Some years ago I listened to a radio broadcast – the topic of discussion was on the intake of alcoholic drinks, if it was a sin or not. Different callers gave their opinion on what they feel. One of the callers quoted the scripture below
Deuteronomy 14:25-26; Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household. (KJV)
The caller was actually saying, taking alcoholic drinks is supported by God. The host, added that taking of alcoholic drinks is not a sin, he was encouraged to start his own ministry – what a deception! Who knows how many listeners have been swayed by this wrong teaching?
We need to understand the scriptures from the spiritual point of view before making any interpretation. The words of God are spiritual and hence, needs God to help us understand it. The things of God are spiritual and should not be taken literally or interpreted from a physical stand point, the bible should not be read by sight but by spiritual understanding because all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2Timothy 3:16). You need to ask God for the understanding of his word before using it. God needs to make his written word come alive so we can read with spiritual understanding. Though some of the words in the bible can mean what they literally are.
Proverbs 20:1; Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. (KJV)
Proverbs 23:29-35; Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
Isaiah 5:22; Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: (KJV)
Proverbs 31:4-7; 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. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. (KJV)
It is not a hard thing to say that the kind of wine been mentioned contains alcoholic content. We also see strong drink which is beer – fermented drink.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT ALCOHOLIC DRINKS
We have to review the reasons for:
- Deuteronomy 14:25-26
- John 2:1-11 – Jesus turning water into wine
- 1Timothy 5:23 – Paul’s advice to Timothy to use wine for his stomach
- The Rechabites – Jeremiah 35:6-19
1. Deuteronomy 14:25-26;
Deuteronomy 14:25-26, Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household. (KJV)
Of course, God told the children of Israel to exchange their tithe for whatsoever their soul lusteth after. It is a fact that God is holy and also we should know that the Ark of Covenant was a physical structure made with hands – it was created through God given design. This Ark resides in the most holy place in the temple (Hebrews 9:1-7). All these were an allegory of what God wants to do in the future. The Ark denotes Jesus, and the Temple denotes us.
When the children of Israel wanted to approach God on mount Sinai, God told Moses that they need to appear clean (physical) before him, regardless of them being cleansed (in spirit), a boundary was set – to put a difference between a Holy God and the unholy children of Israel. Whoever crosses this boundary will see God’s wrath (Exodus 19:10-13). From among the children of Israel, the Levites were separated to minister to holy things. For them to minister unto holy things – the things of God, they must be holy unto God.
Numbers 18:23; But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.
Leviticus 10:8-11; 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; And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses. (KJV)
The other children of Israel don’t minister to the things of God as do the Levites, they are to receive teachings from the Levites. This is the reason why if anyone other than the Levites who minister to God’s service touches the Ark, God’s wrath will come upon them – they will be put to death.
2Samuel 6:6-7; And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it (also in 1Chronicles 13:9-10).
God allowed the other children of Israel to continue in what they do because of the hardness of their heart.
Matthew 19:8; He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. (KJV)
Though the above talks about wives, it also applies to other scenerios.
2. JOHN 2:1-11 – JESUS TURNING WATER INTO WINE
This is one of the most frequently used passage of the bible when people talk on this subject, about alcoholic drinks and its intake. Today we are aware of the impact of Jesus Christ to the world. He demonstrated his love towards us, He won’t want harm to come to us in any form.
John 2:1-11; And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him. (KJV)
This event happened in Cana of Galilee, if we read the verse 11 from the NIV translation, we’ll see what this event depicts, John 2:11; This, the first of His miraculous signs…(NIV)
This miracle was a sign, it not to be taken literally – this is where most people got it wrong!
Let’s examine what this stands for:
- The first miracle he performed was in a marriage – this speaks of the marriage of the lamb in heaven, also his provision of wine in the marriage puts him in position of the Host, He is the host of all the believers. Revelation 19:7-8; Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
- Jesus turned water into wine, Moses turned water into blood (their first miracles). The later (Grace) symbolizes good things to come, a better covenant and the former (Law) symbolized death. Hence, the law makes nothing perfect, the law brought death! (Romans 4:15, Hebrews 7:19, 2Corinthians 3:7)
- Wine stands for love towards the neighbor and the good of faith – Isaiah 55:1. Cessation of mutual love and of the good of faith is also described by a winepress and wine – Jeremiah 48:32-33, Revelation 6:6. The good Samaritan pouring oil and wine on the wound of the traveler who was beaten signifies that he performed the works of charity, Genesis 35:14, Luke 10:33-34.
In verse 10 of John 2, there was no misconduct of the guests at the marriage, instead a recommendation. The ruler of the feast called the wine a good wine! What is good, is good and cannot be bad/evil.
3. 1TIMOTHY 5:23 – PAUL’S ADVICE TO TIMOTHY
The next point where people make reference to alcoholic drink intake as being acceptable by God was Paul’s advice to Timothy.
1Timothy 5:23; Do not drink water only, but take a little wine to help your digestion, since you are ill so often (GNB).
Often times people who are finding it difficult to digest food due to one reason or the other are told to take fruit or vegetables. It’s not normal to prescribe an alcoholic drink to someone who is ill or finding it difficult to digest food! Is it? Off course, NO! The wine Paul was talking about here was grape juice – they call it wine! In those times grape was in abundance and has tremendous health benefits.
Timothy was a minister (Pastor) at Ephesus, how will he Pastor the church when he always take alcoholic drinks? What kind of example is he becoming to the church?
We need to be wise and careful as not to pervert God’s word. We need to rightly divide the word and pray to God for the spirit to understand his word. Paul was encouraging Timothy to be strong, despite his illness, he should stand strong in faith and take little wine (grape fruit) to aid his digestion.
4. THE RECHABITES JEREMIAH 35:6-19
Jeremiah 35:6 – 19; 6. But they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever: 7. Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any: but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; that ye may live many days in the land where ye be strangers. 8. Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters; 9. Nor to build houses for us to dwell in: neither have we vineyard, nor field, nor seed: 10. But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us. 11. But it came to pass, when Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans, and for fear of the army of the Syrians: so we dwell at Jerusalem. 12. Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, 13. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? saith the LORD. 14. The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father’s commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me. 15. I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me. 16. Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto me: 17. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered. 18. 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: 19. 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. (KJV)
THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULDN’T TAKE ALCOHOLIC DRINKS
As a believer, God bought us with a price – the blood of His son. He gave us grace and the shadows of the law became a reality. In the LAW, the Ark of God was in a temple made with hands. Now Jesus is that Ark and we are the temple not made with hands built for God’s dwelling.
1Corinthians 3:16; Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (KJV)
1Corinthians 6:19-20; 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? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s (KJV).
Ephesians 2:19-22; Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit (KJV).
2Corinthians 6:16; And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people (KJV).
People who are to be given to the work of God needs not take alcoholic drinks, there are cases where God warns about alcoholic drinks for those he chose for special course such as The Levites, Samson, John the Baptist and so on.
Leviticus 10:9; 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: (KJV)
Judges 13:4-5; 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: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines (KJV).
JOHN THE BAPTIST
Luke 1:15; 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 (KJV).
The reason for this is: God has called us out from darkness into light, if so, we need to show this difference in our lifestyle. If when we were not believers we take alcoholic drinks, now that we have believed shouldn’t we stop it? What fellowship has the deeds of light with the deeds of darkness?
Leveticus 10:10; And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; (KJV)
2Corinthians 6:17; Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you (KJV).
In times like this, false prophets will arise to pervert the word of God changing God’s truth to suit them, we should be as careful and be as wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. We should try every spirit before we believe them. Shun taking alcoholic drinks for we are the temple of God – God’s dwelling place, we needs not defile it!
God bless you!!!