The Dangers of Alcohol Part III

by Frances Swaggart



 

We believe the Bible teaches total and complete abstinence at all times from any and all kinds of alcoholic beverages. Just as in Bible times, there is presently that which is holy and that which is unholy. As ought to be overly obvious, alcohol falls into the category of the unholy and the unclean.


The main Hebrew and Greek word for wine, “oinos,” can mean either unfermented grape juice or intoxicating wine. The English word for wine originally had two meanings also — unfermented juice or alcoholic drink. In the Bible, anytime there are Verses showing God’s Approval of drinking wine, it is speaking of the unfermented grape juice.

Verses that expose the evils of wine are speaking about intoxicating wine/alcohol. The Bible says all alcoholic drink is evil. It is not just the amount one drinks that makes drinking a sin. God condemns the drinking itself.

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise(Proverbs 20:1 KJV), God does not lead us into evil; He delivers us from it. He does not teach us to practice evil in moderation either. Jesus did not make, use, approve, commend, or tell us to use intoxicating wine.

God made man to have fellowship with Him, but alcohol goes directly to the brain, which is the communication center of the body. Alcohol, thereby, interferes with God’s Purpose for mankind and our relationship with Him. 

Remember what I wrote last month: “There is a great difference between the Palestinian wine of that time and the alcoholic mixture today which goes under the name of wine.1)J. Dwight Pentecost, “The Words & Works of Jesus Christ,” 115.

In ancient times, their wine was a mixture, usually of three parts water to one part wine. Drinking wine unmixed was a barbarian custom. “In the Talmud, which contains the oral traditions of Judaism from about 200 B.C. to A.D. 200, one tractate (Shabbath 77a) states that wine that does not carry three parts of water well is not wine. In a most important reference (Pesahim 108b) it is stated that the four cups every Jew was to drink during the Passover ritual were to be mixed in a ratio of three parts water to one part wine.”2)Ibid, pg. 116.

So, clearly, the Bible did not justify the drinking of intoxicating wine then or now. ““Woe unto him who gives his neighbour drink, who puts your bottle to him, and makes him drunk also, that you may look on their nakedness!” (This “Woe” speaks of drunkenness. “Woe unto him who gives his neighbour drink,” refers, first of all, to the deepened idol-worship and debauchery to which the conquered nations were exposed upon their defeat by the Babylonians. All sense of nationhood was taken away from these conquered peoples, with them virtually reduced to slaves; consequently, they were reduced to constant inebriation in order to try to stand the pain, etc. As well, even though in a secondary position, it pertains to all those who make and distribute alcoholic beverage. The Lord has pronounced a “Woe” of “violence” on all who participate in this scourge of debilitation to one’s fellowman. “That you may look on their nakedness!” refers to the total debilitation of the individual. “Nakedness” refers to the person having no covering or protection, being exposed to the mercy of others, of which there is precious little)”(Hab 2:15 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible

There is no such thing as a safe level of alcohol consumption

So, not only is it wrong for one to drink alcoholic beverages, it is wrong to serve alcoholic beverages to others, even in your own home. Read this email we received from one of our viewers, as this is what happens when Christians disobey God’s Words: ““I’m a new Media [Church] member and have been watching your show regularly since I found it this year. I just had to write and make a comment before my head exploded. It is beyond my scope of understanding at the amount of people, who say they are Christians, that are defending this absurd idea of Jesus sanctioning the use of alcohol. If drinking were permissible, then there would be no need to cure the alcoholic upon his or her redemption. During the Christmas holiday, I travelled with my husband to his family home, knowing all too well that alcohol would be served. You cautioned the listeners time after time, not to put yourself in that atmosphere. But he is my husband, and I wanted to please him by going. Well, it didn’t take too long before I fell into the trap by just one drink. It tasted so pleasant until I had to have another one. Let’s just say my evening was short in duration, and the room was spinning. The next morning, after the room stayed in one place, I felt the Holy Spirit convicting me of my misdeed, and I was extremely sorry for that blatant error. So, as you stated, people cannot defend the use of alcohol and be truly saved at the same time, and not have the Holy Spirit shout out to them that it is wrong.

And this email: 

“Fifteen years ago, my husband and I moved and began going to a new church — we went to a house gathering to meet the elders of the church and some of the staff. We were shocked to find out alcohol was being served. After the party, we went to the pastor to notify him of the drinking his elders were doing. I asked the pastor what should be done? He told me to join them in the drinking and explained that Jesus drank wine in the Bible, and it wasn’t wrong.

We felt very strange about this and, being ex-drinkers, we resolved to only drink one glass, thinking we should be able to minister or pray with someone at any point and to stop drinking if we could not do so. Of course, as time progressed, we went to two glasses and so on. I knew in my heart it was wrong and would stop off and on over the years. In 2011, the Lord started convicting me to quit drinking, and I ignored Him. Then, we were encouraged to watch your program and Donnie brought up the tremendous point that Jesus would not violate Jewish Law nor would He ingest something that was decaying.

I had never thought of that and was convicted even more. This past Easter, my husband and I quit drinking wine all together. I was so ashamed to have bought into that lie. We had to apologize to our children and tell them we were wrong for drinking, and that Jesus did not drink wine. Of course, our Christian friends have tried talking us out of quitting! I have never wanted to go back to drinking, and we never will. The desire is gone and replaced with repulsiveness.” 

Numbers 28:7 KJV says, “And the Drink Offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the Holy Place shall you cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a Drink Offering,” meaning it was to be poured on the Altar and burned with fire.

Numbers 28:8 KJV says, “And the other lamb shall you offer at evening: as the Meat Offering of the morning, and as the Drink Offering thereof, you shall offer it, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.

Many of you thought that because it was called a Drink Offering, it was to be consumed by men. That is not so. It was to be burned on the Altar, producing a sweet savour or aroma because it represented the Lord. ““And you shall bestow that money for whatsoever your soul lusts after (desires), for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever your soul desires: and you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you, and your household, And the Levite that is within your gates; you shall not forsake him; for he has no part nor inheritance with you. At the end of three years you shall bring forth all the tithe of your increase the same year, and shall lay it up within your gates: And the Levite, (because he has no part nor inheritance with you,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within your gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do. (The meaning of the third year is as follows: the tithe of the first and second years was to be eaten before the Lord at the Sanctuary. What was not used, and they only used a small part, the balance was given to the Sanctuary; the tithe of the third year was for the poor and needy, including the Levites)” (Deut 14:26-29 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible

Verses 22 through 29 of this Chapter in Deuteronomy are dealing with tithes, and you might have thought that this meant you could use your tithes to buy and drink alcoholic beverages. That is not true. Where Verse 26 says “strong drink,” the word “shekar” was used, and in his Young’s Analytical Concordance of the Bible, Robert Young states that shekar denotes a beverage that is either fermented or unfermented. Instead of “strong drink,” Young actually defines it as “sweet drink,” that which satiates (to fully satisfy), or one that intoxicates. It can be either, depending on what the drink is. According to John Kitto’s Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature, “Shekar is a generic term, including palm-wine and other saccharine beverages, except those prepared from wine (grape juice).”3)John Kitto, 1845 Edition, Vol. 2, 953.

Several standard English dictionaries and Bible encyclopedias derive our English words “sugar” and “cider” from “shekar.” This connection further establishes that shekar originally denoted a sweet beverage and not necessarily a strong drink. Some translations do translate shekar as “strong drink.” However, some translate it as “similar drink,” as in the New King James. Many of you are overlooking all of the other Verses throughout Scripture that are clearly in opposition to the drinking of strong drink.

Paul said: ““But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. (In other words, if they will not accept what Paul is saying, there is no way they will ever learn the Truth. They will remain ignorant, and could lose their souls)” (1 Cor 14:38 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible

People are always looking for Scriptural justification to support their willful ignorance of the Word of God. ““My People are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you shall be no Priest to Me: seeing you have forgotten the Law of your God, I will also forget your children. (“My People are destroyed for lack of knowledge,” is the cause of all the problems in the church, and the world, for that matter! The “knowledge” spoken of is the Bible. This “lack of knowledge” was not ignorance, but rather a willful rejection of the Law of God. They didn’t know, but it was because they didn’t want to know!)” (Hos 4:6 KJV) The Expositor’s Study Bible

As Christians, we should heed the word of Bath-sheba to her son Solomon. Lemuel was another name for Solomon in this Verse: ““It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink (the admonition of the Holy Spirit through Bath-sheba to her son Solomon is clear and plain: “Leave strong drink alone!”): Lest they drink, and forget the Law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. (The pain of “strong drink,” even moderately consumed, causes men to “forget the Law,” which means to forget the Word of God; consequently, “Judgement” is perverted in such a case, and in whatever capacity.)” (Prov 31:4-5 KJV) The Expositor’s Study Bible

Or, as Leviticus 10:8-10 which says: ““And the LORD spoke unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the Tabernacle of the congregation, lest you die: it shall be a Statute for ever throughout your generations (the Law given here by the Lord has led to the thought that Nadab and Abihu had acted under the excitement of intoxicating drink; in other words, they were drunk; so we have here in this Verse a prohibition “forever” against any type of strong drink): And that you may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean (without a proper understanding of the Cross, it is very difficult to properly discern the difference as demanded here [Gal 2:20-21 KJV]).” The Expositor’s Study Bible

In the New Testament, we see the requirements and expectations for Deacons, Pastors, or leaders in the Church in several different Verses, and we always see the admonition that they should abstain from alcohol. 1 Timothy 3:2-3 KJV states, “A Bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous.” 1 Timothy 3:8 KJV states, “Likewise must the Deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre.” Titus 1:7 KJV states, “For a Bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre.” Isaiah 28:7 KJV  talks about how the Priests would lose their way and become deceived because of strong drink: “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.

Isaiah’s words actually carry right over to the New Testament Believer, as well, because in 1 Peter 2:9 KJV , we see that all Believers, whether Pastor or laymen, are called a royal priesthood: “But ye are a chosen generation, a Royal Priesthood, an Holy Nation, a Peculiar People; that you should show forth the praises of Him Who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.” You see, there is simply no room for alcohol in the life and witness of a Believer. Whether clergy or newly Saved, we all need to keep our minds sober so that we will keep the right Doctrines of the Faith, particularly in this age of deception.

It’s no coincidence that many in the church who have started believing false doctrines have also started drinking alcohol as well. Alcohol is a deceiver.

Scriptures from: (The Expositor’s Study Bible)[KJV/ESB]. iPad & iPhone & Hard Copy: by Jimmy Swaggart. 
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References   [ + ]

1. J. Dwight Pentecost, “The Words & Works of Jesus Christ,” 115.
2. Ibid, pg. 116.
3. John Kitto, 1845 Edition, Vol. 2, 953.

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