To understand Harvest Church’s view of gambling we must first define what do we mean by gambling. Simply put, is the activity of staking something of value on a game of chance hoping to acquire gain. We put money or something else at risk hoping to acquire the money or goods of others who also put theirs at risk.
Why is it wrong? These five principles will help us understand the sinfulness of gambling.
First, it violates the "golden" rule. See Matt. 7:12. Here, Jesus tells us that we should treat our neighbor as we would want them to treat us. But, in gambling, our goal is to take all we can from our neighbor.
Second, Gambling is stealing by consent (just as dueling was murder by consent, and was outlawed in our nation). That is, all agree that, if the game of chance ends in a certain way, they will take from one another. We would not enjoy someone directly stealing thousands of dollars from us, but we consent to allowing others to take thousands of dollars from us in a game of chance. Eph. 4:28.
Third, gambling encourage covetousness and not hard work. The Bible plainly teaches us to work hard, providing for ourselves and for others. And, if we do not, we should not enjoy the privileges of eating and being cared for. 2 Thes. 3.
Fourth, although there may be some who try to make a direct parallel between gambling and making an investment, these are not the same. When you make an investment in the stock market, you are giving to a company who produces a product or a service. Both you and the company have a chance to profit (or lose) based on the performance of the company. If you do not like its performance or have made what you believe to be a reasonable profit, you can always sell your stock
Finally, we must consider God's attitude toward gambling. God’s people in Bible times apparently were not greatly tempted with gambling. It seems the vice manifested itself only when Israel was dominated by heathen nations. When gambling did occur God clearly indicated His attitude concerning it.During their Babylonian captivity the Israelites came under the influence of people who gambled. As a result some of the captives also became involved. To these people God through Isaiah said, "Ye are they that forsake the Lord, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number" (Isaiah 65:11, KJV). As indicated in some modern translations of the Bible, the Hebrew words translated "troop" and "number" were names of the heathen gods "Gad" and "Meni." To the heathen, Gad was the giver of good luck. Meni was the god of bad luck.
The translation of Isaiah 65:11 by James Moffat is as follows: "But ye who have forsaken the Eternal, ye who ignore his sacred hill, spreading tables to Good Luck, pouring libations to Fate, I make the sword your fate."
E. H. Plumptre, late Dean of Wells, has pointed out that Gad was worshiped as the greater fortune, the giver of good luck. Meni was worshiped as the lesser fortune. George Rawlinson, who at one time served as professor of Ancient History at Oxford, has indicated the name Meni "designated a deity who apportions men's fortunes to them."
The sin for which some of the Israelites were condemned was trusting in luck rather than God. Isaiah made it clear that trust in God and trust in luck cannot coexist. If people rely on chance it is evident they do not rely on God. Isaiah described those who trusted in gambling as "they that forsake the Lord" (Isaiah 65:11).