The Woe of Drunkenness: Alcohol and the Royal Priesthood

Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, That puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, That thou mayest look on their nakedness! Thou art filled with shame for glory: Drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: The cup of the LORD’s right hand shall be turned unto thee, And shameful spewing shall be on thy glory. For the violence of Lebanon shall cover thee, And the spoil of beasts, which made them afraid, Because of men’s blood, and for the violence of the land, Of the city, and of all that dwell therein.

— Habakkuk 2:15–17

We now come to the fourth woe of Babylon: “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink.” A few weeks ago I posted an in-depth study on how the Christian is to view alcohol. You can read the study here. But today I will present a very brief argument for abstinence based on a single foundational premise of spiritual living.

It is my conviction that the victorious, Spirit-filled Christian will abstain from alcohol. And although I could list many reasons for this (and I have in a previous study), I will state but one today: The born-again child of God is both a priest and king (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6). According to God’s Word—NOT your preacher, NOT your parents, NOT your friends—but according to GOD’s Word, neither priests NOR kings are to drink alcohol.

Abstinence for Priests
“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. “
Leviticus 10:8–11

Abstinence for Kings
“It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; Nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, And pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
—Proverbs 31:4–5

And if you may be thinking that these verses do not apply to us because they are Old Testament verses, you might as well rip out your Old Testament. Notice that these verses do not just warn against the partaking of alcohol, they tell us WHY priests and kings were not to partake of alcohol. What were the reasons God gave for the kings and priests’ abstinence from alcohol? They were to abstain from alcohol so they could

  1. Discern right from wrong
  2. Teach God’s Word
  3. Live blamelessly

Doesn’t the Bible instruct born-again believers to have discernment (1 Corinthians 2:15)? Doesn’t the Great Commission tell us to teach all nations? Doesn’t the Bible tell us to be holy (1 Peter 1:16)? If you happen to be somebody who is saved and enjoys your alcoholic beverage, I can tell you right now that you aren’t much of a king or priest. Based on God’s Word, you really can’t tell right from wrong anyways and therefore don’t have any authority to judge anything pertaining to this subject.

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