"Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore hear the word at My mouth, and give them warning from Me. "When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. "Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
"Again, when a righteousness man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but HIS BLOOD WILL I REQUIRE AT THY HAND. "Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul." (Ezekiel 3:17-21)
Our modern age is proceeding madly on its way, brazenly insisting that Bible standards are no longer acceptable. I know that many will reject the material in this article, but in the light of the above verses I must present the information. Although many professing Christians try to justify and rationalize their use of alcoholic beverages, it is WRONG. It is wrong because the scriptures condemn and warn against its use. The question then becomes one of whether or not we will obey God's Word. It is as simple as that. As with other questions, the Bible remains the only infallible authority and manmade theories and defenses fall apart when the Word speaks clearly.
THE WEDDING AT CANA (John 2:1-10)
When the master of the feast tasted the water which had been made into wine he called the bridegroom asking why the good wine had been saved until last. Fresh or sweet wine was served on that occasion. If they had been drinking fermented beverages they would have been much less able to distinguish the difference.
THE LAST SUPPER (Matthew 26:26-29); Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:15-20
The word wine in NOT found in any of these three accounts: "He took a cup...the fruit of the vine." The vine does not produce alcohol which is a byproduct of decay, and would not be suitable to represent the pure, sinless blood of Jesus Christ. Unleavened bread left over from the Passover represented his sinless body. "...ye know you were not redeemed with corruptible things...but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (1 Peter 1:18,19) "...but (Jesus) was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:16)
PAUL TO TIMOTHY (1 Timothy 5:23)
"Drink no longer water but use a little wine for your stomach's sake." Timothy has been trained by a godly mother and grandmother (1 Timothy 5:23). Paul advised him to use the fruit of the grape vine as a therapeutic aid for his digestion. There are 637 references to drink and drinking in scripture, commendations and warnings. Thirteen different Greek and Hebrew words are tanslated wine.
Three Hebrew words for wine are used 214 times: (1) Yain (140 times) to squeeze or press; a general term for fruit beverages. (2) Tirosh (32 times) associated with wheat, corn, oil, flocks, blessings: refers to something to be gathered or eaten; the fruit of the vine, fresh or preserved is always commended. (3) Shekar (42 times) any drink from sources other than grapes; connected with woes, sorrow, warnings; always condemned, prohibited and warned against.
The greek word oinos is used for both yain (general) and tirosh (vine fruit) but not shekar. Some ancient writers (Aristotle, Cata, Herodotos, Josephus, Plutarch, Xenophon, Pliny, Horace) mention at least five ways of preserving unfermented fruit and fruit juices. Cold, heat, boiling, straining and chemical (sulphur) are mentioned as being in use. Also they spoke of wines which did NOT "make the head heavy." This indicates that the use of unfermented drinks was quite common and widespread. These were designated as "the best wines." Sunch drinks were counted to be of great value in making hearts glad and faces to shine.
FERMENTATION BY LEAVEN
No offering made with leaven (yeast) was acceptable for sacrifice (Leviticus 2:11; Exodus 34:25) All leaven was purged out of houses during the week before the Feast of the Passover. (Exodus 12:15,20; Exodus 13:6,7). Until wine was distilled in about 1500 A.D., the word wine always designated fruit juices. These juices were called new or sweet when preserved. Fermented juices were referred to as strong or old. Sometimes the context indicated which meaning was intended. some of the key references to drink and drinking are listed below:
RESPONSIBILITY OF BELIEVERS
EVEN SMALL AMOUNTS OF ALCOHOL AFFECT THE NERVOUS SYSTEM AND THE BRAIN, CHANGING THE PERSONALITY.
"If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." (1 Corinthians 3:16,17)."...for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them..." "What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?" (1 Corinthians 6:19)
CONTINUAL and HEAVY DRINKING
"And (Noah...planted a vineyard. And he drank of the WINE and was DRUNKEN: and he was uncovered within his tent. (Genesis 9:21-22) "Come, let us make our father (Lot)drink WINE, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. "And they (Lot's daughters) made their father drink WINE that night and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. "...let us make him drink WINE this night also and go thou in and lie with him; that we may preserve seed of our father "And they made their father drink WINE that night also; and the younger arose and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose." (Genesis 19:20-25). Alcohol created a climate so that incest was committed. This set in motion a terrible curse of illegitmacy which cursed and destroyed thousands of descendents (Moabites and Ammonites). See Deuteronomy 23:2, the curse of the bastard which runs for ten generations or 400 years. "And Abigail came to nabal; and behold he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was VERY DRUNKEN. Wherefore she told him nothing...until the morning light. "But it came to pass in the morning, when the WINE was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. "And it came to pass about ten days after, that the Lord smote Nabal, that he died." (1 Samuel 25:36-38) "And Nadab and Abihu the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therin, and put incese thereon and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not. "And there went out fire from the Lord and devoured them and they died before the Lord." (Leviticus 10: 1,2)
Presumably these men were drunk when they made this offering and God was deeply offended. "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 forever through out your generations. "And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses." (Leviticus 10:8-11). The death penalty was decreed for those who drank and attempted to serve for the Lord. God thus classifies drinking an unholy and unclean practice which will disqualify one from teaching the Word of God.
"Belshazzar the king made a great feast ...and drank WINE before the thousand. "Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the WINE, commanded to bring the...vessels... (from) the temple..in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines might drink therein. "They drank WINE, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron , of wood and of stone. "In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain." (Daniel 5: 1,2,4,30). Error and backsliding are the end product of imbibing alcohol. Prophet and priest cannot receive proper vision or make correct judgements when they are snared by strong drink. Alcohol is evil for everyone but is especially disastrous for leaders. Sickness and vomiting result from the stomach refusing to retain undigested food. Results of drinking are seen in front of bars, in hotels and waiting rooms. "Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow STRONG DRINK; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! "And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe and wine are in their fests; but they REGARD NOT the work of the Lord, either consider the operation of His hands. "Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst." (Isaiah 5:11-13). Craving for drink results in loss of self control, self respect, and sense of responsibility. It leads to captivity and a ignorance of God's will and way. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge... "...they sinned against Me, therefore I will change their glory into shame.
"For they shall eat and not have enough; they shall commit whoredom, and shall not have increase; because they have LEFT OFF to take heed to the Lord. "Whoredom and WINE: he stretched out his hand with scorners..:" (Hosea 7:5). Continued drinking impairs normal functions of stomach, liver, kidneys, blood vessels and corpuscles. it is associated with God hating and scorners of God's Word.
PERSONAL COMMANDS AND THE REASONS
Instructions to the mother of Samson: "Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not WINE nor STRONG DRINK, and eat not any unclean thing. "For lo, thou shalt conceive and bear a son and no razor shall come on his head; for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb..." (Judges 13:4,5) alcohol definitely adversely affects the unborn child and is forbidden along with any other unclean things. Alcohol, drugs and tobacco are some of the worst things a mother can take into her body while carrying a baby. The physical and spiritual effects can be devastating. "...thw wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. "And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth." "For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink
NEITHER WINE nor STRONG DRINK; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb." (Luke 1:13-15) "It is not for kings...to drink WINE, nor for princes STRONG DRINK; "Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. "Open thy mouth for the DUMB in the cause of all such as are appointed to DESTRUCTION. (Proverbs 31:8). Leaders are not to drink, only those who are going to be destroyed.
Drink is offered to those who are stupid and dumb and are appointed to destruction. This is certainly no endorsement of drinking, but a comment on the mental vacancy of those who do drink,. "Neither shall any priest drink WINE, when they enter into the inner court." (Ezekiel 44:21)
WINE is a mocker, STRONG DRINK is raging and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." (Proverbs 20:1). Five evil spirits in alcohol are indicate in this one verse and are listed in the order that they enter. First Wine Drinking comes in and he opens the door for Mockery; next comes Strong Drink and he brings in Rage; Deception enters and makes way for Stupidity. Wine Drinking, Mockery, Strong Drink, Rage, Deception and Stupidity will always be found in the one cursed by the alcoholic syndrome. These are basic and will be accompanied by other specialized demons.
MORE WARNINGS AGAINST THE USE OF FERMENTED DRINKS
"Woe to him that giveth his neighbor drink, that putteth thy BOTTLE to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness! "Thou are filled with shame for glory; drink thou also and let thy foreskin be uncovered; the cup of the Lord's right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory." (Habakkuk 2:15,16) "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived, DRUNKARDS...shall not inherit the kingdom of God. "And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:10,11) "Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are these DRUNKENNESS...." (Galatians 5:21)
CHARACTERISTIC EFFECTS OF DRINK
"awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of WINE, because of the new WINE; for it is cut off from your mouth." (Joel 1:5) Stupor, melancholy and sadness come with drinking. "And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for a harlot, and sold a girl for WINE, that they might drink" (Joel 3:3) Alcohol releases sexual inhibitions and impulses, impairing judgement; destroy ideals. "Eating and drinking WINE" (Job 1:13,18) "The DRUNKARD and the glutton shall come to poverty; and drowsiness...with rags." (Proverbs 23:21) Impaired judgement interferes with saving oneself from harm. Drinker neglects business, becomes inefficient and loses his job. "Take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people." (Isaiah 57:14) "Take heed lest this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak." (1 Corinthians 8:9) "
This excerpt is taken from booklet #33A "The Alcoholic Syndrome" by Win Worley. Hegewisch Baptist Church, Highland, Indiana. Web site address is: www.hbcdelivers.org