Drinking Part 2
WINE: MIXED OR FULL STRENGTH?
Historical data concerning the making and use of wine by the Jews and other nations in the Biblical world indicate that it was a. often unfermented b. normally mixed with water.
The previous articles discussed one of the processes used in keeping freshly squeezed grape juice in a sweet and unfermented state. This article discusses two other processes of dealing with grapes, preparatory to mixing them with water.
(1) One method was to dehydrate the grapes to a proper point, sprinkle them with olive oil to keep them moist, and store them in earthenware jars (Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, V.882; see also Columella, "On Agriculture", 12.33.1-8). A very sweet grape beverage could be made from these stored grapes at any time by later adding water and steeping of boiling them. Polybius indicated that the Roman women were allowed to drink this kind of grape beverage, but were forbidden to drink fermented wine (see Polybius, "Fragments, 6.4; cf. Pliny, 14.11.81).
(2) Another method was to boil freshly squeezed grape juice until it became a thick paste or syrup (grape honey); this process made it storable, removed any intoxicating quality because of the high concentration of sugar and preserved its sweetness (see Columella, "On Agriculture", 12.19.1-6 and 20.1-8; Pliny, "Natural History", 14.11.80). This was then stored in large jars or skins. The paste could be used as a jam for their bread or dissolved in water to make grape juice once again (Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, V.882-884). "It is probable that the grape wwas largely cultivated as a source of sugar: the juice expressed in the 'wine press' was reduced by boiling to a liquid ...known as 'grape honey'" (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia of the Bible, V.3050). References to honey in the Bible frequently refer to grape honey (called "debash" by the Jews) rather than to the honey of the bee.
(3) Water, then, could be mixed with dehydrated grapes and with grape syrup, as well as with fermented wine. Greek and Roman authors gave various ratios that were used. Homer (Odyssey. IX.208f) mentions a ratio of twenty parts water to one part wine. Plutarch (Sumposiacs, III.ix) states, "We call a mixture “wine,”although the larger of the component parts is water." Pliny (Natural History,14.6.54) mentions a ratio of eight parts water to one part wine.
(4) Among Jewish people in Bible times, social and religious customs mandated never serving unmixed wine, especially if it was fermented. The Talmud (a Jewish work that describes the traditions of Judaism from about 200 BC to AD 200) discusses in several tractates the mixture of water and wine (e.g. Shabbath 77a; Pesahim 1086). Some Jewish rabbis insisted that unless fermented wine was mixed with three parts of water, it could not be blessed and would defile the drinker. Others demanded that ten parts of water must be mixed with one part of fermented wine before it could be acceptable.
(5) An interesting passage emerges in the book of Revelation: when speaking of "the wine of the wrath of God," an angel declares that it will be "without mixture," i.e., full strength (Rev. 14:10); see Jer. 25:15). It was stated in this way because the readers normally would expect all grape beverages to be mixed with water (John 2:3)
In summary, then, the normal uses of wine by Jews in Biblical days were not the same as today, It was:
a. grape juice freshly squeezed
b. grape juice preserved
c. juice from dried grapes
d. grape wine made from grape syrup and water
e. unfermented or fermented stored wine diluted with water at a ratio as high as 20 to 1.
If the wine was fermented and served unmixed, it was considered barbaric, defiling, and incapable of being blessed by the rabbis. In the light of these facts, it is impossible to defend the modern-day practice of drinking alcoholic beverages on the basis of the Jews' use of wine in Biblical times. They are clearly not the same. Furthermore, Christians of Biblical days exercised a more careful attitude towards various kinds of wines than did the Jews (Rom 14:21; 1 Thes.5:6; 1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 2:2—historical/documental notes can/will be provided as requested)
Drinking Part 3
JESUS GLORY MANIFESTED THROUGH WINE
In his second chapter, John records that Jesus made "wine" out of water at Cana. The question is, "What kind of wine?" As we have seen, it could be fermented or unfermented, full strength or diluted. We must determine our answer to this question by contextual implication and moral likelihood. The position of this study Bible is that Jesus made wine (oinos) that was pure unfermented grape juice. The following data support this conclusion and give strong reasons for rejecting the opinion that Jesus made intoxicating wine.
(1) The primary object of this miracle was to "manifest forth His glory" (John 2:11) in such a way as to induce personal faith and confidence in Him as the holy and righteous Son of God who came to save people from their sin (2:11; Mat. 1:21). To suggest that Christ showed forth His deity as the One and Only Son of the Father (John 1:14) by miraculously creating gallons of intoxicating wine for a drunken party (note 2:10, which implies that the people had already drunk freely), and that this was immensely important to His Messianic mission, requires an irreverence few are willing to display. it would testify more to the honor of God, and the honor and glory of Christ, to believe that He supernaturally created the same juices of the grape that God makes annually through the process of His natural created order. (see John 2:3, note). This miracle, therefore, points to Christ's sovereignty over the natural world and becomes a symbol of His power to transform sinful people spiritually into children of God (John 3:1-15). Because of this miracle "we beheld His glory, the glory as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14; 2:11).
(2) It is contrary to Scriptural revelation concerning the perfect obedience of Christ to his heavenly Father (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:22) to suppose that He disobeyed the Father's moral command, "look not thou upon the wine when it is red... when it moveth itself aright," i.e. when it is fermented (Prov. 23:31, note). Indeed, Christ came to fulfill the law (Mat. 5:17) and would have supported the Biblical passage which condemns intoxicating wine as "a mocker" and "raging" (see Prov. 20:1, note) and the words of Hab. 2:15 "Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink... and makest him drunken" (Lev. 10:8-11; Num. 6:1-5; Deut. 21:20; Prov. 31:4-7; Is. 28:7; Amos 2:8,12; 4:1; 6:6; Rom. 14:13,21). Check these verses out, these show us about: different kinds of wine, and what the Lord God said about wine.
(3) Furthermore, note the following modern medical evidence. a. Current leading medical experts on human birth defects have found unmistakable evidence that moderate alcoholic consumption is damaging to the reproductive systems of women of children bearing age, causing miscarriages and births of babies with incurable mental and physical defects, World authorities on early embryology maintain that women who drink even moderate amounts of alcohol around the time of conception (a 48-hour time period) risk damaging the chromosomes of an egg preparing to leave the ovary and hence, causing disastrous results to the mental and physical development of the infant. b. It would be theologically absurd to maintain that Jesus served and encouraged the use of alcoholic beverages at a wedding which included many women as well as the young bride with the possibilities of her immediate conception. To maintain that He did not know of the potential terrible effects of intoxicating drink on unborn children is to call into question His deity, wisdom, and discernment of good and evil. To maintain that He knew of the potential harm and disfiguring results of alcohol, and yet promoted and encouraged its use, is to call into question His goodness, compassion, and love.
The only sound conclusion rationally, Biblically, and theologically is that the wine which Christ made at the wedding in order to manifest His glory was pure, sweet, unfermented fruit of the vine -- just as the one that He used in the last supper.
SOURCE: Full Life Study Bible, King James Version (p. 1538 and p. 1594)
Always encouraging to be given a pass on something as socially destructive as alcohol. Science has now learned that even moderate alcohol usage can lead to 5 different types of cancer in the body. We also know alcohol does in fact kill brain cells and is being looked at a possible source of dementia and memory lost in older people.
Scripture talks of wine but the wine of scripture was not the wine of today. Scripture does condemn hard drink (alcohol). So lets us be careful what we give a pass to. Many look for justification to their problem drinking by saying even scripture is silent (which it is not!)
Romans 11:33 (NLT)
33 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
Scripture tells us it is impossible to explain God's ways yet we are often confronted by quotes by men that attempt to do just that.
Throughout history we have seen learned scholars, people with high intellect, men and women blessed with flawless human logic that were proven wrong when they tried to explain God and God's ways.
How wise and learned were those that were sure the earth was the center of universe? They even went to the extreme of putting to death those that opposed that teaching, yet now we know how very wrong they were.
I believe many today are just as wrong as they try to explain or limit how the Holy Spirit will function among God's people.
Who among us can explain why one person is born into disease and dies never experiencing anything but pain while others are born normal and many times live and die escaping all pain?
Why do many depend on intellect, logic and deny experience of others requiring experiencing it themselves before they will believe?
Yet they often insure that all chances for them to experience it is never utilized or allowed to happen.
They are like a person that refuses to believe the sensations another has experienced on a roller coaster saying that is impossible that is not how Roller Coasters work. Then refuse to get on the Roller Coaster themselves?
I fully understand human can be deceived and misled by emotion/experience, however when the experience serve God's purpose, when it confirms God's word, when it glorifies Jesus Christ who are we to say that is not of God?
God's ways are different than man's, the Holy Spirit can function as He chooses but always remains within the boundaries set by scripture. Who can deny that?
Why deny that? Because it conflicts with man's intellect or wisdom? Does it seem illogical? Is it hard to believe?
Isn't God's love for us His children even more illogical? Even harder to believe? Flies in the face of man's intellect?
Enough of the quotes and commentaries that limit the Holy Spirit to man's understanding, logic and sense of proper behavior.
God is God it is time to allow Him to be God to us.
"Beginning in Ephesians 4:17, Paul's main concern in outlining the practical results of faith in Jesus is to remind us that life as Christians is unlike life as unredeemed people. Holiness and the pursuit of God's will must characterize God's people, not falsehood, sexual immorality, theft, malice, covetousness, and foolishness (Eph. 4:17–5:17). Such ungodliness, if engaged in impenitently, leads finally to destruction, but Spirit-animated love, truth, and goodness strengthen us in Christ, restoring us to wholeness (Eph. 3:14–21; 4:15–16; see also 1 Cor. 8:1; 2 Peter 2).
"The apostle's contrast between life in Christ and life as a citizen of this unbelieving world means that his contrast between drunkenness and life in the Spirit is not an abrupt shift in his thinking. Drunkenness is one of the many destructive impulses of the Gentiles (unbelievers); thus, it is inconsistent for those who profess Christ to drink excessively. Like the rest of Scripture, Paul does not forbid alcohol consumption altogether. God's Word permits the wise use of alcohol, but it forbids drinking to the point of intoxication (Ps. 104:14–15; Prov. 23:20–21; Rom. 13:13).
"Being filled with too much alcohol leads to drunkenness and destruction. Being filled with the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, results in sobriety and edification. When the apostle exhorts us to be filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18, he is not teaching that those in Christ get a measure of the Holy Spirit that comes and goes at will. The Spirit seals every believer until the day of redemption, and He does not leave us (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). Given the book of Ephesians' stress on the work of the triune God in salvation and on the fullness of Christ (1:15–23; 3:14–19), Paul's stress on being filled with the Spirit points to our need to be conformed to God's own character. The Holy Spirit exists in perfect, indivisible union with the Father and Son, and He is the agent by which God's fullness indwells His people. We now experience a taste of this fullness in part, though we do not yet fully enjoy the communion with the Lord that will be ours when are glorified. To be filled with the Spirit is to yield ourselves willingly to His sanctifying work as He prepares us for that final day. In so doing, our union with Christ is strengthened, our fellowship with the Father is enhanced, and we increasingly bear the image of God Himself."
See also Psalm 149; Habakkuk 3:17-19; Galatians 5; Colossians 3
What the author fails to mention that there are two distinct differences between being spirit lead and claiming to be spirit lead.
True leading will not take a believer outside the boundaries set by scripture.
While those only claiming to be to be spirit lead often stray outside those boundaries.
Because of this many want to deny the possibility that there is more to true Christianity than what they possess. Their relationship with God is one of silence where God only talks to them through His written word. They miss the fact God will and does verbally converse with us through His spirit. They fail to trust scripture that says the spirit will lead, will teach, will be a real companion.
They only see the abuses because they never have the real relationship that takes man beyond acting like a Christian and being a Christian. They let their fear of being deceived over ride the promised gift of discerning spirit. They focus on the abuses so common in anything man is involved in and lose sight of what of the possibilities of a spirit led being. Thankful the Apostle's did not do this. Is that say they were always on track? No many times the had to be brought into correction. ( Paul and Peter)
Today we have very specific boundaries provided for us, scripture does that today.
The important thing to remember is not to seek the manifestations of the Holy Spirit but instead to develop a 2 way relationship with the Holy Spirit in which the individual has yielded his will to God.
Sad commentary where the author focuses on the possible abuses and fails to talk about about the real capabilities of living a Spirit Filled a Life. How sad!
"What good is it, my brothers, if a man CLAIMS to have faith, but has no deeds? Can such "faith" save him? (vs. 14)
2. REAL FAITH IS NOT JUST SOMETHING YOU FEEL.
"Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed, but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?" (vs. 15-16)
"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?" 1 John 3:17 Also 3:14-16, 4:7-20
3. REAL FAITH IS NOT JUST SOMETHING YOU THINK.
"But someone will say, You have faith - I have deeds. SHOW ME your faith without deeds, and I will SHOW YOU my faith by what I do." (vs. 18)
2 Cor. 5:17
4. REAL FAITH IS NOT JUST SOMETHING YOU BELIEVe.
"You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder!" (vs. 19)
5. REAL FAITH IS SOMETHING YOU DO.
Illustrations: Two very different people
* Abraham (vs. 20-24)
* Rahab (vs. 25)
2 Cor. 13:5 "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves."
Teaching I came across author unknown or long forgotten.
"The Reformers called this 'enthusiasm' (literally, 'God-within-ism') because it made the external Word of Scripture subservient to the inner word supposedly spoken by the Spirit today within the individual or the church. In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul's letter-Spirit contrast refers to the law apart from the gospel as a 'ministry of death' and the gospel as the Spirit's means of justifying and regenerating sinners. Gnostics, enthusiasts, and mystics throughout the ages, however, have interpreted the apostle's terms as a contrast between the text of Scripture ('letter') and inner spiritual knowledge ('spirit').
"If only it were that easy to identify the 'two sects' in our day. Tragically, 'enthusiasm' has become one of the dominant ways of undermining the sufficiency of Scripture, and it is evident across the spectrum. Rome has consistently insisted that the letter of Scripture requires the living presence of the Spirit speaking through the Magisterium. Anabaptists and Pietists have emphasized a supposedly immediate, direct, and spontaneous work of the Spirit in our hearts apart from creaturely means. Enlightenment philosophers and liberal theologians -- almost all of whom were reared in Pietism -- resurrected the radical Anabaptist interpretation of 'letter' versus 'spirit.' 'Letter' came to mean the Bible (or any external authority), while 'spirit' was equivalent not to the Holy Spirit but to our own inner spirit, reason, or experience. By the mid-twentieth century, the synods and general assemblies even of denominations historically tied to the Reformation began to speak of the Scriptures as an indispensable record of the pious experiences, reflections, rituals, beliefs, and lives of saints in the past, while what we really need in this hour is to 'follow the Spirit' wherever he/she/it may lead us. And we now know where this spirit has led these erstwhile churches; but it is the spirit of the age, not the Spirit of Christ, that has taken them there.
"William Placher finely described this broad tendency in modern faith and practice as the 'domestication of transcendence.' In other words, it is not that revelation, inspiration, and authority are denied, but that the surprising, disorienting, and external voice of God is finally transformed into the 'relevant,' uplifting, and empowering inner voice of our own reason, morality, and experience.
"Such domestication of transcendence means that the self—or the 'community' (whatever name it goes by) -- is protected from the surprising, disorienting, and judging speech of our Creator. Yet this also means that we cannot be saved, since faith comes by hearing God speak his Word of salvation in his Son (Rom. 10:17). This is not something that bubbles up within us, either as pious individuals or as the holy church, but as a Word that comes to us. It is not a familiar Word, but a strange and unsettling speech that strips us of our moral pretenses, overturns our most intuitive assumptions, disturbs our activistic programs. Basically, we are told to stop talking to ourselves as if we were hearing the voice of God. Through the lips of other sinful messengers, we are put on the receiving end of our identity. We do not discover our 'higher selves' but are told who we really are: treasonous image-bearers of God; we do not find our bearings 'in Adam' toward a fuller sense of inner peace and security but are driven out of ourselves to Christ, who clothes us in His righteousness.
"While the church is not the master of the text, it is the amphitheater in which the Word creates the reality of which it speaks, the place where a valley of dry bones becomes a resurrected community (Ezek. 37). Just as we come to God with empty hands to receive Christ in salvation, we come to his Word as hearers rather than as judges and lords. Yet even this emptying of our hands is the judging and liberating work of a God who is too gracious to let us have the last word."
--Michael S. Horton from his essay "Church of the Word or Word of the Church?"
"The law of the Lord our God that was handed down to His people through Moses is partly ethical, partly sacrificial, and partly political (ἠθική, ἱερᾱτική, and πολῑτῐκή, respectively). The ethical portion shows in what way each person must be disposed of both toward God most of all, then toward his neighbor. And so, as it stands in judgment upon us for condemnation [Romans 7:8] in our own persons because of the accompanying threatenings joined to it that are against those who have transgressed the law even at the smallest point, so in Christ, who has been made our righteousness by most abundantly fulfilling the law for us at the same time as has he has also satisfied the penalties we owed, the law is so far from harming us that, on the contrary, in Christ, who is laid hold of by faith, we are absolved from its condemnation, we gain the crown which the law promises to those who keep it, and the law itself shows to us who are sanctified by the Spirit of the gospel the path of the good and straight road [Romans 8:21].
"The sacrificial law consists in that internal worship which we owe to God, as a kind of picture offered to our external senses. In addition to this, it trained the Israelites in the external profession of true religion add demonstrated to the people of God, under the tutelage (pedagogia. See Galatians 3:24) He established, the true image both of condemnation, which all men earn because of their transgression of the moral law, and of that freedom which was awaited from the Messiah to come [Hebrews 10:1].
"The political law shows what profit the moral law is in the common society of men and arms the magistrate against its transgressors [2 Kings 21:8]. These laws indeed occur in a scattered fashion, as they have been handed down by God in various times and places. As Moses, in addition, does not describe them with the same tender, they seem to me not inconveniently distributed into these categories and can be, as it were, assembled into one unit." --Theodore Beza (1519-1605) from his A Clear and Simple Treatise on the Lord's Supper