Wine and Strong Drink
There is a humorous line in an old county song that goes,
"In heaven there is no beer,
that's why we drink it here,
cause when we're gone from here,
all our friends will be drinking all our beer".
No beer in heaven? Then what did Yeshua mean when he promised his disciples, "But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom" (MATTHEW 26:29)? What else could He have meant but that He was going to drink wine with His disciples in heaven, in His Father's kingdom? So there must of necessity be wine in heaven. How else are we to understand His words?
Most Protestant churches preach often of the sin of consuming alcoholic beverages, yet Yeshua and his apostles drank freely of the vine. This fact presents us with a choice, of whom do we follow, Church Tradition or Yeshua and His apostles? Of course the answer is an obvious one. Let us look therefore and see why the Protestant Churches have developed such a bigotry against alcoholic beverages.
The Protestants were originally a group of believers who broke away from the Roman Catholic Church. One substantial reason for the breach was because the Old Church had become over-run with a flood of corruption. An issue that was important to the Protestants was that many of the priests of the Romish Church were often drunk. Whether it was from weakness, hypocrisy or just plain boredom, the Roman Catholic priests were so often intoxicated that it was scandalous. This evidently is an old ailment for the ancient priests of Israel had likewise stumbled through drink.
ISAIAH 28:7 But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.
Many of the Catholic priests being so often drunk was no doubt a primary reason that the Protestant churches developed such a prejudice against drinking wine and other such beverages. But what they ended up doing was throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Their position was, that because one could get drunk when he drank, then all drinking should be forbidden, or at least discouraged
Howbeit, rarely in the Bible do we find drinking alcoholic beverages forbidden (LEVITICUS 10:9-10 & JUDGES 13:4). It is more the other way, dinking of the vine is recommended, sometimes even encouraged. It was only getting drunk that was the sin. There is good evidence that drinking in moderation is healthy, even healthier then abstaining from alcohol. Indeed, on the average, people that drink live longer and healthier then people that abstain.
The earliest occasion of the use of alcohol in the Bible is with the story of Noah after the flood.
GENESIS 9:20-21 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: and he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
Obviously Noah was wrong when he got drunk, but was he wrong when he drank of the vine? Was Noah wrong when he made wine from his grape? Was wine the devils brew or could it have been a blessing from GOD? Let us consider what the psalmist has written of the works of the LORD.
PSALM 104:1-15 Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: Who walketh upon the wings of the wind: Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.... He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.
Plainly, according to the psalmist the LORD provided wine which made the heart of man glad. Wine is as much a gift from GOD as is food. Let us also consider what was written in JUDGES.
JUDGES 9:13 And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?
Let us learn the wisdom of PROVERBS and of ECCLESIASTES.
PROVERBS 3:10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
ECCLESIASTES 10:19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry....
And of course what the apostle Paul wrote unto Timothy.
1 TIMOTHY 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.
It goes without saying that we are teaching counter to the will of GOD when we preach against the drinking of alcoholic beverages. Wine is indeed a blessing from the LORD. But as with all of HIS blessings, wine is often misused and abused. Too often men and women drink in excess, which clouds their judgment and may ruin their health. Thus we have repeated warnings from Scripture to not drink too much, not to drink in excess. Here are a few examples.
PROVERBS 21:17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.
PROVERBS 23:31-35 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.
EPHESIANS 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
1 TIMOTHY 3:8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
1 PETER 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
When one is in a position of authority, as a minister of the gospel or even the head of a government body where he has to demonstrate just and keen judgment, he is especially warned against abusing the fruit of the vine.
LEVITICUS 10:8-9 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.
PROVERBS 31:4-7 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. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
After a hard days work an individual may feel the stress of the day, or perhaps his body aches from the load he carried. Few things are more soothing, or more quieting then a glass or two of beer or wine. Thus we even have the wise preacher telling us to enjoy these fruits of life.
ECCLESIASTES 9:4-7 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.
Isn't his message that we should enjoy the simple pleasures of life? These are the blessings of life, to enjoy our work and then come home to a fine meal and a refreshing drink. Drinking in moderation relieves stress and lets you forget your troubles for a while. Often we find Yeshua and his company thus partaking of the fruit of the vine. Yeshua even notes the contrast between Himself and John the Baptist who never drank a drop (NUMBERS 6:1-4).
LUKE 7:33-34 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!
It is true that John the Baptist never drank alcoholic beverages, but evidently Yeshua often did. Yeshua even went so far as to turn water into good wine. The occasion was of course the celebrated wedding at Cana which we can have confidence was not celebrated with grape juice but rather fermented wine.
JOHN 2:1-11 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: and both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.... and there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
It has been suggested that this good wine might not have been fermented wine at all, as the Muslims often have wedding celebrations without drinking fermented wine. Howbeit, Yeshua was elsewhere accused of being "a gluttonous man, and a winebibber" (LUKE 7:34) which must have been based on Him drinking fermented wine and not just grape juice. The contrast was made here between Him and John the Baptist who did not drink fermented wine.
Is it not significant that the very first miracle which Yeshua performed was the turning of water into good wine? When one vividly considers what occurred here, he cannot help but picture a merry celebration with Yeshua joining in with the partiers. Once again it seems that Church Tradition has shown itself to be aligned contrary to the Bible. Once again they have erected dogma which is of their own making. Let us instead align ourselves with the will of GOD. Cheers!