- Intro; Redefining “Wine”
Turn to Luke chapter 7, verses 33 and 34. Today we’re going to talk about the word “wine” in the Bible, and whether the word “wine” means “grape juice,” as some people claim that it does, or whether the word “wine” simply means “wine.” See, some Christians today think it’s a sin to drink even one sip of wine. And so these Christians are trying to change the meaning of the word “wine” in the King James Bible. They say that the word “wine” actually means “grape juice” whenever the Bible talks about Jesus drinking wine, or whenever the Bible talks about wine in a positive light. But these people are wrong. The word “wine,” in the King James Bible, does not mean “grape juice”; the word “wine” means “wine”! And I’m going to prove it to you today. Starting with the fact that Jesus himself drank wine, he drank alcoholic wine.
- Jesus Drank Wine
- Jesus Drank; Lk 7:33-34
Luke 7:33-34 read: “For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking: and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber …” Here we see that Jesus drank wine! He said that John the Baptist did not drink wine, but then Jesus said, The Son of man came drinking. So Jesus was contrasting John’s abstinence from wine, with Jesus’ own drinking of wine.
Now getting drunk, which is having an excess of wine, is a sin. So Jesus never got drunk, because Jesus never sinned. So, when Jesus drank wine, he drank it in moderation.
But because Jesus drank any wine at all, those who were out to get Jesus falsely accused Jesus of having an excess of wine; they falsely accused him of being a winebibber, which means drunkard.
Now some Christians today try to argue that “winebibber” really means “grape juice bibber”; and that they were accusing Jesus of indulging in too much grape juice! But that’s not the case. “Winebibber” means “drunkard.” Listen to Proverbs 23:20-21, where the words “winebibber” and “drunkard” are used interchangeably: “Be not among winebibbers: among ritous eaters of flesh: for the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty …” So verse 20 uses the word “winebibber,” and then verse 21 calls the winebibbers, “drunkards.” So they were clearly accusing Jesus of being a drunkard when they accused him of being a winebibber.
The false accussations against Jesus were that of excess; Jesus ate bread, so they accused him of eating an excess of bread, they accused him of being a glutton. And Jesus drank wine, so they accused him of drinking an excess of wine, they accused him of being a winebibber, or a drunkard.
Of course, Jesus was not a drunkard. Jesus didn’t abstain from alcohol, the way John the Baptist did, but Jesus wasn’t a drunkard; he never had an excess of wine, he drank it in moderation.
- Wine Reps His Blood; 1 Cor 11:20-22
And there’s even a biblical example of Jesus drinking wine at the Last Supper. Matthew 26:27-29 read: “And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 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.” So Jesus drank from the cup of wine, and then Jesus passed the cup of wine to his disciples to drink. And note the sense of longing in Jesus’ voice when he said that, “I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you …” The Last Supper would be the last time that Jesus got to drink wine, until that future day when he drinks it again with us at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Now it’s significant that Jesus told us to drink wine, to drink alcoholic wine, as the symbol for his shed blood, when observing the Lord’s Supper, because that shows us that drinking alcohol, in moderation, is not a sin. If drinking wine were a sin, Jesus wouldn’t make it part of the ceremony for remembering his shed blood.
Now some Christians will argue that Jesus, and the Disciples, were only drinking grape juice at the Last Supper, and that Jesus made grape juice the symbol for his shed blood. But if you turn to 1 Corinthians 11, you’ll see that’s not true, because when the early church observed the Lord’s Supper, they too observed it with wine, with alcohol, and not with grape juice.
1 Corinthians 11:20-22 reads: “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? …” Here Paul was admonishing the church at Corinth for observing the Lord’s supper unworthily. The poor Christians didn’t have enough bread or wine to observe the Lord’s supper with. While the more affluent Christians had an excess of bread and wine, and would even get drunk off their excess of wine at the Lord’s supper.
And the fact that Paul said that some of them were drunken proves that they were using wine to observe the Lord’s supper with. You can get drunk from drinking too much wine, you can’t get drunk from drinking grape juice. And notice that Paul didn’t say, How dare you drink any alcohol at all! Paul said, have ye not houses … to drink in? So Paul was telling them to go home and drink their wine, if they want to drink it for pleasure. So drinking wine, drinking alcohol, even for pleasure, is not a sin, since Paul told them to go home and drink it.
Paul’s point was that when we observe the Lord’s Supper, it’s not for the purpose of having a feast on food and wine, we’re supposed to go home to do that kind of stuff. Observing the Lord’s Supper is supposed to be a somber occasion of remembering what Jesus did for us; continuing in 1 Corinthians 11, Paul said, “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you … he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.” And then Paul said, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Cor 11:23, 25-26). So Paul clearly ties together the Corinthians’ drinking of alcoholic wine, in observance of the Lord’s Supper, with Jesus‘ drinking of alcoholic wine at the Last Supper.
And so since Jesus drank wine, and since Jesus made the drinking of wine symbolic of his shed blood, and since the early church observed the Lord’s supper by drinking wine, it’s clear that drinking wine, drinking alcohol, in and of itself, is not a sin!
- Pastors Can Drink Some; 1 Tim 3:8, 5:23
The sin is drinking alcohol in excess. And that’s why 1 Timothy 3:8 says that deacons are not to be given to, quote, unquote, “much wine.” 1 Timothy 3:8 reads: “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubleminded, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre.” So neither deacons nor pastors are to be given to much wine. And that word, “much,” by itself, really destroys the false teaching that Christians can’t drink any alcohol at all. Because forbidding church leaders from being given to much wine, means that they can have some wine. They can drink a little wine! They just can’t be given to much of it!
And if the verse were talking about grape juice, why would they be forbidden from drinking much grape juice? That wouldn’t make sense.
Also, two chapters later, in 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul told Timothy to, quote: “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often affirmities.” A little wine is medicinal, it helps with stomach issues. But drinking too much wine is both harmful to the body and a sin; and that’s why Paul told Timothy to limit himself to a little wine for his stomach’s sake
And, think about it, if Paul were telling Timothy to drink grape juice, why would Paul have to tell Timothy to limit himself to just a little grape juice? Would drinking more than a little grape juice hurt Timothy? Would drinking more than a little grape juice be a sin?… No, of course not. Paul told Timothy to just drink a little, because Paul was talking about wine! about alcohol! A little wine can be beneficial to the stomach, but us Christians have to be careful not to drink too much wine, because doing so is a sin. We don’t, however, have to be careful about drinking more than a little grape juice, come on now.
III. Characteristics of Wine
- Medicinal; 1 Timothy 5:23
And, by the way, the Bible is not the only source that says wine can help with stomach issues. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that drinking a little wine actually improved the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/14/really-red-wine-is-good-for-the-stomach/?_r=0; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22552027). And similar results were found by researcher Dolores González de Llano out of a univerity in Madrid. She actually found 11 strains of beneficial bacteria in wine, including Lactobacillus, which is also found in yogurt, and helps with digestion. She also discovered the strains Oenococcus and Pediococcus in wine; these two beneficial bacteria are specifically associated with the winemaking process.
So Paul telling Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach makes sense, even scientifically, because wine contains probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, which are good for the stomach… But, just to let you know, if you get wine with added sulfates, the sulfates kill the beneficial bacteria; so you wanna get the organic stuff, if you’re getting wine to help your stomach. Of course, back in Paul and Timothy’s day, all they had was the organic stuff, so that’s why Paul told Timothy to drink a little wine for thy stomach’s sake (http://www.journals.elsevier.com/food-microbiology/news/wine-beats-yogurt-in-health-stakes/).
Another characteristic of wine is that wine is the result of fermentation. You see, there’s naturally occuring yeast on grape skins. So when grapes are crushed, the yeast consumes the sugar in the juice, creating alcohol, and releasing Carbon dioxide. And that’s how juice is turned into wine; that’s the fermentation process. It starts almost immediately after the grapes are crushed, and it takes only 5 to 14 days to complete. The process naturally stops when the alcohol content reaches about 15%, or when all the sugars are consumed by the yeast. So you don’t need to add anything to grapes in order to create wine, grapes were designed to turn into wine; all you have to do is crush them, and wait.
Turn to Luke 5:37-38. Now it’s the release of Carbon dioxide, in the fermentation process, that causes the container that the fermenting wine is in to expand. That’s why the ancients put new wine into new clay bottles, because the new bottles were able to expand a little without breaking.
- Luke 5:37-38
And that’s what Jesus was talking about in Luke 5:37-38, when he said: “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. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.” This is talking about the fermentation process; it’s talking about preserving the wine as it’s fermenting, that is, as it’s creating more alcohol and releasing carbon dioxide.
And when Jesus was talking about putting new wine into new bottles, he was talking about wine, about alcohol, in a positive light. He was using wine as a symbol for the New Covenant. If alcohol were sinful, he wouldn’t use it to reperesent something good.
- Familiarity of Fermentation Parable
Now, in our culture, most of us aren’t familiar with the fermentation process, because the wine that we see at the grocery store has already been fermented. But Jesus used this primitive fermentation process as a parable because the people of his day were familiar with it. The only way to preserve the fruit of the vine back then was to let it ferment into wine. So most people, in Jesus’ day, drank wine, and were familiar with the fermentation process. And that’s why Jesus used this familiar process, to illustrate his point; that the New Covenant era has new rules, just like new wine must be put into new bottles.
- Luke 5:39
And, again, Jesus was not speaking of wine in a negative light. In fact, in the very next verse, in Luke 5:39, Jesus clearly speaks of drinking wine, of drinking alcohol, in a positive light. In Luke 5:39 he said: “No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.” Ok, who here thinks grape juice tastes better as it gets older? Anybody? No one, right? That’s ridiculous. Unfermented juice goes bad as it gets older. Especially back in the day, when they didn’t have refridgerators. Only wine gets better with age; its alcohol content increases, and its flavors mature.
And when Jesus said that old wine is better than new wine, he was talking about wine, about alcohol, in a positive light. If drinking alcohol were a sin, Jesus wouldn’t say, Hey, man, you know how old wine tastes better than new wine?…
- Isaiah 25:6
Now there’s actually several passages in the Bible that speak about the fermentation process of wine in a positive light; such as: Isaiah 65:8, Jeremiah 48:11-12, Hosea 9:2 and the passage we just looked at, Luke 5:37-39. But I really gotta talk to you about Isaiah 25:6; turn to Isaiah 25:6. This verse touches on the production of “lees” in the wine-making process; lees, “L – E – E – S.” Lees are the pulpy residue of wine fermentation. After wine is created, this red, mushy stuff settles at the bottom of the bottle; and those are called “lees.”
Remember I told you how there’s yeast on the grape leaves, and when you crush grapes, the yeast consumes the sugars in the juice, making alcohol? Well, when all the sugar is consumed, the yeast cells die and the dead yeast cells form a red pulp-like substance, and those dead yeast cells are called lees. Webster’s Dictionary defines “lees” as the sediment of wine during fermentation.
Ok, now look at Isaiah 25:6, which says, “And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.” This verse is talking about the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, by the way. This verse is what Jesus was referring to when he said, 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. And so, on that day, at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, it says that the Lord will make a feast of fat things and of wines on the lees well refined. This is an unmistakable reference to alcoholic wine! the Lord will serve alcohol at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb! It says the Lord of hosts will make, quote: “a feast of wines on the lees … of wines on the lees well refined.” The only way wine can have a residue of lees is if the fermentation process is complete, that’s what well refined means; it means wine that’s been fully fermented! it’s well refined! it’s fermented! The Lord is going to be serving alcohol at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb!
- New Wine
Alright… so after you show some of these verses to the people who want to redefine words in the KJV, you might get them to reluctantly admit that wine does mean wine; BUT then they’ll turn around and they’ll say that it’s the phrase “new wine” that actually means “grape juice.” And they’ll take a partial verse like, “new wine is found in the cluster,” from Isaiah 65:8, and they’ll argue that, “New wine” means “grape juice,” in that verse, because if you squeeze a cluster of grapes, only grape juice comes out, wine doesn’t come out.
Ok, first of all, this is figurative language. Wine is sourced from grapes. So you can say that new wine is found in the cluster, and you can say that old wine is found in the cluster, and yes you can also say that grape juice is found in the cluster; all grape products are sourced from grapes, so all grape products are found in the cluster, so to speak.
And Acts chapter 2 proves beyond a doubt that “new wine” is talking about alcoholic wine, not grape juice. Acts chapter 2 records what happened on the day of Pentecost, when the early church, filled with the Holy Spirit, supernaturally started preaching in all the different languages of all the different people groups that had gathered at Jerusalem. And then, starting in Acts 2:12, it says that the people there, quote: “… were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: for these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day” (Acts 2:12-15).
So they falsely accused the Apostles of being, quote, “full of new wine.” And then Peter responded by saying, “these are not drunken, as ye suppose”; so accusing someone of being filled with new wine is accussing them of being drunken. New wine can get you drunk. New wine is talking about alcoholic wine. There’s no other conclusion that you can get from this passage.
And think about Peter’s response to their false accusation; Peter didn’t say, What are you guys talking about? Nobody can get drunk off of new wine! That’s just grape juice!… No, Peter said, “for these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.” Peter was saying, Come on guys, it’s 9 in the morning! Who would be drunk off of new wine at 9 in the morning?!… Clearly new wine is alcoholic wine, it’s not grape juice! New wine is wine that has just been fermented, or is still fermenting, and that’s why it has to be placed in new, expandable bottles. And so, whether the Bible is talking about wine or new wine, it’s talking about alcohol, it’s talking about wine in the traditional sense of the word.
- Makes the Heart Merry
Alright, next, turn to Psalm 104. Psalm 104:14-15. Another characteristic of wine is that it makes the heart merry, it cheers you up!
- Contrast Biblical Mention of “Honey”
- Psalm 104:14-15
Psalm 104:14-15 says, “He causeth [speaking of God] 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; and wine that maketh glad the heart of man …” So these verses say that God causes food, like grapes, to grow so that man can, quote, “bring forth … wine that maketh glad the heart of man”; God gives wine to man, as a blessing, in order to make our hearts glad. It’s a unique characteristic of wine, of alcohol, that it makes your heart glad when you drink it.
Now the people who are trying to say that wine means grape juice will argue that grape juice makes your heart glad, because of it’s sweetness. I actually had a guy – angrily – say to me, I’ve got a bottle of grape juice in my fridge right now, and it makes my heart glad just thinking about it!!!… And I’m like, Really? Really?…
Because when the Bible talks about the sweetest tasting thing there is, it actually talks about honey. And it says that honey is sweet to the mouth, the Bible never says that the sweetness of honey makes the heart glad. Psalm 119:103 says, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Sweet tasting stuff is pleasing to the pallet, to the mouth, not to the heart. Neither honey, nor juice, makes the heart glad; making the heart glad is a characteristic unique to wine, unique to alcohol.
- Word Study
- Zechariah 10:7
And when the Bible speaks of wine making the heart glad, it’s generally speaking of it as a good thing; Zechariah 10:7 says, “And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the LORD”; here the Bible talks about mens’ hearts rejoicing “as through wine” when they rejoice in the Lord. And so when the Bible wants to give you a positive image of a man’s heart rejoicing, it says, Picture the way a man’s heart rejoices when he drinks wine.
- Other Phrases
And consider these other phrases from the Bible: “wine maketh merry,” from Ecclesiastes 10:19; “drink thy wine with a merry heart,” from Ecclesiastes 9:7; “wine, which cheereth God and man,” Judges 9:13; “when the heart of the king was merry with wine …” Esther 1:10; “… Mark ye now when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine …”, 2 Samuel 13:28… Over and over again, the Bible talks about how wine makes the heart merry. And most of these verses are saying that when wine makes the heart merry, it’s a good thing!
iii. 1 Samuel 25:36
And then in 1 Samuel 25:36, it’s made absolutely clear that it’s alcohol, and not grape juice, that makes the heart merry; because, in this verse, the man, Nabal, had too much wine, and he got drunk… but it again says that his heart was made merry; so here we see, beyond a doubt, that’s it’s alcohol that makes the heart merry; 1 Samuel 25:36 reads: “… and, behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken …” So it’s clear that making the heart merry is a unique characteristic of alcohol. None of those verses, that I read, about wine making the heart merry, were talking about grape juice, they were talking about alcoholic wine.
Now, of course, we shouldn’t have too much alcohol, we shouldn’t get drunken, like Nabal was. All Christians should follow the qualifications for pastors and deacons, and not be being given to much wine. Some wine is Ok, too much wine is not Ok. We’re not to get drunken.
- Drunkenness is Excess
- Redefining “Drunkenness”
And that brings us to the biblical word, “drunkenness,” we need to examine this word too because, just as the teetotalers are trying to redefine the word “wine” in the Bible, they’re also trying to redefine the word “drunkenness.” Drunkenness means excess; it means being filled with wine, or having too much wine. But they’re trying to redefine the word drunkenness to include having even just a sip of wine. These people are seriously trying to say that if you have one cup, or even one sip of wine, you’re drunk.
- Word Study
But let’s look at how the Bible defines “drunkenness.” Lamentations 3:15 says, “He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood.” Here, the words “filled” and “drunken” are used interchangeably. So drunken means to be filled.
And Ephesians 5:18 says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” So, here, being drunk with wine is defined as excess. So the biblical word drunk means excess or filled. And the Bible says to be filled with the Spirit, instead of with wine.
Likewise 1 Peter 4:3 says, “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.” So again excess of wine is the sin. Being drunken is having an excess of wine; the biblical definition of drunkeness is not having a sip, or even just a cup of wine; drunkenness is being filled with wine, drunkenness is having an excess of wine.
- Proverbs 23:29-35
And how do you know when you’ve had too much to drink? Well the Bible actually gives a very thorough and poetic description of what happens to someone when they’ve had an excess of wine, or when they’ve tarried long at the wine, as Proverbs puts it.
- Proverbs 23:29-35
Proverbs 23, starting at verse 29 reads: “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine” (Pr 23:29-30). So the symptoms of drunkenness are feelings of sorrow, and also babbling incoherently, and getting bloodshot eyes. One sip of wine isn’t going to make you sorrowful. And one cup of wine isn’t going to turn your eyes red. You have to have an excess of wine before you start exhibiting these symptoms of drunkenness.
And Proverbs 23 also describes the false sense of motion that you get when you’re drunk; you feel like the world’s swaying back and forth, as if you were on a boat out at sea. And even the objects in front of you appear to be moving back and forth, when they’re not. Proverbs 23, verses 31 and 34 read: “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright … Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.” So you’re drunk, you’ve had an excess of wine, when the wine, in the cup, appears to, quote: “moveth itself aright”; you’ve had too much to drink when it looks like the wine is moving by itself in the cup… And you’ve had too much to drink when you feel, quote: “as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea”; so you’re drunk when the world seems to be swaying back and forth, and you have to lie down just to avoid getting sick; as if you were lying down on a wobbly boat in the middle of the sea, feeling sea sick.
Now some people say that the phrase, “when it moveth itself aright” is talking about the movement of wine during the fermentation process. But wine that’s poured into a cup to drink, is past the fermentation stage; it’s in the cup, ready to drink! And no one ferments wine in a cup, by the way! Remember this chapter is talking about those who tarry long at the wine, those whose eyes are already bloodshot from drinking too much; this chapter is talking about those who are already drunk. When you’re drunk, you lose your equilibrium, your head starts spinning, and even the wine in the cup set before you has the appearance of moving back and forth by itself.
- Figurative Language in Proverbs
The Book of Proverbs is basically a book of poetry – it’s the word of God; it’s absolutely flawless, and it’s good for doctrine – But it’s written as poetry, and you have to read it as poetry; it uses proverbial, poetic, figurative language to describe things. When it says: look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright, when it says that, it’s using figurative language! It’s saying that when the wine in your cup seems to be moving by itself, then you’ve had too much to drink! and you need to stop!
But some people, who apparently have never taken an English Lit. class, ignore the proverbial language of Proverbs, and read it literally instead; as if they were reading an epistle, or something! And they think it’s literally saying that it’s a sin to even look at red wine. Come on! That’s not what this proverb is saying. It’s poetry! It’s saying that when you’ve already tarried so long at drinking, that it feels like the color of the wine is drawing you in to drink even more- that’s when you should stop looking at it! that’s when you should stop drinking! that’s when you should get away from the temptation.
But sadly people misread the figurative language of these verses, and they create an entire doctrine out of One. Misread. Proverb. Lately, I’ve had a bunch of deceived brothers tell me that it’s a sin to even look at wine… Are you serious? If it was a sin to look at wine, then the priests would’ve had to wear blindfolds when they performed the drink offerings to God. And what about the Good Samaritan? Did he sin when he looked at the wine that he poured on the injured man’s wounds?… Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup IS POETERY! It’s figurative language!… I mean, serously, Pastor Yaghtin, we need to preach a sermon on literary devices, and their use in the Bible.
- The Fill-In Game
Ok, now let’s humor these people that are trying to redefine the word “wine” to mean “grape juice.” Let’s look back at some key verses, verses where wine is spoken of in a positive light, and let’s replace the word “wine” with “grape juice” and see if these verses still make sense…
- Isaiah 25:6
Let’s start with Isaiah 25:6. And remember what “lees” are, “L – E – E – S”; lees are the pulpy by-product of fermentation, that settle at the bottom of the bottle, after the wine has been completely fermented. Again, Isaiah 25:6 reads: “And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.”
Ok now let’s replace the word “wine” with “grape juice” and see if the verse still makes sense: “And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of GRAPE JUICE on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of GRAPE JUICE on the lees well refined.” Well refined grape juice? Grape juice on the lees? Grape juice on the lees doesn’t make any sense. If lees are present, then it’s no longer grape juice; it’s been fermented, it’s already turned into alcohol. Only refined, fermented, alcoholic wine produces lees. You can’t have grape juice on the lees!
- Luke 5:37-38
Alright now let’s replace the word “wine” with the phrase “grape juice” in Luke 5:37-38. Listen to these verses altered to how the they want you to read it: “And no man putteth new GRAPE JUICE into old bottles; else the new GRAPE JUICE will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new GRAPE JUICE must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.”
Pasteurized Juice doesn’t ferment enough to burst clay bottles. This verse no longer makes sense, either, when you read the word “wine” as meaning “grape juice.” Again, it’s the fermentation process of wine, with the release of Carbon dioxide, that causes bottles to expand.
- Luke 5:39
And replacing “wine” with “grape juice” in the next verse, Luke 5:39, makes it even more obvious that the biblical word wine DOES NOT mean grape juice. Luke 5:39: “No man also having drunk old GRAPE JUICE straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.”
Really? They seriously want us to believe that old juice tastes better than freshly squeezed juice? That doesn’t make any sense.
- John 2:9-10
Or how about when Jesus turned water to wine at that wedding feast. Lets replace the word “wine” with “grape juice” in that passage, and see if the context holds up; starting at John 2:9: “When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made GRAPE JUICE … the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good GRAPE JUICE; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good GRAPE JUICE until now.”
So they seriously want us believe that the governor of the feast was a GRAPE JUICE connoisseur?? And that he was saying that most wedding celebrations put the best GRAPE JUICE out first, because it’s harder to tell the quality of GRAPE JUICE after you’ve already had some GRAPE JUICE to drink??… Come on now. It’s absurd when you actually look at the changes that they want us to make to the King James Bible.
- 1 Timothy 3:8
And let’s also change 1 Timothy 3:8 to the way they want us to read it: “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much GRAPE JUICE, not greedy of filthy lucre”; oh no! we can’t have any pastors or deacons who drink too much GRAPE JUICE!
- Romans 14
- Redefining Words in the KJV
And what’s crazy is that the people who are trying to change the meaning of the word “wine” in the Bible, claim to believe that the King James Bible is inerrant. But, when it really comes down to it, they don’t believe that God preserved his word; because they’ll throw the KJV under the bus, if it goes against their man-made doctrines.
For instance, I showed one of these wine = grape juice guys 1 Timothy 3:8, and I asked him, Why does it say that deacons mustn’t be given to MUCH wine? Wouldn’t it say that a deacon must not be given to ANY wine, if drinking any wine were a sin? And this person told me that not given to much wine, really means not given to any wine, because if you drink any wine at all, he said, you always end up drinking more and more wine, until you’ve had too much… WHAT? That argument is ridiculous. I didn’t even know how to respond to him. There’s lots of people who stop drinking at one cup, or even less… But it showed me that the person, who I was talking to, did not really believe that the King James Bible was inerrant, as he claimed to believe. In fact, it showed me that he did not respect God’s word.
When people redefine God’s word, it shows a lack of respect for his word. And it shows a lack of respect for God too. Whenever God’s word disagrees with their preconceived ideas, or with their man-made doctrines, they just redefine the words in the Bible to mean whatever they want it to mean… They say wine doesn’t mean wine, they say wine means grape juice. And they say drunkenness doesn’t mean drunkenness, they say drunkenness means having just one sip. And they say given to much wine doesn’t mean given to much wine, they say given to much means given to any.
- Leaven of the Pharisees
And this redefining of words ends up being very destructive; redefining God’s word, on non-salvific issues, may seem kinda harmless at first, but it’s like the leaven of the Pharisees: it grows and it grows into something very wicked.
I mean, at first, we said, Who cares if our brothers think drunkenness means having just one sip of alcohol? They’re wrong, but as long as they’re preaching the right gospel, that’s all that really matters…
But here’s the thing: the Bible tells believers to break fellowship with any Christian who’s a drunkard. So, because of their false definition of “drunkard,” these Christians started breaking fellowship with us, and started attacking any other believer who thought it was Ok to have a glass, or even a sip of wine.
And that’s the destructive nature of false doctrine; it’s like a little leaven: it starts out small, and seemingly harmless, but then it spreads and spreads and ends up turning one Christian against another.
- Romans 14:20-21
And such infighting amongst believers goes directly against the teachings of Romans 14! Romans 14 says that Christians are not supposed to despise other Christians over what they eat or drink.
Romans 14:2-3 says, “For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.” Some believers know that the Bible says we can eat meat, while other believers, who are weaker in the faith, think they can only eat vegetables. That’s fine, each Christian is supposed to do what they think is best before God, when it comes to eating or drinking; our only mandate is not to judge, that is, not to despise one another over it.
Romans 14:10 says: “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” We shouldn’t judge other Christians over stuff that doesn’t really matter, like their diet. We shouldn’t set at nought thy brother, which means we shouldn’t treat our brothers in Christ as if they were nothing, over something inconsequential like what they eat or drink.
Our main goal should be to uplift our brothers in Christ, and not to do or to say anything that would make them stumble. Romans 14:13 says, “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.” It’s about putting your brother before yourself. But so many Christians today, who abstain from alcohol, treat their brothers in Christ, who have the occassional drink, as if those brothers were nothing, as if they were worthless! And it’s so wrong to treat your brother like that, it’s so wrong to set at nought thy brother.
The Bible teaches that drinking in moderation is not a sin! Romans 14:14 says, “I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself …” And verses 20 and 21 read: “… All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” So Romans 14 says that nothing is unclean, it says that all things are pure, and then it lists a couple of those pure things; in particular, it lists eating flesh and drinking wine as examples of pure things. So wine is clean! Wine is pure! It’s Ok to drink wine (but just not in exess).
AND Romans 14 also says that it’s better not to drink wine, or to eat meat, if doing so will make your weaker brother stumble. So if you stronger Christians have a vegetarian Christian over for dinner, don’t eat meat in front of him, don’t make him stumble. And if you stronger Christians are eating dinner with a brother who abstains from alcohol, don’t drink in front of that weaker brother, don’t make him stumble.
But we shouldn’t despise them for not drinking, and they shouldn’t despise us for drinking; that’s the main point: let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. God has received us both; God receives the believer who drinks a little wine, and God receives the believer who abstains from wine. Let’s not despise one another over such personal decisions.
VII. Conclusion; Where’s the love?
Drinking alcohol is not a sin. Drinking wine is not a sin. Drunkenness, having an excess of alcohol, having an excess of wine, that’s the sin. Brothers and sisters in Christ, don’t let the leaven of the Pharisees cause you to despise other believers. And don’t just parrot false doctrine when it’s preached to you from the pulpit! You’re supposed to test what preachers preach to you with the word of God. Saying that it’s a sin to drink, or to even to look at wine, is not rightly dividing the word of truth. Saying that it’s biblical to break fellowship with your brothers in Christ, because they have an occasional glass of wine, is not rightly dividing the word of truth. Our enemy wants to divide us over these nonsalvific, not important issues.
Brothers and sisters, we’re to be likeminded, that we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God. When we divide over things that we’re not supposed to divide over, it hinders the gospel from going out to the lost. Where’s the grace? Where’s the spirit and truth? Where’s the love?… Aren’t we supposed to be known by our love for one another.