Question:

Hello.

After reading your information about wine and the comment about biblical definitions and applications being subjected to a persons individual bias it seems somewhat misleading that you offered no comments at all about Deut. 14:26 and placed it under the heading that therewere only two places where wine was shown in Scripture to be approved by God.

Although the Scripture in Deut. 14:26 is small its impact is huge as far as those who eventually became the partakers of it. As the Scriptures plainly say, this tithe of wine or strong drink was to be brought into the temple and eaten by the family that brought it in, and also given to the Levites. This also was the same tithes that was to be given to the fatherless, the widow, and the stranger that sojourned with them, and then a tenth of that became that which belonged to and was given to the high priest.

This covers a huge amount of real estate. Are we going to presume then that God in one breath allowed this tithe to go to all these different people and then in another breath placed a blanket condemnation for its use elsewhere?

I realize that the same God who gave Moses these instructions also inspired the writer of Proverbs, but on one hand we have a plain statement given by Moses that there can be no misunderstanding on and then on the other hand we have the book of Proverbs which according to the definition given to the title of that book- isthe same as a parable, or anenigma.

If then the blanket condemnation stated was to not even look upon the wine then how many times has that commandment been broken by a person who even walks through the supermarket to get a loafof bread and sees the wine on the shelf. Did he sin just by seeing thewine?

Clearly the impact of Proverbs in its condemnation is describing a man who is seeing strange things and is wobbling around like a person on the topof ships mast is not describing a person that has only consumed a small glass of wine, but is particularly describing a person whohastarried long at the wine and has become drunk.

The attempt to place the commandments of men on par with Scripture is what turns people away from the true God, and elevates denominations to cultic levels. The list could be long that would enumerate all the specific restrictions that men have made up in order to distinguish themselves from others.

The Jehovah's Witnesses erroneously impose a restriction on blood transfusions by their view on drinking blood, which has no basis in anything. We have commandments to abstain from meat by the Seventh Day church which is clearly overthrown by New Testament teaching. We have the forbidding to marry espoused by the Catholic church which also has a perverted view of Scripture.

The abstinence of wine is just another item on the same list that has been proven to be in error even in the Old Testament when the impact and supposed total restrictionstated in Proverbs was in effect.

Consider the following Nazirite vow: He or she is forbidden to drink wine in order to become a Nazirite. This of course within the context is said to be the fermented type because it is used in a bad sense. But then when the days of his or her vow are finished, he may then drink wine. (Numbers 6:20) Are we to presume that in this context God now allows himto drink grape juice?

The path proposed was to evaluate each Hebrew word used in Scripture that describes the equivalent of the English word 'wine.' We can easily see that this path is not consistent with what Scripture actually portrays, no matter how innocent and unbiased it may appear on the surface.Iencourage you to take another look at these scriptures and see if there is something you may have missed.

Blessings to you


Answer:

The extent that people will go to justify their choices has always amazed me. Here you toss out the entire book of Proverbs because it clearly condemns strong drink. You justify this silly notion by insisting that Proverbs was meant to be hard to understand and you thus conclude that any clear statement in the book must not mean what it says. Yet your conclusion is the exact opposite of what Solomon stated as his purpose in writing the book.

"The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: to know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion - a wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, to understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles" (Proverbs 1:1-6).

Solomon said that studying this book will make a person wiser and understand proverbs, enigmas, and riddles. But of course, not everyone wants to learn. There are people, such as yourself, who refuse to heed the warnings written down. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Proverbs 1:7). If you wish to truly understand God's teachings about the use of alcohol, then it must include all His teachings, even those found in Proverbs.

It was amusing to see you contradict yourself at the very start of your note. You claim I made no comments about Deuteronomy 14:26 and then proceed to take me task for discussing it as an exception to what is generally found. The fact remains that strong drink, the Hebrew word shekar, is consistently and strongly condemned throughout the Old Testament except in two places: Numbers 28:7-8 and Deuteronomy 14:26. In both places the uses of shekar is associated with offerings to God. You admit that the offering in Deuteronomy 14:26 is shared with the priests, which it was. But you conclude that the therefore everyone drank strong drink, including the priests whom you specifically mention. Yet Leviticus 10:9 specifically states that shekar is forbidden to the priests. Your view brought you to a contradiction, and though I had pointed it out in the article you rush past it as if it made no difference.

You point out the Nazirite vow and claim that only fermented drinks were forbidden to them. "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the LORD, he shall separate himself from wine and similar drink; he shall drink neither vinegar made from wine nor vinegar made from similar drink; neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, from seed to skin" (Number 6:2-4). Clearly it was the grapes and not the state of drinks made from grapes which was forbidden. In this passage we have a variety of words being used for drinks made from grapes. Yayin, translated here as "wine," is the generic word for drinks made from grapes. Shekar, translated here as "similar drink," is the word for fermented drinks. Chomets, translated here as "vinegar," is the word for vinegar which comes from fermentation that doesn't produce alcohol. And mishrah, translated as "grape juice," is the word for freshly pressed grape juice.

At the end of the vow, once all the required sacrifices are given, "After that the Nazirite may drink wine" (Numbers 6:20). The word here is the generic yayin. By itself, it does not necessarily imply that alcoholic versions of grape drinks are allowed. Every form of grapes was forbidden to a Nazirite. Once the vow is ended, the Nazirite could use grape products -- yes, including grape juice. But it doesn't mean that other rules which might restrict some forms of grape products are no longer in effect.

You have only asserted that alcoholic drinks were used with approval in the Old Testament, but you have not proven this to be the case. Instead, you attempted to remove from consideration some of the clearest passages against the use of alcoholic drinks, you tried to apply one passage but did not address how the strong drink was used or even if it was used in large quantities -- for all any one knows, it could have been used as cooking sherry! But you insist that this one passage proves consumption of liquor by most of Israel despite so many other passages that state the consumption of shekar was forbidden. And you tried to draw a conclusion from the Nazirite vow that cannot be drawn. Your point wasn't made.