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"Alcohol" continued...

The governor of the feast also pointed out that the taste was of good wine, aka fresh wine. The word for “good” here was not the general Greek term for good. It was the word kalos, which means “morally excellent or befitting.” Intoxicating wine would most definitely not live up to this description. The taste of fresh wine was preferred by many, and people liked that it did not make them inebriated. First-century Greek biographer Plutarch shared this known sentiment that unfermented wine was “much more pleasant to drink.” Plus, this wine Jesus created was not of this world, not made of earthly grapes. It was Kingdom wine, and we are not going to get drunk in heaven!

Didn’t Jesus say that old wine is better than new wine?

We must be careful to understand the context of scripture. Jesus did use wine in a parable concerning the Old and New Covenant. He did not approve of drinking old or intoxicating wine but pointed out its inferiority and habit forming quality.

“37 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. 38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. 39 No man also having drunk old [wine] straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.” (Luke 5:37-39)

This was a lesson about law and faith. If a person was to put new wine into an old bottle/skin, the yeast from the old wine would make the new wine ferment quickly. It is likely that the new wine was trying to be preserved as grape juice. The expansion from fermentation could cause either new or worn out skins to burst. Faith of the New Covenant is represented by the new wine; while the law of the Old Covenant is represented by the old wine. You cannot put faith into the worn out old system. The Gospel of new wine could not be put into the Pharisees’ corrupt nature, because they would corrupt or ferment it. The Jewish people did not “straightway desireth new” wine, because they were addicted to the old intoxicating wine of the law. Jesus taught that the new unfermented wine (Covenant) is better. This parable was in no way endorsing the consumption of old wine.

Testimony

My father began drinking alcohol when he was twenty-one years old and never stopped until he died at the age of forty-two. I have no idea what a normal father is supposed to be like. Mine was a mean drunk who cursed and beat us throughout our childhood. Our main goals were to endure and escape. By the time I was twelve, I was shoplifting, drinking alcohol, and smoking weed. Three years later, I found myself in jail. That was the moment I decided to clean up my act. Since I did not know the LORD, the best thing I could do was self-reformation. Several years later the Lord imposed Himself on my life. I was regenerated. This life-altering event solved the perplexing riddle of my soul and set in motion the call of God, which has since defined my life.
Rick Thomas
The Counseling Solutions Group

Didn’t Jesus drink wine at the Last Supper?

“27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 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 26:27-29)

Do you notice anything interesting about this passage? Take note that the word “wine” is never used. It is actually never used in any of the references to the Last Supper. The drink is represented by the word “cup” or “fruit of the vine.” This Passover meal was to be free from leaven or corruption. Seor, the Hebrew word for leaven, literally meant “the sourer.” It was anything that caused fermentation. The reference to unleavened bread in Exodus 13:7 can even be translated unfermented things. Alcoholic wine would obviously not be free from corruption. If this wine was to represent the blood of Christ, what sense would it make to use fermented wine? Jesus’ sacrifice was acceptable, because His life was without corruption. His blood was represented by the fruit of the vine, fresh unfermented grape juice.

There is no reason to believe that Jesus drank fermented wine because of His Jewish heritage. As a High Priest and King, He was commanded to abstain in His duties. In addition, history shows that there was no preference or uniformity to the wine used at Passover and other Jewish festivals. It could be fermented or unfermented. The Books of Moses do not command it to be fermented wine, and each Rabbi’s interpretation of extra-biblical Jewish laws varied greatly. There is not even a consensus among all Jews today about the type of wine to be used. In modern times, boiled raisin wine is commonly used at Passover. Modern Orthodox Jews, who are conservative in their beliefs, generally use unfermented wine. On the flip side, the more liberal Reformed Jews typically use fermented wine.

Many options were available for the wine used at Passover. The Jewish people had a habit of using boiled gum wine, grape juice from storage, and fresh squeezed grapes that had been preserved. Though fermented wine was used at times, the previous options did not contain alcohol. Old fermented wine was more of a challenge to store than grape juice. Alcoholic wine could be difficult to maintain without bacteria ruining the supply. As mentioned before, fermented wine would have been contrary to the command to remove all leaven for Passover. Jesus would also have kept Himself from alcohol to always remain clear minded and an example to others. He even refused alcohol that was offered to numb His pain while going to the cross (Matthew 27:34). His mind had to remain focused on the task at hand and to minister to those around Him, like the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43). If we are to be like our Lord, we need to remain sober. Why would we want to endanger our service with alcohol?

Aren’t their passages that describe alcohol in a positive manner?

Again, it is important to look at the original word used in the Bible and the context of its usage. Psalm 104:14-15 says “14 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; 15 And wine [that] maketh glad the heart of man, [and] oil to make [his] face to shine, and bread [which] strengtheneth man’s heart.”

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