Keith Hunt - Christians and Wine? #5   Restitution of All Things
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Christians and Wine? #5

What God teaches and allows



THE GREEK WORD "OINOS"

Despite the fancy foot work used by Mr.Saunders in saying, 
"...the Greek word 'oinos' translated 'wine' was a composite
word, sometimes meaning fermented wine and sometimes
unfermented.." the use of this word in the NT would show that
it clearly means fermented wine and never unfermented grape
juice, at least as used by the writers of the NT. Paul said, "be
not drunk with OINOS" (Eph.5:18). "not given to(or addicted to)
OINOS" (1 Tim.3:3). "not given to much OINOS" (1 Tim.3:8).   
Jesus turned water into OINOS (John 2:1-11), etc.

But Mr. Saunders says NO! And he tries to prove that 'oinos' can
mean unfermented grape juice by referring you to Luke 5:37.He
writes, "This is an example of 'oinos' meaning 'new wine' ... Now
we have already proven 'new wine' to mean fresh juice before
fermentation sets in. Further proof: How would fermented wine
burst the wine skins? Fermentation has already taken place. But
if grape juice were put into 'old wine skins' it would cause
fermentation, thereby bursting the wine skins!" (page 21 "Should
Christians Drink Fermented Wine" ).

FIRST. Does 'new wine' mean fresh juice before fermentation sets
in? Turn to Acts the second chapter - read verses one to thirteen
- especially notice verse 13. It should be obvious, many people
on that day of Pentecost when seeing what was happening to the
disciples and what they were doing, thought the disciples were
DRUNK on 'new wine.' Actually the Greek for 'new wine' in Acts
2:13 is GLEUKOS whereas the Greek for 'new wine' in Luke 5:37 is
'new OINOS.'

SECOND. When we understand the process of how wine was made in
Palestine, we can understand this analogy Jesus was using and
that the oinos being related to was indeed fermented, but still
fermenting. It would seem Mr.Saunders either did not know this
information or was not willing to give it, as it would destroy
his argument. You can find it in past studies on this topic under
"Fermentation." But I will take the space here to quote it again:
"In the climate of Palestine fermentation begins almost
immediately, frequently on the same day for juice pressed out in
the morning, but never later than the next day. At first a slight
foam appears on the surface of the liquid ... The action rapidly
becomes more violent, and while it is in progress the liquid must
be kept in JARS or in a VAT, for it would burst even the newest
and strongest of wine skins (Job 32:19 ). Within about a week
this VIOLENT FERMENTATION subsides, and the wine is TRANSFERRED
to other jars or STRONG WINE - SKINS (Mk 2:22), in which it
undergoes the SECONDARY FERMENTATION..."(emphasis mine).

So do you see how the new OINOS was wine that had gone through
the first violent stage of fermentation and was now being put
into strong new wine skins to undergo the secondary stage of
fermentation.It was at the end of 40 days that it was regarded as
properly "wine" and could be offered as a drink offering. See 
"Fermentation" in past studies.

THE BEST WINE?

In the account of Jesus attending a marriage feast as recorded by
John (ch.2:1-11), we see Him turning water into wine and the
governor of the feast calling this "the good wine" or the "best
wine" (v.10). Mr.Saunders would have us believe that this "best
wine" was unfermented GRAPE juice. He quotes from the ROMAN
writer Pliny as proof that Jesus turned water into grape juice
and not fermented wine. Pliny wrote, "Fresh grape juice, to make
it keep without fermenting, was boiled until it became thick,
like molasses, and in that form was stored away in large jars for
future use, to be eaten spread upon bread, or mixed and stirredup
in water to make a drink. When grape juice was boiled down to
one-third of its bulk to secure the finest flavor, it was called
'SAPA' (the BEST WINE)."

Mr. Saunders says, "This was unfermented wine, the 'best wine'
you could get. That's the kind Jesus made." (Should Christians
Drink Fermented Wine? page 19).

Let us look very carefully at this account of Jesus turning water
into wine. I want you to study attentively these comments by ADAM
CLARKE - the emphasis is his:

"...'But did not our Lord by this miracle minister to vice, by
producing an excess of inebriating liquor?' No; for the following
reasons: 1. The company was a select and holy company, where no
excess could be permitted. And, 2. Our Lord does not appear to
have furnished any EXTRA quantity, but only WHAT was necessary. 
But it is intimated in the text that the guests were NEARLY
INTOXICATED before this miraculous addition to their wine took
place; for the evangelist says, 'OTAN METHUSTHOOSI,' WHEN THEY
HAVE BECOME INTOXICATED. I answer: 1. It is not intimated, even
in the most indirect manner, that THESE guests were at all
intoxicated. 2. The words are not spoken of the persons at THAT
wedding at all: the governor of the feast only states that such
was the COMMON CUSTOM at feasts of this nature; without
intimating that any such custom prevailed there. 3. The original
word... signify not only to INEBRIATE, but to TAKE WINE, to DRINK
WINE, to DRINK ENOUGH: and in this sense the verb is evidently
used in the Septuagint, Gen.43:34; Cant.5:1; 1 Macc.16:16; Hag.
1:6; Ecclus.1:16..."(Clarke's Comm. Vol.3, p.527).

The basic word used in John 2:10 for "have well drunk"is METHUOO
it is a verb.
The verb is used of being intoxicated in Mat.24:49; Acts 2:15; 
1 Cor.11:21; 1 Thes.5:7b. (See Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT
Words,pages 331 and 333).

Using THE ANALYTICAL GREEK LEXICON in trasing the Greek word for
"have well drunk" we find that, Methusthoosi is from METHUSKOO
which is a verb meaning to inebriate, make drunk; to be
intoxicated, to drink freely. This word in turn is from METHUOO -
to be intoxicated, strong drink, be drunk. (See the above Lex.
page 261).

Do you see what we have found? I believe the KJV has a good
rendering with "have well drunk" for the word Methusthoosi, but
the very word itself in Greek refers to drinking well of an
intoxicating wine,a wine that will if drinking of it too well -
make you drunk! Now read again the above comment by Adam Clarke.

We will now turn our attention to the phrase "good wine" or 
"best wine ." The marriage feast Jesus was attending was a JEWISH
marriage not a Roman one. What the Roman Pliny had to say about
the phrase "best wine" as used by the Romans, MAY or MAY NOT be
the same as what the JEWS meant by this same phrase. Surely we
would be on safer ground to prove our point by knowing what the
Jews understood this to mean. I submit that "good wine" herein
used is the same as saying "old wine." Compare this section in
John with Luke 5:37-39. Now notice this comment by Adam Clarke on
Lk.5:39.

"...The OLD WINE, among the Rabbis, was THE WINE OF THREE LEAVES;
that is, wine three years old; because, from the time that the
vine had produced that wine, it had put forth its leaves three
times."

The Greek language has shown us that this "good wine" was
fermented - it was "old wine," about three years old, and was 
(as given in John) usually served FIRST at a Jewish marriage
feast. Then when the guests had well drunk of this fermented
OINOS (wine) the poorer, younger wine was served. But, as Adam
Clarke observed, "That which our Lord now made being perfectly
pure, and highly nutritive."

NOT OFFENDING PEOPLE?

To defend the teaching that a Christian should never drink an
alcoholic beverage, this argument is often put forth:
"But you may defend your drinking by saying, 'I have total
control of my drinking, I know when it's enough, and I can stop
at any time.' Well, that may, or may not be so. But, dear
commited Christian, according to Paul's exhortation, that is not
the criterion. Paul says you could cause a 'weak brother' to sin
(See 1 Cor.8:9-13; Rom.14:21) if he should follow your example
and become a drunkard. Here is another passage from Paul, the
apostle: 'All things are lawful for me, but all things are not
expedient, all things are lawful for me, but all things edify
not' (1 Cor.10:23).
I suggest this passage 'hits the nail on the head.' You see, we,
as free moral agents in a democratic society, have the privilege
of our own choices and doing as we wish, (except if we break a
law of our society. This would include drinking alcoholic
beverages under certain regulations), but, what Paul is saying is
that we are NOT FREE to do anything we wish. Paul continues,
'Let not one then seek his own good and advantage and profit, but
(rather let him seek the welfare of his neighbour) each one of
the other' (v.24, Amp. Ver.)"

The above was taken from "Should Christians Drink Fermented
Wine?" pages 16, 17.

The scriptures used in this argument are a part of the inspired
word of God. They are true and should be followed within the
scope of how Paul was meaning them. Was Paul meaning that a
Christian should NEVER at any time or place have a fermented
drink because some other Christian whom he did not know, had
never seen, and was not present, might be offended? Was Paul
saying that a Christian should NEVER at any time or place eat
meat, or food offered to an idol, because some other Christian
whom he had never seen, did not know, and was not present, might
be offended?
Let's take the logic of the above argument about not drinking
alcohol and apply it to some other things in life that some
people and some groups take as very important in being a
Christian.

Some large Christian organizations believe that MAKE-UP 
(lipstick, eye coloring etc.) is SIN - that a Christian woman
should not use such evil things. Now should another Christian
woman who is not a part of this belief and sees no evil in
makeup, not use makeup at all - never, because she may pass on
the street a Christian woman whom she knows not, but is from the
group that thinks makeup is evil? Many religious (and otherwise
people) are VEGETARIANS - some feel they have Biblical evidence
to uphold their 'no meat' diet. Now should another Christian who
does not hold such views, never at any time eat meat? Should he
never eat meat at home, at a friend's home, or at the restaurant,
incase another 'no meat' Christian that he does not know, has
never seen before, should come along and seeing him eat meat, be
offended? Some Christian organizations teach it is UN-Christian
to wear GOLD, PEARLS and costly apparel. Should the Christian who
does not hold such convictions, never at any time wear jewelry or
expensive clothes, because they may pass on the street or ride
next to on the bus, a 'no gold no pearls' Christian that they do
not know is a Christian holding such beliefs? There are some who
dress all in BLACK as they practice their Christianity, now am I
to do the same because I may walk by somewhere, one of these
individuals and I do not want to offend him? Can I never at any
time, cut my lawn on Sunday, because my Catholic neighbour who
lives three blocks away and I do not know, may believe I'm
breaking his sabbath day? Examples like this are endless!

Of course Paul is not teaching that we can be ALL THINGS to ALL
PEOPLE at ALL TIMES. If we do not take ourselves out of society,
it would be MENTALLY and PHYSICALLY an impossibility to act,
dress, eat, drink etc. etc. so not to offend ANYONE. Someone
somewhere is sure to not approve of something you are saying or
doing.

Read again these verses in Rom.14:21; 1 Cor.8:9-13; 10:23, but
now read them in CONTEXT within the chapter.
Now do you see? Paul was talking about SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES and
SPECIFIC persons whom you DID KNOW or would come to you and say
they were offended by what you were doing. Many would be "weak in
the faith" (not understanding all that God taught on a specific
subject in His word) or new members in the Church of God, and
may, because of their former upbringing, background or training,
be OFFENDED at what you knew was your liberty in the Lord. Then
under THOSE SITUATIONS Paul says DO NOT USE YOUR LIBERTY - as
long as the situation lasts, as long as you are with, or when you
are with, that person or persons that would be offended at you
eating 'meat,' or 'drinking wine,' or 'eating food offered to
idols' or anything where by their conscience is defiled or made
weak - DO NOT BE SELFISH, do not use your LIBERTY, do not DESTROY
your BROTHER (church brother, physical brother, personal friend)
with that which is your liberty to do and which does not defile
your conscience. Paul is teaching us to be considerate of the
feelings and beliefs of others WHEN WE KNOW THEM and when KEEPING
COMPANY WITH THEM or when THEY TELL US THEY ARE OFFENDED.

I have a number of Seventh Day Adventists as friends. I know
their feelings - they do not drink any alcohol ever. When they
visit with me I never serve any type of wine or alcoholic
beverage as I know this would offend them. Some do not eat meat
at any time or on any occasion. When they come over for a meal
with I never serve meat - I will make some very delicious
vegetarian dishes so they are not offended. If I had a neighbour
who would be offended at my cutting the lawn on Sunday, I would
cut it on some other day. 

I think you should now get the picture.

DRINKING AND DRIVING?

The high speed automobile was not around in Abraham's, Moses', or
Jesus' day.
In those days they did not have to think about whether 'drinking
and driving' mixed, but we today DO!! The Lord says "come let us
reason together" - the Spirit of the Lord is a Spirit of "a sound
mind." God's word is not a text book on science, surgery,
automobile repairs or hundreds of other technical arts. God's
word is a text book of the basic laws of life that will produce
health and happiness in our physical life and is an instruction
book of how to obtain everlasting life. Some of these laws are
ETERNAL - never changing under any generation or age. Some of
God's instructions are within what you would call "the liberty of
the Lord" - the Lord allows us to DO or NOT DO certain things and
still be within His law and grace, such as eating meat or not
eating eat. Some of these allowences and principles must also be
used with LOVE and WISDOM within the context of the circumstances
of any particular time, as we have seen in the above section of
not offending people in specific situations.

The drinking and driving circumstance is within the context of a
particular time - the age when the automobile is a reality - when
the human mind that God gave us together with FACTS tell us that
the automobile can be a deadly weapon when driven by someone who
has, in some cases, only had a few drinks of alcohol. Through
much study and research many countries have instituted laws as to
what they consider is the safe amount of alcohol that a person
can have in their blood and still be a SAFE and RESPONSIBLE
DRIVER. This is using the mind and scientific ability that the
Lord endowed us with to a RIGHT and GOOD purpose, applied to a
circumstance that is relatively new to mankind, that of drinking
alcohol and driving an automobile. WE SHOULD HEED THIS KNOWLEDGE
AND THIS LAW OF OUR LAND!! The world cries out "Do not drink and
drive." ANY responsible person, SHOULD TAKE HEED AND OBEY THAT
INSTRUCTION - IT IS WISDOM! It is sound mindedness based on true
research, knowledge and facts.

The Lord gave us wine and strong drink FOR OUR ENJOYMENT, to make
glad our hearts, to make His Festivals times of physical as well
as spiritual delight, to make the marriage feast brim full of
happiness, to lift the mind and heart of the down cast, to use
as a health tonic. Wine and strong drink are for times of
RELAXATION and NOT when you are going to take a DEADLY WEAPON
into your hands. And an automobile IS A DEADLY WEAPON! Thousands
of people are killed every year on our highways by automobiles,
WHEN THEY ARE QUITE SOBER!! IT IS A VERY SERIOUS RESPONSIBILITY
TO DRIVE AN AUTOMOBILE - ANY TIME .

The Lord has allowed us to invent the horseless carriage (even
they could be dangerous). The automobile like the horse drawn
carriage is NOT SIN OF AND BY ITSELF. Likewise, alcohol is not
sin of and by itself (though some will teach it is) as God's word
has shown us, but it must be used CAREFULLY and with
SELF-CONTROL. So it must also be with the automobile, it should
be used with care and with self-control. And as the world has
proven beyond any reasonable doubt - the two do not mix.

DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE!!

ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, AND DRUGS?

Mr.Saunders in his booklet writes, "... Mr. Rowe... though he
acknowledges the evils of drunkeness, he argues that a 'moderate
amount of alcohol won't hurt you, nor is it wrong for Christians
to drink alcoholic beverages moderately.' If this be true, can it
not be argued that using tobacco 'moderately' is not wrong? And
how about a 'moderate dose of drugs? ..." (page 27).

Well if we want to speak about "drug" in general, then, I will
point out to you that there are a number of books on the market
written by doctors that admit and state that ALL DRUGS 
(manmade pharmacist chemical drugs) ARE TOXIC, that is POISONOUS
to some extent. Some are more poisonous than others. ALL have
SIDE EFFECTS to one degree or the other. The MEDICINE profession
has come a long long way from its founding father HIPPOCRATES who
said, "Food must be our medicine, and our medicine must be our
food." 

As for TOBACCO, it is not specifically mentioned in the word of
God, but then a lot of other substances that people want to take
into their bodies are not mentioned either, such as TEA or COFFEE
or PEPSI-COLA. We again must use our minds in a logical way
together with what scientific information may come our way, to
determine whether we should deliberately take into our bodies
certain substances. It has never to me seemed very logical to
inhale smoke. This deduction of mine was probably due to my many
camp-fire cookings I experienced as a Boy-Scout when growing up.
Now we have mountains of factual and research data that show
smoking tobacco is very detramental to your health and our bodies
well being.

The word of God plainly says that our bodies are the temple of
the Holy Spirit and if we defile that temple - if we practice a
way of life that leads to destroying our mind or body, God will
destroy us. He does expect us to physically take care of His
temple. A Christian should not take poisons into God's temple. A
Christian should not smoke tobacco even in moderation just as
they should not take strong toxic drugs even in moderation, for
the evidence of the bad effects of these outweigh by far any so
called 'good' that some claim they have on the body, the nerves
or the mind. 

But such is not the case for the moderate use of wine, beer or
the Biblical strong drink. God's word endorses that last sentence
and modern scientific research is ever proving the Eternals word
as accurate.

Wine is now proven to be healthy for you, of course used in
moderation. For it is also proven that many "good things" over-
done, can become harmful to you.

IN CONCLUSION

David Wilkerson (author of the best-seller "The Cross and the
Switchblade") has had intimate contact with countless people,
mostly teen-agers, whose lives have been ruined by drugs and
alcohol. He has written a small book called, "Sipping Saints" in
which he competently exposes the dreadful and tragic results of
alcoholism. While I can also deplore the abuse of alcohol by the
young or the old, and shout just as loud as Mr.Wilkerson against
drunkeness and alcohol addiction, I find that David Wilkerson has
followed the oath that so many others have trod when talking or
writing about this subject. Lots of GLANDULAR EMOTION and very
little scholarly research into ascertaining what the word of God
truly says.

I find Mr.Wilkerson's emotional outbursts against those
Christians who do not hold his "no Christian should drink
alcohol" attitude, very unbecoming to say the least and possibly
very offensive to many self-controlled Christian drinkers. Some
of his statements are:

"Who drinks beverage alcohol. Those whose hearts are in revolt
against emptiness ... Those whose spiritual minds are out of
joint ... Those who have not yet fastened onto a higher love ...
The need for alcohol originates with unfulfilled spiritual  
desires. Artificial stimulation becomes a crutch for weak
Christians who have not learned to tap the inner river of life
that flows from God's Holy Spirit ... Why is drinking an    
irresponsible act for any true Christian? Because the machinery
of a spiritual heart can run on nothing less than holy oil! ...
The only responsible drinking I know is drinking from the
fountain of life in Jesus Christ! ... Only impaired spirits need
stimulants of any kind ... "

As I have always been a methodical thinker, one who has always
tried to "prove all things" by getting as much information and
facts on any doctrine as possible before arriving at a
conclusion, I find the name calling, down grading and disparging
comments of Mr.Wilkinson very distainful. I do not know how he
hopes to win others to his way of thinking with such remarks,
unless they are ones who are just as glandularly emotional as he
is himself with regards to this topic. I ask those who are
hungering for truth and righteousness not to let human feelings
and emotions on this topic of alcohol rule their mind. But to do
as the wise Bareans did when Paul preached to them, "....They
received the word with all readiness of mind, and SEARCHED THE
SCRIPTURES DAILY, whether those things were so. Therefore many of
them BELIEVED..."(Acts 17:11,12).

REMEMBER IT IS NOT MAN'S WORD, BUT GOD'S WORD THAT IS TRUTH 
(John 17:17).

                             .................

Written in 1985


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