ALCOHOL: TO DRINK OR NOT TO DRINK? WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH?
Indeed, God did not ban everybody from drinking alcohol; God only banned Priests and kings, according to the teachings of the Bible. And that was why the Lord Jesus made water into wine at the wedding at Cana of Galilee but we were never told He drank from it.
In Lev.10:9, God said to Aaron the chief Priest,
‘’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:’’
The Priests and Levites served in the Tabernacle and later the Temple on a rotational basis, much like Nurses follow a daily roster or shift; and the Lord said they should not have alcohol in them when it was their turn to come before Him to minister. Later, a Levitical family called Rechabites got the message behind that injunction and decided never to drink alcohol so that they would always be at the ready to serve in the Temple in case they were needed on emergency basis; and God commended them for that, saying,
‘’Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever.’’ Jer.35:19
In the New Testament, God says Christians are the actual Temples in which He longs to dwell,
‘’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?’’
Therefore, it will be an aberration for a Christian to actually pour alcohol into that Temple, his body, unless he does not want God to live there.
As well kings were forbidden to drink alcohol. The admonition and the reasons are given in Prov.31:4-6
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, 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. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
Yet, till date, carnal man takes to alcohol and not to God, to seek in vain to ‘’drown his sorrows’’.
Also, the Bible warns us in many places in the OT, notably the Book of Proverbs, about the danger of drinking alcohol…
Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, And your heart will utter perverse things. Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: “They have struck me, but I was not hurt; They have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?
The Bible describes here perfectly some of the scientifically proven effects of alcohol consumption on the human body –
- At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper… This sounds very much like gout, a debilitating and painful condition of the joints, especially the knee joint. I remember vividly an illustration for gout in one of my medical books – a serpent with its fangs fastened to a knee!
- And your heart will utter perverse things… This sounds much like a state of drunkenness…
- you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, Or like one who lies at the top of the mast… This is describing hallucinations which is the hallmark of chronic alcoholism. The brain has now been affected and is dysfunctional
- “They have struck me, but I was not hurt; They have beaten me, but I did not feel it… There is nerve damage in chronic alcohol use and the patient starts to feel no pain starting from the hands and feet…
- When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink? This is alcohol addiction
- The main organ damaged by alcohol is the liver. Alcohol behaves like a sniper here and surreptitiously shoots and kills liver cells over the months and years even with low level alcohol use. The liver can take the insult quietly until two-thirds of its mass is destroyed, with normal cells replaced by useless functionless gristle, leading to an irreversible incurable condition called Cirrhosis of the liver.
So, taking alcohol is deliberately poisoning and defiling and destroying your own body and this is what God says about that –
If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. I Cor.3:17
We have not even spoken of the short-term effect of alcohol use which affects the sense of judgement and reasoning and makes a drunken man actually believe he can drive a car when he cannot even walk straight! He gets behind the wheels but you see, alcohol affects the perception of distance and makes the drunk believe he is still far from another car when he is, in fact, quite near; and he does not even realize that he is speeding as well, and crash…!!! I have met a couple whose only three daughters were killed when such a driver crashed into their car! Their deep pain could not be hidden even though it had happened years before I met them!
You can say, “Oh, but I only drink occasionally and never get drunk!” Sure, but the problem with alcohol is that, in low doses, you first become tipsy and you lose your inhibition and sense of shame and begin to speak loudly and behave badly in a way that does not represent Christ. And at a gathering, you may be so distracted that would lose count of how many glasses of wine you have taken. There is also the aspect that your body may not metabolize/neutralize it in the blood as fast as your friend’s body does, and your tipsy brain would tell you, “Don’t worry! Tony is still drinking and he is okay!” You would not know that his system has a faster ability to metabolize alcohol and therefore does not get drunk on six wine glasses but you would get drunk on two glasses! How then can you gauge when you would slip from tipsy to being really drunk? It is better not to start, Beloved.
Who are the kings and priests now?
With the agonizing atonement work of the Lord Jesus, Christians have been made to become priests and kings to minister to God and be His representatives on earth…
and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.’
Alcohol is still forbidden to us because the Lord purchased our priesthood and royalty with His life Blood!! Are we going to let Him down and defile and destroy God’s Temple, our bodies when He did not defile His? Or we shall toe the path of temperance and offer up our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and undefiled for God’s use as He did? After all, He did say He came to fulfill the Old Testament and not to eradicate it!
The lame excuses some ignorant Christians give
- Some argue that Paul advised Timothy to use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities in 1Tim.5:23. Sure he did! But what infirmities do you have for which your doctor has prescribed alcohol? After decades in active medical practice, even I know not any! Alcohol may be an old remedy for some ailments but I do not know any medical condition for which we prescribe alcohol today. And anyway, those who drink alcohol now do not drink it as medication but for pleasure.
- Some argue that the Lord drank wine which is a blasphemous lie and totally untrue because the drink translated as ‘wine’ was also used for the fruit of the vine, grape juice, which He himself mentioned in Matt.26:29. Someone even said this means they drink alcohol in heaven! Seriously?? That sounds like what the serpent said to Eve in Eden, “God just wants to deny you of the pleasure of becoming God like Himself!”
Beloved, Christ is The model Priest and King for His followers to follow, and I trust He can never ask us to obey a principle He Himself failed to obey. Remember that another name for alcohol is ‘spirit’? A Christian who is filled with the Holy Spirit of God will not pour another ‘spirit’ into his body to begin to strive and compete with the indwelling Holy Spirit over the physical and spiritual control of his actions and destiny. Alcohol is not called a ‘spirit’ for nothing, you know.
In conclusion, you may ask, “Why then did God make alcohol if we can’t drink it” alcohol is a solvent used in dissolving solids that are not water-soluble. It is used in industries and laboratories and so on. It is very corrosive in its pure form and is marked POISON in the laboratory!
But as for the cowards and unbelieving and abominable [who are devoid of character and personal integrity and practice or tolerate immorality], and murderers, and sorcerers [with intoxicating drugs], and idolaters and occultists [who practice and teach false religions], and all the liars [who knowingly deceive and twist truth], their part will be in the lake that blazes with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” ‘