Alcool, wedding in Cana.
The wedding in Cana is often used as a case in point story in order to dismiss as unbiblical the view according to which believers in Yeshua should abstain from alcohol. Indeed, if Yeshua did transform water into an alcoholic beverage, was he not condoning the use of alcohol for his followers?
The comment accompanying this picture does not attempt to be a complete study on this topic, especially with regard to the wedding in Cana, but it aims rather to point out several archaeological, scientific and biblical facts about the subject of alcohol and whether believers in Yeshua should abstain from it.
The following quotes gives insight as to what wine was in biblical times.
a. “As we can see from many literary sources, bread was the staple food in that region and period. Wine was a weak, diluted, and often unfermented grape wine, similar to modern grape juice.” Lawrence H. Shiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls (Philadelphia: Jewish Society Publication, 1994), p. 328.
ARGUMENT: Wine does not necessarily mean alcoholic beverage in biblical times.
b. The “simple wines of antiquity were incomparably less deadly than the stupefying and ardent beverages of our western nations. The wines of antiquity were more like sirups; many of them were not intoxicant; many more intoxicant in a small degree; and all of them, as a rule, taken only when largely diluted with water. They contained, even undiluted, but 4 or 5 per cent. of alcohol.” William Smith, Smith’s Bible Dictionary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1986), 747.
ARGUMENT: For those who want to drink “biblically”, it is a known fact that modern alcoholic wines have a much higher alcoholic content today than they ever did during biblical times.
What about alcohol and health?
a. Regarding alcohol consumption and a future mother: “A second highly vulnerable period occurs after fertilization but before implantation, when the embryo is undergoing rapid developmental changes and is preparing for implantation.” Edward A. Mead and Dipak K. Sarkar, “Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and their transmission through genetic and epigenetic mechanisms” (Frontiers in Genetics, 2014, 5:154.), p.4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/…/PMC40…/pdf/fgene-05-00154.pdf
ARGUMENT: In such a context, it would have been highly inappropriate for Yeshua, the Messiah and the Son of God, to provide alcoholic wine to a wedding party, knowing that even a small amount of alcohol can cause mental and physical defects in a newly formed embryo. Why then would Yeshua have served and encouraged the use of alcoholic beverages at a wedding, which would include a young bride and potentially soon mother-to-be? [See 1.a. for “wine” as non-alcoholic beverage]
Should believers, kings and priests in the Kingdom to come, drink alcohol, notwithstanding the usage by commoners in biblical times?
a. The Church of God ought to be a royal priesthood (see 1 Pet. 2:5–12). The Messiah Yeshua “hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father” (Rev. 1:6), and we ought to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Rom. 12:1).
ARGUMENT: In Leviticus 10:9, we learn of the Levitical priesthood. Priests could not enter the tabernacle, where the holy spirit dwelt at the time, under the influence of alcohol. “Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations.” Where do dwell the holy spirit according the apostolic writings? “Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own.” (1 Cor. 6:19)
b. “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.” (Prov. 31:4–5)
ARGUMENT: The Church will judge humankind during the Millennium. “In the Messianic Age, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel.” (Matt. 19:28). If believers want to be apt kings and judges during the Millennium, and even rightly judge of their fellow human beings today, they ought to refrain from drinking alcohol.
These facts are something to consider for anyone who wonders about alcohol consumption for believers in Yeshua. In our Church of God Study Guide, we expand on this topic in our article titled Alcohol, Recreational Drugs, and Tobacco (pp. 311-327). http://www.churchofgodstudyguide.com/
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