Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”
The consumption of alcohol has been a leading controversy among both Christians and non-Christians. Over recent years, both groups have given greater embrace to drinking alcohol. It is one of the issues that seem to be constantly overlooked, because even some of the Church’s so-called “best Christians” even have a little alcohol stuffed away for what they may call “special occasions”. The purpose of this article is to deal with common misinterpretations about the character of Christ, expose the truth about alcohol, and offer several Bible principles that will help educate people about a substance the Devil is using to destroy the lives of people, both young and old, across this world.
It is important that we recognize the Lord Jesus Christ as the plum-line. He is our great example. As our pattern, let us consider the character of Christ. First of all, we notice that the scripture says the Lord is holy. The Lord commands us in 1 Peter 1:16 “…Be ye holy, for I am holy.” The word holy means, “set apart,” or, “different.” Looking further into the scriptures, we find the following traits about our Lord:
- One who knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21)
- One in whom no fault was found (Luke 23:4, John 18:38,and John 19:4)
- One that was of innocent blood (Matthew 27:24)
Throughout our modern culture of reason and especially a time when the Bible has come under such logical and rational scrutiny, our Lord’s character has come into question. Modern thinking has tried to create an excuse for drinking alcohol by using the phrase, “well Jesus drank wine”. Not only do I believe this is an inaccurate interpretation of the Word of God, but I also believe that it is a direct slam on the person of God. Now the argument of whether it was real wine that was used during the Passover will be discussed later in this article, but just looking at this statement in the form of understanding the character of Christ will reveal that Jesus would not approve of the consumption of alcohol on any level. The purpose and consumption of alcohol of today’s standard goes completely against the character and mind of a Holy God. Just take a moment and think about the mental association we have of wine, beer, and liquor of today in comparison of the Bible definition of the character of Christ. It does not take long to observe the average commercial promotes alcohol as something that correlates to partying, sexual fantasies, and immoral lifestyles. This portrayal does not align with the Lord and His character. The teachings of the Lord say that we should“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (2 Thessalonians 5:22). The typical liquor advertisement does not offer social drinking or moderation; it promotes the kind of events that would lead to drunken stupors. However, while making this comparison, the alcohol commercials fail to show the young people with a hangover, the car wrapped around the tree, the venereal disease that was passed along through a one drunken night of “hooking up,” or the young people in a jail cell from public intoxication and/or drinking and driving. I am definitely sure that this is not what the Lord had intended for people when he said in Jeremiah 29:11 that he had “thoughts of peace and not of evil…”
Then, we encounter the question, “Did not Jesus turn water into wine?” There are two answers to this question. Yes, the Lord turned water into wine, but, no, it was not fermented wine. Later, we will look at the scientific argument as to why this was not fermented wine, but, for now, we will consider this point from the perspective of Christ’s character. The thought of putting the Lord Jesus Christ in the same category as a late-night, off-the-wall bartender is absolute blasphemy! The Lord Jesus would never go against the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, and he definitely is no hypocrite. The Bible is clear in Habakkuk 2:15, “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also…” Jesus would have never done anything that would go against the teachings found in His word. Along the same line, woe unto the parents, the friends, the co-workers, the associates, the pastors, and the professing Christians that distribute, and embrace the idea that alcohol is okay. Remember, when our actions are in correlation to someone else’s sin, then that sin will be on our hands as well. From a brief observation of Christ and His character, it is obvious that if the Lord was on the earth today, He would not be found in a party, “kicking back a few cold ones,” nor would He be seen in a bar room with bottle lifted in one hand while grinding on some girl off the street. Furthermore, He would definitely not be sitting on a tailgate drinking, listening to wicked music, surrounded by drunkenness, while waiting to worship one of America’s largest idols. It just does not align to His Holy Character that we find in Scriptures. Therefore if we desire to be like Christ and possess the character of Christ then we must abstain from the consumption of all alcohol for entertainment purposes.
When dealing with fermented wine in the Bible, we will find that it is usually mentioned in relationship with “strong drink”. Strong drink was something that was considered extremely intoxicating, and it was made for that reason. For instance, grape juice does not become typical strong drink on its own. Large amounts of sugar and yeast must be added in order for fermentation to take place. In Biblical times, common, fermented wine was much diluted; its alcoholic content was extremely low. According to some studies, the fermented wine used during Bible days would actually be considered a non-alcoholic beverage when aligned to today’s standard. The fact that yeast and sugar must be added to grape juice in order for fermentation to take place brings me back to the argument over whether or not Jesus drank wine during the Passover. Considering that the Passover was a time of unleaven and that yeast is used in the leavening process, we realize that it was impossible for the Passover to be observed properly if fermented wine was used. According to Matthew14:25 and Luke 22:18 Jesus himself called it, “fruit of the vine,” meaning it was grape juice. The more we go into this study and learn the difference between wine and strong drink, the more we will discover the Bible calls the juice inside the grapes “wine.” Isaiah 65:8 “…as the new wine is found in the cluster.” Based on the wording of this verse we can also directly relate it to the New Testament where Jesus turned water into wine. The wine he used was called “good wine”, which is basically the same interpretation as what the Old Testament considers “new wine”. From this comparison, we conclude that the wine in which Jesus used throughout the New Testament would not have been considered fermented, but in all actuality it would be considered grape juice. This would have been a simple and tasty alternative for that water. The wine, or grape juice used in the New Testament by the Lord would be the same as us drinking sodas, tea, or Kool-Aid instead of water.
Now that we have addressed the character of Christ, and looked in the context of scriptures, we must now look at the Biblical principles that are found throughout the Bible on the issue of drinking.
- Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” From this verse, we understand that the wise person is the one that is abstinent from alcohol.
- Proverbs 23:29-31 “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.” There is not one person that was ever a social drinker that did not align to the effects mentioned in this text. The Bible actually goes on to say that we should not even look at it when it becomes fermented.
- Proverbs 31:4-5 “…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.” These Scriptures teach that alcohol affects good judgment. Those that cannot think correctly are not going to act correctly.
- Isaiah 5:22 “Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink.” One of the great “woes” of God is for people to partake in the consumption of alcohol.
- Isaiah 24:9 “They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it.” Well, that just busted the party and bar scene bubble. “Shall not drink…” sounds pretty clear to me.
- Isaiah 28:7 “But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.” Here, we are taught that partakers of alcohol will have bad judgment. It is dangerous and must be avoided.
- Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and such like: of the 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.” This verse offers a very convicting statement. Those that partake in those things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Just think if Jesus was to come back in your drunken slumber. That would not be a great way to fall in the hands of a Holy God.
I do not believe the Bible could be any clearer on the issue. Some would argue that the Bible condemns drunkenness but not moderate drinking or social drinking. We must come to an honest assessment of social drinking. There may be someone out there, but I will go out on a limb and say there has been very few, if any, that have drank socially and not at one point and time become drunken. Based on some medical research, I found that the body becomes ineffective after just one drink. It truly is a drug that should be avoided at all cost.
Have you ever just stopped to think about the fact that nothing good has ever come out of the consumption of alcohol? I believe that those who have partaken in alcohol would not have to look far to find that it caused them to do actions that they sorrowfully regretted. Statistics have concluded that alcohol is our nation’s number one drug. I believe it is America’s number one poison. It is destroying a country, and it is definitely turning the hearts and minds of today’s generation away from the Lord. Alcohol is the leading cause of abuse in the home; it is one of the major contributors to divorce. Many of today’s alcoholics come from an environment in which the parents were social drinkers. It is highly likely and almost a certainty that parents who drink will produce children that drink even more. We cannot embrace sin and expect a good outcome. Do you think the drunk on the bar stool that continues to embrace alcoholism as a way life and that spends almost his entire income on his addiction imagined in his childhood that he would be a drunk for the rest of his life? If not, then where did it begin? It began with one drink, and it created an addiction that could not be broken.
America is creating a cesspool for alcoholism across this land. In almost every state, colleges are no longer known for their education but for their parties. The wickedness and immorality that is taken place among the majority of our young people is at an all-time high and it stems from the pushing and promotion of alcoholism. Colleges were created to be places of higher learning; they have become places of higher levels of immorality. The fall season is when the immorality of alcoholism hits its highest levels. People drive from all over the country, spend thousands of dollars, and drink themselves into oblivion, weekends at a time, all to cheer louder for their football team. Recently, while watching a sports channel, I heard that tailgating has become America’s largest social activity. The large amounts of alcohol that is consumed during this time would probably float a large boat. In the name of “having a good time” America has become drunk on their own idol worship! Our modern televisions programs and the majority of commercials that air them prove the drunkenness of the United States. The average sitcom today has at least one scene or the entire scene is oriented around a bar room or feature parents drinking alcohol. Beer commercials have become the leading sponsors to the majority of sports programs. We have become infested and consumed in drinking ourselves to death, all in the name of a “good time”.
How sad that many feel as though they cannot have a fun unless they are drinking. Many think a social gathering cannot be successful without alcohol. For others, it is the only way to have peace and fulfillment. However, the drink is only a temporary fix for a more eternal problem. The reason so many today have to binge themselves into temporary happiness is because it helps them forget their own sin and conviction. It has become America’s way of “getting away”, or “calming down,” and, at the same time, it has turned Americans into belligerent drunks. I can testify from experience that the fix I got when I got saved is a high that I have not been able to lose. I no longer need something else in order to have a good time. Jesus says in 1 John 1:4 “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” The key to full joy is not a bottle or a bar; it is a relationship with Jesus Christ. The cure is not a twelve step program; it is a one step program. Take a step toward Jesus through repentance and faith and allow him to give you a permanent peace that passes all understanding. Christians, we must turn back to the scriptures and realize that we are not to embrace the philosophies of the world, but live the principles of God’s Word. We need a revival of holiness and a revival of the Bible. We must not buy into the Satan’s lie. Ephesians 5:18 says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Rather than allowing our body, mind, and spirit to be overtaken by the drug of alcohol, we must be overcome with the Holy Spirit. May the Lord help us to realize the truth!
by Dan Boatman
Original article can be found at http://abundantlifebaptistchurch.net/the-bible-and-alcohol