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Dangerous Alcoholic Cocktail

But they also have erred through wine, and through intoxicating drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through intoxicating drink, they are swallowed up by wine, they are out of the way through intoxicating drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. Isaiah 28:7 NKJV

This study is about Christians who consume alcoholic drinks and think it is alright to do so. More than once, we have heard Christians say, “There is nothing wrong with drinking in moderation. Pastor so and so even says it is okay to have a glass of wine over supper.” Recently, we met a Christian man who said that he drinks alcohol/liquor on a daily basis with his wife as they have their private time together at home, which is a special time of the day he always looks forward to. He stated sanctimoniously, that he never would give up this precious time with his wife. But seeing this man’s un-Christian-like, unloving behavior, we discovered that it is actually the alcohol that he was looking forward to having a date with. This man is what you call an alcoholic, who needs his buzz or fix every day.

It is always fascinating and amazing to see that whenever we run into a Christian who has a lifestyle of drinking alcohol, they never seem to have an intimate love relationship with Jesus Christ and live radical for Him, but instead live compromising lifestyles and often religiously judge and condemn other believers in order to cover their own hidden sins and shortcomings.

Drinking alcohol leads to drunkenness and addiction and often sets off a chain reaction of events like tipping over the first domino. Drinking causes many to stumble, others to be offended, and many to be weakened. One of the top five reasons teenagers drink is because their parents drink.

It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble. Romans 14:21 NLT

In an age when alcohol is one of the Devil’s foremost means of ensnaring souls and bringing them to temporal and eternal ruin, surely the drinking of alcohol by the Christian is one such matter that is absolutely to no benefit or blessing to anybody. It is a sad characteristic of many Christians, that they want to be the Lord’s, and yet walk as close to the Devil as possible. It is precisely this kind of mentality that motivates many to drink alcohol so long as they can avoid drunkenness, as they so often justify themselves saying, “I only drink alcohol in moderation.”

Here are the sobering statistics:

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a person dies every 33 minutes in an alcohol related accident. Additional statistics from the United States Justice Department: Nearly 4 in 10 violent victimizations involve use of alcohol. Also, victim reports show that on average each year, about 183,000 rapes and sexual assaults involve alcohol use by the offender, as do just over 197,000 robberies, about 661,000 aggravated assaults, and nearly 1.7 million simple assaults.

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that alcoholism and alcohol abuse in the United States costs society from $40 to $60 billion annually due to the lost production, health and medical care, motor vehicle accidents, violent crime, and social programs that respond to alcohol problems.

One half of all traffic fatalities and one-third of all traffic injuries are related to the abuse of alcohol. Accidents and suicides that are associated with alcohol problems are especially prominent in the teen years.

It is estimated that over 3 million teens between the ages of 14 and 17 in the United States today are problem drinkers.

Youth who began drinking before they turned 15 were twice as likely to develop an alcohol abuse problem and four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence, compared with persons who did not begin drinking before age 21.

Currently, nearly 14 million Americans—1 in every 13 adults, abuse alcohol or are alcoholic. Several million more adults engage in risky drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems. In addition, approximately 53 percent of men and women in the United States report that one or more of their close relatives have a drinking problem.

Alcohol contributes to 100,000 deaths annually, making it the third leading cause of preventable mortality in the United States after tobacco and diet/activity patterns.

More than seven percent of the population ages 18 years and older – nearly 13.8 million Americans – have problems with drinking, including 8.1 million people who are alcoholic.

The effect of alcohol on the brain and body:
The first effect of alcohol on the brain is to dull the capacity for self-criticism and the sense of caution. A lessening of care and anxiety follows and the checks on irresponsibility and unreasonable behavior are also reduced. Actions follow the impulses, which is dangerous. Reaction time becomes slower; coordination is disturbed; drowsiness follows and opens the floodgate of all sorts of sexual promiscuity, abusive, and violent behavior.

Alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, stroke, chronic pancreatitis, kidney and liver disease, depressive disorders, dementia and cancer.

You can see when people have been drinking alcohol for a while because their bodies become wasted, worn out, and start to break down. It is then that they notice change is needed, but it is too late, the damage is already done. You basically, as the Bible says, destroy the temple of God, which is your body.

Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1. Corinthians 3:16-17 NLT

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. 1. Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT

What the Bible says about drinking alcohol
One of the things that are consistently mentioned as sin and evil in the Bible, is the drinking of alcohol.

In Genesis 9:21, we find the first reference in Scripture to the consumption of wine. It led to drunkenness. The offender here was Noah, the man of God!

Noah’s drunkenness had a large part to play in the curse of God coming upon his offspring!

And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. Genesis 9:20-23 NKJV

There are 637 references to wine, drink and drinking in the King James Version of the Bible. Most people think in today’s terms, believing that when wine is mentioned, it refers to alcoholic wine. Actually, that is not necessarily true. Thirteen different words are translated “wine” in the King James Version of the Bible. The word wine has a wide range of meanings in the Bible, covering everything from grape juice, to concentrated grape syrup to alcoholic wine. To understand what the Bible has to say about drinking, we need to look at several of these words.

OLD TESTAMENT HEBREW WORDS FOR WINE
“Yayin” — It is a general term for grape beverages and includes all classes of wine, non-alcoholic or alcoholic; unfermented, in the process of fermentation and fermented. The context of this scripture in Proverbs 31 verse 4 will show whether it is alcoholic wine or not.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes intoxicating drink; Proverbs 31:4 NKJV

Yayin, when used properly was always diluted with water.

“Shekar” — It is the word for strong drink, unmixed wine. The 1901 edition of THE JEWISH ENCYCLO-PEDIA says, “Yayin, wine, is to be distinguished from Shekar, or strong drink.” Shekar was not diluted with water.

Along with it you must present the proper liquid offering of one quart of alcoholic drink with each lamb, poured out in the Holy Place as an offering to the Lord. Numbers 28:7 NLT

“Tirosh” — This word refers to fresh grape juice (un-fermented raw grape liquid). It is referred to often as new wine.

He will love you and bless you, and he will give you many children. He will give fertility to your land and your animals. When you arrive in the land he swore to give your ancestors, you will have large harvests of grain, new wine, and olive oil, and great herds of cattle, sheep, and goats. Deuteronomy 7:13 NLT

Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine. Proverbs 3:9-10 NKJV

NEW TESTAMENT GREEK WORDS FOR WINE
“Oinos” is the counterpart to the Old Testament word Yayin. It is a general term for grape beverages and includes all classes of wine, non-alcoholic or alcoholic; fermented or unfermented. Oinos, when used properly was always diluted with water.

It is the belief of many Bible scholars that the water that Jesus miraculously turned into wine was the Oinos, which is wine that is derived from fresh grapes.

Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions. When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!” This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him. John 2:7-11 NLT

“Sikera” is the counterpart to the Old Testament word Shekar. It is the word for strong drink, unmixed wine like has been said about the prophet John the Baptist.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. Luke 1:13-15 NKJV

“Gleukos” at the other hand, is the counterpart to the Old Testament word Tirosh which refers to fresh wine, a new wine, or freshly squeezed grape juice.

Pastors and deacons were cautioned to steer around even the sub-alcoholic wine and not give in to it.

A bishop (pastor) then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, 1. Timothy 3:2-3 NKJV

Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 1. Timothy 3:8 NKJV

It should be noted that the apostle Paul advocates the use of wine for medicinal use only, as he advised Pastor Timothy the following:

Don’t drink only water. You ought to drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach because you are sick so often. 1. Timothy 5:23 NLT

Wine was used as a medicine in Biblical times. Even in this medical context, Paul speaks only of “a little wine.” It is clear from these words that what Paul is speaking of, is the addition of a little wine to the water Timothy is drinking, in order to make it safe to drink. The water supply in the Middle East, and especially in Biblical times, was far from healthy. Sickness was the regular consequence of drinking water that had not been sterilized by a little wine. It is noteworthy that he speaks of “drinking water” and “using” the wine; the wine was to complement the water, not replace it. At most, his words permit the medicinal use of alcohol.

It is also important to understand that Timothy had been in the practice of abstaining from even “a little wine,” because even drinking the contaminated water was making him sick. He had often suffered infirmities rather than drink wine in even its most diluted form. His self-denial in this matter is remarkable.

In another passage in the Bible, we can read in the parable of the Good Samaritan how he applied oil and wine as medications on a wounded victim of thieves;

Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Luke 10:34 NLT

To Conclude
Due to the serious Biblical concerns regarding alcohol and its effects, due to the easy temptation to consume alcohol in excess, and due to the fact that it causes offense and/or stumbling of others, it is clear that a Christian should absolutely abstain entirely from it. Drunkenness is a sin and a curse! We are quick to claim all the blessings that God has for us, but not so swift to recognize the curses that are in store for us when we do not obey the Word of God who warns us against the alcoholic and drunkard lifestyle and its consequences.

Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise. Proverbs 20:1 NLT

Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks. Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down. For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper. You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can look for another drink?” Proverbs 23:29-35 NLT

What sorrow for those who get up early in the morning looking for a drink of alcohol and spend long evenings drinking wine to make themselves flaming drunk. Isaiah 5:11 NLT

Drunkenness is also called the work of the flesh, and no drunkard will be found in heaven, even if he or she claims to be a believer:

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 NLT

Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality,  or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 1. Corinthians 6:9-10 NLT

I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. 1. Corinthians 5:11 NLT

Therefore, it might be a good question to ask ourselves: If drunkenness will not be allowed in heaven, why should it be practiced by a Christian here on earth?

Instead of being filled with alcohol, we should be filled with God’s Spirit!

Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 5:18 NLT

Copyright©2011 Edwin & Sophia Christiaan

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