e-Literature

At the Last it Biteth Like A Serpent

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The drinking of wine has been a problem for thousands of years. We read that Noah was drunk with wine in Genesis 9, and Lot was drunk in Genesis 19.
The Proverb writer declares in his final chapter that wine is not for kings or princes. Again, in Proverbs 23, he says, The drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty.
In First Samuel 1, Eli thought Hannah was drunk and rebuked her for it.
Queen Vashti lost her position as Queen because of a drunken husband in Esther 1.
Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine (Isa 5:22a).
Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart (Hos 4:11).
Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine (Joel 1:5). Also, in Joel 3:3, And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they may drink.
Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, that puttest the bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on his nakedness! (Hab 2:15).
Jesus said, Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged…. with drunkenness…. And so that day come upon you unawares (Luke 21:34).
Paul said to the Ephesians, Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess (Eph 5:18).
Still today in 2019 you read the local news and inevitably drinking has caused some fight, accident, or death.
The word wine in our King James Bibles has different meanings. Wine is sometimes only from crushed grapes, and at other times it refers directly to fermented grape juice.
Wine and strong drink are referred to as two separate drinks in many verses through the Bible, such as in Proverbs 20:1a, Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging. What is this strong drink?
Apparently, the intoxicating wine in the Bible refers only to wine from grapes or other fruit. First, the grapes would be pressed into juice, and then the juice was fermented. Lastly, they allowed the wine to age which developed its flavor.
Perhaps the strong drink referred to in these verses was the liquor of grapes referred to in Numbers 6:3. If so, this “strong drink” would simply be steeped juice which would have been a “strong wine.”
This means that wine and strong drink, as mentioned in the Bible, would be very comparable to wine that you and I could purchase today, which contains 7 - 24% alcohol.
Most other intoxicating drinks fall under the classification of liquor. Liquor is made by a distillation process which was not commonly used until after the thirteen hundred.
Brandy, gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, and bourbon would all be examples of modern liquor which contains 30 - 50% alcohol.
Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright (Pro 32:29-31).
What would Jesus say today about our hearts being overcharged with even small amounts of modern liquor that contains twice as much alcohol as the Bible wine?
What would Jesus say about the estimated one hundred thousand Americans who die each year from alcohol-related accidents, disease, and criminal behavior?
What would Jesus say about the twenty million alcoholics in the United States today? Truly the bite of strong drink is devastating.
What does God really think should be done with drunkards? And they shall say unto the elders of his city, this our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die. So shalt thou put evil away from among you (Deu 21:20-21).
What will God do with drunkards? 1 Corinthians 6:10 clearly says that no drunkard can enter heaven. God will deliver drunkards to the torments of hell. Truly, At the last, it does bite like a serpent!
But what about social drinking? What if I can control my moderate use of strong drink and never truly get drunk? Is it wrong to have a little to drink in the evening to take the edge off, so I can cope with life?
Let’s go back to the twenty million alcoholics in the United States today. How many of them started with just one drink? Is it worth the risk? Maybe I can handle it, but what if my son cannot?
Our discipline states that “Members are not allowed to manufacture, use, sell, or distribute intoxicating drinks.”
Some would say we are too strict with our standard and are going further than the Bible requires of us. After all, Paul does say in 1 Timothy 5:23, Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake. He also says in Romans 14:21, It is good neither….to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
What about keeping small amounts of wine or liquor on hand to use as medicine? Is it worth the risk?
What do you honestly think Jesus would have to say about drinking just a little? What would He say about the ever-increasing percentage of alcohol in wines and liquors today?
Our fathers and grandfathers were wise when they agreed on the statement in our discipline; the safest way is never to touch a drop!
One day, President Lincoln was riding in a coach with a colonel from Kentucky. The Colonel took a bottle of whiskey out of his pocket and offered Mr. Lincoln a drink. Mr. Lincoln said, ‘No, thank you, Colonel, I never drink whiskey.’
Then Mr. Lincoln said, ‘I want to tell you a story. One day when I was nine years old, my mother called me to her bed. She was very sick. She said, “Abe, the doctor tells me that I’m not going to get well. I want you to be a good boy. I want you to promise me before I go that you will never use whiskey or tobacco as long as you live.” I promised my mother that I never would, and up to this hour, I have kept this promise! Would you advise me to break that promise?’
Perhaps we need more mothers like this. What dangers did she see in strong drink that brought her to this conclusion?
Truly, she knew that at the last, strong drink does bite like a serpent.