coming from a “that just can’t be true” and here’s what I think stance. I do know that it is used as a food for the sick, hurting, anxious, stressed and depressed. Either way, He is love and He is a God of love, and His ways aren’t our ways. it very well might be that the marijuana plant is a huge blessing in numerous ways, and that uncountable numbers of His children have been helped with medical and personal use of it over thousands of years. Anyways, I’m excited to dig in and seek His truth on the subject. Be Blessed!

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  4. Nobody can say they are right you are wrong in their understanding of The Bible….nobody is superior judging Gods meaning. if you don’t believe Kaneh Bo’s so Cannabis/marijuana don’t use it….but you are not within your right to keep others from their beliefs. Ferment some grapes or burn a plant…no difference. Cannabis/marijuana is the most nutritious food on this planet our Endocannabinoid System requires cannabinoids to balance our body…our own body produces cannabinoids…they are in mothers milk for babies. Cannabis is nutrition !

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  6. samson says:

    Hebrew institute in Isreal has cofirmed that cannabis was used in the Holy annointing oil recipe . Look it up. And not just a little bit, 9 pounds. Just to make one batch of this oil in a place where it’s illegal in the US would cause the risk of 5 years in prison and 100,000 dollars in fines. You have been decieved by those who wish to surpress the truth.Becareful what you say about this plant, however snarky and intellegent you may think you are about biblical matters. If you are looking to worship our father in spirit and truth, I suggest not to blasphemy something the father has deemed worthy of holiness.

    • You’re going to have to cite your source more clearly. I am a snarky person, but my commentary was against the improper use of cannabis and how that abuse makes a mockery of what is discussed in this passage about the plant of renown. It by no means shows hostility to a proper use of that God-given herb.

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  8. axet120 says:

    This passage is speaking of the coming of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. This in no way makes cannabis used for medicinal reasons wrong. It is wrong to use this verse to condone it. Always confide in God through faith in Him. He will reveal all things to those that seek it through faith. Do not allow anything to come before God. Rick Simpsons Cannabis oil is a miraculous find. Should be used for ailments that it properly treats. Pain pills kill you and are addictive. There is no side effects to this oil for most people. To each his own according to his own issues granted by God. God is the only one that can answer this. If you fervently pray and find the peace that passes all understanding. Praise God you have your answer to something that isn’t clear in scriptures. God brings no evil upon anyone neither can He be tempted of evil. OUR OWN LUST BRINGS FORTH SIN AND SIN BRINGS FORTH DEATH.

    • Thanks for your moderation in commenting on this; it’s hard to find people who agree with me on both of those points.

      • axet120 says:

        Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life everlasting. The truth is narrow. There is only one truth brother. That truth is Jesus Christ and His Word. Confusion is of the devil. It is very broad with many avenues to confuse and deceive. Less is more when it comes to explaining the truth. The world is so cynical and diverse because it is wicked. It needs a complete hypothesis to submit a theory. This only confuses matters more. Stick to the simplicity in the truth of God’s Word with His knowledge and understanding.

  9. Kali K says:

    ” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” Cannabis is the worlds most perfect food. The leaves will bring health and vitality as well as the seeds being the most complete food known. It’s fibers are used for clothing, rope, sails, and too many other things to list. It’s earth friendly (no need to grow and clear cut land) using far less water, fertilizer or pesticides which deplete our soils. It’s medicinal, curing MANY ailments such as cancer or even COPD and Alzheimer’s. It’s a pain reliever, an appetite stimulation, relieves stress, depression, and insomnia. It was used in Holy anointing and healing oils as well as burned as incense (along with Frankincense which ALSO contains cannabinoids))

    For people to even suggest it’s an ‘evil’ plant is blaspheme. (NOT saying you are but, there are those who believe that.) It’s NOT a ‘drug.’ Drugs are chemically created by man. Heroine is a drug though the poppy is not and the sap (Opium) is a medicine (not a drug.)

    Everything can be abused and misused…EVERYTHING that is good in the sight of God can be used for evil. It’s called ‘free will.’ “Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.” but it warns “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”

    SHAME on people who want to instill ‘evil’ where none exists but in the hearts of man.

    If it is ‘illegal’ to use what God made and gave us to use because some people will abuse it, you are not doing God’s will but your own.

    • I’m glad you recognize that I do not view the plant itself as evil. I do believe, as you so passionately discuss in your comment, that the hemp and cannabis plants have a great deal to offer when used in the right way. Unfortunately, there are some whose interest in cannabis is only for the exploitation of a corrupt way to deal with plants through smoking and chemical intoxication, and there are others who do not see anything useful or worthwhile in the plant at all because its uses have been so flamboyant and obvious. I appreciate your comment, and agree with what you express here.

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  13. Adam says:

    There was nothing poisonous in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. Everything from atmosphere to plants and everything in between was perfect until sin. You stated Adam and Eve was given all plants for food so I wanted to clarify. Also, if Cannabis was legal in this country we would be out of national debt in a matter of a few years. It would heal this land. Doctors are the new drug dealers and everyone is ok with it. Just because it’s legal don’t mean it’s right. Just because it’s illegal don’t mean it’s wrong. Cannibiss is a flower. That’s it’s meaning. Morning Glory seeds are legal but if you eat them you will hallucinate so man has said cannabiss is a drug. Man is wrong. Pot has helped n healed so many people with cancer n many more ailments. I have a friend who had leukemia and smoked pot in the hospital (cuz she said what are they gonna do take me to jail) and her doctor said whatever you’re doing don’t stop cuz it’s killing the cancer. She’s now cancer free. Praise God! But to your argument you cannot say Ezekiel verse isn’t talking about cannabiss either. You may be a hater of pot. Get educated in all the uses of pot

    • I’m not a hater of pot, as you are clearly a lover of it. I had heard the bogus argument made about marijuana on a television show by Willie Nelson and I felt it necessary to write about it. That said, I do believe that there are plenty of good uses of cannabis oil as well as hemp that we should be able to enjoy without the problems of intoxication that so many people are most interested in. One can appreciate a plant without exaggerating it.

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  15. Ted Storie says:

    The word garden is not used in the original Aramaic nor greek or latin. It is the word for a plant. Marijuana is proven medicine, for you know, the people earlier in the chapter who the rulers have refused to heal. The seed is the highest source of fatty acids, protiens, and amino acids of anything in the entire world. The munchies help people like me with eating issues. It cured my cancer without therapy. More americans are in prison tjan any other crime serving sentences longer than theives or rapist. They are top pick for prison labor. They are slaves for doing something god gave us that has never caused a single death and overdose is impossibke. The only reason anyone gets paranoid after using it is usually their first time and tney are paranoid because theyve been taught its evil yet its so perfectly wonderful, gods gift, and they become afraid they will end up in jail or the grave. All things are good in moderation, recieved with thanksgiving.

    • I’m glad it’s helped you out, but you’re clearly underestimating the hazards of marijuana. I suppose it’s not too much of a surprise that this post attracts so many irate potheads who want to defend their drug of choice, though.

  16. Susan Jeppsson says:

    Thank you for your article. However, I must take account with some of your statements (as I’m sure you might be anticipating). 🙂

    You indicate that cannabis cannot possibly be the plant of renown, because it does not meet the properties described in Ezekiel in reference to the plant. However, I must point out that which I believe is flawed thinking, with regard to your report.

    First, with full disclosure, I will say that, regarding any Bible reading, I am a KJV purist, in that I don’t read Aramaic, Hebrew, or Greek. Neither do I read German (although I almost do, as it is so closely related to Danish). But I definitely believe by the time of the reformation, the words of the Bible had been twisted and taken out of context so many times, that it is hardly doing anyone a favor to use even FURTHER takes on the original. Therefore, I will use the scripture as it stands in KJV: “And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more.”

    They shall not be consumed with hunger in the land. If cannabis were re-“legalized” for the 25,000 different ways it can be used or “consumed,” there would be no hunger. For anything. With hemp, there is fuel, rope, textiles, housing, “plastics”, and thousands of other uses. With cannabis, there is food and medicine. Cannabis is DESIGNED to help people keep food down, in that it is an anti-nausea medication, which is why it is given to chemotherapy and AIDS patients the world over. My closest cousin died at age 30, from starvation directly caused by the nauseating “medicine” given to him to treat his illness. I would, no questions asked, say that cannabis fits the bill regarding being a cure for “hunger,” in all its many forms.

    Then you state “Furthermore, this plant is related to promises of an absence of fear and terror, and pot is among the plants that makes one the most afraid and paranoid…”

    This is a fallacy, and flawed thinking. You imagine that users are paranoid BECAUSE of the cannabis.

    I don’t live in the United States any longer, I moved from there six years ago. Cannabis is NOT LEGAL in the country in which I now reside, either. But the users are the furthest thing from being “afraid” or “paranoid”.

    The police state in the US which detains, arrests, and imprisons over 1,000,000 individuals per year for cannabis use is that which makes users there quite paranoid, I am certain. It is often said, the most dangerous thing about cannabis is the fact THAT it’s illegal. In fact, the DEA’s own administrative law judge Francis L. Young stated that “marijuana is the safest therapeutically active substance known to man.”

    There are 12,000 years of recorded medical history regarding the use of cannabis as medicine. NO ONE ever even thought to criminalize it, until 1937, when a few men who stood to make profits in their various industries tried to destroy this plant and its bountiful harvest.

    Incidentally, I would be interested to know your thoughts on Israel, the man, Israel, the country, and Israel, the modern government, one day. In my reading of scripture, these are far and away NOT one and the same. I would also be interested to know your thoughts regarding Jacob/Israel, and Abraham, to whom the original promise was given, in which all of his seed would be blessed. That includes not just Isaac, but also Ishmael.

    Thank you again for the opportunity to comment.

    • You’re welcome for the opportunity to comment. I get a lot of cannibis enthusiasts here, and I do not consider the plant of renown to be cannibis for a variety of reasons that I have discussed above and may do so in the future as well. I have no personal hostility to the use of hemp or to the non-smoking medicinal use of the plant as well and I agree that these purposes would be beneficial, although not to the level of the prophecy. You do, however, grossly underestimate the harm that is done in the smoking of marijuana, in the loss of drive as well as mental capacity and the mental illneses that are exacerbated by such uses, and which are well documented in medical literature.

      Concerning the second matter of Israel the man, the country, and the modern government, they are definitely not the same. Israel the contemporary country is itself a revival of the southern kingdom of Judah. Israel the nation in scripture is frequently seen (especially in the New Testament) to refer as well to those Gentile believers who are grafted into the nation through their conversion and faith. And Israel the man is also distinct from both. Both Ishmael and Edom failed to receive the full promises but both did receive “reserve blessings” that include a great deal of the promise of demographic growth and well-being that were given to the blessed sons Isaac and Jacob. This, though, is a matter which requires a longer discussion than a comment.

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