The Bottle and the Bible
Twenty Scriptural Reasons to Abstain from Drinking
Before beginning our list of Bible arguments against drinking, I’d like to clear up a few lame excuses that are often given by those who attempt using God’s words to justify drinking, if only moderate drinking. When quoting scripture here and throughout the booklet in general, I will often use block CAPITAL letters for emphasis.
"They drank wine in the Bible, so it must be acceptable as long as one doesn’t overdo it.”
This is secular reasoning, not Biblical under-standing. There are different kinds of wines in the Bible, and the Bible says much about the subject, so to immediately confuse acceptable wine with unacceptable wine is a big mistake. Many advocates of moderate drinking know this, yet they keep this information from their listeners and readers and present only the Bible verses and passages that show an acceptance of drinking, when, in reality, the scripture being presented doesn’t concern intoxicating drink at all. This is deliberate deceit, and you should be angered at those trying to deceive you, not at those who try showing you the truth that has been hidden from you.
When grapes are crushed, the natural yeast in the grape skin will begin turning the sugar in the juice into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This process can occur in less than two weeks, especially in the ancient Mideast climate, thus changing stored fresh grape juice into a toxicant. It is the toxicant that the Bibles warns against, not the fresh grape juice. One must discern between these two very different kinds of wine, if he is to understand wine in the word of God.
For instance, Isaiah 65:8 says, “Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all.” That’s NEW wine straight from a cluster of fresh grapes, and it is said to be a BLESSING. So, fresh grape juice is called “wine,” but it’s not fermented, so it’s called a “blessing.”
However, by contrast, some wine in the Bible is not a blessing at all. Proverbs 20:1 says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Here the wine has become a fermented “strong drink” with alcohol content and is said to be a “mocker” of those who are unwise.
Proverbs 23:29-35 says, “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the WINE; they that go to seek MIXED WINE. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.” Obviously, this differs from the wine of Isaiah 65:8 and bears a closer resemblance to the mocking wine of Proverbs 20:1. So, the argument that “they drank wine in the Bible” is very weak and does not justify drinking.
“Doesn’t the Bible say to drink a little wine for your stomach?”
No, it does not. Paul told the ailing preacher Timothy to “use” some wine for his stomach, and even then he specified that the amount should be “a little.” The verse in question is I Timothy 5:23: “Drink no longer water, but USE a LITTLE wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.” Timothy was a man who had “often infirmities,” so Paul gave some medical advice. In doing so, he wisely chose the word “use” instead of the word “drink,” and he added the words “a little” as an additional precaution. The fact that people quote this verse (or attempt to do so) as a justification for drinking shows the true weakness of their argument.
“Jesus turned water into wine, so wine must be okay."
Yes, he did, but it wasn’t fermented wine. We know this because Jesus would never have violated the Old Testament scriptures. Habakkuk 2:15 says, “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!”
When Jesus turned water into wine in John chapter two (John 2:1-11), he produced over a hundred gallons of wine for those at the wedding. John 2:6 says, “six waterpots of stone . . . containing two or three firkins apiece.” According to Easton’s Bible dictionary, a firkin is “a measure for liquids containing about 8 7/8 gallons.” Agreeing with this, the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary states that each of these six waterpots held “twenty or more gallons.” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia gives a similar measure. So, this amounts to over one hundred gallons of wine, a clear violation of Habakkuk 2:15, if the wine was fermented. The whole scene would likely have become a drunken brawl rather than a normal Jewish wedding!
If the wine here had gone through any fermentation at all (which isn’t likely, since Jesus produced it miraculously), it still was not the stronger kind found in liquor stores. To suggest otherwise is to suggest that Jesus violated scripture.
The fact that the governor of the feast was surprised that this wine was “good wine” (John 2:10) shows that it was fresh grape juice because keeping wine from fermenting was not an easy task in the climate of ancient Israel. The more common wine was, indeed, fermented wine that had to be drank in scant measure, watered-down, or thrown out altogether so as to avoid drunkenness. So there was no reason to call this wine “good wine” unless it was the more uncommon fresh grape juice. Please bear in mind, there were no soft drinks around in Bible times, no easy means of refrigeration of juices, and even obtaining clean, healthy drinking water was often a challenge. Drinking weak, watered-down, fermented wine was fairly common, which is why there were numerous Biblical warnings against abusing the substance. To have fresh, unfermented “good wine” to drink, especially in large amounts, was a true rarity, thus explaining the excitement of the governor of the feast in John 2:10.
“Even Jesus drank wine.”
Although it might be logical to assume that Jesus drank fresh, unfermented wine at times during his life (Mat. 11:8-19; Mat. 21:33), there is no scripture that actually says so, and there is definitely no scripture that says he drank fermented wine. In fact, just the opposite is stated.
At the last supper, Jesus gave wine to his disciples, but he did not drink of it. In fact, he was careful not to even call it wine. In Matthew, Mark and in Luke Jesus uses the term “fruit of the vine,” and in two of these accounts the word “new” is used to describe the “fruit of the vine” that he will one day drink in his kingdom:
“But I say unto you, I will NOT drink henceforth of this FRUIT OF THE VINE, until that day when I drink it NEW with you in my Father's kingdom.” (Mat. 26:29)
“Verily I say unto you, I will drink NO MORE of the FRUIT OF THE VINE, until that day that I drink it NEW in the kingdom of God.” (Mark 14:25)
“For I say unto you, I will NOT drink of the FRUIT OF THE VINE, until the kingdom of God shall come.” (Luke 22:18)
According to these accounts, Jesus did not drink wine at the last supper, and the text does not indicate that he gave his disciples fermented wine. Even if we accepted the premise that it WAS fermented, this wouldn’t be a very strong support text for moderate drinking since (1) this was a very rare occasion and (2) he gave the disciples a very small amount. This was not a casual, social event where everyone mingled around with their own glass of wine. This was a special, symbolic event where the fruit of the vine stood as a symbol of the blood of Christ that was about to be shed for the sins of the world. To use this sacred text as a justification for social drinking shows disregard for its context in particular and disrespect for the word of God in general.
It should also be added that the symbolism of the fruit of the vine at the last supper should stand as some indication of the quality of drink being served. If the blood of Christ to be shed is the sinless blood of the Lamb of God (I Pet. 1:19, John 1:29), even God’s own blood (Acts 20:28), then would this blood be best symbolized by leavened, fermented wine or by the fresh fruit of the vine? In his divine wisdom, the Holy Spirit has not left us without an answer: “. . . thou didst drink the PURE BLOOD of the GRAPE.” (Deu. 32:14) “For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: THEIR WINE is the POISON of dragons, and the cruel VENOM of asps.” (Deu. 32:32-33)
Just as the Lord delights in contrasting “our Rock” (capitol “R”) with “their rock” (lower case “r”) in the preceding verse 31, he also delights in contrasting the two kinds of wine in verses 32-33. The one that’s compared to blood is said to be “pure,” not fermented and poisoned.
So, in addition to Jesus not drinking wine at the last supper, it isn’t likely that fermented wine was even present.
Later, Jesus is actually offered some wine, but he declined to drink it. Mark 15:23 says that while Jesus suffered on the cross, “. . . they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but HE RECEIVED IT NOT.”
The claim that Jesus drank fermented wine cannot be supported with scripture.
Twenty Reasons to Resist Alcohol
The Bible Speaks Heavily Against Alcohol
Though one can present scripture to show that alcohol is permissible at times, such as in Paul’s advice to Timothy (I Tim. 5:23) or in the medical counsel of Solomon’s mother from Proverbs 31:1-7, the general Bible rule is that alcohol is not a good thing and that the righteous will abstain from it. The following portions of scripture make this quite clear:
“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” (Pro. 20:1)
“Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” (Pro. 23:31-32)
“. . . it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.” (Pro. 31:4-5)
“He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink . . .” (Num. 6:3)
“Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!” (Isa. 5:11)
“Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink.” (Isa. 5:22)
“But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.” (Isa. 28:7)
“For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.” (Pro. 4:17)
“Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court.” (Ezk. 44:21)
“Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!” (Hab. 2:15)
“Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal. 5:21)
“Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” (Rom. 13:13)
“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” (Eph. 5:18)
It is willful ignorance for one to ignore such admonitions from the word of God and then refer only to those portions of scripture that he likes better, such as Jesus turning water into wine or thinking that Jesus drank wine at the last supper. All of the Bible is true, not just the parts that you like, and, as the above samples show, the Bible speaks heavily against alcohol.
Alcohol Has a Very Negative Track Record
The first mention of alcohol in the Bible is found in Genesis 9:20-25 where Noah became intoxicated. This led to an act of sexual perversion and a curse. So, alcohol’s first mention is not at all good.
Thirteen chapters later the daughters of Lot use fermented wine to intoxicate their father and commit incest (Gen. 19:32-38). This produced two bastard sons, from whom would come two enemies of Israel, the Ammonites and the Moabites.
In II Samuel 13:28-29, Amnon was killed while drinking, as was Elah in I Kings 16:8-10, Benhadad’s men in I Kings 20:13-21 and Belshazzar in Daniel 5:1-4, 30.
The city of Nineveh fell while many of its inhabitants were drunk (Nah. 1:10).
Alexander the Great died a drunkard at only 33 years of age.
Alcohol killed musicians Bon Scott, Gary Moore, Jim Morrison, Hank Williams, Keith Whitley, John Bonham, David Byron, Michael Clarke, Lester Young, Townes Van Zandt, Jani Lane, Brian Connolly, Jeff Hanneman, Billie Holiday, Ron McKernan, Clyde Lensley McPhatter, Amy Winehouse and others.
The list of actors and actresses whose lives were taken by alcohol include John Barrymore, Oliver Reed, Barbara Payton, Veronica Lake, William Holden, Errol Flynn, W. C. Fields and Richard Burton.
War heroes Ira Hayes and Leonard Chadwick died from the effects of alcohol, as did athletes George Best, Mickey Mantle, and David Woodley, politicians Joe McCarthy Charles Kennedy, and writers Truman Capote, Brendan Behan, Raymond Chandler, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dylan Thomas, James Thurber, and O. Henry. The list goes on.
Nearly 88,000 Americans die annually from alcohol-related causes (yet this author has been accused of “gnat-straining” while researching and writing this material).
Over 1,000,000 drunk drivers are arrested in America each year.
Around 10,000 people are killed annually due to alcohol-impaired driving, which amounts to over 30% of all traffic deaths. This means that 25-30 people die from drunk driving every day, or one person per hour.
Alcohol contributes to some 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions.
Over 30% of violent crimes occur under the influence of alcohol.
Over ten percent of American children live with a parent with alcohol problems.
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) affects nearly 700,000 teenagers, and an estimated 50,000-60,000 teens receive specialized treatment annually.
About 60% of full-time college students drink alcohol in any given month, nearly 40% are binge drinkers, and over 10% are classified as heavy drinkers.
About 25% of college students suffer academically due to alcoholic influence.
There are 1800 unintentional alcohol-related deaths among college students annually (ages 18-24), nearly 700,000 alcohol-related assaults, and over 90,000 students report alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
Alcohol abuse costs the United States in excess of 200 billion dollars annually.
The reader can see these stats and many more for himself by running a simple Internet search. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is a good place to start. The facts are indisputable: alcohol hurts and kills people, and society would be far better off without it. This is why the word of God sounds such strong warnings against it. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” (Pro. 20:1)
Alcohol Lowers One’s Resistance
It’s commonly known that one is more apt to lower his (or her) moral standards while under the influence of alcohol. As Christians, we are under the command of the Holy Spirit to resist the devil (James 4:7). Why should we be willing to weaken our resistance to the devil’s temptations to sin by putting ourselves under the influence of strong drink?
Alcohol Has Evil Companions
When the words “wine,” “beer,” and “whiskey” come to mind, one doesn’t usually think of God, the Bible, witnessing, church, singing hymns, praying, heaven, helping others, children or family. To the contrary, the mention of drinking brings to mind thoughts of bars, honky-tonks, night clubs, worldly music, worldly friends, partying, and often even flirtation, fornication, adultery, dirty jokes, drunk driving, tragedy, bankruptcy, divorce and broken homes. Since the Bible says that “evil communications corrupt good manners” (I Cor. 15:33) and “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Pro. 13:20), the wise and discerning Christian seeks the BEST companions and the BEST environment for himself, not that which is so commonly associated with alcohol.
Alcohol is a Waster
No one really betters their life with alcohol. At best, a man might manage to forget his worries and stresses for an evening while he intoxicates himself with friends or family, but the worries and stresses are still there the next day. He now has less money, but not less worry or not less of whatever it is that he seeks to escape, if only for a short time.
The average American drinker spends $1,200 per year on alcohol and is none the better for it. As already pointed out, alcohol abuse costs America some 200 billion dollars annually, all of which can be written up as a gross waste that could be avoided. Also, alcohol consumption often leads to wasted opportunities for happy and healthy marriages and families, wasted opportunities for successful and enduring careers, and wasted opportunities for a good quality of life in general. God has called us to be good stewards with our resources (Luke 16:1-8), not wasteful stewards, and alcohol is a very definite waster.
Alcohol Kills Brain Cells
Health professionals tell us that alcohol kills brain cells, which is why people forget things while intoxicated and often even have complete black-outs. Preventive health expert Dr Ross Walker says, “If you did a CAT scan of an alcoholic’s brain at age 40 and compared that to the brain of a normal 40-year-old, there would be much less tissue in the brain . . . It rots the brain, basically. Chronic consumption of alcohol has been linked to alzheimers.” (news.com.au, Oct. 23, 2015)
As Christians, our bodies belong to God. I Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” Just as a serious Christian doesn’t use tobacco products, due to the harm that such could cause to his body, neither should he habitually consume substances that are known to be harmful to his body, such as non-prescribed drugs or alcohol. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, as one organization has declared for decades, and it is a proven fact that alcohol is an enemy of the human brain.
The Christian is Commanded to be Sober
I Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” This verse and others command Christians in general to be sober. Then young men are commanded to be sober in Titus 2:6, young women in Titus 2:4, aged men in Titus 2:4, bishops in I Timothy 3:2, and deacons’ wives in I Timothy 3:11. An intoxicated Christian is not a sober Christian. Even if such a person isn’t technically drunk, he is still less sober than he could be and would be, if he abstained from alcohol altogether.
The Christian Should be Under the Influence of the Holy Spirit Only
Interestingly enough, brandy, whiskey, rum, gin and vodka are known as “spirits,” and these spirits have a definite influence on those who consume them. In fact, the legal term for driving drunk is “driving under the influence.” Why would any serious Christian desire to be influenced by any spirit other than the Holy Spirit?
Besides, in Ephesians and in Galatians Paul contrasts being filled with alcohol to being filled with and led by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Then in Galatians chapter five he tells us to “walk in the spirit” and to NOT take part in such fleshy works as “drunkenness” (Gal. 5:16-22). The Spirit-filled Christian will stay far away from alcohol rather than seeing how much he can consume without technically being guilty of drunkenness. After all, in the above Galatians text, the word “drunkenness” is sandwiched between the words “murder” and “revellings,” neither of which are practices that a Spirit-filled Christian takes part in at ANY level. We don’t murder moderately or revel moderately, so why should moderate drinking be acceptable?
No One Seriously Believes that Jesus Christ Would Consume Alcohol
The term “follow me” is used eighteen times in the four gospels, and the rest of the New Testament speaks heavily of the Christian’s duty to follow in the steps of Jesus. For instance, Peter tells us in I Peter 2:21, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.”
Living after the pattern that Jesus set for us is a fundamental Christian responsibility, yet, as we’ve already seen, there is no scriptural indication that Jesus ever drank alcohol or that he encouraged others to do so. We hear and read of people who make the excuse that “Jesus drank wine,” without ever proving the claim, but no one ever says outright that they believe Jesus would drink Budweiser, Old Charter, Jack Daniels, or even bottled alcoholic wine from a liquor store. No one seriously believes that Jesus would consume such drinks, and the Christian who does consume them will be accused of not following Christ.
Alcohol Will Give You a Bad Testimony
I Tim 5:14 says for younger Christian women to “give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” Then Paul tells Timothy in Titus 2:8 to live in such a way that “he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” Clearly, in such passages of Scripture the Holy Spirit is warning the Christian to guard his or her testimony. Echoing the same sentiment, Nehemiah admonished the Israelites by preaching, “. . . ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies?” (Neh. 5:9). Guarding our testimonies by continually making sure that the unsaved people around us have no evil thing to say of us has been a heritage of the righteous for thousands of years, yet the unsaved will have much evil to say of us, if we become known for consuming alcohol. The idea of a Christian trying to witness with a beer in his hand is absurd, and all honest people know it. It is a well-known fact that serious Christians abstain from alcohol, and those who don’t are not serious Christians and they do not have serious testimonies.
Christian Alcohol Consumption Causes Other Christians to Stumble
We are told in Romans 14:21 to not take part in anything that could cause another Christian to stumble, and drinking is mentioned specifically: “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.”
As already pointed out, alcohol can easily give a Christian a bad testimony. This being the case, it can just as easily cause other Christians, especially younger ones, to stumble in their spiritual walk. This can manifest itself in such ways as weaker Christians taking up the bad habit themselves, since “so and so does it, and he’s a Christian,” or weaker believers might become dis-couraged and backslide due to the obvious hypocrisy of drinking Christians.
Jesus Could Come at Anytime
Jesus could come at any time, and no serious Christian wants to be intoxicated at the moment of our Lord’s return. In fact, the Bible actually makes a specific point of this very thing. In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul offers these words:
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and BE SOBER. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and THEY THAT BE DRUNKEN ARE DRUNKEN IN THE NIGHT. But let us, who are of the day, BE SOBER, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Ths. 5:1-9; emphasis added)
Jesus even makes mention of this in Matthew 24:48-51:
“But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and DRINK WITH THE DRUNKEN; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
God wants His people to be a sober and sound-minded people who focus continually on His will and His work. Alcohol serves as a major distraction from God’s cause, so we ought to abstain from it, especially with the Lord’s return so near at hand.
The Appearance of Evil
Even if a Christian could persuade himself that the Bible doesn’t forbid alcohol, he still is left with the stubborn fact that I Thessalonians 5:22 commands Christians to abstain from all APPEARANCE of evil. The verse says, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” If I, as a pastor, were to stand on the sidewalk in front of my church drinking a beer, does anyone reading this think that the folks in my town wouldn’t consider that an appearance of evil? So it is with every believer; any Christian would be labeled a hypocrite for drinking even one beer because of the evil appearance.
Alcohol Leaves No One Better Than It Finds Them
Proverbs 23:21 says, “For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.”
Many marriages and families are destroyed by alcohol, but are any saved by it? Many lives are lost on our highways due to alcohol, but are any saved by it? Many dollars are wasted on alcohol, but is anyone saving money because of alcohol? No one ever gives a testimony and speaks of how alcohol has made a positive difference in their lives. It’s always the opposite because God’s word never speaks of any benefits of alcohol other than the medical purpose already mentioned. Proverbs 23:21 associates drunkenness with poverty and rags, not health, good success, and the joy of the Lord. Romans 14:19 tells us to “. . . follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Alcohol does just the opposite.
Alcohol is a Cheap Substitute for the Healing, Peace, Comfort and Joy Found Only in Jesus Christ
One of the top reasons given for drinking is the feeling that it gives. Yet, true believers in Christ have found that they find every feeling they need by simply walking with the Lord. The unsaved man and the carnal Christian doesn’t understand this, so they run to the bottle for escape, for a festive spirit, for companionship, or maybe just to forget. All of this, and much more, could be found in Christ, if only they would turn from the bottle and to the Beloved. Song of Solomon 1:2 says that His love is “better than wine,” and Philippians 4:19 promises that all our needs are supplied in Christ.
The Drinking of Alcohol Sets a Bad Example for the Younger Generations
We are told in Proverbs 22:6 to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” From the facts that we’ve already covered, we know that the way of alcohol is certainly not the way a child should go! So, all parents who drink are in violation of Proverbs 22:6.
Priests are Forbidden to Drink Alcohol
Leviticus 10:8-10 offers these words on the subject of believers drinking: “And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean.” The command is given to the Old Testament priests, Aaron and his sons. At first glance, it might seem that this doesn’t apply to Christians living today, but not so fast. The New Testament states that there is no priestly class today because all Christians are priests. Notice that I Peter 2:5 says, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Then Revelation 1:6 and 5:10 also state that we are priests. Just as alcohol could alter the judgment of God’s priests in the Old Testament, it can do the same to God’s priests in the New Testament, so we should abstain from it.
Drunkards Cannot Inherit the Kingdom of God
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (I Cor. 6:9-10)
Why would a Christian want to participate in something related to eternal damnation? Granted, a person can drink without being a drunkard, but if our Christian duty is to go the extra mile (Mat. 5:41), then why should we drink at all since doing so could lead us, or others, to drunkenness and damnation?
Alcohol Brings out the Worst in People
As Christians, our duty is to allow the Holy Spirit to bring out our best, or rather HIS best through us. Yet, alcohol does just the opposite. Hangover mornings are often filled with such statements as “I’m sorry for what I said last night” or “I don’t know what got into me.” Romans 6:12 commands the Christian to “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” However, when one becomes intoxicated with alcohol, the chances of him yielding to sin and doing or saying inappropriate things are greatly increased. Even if actual sin isn’t committed, it remains true that careless or even harmful behavior is likely, and this falls short of the higher spiritual standard that the word of God prescribes for the Christian.
If You Never Start, You’ll Never Have to Stop
Proverbs 23:35 says that the drunkard awakes in the morning and says, “. . . I will seek it yet again.” Along life’s way, we often hear of people who are trying to stop drinking or people who are at least being told that they need to stop drinking. Others might not be trying to stop drinking, yet they will readily admit that they should have never started. They will seek it yet again because quitting is very hard. Friend, it doesn’t have to be hard because you don’t have to even start!
If you are a young person, make it your goal to be one of the chosen few who get through life without ever taking a drink. Alcohol is just another of Satan’s devices used to rob people of the blessings and joy that God has in store for them. Drink from the “wells of salvation” only (Isa. 12:3) and be filled with and led by God’s Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18). After all, you will often regret being filled with the devil’s drink; you will never regret drinking from the Lord’s eternal well of joy and blessing.
Copyright © 2016 James L. Melton