Is drinking a sin


Is drinking alcohol a sin?

It's a very good question to ask - whether it's right to drink, for example, such wine as we know it. Someone may wonder if the wine served with the holy communion is related to such drinking, but that's not what we mean by drinking wine here - the holy communion is the holy communion. If the wine (on your table) contains no or very little alcohol, isn't it just juice instead? Shouldn't we read what the bible says? Shouldn't we learn from those who God has beloved? Let's have a look indeed! Rejoice with the promise God made to the Rekabites (also known as Rechabites)!

The Rekabites

35 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord during the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah: 2 "Go to the Rekabite family and invite them to come to one of the side rooms of the house of the Lord and give them wine to drink." 3 So I went to get Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah, the son of Habazziniah, and his brothers and all his sons—the whole family of the Rekabites. 4 I brought them into the house of the Lord, into the room of the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah the man of God. It was next to the room of the officials, which was over that of Maaseiah son of Shallum the doorkeeper. 5 Then I set bowls full of wine and some cups before the Rekabites and said to them, "Drink some wine."

6 But they replied, "We do not drink wine, because our forefather Jehonadab son of Rekab gave us this command: 'Neither you nor your descendants must ever drink wine. 7 Also you must never build houses, sow seed or plant vineyards; you must never have any of these things, but must always live in tents. Then you will live a long time in the land where you are nomads.' 8 We have obeyed everything our forefather Jehonadab son of Rekab commanded us. Neither we nor our wives nor our sons and daughters have ever drunk wine 9 or built houses to live in or had vineyards, fields or crops. 10 We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed everything our forefather Jehonadab commanded us. 11 But when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded this land, we said, 'Come, we must go to Jerusalem to escape the Babylonian and Aramean armies.' So we have remained in Jerusalem." 12 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying: 13 "This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, 'Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?' declares the Lord. 14 'Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather's command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me. 15 Again and again I sent all my servants the prophets to you. They said, "Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and reform your actions; do not follow other gods to serve them. Then you will live in the land I have given to you and your ancestors." But you have not paid attention or listened to me. 16 The descendants of Jehonadab son of Rekab have carried out the command their forefather gave them, but these people have not obeyed me.' 17 "Therefore this is what the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'Listen! I am going to bring on Judah and on everyone living in Jerusalem every disaster I pronounced against them. I spoke to them, but they did not listen; I called to them, but they did not answer.'" 18 Then Jeremiah said to the family of the Rekabites, "This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'You have obeyed the command of your forefather Jehonadab and have followed all his instructions and have done everything he ordered.' 19 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'Jehonadab son of Rekab will never fail to have a descendant to serve me.'" Jeremiah.35

Do you think the Rekabites were just obeying their forefather Jehonadab? With the promise from God, one should understand that Jehonadab was a man in true faith and that what they were doing was according to the God's word. Wait a minute - not building houses? Not sowing seed? Is there something wrong with that? Are we not allowed to build houses? Could that be the word of our almighty God! Yes indeed! There's nothing wrong for you or me to build houses nor there's nothing wrong for me and you to have a field. But for the Rekabites it was commanded for not to have such things. Why? Because they were strangers in a foreign country. They were descendants of Jethro, the priest of Midian and father-in-law of Moses. Thus, they were no real isrealites but strangers in a foreign country. They had no land where to build a house nor place to sow seed.

8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. Hebrews.11


Have you ever wondered about some of the Moses' laws? Let us have a look:

28 At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year's produce and store it in your towns, 29 so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. Deuteronomy.14

19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 22 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this. Deuteronomy.24

Definitely the Rekabites had a way of getting food. They were obedient to the commands the Lord had made upon them! Let's look at the family tree of the Rekabites, to acknowledge that indeed they were foreigners:

55 and the clans of scribes who lived at Jabez: the Tirathites, Shimeathites and Sucathites. These are the Kenites who came from Hammath, the father of the Rekabites. 1.Chronicles.2
16 The descendants of Moses' father-in-law, the Kenite, went up from the City of Palms with the people of Judah to live among the inhabitants of the Desert of Judah in the Negev near Arad. Judges.1
18 Now Jethro, the priest of Midian and father-in-law of Moses, heard of everything God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, and how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. Exodus.18


The Rekabites don't drink wine

Why didn't they drink wine? What was the wine on the table? It was the wine that had alcohol in it. It's the wine as we know it. The Rekabites obeyed and still obey the word of God. They may build houses and sow seeds in the fields - in case they no longer live in the Promised land. In that sense, there's no problem for them to build houses today - and I would guess they no longer live in the Promised land. Read one more time: "Then you will live a long time in the land where you are nomads" - the Promised land! But they don't drink any wine - or any drinks containing such amounts of alcohol that would get you drunk. This is the greatest secret about the Rekabites. True christians understand the same as did (and still do) the Rekabites (also referred as Rechabites)- via the Holy Spirit.

33 Their wine is the venom of serpents,
the deadly poison of cobras.

34 "Have I not kept this in reserve
and sealed it in my vaults?
35 It is mine to avenge; I will repay.
In due time their foot will slip;
their day of disaster is near
and their doom rushes upon them."
Deuteronomy.32


For you see, there's no conflict at all - whereas the Rekabites obeyed Jehonadab they were also obeying the Lord. Following of plain man-made rules isn't represented in a good light:

13 The Lord says:

"These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
14 Therefore once more I will astound these people
with wonder upon wonder;
the wisdom of the wise will perish,
the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish."
15 Woe to those who go to great depths
to hide their plans from the Lord,
who do their work in darkness and think,
"Who sees us? Who will know?"
16 You turn things upside down,
as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
"You did not make me"?
Can the pot say to the potter,
"You know nothing"?
Isaiah.29


Drinking in the law

Remember that every christian is a priest (1.Peter.2:9). The tent of meeting is figuratively the Christ's church scattered here on earth (See Hebr.9 and 10). It's the faith that unites the true christians. Thus, understand that christians stay figuratively always in the tent of meeting; so this is what we get:

8 Then the Lord said to Aaron, 9 "You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the tent of meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, 10 so that you can distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean, 11 and so you can teach the Israelites all the decrees the Lord has given them through Moses." (Leviticus.10, NIV)

If this is unclear, perhaps the KJV helps out:

8 And the Lord spake unto Aaron, saying, 9 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: 10 And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; 11 And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses. (Leviticus.10, KJV)

Yes - that's a spiritual death on anyone getting intentionally drunk. True christians stay 24/7 in the spiritual place called 'holy' located in the tent of meeting. They do not keep entering and exiting the tent but instead, they live in it. Thus the law denies drinking of all kinds of fermented drinks that affect one's mood. Take Joshua, the son of Nun, who made it to the promised land with Caleb, as your example:

Then he would return to the camp; but the young man who was his assistant, Y'hoshua the son of Nun, never left the inside of the tent. (Exodus.33:11, CJB. Most translations don't have the word 'never' here, but CJB isn't the only one making it very clear).

How is it possible that Joshua never left the tent as it was disassembled when they started moving? It was the spiritual tent he never departed from! Moreover, it's commanded that no believer shall go out from the tabernacle (tent of meeting):

7 And ye shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses. (Levitus 10, KJV)

This is the law (Leviticus.10) the Rekabites obeyed and are still obeying. They based their knowledge on their forefather who was a true believer. Why wouldn't you do the same? For you see the law (Moses) brings near the promised land (the kingdom of God) but gospel brings in from the border. Joshua was a figure of what the law couldn't do. Joshua led the people into the promised land. Law declares what's sinful - while gospel cleans all the sin.



What to do with an alcoholic

Alcohol causes all kinds of problems. If quitting appears problematic, it's often a good idea to turn into experts to get help. Although one might expect a miraculous healing, this just isn't always the case especially with the very heavy drinkers. Have a look at what the experts say at: alcoholic.org. There's good information, for example, on coping with a family member who drinks too much. God still loves even the heavy drinkers, but wishes that they'd quit the habit - but above all He wishes everyone to repent!


Other blog entries from the author:
Is wearing earrings a sin?


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