How To Distinguish Between Holy And Unholy


Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying: “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean, and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.” (Leviticus 10:8-11)

How To Distinguish Between Holy And Unholy

As Moses writes the Law prescribing the commandments and statutes for the people, he outlines the conduct of those who would serve as priests in the ministry of serving the Lord. Aaron’s sons are consecrated as they take their place in the priestly ministry. Suddenly the text reveals the sin of Nadab and Abihu who offered profane fire before the Lord and were devoured by fire. The burnt corpse of the two sons of Aaron were carried outside the camp and God forbade Aaron from mourning his sons. The Lord speaks to Aaron commanding the priests to be subject to a strict law of abstinence from wine or intoxicating drink so they can distinguish between what is holy and unholy. It has been suggested what happened to Nadab and Abihu was they had been inebriated when presenting the offering and why God had struck them with fire.

The case of Nadab and Abihu highlights the command of the Lord for priests to refrain from any alcoholic beverage so they can distinguish between what is holy and what is not holy. Also, the Lord said the priests were to teach the children of Israel the commandments of the Lord as another reason to refrain from wine or intoxicating drink. This statute was to be enforced throughout all generations. The history of Israel shows this law was not kept as the priests became corrupt and immoral. Isaiah would later write the priest and the prophets erred through intoxicating drink and were swallowed up by wine. He said they erred in vision and stumbled in judgment with tables full of vomit and filth. Not exactly the image God had for those dedicated to Him.

God’s law for Israel has been done away with. The Law of Moses is obsolete and has no authority. However, the principles of the Law are preserved so the children of God in Christ can see the valuable lessons of yesterday. Every Christian is a spiritual priest serving the will of the Lord. If the Law of Moses prohibited the priests from wine and intoxicating drink so they may distinguish between what is holy and what is unholy, how does that change for the person who is seeking to live in close harmony with the blood of Jesus Christ today? Social drinking is as pleasing to God as social fornication. Christians who attempt to justify their use of alcohol as a social practice fly in the face of clear condemnation of the Lord in the examples of the Law of Moses. The alcoholic content of drinks today may vary from those in the days of Aaron but what part of the blood of Christ has changed wine and intoxicating drink to an acceptable ratio of alcohol?

Imagine for a moment a Christian sitting down to study the Bible with a glass of wine in their hands. How well is that going to go after a few glasses of the brew? A Bible study to teach a neighbor the gospel is arranged and as everyone sits down to examine the scriptures, cans of beer are passed around for refreshment. Children are called into the living room for a nightly Bible study and they watch mom and dad sip on their liquor while singing Jesus Loves Me. A father who says with breath reeking of beer, “Let’s say our prayers”, tucks a son into bed. A neighborhood gathering of adults is filled with wine and drink as the party goes late into the night and inhibitions are lost compromising relationships that end in heartbreak. And Christians – holy people, priest of God, consecrated souls – continue to justify social drinking. If the Lord struck down Nadab and Abihu because they had been drunk while offering sacrifices, it is a good thing the same result does not come today.

Those things that are holy belong to hearts that are holy. Consecrated souls are those who have removed themselves from the trappings of the world allowing no compromise in their spirit by spirits. Wine and intoxicating drink have no place in the service of God’s priests today as we serve the Lord of Lords in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. What is clean is made clean by those who seek the purity of God. After Nadab and Abihu were killed for their rebellion, Moses reprimanded his brother that those who come near the Lord God must be regarded as holy and before all people, the Lord God must be glorified. That has never changed and will never change.

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