Church of God, New World Ministries

Wine Makes A Glad Heart

Do you know the healthful benefits of wine? Or, have you falsely assumed that wine is all bad? You can learn now how to receive a blessing instead of a curse, by proper use of wine.

The Bible says that God gives wine to make men glad (Ps. 104:15).Why have some men turned this blessing of God into a curse?

God plainly shows the proper use of wine in the Bible. But men have refused to follow God’s instruction. If we follow the scriptural instruction, our health will benefit, and we will have a happier heart.

Here is an opportunity to learn these benefits from your own Bible and from scientific sources that you probably have not known before.

In the United States there are millions of social drinkers, and millions of excessive drinkers, and who knows how many alcoholics. Thousands of lives are ruined by drinking! Countless numbers of people suffer untold pain and anguish because of relatives and loved ones who drink excessively.

Because of the improper use of alcohol by a relatively few people, many others have come to the conclusion that any use of alcoholic beverages is completely and totally wrong. Many devout, religious people sincerely believe that God has forbidden any use of alcohol.

Wine is frequently mentioned in the Bible. If the use of wine is a sin, the Bible will plainly show that it is wrong. If there are benefits of wine, it will say so.

Melchizedek was priest of the Most High God at Salem (Jerusalem) during the time of Abraham. The Apostle Paul showed in the New Testament that this person was none other than the One who became Jesus Christ of the New Testament (Heb. 7).

On one occasion Abraham was entertained by Melchizedek. On this memorable occasion, Melchizedek “brought forth bread and wine,” for Abraham and his companions (Gen. 14:18). This is an example of Jesus Christ Himself, our Lord and Master, serving wine to His guests! And, He did not sin!

This particular Hebrew word translated wine is yayin. This word is used 134 times in the Old Testament and it means fermented wine, not grape juice! This same beverage, when used excessively, causes drunkenness. Proof is found in Genesis 9:21 where Noah drank yayin excessively and became drunk. Lot also became drunk on this same beverage (Gen. 19:30-36). It was the beverage used by Nabal so that he too became drunken (I Sam. 25:36-37).

God instructed His people to enjoy yayin at the commanded Festivals (Deut. 14:26). In addition to enjoying wine, we may also enjoy “strong drink.” This term comes from an entirely different Hebrew word – shekar which is used 22 times in the Old Testament, and means an “intensely alcoholic liquor.”

These scriptures should make it clear that there can be a right and a wrong use of yayin. Jesus Christ in the office of Melchizedek used it properly. Noah and Lot and Nabal used it improperly in the accounts mentioned. We should learn to use it properly as Jesus did.

In addition to using wine as a beverage, God also commanded His Levitical Priesthood to include in the sacrifices a portion of wine as a drink offering (Ex. 29:40).

A blessing of wine was prophesied for our people today as a part of our national heritage! Read it in Genesis 27:28 “Therefore God gives thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine.” Today, some people think that this particular blessing from God is a curse instead of a blessing! God gives good gifts to his children. For some people who have improperly used it, it has become a curse. But if used correctly it is a blessing from God. This should emphasize our need to learn the proper use.

This same wine (tirosh) is also shown to be a gift from God in another scripture. “For she (Israel) did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal. Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and flax given to cover her nakedness” (Hosea. 2:8-9).

The word tirosh, “new wine,” is used in these two places and in 36 other places in the Old Testament. People sometimes conclude that this word means grape juice, or fresh pressed juice of the vine. These scriptures show that wine is a blessing from God; however, the Bible also shows plainly that wine can be a curse if improperly used. Hosea 4:11 states: “Whoredom and wine (yayin) and new wine (tirosh) take away the heart.”

Grape juice could not have this effect. This verse should make it plain that the improper or excessive use of either wine or new wine will cause a person to temporarily lose proper control of his mind and body. The Hebrew tirosh, translated new wine, can be intoxicating!

This is also, proved in Judges 9:13 where it is stated that tirosh “cheereth God and man.” Grape juice does not have a warming or cheering effect, but wine, used moderately and not in excess, does.

John the Baptist did not drink wine (oinos) (Luke 7:33). However, Jesus did drink wine (oinos). He said He did in Matthew 11:19, and Luke 7:34. Christ had not changed since the days of His office of Melchizedek. He did not preach against the temperate use of wine; instead He did like most of the other people of His day and drank wine in moderation! It was one of the principal beverages in Palestine at that time, and is to this day.

His first miracle was to change water into real fermented wine (oinos) (John 2:10). People who preach abstinence refuse to admit that this first miracle of Christ was really what the Bible plainly says it was. They claim that this miracle was to turn water into grape juice! Imagine if you can, an elaborate Jewish wedding supper where everyone drank only grape juice!

Jesus Christ (whether people want to believe it or not) turned six jars of twenty or thirty gallons each into wine (oinos)! This was no small miracle!

This was the kind of wine that the steward said was of finest quality. Could it have been grape juice? “Every man serves the good wine first: and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine: but you have kept the good wine until now” (Jon 2:10). At such wedding feasts after men had “drunk freely,” or more correctly were “softened with drink,” the poorer quality of wine was brought out. The people did not realize the difference by then. To anyone who will read the Bible for what it says, and who will be honest with himself, the answer is obvious, this was real, fermented alcoholic wine.

Another proof that oinos is fermented wine is the fact that Paul said, “Be not drunk with wine (oinos)” (Eph. 5:18). You can’t get drunk on grape juice!

A parable which Christ gave also proves that oinos is the kind of wine or juice that has been fermented. At that time, instead of having metal or glass bottles to enclose wine, the skins of animals were used. The working quality of the wine while fermenting would break an old skin. It would not break a new skin because of its pliable characteristics. Jesus said that oinos would break old bottles (skins) (Matt. 9:17).

Paul instructed Timothy, “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine (oinos) for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities” (I Tim. 5:23). Notice, he said to use only a little wine, not a whole lot. This one verse shows that the amount of wine used should be limited. The purpose of this wine was Timothy’s frequent stomach ailments. Later we will see why it was beneficial for Timothy to use fermented wine for his stomach.

Several scriptures have shown that it is not a sin to use wine properly. But what of the improper use? Drunkenness and the excessive use of wine is condemned (Eph. 5:18). Drunkenness is one of the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:21).

Those who are “mighty to drink” (excessive drinkers), are condemned by God (Isa. 5:22). The improper use of wine is a mocker and deceiver. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Prov. 20:1). Those that tarry long over wine and spend a great deal of time in drinking will find all kinds of woe, sorrow and trouble (Prov. 23:29-30). While in the process of fermentation, wine will cause sickness and pain (Prov. 23:31-32). Verse 21 of this same chapter instructs us not to be among those who are wine bibbers (excessive drinkers), nor are we to be among gluttons (excessive eaters). The excessive use of food is just as evil as excessive drinking. If this verse means you should not touch a drop of wine, it also means you should not touch one morsel of food!

Even though alcoholism is a serious sin in our land, only a small percentage of people are guilty of it. There are untold millions more who are gluttons, smokers, idolaters, Sabbath-breakers, and who violate all of God’s other commands.

One doctor looks at the matter of alcohol being habit-forming as follows: “Occasionally heard as an objection to prescribing alcohol is that alcohol is habit-forming. So now hold on to your hat or your prejudice if any. Drinking is nothing like as habit-forming as smoking. It isn’t even as habit-forming as overeating. From all practical viewpoints and for all practical purposes liquor is not habit-forming at all” (From Liquor, the Servant of Man, by Dr W. H. Smith and F. C. Helwig).

Many religionists claim that the use of real fermented wine is forbidden in the Bible. The truth is that they do not know what is in the Bible. There are only two specific temporary prohibitions against any use of wine and they were given for particularly unusual situations. The first concerns that of a Nazarite. This was a vow taken voluntarily by people of the Old Testament times. While a person was under this vow he was not to cut his hair, nor was he to eat or drink anything that would come from grapes. Such a person could not eat raisins, drink grape juice, or wine. If this vow is used to prove that wine is wrong (as some people attempt to do) then so are grape juice and raisins, and it is wrong for a man to cut his hair!

The second complete temporary prohibition concerned only the High Priest, or those other priests who served personally within the Temple, or within the Tabernacle in the wilderness. This is given in Leviticus 10:9-11). This command was given to prohibit any possibility of a priest ministering in a drunken or partially drunken state. Since the priests under the Old Testament dispensation were carnal, and did not have God’s Holy Spirit, they quite possibly would on certain occasions appear before God drunken, unless there was a total prohibition for their drinking at the time when they were to perform their particular service. At other times they were given full permission to drink wine.

God wants us to learn how to discern what is good and evil by exercising our senses properly (Heb. 5:14). The use of wine is one such thing that we must learn to control. We should only use wine in what the world would call extreme moderation. A small amount of wine, especially at meal time, is beneficial to the body. Excessive amounts of wine are harmful. It brings all kinds of trouble, woe and unhappiness to the user as well as to everyone around him.

We have seen from the Bible certain benefits from wine. In the example of Timothy, the Apostle Paul said to drink wine would help stomach distress and aid digestion. This benefit of wine as well as several others has been recorded in the Bible for many centuries. Some doctors in the medical profession are now beginning to learn some of these very same things. They have not learned the basic cause of sickness and disease. But despite their mistakes, the medical profession has been able to observe the effect of certain foods on health. As a result of their research they recognize a few of the principles concerning health.

Doctors realize that the excessive use of wine and liquor is harmful. Yet they also realize the benefits of its proper use. Dr. P. J. Steincrohn wrote several years ago concerning the problem of alcohol. After acknowledging the many evils of excessive drinking he stated, “Yet, we doctors know there is another side to it. We recognize that alcohol can also do much good.”

He stated that, “Alcohol is a two-edged sword: one dull, the other sharp. Before accepting it or rejecting it, there are a few things you should know. In moderate amounts, liquor is an appetizer. A martini enhances many a dinner and social function. For the elderly, alcohol seems to provide a new lease on life.” Dr. Steincrohn continued in his column to say that “over the years, hundreds of patients have told me (in all sobriety) how much the daily ounce or two of liquor has added to the fullness and enjoyment of their lives.”

In layman’s terms a little alcohol is an aid, benefit or tonic to the stomach. Do you suffer from stomach distress? Proper use of wine in the diet may help you.

A book, published by the Wine Advisory Board of San Francisco, gives very interesting details from a doctor’s point of view concerning wine. Here are a few of the points brought out in this book as well as other recognized sources. Wine is one of the most complete foods! It is one of the most digestible, natural foods and consists of more than 100 elements. It is found to be a rich source of energy. Doctors consider the B vitamins contained in wine make it a useful supplement in the daily diet. Also, certain constituents in wine significantly stimulate appetite. When used properly with meals, blood alcohol increases relatively slowly and gradually to only moderate levels.

Gastric juice is the fluid secreted by glands in the stomach for the purpose of food digestion. Wine resembles gastric juice more closely than does any other natural beverage. In limited amounts, wine increases gastric secretion. It also stimulates the flow of bile. Bile is a secretion of the liver, which is necessary in the emulsification and assimilation of fats, and also prevents putrefaction of food in the intestines causing gas. Wine has also been found particularly useful in digestive disorders stemming from emotional tensions and anxiety. Only in recent years have many of the puzzling factors concerning the effects of wine and of alcohol on the digestive system been clarified. “As far as wine is concerned, it appears evident that small quantities have a generally stimulating action, while larger amounts act as a depressant” (Use of Wine in Medical Practice).

The same book also states that experiments have shown that after moderate amounts of wine have been swallowed there is an increase in the salivary flow for ten minutes and the secretion rate remains high for more than an hour. Salvia is also an aid to digestion.

Wine increases gastric secretion, and as a result it is an aid to digestion. For those under emotional tension it aids in relaxation. In addition, wine has been observed to aid in the natural evacuation of the colon. All these benefits from using wine in moderate amounts with meals, should make it clearer why Paul told Timothy to use a little wine for his stomach’s sake. Wine has also been noted to have a beneficial and stimulate effect on the liver and has even been found to relieve pain in certain heart ailments.

After physical or emotional fatigue, wine is found to be beneficial in relaxing the individual. In this same way it is also beneficial in times of emotional tension and stress. The benefit of wine in times of stress, or sickness is also noted in the Bible. “Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts” (Prov. 31:6).

Another use of wine which has been recognized for millenniums is that of the antiseptic qualities of wine. People in the world often use mercurochrome or methiolate to disinfect cuts, bruises, or sores, and yet wine is far better! Actually, the bactericidal action of wine is greater due to its alcohol content. With the many enzymes and other components of wine (in additions to alcohol), it is a very effective means of killing harmful bacteria. In addition, it is not damaging to the flesh, as some antiseptics are.

Wine is so effective, according to news releases, published several years ago, that it is a greater combatant against certain bacteria than penicillin!

In ancient time it was very commonly used as a germicidal agent; however, with our “modern drugs,” it is no longer in vogue. Jesus showed that He knew the benefits of wine as an antiseptic when he gave the parable of the Good Samaritan. In this case a man had been injured and had a severe wound. The Good Samaritan ‘bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine (oinos)” (Luke 10:34). Imagine, if you can, how some people could claim that he poured in grape juice to cleanse this wound! The fermented wine cleansed the wound and killed the harmful bacteria. The oil mollified or softened the flesh.

You have now seen some of the healthful benefits of wine when used properly. It should be plain that it is a needful part of the diet. This has been proved from the Bible and secular sources. If you had used wine properly in your diet, your present health would probably be better today. If you start using it properly now, your health may improve.

The best time to use wine is at meal time. At meal time wine is more helpful in the digestive process. If you use wine at other times it will quickly pass through the body, and may not be as helpful.

It is easier to over-indulge if you drink wine when you are not eating your meal. You must always be sure that you do not over-indulge. If you do, it is sin and condemned by God.

Wine (yayin) is going to be used in the Millennium when Christ will be ruling upon this earth. “I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit” (Amos 9:14).

Wine is, and will continue to be, one of the blessings that God has given mankind. Don’t deprive yourself of this blessing, but learn now to use wine properly as a regular part of your diet.

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