I was shocked in March of 2005 as I listened to one of the world's most influential, Christian, Pentecostal leaders. He was raised in the Assembly of God denomination. His parents were godly missionaries to the continent of Africa. He touches the lives of millions of believers every single day, around the World as president of a major world-wide Christian TV network. While on camera he indicated that he sees no problem with Christians consuming wine in moderation.
I could hardly believe my ears! Who would have ever thought that we would ever hear a conservative, Pentecostal, Christian leader approving beverage alcohol?! If this Christian leader is correct, then the great founders of all evangelical denominations and movements, who unanimously and vociferously proclaimed total abstinence, misunderstood the Word of God concerning liquor. And I guess the famous Womens Christian Temperance Union ladies were all a bunch of narrow-minded party poopers. Did the churches really miss God's will way back there in the ancient past, in the USA, when they solidly backed the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which made alcohol an illegal beverage???
A few days after I heard that Pentecostal mover and shaker give his okay to wine in moderation, I was speaking with a Christian husband and wife. They sadly told me that they could no longer attend their church. They had to "turn away" from that fellowship. They discovered that their church's leadership had lost its discernment and could not see the dark powers behind social drinking. At a church sponsored get-together all but two downed a glass of wine and then recessed to their evening worship service!
I knew the reason why my friends were so traumatized by what they stumbled on in their church fellowship. These friends had suffered personally at the hands of alcohol. Their only son had been taken over by alcohol when his girl friend's parents began serving him a regular glass of dinner wine. The regular dinner wine found a weakness in that boy that grew into a full-blown life of alcoholism. For years his life was in chaos. His parents suffered untold sorrows, due to that addiction which forced them to make many interventions in his life and they had to help raise his children because of his drunken living. They knew personally something that their church had become blind to. They could not bear to continue attending or supporting a church that blessed a practice that destroys lives. They believe, with all their hearts, that God calls Christians to holiness, and that alcohol robs believers of the fullness of the deep things of God.
Social drinking, which in the past has unanimously been rejected by conservative churches, is today blooming in the "conservative" church arena. It is horrifying that so many believers are accepting alcohol, and that pastors and televangelists fear to speak about this evil because they sense their organizations cannot survive the financial fall-out, of saying "NO" to alcohol. There are so many "sipping saints," who support various ministries.
Televangelists are under the greatest pressure. They would much rather preach "prosperity" than to preach about purified living. The proclamation of holiness has seldom filled up offering plates. As a pastor I found out that a sermon on holy living would thin out the congregation and lower the church's financial support. The big Christian TV networks have to have truck loads of money flowing in. And since they depend on the "good will" of their viewers, they are in a compromised position, when it comes to teaching and preaching holiness.
Concerning alcohol Christians need to look at the whole Bible carefully, as well as at recent knowledge that God has given us, relating to this drug.
First of all we need to recognize some things about Jesus' walk on the dusty roads of the Holy Land. Jesus came to minister life and to show us the life HE brought could be had in abundance. Jesus came to give HIS life a ransom for many. [See John 10:10 and Mark 10:45] The Lord had very narrow and specific direction from HIS Heavenly Father. HE did not come to directly mount a special campaign against every single evil practice. Jesus did not come to directly take on the evils of the culture of HIS day. Jesus spent little time exposing the corrupt and political intrigues of the religious power brokers.
Instead, Jesus came to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Everyone knew the bad news of Rome and of the religious systems. But hardly anyone understood the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Jesus' goal was to bring the Good News of the Kingdom of God to the attention of that World. Jesus came bearing the good seeds of Truth. HE HIMSELF was that TRUTH! Jesus was depending on the power of that good seed of the Gospel to change polluted and sinful people. HIS Good News has changed many people, but HIS seed has also made drastic positive changes in the World itself.
If you are a history buff you know, for example, that our calendar, and our clocks and specifically alarm clocks came as a result of the seeds of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Today, we operate by the clock, because of Jesus' message, believe it or NOT! The alarm clock was invented by monks that wanted to arise at 3 A.M. each morning to pray!! They needed something to get them out of bed on time.
Jesus knew that the seeds of HIS Gospel would change things for the better in many ways. Jesus depended on that. Can you imagine how stupid it would have been for Jesus to preach against alcohol, or slavery, or against the "human rights" violations of the Roman government??
"You folks have got to stop drinking wine! Wine kills brain cells! Wine messes with the fetal development of a baby in the womb and will cause that child to have learning disabilities and/or facial abnormalities. Wine can cause sclerosis of the liver!! Alcohol can fry your nervous system. Do you know why so many charioteers are having accidents? It's all that drinking they're doing!"
If Jesus had preached anything like I've written in the above paragraph, you can be sure that HE would have been laughed off the stage of history! The people of that era had little knowledge of the workings of the human body. They in fact used wine as a way to purify drinking water for children. They didn't know that the alcohol killed microscopic bugs in water. But they knew that if they diluted wine in water their kids didn't get sick from the water.
Today massive scientific insights have revealed that alcohol is not the best way to purify water and that it is a mind-altering drug, even in small quantities! But in the First Century they would have thought Jesus was a mental case if he had mounted a campaign against table wine. After all, wine was a deeply entrenched part of that culture!
That is why Jesus didn't bother preaching against slavery, or alcohol, and other things that were so glued into that culture. Jesus released HIS gospel as a seed that would slowly begin to fix things through the passage of time. And today, because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ slavery has been dealt with, racial prejudices have been exposed and wrongful use of drugs and alcohol have been shown to be destroyers of society. The Gospel did that as a good side effect of the Truths of Jesus Christ!
There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus drank fermented grape juice, with alcohol content. One Christian took great offense at this belief of mine. They said that drinking wine was a sin and Jesus would never sin and didn't sin and therefore the grape juice HE drank had to be unfermented and totally without alcohol content.
I certainly agree that Jesus never sinned in any way, shape or form. But I find it very difficult to believe HE never drank wine with alcohol content. First of all the Bible does not tell us that Jesus miraculously made alcohol free wine or that he miraculously modified wine so it was non-alcoholic. Secondly, when Jesus drank the wine at the Passover we know that Passover occurs between March and May and that in Israel there are no fresh grapes in which to squeeze fresh grape juice except between June and September. The wine at the passover had to be at least five to seven months old! We know that there was no refrigeration then. Therefore it is impossible that the wine consumed at the Passover was unfermented, unless Jesus miraculously cleansed it of all alcohol. If Jesus did such a miracle, which He could have done, surely the Bible would have reported such an event, for such a miracle would have very important meaning to us today.
Jesus did drink fermented wine. But is that an excuse for Christians to drink today?? If I'm going to set aside the warnings concerning alcohol that are in the Holy Word of God, so that I can have a glass of wine like Jesus, then I must also conform to Jesus' religious culture!
So if I want to drink wine with Jesus I need to become totally like Jesus. First I need to convert to the Jewish religion and become an Orthodox Jew, not just a Conservative or Reformed Jew...but an Orthodox Jew who is very, very devote. Jesus rose every single morning, well before dawn to pray. Jesus often prayed all night long. Jesus didn't attend church. HE attended Synagogue on Saturdays. HE was not a Christian! Jesus never married, but focused his entire life on the preaching of the Kingdom of God, 18 hours a day. Jesus was involved in seven day a week ministry. Jesus was so close to God that Moses and Elijah stopped by to visit with HIM. HE fed thousands miraculously, healed the sick, raised the dead, stilled the raging sea. HE resisted the most horrible temptations of Satan, fasted 40 days in the desert. HE willingly gave HIS life up to execution without calling in any expensive lawyers! Jesus did all of this not as a born again Christian, but HE did it as the most perfect Orthodox Jew that ever walked the face of this Earth!
Perhaps if my spiritual and cultural life matched HIS, then maybe I might be able to drink a bit of fermented grape juice now and then. But I'm no comparison with Jesus Christ, nor is anyone else on Planet Earth today!! HE is way ahead of me, by light years, especially because HE achieved holiness and purity outside of Christianity! We know Jesus can't be called a "Christian" because Christianity never even came close to existing until after the blood and water poured forth from Jesus' side, when that Roman speer was thrust through HIS sacred body. And really Christianity couldn't begin until the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost. So, Jesus wasn't a Christian!
We cannot judge the life of Jesus Christ. That life was judged by God Almighty as a perfect life. There was not ONE sin that Jesus ever committed. HE was truly perfect. If you want to indulge yourself in alcohol, based on Jesus' use of wine, then to be safe, you better make your life an exact duplicate of Christ's. And that is impossible!
The Bible has a lot to say about alcohol, concerning those of us who are NOT the Messiah, who are NOT the only begotten Son of God, but are just believers in Jesus Christ.
We need to cut Jesus some religious slack. We need to realize that he lived a perfect life, and HE pleased HIS Father totally. We need to admit that Jesus drank wine and was still sinless. We, who are more like John the Baptist, CANNOT find fault with Jesus for drinking fermented juices. There is NO SIN in Jesus Christ. But, John the Baptist pleased God also, and John never touched a single drop of alcohol! John was a Nazarite! I'll say more about the Nazarite Vow later in this essay.
Jesus even talked about His and John the Baptist's different drinking habits: "For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking WINE; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber [wino or drunkard], a friend of publicans and sinners!" [Luke 7:33-34]
There is a lot of truth in the Bible that tells those of us who are NOT the only begotten Son of God, that John the Baptist's alcohol free lifestyle is better for our spiritual growth and welfare. Jesus had good reasons to drink wine...but we don't have one single useful reason to indulge in the use of that drug as a beverage!
If you are going to ignore the rest of the Bible and base drinking wine, on Jesus' life, then you are going to have to perfectly duplicate Jesus' Jewish lifestyle, and throw away the grace of God and the gift of eternal life, by faith in Jesus. Also, you are going to have to ignore a lot of Scripture that with today's advanced medical and scientific understanding, now warns us to stay alcohol free. The Bible says, that those who follow the Jewish laws, in order to become righteous, are doomed to fail in that effort! [See Galatians 6:13] Jesus is the only ONE who ever passed the test of living a perfect life before God as a follower of the Ceremonial Jewish Law! No one else was able to keep the Law that perfectly, both outwardly and inwardly. A few got it right on the outside..but failed internally.
Someone is asking, "How can you say that we can't safely duplicate Jesus' use of wine??"
That is a good question, because copying Jesus sounds pretty safe. But when Jesus does something that other parts of the Bible say there is great danger in doing, then we know that if we insist on doing that thing we better follow Jesus' formula exactly, in order to keep out of trouble. And who can do all that Jesus did, the way HE did it? That is impossible.
If we love our neighbor as ourselves, we know that we are on safe ground, because the Bible is full of Scriptures backing that practice. The Bible and Jesus agree that we need to love our neighbors. But the Bible very seriously warns of the dangers of alcohol. Yet Jesus probably did drink fermented grape juice. So I would say we must be very careful when it comes to alcohol because the Bible has important warnings related to that drug.
That is why I must declare that it would be a much wiser thing for you to take the whole Bible into consideration, when you consider anything, especially drinking alcohol!
First of all we need to remember that in Saint Paul's day they didn't even have Tums® or Rolaids®, let alone Pepcid®, Zantec® or Nexium®. Back then no one understood much about the workings of the human digestive system, but God. Wine was one of the few medicines known to mankind in that time. Remember how Jesus said that the Samaritan medicated the wounds of the injured man with wine and oil?? [See Luke 10:34]
Long ago wine was the one medicine for all things. They poured it on cuts, took a spoon full for their upset tummy, gave it to injured people in shock. The bio-chemical, alcohol, is a useful disinfectant. They had discovered that a spoonful of wine in a glass of water lessened the chances of sickness from what we know to be dysentery. In the ancient world it was far more dangerous to drink water than it is today in modern society.
If a Christian is going to excuse their drinking of wine, using Saint Paul's admonition to Timothy, "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities," [1st Timothy 5:23] then you need to obey the whole verse!! You need to stop drinking that bottled, purified spring water and get your water from the gutter in front of your house, or down at the local stagnant pond. You need to stop the use of all other medications, because Paul gave that prescription in an era when the drug store had not yet been invented. Also that Scripture cannot apply to you unless you are having a lot of stomach troubles, like Timothy had.
You can only follow that Scripture if you have no medical doctor to treat your problem tummy, because in that era the few doctors around had less medical knowledge than today's elementary school sixth grader!! What I'm saying is that you can't lift a phrase like "...a little wine for thy stomach's sake..." out of the context that the Holy Spirit inspired it!
You have to remember that Paul was talking to a specific person, with a specific problem who was living in a low hygiene time and a germ infested place, where water was not purified with chlorine and it was dangerous to drink just any water. It is very possible that Timothy was suffering from a microbe infection, or dysentery, because of polluted water in that city. A little wine might have helped to clear up Timothy's digestive problems!
The Holy Spirit inspired that prescription (RX) for Paul, to give to Timothy. Perhaps Paul's traveling companion, Doctor Luke, may have suggested this RX for Timothy?? And so if you are going to take Timothy's RX for yourself, then you might as well start begging prescription medications from your friends, even though it is a crime!! Are you going to steal Timothy's personal RX?? That is what this kind of drinking excuse amounts to! It amounts to you or I deciding to see if we can self medicate and diagnose our own stomach disorders, while avoiding the wonderful new over-the-counter and prescription drugs that God has given modern doctors for our healing!!
Here's a shocker for you. If Paul had to encourage Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach, that means that Timothy was almost a non-drinker!! Reason tells us this passage of Scripture would not have even been in the Bible if Timothy drank wine regularly with dinner. That revelation leads me to believe that godly Christians, in the first century, were probably steering away from regular use of wine! That truth hit me when I realized that if Timothy was drinking socially, Paul's advice would have done Timothy no good at all! Paul is talking about a medicinal use of wine. Apparently Timothy seldom ever had any alcohol! And we know that Paul knew Timothy very, very well. He was a Father figure to Timothy. They had worked closely together.
Noah, Lot, and Aaron paid terrible prices as a result of the drug of alcohol!
In Genesis 9:20-27 you can read about the terrible curse that fell upon one of Noah's sons because of alcohol. Noah got drunk and passed out. One of his sons took immoral advantage of this situation. Something evil transpired. But the alcohol was the agent that made this catastrophe possible. The entrance of alcohol into the equation changed the course of events. A chaotic curse was released into one of Noah's blood lines. That son's offspring ended up following a religion full of temple prostitution and infant sacrifice.
Lot, the nephew of Abraham, is tricked by his daughters. He has no idea that his own daughters cannot be trusted. He has no idea why they are serving him much wine. He trusts them and decides to enjoy the drunk that comes upon him. But the daughters know that once their father is over taken by the alcohol he will remember nothing that transpires. They are able to bring forth two new races of peoples who are destined to bring sorrow in the years to come. And alcohol is the drug that makes it possible for Lot's integrity and sense of right and wrong to be violated, all against his will. Only later is he to sadly discover that he is the father of two sons by incest.
Aaron, Moses' brother and first High Priest of the Jewish people, suffered a horrific loss because of liquor. In Leviticus 10:1-2, we read of Aaron's two priest sons, Nadab and Abihu. These young men are incinerated by the glory-fire of God when they dared to come into the sacred tent of God and "...offered strange fire before the Lord..." They were supposed to get the flame ignited, that burned in their censors, from the holy fire that burned constantly there, inside the Tent Tabernacle. But instead they started their censors from some source of flame that was from outside the sacred precincts of the Tabernacle. This all sounds mysterious to us, in our day, unless we read further to verses eight to ten that follow. God adds a new regulation that is designed to prevent any similar tragedies in the future.
"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;" [Leviticus 10:8-10]
Clearly this Scripture exposes beverage alcohol as the culprit that obscured Nadab and Abihu's ability to differentiate between that which was holy and that which was unholy. The use of anything that destroys our ability to make good judgments is an unholy practice! God is not in favor of anything that clouds our minds and ruins our judgment.
In the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, Chapter 35 we learn of a sub-clan of Jews called the Rechabites. It seems that years and years before Jeremiah's time this family promised their great, great, great grand father, Jonadab the son of Rechab, their founder, that they would always honor Jonadab's command. He commanded them saying, "Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever..." [Jeremiah 35:6]
God was so pleased by this family choosing to stay totally alcohol free, for many generations, that through the prophet Jeremiah a great blessing was sent from Heaven to the Rechabite family of Jews: "And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: 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." [Jeremiah 35:18-19]
So, basically, God told the Rechabites that because they had remained alcohol free, God was so pleased, that their family would go on without an end forever and ever! Their clan was given an eternal status for it's stand to stay obedient and free of beverage alcohol. What conclusion can we get, other than it pleases God to stay off the sauce!!
One of the worst things the drug of alcohol does, long before it makes you lose your balance and stagger, is the negative effect it produces in people's judgment and ability to make good decisions. It certainly appears that Nadab and Abihu, those two Jewish priests that got cremated alive, had just had "one for the road," before they went on duty as priests in the Tent Tabernacle. And with a little sauce in them, one flame of fire looked as proper as the next flame of fire. A drink of wine robbed them of their judgment and cost them their lives!
The Bible says that God Almighty is a "consuming fire." [See Hebrews 12:29] When those priests brought an unholy, unsanctified flame into the holy place of God, God's glory flame reached out to consume it. And in the process the glory of God burned these men alive. For they had made themselves unholy by doing an unholy thing.
God is very loving, but we need to remember that HE is also like bleach. Until you are as pure as the inside of a bleach bottle, you don't storm into God's direct presence. The Lord of the Universe is like the inferno at the center of a star. HIS very presence consumes every shadow! HE is LIGHT of the highest order. Mold can't live in a bottle of bleach! Sin and unholiness cannot live in the presence of God Almighty! Evilness cannot get in God's face without paying the ultimate price.
That is why Adam and Eve stopped getting regular afternoon visits from God, following their sin in the Garden. Sin separates us from God. God had to stay away for their protection and safety. I believe this is why Lucifer was described by Jesus as being driven like lightening out of Heaven, following his rebellion. [See Luke 10:18] God is so good that HE catapulted Lucifer from the glory realms at the speed of light, before the glory of God consumed that fallen angel. God is so marvelous, so good. But sometimes God must judge wrong things, especially if they try and get in HIS face.
"Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, when either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD: He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried." [Numbers 6:2-3]
Samson and John the Baptist are leading Bible characters who lived by this vow of separation to God. They stayed away from all alcoholic beverages.
Judges 13:5 tells us that Samson was ordained a "Nazarite from the womb," by Almighty God. In order to remain a Nazarite and bring deliverance to his Nation, one of the requirements for Samson was to totally abstain from alcohol throughout his life. That requirement is an important signpost for us today. It reminds us that beverage alcohol tends to bring many people down spiritually. Samson's Nazarite vow should be a "wake up call" to all who are seeking more of God. If you want more of God you need to totally abstain from recreational drugs. Alcohol is a recreational drug.
"For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine;..." [Luke 7:33a] "For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist..." --Jesus [Luke 7:28]
John the Baptist was also a Nazarite all of his life. And, sad to say, it is probably the evil influence of alcohol that triggered the execution of that precious saint of God. King Herod had arrested John simply because John said that it was sinful that Herod had taken the wife of his own brother and made her his queen. Herod was afraid to execute John because he felt it would cause an uprising. But at Herod's birthday party (where I'm sure the wine was flowing) he made a very unwise statement. "But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias (Herodias was Herod's ill-gotten wife) danced before them, and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger." [Matthew 14:6-8]
You know the wine must have been flowing for a king to promise a dancing girl "whatsoever she would ask." That is about as stupid a statement as any leader could make. The wine was doing a number on Herod! And we will learn later that it only takes a very small amount of wine to ruin good judgment.
The Bible makes a pretty good case for avoiding beverage alcohol, IF you are seeking to have a closer and ever deepening relationship with God Almighty. Avoidance of alcohol is no great thing in itself!! But using alcohol, as a beverage, greatly increases our chances of losing ground spiritually and reaping eternal loss.
I can prove THAT to you in a simple way. Very often when people of the World are trying to sway the minds of business associates to agree to a big deal they wine and dine the decision makers. The liquor flows very freely. Worldly businessmen have learned that more deals are signed when liquor is flowing. And dear Christian friend, if and when you drink, your judgment is not as objective as you think. A little wine and suddenly you're willing to try something you would never do ordinarily.
Jesus points out, twice, in HIS prophecy about the end of the World that liquor will be a strong focus of sinners on the day of Christ's return. [See Matthew 24:37-38, and 48-49)
The Bible tells the story of a pagan king, Belshazzar, whose drinking of wine contributed to his death and the fall of his kingdom. "Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein....In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old." [Daniel 5:2,30-31]
While under the influence of the wine Belshazzar's judgment was impaired. The wine robbed him of any wisdom he might have had. He insulted the God of Israel by using the holy cups from God's Temple as goblets for his liquor party, apparently toasting pagan gods using the sacred vessels. This is the famous story where God sends a hand to write on the wall. The writing foretells Belshazzar's end, exactly as Daniel interpreted the meaning of the words that the hand had written.
Now that I've brought up Daniel, I want to mention that he and his three Jewish friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who were taken into captivity to Babylon, were Nazarites of a kind. Daniel and friends agreed that they wanted to honor God by staying alcohol free. They considered it a spiritual defilement to drink the kings wine.
"But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with THE WINE which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself." [Daniel 1:18]
And the interesting thing is that God blessed them with unusual health, vitality and intellectual ability because of their stand for purity from the rich foods and strong drink of the king of Babylon. "And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat." [Daniel 1:15]
The Bible very strongly backs up the statement that those who want to please God to the fullest need to totally abstain from alcoholic beverages. Further into this essay you will find more Scripture to enforce that premise.
All through past human history it has been very difficult to define exactly when a person becomes intoxicated enough to be classified as a drunkard. The advent of modern medicine and the many deaths attributed to alcohol have forced the Government to figure out when a person is or is not a drunk. Over 15,000 people die each year on U.S. highways because of alcohol. And when you add in all the other alcohol related deaths you get a grand total of more than 100,000 people a year who get murdered by this drug!
My State, California, proclaims that for a person under 129 pounds, one five ounce glass of wine or 12 ounce glass of beer renders that person very probably "DUI" (Drunk and Under the Influence), or legally too drunk to drive, for up to 60 minutes following the time the alcohol was consumed! For someone over 210 pounds, two drinks may render them drunk. Every person's body deals with alcohol a little differently. The point is that today we know that one or two glasses of wine will generally place most people in the category of a drunkard, for at least 60 minutes!! In other words, the ability to make appropriate decisions and to maintain civilized inhibitions will be adversely effected following the consumption of one or two glasses of wine or beer. God knew this and thus forbade HIS priests to come into the Temple anytime following the consumption of alcohol!
Check out what The State of California says about alcohol below:
The legal world begs us "Don't Drink And Drive!" That is because scientifically the borderline between sobriety and drunkenness is crossed so fast and so suddenly that governments have been forced to set "point zero eight percent" as the blood alcohol limit for drunkenness! They tell us "don't even go there," concerning drinking and driving. The chances of you getting a blood alcohol level above legal limits is too great. So don't even touch ONE drink if you are going to drive, TOTALLY ABSTAIN. Get a designated driver to take you home, even if you only had ONE glass of wine!
I know most people don't follow that rule. But the fact that the legal world advises us to be that careful should tell us something: Drunkenness begins way, way, way earlier than anyone ever thought, in past generations!
We live in a scientific and high tech medical world. We have far greater medical knowledge than the people of the Bible times. All of a sudden the Scriptures about drunkenness take on a clearer meaning. Saints in Jesus' day will not be held responsible for what we now know. God is going to hold us responsible for the greater medical and biological knowledge we have about the dangers of alcohol. We are going to be held to a higher standard than Peter, Paul, James or John are going to be held to, concerning alcohol!
"But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." [Luke 12:48] "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." [James 4:17]
Please read the following Scriptures in the light of the greater scientific knowledge that we have, realizing that God will hold you to it. Ancient peoples will be able to claim ignorance as to when drunkenness begins. But you will not be able to claim ignorance!
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these;...adultery, fornication ...drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of 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." [Galatians 5:19-21]
"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;" [Ephesians 5:18]
Saint Paul is telling us that we need to get away from beverage alcohol and seek the "new wine" of the Spirit of God. God has provided a sacred high for the believer. It can be found in the fullness of God's Holy Spirit! Further, our Government and modern science tells us that just about any amount of alcohol is too much. Drunkenness begins much, much earlier than anyone in the past ever realized!!!
"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. [1st Corinthians 6:9-10]
The Government tells us who the drunkards are. The Bible tells us that drunkards are not part of the pure and holy people, but part of the profane, the fallen, the backslidden and wicked people.
"But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a ...drunkard, ...with such an one no not to eat." [1st Corinthians 5:11]I cannot over emphasize enough that our Government tells us that one glass of wine will probably make you a drunkard for a few minutes. And the Bible tells us as believers to get away from anyone who calls themselves a Christian and who is a drunkard. The government has identified who the people are that are drunkards, if even for a few moments. Medical science has informed the Government when a person is a drunkard.
The Bible tells me that drunkards are not appropriate saints! And in the light of our newest medical knowledge the Bible tells me that those who call themselves Christians, who don't abstain from beverage alcohol are to be considered improper companions for a Christian seeking all of God's will. In the light of the latest scientific evidence the Bible tells me, that Christians are not to socialize with any other believer who drinks beverage alcohol!
In the light of science and the Bible, how else am I to understand First Corinthians Five, Eleven???? That is a very shocking revelation to me! I'm in shock! But I must obey the Bible!
"Know ye not that the unrighteous SHALL NOT inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, ...NOR DRUNKARDS, ..., shall inherit the kingdom of God." [1st Corinthians 6:9-10]
Medical science and the laws of the Land reveal that drunkards are not just those who show outward signs of drunkenness! Almost any amount of beverage alcohol is enough to make many people technically drunk. Drunkenness is more than slurred speech! Drunkenness is that telltale modification of the thinking mechanism which happens when a bit of alcohol enters the brain. Suddenly that person's ability to be objective gets distorted to some degree. Modern knowledge has radically lowered the line of demarcation between sobriety and drunkenness. Still the Bible says drunkards DO NOT inherit God's Kingdom.
Long ago God told his holy priests that HE would not tolerate a priest entering the holy Temple of God after having, even, a single drop of alcohol. Priests were to have ZERO wine in their system when they ministered in the Temple. But today God does not use buildings of wood, stone and gold for HIS Temple! HIS temples are made of flesh and blood!
The New Testament says that each believer is a temple of the Most High God. [See 1st Corinthians 3:16] The Bible also says that all God's people are priests, not just some of HIS people. [See Revelations 1:6] Finally the New Testament states that HIS people are to "Pray without ceasing," in other words they are to minister to HIM continuously!
If God would not tolerate a single drop of alcohol within the body of a priest who was ministering in HIS Holy Temple, how much more would God not desire a single drop of alcohol within the body of a priest WHO IS A CONTINUOUS, LIVING, BREATHING TEMPLE OF THE MOST HIGH GOD?
"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." [Proverbs 20:1] In other words alcohol users are not the sharpest crayons in the box. They are short on wisdom, according to the Bible.
Alcohol is more a drug than it is a beverage. People drink alcohol for its effect. They say it relaxes them, it makes them feel better, it helps them unwind. They call it an "adult beverage." In other words it is in that list of "adult" things, like pornography, smoking, strong language, violent and brutal entertainment, etc, all things that an evil society calls mature! In reality these "adult" things are more like what we see coming from the lives of immature adolescents who haven't learned anything much about maturity. Such things are NOT "adult" at all!! Such things are unholy, impure, unrighteous, profane and reprehensible!
I will never forget the experiment Mr. Strauss, my Jewish Chemistry teacher, performed in High School class one day in 1963. He brought some Gin to school in a chemistry beaker. He cracked a raw egg and dropped the egg into the Gin. In one micro-second the cold Gin hard boiled that egg into a solid mass. Then Mr. Strauss said, "Did you see what happened to the white of the egg? It was instantly cooked solid. It is made of protein. Your nerves are made of protein. Thankfully your body shields your nerves a little from such a direct contact with alcohol, if you drink. But I'm sure you've noticed that long time drinkers have problems with coordination." Later I learned that every drink of alcohol kills a few brain cells. And brain cells don't reproduce. I want to keep all my brain cells working. I think I'll stick to TUMS® for my tummy.
On January 30th, 2006 CNN reported that researchers have discovered that drinking now joins smoking as a cancer risk! The researchers indicated that people need to understand that alcohol plays a much wider role in many cancer cases than had been understood in the past. They also reported that drinking alcohol may prevent heart trouble. But, I know that clean living, exercise and proper diet are far more helpful than alcohol for my heart. I refuse to touch a drop of alcohol, except in medication that my doctor may need to prescribe. Some medicines will not dissolve in water and must have an alcohol base. So also with vanilla extract. It must have an alcohol base to dissolve properly. Otherwise I think I need to be alcohol free! I refuse to indulge in alcohol as a beverage or as a "recreational" element of my life! Alcohol can't recreate anyway! It's a destroyer not a creator!
In the United States alone 105,000 Americans lose their lives annually because of beverage alcohol. 15,000 to 20,000 people die in alcohol related traffic accidents in this Nation each year. But many, many more die from injuries and infirmities that are caused by their use of this drug as a beverage. Our Nation has been shocked that over 4,000 of our soldiers have died in Iraq, but we don't care very much about the 15,000 a year that are ground up in traffic accidents and put into the cemeteries by beverage alcohol! Anything that murders that many people isn't holy and isn't something that a Christian needs in their life.
On November 1st, 2010 Neuropharmacologist David Nutt, MD, with Imperial College London, along with fellow researchers released a study scoring 20 misused drugs. On a scale of of zero to 100 beverage Alcohol scored way higher than the rest of the field at 72! The report concluded that beverage alcohol is the most harmful drug to society in general and the fourth most harmful drug to individuals. The next highest danger drug was Heroin at 55. Marijuana came in at 20 on the danger to society scale! Beverage alcohol has been linked to over 60 diseases! One scientist told a popular Internet health site that alcohol is a very "complicated" substance and does things to the human body that experts are not even fully aware of.
My Christian friend, will you be following the example of big name "Christians" who excuse moderate, social drinking???? Or, are you going to be following what God has declared to us in HIS Book concerning beverage alcohol??
In the light of all of these facts, I have a hard time figuring out why conservative Christians are compromising and moving out of the safe territory of abstinence. Maybe they have failed to stay familiar with God's Book, or the latest medical science or the deadly statistics of alcohol??
Edited November 1, 2010