In this Health Tip we are going to turn our attention to alcohol, another addictive and poisonous drug. When received into the body, alcohol contributes unbelievably to physical problems. THE DANGERS OF BEER, WINE, & LIQUOR Everything we place into our body through our mouth, affects our health – either for good or for bad. Thus, if we desire good health, we must carefully consider what we consume. Alcohol is a colorless, volatile, flammable liquid. The chemical compound C2H5OH is produced by yeast fermentation of carbohydrates or synthetically by hydration of ethylene. It is used chiefly as a solvent and in beverages and medicines. Intoxicating liquor containing this liquid is known by the same name. THE CURSE OF ALCOHOL Alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, and liquor) cause the death of at least 100,000 American lives every year and are regarded by social analysts as American's number one public enemy. All told, the total annual cost of alcoholic beverages is 202 billion dollars and rising. More than $86 billion is spent to purchase it, and $116 billion more dollars are spent in an effort to repair the damage done by it to society. Of the 160 million Americans who drink alcoholic beverages, approximately 7.5%, or 12 million, are alcoholics. Of the remaining 148 million who drink, at least 10% will become alcoholics. Alcohol robs the quality of life for tens of millions who have the misfortune of becoming emotionally attached to this addicting drug. Alcohol kills! Alcohol is the major cause factor in 50% of all car fatalities, 30% of all traffic injuries, 83% of all fire and burn fatalities, 86% of all homicides, and 64% of all attempted suicides. DOES THE BIBLE HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT ALCOHOL?
"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." Proverbs 20:1
"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 the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again." Proverbs 23:29-35
"What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: THEREFORE GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man DEFILE THE TEMPLE OF GOD, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." 1 Corinthians 3:16-17DOES THE BIBLE CONDONE THE DRINKING OF FERMENTED WINE? The answer to that question is an emphatic no! Nowhere in the Bible will you find fermented wine ever being promoted, condoned, or blessed! Only the pure juice of grapes, free from fermentation, is ever promoted, condoned, or blessed in Scriptures! Interestingly, nowhere in the Bible do we see the word "wine" ever used to represent the blood of Christ! In I Corinthians 11, and in Matthew 26:27, Mark 14:23, and Luke 22:17-20, you will find at communion the blood of Christ is always represented by the word "cup," or "fruit of the vine" (grape juice), but never with the word "wine." It would be a complete contradiction of Scriptures to use fermented wine in the communion cup to represent the blood of Christ. Why? Because in Proverbs 23:31 the Bible tells us: "Look not thou upon the wine when it… moveth itself aright!" This is talking about grape juice that has gone through the process of fermentation. Fermentation can be defined as a chemical change brought about by the ferment, as the conversion of grape sugar into ethyl alcohol." Jesus, the sinless, spotless, Son of God, would never tell us to use fermented grape juice, to represent His blood, because for grape juice to ferment,it must go through a corrupting process. Friend, there was no corruption in Jesus’ blood. But you say, Timothy was told to drink a little "wine" for his stomach problems in I Timothy 5:23. And Jesus turned water into "wine" at the marriage feast in John chapter 2. That's true. On the surface, there would appear to be a contradiction in the Bible concerning wine. Let’s for a moment examine this seeming contradiction. There is no actual contradiction. The problem here is with the translation of the word "wine." When the Bible was translated into the English language in 1611 from the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts, the translators used the English words that were in common usage in that day when they translated. Thus, whenever the translators came to the word for grape juice; crushed grapes; or fermented grape juice the translators used the same word, "wine." So as we read the Bible and come upon the word "wine," how do we know whether it means pure, unfermented grape juice, crushed grapes or fermented wine? The easiest way is by its usage. Read Proverbs 20:1 and Proverbs 23:29-35 again and you quickly see that the type of wine referred to in these passages is clearly fermented wine and is strongly condemned. Then go to I Timothy 5:23 and John chapter 2 and read these Scriptures. Would Timothy be told to drink a fermented wine that has already been condemned by God in Proverbs? Or would Jesus, who through the Holy Spirit gave us all Scripture (II Timothy 3:6), condemn fermented wine in one place and then miraculously make what He had previously condemned? Would He serve that intoxicating beverage to those attending the wedding feast? WHY DO PEOPLE DRINK ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES? Alcohol, as found in beer, wine and liquor, is an addictive drug. And no one has ever become addicted to alcohol who refused that first drink. Most people know that alcohol is a potentially addictive and dangerous drug, so why would anyone ever take their first drink? Usually it is for the same reason the cigarette smoker lights up that first cigarette - peer pressure, a desire to act grown up, not wanting to be different from the crowd, or possibly curiosity. The first drink of beer, wine or liquor usually does not taste good. But soon the bad taste is overruled by the feelings of pleasure and light-headedness it brings. And for a high percentage of those who like those feelings, they desire experiencing those pleasurable feeling more and more often, until sadly, before they realize what is happening, they are addicted to the drug alcohol! Most people do not realize that a single 12 oz. can of beer or one 5 oz. glass of table wine contains the same amount of alcohol as a cocktail made with 1½ ounces of 80 proof liquor (1/2 oz or 15 grams). So if Joe Six Pack consumes all six cans, he has placed three ounces of pure alcohol into his body! The main reason a person continues to drink alcoholic beverages, even after they have learned how harmful alcohol is to the body, is because of a biochemical addiction. The curse is that alcohol makes the drinker feel good as long as they consume it, and not so good when they stop consuming it. THINGS TO CONSIDER Upon ingestion, alcohol is broken down into toxic substances that lead to poisoning at the cellular level. Over a period of time, cells adapt by making morphological changes that lead to a series of biochemical and physiologic malfunctions and to a variety of disorders of the central nervous system, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and cardiovascular system. Virtually every cell, tissue, organ, and system in the body is harmed through alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a depressant in the true sense of the term. In small amounts, it makes people loose, relaxed, and more self-confident by depressing the inhibitory centers of the brain. After two or three drinks the nervous system is depressed. This results in slower reflexes, delayed reaction time, and unreliable muscular response. Thinking centers are also depressed and can produce anything from euphoria to anger, from giddiness to sadness. Higher amounts can cause loss of consciousness, and even death as the cardio-respiratory centers shut down. With each drunken spree, some 100,000 brain cells are destroyed. Alcohol raises blood pressure while causing potassium loss, often leading to an irregular heartbeat. As little as one drink a day may double a person's chances of having a stroke. Alcohol is a major factor in cardiovascular disease in 70% of all who drink. Those who consume 1 to 3 drinks a day have a 60% higher risk of developing oral cancer than nondrinkers. The New England Journal of Medicine tells us that studies show a significant link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer with as little as one drink a day. Possibly the most horrific of all alcohol-induced diseases is cirrhosis of the liver! This condition occurs when normal liver cells are replaced by useless, fibroid, scarred tissue so that the liver can no longer function as God designed. Cirrhosis of the liver has become the 4th cause of death among middle-aged men. That hard and bloated "beer belly" is the telltale symbol of the beer drinker. Alcohol damages digestive organs, so that the body cannot assimilate nutrients in foods effectively. Alcohol damages bone marrow and leads to anemia. Pregnant women expose the unborn baby to risks of fetal alcohol syndrome. Sadly, when a consumer of alcoholic beverages learns the dark side of alcohol, they will usually, as the Scriptures say in Proverbs 23:35, "seek it yet again." Why, because they are addicted! If they weren't addicted they would immediately stop its usage upon learning of its dangers. And if the normally tense, nervous person drinks a glass of wine to become relaxed and comfortable at the end of a stressful day, they are in danger of becoming dependent on alcohol. There is no such thing as a safe amount of beer, wine or liquor!