By Jimmy Swaggart | October, 2011
QUESTION: What Should be the Christian’s Position in Respect to Alcohol?
ANSWER: We find here that intoxication tends toward sensuality, inasmuch as Noah ‘uncovered himself.’ “And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent” (Gen. 9:21 KJV). This is speaking of Noah.
The situation with Noah is the first mention of wine in the Bible, or any type of intoxicating beverage for that matter.
Some have claimed that the fermentation process didn’t exist before the flood and that, consequently, Noah was not familiar with the possible product of the grape; however, there is no proof of such a thing and, in fact, the Hebrew language indicates that the Patriarch was familiar with what could be done with the grape as it regards fermentation. As well, Moses does not say this was the first occasion on which the Patriarch tasted fermented liquor (Moses wrote Genesis).
Since the sin of Noah, and it was sin, cannot be ascribed to ignorance, we can only ascribe it to the weakness of the human being.
Also, we find here that intoxication tends toward sensuality, inasmuch as Noah “uncovered himself.” Ellicott says, “It was no accident, but a willful breach of modesty.”
Inasmuch as the first mention of intoxicating beverage in the Bible revealed such a shameful episode, we cannot help but garner from this illustration as given by the Holy Spirit through Moses concerning Noah, the lesson that is being taught here.
• What should our stand be as a Christian, as it regards alcohol?
• Is moderate drinking permissible?
• Is alcoholism a disease or a sin?
Due to the seriousness of this matter, I think it would be proper for us to give it a little more thorough treatment.
Back in the 1980’s, the News Media seemed inordinately preoccupied with nuclear energy protestors, as if it was their civic duty to convince the American public that nuclear power was extremely dangerous. In view of this constant media barrage against this particular industry, which incidentally caused the stoppage of all construction of nuclear power plants, we are now experiencing a severe power shortage.
In view of this, I would like to focus on another subject of even more consequence — and I’d like to use the Media’s rhetoric regarding nuclear power plants, as they then claimed such to be:
• What if 40-50 people were killed every day by malfunctioning nuclear power plants?
• What if such malfunction seriously injured 1,500 more every day?
• What if the presence and influence of nuclear plants caused 8-20 people per day to commit suicide?
• What if the secondary effects of nuclear power caused 200 broken homes each day?
• What if it caused 250 people each day to suffer permanent brain damage — besides the injuries already described?
• What if it caused some 3,000 parents to abuse their children, or to assault loved ones each day?
• What if it caused 50 billion dollars a year in direct damages, and an inestimable amount in indirect damages every year?
Awesome and disturbing statistics? Well, if you will “double” every figure I have just cited, you will have a fragmented picture of the effects of alcohol on American society today. In view of the fact that after decades of use, there hasn’t been a single case of a person in the public sector being injured by nuclear power plants, one would have to question why the Media remains silent on alcohol’s effects, while carrying on a scathing campaign against other things.
I can’t answer that, but we can probe the reason behind the Media’s silence on the alcohol question. But first, remember this.
Alcohol is responsible for:1)facts dated to 2011 Stats
• 50 percent of all automobile fatalities.
• 80 percent of all home violence.
• 30 percent of all suicides.
• 60 percent of all child abuse.
- An estimated 88,0002)Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Alcohol and Public Health: Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI). Average for United States 2006–2010 Alcohol-Attributable Deaths Due to Excessive Alcohol Use. Available at: https://nccd.cdc.gov/DPH_ARDI/Default/Report.aspx?T=AAM&P=f6d7eda7-036e-4553-9968-9b17ffad620e&R=d7a9b303-48e9-4440-bf47-070a4827e1fd&M=8E1C5233-5640-4EE8-9247-1ECA7DA325B9&F=&D=. Accessed 1/18/17. people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.3)Mokdad, A.H.; Marks, J.S.; Stroup, D.F.; and Gerberding, J.L. Actual causes of death in the United States 2000. [Published erratum in: JAMA 293(3):293–294, 298] JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association291(10):1238–1245, 2004. PMID: 15010446
- In 2014, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 9,967 deaths (31 percent of overall driving fatalities).4)National Center for Statistics and Analysis. 2014 Crash Data Key Findings (Traffic Safety Facts Crash Stats. Report No. DOT HS 812 219). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2015. Available at: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812219. Accessed 9/19/16.
- In 2010, alcohol misuse cost the United States $249.0 billion.5)Sacks, J.J.; Gonzales, K.R.; Bouchery, E.E.; et al. 2010 national and state costs of excessive alcohol consumption. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 49(5):e73–e79, 2015. PMID: 26477807
- Three-quarters of the total cost of alcohol misuse is related to binge drinking.6)Sacks, J.J.; Gonzales, K.R.; Bouchery, E.E.; et al. 2010 national and state costs of excessive alcohol consumption. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 49(5):e73–e79, 2015. PMID: 26477807
- In 2012, 3.3 million deaths, or 5.9 percent of all global deaths (7.6 percent for men and 4.0 percent for women), were attributable to alcohol consumption.7)World Health Organization (WHO). Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health. p. XIV. 2014 ed. Available at: http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/publications/global_alcohol_report/msb_gsr_2014_1.pdf?ua=1(link is external). Accessed 1/18/17.
- In 2014, the World Health Organization reported that alcohol contributed to more than 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions, most notably DSM–IV alcohol dependence (see sidebar), liver cirrhosis, cancers, and injuries.8)World Health Organization (WHO). Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health. p. XIII. 2014 ed. Available at: http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/publications/global_alcohol_report/msb_gsr_2014_1.pdf?ua=1(link is external). Accessed 1/18/17 In 2012, 5.1 percent of the burden of disease and injury worldwide (139 million disability-adjusted life-years) was attributable to alcohol consumption.9)World Health Organization (WHO). Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health. p. XIV. 2014 ed. Available at: http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/publications/global_alcohol_report/msb_gsr_2014_1.pdf?ua=1(link is external). Accessed 1/18/17.
- Globally, alcohol misuse is the fifth leading risk factor for premature death and disability; among people between the ages of 15 and 49, it is the first.10)Lim, S.S.; Vos, T.; Flaxman, A.D.; et al. A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet 380(9859):2224–2260, 2012. PMID: 23245609 In the age group 20–39 years, approximately 25 percent of the total deaths are alcohol attributable.11)World Health Organization (WHO). Alcohol. 2015. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs349/en/#(link is external). Accessed 9/19/16.
WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF ALCOHOLISM?
According to statistics, there are about 20 million alcoholics in this nation, a figure which is equivalent to two out of every five heavy drinkers. Actually, I find it hard to see the difference between the alcoholic and the heavy drinker.
Think about it:
For every ten automobiles on the road, one is driven by a drunk. It’s no wonder that 40,000 people a year are killed because of alcoholics behind the wheel. In addition, over one million are injured — some never to function normally again.
Incidentally, it is a scientific fact that if it takes ten beers to make a person drunk, one beer makes them one tenth drunk. That means, according to the amount of alcohol consumed, whether little or much, that a person is not in full control of his faculties.
That’s the reason for the accidents. ACCIDENTS?
SICKNESS OR SIN?
I picked up an article some time back written by a Minister. Unfortunately, his name wasn’t credited, so I have no way of acknowledging him for his statement.
What he said was excellent, however, and I want to share it with you.
He asked the question, “What is wrong with the drunkard?”
And then went on to say this:
“Years ago, while holding a city-wide Meeting in Salinas, California, I was attracted through an article in the daily paper, to a Convention to be held in a Northern California town.
Psychiatrists from all over America were coming out to the coast for this Convention.
“The object of the Convention was the thing that attracted me. They announced as their project . . . the discovery of what causes alcoholism, and then to suggest a cure.
Here is the sum of the findings of this body.
No, the problem isn’t a sickness, and it’s not in the genes. It’s not heredity, and it’s certainly not God.
No such ugly insinuations were made.
“The final session was the clincher.
Headlines in the San Francisco paper stated:
‘Psychiatrists decide,’ then, in smaller print, ‘alcoholism is caused by an unknown quantity that we shall choose to call “X” . . . until this unknown quantity can be isolated and defined, we have no suggested cure.’”
The Minister went on to state, “I would hate to be an alcoholic depending on psychiatrists to help me!”
I can only say “Amen” to that.
I am not a psychiatrist, but I know what makes men and women alcoholics. I’m certain it is not, as one alcoholic figured it: he railed against God for having done this to him. He shook his fist at his genes, at his heredity, at his father. He felt he had been programmed before birth to be a victim of alcohol.
No, the problem isn’t a sickness, and it’s not in the genes. It’s not heredity, and it’s certainly not God. The problem is “sin” — which results in an even more frightening word — bondage.
TODAY THE BIG EXCUSE FOR ALMOST EVERYTHING IS “SICKNESS”
Today, everyone is sick: the alcoholic, the thief, the child molester, the rapist, and the murderer. As one august Supreme Court Justice said some time ago, “Everybody ought to be turned out of prison, because the prisoners are not really guilty; it’s all of society that’s responsible.” This statement might be humorous if it weren’t so “stupid.”
You see, the Bible says that men are liars, thieves, drunkards, immoral — and all the other things mankind is inevitably prey to — simply because they are sinners.
They have turned their backs on God. Man is a product of the Fall. His Salvation lies not in treatment of a “sickness,” but in treatment of his sin — and Jesus took care of this at Calvary. Until men accept this treatment, they will not be cured. And, in fact, treatment is not really the correct word that should be used, but rather “deliverance.”
Our Lord said concerning this: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me . . . to preach Deliverance to the captives” (Luke 4:18 KJV).
When Jesus died on Calvary’s Cross, He addressed every sin, every bondage, every perversion, and every aberration that may attach itself to mankind, and did so by the giving of Himself as a Perfect Sacrifice, which was accepted by God. When the believing sinner places his Faith in Christ and what Christ did for us at the Cross, the Holy Spirit will then help such a person, Who, to be sure, has the Power, and because He is God. In fact, this is the only cure, the Deliverance afforded by Christ.
THE GREAT PROBLEM
But the problem is people want to escape the bondage of alcohol, without accepting Christ. I’m sorry, but there is no other answer to the ills of man. It is Jesus Christ and what He did for us at the Cross, and that is the only answer.
At least one of the reasons that the world of psychology labels alcoholism as a disease is the effort to escape responsibility. One of Satan’s favorite ploys is to make someone else responsible!
But what does the Bible say?
It says, “All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.” Of course, man doesn’t want to hear that. He doesn’t want to admit he’s a sinner and that he’s lost.
Most of all, he doesn’t want to admit that unless he comes to God he will remain eternally lost. So we give it a new name. We call it a disease or a sickness. Well, listen to this.
If it’s a disease, it is the only disease . . .
• That is contracted by an act of the will.
• That requires a license for distribution.
• That is bottled and sold.
• That requires outlets for its sale.
• That produces revenue for the Government.
• That promotes crime.
• That is habit-forming.
• That is spread by advertising. (Can’t you see this in the supermarket’s ad? “Get Coors, it’s the best disease we have in the store.”)
• For which we are fined and imprisoned when we exhibit its symptoms.
• Which brings death on the highway.
• Without a bacterial or viral cause, and for which there is no corrective medicine.
• Last but not least, alcoholism bars the patient from Heaven.
For the Bible clearly states in 1 Corinthians 6:10 KJV that no drunkard shall inherit the Kingdom of God (and I hasten to point out that while no drunkard will inherit the Kingdom of God, the Power of God can set the drunkard free and make him a fit subject for the portals of Glory — just as it can for anyone else).
No, alcoholism is not a disease.
So this crutch that is being used by the medical profession, the Psychiatrist, the Psychologist, and many others is merely that — a crutch. It serves to shift blame (and thus, remove the responsibility) from the one who is actually to blame, and that is the individual himself.
WHO PROMOTES ALCOHOL?
Constant attention is drawn to the terrible use of such mind-destroying drugs as heroin, marijuana, and cocaine, etc., and this should be done, but very little is being said about the most sinister drug of all — alcohol — the drug that is destroying our nation. It causes untold pain and suffering, and there is scarcely a word said against it. The newspapers are silent, newsmen seem unaware of the problem, and the pulpits (sad to say) are almost silent. As one realizes the tremendous amount of physical, financial, moral, and spiritual damage wrought by alcohol, one can’t help but ask, “Why?”
Of course, the answer is obvious.
Whereas cocaine, heroin, and other drugs are considered to be outside the limits of “decent society,” alcohol has been socially accepted.
Why is this so?
• Because it kills a little more slowly than the other type of drugs.
• Because there are vast amounts of money to be made from alcohol and the same people who control the distribution of alcohol control the dissemination of the information that influences people to use alcohol.
TELEVISION AND MOVIES PROMOTE ALCOHOL
It is a sad fact that the image of alcohol is tremendously manipulated on Television. In one recent survey it was found that alcohol related violence was twenty-five times higher in real life than on Television dramas. In other words, the sinister aspects of alcohol are greatly downplayed on TV programming. Again, I ask why? Well, one should keep in mind that the TV Networks receive millions of dollars in revenues from beer and wine accounts.
A short time ago one of our Telecasts was censored because we mentioned the name of a specific brewery on one of the programs. Should this shock us? Not if we consider beer and wine accounts that keep TV Stations operating in the black. No one who loves money will bite the hand that feeds him.
Dr. Thomas Radecki of the National Coalition on Television Violence recently stated, “With the new research in the past two years, it is increasingly clear that TV advertising and program use of alcohol is playing a major role in the increasing abuse of alcohol.”
Radecki noted that the average child will see alcohol consumed 75,000 times on TV before he reaches the legal drinking age! When he must make his personal decision in regard to drinking, what will the subliminal influences tell him? That the “in people,” those who are bright, sophisticated, and successful on Television are almost inevitably seen holding a drink in their hands. In other words, as far as Hollywood and network television people are concerned, if you are bright and smart, you too will have a drink in your hand.
He also observed that on network programming the typical viewer sees 5,000 incidents of alcohol intake per year. Ninety-nine percent of these cases of drinking will be portrayed as favourable or at least neutral!
THE REAL WORLD
Another question must be asked. Is this what life is like in the real world? The facts show us that fifty percent of real-life balance is associated with alcohol consumption!
On Television, only one percent of televised violence is associated with drinking. Dr. Radecki believes that TV’s benign portrayal of alcohol consumption is one of the major reasons why alcohol abuse and violence are the two most rapidly increasing causes of death in the United States.
A total of seventy-six percent of those shown drinking any kind of beverage on television will be shown drinking alcohol.
TV characters spend twice as much time drinking alcohol as tea or coffee. They consume fourteen times more liquor and beer than soft drinks, and they drink fifteen times more alcohol than water, or at least it is promoted as such, whatever is in the glass. Television viewers will see an average of three incidents of alcohol consumption for each hour they watch during prime time.
Those watching daytime TV will see six instances of drinking per hour. (Obviously soap opera characters have a higher percentage of alcoholism than the evening characters have.)
Contrary to what one might expect (if TV is supposed to reflect the real world), it isn’t the villains who do the most drinking. The heaviest TV drinkers are well-known stars appearing in regular series where they serve as role models for our children and young people. TV characters seldom refuse a drink — nor do they express disapproval of someone else’s drinking. In situation comedies, excessive drinking is often used as a “good natured” way to get more laughs.
It is now understandable why over three quarters of all high school seniors use liquor regularly — with one-half getting drunk at least once a month. It’s also easy to understand why the White House Drug Abuse Office states that pressure to drink begins as early as the fourth grade. It might be a fine thing if someone led a crusade to get wine and beer commercials taken from the air as cigarette ads were.
THE MAIN PROMOTERS OF BEER AND WINE
It certainly isn’t hard to imagine the producers of a product as the main promoters of that product. They’re in the business of selling the poison they produce; however, it’s the manner in which they promote it that’s despicable.
Let’s take a look at this.
We’re told that beer in Australia is vitamin-enriched.
Researchers at the University of Queensland report that chronic vitamin deficiencies in alcoholics could be offset if brewers were to add vitamin B-1 to their products.
They assert that “A lot of heavy drinkers stand to benefit.” They also said, “The average person in the northern Territory consume 60 gallons of beer yearly!”
This will, of course, be yet another advertising plus for the breweries. They will suddenly be able to trumpet the nutritional benefits of drinking — trying to divert the consumer’s attention from the bondage that comes along with the intake of a little vitamin B.
A California winery has introduced Red Life, a light wine aimed at these soda drinkers who want something “a little stronger.” The main idea of course, is to get young people — even children — interested in drinking at an early age so they will then graduate to something stronger.
You must remember, the breweries help to manufacture customers — and they have to start with the children to do this.
I’ll give you another example.
In the Oklahoma City Times, containing the report of a speech William Coors (then Chairman of the Adolph Coors Company) made to a Convention of security analysts meeting in Denver — he described the advertising of his own company as well as other breweries as “outrageous” for its lack of ethics.
He referred especially to the fact that his company pays 250 college students throughout the United States to promote its beer through campus “Wet T-Shirt Contests,” “Get Drunk,” and “Chug-a-lug” parties. He said the other breweries did this so his company followed suit as something “strictly defensive.”
Coors said, “We do this — not because we think it is right — but because other brewers do it. They will steal our lunch — if we don’t do it.” He added, “I personally think it’s outrageous, and everyone in the company thinks it’s outrageous. One way or the other, the country is going to stop this because our industry doesn’t have the ethics to stop themselves.”
In legal parlance, testimony against self-interest is the most damaging type possible in a court of law. Coors certainly testified against his own self-interest when he confessed the lack of ethics among the brewery owners and managers. And by the way, his company sold nearly 15 million barrels of beer in the first nine months of last year — 15 percent increase over the same period for the previous year.
At the same time Coors was confessing his sins, he also lashed out at do-gooders who were trying to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21 — questioning the motives of such crusades. He then went on to claim that only five percent of alcohol users are abusers.
However, what he neglected to add is that the other 95 percent of non-abusers are on the way to becoming abusers — in other words, drunks. They will eventually get there if they drink long enough. Simply stated, the 5 percent who are now abusers were not guilty of drunkenness when they started drinking!
Yes, the boys who make the alcohol are their own best promoters, and they do so in the most hypocritical, and perverse manner imaginable.
Legislators in the state of Wisconsin some time back argued recently whether milk or beer should be the state drink. Wisconsin is known for both its dairies and breweries (“The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous”) so the competition was intense. One State Representative declared his choice was alcohol, because, in his words, “Beer tempers the emotions of our hard-working adults.” This Representative should be reminded that beer murders scores of Wisconsin motorists every year. Alcohol also compels some of those so-called “hard-working adults” to beat their wives and deprive their children.
To my knowledge, milk has never been cited as a cause of broken homes or bruised bodies. Since marijuana is the number one cash crop in several sections of the United States, maybe it’s only a matter of time before some political opportunists will nominate pot as the official drug for the state.
One cannot help but say and think that the Legislators of Wisconsin ought to have better sense.
One doctor stated the other day that the reason stiffer laws are not enacted for drunk driving (or stiffer sentences not imposed) is because too many of the Legislators and Judges are drunks themselves.
This could well be true.
Sadly, it is true, from the American pulpits, there is seldom heard a discouraging word — on the subject of alcohol.
As I write this, I am reminded of a religious periodical that stated (from a teletype news report) that one of the world’s noted Evangelists said there was nothing wrong with an occasional drink. Talking to reporters, this particular Evangelist said he didn’t believe the Bible taught teetotalism.
“After all (this Preacher went on to say) Jesus drank wine,” and he pointed to the Biblical account in which Jesus is said to have turned water into wine at a wedding feast. And as the Evangelist put it, “that wasn’t grape juice, as some try to claim.” I wonder if this statement was made to please and excuse the cocktail-drinking friends of the Preacher.
(We will discuss momentarily the water that Jesus turned to wine.)
Not so long ago, one major Missionary Evangelist told me personally that in a great religious conclave (with thousands of Preachers present) he asked all the Preachers (who were Pentecostal incidentally) in the congregation to stand if they did — or would — take a public stand against any and all use of alcohol. He was startled at the number who would not stand!
I had a Preacher tell me just today that our institutions are the way they are because our Churches are the way they are — and our Churches are the way they are because our families are the way they are. I wonder if our families are the way they are because the pulpits are silent.
I want to make a statement: any Preacher of the Gospel who won’t take a public stand against any and all use of alcohol — and be vocal in that stand — is doing his people, his God, and his country a disservice. The position that many Preachers take, that they never mention alcohol because “their people already know it’s wrong,” is a cop out.
Many take this position because they don’t want to offend the “sipping Saints” in the congregation.
The Preacher of the Gospel has always been the one to whip the nation into line. The Preacher of the Gospel is supposed to address the moral issues. It may not be popular at times but it is our business. And if we fail to do it — there’s no one else to do it. You could be dead-level sure that the Media aren’t going to do it, and you can also be sure that the politicians aren’t going to do it.
(Although, in the last couple of years, a few politicians have stood up and taken a stand on this matter — perhaps a reaction to the dead, dry sermonizing they hear from the pulpits.)
Preachers — no matter what it costs you — stand up before your congregation and make your position known.
Warn the young people of the terrible ravages of alcohol.
Make no bones about it, pull no punches, and quibble not. And if you don’t have strong feelings about seeing death and carnage all around you as a result of America’s worst drug — there’s something wrong with you!
By Jimmy Swaggart | November, 2011
We must remember, every alcoholic in this nation or anywhere in the world, didn’t start out as an alcoholic.
So What Should be the Christian’s Position in Respect to Alcohol?
Any true Christian in today’s society, desiring to set a good example for the Cause of Christ will be a teatotaler.
It’s just that simple.
All types of arguments are offered to defend social drinking. Some say that it’s the culture of some places, such as beer in Germany and wine in France. But Believers must understand, when we come to Christ, we leave the culture of this world, whatever it is, and come into the culture of the Lord, which is Bible Culture.
We must remember, every alcoholic in this nation or anywhere in the world, didn’t start out as an alcoholic.
It started out as a lark, but it began with their first drink.
Where it is true that some people do not become bound by alcohol and can stop with what is referred to as moderation; however, millions can’t. And as a Believer, we certainly should desire to set a good example before the world, and setting an example that can lead to alcoholism, is certainly not a Biblical example. Considering the damage that alcohol does, to which we have enumerated, it would seem to me that Believers should desire to shun alcohol in any fashion, whether it be social drinking or whatever.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ON THIS SUBJECT?
I was in a Midwestern city in a Meeting many years ago, and a tragedy had struck locally that riveted the attention of the whole area.
Services had ended for the night. After almost everyone had left, I walked back to the Pastor’s office. I saw him sitting behind his desk, his head in his hands. I asked him what was wrong. He looked at me and asked me if I had heard about the tragedy that had taken place that very day. I had, and then he gave me this background.
The young lady who was murdered was raised in his Church. She had once been Saved and followed Jesus, but had turned her back on God. She and her boyfriend had been to a party and both had been drinking heavily.
They left this particular party and then went to a bar — and then left it and were on their way to another bar.
The boy made advances toward her, which she repelled.
He grew incensed and started beating her with his fist.
He had a large ring on his finger, and in his anger and drunken delirium he beat her to death. She was beaten so badly that they were unable to open her casket for the service.
Some hours later, after he had sobered up, he wandered into a police station and gave himself up.
He really didn’t know why he did it.
He said, “I was drunk.”
Incidents like this are repeated many thousands of times every year. I can’t comprehend how any Christian could see the misery and the heartache that alcohol has caused and not be a teetotaler.
Of course, the contention we are told is always this:
It’s the abuse of alcohol that is wrong. If you drink moderately, they say, it then becomes a question of “social relaxation.”
However, who with any sense would question that those who are now abusers (over 20 million in this country) started out as social drinkers, but wound up as falling-down drunks? No, that argument is too thin to skim. Let’s go a little further with it.
As previously stated, I personally do not know how many beers it takes to make a person drunk (or shots of whisky or glasses of wine for that matter), and I suppose it’s a different intake for different people. But if it takes ten beers to make a person drunk, then it is a scientific fact that one beer makes the person one-tenth drunk. The vision is impaired by that much, with the motor responses also impaired. The reaction time is also slowed. And this is not merely the conclusion of a Preacher — this is a scientific fact after exhaustive investigation.
Even one drink will affect reflexes and will take two hours to leave the body.
That’s why it’s dangerous to drive after only one drink!
Once again, and because it is so important, let us say it again: it is a scientific fact that after just one drink, your judgement is impaired and your reflexes are slowed.
After only one drink, a person is “a little drunk.”
No, alcohol has broken up more homes, murdered more human beings, made paupers of more people, starved more children, started more wars, wrecked more careers, broken more marriages, caused more crimes, sent more souls to Hell, and wrecked more lives than any single factor on the face of the Earth.
In view of this, I must ask the question again.How can any Christian justify even one drink?
Alcohol is the most rotten, debilitating, damnable, despicable devil that ever fastened itself upon the human race.
WHAT IS THE ETERNAL FUTURE FOR THE USER OF ALCOHOL?
The Bible is crystal clear on the eternal Judgement of the drunkard. Galatians 5:19 begins a list of the works of the flesh, and Verse 21 lists drunkenness among them. Then the conclusion of Verse 21 states, “They which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.” So the eternal destiny of those who engage in drunkenness is eternal Hell.
The Bible is very clear in regard to this. Of course, the answer always comes back, “But Brother Swaggart, I’m not a drunkard, I only take a social drink now and then, and I can’t see where the Bible condemns it.” Let’s look at it this way.
As we have mentioned, when a person takes just one drink, he is partially drunk. So the question we must ask ourselves is this, “Where will it lead in regard to the road we’re traveling?” It’s not so much the single drink as it is the path that one drink leads to — the example it sets.
Woe unto him who gives his neighbour drink, who puts the bottle to him, and makes him drunken also, that you may look on their nakedness!
When a Christian takes one drink, he’s voting in favor of all the broken homes, twisted lives, and broken dreams caused by alcohol. He’s declaring himself in favor of all the hell and horror that alcoholism has caused over the centuries. When you take one drink, you’re saying you’re in favor of all the world stands for, all the flesh stands for, and all the Devil stands for.
No sir, no Christian who wants to serve his Lord as he should will countenance even one drink. But the Bible has more to say about it than even that.
“Woe unto him who gives his neighbour drink, who puts the bottle to him, and makes him drunken also, that you may look on their nakedness! You are filled with shame for glory: drink you also, and let the foreskin be uncovered, the cup of the LORD’s Right Hand shall be turned unto you, and shameful spewing shall be on your glory. For the violence of Lebanon shall cover you, and the spoil of beasts, which made them afraid, because of men’s blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all who dwell therein” (Hab 2:15-17 KJV).
ONE TRAGIC EXAMPLE
A lot of people have looked with great sorrow, and rightly so, on the terrible tragedies that have befallen the Kennedy family. Despite untold riches, fame, power, and popularity, this family has suffered a jarring succession of tragedies.
Joe Jr. was killed in an air-plane crash in WWII and one daughter was born with serious mental problems.
No, sir, alcoholism is not a sickness — it is a sin that results in bondage.
Everyone knows the horror of the terrible assassinations of Jack Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy. Then there was the tragedy of the Chappaquiddick incident with Ted Kennedy — and then the untimely death of David Kennedy from a drug overdose. And then of late, the death of John Jr. in a plane crash with his wife and others. Admittedly, all of these tragedies would not fall under the category of being alcohol induced. But I feel there were too many of them to just be chance. Let’s look at the Kennedy background.
When prohibition ended, Franklin Delano Roosevelt told Joseph Kennedy, Sr. that the legislation of prohibition would be repealed. Once again, it would be legal to make and sell alcoholic beverages in the United States. Joseph Kennedy, Sr. bought up the great Haig & Haig Scotch Whisky Industries in England. The hour of prohibition ended — and it became legal to make and sell alcohol in the United States — Joseph Kennedy had a ready supply of alcohol stored in warehouses in many cities in the United States. He had received permission to store it under the guise of medicinal purposes. So, for a considerable period of time, a good portion of the whisky sold in the United States came from Joseph Kennedy.
That was one of the ways in which multiplied millions of dollars were amassed, which later helped to finance the political aspirations of Jack Kennedy, and his election to the Presidency of the United States.
In short, one might say that whisky money at least helped buy the presidency for Jack Kennedy. What produced this money?
Multiplied millions of homes inflamed with violence, heartache, dissipation, pain, and death. Multiplied millions were started on the road to ruin. And God said plainly, “Woe unto him who gives his neighbour drink, who puts the bottle to him.” He also said in the first part of Verse 17 that “Violence . . . shall cover you” (Hab 2:17 KJV).
That identifies perfectly what has happened to one of America’s most famous and powerful families. However, this applies not only to people like the Kennedy’s who amass great fortunes, but also the bartenders serving it, the grocery store owners selling it, the liquor store distributing it, and the brewery manufacturing it.
It also holds for the restaurants that sell it. All are cursed by God. This could be one of the reasons America is the violence capital of the world. It could be the reason that violent crimes are increasing at an unprecedented rate.
Abraham Lincoln delivered the following words in Springfield, Illinois, on February 22, 1842: “Whether or not the world would be vastly benefited by total and final banishment of all intoxicating drinks, seems to me not now an open question. Three fourths of mankind confess the affirmity with their tongues, and, I believe, all the rest acknowledge it in their hearts . . . turn now to the temperance revolution. In it we shall find a stronger bondage broken; a viler slavery manumitted; a greater tyrant deposed. In it, more of want supplied, more disease healed, more sorrow assuaged. By it, no orphan starving, no widows weeping. By it, none wounded in feelings, none injured in interest.
“If the relative grandeur of revolutions shall be estimated by the great amount of human misery they alleviate, and the small amount they inflict, then indeed will this be the grandest the world shall ever have seen. “And when the victory shall be complete — when there shall be neither a slave nor a drunkard on the Earth — how proud the title of that land, which may truly claim to be the birthplace and the cradle of both those revolutions, that shall have ended in that victory. How nobly distinguished that people, who shall have planted, and nurtured to maturity, both the political and moral freedom of their species.”
A DOCTOR SPEAKS OUT
A doctor wrote this to a newspaper some time ago: “Recently we saw another preview of Hell in the Parkland Hospital Emergency Room. A woman was struck down by a drunken driver, a college student lying semi-conscious following a head-on collision with another drunken driver, who was himself critically injured. The drunk’s companion was dead. Four other drunks, with lacerations and stab wounds, waiting to be treated.
“Night after night, year after year, the same bloody trail of horror — major auto accidents, stabbings, rapes, and wife beatings. Nightly emergencies, treated and released, are admitted to the hospital or pronounced dead on arrival. And almost always the bloody trail is led to that honoured man of distinction — the weekend drinker.
Almost always this is the moderate drinker, not the alcoholic. I wonder if there is that much joy to be gained, from the total consumption of all the beers and whiskies made, to equal even a small fraction of the innocent suffering, the damaged bodies, the broken marriages, the discarded children, the total brutalities, and crimes that accompany its use.
“What a quiet place our Emergency Room would be if beverage alcohol were ever abolished from our city.” No, sir, alcoholism is not a sickness — it is a sin that results in bondage.
Now the pure, sweet juice of the grape could rightly be denoted as ‘intrinsically good’; but the rotted, fermented, decayed, spoiled, intoxicating kind of wine could hardly be called good.
No, sir, the moderate drinker is not socially acceptable — for every alcoholic starts out drinking moderately.
No, sir, no Christian who wants to serve his Lord can even remotely accept the consumption of even one drink.
WAS THE WATER THAT JESUS TURNED INTO WINE IN JOHN, CHAPTER TWO, THE KIND OF WINE THAT WILL MAKE ONE DRUNK?
No, and I will explain why: If the wine is understood to be intoxicating wine, our Lord is automatically placed in a position of providing who had already “well drunk” (John 2:10 KJV) with more wine.
If it was intoxicating wine, the Lord would have been breaking His Own Law against temperance. The total amount of water turned into wine that day was about 150 gallons. If this had been an intoxicating beverage, it would have served as an invitation to drink and would have placed our Lord in the unsavoury position of providing a flood of intoxicants for the people who had already consumed a considerable amount.
No, Jesus’ First Miracle was not the making of wine that would make one drunk.
The word “good” was used to describe what the Lord had miraculously brought about. It was the Greek word “kalos” and is defined in “Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words” as denoting what is intrinsically good. Now the pure, sweet juice of the grape could rightly be denoted as “intrinsically good”; but the rotted, fermented, decayed, spoiled, intoxicating kind of wine could hardly be called good. It is easy to think of the term “good” in describing whatever the Lord makes.
For example, in describing the Creation, Moses said, “And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Gen 1:31 KJV). It is unthinkable that our Lord would have made corrupted, fermented wine at Cana and called it “good.” You see, fermentation is a kind of decomposition, just as are putrefaction and decay. It would be almost blasphemous to call that “good” in connection with our Lord.
Pliny (an ancient Greek scholar) said that “good wine” was a term used to denote the juice destitute of spirit.
Albert Barnes says, “The wine referred to here was doubtless such as was commonly drunk in Palestine.” That was the pure juice of the grape; it was not brandied or rugged wine. Nor was it wine compounded of various substances, such as people drink in this land. The common wine of that day, which was drunk in Palestine, was the simple juice of the grape, i.e., “grape juice.”
As well, it is tantamount to blasphemy, in my opinion, to suppose that the First Miracle performed after being filled with the Holy Spirit (compare Mark 1:9-12 KJV; Luke 4:1 KJV) with an act of creating an intoxicating wine for a crowd of celebrants, the kind of wine that would make them drunk, it is unthinkable!
Still another fact from the record in John, Chapter 2 is this: those men who had already drunk a considerable amount praised the bridegroom for having kept the “good wine” until the last. Now, it is a simple fact that alcohol drunk to any excess, will deaden the taste buds of the drinker.
If the wine in Cana of Galilee, that the guests had already been partaking of was intoxicating wine (and they had already partaken of quite a bit at this point), then when the wine that Jesus miraculously made was given to them, they could not have detected its taste. Their taste buds would have been deadened.
To be honest with you, they would have been drunk by this time, or almost so. Only if they had been drinking the form of the vine’s fruit that we know as grape juice, and then had been provided some fresh grape juice would the Governor of the feast had been able to make the observation he did.
WINE IN BIBLICAL TIMES
There are several words in the Bible which describe wine; however, two of these words are the most commonly used. In the New Testament, it is the Greek word “oinos,” which can mean either fermented or unfermented wine.
Dr. Ferrar Fenton, a Biblical translator (The Holy Bible in Modern English), lists six different meanings of the word “oinos”:
• Grapes, as fresh fruit.
• Thick grape syrup.
• A thick jam.
• Fresh grape juice.
• Fermented grape juice.
The last type is the only one which would make one drunk. Dr. Lyman Abbott said that fermented wine in Bible times was the least common of all wines. Even in the fermented kind, the percentage of alcohol was small.
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for wine most commonly used is “yayin.” That word is found 141 times in the Old Testament, and is used interchangeably, depending on the context. In other words, it can mean either grape juice or alcoholic beverage.
I think the reasons given are sufficient proof that Jesus did not change water to the kind of wine that would make one drunk. Instead, it was a sweet, pure grape juice.
Before prohibition “wine” was considered to be exactly what it was in Bible times. However, when prohibition was enacted in 1929, the term had to be defined more closely; consequently, “wine” was designated to mean something that will make you drunk.
The other kind of non-intoxicating beverage was called by whatever name desired, grape juice or whatever; consequently, many people today confuse the simple word “wine” as it was used in the Bible without understanding of that word presently, but that is not universally true.
No, Jesus’ First Miracle was not the making of wine that would make one drunk. It was pure, sweet, fresh grape juice; and I believe Scripturally, scientifically, and legally we have proof of that.
DID THE SAVIOUR USE INTOXICATING WINE IN THE LORD’S SUPPER?
In the description of the Lord’s Supper, the Lord never used the word “wine.”
We are told, “He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them saying, drink you all of it” (Mat 26:27 KJV).
Mark says, “He took the cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them” (Mk 14:23 KJV).
Luke says, “He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves” (Luke 22:17 KJV).
JESUS CALLED THE DRINK, “FRUIT OF THE VINE” in Matthew 26:29 KJV and also in Mark 14:25 KJV and Luke 22:18 KJV.
It becomes clear, when the Passages are read consecutively that God intended for us to use grape juice.
It seems the Holy Spirit carried this directive right on through even into the Early Church. The Apostle Paul said, “After the same manner also, He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in My Blood” (1 Cor 11:25 KJV). Then, following, He mentioned “this cup” and then, later on, “that cup.”
It becomes clear, when the Passages are read consecutively that God intended for us to use grape juice. I also think the Holy Spirit took particular pains not to use any words that could be construed as referring to any kind of intoxicating beverage. There’s not a single reference in the Word of God that a person should use intoxicating wine for the Lord’s Supper.
THE SYMBOL OF DECAY
The very meaning of fermented wine makes it unsatisfactory to represent the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that’s exactly what the grape juice of the Lord’s Supper is to represent. I do not know a whole lot about fermentation or the wherefores of making alcoholic beverages, but I do know that fermented wine is grape juice in which decay (or rot) has taken place. In other words, the process of fermentation is the breakdown of large molecules caused by the influence of bacteria or fungi. Wine, then, results from the degenerative action of germs on pure substances.
Fermented wine used in Communion would actually symbolize tainted, sinful blood and not the Pure and Perfect Blood of Jesus Christ that had to be made evident to a be a Perfect cleansing for our sins. Pure, fresh grape juice tends toward life, but fermented wine tends toward death. Alcohol use for drinking purposes is both a narcotic and a poison. It could hardly be used as a symbol for the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
THE PASSOVER FEAST
To give an example, the Jews were required to use unleavened bread with the Passover Feast, and they were commanded that during that time, “There shall no leavened bread be seen with you, neither shall there be leaven seen with you in all your quarters” (Ex. 13:7). As early as this, bread that had been tainted with bacteria or yeast was considered unsuitable at the religious events celebrated by the Jews. Jesus also used unleavened bread in initiating the Lord’s Supper. (Of course, the New Testament made no special issue of the unleavened bread; and as far as that is concerned, any bread made without yeast today would serve as unleavened bread.)
Consequently then, from Exodus to the Gospels we are told to use only untainted, pure substances in Spiritual Celebrations. Consequently, the point that I make is this: if the Lord specifically chose bread that had no bacteria, no fungus spores in it, to picture His Broken Body, do you honestly think He would choose alcoholic wine, fermented wine, which is directly the product of fungi and bacteria, to represent His Blood? I hardly think so! The pure Blood of Jesus Christ would be best represented by pure grape juice.
THE MORAL STATUTES
Next, even the High Priests were commanded, “Do not drink wine nor strong drink . . . when you go into the Tabernacle of the congregation, lest you die: it shall be a Statute forever throughout your generations” (Lev 10:9 KJV).
You must remember, these Priests entering into the Tabernacle were types of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is our great High Priest. Now I ask you a question. Would
Jesus, the night He was betrayed, drink intoxicating wine before going to the Crucifixion and entering into His High Priestly Work? I think not. It would have been
a rejection and a contradiction of His Own Word given in Leviticus.
I close by saying this, we must always remember that the word “wine” in the Bible simply means “the fruit of the vine.” It can either mean unfermented grape juice or
intoxicating wine. So, when the Word is read, whether it is New Testament or Old Testament, this distinction must always be kept in mind according to the context.
No, I do not believe the wine that Jesus used at the Lord’s Supper was intoxicating wine, nor do I believe it is proper and permissible for us to use such wine in the Lord’s Supper today. I think it is a travesty of His Word and a perversion of His Intent.
To sum up, and as we’ve already stated several times, every Christian should be opposed to alcohol in any form, even to the slightest amount, as it regards its consumption.
As Believers, we are to set an example of Righteousness before the world. Being a moderate drinker of any type does not serve that purpose. Saying “no” to all alcohol, does!
JSM Expositors Study Bible [PRINTED]: shopjsm.org
JSM Expositors Study Bible [DIGITAL]: jsm.org: download expositors-bible
By Jimmy Swaggart Extracted from The Evangelist | November, 2011 | (This message was derived from the book, “Brother Swaggart, Here Is My Question . . .”.)
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