A Little Toddy for the Body (alcohol) Addictions Part 5

Watch the first four parts here

In the Bible, in the English translation, in both the Old and New Testament uses the word ‘wine’ in different places.

Wine in OT – תִּירוֹשׁ tirosh (Hebrew)

In hebrew, there’s a word called תִּירוֹשׁ tirosh, predominantly refers to unfermented wine. It is found 38 times in the Old Testament. It is often associated with the produce of a field or orchard. It is  associated with grapes that are still in a cluster, because one of the verses in the Bible says ‘Look not upon the wine, when it’s hanging on the vine’. Proverbs 23:31. And it calls it wine, when it is still a grape hanging on a vine. It also refers to fresh juice, unfermented juice. Hebrew scholars and writers agree that תִּירוֹשׁ tirosh is the fruit of vines or grapes. Jewish encyclopedia says: תִּירוֹשׁ tirosh includes all kinds of sweet juices – must and does not include fermented wine. Here are some examples:

  • Deuteronomy 11:14 gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil
  • Proverbs 3:10  So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine
  • Isaiah 65:8 As the new wine is found in the cluster, And one says, ‘Do not destroy it, For a blessing is in it
  • Joel 2:24 The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, And the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.
  • Deuteronomy  12:17 You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or your new wine or your oil,
  • Joel 1:5, 10 …The field is wasted,.. The new wine is dried up,…

Wine in OT – יין כשר, yayin and שֵׁכָר shekar (Hebrew)

The second Hebrew word יין כשר, yayin is found 136 times. יין כשר, yayin is used when referring to grapes, raisins and unfermented or fermented grape juice

Another Hebrew word שֵׁכָר shekar is translated in the Bible when referring to strong drink made from dates. In the Old Testament wines, שֵׁכָר shekar, the strong drink was made from dates, not grapes. In other words, the traditional wine comes from the vine or the grape and the strong drink actually comes from the dates from the tree. We get our English word ‘sugar’  from the word שֵׁכָר shekar. It denotes taking the sap from a palm tree, just like we would take a maple tree and get syrup from it and make maple syrup. The sap from a palm tree is used to make what is also called שֵׁכָר shekar, a strong drink. The Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopedia says שֵׁכָר shekar is a luscious, saccharine drink or sweet syrup, especially sugar or honey of dates or of the palm tree; also by accommodation, occasionally the sweet fruit itself. The Mohamedan Traveler in AD 850 wrote, „Palm wine if drank fresh is sweet like honey, but if kept it turns to vinegar, meaning it will ferment. So they did drink what they called ‘palm wine’, but when we look at the word wine, we in the west always think of alcohol content, but in this particular reference, the palm wine was called ‘wine’ when it was still sweet.

I will never forget in Israel, my guide Gideon took me to an Arab village. In Islam there is a law prohibiting strong drink or wine, they brought out what had been from a great vineyard, it looked like jelly, grape jelly in a plastic container. They dipped in there and they took a spoonful and they mixed it with bottled water. I drank it and it was really delicious. He said this was actually something like a grape juice  and it’s made from a jam and to keep it going long they put it in there, they preserve it in a cold place. He said some of them call it wine. To me, in my western mentality, wine is in a bottle, and yet they’re calling this wine, when all it is here is grape from a jam that’s been here year after year mixed with water.

Wine in NT – οἶνος oinos (Greek)

Oinos οἶνος is the Greek word for wine which is used in the New Testament. It is used for wine, for wrath- see Revelation 14:10 and 19:15. This word is interesting because it never distinguishes between fermented or unfermented, like the Hebrew does. So in the New Testament when it says that Jesus turned water into wine- John 2:7-9 , by using the Greek word, it does not indicate fermented or unfermented. So to recap:

  • Hebrew Tirosh – unfermented wine
  • Hebrew Yayin – fermented wine
  • Greek Oinos – depends on the context used

The issue is not the wine itself, but the issue becomes the sugars that turn to alcohol and the alcohol content that is in what we call wine and strong drink. Depending on the type of wine here in America and the rest of the world, it could have 13-14% alcohol an some could have 18-20% alcohol. Here’s the part people don’t understand and will be a real surprise to some of you. When we in the west sit down to a table  and want to order a glass of wine, it comes out of a wine bottle from California or some other place where wine is made. We think that’s the same kind of wine that Jesus drank that came from a vineyard. But, it’s not how it was drunk at the time of Jesus vs the way it is drunk today in America.

In the ancient time, when you produced a grape harvest on your farm, there was only a certain amount of ‘wine’ that could be made from the grapes. Think about this, the grape harvest is really only one time a year and the big harvest is usually one time in Israel. They had to take it and put it in wine skins or some type of jars and store it in cool places, but it had to last for a long period of time. So, if they just go and guzzle up what’s there, it’s gonna be gone in a few months. Here’s what they did. This is what they did on a consistent basis. In the ancient days they took the wine from the wineskin and instead of drinking the whole thing, and I’m talking about ‘in a home’ and they mixed it with water. You can find it in historical writings.

Norman Geisler (moderate calvinist) in ‘A Christian perspective on wine drinking‘ says, „…wine in Homer’s day was 20 parts water and one part wine (Oddyssey 9.208-9). Pliny referred to wine as 8 parts water and one part wine (Natural history 14.6.54). According to Aristophanes, it was stronger: three parts water and two parts wine.”  In the ancient time, in the average place where wine was drunk, 3 parts water were mixed to 1 part wine . This is the reason. If it had been standing there for a long time and was fermented, it diluted the amount of alcohol that was in the wine. For example, in ancient time, anyone drinking wine  unmixed with water, drinking it straight, was considered a barbarian. So, in other words  to make the wine last longer, 3 parts up to 20 parts water and it dilutes the alcohol level down. I heard someone talk about this saying that it diluted the wine to about 1% alcohol, which is about the alcohol level of non alcoholic beer. This research was done by a leading university; because the wine in Jesus’ day is mixed with water, historians have studied this and understand this. The wine mixed with water in Jesus’s day, the alcoholic content is so low that you would have to drink 20 glasses of wine from Jesus’s time to equal the alcohol in 2 martini’s.

I’d like to stop and talk to the Christians out there thinking, „Well, Jesus drank or the disciples drank or they drank in the New testament; you’re drinking alcohol into your system and most of you have never heard what I just told you. Meaning that in Jesus’s day alcohol is mixed with water. I read in the ‘New testament Hebraic Talmud’ that in the ancient time in Passover, they put 3 parts water to 1 part wine to bring the alcohol content down because kids at the table were participating at Passover, sometimes (even) 4 parts water. Whatever alcohol is there, it is so diluted it doesn’t have the impact when the glass of wine is drunk.

Could people get drunk? Yes. Did people get drunk? Yes. People in the ancient time definitely got drunk. That’s ancient history. But what they had to do is drink it raw and drink it pure out of the wine skin or out of the jar instead of mixing it. Here’s the big argument people have. I hear it all the time. I am not here to condemn you because you have to answer to the Lord. It is not safe for you to do something that your kids and grandkids are watching you do. They’re going to be more liberal as time progresses. Why do something that’s not necessary? Here are some arguments about drinking wine:

  1. Jesus turned the water to wine (John chapter 2) He sure did. Here’s the question: Was it fermented or not? A marriage feast in Jesus’s day lasted for 7 days. Often times they could run out of food or drink. In this instance they ran out of wine. Jesus takes 6 pots of water and He turns it into wine, the governor saying, „you’ve saved the best for last”. I do not believe it’s alcoholic. I’ll give you a simple explanation: It takes somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 days in the dark to take grapes which are juice  and turn them into wine that has alcohol in it. This is an instant miracle which takes place, and he’s commenting on the taste not the alcohol content.
  2. In Luke 7:33-34 Jesus is called a wine bibber. He must have gotten drunk if he was called a wine bibber. Let’s use your theory. They called Him a glutton. Mark 2:15. Was Jesus a glutton? when gluttony is a sin according to Deuteronomy 21:20. So Jesus is going to break the law of His father and be a glutton cause they’re calling Him a glutton. They called Him a devil. Here’s the problem with the Pharisees, the Pharisees called him a glutton and a devil and a wine bibber cause He’s eating at a table with unsaved people who are absolutely as lost as they can be and they didn’t like the fact that He is associating with sinners. Just because someone called Jesus a wine bibber it doesn’t mean… it was an insult to be called a glutton and a wine bibber! They are actually insulting Him and not complimenting Him.
  3. Wine at the Last Supper. Most of you take communion in some form. We take communion with simple grape juice (non alcoholic). Let me tell you why. The picture of Jesus’s crucifixion is Passover, where you have unleavened bead and you have what we call wine. However, the unleavened bread has no leaven because leaven represents sin. Let’s look at the wine. Why is it that in Matthew 26:29, Mark 14:25 Luke 22:18 when Jesus is holding up the cup and they’re talking about the Lord’s supper, they call it the fruit of the vine because the term ‘fruit of the vine’ alludes to the pure fruit of the vine. If the bread represents the body of Christ, the body of Christ knew no sin, but he took it upon Himself our sins to be the righteousness of God  (2 Corinthians 5:21). However, the blood of Jesus had to be pure, if it was corrupted by sin (then) it’s no different than my blood and your blood. That’s why He had to be born of a virgin, because thourgh a virgin His blood would remain pure, not tainted by the earthly seed of a man to create Him. And so, the blood of Jesus was pure blood, never tainted by a sin. Here’s the reason I’m bringing this out. This may be why at the communion supper where they are serving what we call ‘the wine’, it is actually called in the Bible ‘fruit of the vine’, indicating the pure blood of the grape or indicating that there’s no kind of alcohol content in it, for this reason: in the alcohol content, the bacteria has to enter in and break the sugar molecules down to ferment it. To me, just leaven in the bread would be a picture of sin, (that’s in your Bible), then the breakdown of the alcohol sugars into fermentation would be a picture of His blood being tainted. When I go and take communion, I use pure grape juice because I have an understanding that if I were to use something else it would represent Christ’s blood being tainted and „He knew no sin” 2 Corinthians 5:21 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. His blood remained pure. If His blood did not remain pure it would be like any other blood of any other animal, a goat or a bull and would not have been sufficient to forgive mankind of his sins because „He was the Lamb”, the Bible says, „without spot and without wrinkle and without blemish”.
  4. 1 Timothy 5:23 No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities. We do know that Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 3:2-3 – a bishop is to be given to no wine. Timothy is a bishop; he’s not to drink any wine at all. That’s in your Bible. Apparently, because the Greek word does not distinguish between fermented and unfermented wine (the Hebrew words do) we can assume that Paul is saying, drinking wine here has nothing to do with juice here, it has to do with fermented wine. Timothy is in a place where he is having severe stomach difficulties so Paul says, „Timothy, take a little wine for your stomach’s sake and often infirmities”. Timothy is asking Paul for the permission to do something to try to help him in that area. So I ask a gentleman who is a Greek scholar, „How do you relate the difference here?” He said, Remember that in some countries back in that day there was a lot of bacteria in the water. So when they would mix a little bit of wine with the water, the acidic content of the wine would kill the bacteria in the water. So it doesn’t mean that Timothy is necessarily going out there and starting to guzzle for his stomach’s sake. There are people who use the excuse „Timothy used a little bit for his stomach’s sake” so I use a little bit for my stomach’s sake. Let me give you some advice: Pepto Bismol works really good. There’s other things you could drink that doesn’t have alcohol in it.

    (1) People always bring up these verse, „Yeah, but all through the Old Testament they drank. In the Old Testament they had slaves and even in the New Testament they had slaves (Romans 14:4), the American slaves were freed and we no longer believe in slavery anymore even though we find it in both testaments.

    (2) In the Old Testament (Exodus 21:24-25)  it was ‘an eye for an eye’ and ‘a tooth for a tooth’ but, in the new covenant (Matthew 6:12-15) we are to forgive those who wrong us.

    (3) In the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 17:2-5) couples were stoned for adultery and when they tried to stone a woman in John 8:1-11, Jesus refused to let her be stoned and forgave her and said, „Go and sin no more”.

    (4) In the Old Testament Abraham and Jacob had more than 1 wife and the News Testament says ‘one wife’ (1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6)

    and so, what I would say to you is this: In the Old Testament certain things were permitted, like multiple wives, drinking, and there are verses where you do find that. However, under the new covenant certain things have changed. THE BOTTOM LINE: When we talk about all these things, the bottom line is this: If people are looking up to you as a Christian and they are looking up to you as someone who is serving God, I am not here to condemn you, and try to put this on you, but, if you have ever been with an alcoholic father and an alcoholic mother and you were raised that way, no one has to tell you how bad it can get. If you were ever an alcoholic and you’ve been delivered from it completely, no one ever has to say, „A little bit, in moderation won’t hurt you”. There is a spiritual principle here and it is this: It is better not to be involved in something that cause a brother or sister to stumble (that’s in your Bible). It’s better not to be involved in something that’s going to hurt your testimony. It’s better not to be involved in something that one day, your children can point to you and say, „I just got it from you. I’m just doing what you did. I saw you drink, you can’t tell me not to drink”. But, if you abstain and live a good life and be filled with the Holy Spirit, you’ll always be able to tell your children, „Children, you never saw mom and dad doing that”.

    Published on Jul 13, 2012 by 

2 comentarii (+add yours?)

  1. AJ Ferrioli
    ian. 28, 2014 @ 03:47:38


    I am very happy that I got nice information about how to Cure addiction from your blog and I hope you will write more about it.


    • rodi
      ian. 28, 2014 @ 13:02:23

      Hi AJ,
      we are continuously posting new sermons, messages and anything to help our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. There is a really good website that you might want to look into. It is http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com/
      Please check it out when you have the chance. God bless you!

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