The statement in 'The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible' notes, attached to Genesis 9, reads: Beware of the danger of drunkenness. We personally need to be very careful with strong drink. It is a stumbling block to many. Alcoholic drink is not wrong per se, but the Bible does clearly teach that drunkenness makes one unaware of what is happening. We must not misuse our bodies. Drunkennes is often linked to immorality and unseemly behavior. Therefore, respect the civil laws limiting alcohol consumption and guard yourself against ever becomimg intoxicated. [Emphasis mine]
1. "Alcoholic drink is not wrong per se".
2. Readers are to find out and then respect the local civil laws limiting alcohol consumption.
3. A Christian is only to be on their guard against being caught breaking the law on alcohol consumption and drunkenness.
4. This view of alcohol is a suitable subject for teaching at family worship, where children are present.
This Blog post deals with the first of these points:
Leviticus 10:8-11: And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.
Romans 14:21: It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
In light of these verses how could it be truthfully said that: Alcoholic drink is not wrong per se?
Alcohol consumption, and the alcohol industry, are a present day evil. Alcohol is a drug, a highly addictive substance. It is more abused than any other substance known to man. To make such a wide sweeping statement that: Alcoholic drink is not wrong per se, seems most foolish. In my opinion someone is seeking to justify a predetermined position with such a statement, and/or push an agenda!
Sadly, these words could easily be used to refer to the United Kingdom* as well. [*see end of article]
How can alcohol be described as the major form of drug addiction in the land and to be killing its millions, and then for this Study Bible to say: Alcoholic drink is not wrong per se? Alcoholic drink is a most wicked evil and a blight upon society!
Natural fermentation was the only process available during Bible times. Therefore, in Bible times, wine was not normally fermented anywhere near this level of 15%, because of the lack of natural yeast on the surface of the grape and also because of the unpleasant taste produced by the bacteria which could not be eliminated. This bacteria turned the sugar into vinegar.
For this reason wine in the Bible was mingled with other substances to increase its potency, cf. Proverbs 23:30. This bears testimony to its weak natural state.
Consider Proverbs 9:2,5. Speaking of wisdom personified this portion says: She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table; Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. This was a reference to the common practice of diluting wine. It is certainly not referring to the adding of stronger substances to wine for the purposes of becoming drunk. It is worth noticing here that wisdom was associated with watered down, weak alcohol. A lesson indeed for the drinkers of booze today!
Even wines were soon to boast a higher alcohol content due to another process discovered by one of Napoleon’s minister’s of state. 'Chaptalization' is a way of boosting the level of alcohol in wine by adding sugar to the juice during fermentation. The technique is named after Napoleon's minister for agriculture, a man called Jean Antoine Chaptal, 1756–1832, who is said to have invented the process.
These developments ushered in a massive change in the potency and availability of alcohol. The top level strength of alcohol changed from a maximum of around 15% up to 40% for spirits, and even as high, in some cases, as 75%, today.
How unlike Bible times. The whole character of alcohol today has therefore changed drastically. There is certainly little or no watering of the alcohol of today, as they did in Bible times. The stronger the better is often the maxim! The Alcohol of today is an evil thing! Never mind beginning to consider the evils of the booze industry. It is the one industry that never advertises its best customers! The best customers of the booze industry are sadly lying in the gutter!!!
ending with 1829, the consumption of intoxicating liquors in the three kingdoms doubled. The bottle was everywhere — on the dinner table and the supper table, at the wedding and the wake, at the baptism and the funeral, produced as regularly as the Bible when the minister called to visit a parishioner, kept in the vestry of nearly every church, and applied to before service or after it, or both. In a word, it was supposed to be an absolute necessary of life — as necessary as the staff of life itself. Ministers and people alike drank. The elders drank. Everybody drank. Yet for long no adequate effort was made to put a stop to the terrible evil.
Therefore, to take Scriptural statements about wine and use them to justify consuming the alcohol available today is risible, if it wasn't so serious an issue. To do so, is neither Scripturally accurate, or logical! If the Word of God gives stark warning against the consumption of the weak alcohol available in Bible times, what kind of stark warnings then must be given of the much stronger booze of today?
Continued in next article…
*As an example of the folly of the Study Bible statement, it is worth considering the cost to society in England alone. The United Kingdom Government Alcohol Strategy claims alcohol-related harm is now estimated to cost England £21 billion annually. This is broken down as:
National Health Service costs, at about £3.5 billion per year (at 2009–10 costs)