“Revelations also emphasizes how the whole world will be deceived by Pharmakeia,” Gokey tweeted.
The word has come up in blog posts, podcasts and on Amazon, where it has appeared on T-shirts (alongside search terms “vax Mandate Tyrants lockdowns”) and self-published books dating back to 2018 claiming to unmask a spirit of pharmakeia controlling the pharmaceutical industry worldwide.
It’s not unusual for people to search the Bible online to see what it has to say about major events in news and pop culture, according to Petersen of Bible Gateway.
“It seems topics that dominate the news media and social posts cause people to wonder what the Bible might have to say about them, so they search keywords and phrases on Bible Gateway to see what they can find,” he told Religion News Service in an email.
Last year, Bible Gateway saw a spike in searches for terms such as racism, justice, equality and oppression after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the protests that followed. The site also noted a surge in searches for what the Bible has to say about such topics as disease, pestilence and plague around the emergence of COVID-19 lockdowns and for politics-related terms in the lead-up to the presidential election.
Its most-read verses have remained the same for years: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16) and “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Its top two most-searched terms have also remained unchanged: “love” and “peace.”
This article originally appeared here.