Alcohol use: Biblical or not?
Certain denominations teach that the use of alcohol, (among other things) is sin and shouldn't be done, but is this biblical? Does God command us to NOT drink alcohol? Let's examine God's word for details on drinking of alcohol.
Prov 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, NKJV
1 Cor 5:11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. NKJV
God tells us that to be drunkard is sin. The word for "drunk" clearly conveys someone who is habitually drinking to the point of mental and physical incapacity, but do these scriptures teach that we should completely abstain from drinking alcohol?
Judg 9:13 But the vine said to them, 'Should I cease my new wine, Which cheers both God and men, And go to sway over trees?' NKJV
Here, scriptures tell us that wine actually cheers God Himself. Is this just an allegory or does God actually drink alcohol?
One of God's Holy Days is the Feast of Tabernacles. During this 8 day festival, God clearly commands celebration, which can include wine and other similar alcoholic beverages...
Deut 14:26 And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household. NKJV
The word "wine" comes from OT:3196, meaning "effervesce; wine (as fermented); by implication, intoxication:" KJV - banqueting, wine. This word does NOT mean "grape juice" as some contend, but is alcoholic in nature. If God commands us to celebrate as our hearts desire, and this can include wine and strong drink, can it possibly be sin?
Prov 31:6 Give strong drink to him who is perishing,
And wine to those who are bitter of heart. 7 Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his misery no more. NKJV
Lev 10:8 The LORD then spoke to Aaron, saying, 9 " Do not drink wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you come into the tent of meeting, so that you will not die — it is a perpetual statute throughout your generations.
Aaron and his sons, Levites who were to serve God in the tabernacle, were NOT to drink wine or strong drink WHEN THEY DID THIS SERVICE. It doesn't say they couldn't at other times.
What of Christ's example?
John 2:10 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine." 4 Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come." 5 His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it." 6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water." And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, "Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast." And they took it. 9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk , then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!" NKJV
Christ's first recorded miracle was the changing of water into wine for the wedding celebration. No stretch of the imagination can turn this event into Christ changing water into grape juice, especially for a wedding.
If drinking wine is a sin, then Christ sinned...
Luke 7:33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine , and you say, 'He has a demon.' 34 The Son of Man has come eating (bread) and drinking (wine), and you say, 'Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' NKJV
Christ did not sin yet He clearly not only made made wine, an alcoholic beverage, for the wedding celebration, but He also drank it.
Wine was always used as part of the Passover Celebration, and Christ used wine as a symbol of His blood...
Matt 26:27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom." NKJV
Passover is kept in the Spring of the year. Grape juice was only a product made in fall after grapes are harvested, or it is made into a syrup type product. Grape juice could NOT be kept over to spring without it either turning bad or being made into wine. This drink cold not have been "grape juice."
This clearly suggests that Christ not only drank wine previously Himself, but will again after His return.
Conclusion: Drinking alcoholic beverages is NOT sin. God created the means to produce such beverages, but He also desires us to use character and moderation in our choices, as in all areas of life. Habitually drinking to get drunk affects a person's thinking and is NOT using wise judgment.
On the flip side, drinking for the pleasure of it, and for the "buzz" it provides is not sin or wrong. This is one of the pleasures God provides mankind. Like sex, when it is used lawfully and correctly, drinking is NOT sin.
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