“Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court.” Ezekiel 44:21
There have been many arguments amongst the Body of Christ as to whether or not it is considered by God to be sinful to drink alcohol. The argument is that Jesus apparently turned water to wine and drank wine Himself with the Apostles at the Last Supper specifically and that the Apostle Paul told Timothy that he should take a little wine for his stomach, since apparently Timothy was having issues. Now, some would argue that the wine which Jesus drank was actually the best of all of the water since wine is a term used to describe such, but the interesting part of this argument is the from the Paul perspective, since Paul clearly writes, “keep thyself pure,” and then immediately follows, “drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and for thine often infirmities.” (1 Tim 5:23&24) The Bible would seem not to take one stance or the other on the issue. Delving further into the reasoning, however, it becomes more apparent that the Bible actually does.
Just to get through this, Timothy was using the wine for medicinal purposes. Notice Paul does not write, drink up, brother, and dull the pain from the suffering of your ailments. Paul writes that Timothy should “take a little.” Modern studies are showing that one glass of red wine is good for us physically. It prevents some cancers, helps with blood flow, and aids in digestion. However, beyond one glass has no further effect, and in fact, too much is harmful to the liver in the long term, and the complete physical body in the short, but we’ll get to that in scripture. So, a little seems to be acceptable for those who can use the benefits of it. I stand on this, by the Word of God, as given by the anointed writings of the Spirit filled Apostle Paul. I do not however believe this covers all alcohol drinking. My stance applies only to one glass of red wine per day, no more.
The Bible has many examples of what God has to say about people who drink to the point of being drunk. Nothing good has ever come of it. Lot was taken by his own daughters because he was drunk. (Genesis 19:30-38) Elah, son of Baasha, ruled Israel for but for two years and was slain by Zimri while drunk. (1 Kings 16:8-11) Time and again, the scriptures tell of God’s view of drunkenness and the shame that comes with it. (Deut 21:18-21; Isa 28:1; Hab 2:15&16; Luke 21:34-36; Rom 13:13&14; Eph 5:17-20) It is not just shame that comes with it, but exclusion from the very Promise of eternity spent in Heaven! (Prov 23:20&21; Matt 24:48-51; 1 Cor 6:9&10; Gal 5:21) It is more than abundantly clear that the Lord does not think kindly on any of us being drunk. But, what about a drink? Is that okay?
Well, first off, we must acknowledge that according to the Word, we are the temples of the Living God. (1 Cor 3:16&17; 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16) The Lord says we should not defile this temple which we are. (1 Cor 3:17) There is Old Testament scripture about using any part of the temple for drinking of wine in an inappropriate manner.
“And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is , and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified… In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.” Dan 5:22&23, 30
Belshazzar had absolutely no respect for the things of the Lord, these specific things being the instruments of the holy temple in Jerusalem that were taken by his father, Nebuchadnezzar. God would not abide by this and even as he and his house drank wine in the vessels used in the temple, the hand of God wrote on the wall, and when Daniel read it to him, it said, “God has numbered thy kingdom and finished it. Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” (Dan 5:26-28) Then, he was slain. God took drinking wine in the temple as defiling it, and the man responsible was slain. If drinking wine in the temple is defilement, and we are the temples, then does it not follow that He does not desire us to drink? Be that as it may, and I believe that is correct, the question (if one dare to question the Lord) would be why does He not desire us to drink? Well, scripture tells us that, too.
“…that you may know that I am the Lord your God,” (Deut 29:6) is one good reason. If we have any alcohol in us at all, we dull our senses ever so slightly. One beer is the equivalent of .02 on the scale, and that means our reflexes are slower, our inhibitions are a little less, our mouths a little more open and free flowing, and in short, we are more tuned toward the flesh and less tuned to the spirit. Why is this important? Because we want to be able to hear from God in all things. In each and every decision we make, we are to bring it to the Lord, and ask for His guidance. How are we to know what it is the Lord desires from us, if we are less capable of hearing from Him? Every beer adds to the previous, so after only four beers, we have brought ourselves to the legal limit of .08. This is the legal limit for driving a vehicle because we are simply incapable of properly doing so without endangering ourselves or others. Four beers is all that takes and we have slurred speech, a stumbled walk, and slow reflexes, and seriously hampered mental skills. If this is four beers, why would even drink one, or one shot of vodka, or one cocktail?
“Be sober,” the Apostle Paul writes, “putting on the breastplate of faith and love.” (1 Thess 5:8) To be sober allows us to think clearly, and when we think clearly, we are capable of thinking of others. We are unable to think outside of ourselves most of the time while we are sober. Yet, put a drink or two in us, and our selfishness becomes more overwhelmingly complete. We begin to look upon others in lust. We start to focus on what we are doing, what we are drinking, and how much fun we are having. The alcohol starts to shut down our higher consciousness, and we revert to our lower consciousness which is further from God, for his thoughts are higher than our thoughts, even when ours are at their peak of sobriety.
“Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;” Acts 2:13-16 There was speaking of tongues, and everyone who experienced it was in awe of God’s mighty power, but to those who hadn’t, there must have been some worldly explanation. Praise the Lord that neither Peter, nor any of the disciples, drank, because in his sobriety, he denounced all that was said against the work of God that day. We, too, must be ready, in season and out of season, to defend what we believe. If we are always standing in Truth, sober minded, then when we speak the Truth, the Holy Spirit will use us fully, and work through us to convict those to whom we preach. The world will always try to find something wrong with our character, since the Truth cannot be refuted. Therefore, we should not give them any opportunity to see us as one of them. Further, God Himself has separated us out, and He does not desire us to do anything that would cause us to move away from Him. Anything that would be distracting is to be avoided, and this includes alcohol. Now, a lot of medicine as alcoholic components, and Paul did tell Timothy to take a little for his ailments. There is freedom in Christ, and no condemnation, but the freedom is to not sin, whereas before Him, we really had no choice. This being the case, when I am sick, I intentionally seek out the formulas with no alcoholic content. Finally, I prefer to stay completely sober at all times that I might hear His Voice when He calls. The choice, as in all things, is ultimately each of ours to make. I won’t judge, but I wouldn’t do it. I pray you wouldn’t either.