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The Christian and Alcohol-Wine or Juice in Cana?

In my writing on the subject: The Christian and Alcohol. I think I touched the point about Jesus and the scene at the wedding of Cana. I repeat what I had before: “The water that Jesus changed into wine at the wedding of Cana was pure grape juice. It was’ ‘that juice of the bunch’ ‘which Scripture says:’ Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing there.’ (Isaiah 65: 8)  It was the Spirit of the Lord who gave this warning to the Israelites in Proverbs 20: 1 in these words: “The wine is mocking, the strong drinks are tumultuous; Anyone who makes the excess is not wise.” Satan leads men to pleasures that obscure reason and moral sense, but Christ teaches us to control ourselves. Jesus never gives alcohol. The Lord Jesus Christ never places before men what could be an object of temptation. His entire life was an example of self-denial. During his forty-day fast, he put himself to the most terrible test that the man could endure, and that to break the power of the appetite. Note that Jesus never contradicted his teachings.

Was It Juice or Wine?

The unfermented wine he made at the wedding of Cana was a healthy and refreshing drink. It is this kind of wine that he and his disciples used at the First Supper. It is this same wine (pure grape juice, not fermented, nor alcoholic) that was always to be placed on the holy table, to symbolize the blood of the Savior. As this sacrament is meant to vivify the soul, the symbols employed must be above reproach. Anyway, I will illustrate and compare this Bible passage with other Bible texts as well. Many times in the Bible, the word “wine” was used Bible. We will, therefore, use the biblical context according to the original writings of the texts in Hebrews, Aramaic, Greek.

The Christian and Alcohol in Biblical TimesGrape juice a beverage for Christians

In stopping over the question of wine in biblical times, it is well known that grape juice was a valuable commodity in Middle Eastern society, and a convenience well appreciated in Bible times. Not having access to all the modern groceries, the old ones savored all the commodities provided in the Promised Land and its surroundings. Grape juice or the fruit of the vine was particularly appreciated for its exquisite taste and for its source of cooling so useful in these desert climates: “The bunches of grapes grew abundantly in Palestine, and the Hebrews devoted so much of their time to their vines than they did for all other forms of agriculture … “(Merrill Tenney, JI Packer, and William White, The Bible Almanac, 266). As such a vital and important commodity for the peoples of the Middle East, it is important to understand the particularities of their consumption and their habits concerning fermented beverages. In the following lines, we will attempt to describe the essential differences between the biblical perspective of these drinks and the modern perspective that the Christian possesses today, centuries after the discovery of the process of distilling alcohol. To better explore the subject: of WINE IN THE BIBLE, let us put ourselves in the shoes of the inhabitants of Palestine at that time, and understand their practices regarding wine and alcoholic beverages adequately (compare with 2 Corinthians 2:17).

Biblical Wine Was a Generic Term

Let us begin with this first particularity of the biblical experience of wine: contrary to our modern perspective, the biblical terms translated “wine” and “strong drinks” in the Scriptures are broad terms with several different meanings. These are generic terms that describe any product of the vine, fermented or not. In other words, when a word is translated “wine” in our modern versions, it describes original terms that meant either fermented wine or simply unfermented grape juice, an intoxicating drink, or a non-alcoholic beverage. It is therefore very important to keep this distinction in mind when considering Bible teaching on the subject. Here is what a generic term is: “A generic word is a word that is in general, that is common and inclusive in its meaning and definition. A generic word is not a specific, unique or selective term “(Wikipedia, Generic). A generic term is a term that belongs to the genre rather than the specific: ‘Path’ is the generic term for roads, streets, trails … (The Robert Micro, Generic).

What Does the Bible Say About The Christians and Alcohol?
Do The Christian and Alcohol go hand by hand?

Similarly, the biblical terms that are usually translated as “wine” or “strong drink” are generic terms. It is, therefore, necessary to analyze the biblical text carefully to know whether it describes a fermented drink or not. Thus, we will be honest with the scriptures. Note: It should be noted in passing, as we will see in a later section, that the French and even English versions do not always do justice to the original terms. This can become an obstacle to a proper interpretation of the question of the wine of the Bible. A tip: … To fully understand the text of the Bible, written between 19 and 40 centuries before our time, we must also look for the meaning of words and sentences taking into account their original meaning, as well as the context in which they lie. Honesty dictates that we interpret the Scriptures with the eyes, taste, and uses of the ancients, and not with our modern eyes, tastes, and usages. ” Misery and delusion come when most readers of the Bible, knowing only the current wine of commerce, which is intoxicating, jump to the conclusion that wine is wine all over the world, and as our wine is fermented, then the wine mentioned in the Bible is intoxicating, and there is no other.

Christian and Alcohol in the Sense of Biblical Words

What is the meaning of the original words translated by “wine” or “strong drink”? What exactly do they mean? Are they talking about modern wine or the fruit of the vine in the context of biblical times? “We must examine the most used words, realizing that the Bible was not written in French or English, but in Greek and Hebrew, and that, a very long time ago” (Teachout, Wine, the Bible and the Christian, 36). “This interpretation of the word wine takes into account that in the Bible the words ‘wine’ and ‘strong drink’ are generic terms and may mean ‘grape juice’ or ‘alcoholic beverage’, depending on the meaning of the context” ( Teachout, wine, the Bible and the Christian, 26). Again, the context of the biblical text is the key to our understanding of its teaching on the issue of alcoholic beverages: “The definitions of scholarly Jews and people who have immersed themselves in the etymological and linguistic studies of words cited, as well as verses we have seen, lead us to conclude that only the context of the words currently translated by ‘wine’ in the Bible can determine whether the true meaning of the word is grape juice or wine.’’ (Teachout, Wine, The Bible and the Christian, 54).

All Sorts of Grape-Based Beverages Had the Same Biblical Terms

So, all sorts of grape-based beverages are included in the usual use of these biblical terms: fresh juice that came out of the vat, fermented wine that was consumed by some: It’s a generic, applicable word to apple juice in all its stages, like ‘Yayin’ in Hebrew – ‘Oinos’ in Greek – ‘Vinum’ in Latin – and ‘Wine’ in English. They are generic words that denote the meaning of the cluster in all its conditions. “We see that the wine formerly was the juice of the vine without fermentation. The butler took the bunch, pressed the juice into the cup, and gave it to his master. It was thus formerly the ‘Yayin’ of the Hebrews, the ‘Iinos’ of the Greeks and the ‘Mustum’ of the Latins “(Bagster’s Comprehensive Bible, Genesis 40:11). It is, therefore, necessary to be careful when a French translation uses the word “wine” to represent the Biblical terms since this is not necessarily the meaning of the word in this context: “wine in the Bible has not been designed because it is fermented or because it is not, but because it is the fruit of the vine.’’ (John G. Marshall, Strong Drink Delusion, 11). “In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word ‘Yayin’ in its broad sense means the grape juice or liquid that the fruit of the vine offers. It can be new or old; it can be sweet or bitter, it can be fermented or not, intoxicating or not.’’ (Professor M. Stuart, Letter to Dr. Nott, 11). This balanced interpretation of biblical terms related to wine and strong drinks seems to be the best since it allows the Bible to complement one another on the subject of alcohol rather than contradicting oneself on the subject.

It Could Be Wine or Juice

What do I mean by that? This realization that the biblical terms can describe either unfermented grape juice or alcoholic wine, according to the context, is significant in our respect for the Word of God since it allows us to see the Bible as united on the issue of alcoholic beverages, as only the Inspired Book could be. Instead of contradicting itself on the subject of wine and strong drinks, the Bible deals with the two aspects of the juices of the time in a complementary way. On the one hand, she describes the consumption of unfermented grape juice (wine) as a blessing from God, and on the other hand, she describes the consumption of alcoholic wine (wine) as a curse in the life of the people of the world. The consumption of wine and strong drinks cannot be both a blessing and a curse. This would make no sense, and the law of non-contradiction would thus be transgressed by the biblical text. Therefore, it is more legitimate to see the cultural context of the use of biblical terms as a valid explanation of the issue of the consumption of intoxicants.

What Did John Say About Christian and Alcohol in the Text of John 2: 1-11

Here is a favorite text of the evangelical adherents to the moderate consumption of intoxicating drinks, the famous wedding of Cana, during which the Lord Jesus would have produced fermented wine from the water. Is it really legitimate to believe that the Lord Jesus performed such a miracle, his first, which encouraged his followers to believe in Him while providing drink to an already intoxicated crowd? Do our superficial reading and lack of knowledge of biblical times prevent us from seeing what should be obvious? Let’s look at what the text really says about this first miracle of Jesus: “The wine having failed, the mother of Jesus said to him: They have no more wine” (John 2: 3). It is the Greek word “oinos” which was used to designate “wine”. It’s a generic word: new or fermented wine. Notice the solemn occasion of the text of John 2: “Three days later, he had a wedding in Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus was also invited to the wedding with his disciples.’’ (John 2: 1-2). The custom of the time, among the majority of Jews, was to drink only fresh juice at any holy celebration, including the sacred union of a man and a woman in the presence of their God ( refer to Genesis 2: 18, 24 / Matthew 19: 4-6). * Unfermented beverages existed, and they were the common drink among the ancients. The facts show that the ancient ones preserved their unfermented wines, and they considered them better and more excellent than the fermented wine. In the Promised Land, Jews did not usually use fermented wines. The best wines were preserved fresh and unfermented. Jews do not use fermented beverages of any kind in their sacred feasts, including wedding feasting.

So Jesus Changed the Water Into a Fresh and Satisfying Grape Juice

Understanding this religious reality of the time, and reminding us of the broad meaning of the particular term, it is not difficult to conclude that Jesus changed the water into a fresh and satisfying grape juice: * The Greek word is ‘oinos’ – it is a generic word, and it includes all kinds of wine in all stages of the process. Since the story is silent on the question of the nature of the wine, its character may be determined by the circumstances, by the particular occasion, by the material described, by the person who transforms the wine, and by the moral influence of the miracle. All those who know the wines of the time understand the idea of unfermented grape juice. They were considered the best wines because of their lack of alcohol. The holiday occasions offered no justification for the use of commercial wines at weddings, let alone other festivities. Some people will hasten to say that the context of John 2 requires that it be fermented wine since verse 10, in the version Luis Segond, states: “and him: Every man serves first the good wine, then the less good after being drunk; you have kept the good wine until now”, which seems to show that the wine was certainly alcoholic. Is this the meaning of the original word translated “intoxicated”, and what about Jesus, who offers an intoxicating drink to a crowd already intoxicated? “And he said to him, Every man serves the good wine first, and then the least, after much drinking; you have kept the good wine until now “(Darby version, here too, the Darby version is more precise than that of Segond). “And he said to him, Every man serves first the good wine, and afterward the least good, after much drinking; but you have kept the good wine until now “(Version Ostervald). “And he said to him, Every man serves first the good wine, and the least good after one has been drunk; you have kept the good wine until now “(John 2: 10). Here “smethuo” is the original word meaning simply the idea of having drunk, to have drunk a lot, to satiety). The word “Smethuo” derived from “Methuei” does not necessarily mean drunkenness. The word can describe abundance without excess. It is demonstrated by ancient commentators that the word only meant the concept of satiety in beverages and food. We do not need to assume he’s talking about drunkenness or gluttony. So, what is the best interpretation of John 2’s text: fermented wine for drunkards, or fresh grape juice for a crowd in full bliss? Is it really legitimate to think that Jesus provided fermented wine to people who, according to the interpretation of the context, were already intoxicated? Would not this gesture have tarnished his reputation and moral purity in the midst of God’s people? “Another reason for rejecting the idea that the ‘good wine’ produced by Christ was highly alcoholic is the negative reflection that such an interpretation projects on the wisdom of the Son of God” (Samuel Bracchiochi, Wine in the Bible, The Wedding in Cana, 141). “If the Lord Jesus turned water into alcoholic wine, then: 1. The excessive consumption of ‘alcoholic’ beverages was permitted, or 2. The ‘oinos’ in this case was grape juice. In the light of all that the Old Testament says about the consumption of wine, it seems that this drink was grape juice.’’ (Joseph P. Free, Archeology and Bible History, 1950, 355).

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