Over the months that we have been ministering here in Lake Havasu Jerry and I have come into close contact with a great number of people who struggle with alcohol and other drug addictions. Of a certainty these experiences have caused me to think closely about alcohol and its addictive properties. Consequently, more than at any other time in my life I have looked intensely at the social consequences of these addictions, and in significant depth I have studied the biblical teaching surrounding this issue.
The wisdom found in the holy Word of God is unimpeachable and irreproachable, and we are not at liberty to disobey God’s laws–certainly not because of human reasoning and traditions. If then, I will approach this venerated book with a searching mind and a righteous attitude I should be able to understand God’s Voice in this regard and inculcate His teachings into my own thinking. The next step for me would be to share my understanding with those around me who also are questing and needy. Obviously, the scope of this site does not encourage a thorough study on the subject, but I do want to speak to a few points.
** The bible teaches against drinking alcoholic beverages.
“Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.” Proverbs 23:31
Yayin is a Hebrew word for wine, and could refer to either fermented or unfermented wine. Obviously, in this case, the word refers to fermented wine–“It moveth itself”–and we are commanded not to look at it lustfully. This is referring to alcoholic wine.
** Jesus did not create intoxicating wine.
But, some object, did not Jesus create wine at the wedding party? Yes, He turned the water into wine, but surely the wine he created was of the non-intoxicating variety. Jesus knew of this scripture in Proverbs–indeed He was responsible for its being written, for II Peter 1:21 says:
“…holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Jesus was well aware of this scripture, and given His holy and righteous nature, He could not act in a way that was contrary to these words. Read what Dr. Henry Morris has to say on this subject.
“In view of the long trip from Bethabara to Cana, it is probable that Jesus and the disciples arrived late to the wedding only to find that the guests had exhausted the wine supply and had “well drunk” (literally had “become drunken”–John 2:10). ‘Have well drunk’ is one word in the Greek (methuo) meaning simply “are drunk” and is translated with this meaning in every other instance where it is used (Matthew 24:49).
…These six waterpots (normally used for washing feet) when full would contain about 150 gallons. [Jesus ordered them filled with water, and turned the water into wine.] This much additional intoxicating wine would certainly be too much for guests who were already drunk, and it is inconceivable that Jesus would provide such. This “good wine” had been miraculously created by the Creator and was brand new, with no time to ferment and become old, intoxicating wine. The Greek word oinos was used for the juice of grapes in general, the same word for both unfermented and fermented wine, with the context determining which. The decay process, utilizing leaven (always in Scripture representing corruption) to convert good fresh wine into old, intoxicating wine, could not have acted in this case because Christ Himself had created the wine in its originally intended form before sin and decay entered the world. In this form, it was certainly the best wine, having all the health-giving, joy-inspiring character it was created to exhibit in the beginning. It was probably the same wine which Christ will provide in “that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29), and it will certainly not induce drunkenness.” (Dr. Henry M. Morris, The Defenders Bible – notes)
The ancient sage, Chrysostom, born in A.D. 344, says,
“Now, indeed, making plain that it is He who changes into wine the water in the vines and the rain drawn up by the roots. He produced instantly at the wedding feast that which is formed in the plant during a long course of time.” Bible commentary, p. 305
** Israel did not drink strong drink during their 40 years of wandering
“Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the LORD your God.” Deuteronomy 29:6
** Jesus knew of Habakkuk 2:15
“Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and maketh him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!”
** Priests were forbidden to drink wine or other strong drink. Jesus is our high 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.” Leviticus 10:9
“Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God…” Hebrews 2:17
** Even society acknowledges alcoholic as being harmful.
For the first time alcoholic beverages have been listed as a known human carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in its “Report on Carcinogens” 9th edition.
The majority of crimes are associated with alcohol. According to CADE, Alcohol is a factor in 85 % of college rapes. Alcohol damages the brain, and rapes the body.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) describes the range of abnormalities in children born to mothers who consumed alcohol during pregnancy and is a lifelong disability involving considerable personal and social costs. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the most well known of the range of disease and is also the most severe. FASD is characterized by prenatal and/or postnatal growth deficiency, facial anomalies, and neurological dysfunction or mental retardation (Diagnostic Guide for FAS and Related Conditions, 9). Children with full blown FAS are the extreme end of a larger spectrum of effects that lessens in magnitude as the alcohol intake of the mother decreases (Braun, 1996). Children whose mothers drank moderately (1 to 3 drinks per day) are prone to numerous learning disorders like slower reaction times, poor attention capabilities, and lower intelligence (Braun, 1996). FASD has surpassed Down’s syndrome and Spina Bifida as the leading cause of mental retardation in the United States and is the only one of the three that is preventable.
** The media is known to be less than accurate in reporting, and may present alcohol in an undeserved favorable light.
June Russell writes extensively of that issue here. Reports of Wine’s Benefits Go Unchallenged by Media
A few days ago, Jerry and I entered the home of newly-found friends. The man lay sprawled on the couch, his drawn and suffering wife hovered over him and over us. On the table beside the couch were used-up beer bottles and a partially emptied whiskey bottle.
“I’m sick, Pastor. I’m really sick,” the man said, looking at us with red, glazed eyes.
We talked, cried, cajoled, prayed and finally got him into our car and, with his wife, drove four hours to another state where was a rehab center that had a bed for him and that would admit our handsome, young friend.
In a sad stupor, he rode in the front seat with Jerry, rousing from time to time to engage in drunken and slurred speech. At the facility, we finally got him from the car and into the admitting place. Now, though, he had changed his mind, and refused to be admitted. We spent a couple of hours, trying, along with his wife and with the staff to convince him to stay. He became more and more adamant and enraged. His wife was crying, pleading, and at one point screaming at him. He had been drunk for days.
Finally, we loaded him back in the car, retraced our tracks and drove the four hours to Lake Havasu, and into the driveway of their house. It was now past midnight.
“Sorry, Pastor. Thank you…sorry. Maybe I’ll go later.” He staggered into the house.
Edit: Monday evening–Our friend has admitted himself to a rehab center. Please pray for him and for his wife. These are very trying days for both of them.
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