Approach to Jehovah or to the Demons—Which?
“Let us, therefore, approach with freeness of speech to the throne of undeserved kindness, that we may obtain mercy and find undeserved kindness for help at the right time.”—Heb. 4:16.
1, 2. Describe the way by which one must approach God.
JEHOVAH GOD in his heavenly abode has provided a way of approach to himself. He has ONE way. Approach must be through the right channel, faith in Jesus Christ and acceptance of his ransom sacrifice.
2 Jesus himself said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) There are no shortcuts. It is not a matter of living any way one wants to live, even if belonging to some religion. Neither can one use just any method, such as yoga, astrology, asceticism or drugs, and qualify to approach God. A person must have an earnest desire to approach God in the right way, and pray from his heart to get accurate knowledge of God’s Word. And no one is made to approach or serve Jehovah against his own will. God accepts only willing, wholehearted devotion.
3-5. (a) Having approached God, how can we maintain closeness to him? (b) What so-called “helps” do we not need to approach God?
3 Then, having come to know God’s will, a person must follow the direction of God’s Word. To stand before God requires clean hands and a pure heart. The psalmist says: “Who may ascend into the mountain of Jehovah, and who may rise up in his holy place? Anyone innocent in his hands and clean in heart.”—Ps. 24:3, 4.
4 There is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” and of the high priest through whom we approach God we read: “Seeing, therefore, that we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold onto our confessing of him. . . . Let us, therefore, approach with freeness of speech to the throne of undeserved kindness, that we may obtain mercy and find undeserved kindness for help at the right time.”—Eph. 4:5; Heb. 4:14-16.
5 God loves us; therefore he is not difficult to approach. The apostle Paul said: “He is not far off from each one of us.” We do not need helps or “crutches” such as images or earthly priests or any formalistic rites or printed prayers, neither hypnotism nor any form of drug. Adam did not approach God by means of images or drugs, neither did the “last Adam,” Jesus Christ.—Acts 17:27; 1 Cor. 15:45.
6, 7. By what way can one of God’s people come to be under demon control?
6 Satan and his associate demons, on the other hand, seek control of mankind. Satan is a mimic god. He too has ways by which he can be approached, certain things that open us up to demon control.
7 Now, Jehovah protects his people from control of the demons unless they use a channel of approach to the demons. When a person gives in to wrong or foolish desire, however, he is easily turned to some channel that the demons arrange. He then comes under their control. Such a person may not necessarily be demon possessed, but he will be doing the things the demons want him to do, the things against God. James, Jesus’ half brother, said: “Each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death.”—Jas. 1:14, 15.
8, 9. Why is it very dangerous to be associates of worldly persons?
8 Trying to imitate or be associates of worldly persons, or persons who follow the world’s thinking, is highly dangerous. Following their ways or trying to please them is one avenue that can eventually lead to control by the demons. Regardless of how fine such persons may appear to be, they are not guided by God’s spirit, but “according to the system of things of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit that now operates in the sons of disobedience.” That is why we should take seriously the Scriptural warning: “Bad associations spoil useful habits.”—Eph. 2:2; 1 Cor. 15:33.
9 Once the demons get a hold on a person he can rapidly go into complete degradation and an untimely death. That is what the demons like to see, especially delighting in the ruin of one who has once served God.—Compare Matthew 8:28-32.
WHAT ABOUT DRUGS?
10-12. Why cannot we avoid the question, Do drugs open approach to the demons?
10 What, then, about the use of drugs? Do they affect us in this respect, one way or another? Drugs have indeed become a big issue. The use of drugs is widespread in colleges and high schools and is rapidly spilling over into grade schools. Young business people even have their social marihuana (marijuana) smokes.
11 Is it, as they claim, merely ‘a harmless diversion, a way to relax, a way to get relief from the pressures of the modern world’? Someone may say, ‘That’s all there is to it; it doesn’t have anything to do with demons; it’s just for relaxation.’
12 Yes, someone may say that, but none of us can avoid facing the issue, To whom do drugs open an approach? Why? Because drug advocates themselves say that drugs are ‘a way to get closer to God.’ Drugs, they say, ‘give a sense of awareness,’ ‘are instant paradise’ or ‘give instant self-analysis.’ Well, do drugs actually expand the mind? Can they help us to analyze our hearts for good? What things in this connection must we consider, and what do the facts show?
A SOUND MIND ESSENTIAL
13-15. Why is it necessary for a Christian to guard his soundness of mind?
13 In the matter of approaching Jehovah and winning the reward of everlasting life, Jesus brought the mind into focus when he said: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and [please note] with your whole mind.”—Matt. 22:37.
14 It is obvious, therefore, that to approach Jehovah requires the full use of a healthy mind, keeping our power of perception and our power of reason clear and keen. Thus it requires a sound mind. Further, Paul stresses that Christians, all Christians, must be sound in mind. He exhorts that the aged men be sound in mind, that the aged women help younger women to be sound in mind, and that Titus himself keep on exhorting the younger men to be sound in mind.—Titus 2:2-6.
15 Therefore, as Christians, we cannot do anything that would place the soundness of our Christian mind in jeopardy. We are told: “Present your bodies a sacrifice living, holy, acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason.” (Rom. 12:1) To do otherwise would be to lose out on our approach to Jehovah and would put us in great danger of getting involved with the demons.
16. Why does a Christian have to be concerned as to the effects of marihuana on the mind?
16 Since marihuana’s effects are not so violent as the “hard” drugs, its use is more widespread among worldly people. Even Jehovah’s people, particularly those who are in school, may be tempted to use it. This raises the question: Would a Christian be giving evidence of a sound mind, a healthy mind, by using marihuana, or even contemplating its use? This is a very serious question, for the increase in frequency of the use of marihuana is staggering.
MARIHUANA’S EFFECTS ON THE MIND
17, 18. Did the use of marihuana prove to be ‘a harmless diversion’ to a certain sixteen-year-old girl?
17 For evidence of marihuana’s detrimental effects on one’s mind, morals, life and body, let the reader consider with us some concrete facts as submitted by medical doctors whose findings are reported in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, of April 19, 1971.
18 “A 16-year-old girl in whom there was no prior psychiatric difficulty smoked cannabis derivatives (marihuana and hashish) . . . for a period of two years. She began to lose interest in academic work . . . From a quiet and socially popular girl, she became hostile and quite impulsive in her inappropriate verbal attacks on teachers and peers. . . . After withdrawal from the drug, . . . Ten months of follow-up showed continued impairment of memory and thought disorder . . . she . . . could not transform her thoughts into either written or spoken words as she had once been able to do quite easily.”
Marihuana a harmless diversion? Rather, a ruination of mental health and soundness of mind.
19. What experience reveals that marihuana’s use can bring out viciousness in its user?
19 “A 20-year-old man developed delusions of omnipotence and grandeur six months after starting to smoke marihuana. He believed that he was in charge of the Mafia and that he was an Eastern potentate of the Ku Klux Klan. He began to collect guns and knives in addition to training his German shepherd dog to attack others.”
This individual’s mind was greatly damaged. It became unsound, sick. Was he obeying God’s command to ‘beat swords into plowshares’ and to love his neighbor? Whom was he approaching—Jehovah or the demons?
20. What degraded works were produced in a fourteen-year-old user of marihuana?
20 “Shortly after a 14-year-old boy began to smoke marihuana, he began to demonstrate indolence, apathy, and depression. . . . his condition worsened until he began to hallucinate and to develop paranoid ideas. Simultaneously, he became actively homosexual. . . . he attempted suicide by jumping from a moving car he had stolen.”
We ask: Marihuana, ‘an approach to paradise’? Homosexuality and suicide—instant paradise?
21, 22. What religious and spiritistic connections do we observe in the experiences of two young marihuana users?
21 Often only a short period of marihuana use has ruinous effects, as experienced by another young man:
“A 19-year-old boy smoked marihuana for four months, . . . Believing he had superhuman mental powers, he felt that he was able to communicate with and control the minds and actions of animals, especially dogs and cats. . . . [he believed] that he was the Messiah.”
Communication with dogs and cats and presumptuously thinking one is the Messiah makes approach to Jehovah impossible.
22 “An 18-year-old boy who smoked marihuana and hashish regularly for a three-year period became progressively withdrawn, confused, and depressed. His interest in astrology and Eastern religions increased. He became a vegetarian and practiced yoga. He had the delusion that he was a guru and eventually believed that he was the son of God. . . . he moved to the west coast and continued his unproductive, aimless life, supported financially by his parents.”
Again, we face the question: Approach to Jehovah or the demons—which? These two last-cited cases definitely show that a form of spiritism was involved.
23. (a) Why cannot one rely on worldly counselors? (b) Cite an instance in proof.
23 In connection with the use of drugs as in other matters affecting us spiritually we should turn our ears away from the counselors of this world, which is sick in mind. We should recognize this counsel for what it is: the wisdom of this world whose god is Satan the Devil. Weigh the value of such counsel given to a college student.
“A 19-year-old boy entered college with an ‘A’ average. He began smoking marihuana early in the freshman year, and within two months of starting to smoke cannabis, he became apathetic, disoriented, and depressed. At the semester’s end, he had failed all courses and lacked judgment in most other matters. . . . As with so many of our patients, this young man told his psychiatrist that he had observed changes while smoking marihuana; he even went to a college counselor and told the counselor that he felt he was having a thinking problem due to smoking marihuana. The counselor reassured him that the drug was harmless and that there was no medical evidence of difficulties as a consequence of smoking.”
However, this boy quit smoking marihuana, and gradually his apathy disappeared, his motivation returned, and his personal appearance improved. He found employment and later enrolled at another university.
24. What were some of the general effects on those using marihuana?
24 Many other cases could be cited. It might be added that a marked characteristic of marihuana users, particularly females, was the unusual degree of sexual promiscuity, both with individuals of the opposite sex and of the same sex. This was true among those who had engaged in no sexual promiscuity before using marihuana. The incidence of venereal diseases was high.
DRUGS, SPIRITISM AND DEMONISM
25. With whom are those who use drugs cooperating?
25 Whom, then, do drugs help us to approach? Who is it that is in favor of degradation of men, of filth, both physical and moral, of insanity and an early death? It is the powers of darkness that drug users are approaching and with whom they are cooperating. In fact, as to the terrible addictive drug heroin, one user says: “It has all the advantages of death without its permanence.” Yes, drug abuse leads to the deadly danger of spiritism, demon practices, demon worship, and can even result in obsession by demons. Far from godly spirituality and closeness to God, it brings closeness to the demons.
26, 27. Show that the use of drugs really leads to spiritism.
26 Either we are doing what the demons desire of us or we are obsessed and possessed by them, if we use the hallucinatory drugs. Notice this, that, in many cases, there is a leading of the person to astrology or to occult pagan religions that practice a form of spiritism and communication with the demons. There is a direct connection. One drug user said it was a thing commonly recognized among the drug users with whom he associated that (as they said) they ‘knew a guy had gone too far when he began thinking that he was a god.’ So the boys who thought they were the Son of God were no isolated cases. Now, which were they getting to be like—Jehovah God and his Son Jesus the Messiah, or the demon gods?
27 Following their approach to the demons by the use of drugs, these young persons whose cases we have just considered did not stop there. No. They followed through and displayed the works of the demons: hostility, a disposition toward violence, sexual perversion and attempted suicide.
SPIRITISM A WORK OF THE FLESH
28, 29. Why is spiritism classified by the Bible as a work of the flesh?
28 But we do not have to have examples to know these things about drugs. We already have the word of the most important authority of all, Jehovah God. At Galatians 5:19-21 we read of the works of the flesh: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, and they are fornication, uncleanness, loose conduct, idolatry, practice of spiritism, enmities, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, contentions, divisions, sects, envies, drunken bouts, revelries, and things like these.” Which one of these things does the use of drugs not lead to?
29 These degrading things are not the fruits of the spirit. They are not spiritual. Spiritism itself is not spiritual, but is classified by the Bible as a work of the flesh. As an illustration: A person who commits bestiality (having sexual relations with a beast) is a human performing the act, but it is not a human act. It is the act of a beast, perverted, degraded for a human to do. Similarly, spiritism, while claiming to be spiritual, while being promoted by spirit creatures, wicked demons, is perverted, debased, a work of the flesh, not of the spirit.
30, 31. (a) How, before the Flood, did the demons demonstrate their desire to have fleshly connections? (b) Show that the action of the angels who married human women was perversion.
30 The demons pervertedly desire fleshly connections. Reflect on the pre-Flood account. The Bible reports: “Now it came about that when men started to grow in numbers on the surface of the ground and daughters were born to them, then the sons of the true God [angels] began to notice the daughters of men, that they were good-looking; and they went taking wives for themselves, namely, all whom they chose.”—Gen. 6:1, 2.
31 This act of the angels was a perversion because they were not created for this purpose. The Christian writer Jude compares their action with the sex perversion of Sodom and Gomorrah, writing: “The angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place he has reserved with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day. So too Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them, after they in the same manner as the foregoing ones had committed fornication excessively and gone out after flesh for unnatural use, are placed before us as a warning example by undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire.”—Jude 6, 7.
32. How do the demons still seek to satisfy their desire to have fleshly connections?
32 These angels who sinned cannot materialize now as they did before the Flood, because of God’s restriction. Nevertheless, by controlling the minds and bodies of persons they feel that, to some extent, they are having fleshly connections.
33. How does the Greek word for “spiritism” or “witchcraft” indicate a connection between drugs and spiritism?
33 It is of interest to us that the Greek word used in the Bible for “practice of spiritism,” “sorcery” or “witchcraft” is phar·ma·kiʹa, which is very closely related to our word “pharmacy.” Phar·ma·kiʹa means, literally, “druggery.” Why is this word used for spiritism or sorcery? One authority says:
“PHARMAKIA . . . (Eng., pharmacy, etc.) primarily signified the use of medicine, drugs, spells; then, poisoning; then, sorcery, . . . See also Rev. 9:21; 18:23. . . . In sorcery, the use of drugs, whether simple or potent, was generally accompanied by incantations and appeals to occult powers, with the provision of various charms, amulets, etc., professedly designed to keep the applicant or patient from the attention and power of demons, but actually to impress the applicant with the mysterious resources and powers of the sorcerer.”—Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.
34. How are drug users deceived, and in what will drug use eventually result for its users?
34 Is not the situation parallel today? Many drug users claim they are ‘approaching God,’ they are ‘expanding their minds.’ But actually it has to do with impressing the user with mysterious hallucinations and feelings, leading them to the demons, under the idea that the drug is freeing their minds for higher, broader thinking. If one is led into the practice of spiritism he is open to all sorts of wrong practices, demon influence, insanity and everlasting death. Spiritism, a work of the flesh, will prevent one from entering God’s kingdom, say the Scriptures at Galatians 5:21.
35. What warning does the apostle Paul give concerning the doing of anything that causes us to deviate from devotion to the true God, Jehovah?
35 The apostle Paul describes what people are doing when they engage in any religious act or practice that makes an approach to anyone aside from the true God, Jehovah. He says: “The things which the nations sacrifice they sacrifice to demons, and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers with the demons. You cannot be drinking the cup of Jehovah and the cup of demons; you cannot be partaking of ‘the table of Jehovah’ and the table of demons.” If we use drugs, we should very soberly consider Paul’s next words: “Or ‘are we inciting Jehovah to jealousy’?” he asks, then warns, “We are not stronger than he is, are we?”—1 Cor. 10:20-22.
36. What does God provide for the individual who approaches him with sincerity of heart?
36 Jehovah provides those who approach him sincerely with everything they need to be happy. Of approach and service to God, the apostle says: “To be sure, it is a means of great gain, this godly devotion along with self-sufficiency.” Seek godliness through obedience to the only One who can provide it, and be happy “along with those who call upon the Lord out of a clean heart.”—1 Tim. 6:6; 2 Tim. 2:22.
[Picture on page 177]
Smoking marihuana can ruin mental health and soundness of mind. Is that what you want?