Monday, August 10, 2009

The Debate over the Prohibition of Alcoholic Beverage part three

Do you think that juice that is just squeezed or pressed out of grapes is alcoholic? Do you really believe that if you kept drinking juice the instant it came from grapes that at some point you could get drunk from drinking that juice? Really? That's the argument you're supposed to believe if you take the "one wine view," that is, that every time we have the Hebrew word (yayin) and the Greek word (oinos) for wine in the Old and New Testaments, it is alcoholic. Not only that, but men will tell you this is the scholarly approach or the position of scholarship. Who tells you it is scholarly? Of course, the one-wine guys do. Why is it scholarly? Um. It is. It's what scholars will tell you. Why? And why is it scholarly? It seems stupid to me. Yes, I said stupid. At least ignorant. And if not that, then very stubborn. And if you did a search on my blog, you'd find that I don't use that word. Or say things like, "I laughed when you said that." But on this one, you've got to dumb yourself down to believe the scholarly position. If not, it will go right under your head.

You see, you have to believe that juice just pouring from the wine press from freshly squashed grapes is alcoholic in order to take the one wine view. I don't believe that. You may be asking, "Are you kidding me?" I'm not kidding you. That's what they believe. And are they getting angry if they're reading this? Probably. And they're still concerned about the word "stupid." But I wish they'd rethink this one wine view, because yayin and oinos both refer to freshly squeezed grape juice. If they're not being stupid about this; they're at least being stubborn---it is way too obvious not to admit.

These are the best ones.

Isaiah 16:10, "And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting: the treaders shall tread out no wine (yayin) in their presses; I have made their vintage shouting to cease."

Revelation 19:15, "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." You have to look at the Greek on this one, because that second half of the verse is literally, "He will trample the winepress of the wine of the rage and the wrath of Almighty God." So we are reading in the Greek the "winepress of the oinos." Oinos then is not always alcoholic.

Keep looking at Revelation 19:15 if you would. When God is treading that vat of grapes with His rage and wrath, will the wine produced ever ferment? No. Of course not. Right when God treads it, it will be drunk by those He is judging. So there is no future for this grape juice.

This next verse will work too, just to cover all the bases.

Jeremiah 48:33, "And joy and gladness is taken from the plentiful field, and from the land of Moab; and I have caused wine (yayin) to fail from the winepresses: none shall tread with shouting; their shouting shall be no shouting."

The one wine guys will say that even though they are pressing yayin or oinos out of these presses, they're still trying to make alcohol out of it, so it doesn't prove anything. They are pressing out future alcohol and, hence, alcohol. Hmmmm. Sounds like begging the question to me, shutting one's eyes to the evidence. There is no exegetical basis for making this type of assertion. If we've got passages that plainly reveal non-alcoholic yayin or oinos and then we've got ones that show that there is an alcoholic yayin (Proverbs 23:31) or oinos (Ephesians 5:18), then we've got two wines.

Proof Text

In Matthew 9:17, Jesus says, "Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved." The bottles were skins. Old skins had lost their elasticity. They couldn't expand. When you put new wine into them, the wine would age, ferment, expand, and since there was no room for expansion, it would burst those wineskins. The point I want everyone to see is this: this verse among others says there are two wines---new wine and old wine. New wine was obviously not alcoholic. It could become alcoholic. Then it was old wine. So Matthew 9:17 is a proof text for two wines.

Does Luke 5:39 say that alcoholic wine is better than non-alcoholic wine? Jesus said there, "No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better." There we go. "The old is better." OK. Stop for a moment. What is Jesus talking about? Better to whom? Those who had acquired a taste for the ceremonies and traditions of Judaism wouldn't want to give it up for the teachings of Jesus. Those with a taste for the Old Covenant might not want to give it up for the New. They would think it was better. Was it? Of course not. The New was better. And I think that if we took the analogy further, we could explain that the person choosing the Old over the New wasn't making that choice based on whether the Old was better for Him or not. He just liked it better. So the addictive quality of old wine could parallel with the addictive quality of the Old Covenant to those to whom Jesus preached.

Consider these examples though now in conjunction with the presentation on Proverbs 23:31. Since yayin can be non-alcoholic, a description is necessary to distinguish the yayin of Proverbs 23:31 from the non-alcoholic variety, so the three descriptions are given. Yayin isn't wrong. It can gladden the heart. It is the alcoholic yayin that is forbidden. If one can assume that "wine" always means "alcohol," then the descriptive is ridiculously redundant in Proverbs 23:31. "Look not at alcohol when it is alcoholic." No one would need the adjectival phrases if yayin always means alcohol.

But isn't Proverbs 23:31 talking about drunkenness in the context? Who is the command of Proverbs 23:31 written to? The imperative "look" is in the singular. The audience of the command is the same person to whom the entire chapter is written. If you zoom back to vv. 15 and 19, you see that it is "my son," Solomon's son. Was Solomon's son a drunk? I don't think so. But I do believe that he didn't want him to become one, so he prohibited the drinking of alcohol.

What I'm writing isn't new. Consider what A. B. Rich writes in an 1880 edition of Bibliotheca Sacra (Volume 37, Article V, p. 307):



I've heard "Christian" drinkers tell me that they've never been drunk. They drink in moderation, you know, so they've actually obeyed Proverbs 23. One thing that you can see with alcoholic drink in Proverbs 23:34-35 is that someone drunk doesn't even know when he is drunk. You can say you haven't been drunk from drinking your alcohol, but that passage says that the nature of alcohol is that it is deceives a person. It literally says that we can't trust the opinion of the person who is drinking the alcohol.

Scholarship

I've heard most of the arguments against Proverbs 23:31 saying what it obviously says. They aren't credible. I would even welcome them again in the comment section to dispel them once more. Some may say, "Where's the scholarship?" OK. Scholarship, that is, looking it up in a book. Jesus spoke with authority because He went directly to the authority, not to someone talking about the authority. The authority is Scripture. We go there and we're scholarly.

Nevertheless, I've looked up oinos in my mammoth Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the NT, which will give the entire history of the use of a word, and it mentions nothing about alcoholic content. It is the product of the vine, the grape. That's how it reads. That sounds like one wine too, that is, until the second law of thermodynamics starts taking over, or perhaps better, the harmful effects of the curse. But then, that's not the one wine that one wine people want it to be. The one wine could only be alcoholic, you know. I could take a one wine view if it was that the one wine was grape juice that could become alcoholic.

I also looked up yayin in the mammoth Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. Yayin doesn't appear until p. 59 in vol. 6, and low and behold, on p. 61, it reads: "The resulting grape juice was poured into earthenware pots or wineskins made form skins of goats or lambs." TDOT calls yayin "grape juice." You look at the multiple meanings of HALOT, the predominant OT Lexicon and it has as one of its meanings, "something fermented from wine." I thought all wine was fermented or it wasn't wine? I guess not. It doesn't actually say anything about alcohol in any place in its definition.

Several Greek papyri, discussed by Robert Teachout, "The Use of ‘Wine' in the Old Testament" (Ph.D. dissertation, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1979), indicates that oinos could refer to unfermented grape juice. A rather clear example is a papyrus from A.D. 137 which contains this statement: "They paid to the one who had earned his wages pure, fresh wine [oinon] from the vat." It is interesting that the translators of the Septuagint used oinos to translate the Hebrew word for grape juice (tirosh).

So context will determine whether a particular yayin (OT) or oinos (NT) is alcoholic or not. We know from Proverbs 23:31 that alcoholic yayin or oinos is prohibited. It is a sin to drink it. Why? You are disobeying God's command.

More to come on this.

46 comments:

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Kent:

Your view makes Jesus a sinner. He surely drank wine, both the Passover wine, which was fermented, and wine on other social occasions, hence his being called a "winebibber."

Blessings,

Stephen

Don Johnson said...

Well, Kent, most of my response would be covered in my last post to your previous article. I would agree that you could take these passages this way, but you need an unambiguous passage that clearly takes yayin or oinos in the Bible to be non-alcoholic. These are only supporting passages since they can be taken two ways. I don't think a metaphoric use proves much (Rev 19.15).

The papyri uses and other secular sources are interesting (I have heard Josephus quoted for example), but I want a biblical reference that is clear, since the Bible is the authority.

And, just to reiterate for those who might read this and not know me, I am totally opposed to the use of alcohol as a beverage Today. In fact, I favor government prohibition. I think the stuff should be illegal.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Kent Brandenburg said...

Don,

The standard for which you are asking is unreasonable. I've argued a lot of different topics and I believe my evidence is already irrefutable by quite reasonable standards. Why?

For one, there is no word for non-alcoholic in the Hebrew and Greek language. That makes sense since there is no word for alcoholic. Therefore, the descriptors like those in Prov 23 are how we understand whether it is alcoholic. So we have to go with "new wine" and wine that is obviously just squeezed out of the vat. Even if Rev 19 is a metaphor, it still is calling a substance "wine" that just comes out of the vat. And then you really do have this defined in old and new wine. New wine must age to expand, then making it old wine. And then I go to extra scriptural sources, which agree. This is far more evidence than what is expected of almost any other doctrine. I think if you go to try to defend prohibition with a one wine view, you're going to be subject to far more stretching and historical reference as authority.

Thanks for commenting though.

Stephen,

I don't know how you could make the comment you did and have read my post. If there are two wines, we would assume that Jesus drank the non-alcoholic variety, since the prohibition is found in the OT. He was and is without sin.

The winebibber accusation doesn't prove anything. They also said He cast out demons with Beelzebub and that Mary bore Jesus illegitimately. You get zero mileage from that as an argument.

Thanks for commenting though.

d4v34x said...

Maybe there is no alchoholic/non-alchoholic Hebrew vocabulary because (all) wine was (one) wine.

This would not necessitate that the scripture contradicts itself, for, as Don pointed out in his comments on "part 2", Prov 23 can be arguably understood as refraining from drunkenness rather than refraining from willfully looking at a bottle of red wine in a grocery store display.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hey D4v34x,

OK, let's both assume that we want to obey the Bible. Having done that let's think about your first point. I said there was no word in ancient literature for alcohol---pick your language.

Next. OK, I'm a Bible interpreter. I know scripture is plain, perspicuous. And I read, "Look not on wine when it is red." And I think, OK, to start, "Look not" doesn't mean "Look not." It means "Don't get drunk." You get how I got that, right? Hmmmm. What basis do we have for saying that "look not" means "Don't get drunk?" Is there something grammatical, something historical? No. Actually, if we get grammatical, we look at the command from God to Lot and family, "Look not," referring to Sodom and Gomorrha. So why doesn't "look not" there not mean "look not"?

What you should get out of the "look not" is "I'm really, really against you having anything to do with this stuff. Don't even look at it." You see, if you don't look at it, then there won't be any threat for you to drink it. And why is it such a threat? Normally there wouldn't be with yayin. But this yayin is different. It is alcoholic.

Let's not make this too hard. If you hear hoof beats, don't think zebras. Think horses.

d4v34x said...

If I hear hoof beats I think hoofed mammals until they actually come into view in the interest of not jumping to conclusions.

Speaking of which, while not being an Hebrew scholar, I balk at your equating the "wine making itself red" with the effects alchohol abuse has on the human body (red nose, eyes, etc.). The plain sense here would be the liquid is red, sparkling, and goes down easy. True of the juice, both alchoholic and non.

Furthermore, consider the one wine school of thought in the same way we pro-lifers consider human life. Egg, embryo, fetus, baby, robust adult, vegetable-- all human life.

From that perspective, grape, fresh-pressed juice, and alchoholic wine-- all part of one continuum, especially:

1. In the poetic books or writers (i.e. Isaiah) who used poetic language.
2. In a culture whose technology was at level that allowed them very little control over the natural processed mashed grapes undergo.

And yes, I want to obey God, and, like Don, practice and advise prohibition. But our arguments must be on the most solid ground possible. I'm not convinced yours is.

Kent Brandenburg said...

D4,

I think only gazelles jump to conclusions.

Wine doesn't have to make itself red in color. It IS red in color, so it would be convenient for your interpretation if this was a qal verb, and yet, it isn't. It is hithpael. And then you've got the problem, even if it were describing the color of red wine, of explaining why those three descriptors matter at all in the prohibition. "Don't look at it when it is its normal color and when it is behaving like it always behaves, like all yayin behaves, alcoholic and non." It's like saying, look not at the leopard when it has spots. But don't leopards always have spots? The verse becomes non-sensical. Zebra like.

Your third paragraph is actually explaining a two wine view. Two wine says that the grape juice comes in all different forms---in the grape, out of the grape, grape paste, mixed with water, fermented to varying degrees, alcoholic. To be determined by the context and, therefore, the need for descriptors in Proverbs 23.

Even though poetic language is being used, red eyes are actual red eyes. We allow for figures of speech, not an allegorical free for all.

Your second enumerated point is one reason why discernment is necessary, ergo, the descriptors in Proverbs 23.

I know that at any time most of the population of the earth isn't yet convinced by scriptural arguments I make, including a billion Chinese.

d4v34x said...

Kent,

I would love to continue this conversation, but the fact that we are limited in space here in the comments makes it difficult for either one of us to follow our points all the way through, and I think I run the risk of sounding haphazard, or, worse, contentious continuing in this forum.

However, you may feel that since I began this line discussion here, it is only appropriate to complete it here.

I will leave it up to your preference. I can provide you with an email address if you wish to take this to another venue.

And, my desire is to hear you out/have some of my objections answered, not convince you of anything.

Let me know.

David.

Kent Brandenburg said...

David,

I don't feel like we have to finish anything here. I don't mind being convinced of anything. You might think I'm stubborn, but I believe that I've changed to align myself with positions I didn't once take many times in my life. On this one, I've got a lot of water under the bridge already, so I would want evidence, not just attempts at putting holes in mine. And I say that with the idea that I have no problem with someone trying to put holes in this. I would hope that if reasonably convinced someone might give in. If you are a prohibitionist, it might be easier for you.

If you want to still talk, I'm open to that by email if that would be easier. I'd like to try to answer any objections. I like hearing what objections there might be. It usually helps me (if the person with them cares about the subject.). You seem to care.

Fundy said...

Was Jesus a King and a Priest? What were the standards for a priest and a king in relation to Alcoholic Wine? Did Jesus fulfill the Old Testament Law fully to every jot and tittle?

Once these questions are biblically answered the conclusion as to whether Jesus made or drunk alcoholic wine is very simple!

Gary Webb said...

Don & David,
I appreciate Brandenburg's patience with you guys. When he gives clear exposition of Bible passages you will not accept it. If it is scholarship you want for an authority, use the lexicons. They also say that the Bible words for wine can refer to "must", which according to Webster is "the juice pressed from grapes or other fruit before it has fermented; new wine". This the recognized meaning of the words. What is your reason for rejecting the evidence?

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Kent:

You said:

I don't know how you could make the comment you did and have read my post. If there are two wines, we would assume that Jesus drank the non-alcoholic variety, since the prohibition is found in the OT. He was and is without sin."

I don't think that you can prove that wine (oinos) ever means unfermented wine or simple grape juice, from the New Testament.

I also don't think you have come close to proving that the OT banned all alcoholic drinking. Clearly the passover wine was fermented. Also, many OT passages praise the virtue of wine.

You also said:

"The winebibber accusation doesn't prove anything. They also said He cast out demons with Beelzebub and that Mary bore Jesus illegitimately. You get zero mileage from that as an argument."

You missed the point, Kent. Both of the accusations against Jesus were false, surely. No dispute there! However, both accusations had a certain basis in fact.

First, Jesus did cast out devils, a basic fact, and so this much of the accusation is true. But, the second part of the accusation is false, for Jesus, though casting out demons, did it by the Holy Spirit and not by the devil.

Second, Jesus did drink wine and this was clearly fermented. The wine he made from water was clearly fermented. The Passover wine was fermented. Also, Jesus did not take the vow of the Nazarite, as did the Baptist. The Baptist was unlike Jesus regarding drinking of wine. So, the first part of the accusation (that Jesus is a "winebibber"), is true. But, the second part is false. He never drank to excess.

Blessings,

Stephen

Kent Brandenburg said...

Stephen,

Having you say "Passover wine was fermented," you'll have to forgive me, but I don't find persuasive. If we are just going to assume things, I would assume that it wasn't, based upon Proverbs 23:31.

OK, regarding the one piece of evidence you've brought, it is nothing more than mere speculation at the same level of those making the accusations.

You say that it must have been alcoholic or they would not have called him a winebibber. You speculate that Jesus was drinking alcohol in moderation.

When Jesus said what He was drinking, He himself said that it was the fruit of the vine, not a description of alcohol (Mt 26:29; Mar 14:25; Luke 22:18). Or He said, "this cup" like we read in Luke 22:20. And then when they did give Jesus "wine" as a pain killer, probably an addictive type of product, he received it not (Mark 15:23). I believe Jesus.

d4v34x said...

Gary, my primary objection is over the idea that the reflexive language here should not be understood reflexively, that the word "itself" actually means "them". The idea that the wine is already red so "makes itself red" can't be talking about grapes/juice/wine and must be talking about the eyes and noses of the overusers "doesn't go down smoothly".

I would be greatly interested to hear examples of other OT passages contain such use of non-reflexive refexiveness.

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

d4v34x - "Maybe there is no alchoholic/non-alchoholic Hebrew vocabulary because (all) wine was (one) wine."

I think you're missing the important linguistic point that a word can have more than one connotation, and that these are dependent upon context. Such is the case with both yayin and oinos. As such, though there is one *word* for wine, there is not "one wine." Please don't let your own subjectivity override the clear and plain exposition of the text provided in the post.

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Pastor Brandenburger,

Who tells you it is scholarly? Of course, the one-wine guys do. Why is it scholarly? Um. It is.

I laughed when yuo said that.

Don Johnson said...

Gary,

I've really said all I need to in this argument, but do want to respond to your post to clarify something.

We aren't talking about must here. 'Must' isn't in dispute. What is in dispute is the meaning of two words, yayin and oinos. In order for the two-wine theory to be correct, we need to see clear-cut evidence that yayin and/or oinos is used to refer to non-alcoholic grape juice. So far all that has been presented are passages that could support such a view if we also had a clear-cut unambiguous usage that defined the two-wine theory completely.

I would really like it if we had such a passage. It would make my position for total abstinence easier to argue.

However, since I know of no such argument, it seems to me that it is fruitless to hold to the two-wine theory. It only convinces those who are already convinced. What I am after is convincing those who think drinking is OK. So I use other arguments that I think have the backing of Scripture and don't need the two-wine theory to support the position.

Does that help?

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Kent Brandenburg said...

d4,

I've added to the article a clip from a BibSac article on the prohibition of alcohol written in 1880. I'd never read it until today. I thought it was fitting to put into the text.

Kent Brandenburg said...

d4,

For help on the hithpael, here's Waltke's Hebrew syntax. I think you'll be able to get it from these pages:

http://books.google.com/books?id=jZlwYGilLW0C&pg=PA429&dq=%22reflexive,+and+estimative-declarative+reflexive%22#v=onepage&q=%22reflexive%2C%20and%20estimative-declarative%20reflexive%22&f=false

Kent Brandenburg said...

Don,

I know we're on the practical same side on this. If I thought the Bible permitted drinking alcohol, I would do it. I'm not attempting to wear my prohibitionist button while preaching to the choir. The point of this is to convince the unconvinced. I think it would be easy for someone unconvinced to see how that yayin that comes straight from the press would not cause someone to be drunk. I think it is also easy for them to see how that Solomon is differentiating alcoholic yayin from non-alcoholic yayin in Proverbs 23. That you don't see it actually misses me. There is less evidence for issues we say are plain to everyone. This one seems clear to me.

I know you're not going to drink. That's great.

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Don said, What is in dispute is the meaning of two words, yayin and oinos. In order for the two-wine theory to be correct, we need to see clear-cut evidence that yayin and/or oinos is used to refer to non-alcoholic grape juice. So far all that has been presented are passages that could support such a view if we also had a clear-cut unambiguous usage that defined the two-wine theory completely.

"And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting: the treaders shall tread out no wine in their presses; I have made their vintage shouting to cease." (Isaiah 16:10)

"As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah to serve the Chaldeans, which will come unto us: but ye, gather ye wine, and summer fruits, and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that ye have taken." (Jeremiah 40:10)

"And joy and gladness is taken from the plentiful field, and from the land of Moab; and I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses: none shall tread with shouting; their shouting shall be no shouting." (Jeremiah 48:33)

Don, let's be reasonable here, okay? These are three examples in which we see yayin that is still in the press or being gathered in (presumably from grapes) called "wine." Obviously, there are "two wines" in the sense of fermentation or no fermentation. The term "yayin" itself merely refers to juice from a grape, whether fermented or not. In fact, I would argue for alcoholic wine being a specialised meaning of the word since the Bible so often uses some kind of modifying terminology to indicate that wine is alcoholic (i.e. parallel structure with "strong drink", obvious reference to its drunkening effects, etc.). This suggests that the "generic" meaning of yayin is not "alcoholic wine."

In other words, in places where we see wine used without modifiers - such as in the wine offerings in the temple/tabernacle or when it is brought in flagons along with bread, etc. - the textually and contextually inappropriate assumption to make is that it is alcoholic.

Certainly, your claim that there is no definitive passages in the scripture which support a "two wine" position is in error.

Anonymous said...

Question:
Proverbs 31:4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink

Clearly the wine refered to here is alcoholic. How could the King of Kings throw back some booze knowing the Scriptural command for kings?

Terry McGovern said...

Bro Kent,

I am enjoying this series on Alcohol. I am glad you are addressing this issue. Keep up the good work!

When I am back on furlough maybe we can get together for a drink and discuss theology. Just kidding. :)

Don Johnson said...

Sigh...

Titus, look at Jer 40.10 again. "but ye, gather ye wine, and summer fruits, and oil, and put them in your vessels..."

Are the harvesters gathering olives or oil? Grapes or wine? This is a case where the fruit is described in terms of the finished product. It is a figure of speech.

I don't think these passages are convincing to the moderationist. He can easily dismiss them.

What we are after is a passage describing the fruit of the vine as non-alcoholic. I don't think we have any clear passages for yayin or oinos. The best we can come up with are these figure of speech for grapes. So?? It doesn't prove anything.

I'll consider your point with respect to modifiers, but my suspicion is that it will not fly. The Hebrews had a word for juice, tirosh. It is doubtful that yayin means the same thing as tirosh.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Gary Webb said...

Don,
I do not understand how you get what you do out of Jeremiah 40:10. Where is there ANY indication in that passage that the "finished product" is alcoholic? Juice is the finished product, mashed from grapes, just like oil is the finished product, beaten from olives. The making of fermented wine is a fairly complex activity, if it is to be good for drinking. We will all admit that, over time, juice will ferment (Matthew 9:17 - again a passage that clearly demonstrates the "2 wine" truth, but which you do not accept). However, juice that ferments on its own normally is not what people today call "wine"; rather it is just juice that has rotted. You are reading something into Jeremiah 40:10 that is from your own imagination, not something that is stated in the text. And again, since the lexicons also tell us that yayin & oinos actually refer to juice - fermented or not - why do you say that it doesn't? If the word automobile means cars that run on gas or cars that run on electricity, I cannot deny that an electric car is an automobile just because in MY thinking a REAL car runs on gas.

Don Johnson said...

Hi Gary

I think we'll just have to agree to disagree. I don't see much profit in saying the same things over and over again.

On the other hand, we might have to disagree anyway, even if we don't agree about it!!

To say that yayin means juice flies in the face of all biblical usage as well as lexical evidence. You are welcome to the view, but I don't think that you can prove it.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Kent Brandenburg said...

Don,

Let's say you're right. We're wrong. I haven't seen the lexical evidence either from Jaeggli or you. We've provided multiple lexiconal material for you. Is that just dismissed? How has it been no lexiconal material? And when we provide it, you say, "It doesn't matter, I need Bible." So we give you very good biblical and you just say that it is meaningless. There isn't a word for alcohol, so it isn't going to happen. It doesn't exist, but we do have the description in Prov 23. And that in depth bibsac article. You say this flies in the face of usage and evidence. I don't see that at all. I have placed the burden of proof squarely upon myself and I believe met it.

You haven't given me anything that says I'm wrong. You haven't disproven the hithpael. The best you've got on the yayin from the winepresses is that it could be future alcohol. That's very weak, Don. Those passages don't read with any sense of that kind of figure of speech being used. I see the evidence being on our side in heaping portions. The other side not having anything. I don't get that.

Gary said...

I'm curious as to see what you say
in part 4. The debate has been interesting. I personally don't drink, because of the stumbling block issue. I think that in today's society that Christian's should refrain from this "freedom".

With that being said how do you explain verses like 1 Timothy 3:8 where it says for the deacons to not drink "much wine". It doesn't seem to totally forbid the wine (or are they being told to not drink to much grape juice).

I know that from part one that you don't like the excuse of Christians drank it thru out the first 1800 years after Jesus, but how can they all be wrong?

John Calvin received aprox. 250 gallons of wine annually and used Deuteronomy 14:26 to help justify the drinking of it.

How about those puritans and their alcohol. They were against drunkeness, but moderation was not sinful to them.

"Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women". Martin Luther

I heard another person mention that gluttony was a sin, not food. Drunkeness was a sin, but not the wine, which is from God.

Sorry if I'm not totally on topic with your post, but Martin Luther put me in a funny state of mind.

reglerjoe said...

Don Johnson (I think) said that tirosh was the Hebrew word for juice. It is my understanding that tirosh can refer to juice and fermented drink, or else how would Hos. 4:11 make since? Can juice "take away the heart." Yet we see tirosh also being used to refer to grapes in Mic. 6:15. (not "sweet wine" as in the KJV)

It would seem fairly obvious to me that yayin and tirosh have double meaning, just like our word "cider".

Don Johnson said...

Kent, this is your post. I am not trying to argue my points here, but rather to highlight what I see as weaknesses in your argument. I don't see that we have much more to say on this point.

With respect to some of Gary's comments above, I thought about the 'gluttony' line that he mentions and people so often use. I am curious why people think that is an effective argument. The Bible very very rarely mentions gluttony. It doesn't occur in any of the sin lists in the NT that I am aware of. In fact, the only two times I can find it mentioned in the NT is in the charges made against Christ by the Pharisees as reported by Jesus himself in Mt 11.19 and Lk 7.34 (the word used here is 'gluttonous'). The only other mentions I can find are two OT references where "glutton" is coupled with "drunkard", Dt 21.20 and Pr 23.21. This seems like the whole "gluttony is a sin" line may be a tad overblown.

Not that I think we should run around and pig out at every buffet...

But enough for now. I'm ready for round 4, Kent, whenever you are.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Gary Webb said...

I am glad that Martin Luther & John Calvin discovered & were able to highlight the doctrine of salvation by grace. However, I do not think that their Christianity was especially Biblical in many areas: consubstantiation, Augustinian election, baby baptism, coercion of the population to be "Christian", etc., etc. I certainly do not want to get into a debate over these "great" Christians here, but I am only pointing out that I have little reason to regard the example of their Christian living as something that is to be emulated for NT Christians.

Gary said...

Don,

Thank you for your late post, it made me feel alot better about myself. All you can eat buffets are a weakness of mine.

Gary Webb

I agree that God used these men, but that their doctrine was not flawless by far. I just thew them out there, because there doesn't seem to be anyone from the wine is ok side blogging here and Martin's comment was kindda funny.

I am still curious about 1 Timothy 3:8 and Deuteronomy 14:26 though.

Gary said...

Don,

Oops, I meant last, not late.

Don Johnson said...

reglerjoe,

The Hosea 4.11 is the only reference where tirosh is used with respect to intoxication. It should be noted that it is used in combination with yayin. Every other reference (as I understand it) tirosh pretty clearly is referring to juice.

So... it seems to need the help of yayin to make it into the intoxicating category.

FWIW

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

theepitts said...

Why does Prov.31:6&7 never enter into the discussion?

Anonymous said...

To all,
I, without a shadow of a doubt believe that drinking alcohol is a sin. Here's why. I was an alcoholic. Even though I had some Christian beliefs and not attending any congregation, I still had a strong conviction that what I was doing was wrong. My road to Salvation is a long story but to make it short, I surrendered my life to Jesus and was and still am in total submission to the Holy Spirit. When I got saved I prayed to the Lord to help me stop drinking for I could not. I had tried but failed every single time until that day of Salvation. Within a split second of asking God to deliver me from this wicked vice, I had no more desire to drink. It's been 17 months and I can't even look at alcohol without feeling nauseous. Miracle? YES!! How can anyone turn their back on God after a deliverance like that? I didn't come to Christ because of this experience, it happened after I came to Him in total submission to Him. I gave up control of my life, I wanted and want to live for Him. No one and I mean no one can tell me that it's O.K to drink in moderation or that scripture teaches it's o.k. Then one day when the Lord found a church for me, I heard this teaching from this same man of the Lord and understood every single word, based on scripture of course. It's sad at how people can refute this when it's right there. One thing, God is real, He plucked me from the fire and this is my testimony. To God be all the glory. Thank you Pastor Brandenburg for clarifying to me what God wants from us.

In Christ,
Edward Platero

Kent Brandenburg said...

Edward,

Excellent testimony. I've heard the same exact testimony from others too whom God has saved. Praise the Lord!

We thank the Lord for you!

Anonymous said...

What about Proverbs 31:6-7?

If you have mentioned it could you direct me to it please?

Ben

theepitts said...

"Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more." Proverbs 31:6,7

theepitts said...

Kent,

I came across your site a couple of months ago. I enjoy it very much. I am impressed with your articulation in writing. Most everything you have presented, I certainly agree with. I have heard few take positions, that I have held for over five decades, on a number of positions you have addressed.

I have always found Proverbs chapter 31 intriguing. Seldom have I heard anyone address Proverbs 31:6&7, but these verses are one key to understanding this entire chapter. The proper understanding of this chapter would destroy many of the 'Proverbs 31 Woman' cottage industries.

First, let me say, that the Scripture is of no private interpretation; that is, we do not interpret Scripture, a premise that is absolutely necessary to truth found in the Scriptures, which is, by the way, not opinion, but fact. Scripture interprets Scripture and we gain absolute understanding. If Luke chapter one, verse three is believed, we can have perfect understanding of truth. Our job is not to interpret, but to understand the Scriptures, which is what we glory in, "knowing and understanding God". Jeremiah 9:23,24

My position on the consumption of alcohol is that God does not permit it as a recreational drug, nor is it permitted as a medicine at all. Alcohol is a drug, just as cocaine, marijuana or any of the other drugs of recreation. Alcohol in the medical realm is never used as a medicine, even in the case concerning Timothy.

I am very thankful for the testimony of Edward. God saved him out of that sin. God saved me from that sin. I have never even tasted any alcoholic beverage.

I will stop here. I noticed that you said there was more to come concerning this prohibition, and I don't want to get ahead of you.

Dios le bendiga; pero más importante, bendice a Dios.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks TheePitts. We'll be dealing with other passages, but thanks.

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Don,

Titus, look at Jer 40.10 again. "but ye, gather ye wine, and summer fruits, and oil, and put them in your vessels..."

Are the harvesters gathering olives or oil? Grapes or wine? This is a case where the fruit is described in terms of the finished product. It is a figure of speech.


Sorry, but no. You can't simply dismiss any evidence that doesn't fit your preconception as "a figure of speech" (which wouldn't even negate the point anywise!)

What Jeremiah is describing is the collection of the finished products of agricultural activity, as they are being gathered. Oil fresh from the press, summer fruits fresh from the tree....and wine (yayin) fresh from the press. Yes, the finished product is in view - but your assumption that the finished product has been sitting around for the time required for the wine to become alcoholic is spurious.

I also note with interest that you basically ignored Isaiah 16:10 and Jeremiah 48:33. These specifically say that yayin is yayin as soon as it comes from the winepress.

Your dismissal of reglerjoe's point about Hosea 4:11 also needs to be addressed. The use of tirosh and yayin in parallel shows that the two terms can be used synonymously. There is linguistic overlap between the two. This is true, whether you wish it to be or not.

And lastly, you said,

I don't think these passages are convincing to the moderationist. He can easily dismiss them.

I suspect that you are right. Those who wish to justify themselves at the expense of taking the full counsel of God into account will always be able to justify dismissing passages from the Word of God which contradict their personal preference. This is nothing new.

Gary said...

Titus,

I am truly just an observer in this discussion. My knowledge on wine is very limited, but I was interested in your last remark about jer 40:10. I'm assuming that you are
Saying that the juice is being gathered before it can ferment. I found a site that said that in Israel because of the heat that the juice could start to ferment enough to be concidered alcoholic in as little as a couple of days. I also called a local winery and they said here in Virginia the process could be done in about a week. I thought (but don't know outside of what I have seen written) that the juice was boiled down in ancient Israel to keep it as grape juice,
Otherwise it would ferment. What are your thoughts?

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Hi Gary,

Yes, I would say that the yayin in Jer. 40:10 is straight out of the vat, i.e. fresh juice. The reason is that the word translated as "gather" is 'acaph, which means "gather, collect, or assemble", and can be used to refer to harvesting. This suggests to me that Jeremiah was speaking of the juice of grapes that had just been harvested and assembled together in a winepress, and referring to that process specifically.

Yes, in a hot climate, grape juice will begin to ferment because of the action of natural yeasts which coat the skins of grapes and which get into the juice during the process of mashing (even without the addition of brewer's yeasts, which most modern winemakers also use). However, the problem with this process alone is that the alcohol can quickly turn into vinegar, because of the buildup of acetic acid due to the oxidation of the ethanol. To prevent this, the ancients (the Greeks in particular) would mix in various types of limes that neutralised the acids, and then were filtered out. One of the naughty things I did in college as a chemist before I got saved was to help underage friends ferment their own wine in their dorm rooms.

Boiling down wine WOULD work to both kill off the yeasts that aid fermentation, as well as driving off any ethanol already present (which boils at ~173ºF). However, boiling wine down can also begin to caramelise the sugars in the juice, which would make the juice not sweet (or as sweet), making it only really fit for cooking with.

To prepare wine that people would want to drink, you generally had to do more than just let the juice sit out in the sun for a while!

Gary said...

Titus,

Very interesting,thanks for the info.

I'm also glad that your "moonshine" days are over. Ha! Ha! God bless you brother.

Jerry Bouey said...

There was a comment made by one poster several times in support of his argument: Jesus drank wine of course because He drank Passover wine which was alcoholic.

Yet, a study of the OT passages (including Leviticus 23) will show that the Jews were to remove yeast and yeast products (ie. Leaven, which is a type of sin) from their dwellings, and were not to have leavened products during Passover and the week-long Feast of Unleavened Bread that immediately followed Passover. That meant Biblically that no obedient Jew would be observing Passover supper with leavened bread or leavened/alcoholic wine. This type of putting sin and corruption out is reemphasized in the NT in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8. Jesus fulfilled the type as there was no sin in Him - and He underwent no corruption in the grave.

As Prophet, Priest, and King, it was Biblically forbidden for Jesus to partake of alcoholic beverages - and He would have obeyed and fulfilled His own Word.