Is Alcohol Forbidden? Follow Up

Q. What can you say about Isaiah 5 vs 22 which says “Destruction is certain for those who are heroes when it comes to drinking, who boast about all the liquor they can hold.” Concerning that, is alcohol forbidden?

A. You have taken this verse out of the middle of a lengthy discourse against the disobedient. One sign of their disobedience is drinking to excess and then bragging about it. Both Old and New Testaments warn against drunkenness, but neither prohibits drinking altogether.

In Deut. 14:22-26 the Lord authorized those who lived a great distance from Jerusalem to exchange the animals and grain and other things they had set aside as their tithe for silver before coming to the annual feast of tabernacles. Once in Jerusalem they were to use the silver to purchase food for the celebration. In verse 26 He said they could buy whatever they wanted, including sheep, cattle, and wine or other fermented drink. If He forbids the use of alcohol, why would He let them use tithe money to purchase alcohol to drink at the feast?

And in the New Testament Jesus said the religious leaders claimed that John the Baptist was demon possessed because he didn’t drink but condemned Jesus as a drunkard because He did (Matt. 11:18-19). Jesus also turned water into wine during the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-10). If God forbids the use of alcohol, why would the Son of God make wine for the wedding guests to drink?

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