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The Spirit of Python Promoted Paul in Acts 16:16

 

In Acts 14, wherever Paul went to evangelize with Barnabas, Paul was the “chief speaker.” (Acts 14:12.) In Acts 16, Paul is preaching at Philippi, and is heard by a demon possessed woman known as Python. (Acts 16:16.) She was popular at Philippi as a soothsayer whom people paid for prophecies. Those aspiring to be kings and rulers would vie for her endorsement to gain acceptance from among the people. Large parts of Greece fell to Philip of Macedon because Philip bribed the Python priestess to prophesy he would conquer. (See infra.) The Pythoness thus was a 'rock-star' -- to use a modern equivalent.

 

When Paul is at Philippi, this Python priestess -- a female-soothsayer -- followed him around for many days in the city. Everywhere Paul went she proclaimed him a man of God who declared "to us a way of salvation." Her intent was obvious: this demon-possessed woman hoped many would recognize and accept Paul as God's prophet, and accept his plan of salvation. (She said nothing about the true Jesus.) Paul did nothing to stop her for many days. Luke records in Acts 16:16-18:

16And it came to pass in our going on to prayer, a certain maid, having a spirit of Python, did meet us, who brought much employment to her masters by soothsaying [manteuomai, "practice divination as in a 'false divination or false prophet'"  - Strongs G3132. Cf. mantis = seer]

17she having followed Paul and us, was crying, saying, `These men are servants of the Most High God, who declare to us a way of salvation;'

18and this she was doing for many days, but Paul having been grieved, and having turned, said to the spirit, `I command thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, to come forth from her;' and it came forth the same hour. (Acts 16:16-19 YLT.)

Paul's casting out in the name of Jesus the Spirit of Python from the young girl after "many days" of delay doing so does not prove Paul knew the true Jesus. For our Lord specifically said that many who call on His name and use His name to cast out demons will be told by Jesus that "I never knew you." We must keep this passage in mind as we study whether the Spirit of Python's behavior proves Paul's salvation doctrines -- faith-alone / no works necessary / anti-law aka anomianism -- did not come from the true Christ:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of [ANOMIA (Greek for "lawlessness" or "negation of the Law."] (’ (Matt 7:21-23 ESV.)

An anomian message of salvation means one predicated upon the negation of the Law which God gave Moses. For discussion of "Anomia" in Matthew 7:21, see ch. 5 of Jesus Words Only. See also our in depth study of the Greek word ANOMIA at this link.

Jesus warns us in this quote that those coming with an anomian message who teach a salvation message that you need not obey the will of "my Father" and yet you will be saved anyway may cast out demons in Jesus' name, but this does not validate their false message.

(Please note the Law applicable to Gentiles is primarily the Ten Commandments by restatements in the Law that extend them to a "sojourner” within the community of the Israelites. The circumcision command is solely on “sons of Israel” in Lev 12:1-3, and only extended to Gentiles who want to partake in Passover or enter the Temple standing at Jerusalem until 70 AD. See this link.)

 

What Is The Spirit of Python?

 

A "spirit of Python" meant a specific type of demonic spirit. The NLT of Acts 16:16 translates it simply as she is a "demon-possessed girl." 

This Python priestess or Pythia oracle, as she was known, was a role rotated by three young women during the course of a day at Delphi and there was one at Philippi. (See below.) This had gone on for centuries. As we shall see, she spoke in gutteral grunts and screetches, and her words were translated by her scribe on a piece of paper to the person who wished her prophecy.

 

When she spoke, pagans thought she was supposed to have been given inspired messages from Apollo, the god of the Sun. Her prophecies were published far and wide, as the news of the day. People across Europe would be familiar with what her oracles said. This is reflected in the following instructive bit of information from an early church writer.

 

The famous church commentator, Origen, in 248 AD was debating with Celsus on what inspiration truly means. Celsus claimed there is not "only one God" (link), and instead there are many gods, and hence many inspired prophets. Celsus cited specifically "the oracles of the Pythian priestess" as unjustly being ignored as inspired by Origen. (Origen, Contra Celsum, link, at bk. 7, ch. 3, pg. 170.)

Origen in reply conceded the Pythian Oracle was inspired (reflecting that Origen submitted to consensus in all Europe). However, Origen said her inspiration was not from God, but from demons, and hence were not true. Origen wrote -- apparently unfamiliar with what impact his words would have on a Christian reading Acts 16:6 -- as follows. Origen said to Celsus that two of her well-known famous prophecies of a divine and pious quality of two different individuals were demonstrably incredible, and hence obviously from a demon. So Origen writes in the 200 AD period to Celsus in Contra Celsum as follows: 

 

And in the responses of the Pythian oracle also you may find some injunctions which you may find are not in accordance with reason, two of which we shall adduce on the present occasion, viz. when it gave commandment that Cleomedes -- the boxer, I suppose --  should be honoured with divine honors, seeing some great importance or other attaching to his pugilistic skill, but did not confer on either Pythagoras or Socrates the honors which it awarded on pugilism; and also when it called Archilocus "the servant of the Muses" -- a man who employed his poetic powers upon topics of the most wicked and licentious nature, and whose public character was dissolute and impure -- and entitled him "pious" in respect of his being a servant of the Muses, who are deemed to be goddesses. Now I am inclined that no one would assert he was a pious man.... [N]othing that is divine itself is shown to belong ... to the prophetic power of Apollo [i.e., Pythia, his oracle] ... [H]ow could anyone worship [him] as a pure divinit[y]? -- and especially when the prophetic spirit of Apollo ... secretly enters through the private parts of the person of her who is called priestess, as she is seated at the mouth of the Pythian cave! .... But let it be granted the responses by the Pythian ... were not false [prentention] of divine inspiration but on the other hand [they] may be traced to wicked demons.... (Contra Celsum, ch. XXV, link, at page 63, 170.) 

 

Hence, Origen says on two ocassions of which he presumed Celsus would know about, the Python priestess proved her inspiration was from demons as she gave divine honors to a boxer for being a boxer, and another time declared "pious" a dissolute poet for his service to his Muse goddesses. 

 

This background helps understand who is this Python Priestess, and how important she was across Europe. Origen lived in Alexandria, Egypt -- far from Greece where Celsus lived. Yet, Origen knew well these oracles, and could presume Celsus would acknowledge them as true in their written debate. 

This quote from Origen thus readily reveals why Acts 16:6 is highly damaging to Paul. Yet, Acts 16:6 perfectly suited Luke's primary goal to address Theophilus to prepare Paul's defense in an upcoming trial before pagans, including Nero, the emperor. Why so? Because Nero would respect what the Python priestess had said about Paul. See our article Luke Wrote Acts to Help Win Paul's Pending Trial at Rome.  No wonder Nero aquitted Paul in this first trial of Paul, as proven below. See also Review of a Polite Bribe Movie for detailed background on the acquittal. 

There is also reference to the Python priestess in the Law and Prophets.

 

In 1 Sam. 28:7, when it is translated "Lo, a woman possessing a familiar spirit in En-dor," this misses the meaning. For in  Hebrew, this is a "spirit of Python (OBH in Heb.) of Endor." (Jacques de Daillon (comte du Lude), Daimonologia: or, A treatise of spirits: Wherein several places of scripture expounded (Printed for the author1723) at 114-115.)

The Hebrew word "OBH" is oftened rendered today as sorcerer" or "necromancer" but was "often translated Python in the Vulgate [Bible]." (M. Oldfield Howey, The Encircled Serpent a Study of Serpent Symbolism in All Countries And Ages (1900) at 142.)

How did Jerome in preparing the Hebrew Bible equate OBH in Hebrew with Python?

 

Because OBH was short for the Hebrew word ABADDON.  John in Revelation 9:11 revealingly tells us this is APOLLYON in Greek. Scholars then explain APOLLYON means APOLLOS, the Sun-god (son of Zeus, the head god) whose temple was at Delphi (and Philippi) where the Python statue with multiple heads of serpents spoke through the priestess. See our article "Apollyon."

So who is the Python in relation to APOLLOS?

"Python in Greek mythology was the serpent who guarded the Delphic oracle....Apollo's prophetic seer was called Pythia." (Rick Strelan, Strange Acts; Studies in the Cultural World of the Acts of the Apostles (Walter de Gruyter2004) at 113.)

Apollo was known as "Apollo Pythius because his symbol was the Python." (Dr Elsie Clark, Spiritual Warfare: Vol. 2 Battling Against Carnality (2010) at 189.)

Apollo was the Sun-god among the Greeks. At the core of Apollo's temple was a pyramid known as the "tripod" to symbolize the Sun's rays.

(Technically, the god Phobus was the god of light, and he morphed into "Apollo Pythia." See link.)

On this tripod sat a coiled serpent statue with three heads known as the Python.

Technically, in Greek mythology, Apollo previously slayed the prophesying Python, but now through his female Pythia priestess at Delphi, also known as Python, the Python spirit spoke. See Leadbetter, "Apollo," Pantheon.org.

Thus, we find the Python was identified now as Apollo Pythius at Delphi:

"As the cone or pyramid was a symbol of the sun's rays, this typified the worship of Apollo, the Sun-god with that of the Serpent, the python, the earth deity." (M. Oldfield Howey, The Encircled Serpent a Study of Serpent Symbolism in All Countries And Ages (1900) at 143.)

Clearly, the spirit of Python is the spirit of Satan / Apollos / Lucifer -- the "blinding light" (see "Who Is Blinding Angel of Light") -- even worshipped as a large three-headed Serpent. The "pythoness" -- the young virgin who would speak the Serpent's prophecies -- had to sit on the tripod at the Temple of Python / Apollo at Delphos / Delphi. Eventually there were always three young virgins who would alternate at the task. (Howey, Id., at 144.)

Delphos of Greece and its oracle became linked to Philippi in Macedon because in theapolloslayspython 300s BC Macedon under Philip II seized parts of Greece by bribing the Python oracle to give prophecies of his success. It was said by Demosthenes that the oracle had become "Philipized." Id., at 146.

 

[Painting to right is 'Apollo slaying the Python' by Eugene Delacroix - died 1863]

Python Priestess of Phillipi

The Python priestess at Philippi within Macedon thereby was just another sister-prophetess to the three who rotated the role at Delphi. The Philippian Python is the one whom Paul met:

12 thence also [we came] to Philippi, which is a principal city of the part of Macedonia -- a colony. And we were in this city abiding certain days,...16 And it came to pass in our going on to prayer, a certain maid, having a spirit of Python, did meet us, who brought much employment to her masters by soothsaying, (Acts 16:12, 16 YLT.)

She was equally an "agent of Satan" explains Chr. Wordsworth, D.D., Canon of Westminster, in his The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the original Greek (Ed. Ch. Wordsworth, D.D., Canon of Westminster)(Rivington 1862) at 120. He explains what this label of Python applied to this young girl represented:

"A remarkable expression. The damsel was possessed by an evil spirit....Python spirit, a word never occurring in the gospels....[T]he word Python would sound a note strong on the Greek and Roman ear. How much was contained in those words? Python was the prophetic serpent at Delphi, the center and focus of Gentile divination. The Python gave his name and place to the prophetic deity of the Gentile world. The successor of the Serpent of Delphi was the Pythian Phoebus or Apollo. And from him all who claimed the powers of divination received their title, and were called Pythons. [Author provides numerous examples from Greek literature.] Therefore this damsel at Philippi with her Pythonistic possession was, according to her degree, a representative of Pythia who sat on the tripod of Delphi, and who delivered the responses in the name of Pythian Apollo, the successor of the Serpent, and brought much gain and renown to her masters, at that place, and deceived the world by her sorceries. Hence. St. Luke calls the Spirit at Philippi, Python....The Python was an agent of Satan." Id.at 120.

Predictably, this devout Christian author blinds himself to the importance that for "many days" this influential Python counterpart to the one at Delphi was endorsing the plan of salvation from Paul. This author simply goes on to say by virtue of Paul casting out the demon later that Paul teaches the Python was an "unclean spirit," and is "denounced and ejected by St. Paul." It never dawns on this author to question the significance of Paul's delay and the interim endorsement of Paul's gospel by what this author admits is a popular and influential "agent of Satan." 

How Is This Verse Typically Mistranslated?

Obviously aware of the problem we are about to expose, most translations other than Young's Literal never properly translate this as "spirit of Python." So the King James simply has it the "spirit of divination." (Acts 16:16-19 KJV.) The New International Version is even wimpier, saying simply she had a "spirit." (Acts 16:16 NIV.) Virtually all the rest are in line.

 

The Obvious Problem Being Avoided

Now if this woman is demon possessed and Paul were following the true Christ, then her declaration to others to listen to Paul for salvation represents a house divided against itself. It makes no sense. But if Paul were following unwittingly a false Christ, then this makes perfect sense.

As Boulanger in 1746 first exposed, this means a famous demon was promoting Paul's plan of salvation "for many days" before Paul casts out the demon in her - thus confirming Paul's plan of salvation could not be from God if demons endorsed it:

He there cured a girl, who had a spirit of Python, and being by that means possessed of the power of divination, gained great profit to her masters. These, far from acknowledging and admiring the power of a man who reduced to silence Apollo, one of the most powerful gods of paganism, brought Paul and Silas before the magistrates, and excited the people against  them. [53] It is right to remark in this place, that Apollo (i.e., the Devil) who resided in this prophetess labored to destroy his own empireIn fact having perceived Paul and his comrade, the girl followed them, crying, these men are the servants of the Most High God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her, and he came out the same hour." (Acts16:17-18.) (Boulanger, A Criticial Examination of St. Paul (1746) at 52.)

Please distinguish this demon-possessed woman from the demons who recognized Jesus was Christ for these demons were not famous, and did nothing to positively and consistently promote to others that Jesus was Messiah, Son of God, etc. Thus, because the demons who recognized Jesus were looked upon with disfavor, nothing they said would promote Jesus' ministry. See, Mark 3:11-12

But look at the very different evidence that 'the rock-star' demon Pythia (the priestess) promoted Paul for "many days" as having the true plan of salvation. In ancient Greece-Macedon, there was no more influential prophetess than the Python-priestess. She was routinely paid for her prophecies.

But look how Paul for days took advantage of her endorsement while never questioning himself why would the prophetess-Pythia who was serving Satan be endorsing specifically Paul's plan of salvation. Paul never asked himself if it were possible he actually met an imposter Jesus on the road to Damascus. Thus, as Luke tells the story, Paul at Philippi did not think through this problem but was glad even demons endorsed his message: "It may be noted that the missionaries did not question the genuiness of her inspiration by the spirit of Python, and also that it spoke the truth...." (M. Oldfield Howey, The Encircled Serpent a Study of Serpent Symbolism in All Countries And Ages (1900) at 142.)

But they should have questioned it, as this demon-oracle in the service of Satan was well-regarded by the pagans of the area. Why would Satan through her deliberately try to promote Paul's ministry? Luke's account does not appear to give this a second-thought even though the account clearly requires the Berean in us to do so.

Thus, let's now look at the key aspect of this verse one more time:

"A young girl...having a Spirit of [the demon] Python...having followed Paul and us, was crying [to the public many days], saying, 'These men...declare to us a way of salvation.'" Acts 16:16-17

Hence, one can see that if Paul were serving the true Christ, demon spirits like Python who were popular and influential would not for "many days" go around following Paul telling people to accept Paul's "plan of salvation."

And notice, the demon spirit of Python did not say to follow Christ, but specifically to follow Paul's plan of salvation. In Acts 16:17, the demon Python-spirit says: " `These men are servants of the Most High God, who declare to us a way of salvation;'" So the message of Christ on salvation was not being promoted, but instead the demon was promoting Paul's very different plan of salvation. On the difference between these two gospels, see our page "Paul's Contradictions of Jesus."

Hence, Acts 16:16-17 is further confirmation that Paul was unwittingly serving Satan. We already deduced this about the appearance to Paul and others with him of someone saying "I am Jesus" on a wilderness road when Jesus warned us not to trust when someone "comes in my name" in the wilderness (see Matt 24:5, 24-27) because the only way Jesus will be seen on earth after the Ascension was if every eye on earth sees Him. (See link.) But that is not what happened on the road to Damascus, is it?

Then what about Paul casting out the demon in Jesus' name? Does this prove Paul knew the true Christ? Emphatically NO!

In Matthew 7, Jesus said many who work "ANOMIA" (negation of the Law) will be able to say they did many miracles and cast out demons in His name, but Jesus will say He never knew "you" to them.

It thus proves nothing. Jesus may indeed have cast the demon out as a mercy to this young girl. His name is powerful.

What is important to take away from the passage is Paul, the self-avowed worker of appearing ANOMOS (see link), did not know the true Christ because if Paul did, then why would a popular and influential demon promote for many days Paul's plan of salvation? That would be a kingdom divided against itself, and Jesus said, in essence, that such things would not be true. Hence, it logically follows Paul did not "know" Christ, contrary to Paul's assumption of whom he met on the wilderness road outside Damascus.

 

Was This Experience at Philippi a Turning Point?

Paul in his epistle to the Philippians mentions only one region supported Paul financially in his early career ... those of Philippi:

As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. (Philippians 4:15. NLT.)

Then remember that the first Christians at Philippi were only positively directed to Paul initially by the Python priestess of Philippi. She was the most influential prophetess of the ancient world -- to whom many paid for her prophecies.

Yet, we concluded above -- which Luke apparently chose to overlook the implication to a Christian audience -- that when she endorsed Paul's "plan of salvation," she was under the influence of a demon until Paul "many days" after her endorsement then finally cast out that demon.  So Pauline Christianity first received its financial boost from a group of Gentiles who were first influenced toward Paul by a demonic spirit!

 

How Important Was The Python Fact to Victory?

 

Luke addresses both his gospel and book of Acts to the same person: Theophilus. The account ends with Paul heading to Rome for a trial. The legality of Christianity stood in the balance. If it is just a sect of Judaism, and Paul is not a radical who committed a crime against Judaism, Christianity will survive as a legal sect. If Paul is founding a new religion outside of Judaism, and Paul committed an offense at the Temple against a legal sect, then Christianity may be outlawed. Christian scholars agree that how Luke addresses Theophilius indicates this was a trial brief to advise Theophilus for the upcoming trial of Paul. See link.

 

Thus, Luke is addressing PAGANS, not Christians, to win an acquittal for Paul in a pivotal trial for the survival of Christianity. Luke succeeds. This first trial in front of Nero ends in an acquittal according to early church historian Eusebius in his The Church History 2:22 written ca. 325 AD.

Hence, Luke might have known among Christians that a demon endorsing Paul is a negative fact. However, Luke at the same time knew that among Pagans, to tell them the Python Priestess of Phillipi had "endorsed the way of salvation" taught by Paul, that is all they have to hear. If this proves confirmed, the case is over. Christianity survives to a pagan court because the Greco-Roman world's pagan religion will obey and listen to the Python as the light to emperors and peoples everywhere.

Luke thus made a calculated risk to reveal something that Bible-astute readers would see as a hurdle for Christians to accept Paul at all, knowing that a Pagan court would instead use the Python priestess' words as a key fact to rule in favor of Christianity. It would no longer matter who Paul offended or did not offend. Accordingly, it is likely that Luke did see this issue, but the legal survival of Christianity was more important than shielding Paul from the embarassing aspect which Christians would readily recognize once pointed out.  

END

3/25/2012


Study Notes

Why did Paul get annoyed with the Spirit of Python promoting him after "many days" instead of initially? For why would a man of God want a popular demon promoting him? Scholars concede this while trying to flip it the other way: "it is something of a puzzle why he resented the girl's cries [of support]." (Henry Ansgar Kelly, Satan: A Biography (Cambridge University Press: 2006) at 56.)

The best explanation is Paul let this go on many days without rebuking the demon because it was helping until Paul realized that people would start wondering why demons were promoting Paul.

Contrast the situation with Jesus in Matthew. At every encounter with demon-possessed people, Jesus cast them out of the person. Jesus did not leave them in their state "many days" to serve any personal advantage if they would identify Him as Messiah.

A unique situation is presented in Mark that did not appear in Matthew. Mark is the Gospel scholars have deduced was written by a Paulinist, eliminating all prophecies critical about Paul in Matthew. See "Marcan Priority Claim."

In Mark 3:11 et seq. Jesus apparently leaves the demons in place (unlike Matthew where Jesus always cast them out.) What happens is, per Mark, that Jesus during a healing activity of many people tells "unclean spirits" who cried out "You are the son of God" not "to make him known."

Unlike Paul, Jesus in Mark 3 did not want anyone to perceive these "unclean spirits" as declaring His identity, so as to prevent the endorsement of demons. By contrast, Paul welcomed the support of demons.

Python. The Roman historian Lucian records that "the dragon under the tripod spoke" at the Temple of Python. In the temple were kept a host of snakes. It is assumed "dragon" here meant one of the snakes.

What is curious is that Apollo was the Sun god and that the symbol of his power was a three-headed snake. When one considers the Sun-god at Rome became known as Sol Invictus, it actually traces back to the popular Apollo-Python god of the Greeks. Here is what  M. Oldfield Howey, The Encircled Serpent a Study of Serpent Symbolism in All Countries And Ages (1900) at 143 says:

The tripod on which the pythoness sat was another relic of the religion which it had superseded, for it was formed of a serpent of bronze, coiled spirally upwards in the form of a cone, and terminated in three heads. As the cone or pyramid was a symbol of the sun's rays, this typified the worship of Apollo, the Sun-god with that of the Serpent, the python, the earth deity.

 

Glossalia / Excited Utterances / Prophetic Words of Knowledge

 

The method of words of prophecy by the Python have a chilling similarity to modern 'words of knowledge' and 'glossalia' that I have personally witnessed in certain churches. I can verify words of knowledge are often amazingly accurate depictions of people, with their past excellently described by pure strangers, mixed in with some future promises that often are safe bets.

Now remember, the gift of tongues of the 12 apostles was different: it was the ability to speak to foreign-language speakers, and the listeners would hear it in their own language. See Acts 1.

So here is what is so chilling to consider to explain how our modern behavior may have entered the church from copying practices of the Pythonesses of ancient Greece.

Anarcharsis in a travel journal of the 6th Century before Christ identified that "toward the middle [of the temple] is an aperture from whence came the prophetic exalation." (Howey, id.., at 144.) The young virgin would drink some water which "it is said [has] the virtue of disclosing futurity." Id. Interestingly, the young prophetess would have her limbs suffer "involuntary motions," and she uttered "plaintiff cries and deep groans" (id.) She then uttered "dreadful howlings which were eagerly collected by the priests." Then the priests went to work. Anarcharsis continues: "They arranged them in proper order, and delivered them to us in writing." Id. 

Leadbetter summarizes it even more pointedly, unaware how this might educate Christians to problems about Paul's glossalia instructions: "After she mumbled her answer, a male priest would translate it for the supplicant." (Ron Leadbetter, "Apollo," Pantheon.org (2012).)

Importantly, Origen in 248 AD in Contra Celsum used these fits of ecstasy to prove the Python Priestess was under the influence of demons, and not the Holy Spirit.  He wrote:

 

[I]t is not part of the divine spirit to drive the prophetess [Pythia] into such a state of ecstasy and madness that she loses control of herself. For he who is under the influence of a Divine Spirit ought to be the first to receive the beneficial effects, ... and moreover, that should be the time of clearest perception when one is in close intercourse with the Deity." ...For we are persuaded that the Spirit "mortifies the deeds of the body" ... If, then, the Pythian priestess is beside herself when she prophesies, what spirit must that be that fills her mind and clouds her judgment with darkness, unless it be of the same order with those demons which Christians cast out of persons possessed with them? (Contra Celsum, link, pg. 171.)

 

What is interesting is how similar the Python priestess received and relayed her messages to what Paul's describes as the gift of tongues.

The true apostolic gift of tongues was the ability of an apostle to speak and those of another language to hear their own language spoken. Luke notes this is its nature in Acts 1.

However, Paul gives the same name to something totally different -- something identical to the ecstatic utterances of the "spirit of Python" where another would interpret and write it down. The words were not readily understandable as they were supposed to be had they been the true apostolic gift revealed in Acts 1. But Paul discloses his very different version from the original gift of tongues in the following quote, and please note how strikingly similar it is to the "spirit of Python" and her interpreters:

"If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that in turn; and let one interpret." (1 Cor. 14:27 KJV.)

We all are also familiar that when speaking in unintelligible sounds begins at church, sometimes the speaker and sometime others lose all control of their bodies, and start rolling in the aisles.

 

Paul, I hate to say it, appears to have introduced demonic practices of the occult into the church.

 

Thus, one must wonder if Paul's stinger in the flesh from an "Angel of Satan" in 2 Cor. 12:7 impaled him somehow with Satan's spirit of Python -- what Paul unwittingly reveals when he describes the glossalia-spirit, of which Paul says in very modest terms (I am being facetious):

18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. (1 Cor. 14:18 NIV.)   

 

When I was asked on May 10, 2020 about the gift of the spirit, and what I thought about them, I took a chance and shared the Python Priestess evidence. The reaction to this evidence was quite confirmatory that the Holy Spirit chilled her husband's spirit on the similarity between the Priestess and a church friend pushing on him the 'gifts of the spirit.'  Please see this anonymized email exchange at this link.

Python: As Ventriloquist

 

The Greek term "python" had a secondary meaning of divination and the "belly talking," as if a ventriloquist speaking in a strange voice. See Mark Nanos, at 24.

 

Maps of Delphi & Philippi

Philippi is in Macedonia, while Delphi is in Greece 100 miles north of Athens.

File:Philippi location.jpg

File:Map greek sanctuaries-en.svg

 

Further Study Notes

Stephen A writes:

The word translated as "vipers" in NT may mean python.

EKHIDNA (or Echidna) was a monstrous she-dragon (drakaina) with the head and breast of a woman. She probably represented or presided over the corruptions of the earth : rot, slime, fetid waters, illness and disease.
She was often equated with Python (the rotting one), a dragon born of the fetid slime left behind by the great Deluge. Others call her the Tartarean lamprey, and assigned her to the dark, swampy pit of Tartaros beneath the earth. Hesiod, makes her a daughter of monstrous sea-gods, and presumably associates her with rotting sea-scum and fetid salt-marshes.
In all cases, she was described as the consort of Typhoeus, a monstrous storm-daemon who challenged Zeus in heaven. Together they spawned a host of terrible monsters to plague the earth.
Other closely related she-dragons included the Argive Ekhidna and Poine, the Tartarean Kampe, and the Phokian Sybaris.
In the image (right), Ekhidna is equated with Python. Apollo seated on the omphalos stone slays her with his arrows : in the motif of healing god (Paian) destroying plague-bringing demon.
This word EKHIDNA is used 4 times in the NT:
 (echidn?n) — 4 Occurrences
Matthew 3:7 N-GFP
NAS: to them, You brood of vipers, who
KJV: O generation of vipers, who
INT: to them Brood of vipers who forewarned
Matthew 12:34 N-GFP
NAS: You brood of vipers, how can
KJV: O generation of vipers, how can ye,
INT: Offspring of vipers how are you able
Matthew 23:33 N-GFP
NAS: you brood of vipers, how
KJV: [ye] generation of vipers, how
INT: [You] serpents offspring of vipers how shall you escape
Luke 3:7 N-GFP
NAS: by him, You brood of vipers, who
KJV: O generation of vipers, who
INT: him Offspring of vipers who forwarned
 
Email Critiques
Brother Raymond 3/2018 

Grace greetings, I stumbled through your apologies when I was looking at Python Spirit exegesis. I will recommend you check out www.gospelofchristministries.org of Dr. Shawn Smith and you will see a clear right division of before and after the Cross which will prove to you the apostle Paul is the Apostle to the church today and the differences between Jesus before & post resurrection. You will rethink your stance against Pauline epistles and shall be rightly taught on numerous subjects especially on salvation by faith Alone. Thanks 

 

My Response on 3/17/2018 

 

Hi Brother Raymond

The site you provided makes the following statement under Theosis which proves the importance that the Python Priestess in Acts 16 when still possessed by a demon endorsed Paul's "way of salvation":

It is without exaggeration to say that apart from the Saviour, the Apostle Paul is the greatest benefactor to the human race because the Lord used him to give us the most advanced teachings. When you see what was revealed to Paul, what motivated him will begin to motivate you. There is no other way the desire to go out and fulfil this grace mandate can infuse you except by you receiving the same things that the Lord Jesus Christ revealed to the apostle Paul; what made him a great theologian and at the same time a great missionary.

 

Thus, the author of Theosis believes Paul came with a different more advanced Gospel than Jesus taught the 12. This is clearly a sign that the Python Priestess passage explains why this was true. The most influential demon spirit of Paul's age endorsed Paul's "way of salvation" for many days, and Paul did nothing until finally he cast the demon out of her.

(Paul never quotes Jesus giving him a revelation other than 2 Cor. 12:7 where the Damascus Jesus refuses Paul's request to release him from the torment by an "angel of Satan" -- which Paul defenders say we should ignore, because Paul could not possibly mean what this implies about our Jesus leaving Paul under a demon's influence. See our article on this passage.)

Hence, what this quote from Theosis proves is that the author realizes Paul's gospel is more "advanced" (different) than Jesus' gospel which was supposedly 'less advanced.' The explanation for this difference is right there in Acts 16 - Paul taught a gospel "way of salvation" that demons approved.

Also, we see the difference by comparing what Theosis regards as the "less advanced" Jesus' Gospel which teaches, for example, that works worthy of repentance are necessary to appease the one you offended prior to you or I bringing our atonement offering -- Christ's blood -- to God to cover ourselves -- Matt 5:23-26 TLB, versus Paul's more "advanced" teaching that if you merely "believe Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead you shall be saved" (1 Cor. 15:1-5.) But the demons believe such things, and cannot be saved. James deduced therefore that such a "faith alone does not justify" (James 2:17, 24 (faith alone -- without works - is dead; and by works, and not by faith alone, is a man justified.). Hence, the role of the Python Priestess in Acts 16 perfectly explains this material difference -- the true Gospel of Salvation which Jesus taught versus the Gospel of Salvation that Paul taught which THE MOST INFLUENTIAL DEMON OF THAT ERA ENDORSED TO PAUL'S GREAT ADVANCEMENT IN THE EYES OF PAGANS.

Blessings of Christ,

Doug