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Alcohol and Christians

This year, an estimated 100,000 Americans will die as a result of alcohol. This number is nearly twice the number of U.S. soldiers killed in the entire Vietnam War. Alcohol is involved in 50% of all violent crimes as well as 50% of all fatal accidents. Three out of ten U.S. citizens will be involved in an alcohol-related auto accident in their lifetimes.
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Alcohol and Christians

Article#: 726

A visitor to www.GodSaidManSaid asked, "What about alcoholic beverages and Christians?" A polluted message is coming out of most pulpits concerning this subject. Many Christians are thoroughly confused and some like it that way. Some confessing Christians frequent local watering holes and stock their refrigerators with alcoholic beverages—and many of them have been bound by its power. Lives are being ruined and testimonies destroyed—and it's being done in Jesus' name.

Have you been bound by the power of alcohol or drugs? The Power of Jesus Christ can break that bondage. This deliverance begins at a place Jesus calls "Born Again." This is the place of real, tangible miracles—a place of real, tangible power. Are you ready to be set free? Are you ready for the power to live a Christian life? Click onto "Further With Jesus" for childlike instructions and immediate entry into the Kingdom of God. NOW FOR TODAY’S SUBJECT.

GOD SAID, Proverbs 23:29-35:

29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?

30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.

31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.

32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.

34 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.

35 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.

GOD SAID, Habakkuk 2:15:

Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!

GOD SAID, Proverbs 20:1:

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

MAN SAID: A little moderation: a little bit of wine, a little bit of beer, a little bit of whiskey, marijuana, cocaine. Hey, Jesus made wine, didn't He?

Now THE RECORD. In etymology, which is the study of words, a guideline exists known as the rule of first occurrence. The rule basically states that a word's definition is established during the word's first use. The word "drunken" is first found in Genesis 9:21. This is the first account of the existence of alcoholic beverages and of someone suffering the effects of alcohol, and it happened to none other than Noah. Scientists note that Noah was blindsided. He was an expert husbandman, making wine for hundreds of years, but this time, immediately after the worldwide flood, things were not the same. Further on in this feature I will explain. Nevertheless, Noah became drunk and passed out in his tent. His son Ham, in the presence of his brothers, showed disrespect to his father concerning this matter. When Noah awoke, being aware of what Ham did, he cursed Ham's son Canaan. This young man went on to populate the land of Canaan, which today is the land of Israel. These people, as well as the Ishmaelites and other Arabian people, presently reside in the Middle East, and are participating in the region's terrible turmoil. They will find themselves complicit in bringing about the great and horrendous battle of Armageddon. Imagine, the linage of the first occurrence of alcoholic beverages will be participating in the battle of Armageddon.

The devastating effects of alcohol are, in fact, like an Armageddon on the world's population. This feature was first published in the year 2002. The statistics cited are from the United States and are relatively accurate data. The effects of alcohol in many other nations, I'm sure, are as bad—or even worse—than those of the U.S. The current population of the United States is estimated at 307,673,950. Consider these facts: 13 million adult Americans are alcoholics and another 76 million are adversely affected by its results. This year, an estimated 100,000 Americans will die as a result of alcohol. This number is nearly twice the number of U.S. soldiers killed in the entire Vietnam War. Alcohol is involved in 50% of all violent crimes as well as 50% of all fatal accidents. Three out of ten U.S. citizens will be involved in an alcohol-related auto accident in their lifetimes. Imagine: it is estimated that the U.S. forks out 167 billion dollars a year as a result of the damages of alcohol. One out of four of America's children resides in an alcohol-abusive home and suffers psychosomatic illnesses. Today it is estimated that 11 million U.S. children and adolescents are drinking alcoholic beverages. Consider the broken hearts of deserted mothers, fathers and children: consider the broken homes, the adultery, rape, fornication, and other woes that are caused by consuming alcoholic beverages.

Another terrible devastation caused by alcohol is the attacking of the unborn in the mother's womb. It is called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. It can be caused by a mother drinking as little as one alcoholic beverage during pregnancy. It is the number-one cause of birth defects and renders its children with IQs 13 to 16 points lower than their non-affected counterparts. Many cases of mental retardation are the result of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Drinking kills neurons, causes cancer, destroys livers, damages the ability to discern between right and wrong, and so on.  This problem is considerably worse in much of the world's populations. Surely it is an Armageddon of its own.

With this phenomenal weight of witnesses testifying against the consumption of alcohol, why does so much Biblical confusion appear to exist? Let's take a look.

The Word of God speaks about wine and strong drink. (Wine is the main focus of this article.) I wrote earlier that Noah was the first man in recorded history to become drunken and that scientists say that this righteous man was blindsided, and here's the reason why: The natural fermentation process that causes the juice of the grape, for instance, to ferment, is a result of atmospheric changes that took place during the days of Noah. Prior to the great Noahitic flood, a water canopy encompassed the earth.  This water canopy was destroyed by God and cast down to the earth. It has since been replaced with an ozone layer. According to scientists, the banished water canopy would have filtered out the ultraviolet killer rays from the sun. For one thing, UV rays cause bacteria (a natural yeast) to form on the grapes in the field as well as on all other fruits, which in turn causes the juice to ferment. Prior to Noah, these UV rays were blocked by God's water canopy. Consequently, Noah would have been unaware of the dangers of fermentation.

The process of fermentation takes place when the yeast, which is a product of UV rays, acts on the sugar in the fruit, converting it first into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas, and then, unless its protected from the air, into vinegar. In 1790, the Cistercian monks discovered that by adding sugar they could markedly increase the alcohol content of the wine. In addition, most of today's wine makers add a yeast starter to the naturally occurring yeast in the juice to spike alcohol content yet higher.

In Proverbs 23:31, it reads:

Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.

In other words, don't drink the wine after it has fermented. Also, the wine God commanded us not to drink had a very low alcoholic content because of the low levels of sugar in the grapes of the Middle East in comparison to today's alcoholic beverages. According to the history book Archaeology and Bible History, actual wine and beer in ancient Palestine contained not more than five to eight percent alcohol due to the limitation of natural sugar in the grape's juice and the malt which was used.

Some of the confusion concerning the drinking of alcoholic beverages is that many erroneously think that the word "wine" in the Bible strictly refers to the fermented juice of the grape. A simple search of the scriptures, however, reveals that unfermented grape juice is called wine as well as the fermented juice. This is shown in the following Scripture passages:

Isaiah 65:8:

Thus saith the Lord, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all.

Micah 6:15:

Thou shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap; thou shalt tread the olives, but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil; and sweet wine, but shalt not drink wine.

Proverbs 3:10:

So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

Hosea 9:2:

The floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her.

Joel 2:24:

And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

Please note that it is called wine as it comes forth from the wine press.

It should be no surprise that a particular word has more than one meaning. For instance, milk could refer to mother's milk, cow's milk, the sweet milk of human kindness, and so forth.

In the Old Testament, there are two Hebrew words which are both translated into English as the word wine. The first word, tirosh, occurs 38 times and it means, "must, fresh or new wine." The word must is defined as, "the expressed unfermented juice of the grape." Again from the text book Archaeology and Bible History, the following excerpt deals with the two Hebrew words translated as wine. It begins by explaining the word tirosh:

Examination of the use of this word shows that is does not refer to a fermented drink. Eleven times it speaks of wine as a first fruit fresh from the harvest, usually in the phrase, "corn, wine, and oil," and obviously refers to grape juice. Seventeen times it is used with grain and oil, as natural products of the field, again clearly implying grape juice. In three places tirosh is said to be filling the presses, obviously referring to freshly pressed juice (Joel 2:24, Hosea 9:2, and Prov. 3:10). Isaiah 65:8 pictures tirosh as being still in the cluster of grapes, and Micah 6:15 is the clearest of all, mentioning tirosh as the material from which fermented wine is formed. Only in one place is there any association between tirosh and wickedness (Hosea 4:11), "Whoredom and wine (yayin) and new wine (tirosh) take away the heart." Even here in this particular context there is no mention of actual drunkenness and no suggestion that tirosh in itself is intoxicating.

It is clear, then, that tirosh is regularly used in the sense of "grape juice," a beverage with no appreciable content of alcohol.

Concerning the second Hebrew word, yayin, it goes on to say:

Yayin is the most common word for wine in the Old Testament, occurring one hundred thirty-five times, and clearly means fermented wine. At least thirty times yayin is definitely associated with drunkenness, and its use is more or less condemned; it was prohibited to the Nazarites (Num. 6:3); Daniel refused the king's yayin (Dan. 1:8). About half the passages mentioning yayin in the Old Testament are clearly denunciatory. In some places, it is mentioned merely as a natural product without praise or blame, just as polygamy is referred to at times without specified condemnation being given at that reference. An examination of passages supposed to support the use of yayin shows that they really do not give such support: the use of yayin in making the drink offering does not support partaking of wine, for this offering was not drunk; [End of quote]

(Please note: this drink offering was never consumed, but was poured out before the Lord, just as all things detrimental to human health were commanded by God to not be consumed; i.e. the fat, the blood, the dung, the caul above the liver.)

As in the Old Testament, the word wine in the New Testament can mean unfermented or fermented wine. When Ephesians 5:18, says, "And be not drunk with wine," it refers to fermented wine. Wine, then, can be fermented or unfermented.

Now concerning the marriage supper in Cana where Jesus turned water into wine, there is one very obvious reason that certifies that Jesus, in fact, did not create fermented wine and that reason is that the Lord Jesus Christ was sinless. Had He created fermented wine and contributed to the drunkenness of others, He would have been guilty of disobeying the many commandments forbidding it.

Do you suppose Jesus would have created wine that, if consumed by a pregnant woman attending the marriage supper, could have harmed her unborn child with fetal alcohol syndrome? Do you suppose that our Lord Jesus would have given the people fermented wine causing men to lust after their neighbors' wives, fist-fight in the parking lot, and wreck their chariots on the way home?

Would it be so hard to fathom that the miracle wine Jesus produced would be the finest wine that man has ever tasted and that the Creator of the universe (Hebrews 1:2) could accomplish this feat without the contamination of alcohol? Wouldn't you suppose that Christ's miracle wine would be free of fermenting bacteria caused by harmful UV rays from the sun? The answers are "of course" and "of course."

In regard to the heavenly miracle wine, Jesus comments in Matthew 26:29, just before His crucifixion:

But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

Note, "...when I drink it new..." not only inferring freshly-pressed wine but wine before the contamination caused by man's sin—before the UV rays that cause fermentation.

A verse commonly cited to support alcoholic beverages is I Timothy 5:23:

Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.

First, the passage does not suggest that this wine is fermented or not. It should be noted that unfermented wine (grape juice) is sometimes prescribed by doctors for stomach disorders. Proponents of alcoholic consumption felt vindicated when a 1999 University of Wisconsin Medical School study ascribed great health benefits to fermented wine—at least that's how much of the media reported it. The research revealed that in wine are found tannins and flavinoids that diminish cholesterol and may fight blood-clotting. What most media failed to report is that unfermented wine (grape juice) has the very same health benefits.

As with other juices, all wine that is not pasteurized will be in a process of fermentation. If, for instance, you purchase a gallon of unpasteurized apple cider without preservatives and leave it on the kitchen counter, the process of fermentation—the sugar of the apple juice being converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide gas—would begin. You can drink it as it progresses and the very low levels of alcohol will have no serious effect until it reaches critical alcohol mass. So then the mention in Proverbs, "...long at the wine;...," comes into play. While the alcohol content is at a very low level, in order for it to have a negative effect, one would have to spend a long time drinking it, but when the fermentation process is complete, one water-glass full can knock you on your backside and the terrible predictions of Proverbs 23 will come to pass. So much then for the moderate drinking of fully-fermented alcoholic beverages.

Those who promote the concept of moderation, citing verses such as I Timothy 3:8, which reads:

Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

need to read a few verses above that, in verse two which reads:

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

This word, sober, is discussed in the following paragraph in Archaeology and Bible History:

The New Testament attitude toward intoxicating drink is shown by the injunction for Christians to be nephalios, translated "sober." This word is used only three times in the New Testament (I Tim. 3:2,11, and Titus 2:2), but it is used regularly in the classical authors meaning "free from all wine." This word shows strongly that the New Testament ideal is total abstinence.  [End of quote]

The dictionary defines sober as: "not given or addicted to the use of intoxicating beverages; abstinent; free from the influence of intoxicating beverages."

Finally, from Archaeology and Bible History:

In summary, we are left with the Biblical condemnation of alcoholic drink, and a definite denunciation of drunkenness as sin. Nowhere is moderate drinking given approval. The existence of light fermented wine does not mean that God sanctioned its use for beverage purposes. Furthermore, a different situation exists today with the use of modern strong alcoholic beverages. Solomon's observation of long ago is just as applicable today, if not more so: "Look not thou upon the wine when it is red . . . at the last it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder" (Prov. 23:31,32). [End of quote]

The Christians' motto should simply be, "We drink no wine that's past the line," and of course that includes all fermented or distilled alcoholic beverages.

GOD SAID, Proverbs 23:29-35:

29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?

30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.

31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.

32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.

34 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.

35 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.

GOD SAID, Habakkuk 2:15:

Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!

GOD SAID, Proverbs 20:1:

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

MAN SAID: A little moderation: a little bit of wine, a little bit of beer, a little bit of whiskey, marijuana, cocaine. Hey, Jesus made wine, didn't He?

Now you have THE RECORD.




References:

Authorized King James Version

Book, Grapes Into Wine

Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, October 09, 1998

Free, J.P., Archaeology and Bible History

Funk & Wagnalls Standard Comprehensive International Dictionary

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

OB-GYN News, November 11, 1998, p12

Small, M.F., "What You Can Learn From Drunk Monkeys," Discover, July 2002

Stern, L., MD, "Your Child's Health," Woman's Day, July 11, 2000

Webster, N., American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828

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