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The word of wisdom

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(C) Copyright 1998 By Massimo Franceschini all the rights reserved.

Why do the Mormons abstain wine, when Christ was also drinking it?

To answer this question it is right that we first answer another.

Why the Word of Wisdom? What is its origin?

If a good father really loves his children he will do anything to recommend them for their own good, but that in recommending them he would have to enter the conflict with their desire, the will not take anything away from his love.

For Example: the father says to his son "Don't get close to the fire, otherwise you'll burn yourself." The son sees the fire, He likes it for its luminosity, for the its warmth, tends to get closer, but if the son really loves his father and he has faith in him, he will obey him and some day he will understand the meaning of the recommend without suffering the sad consequences.

If instead he decides to disobey, he will pay and will be surprised of the fact without getting full knowledge of what happened. I wanted to bring up this comparison for 2 reasons. The first to explain that the commandments that God gives us, really are recommends for our own good. The second because a lot of times we don't have faith in God and we'd want to understand the reason of ever thing. But the problem is that a lot of times we are still not mature to understand. When the Lord in Doctrine and Covenants 89 gave the world its Word of Wisdom, the men believed that smoking was good for the throat, that who drank alcohol, represented exemplar of the strong man, that tea and coffee` were totally harmless.

The first saints have had faith in the Lord, the world likewise; at a distance of 168 years, science has demonstrated that the substances indicate that in the section said before that they are very harmful. Despite that, when a saint presents this principle, the person that listens (usually) defends him or herself, tries to make up excuses in every way: "I am not hurting anyone" or "Why would the Lord Care" or "Little doses don't won't harm" or "No one can forbid me to do this" no one wants forbid anything.

If you saw a person on the edge of a cliff would you warn him? It's an act of love!

On the other half sentences or the initial sentence of "But Christ also drank wine" we prefer it to be answered within the scriptures.

Since the antique times God has warned the human species against the bad of alcohol.

Proverbs 20:1 "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise"

Isaiah 5:11 "Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may flow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame the!"

Habakkuk 2:5 "Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire a hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:"

Analyzing Proverbs 23:20,29,31,35 is Interesting

Proverbs 23:20 "Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:"

Proverbs 23:29 "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 ( Why it mentions mixed wine?)

Proverbs 23:31 "Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.

Proverbs 23:35 "They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I felt it nor: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again."

Today we know that alcohol on the contrary of tea and coffee`, that contain both substances that stimulate the nervous and cardiac centers, the alcohol we were saying, is instead almost an anesthetic, puts the senses to sleep. Many surgeries were done using this substance. Reading the last scripture we can understand why.

Also the verse quoted the words:"mixed wine." We will see why Solomon used these words properly.

Proverbs 31:4 "It is not for Kings, O Lemuel, it is not for Kings to drink wine, nor for princes strong drink."

It shows us, people in authority shouldn't drink wine or strong drink.

I Timothy 3:2-3 "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine."

Titus 1:7 "For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine."

It is clear, in this manner the people has the good example from the person in charge.

Now we will start to analyze the question if also Jesus drunk wine, because it sounds strange to me that a perfect example like Him was missing in some way this important point.

I had many problems when I was a bishop in Italy. The tradition of wine is very strong in Italy and for many people to abandon the use of wine is very tough. Many people justify themselves quoting the scripture about the last supper. So I wished to find something to support my viewpoint, I prayed and studied the scriptures and this is the result.

We, like Mormons, don't drink wine, because it contains alcohol, but in case wine was without alcohol we could drink without problem. So it will be important to determine what kind of wine Jesus drunk.

Judges 13:4,7,14 "Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink.......But he said unto me, behold thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink.

Leviticus 10:9 "Do not drink wine or strong drink."

It is interesting because it specify always Wine or strong drink, if the wine was always with alcohol it would be part of strong drink, for me was a way to help us to establish that wine can be with alcohol and without it. I could add more stuff here but it is sufficient for now.

Anyway to clearly show this we can read :

Deuteronomy 29:5-6 "And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the Lord." Here the Lord is saying that they didn't drink wine or strong drink but in ..

Deuteronomy 32:14 "Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape." Here the scripture is speaking is a positive way about this kind of wine, but in the same chapter at the verse 32 and 33

the Lord is speaking about the wine of heathen or gentiles and He was not speaking in the same positive way, let's take a look.

"For their wine is the wine of Sodom , and of the fields of Gomorra: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps."

Well it seems clear to me that in the same chapter we have the proof about 2 different kinds of wine, one, the pure blood of the grape (good one, sweet) the other with some different additive (alcohol) bitter, poison etc.... We could quote to support this opinion

Daniel 1:8,16 "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank. "

In the book "Handwritings of Qumran" at page 151 it is written :" In Hebrew we have 2 words to specify the wine "tirosh" that it means sweet wine, it doesn't contain alcohol, and "Jain" it means wine with alcohol.

Bottom line. Matthew 26:27 -29" 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 wine, until........."

Mark 14:23-25 "And He took the cup, and when He had thanks, He gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And He said unto them, this is my blood of the new Testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will not drink no more of the fruit of the wine....."

Luca 22:17-18 "And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the wine....."

Jesus didn't drink wine with alcohol. 3 different Apostles, in 3 different places, in 3 different times used always the phrase "fruit of the wine, never wine". They knew for inspiration that it would have been better to use this expression, in fact the N.T. was translated in Greek and this language has only a word for wine and this caused so much confusion, it is amazing that they used the same identical words to describe this important topic.

Luke 1:15 "For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the holy Ghost." What great blessing we can receive to obey this commandment.

Many people say : " I am not doing anything wrong! or the body is mine and I decide what I want to do with it."

Well it is true, everybody has the free agency, but maybe it would be better listen more scriptures about this topic.

I Corinthians 3:16-17 "know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the Temple of God, Him shall God destroy; for the Temple of God is Holy, which Temple ye are."

I Corinthians 6:19-20 "What? Know ye not that your body is the Temple of The Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."

What great responsibility we have! Sure the Bible doesn't give us chances on this topic, if we aren't believers it could be different, but if we are we should take a better look on it.

Other interesting clues

We have numerous testimonies from the Roman world of the New Testament times describing various methods for preserving grape juice. Preservation of grape juice unfermented was in some ways a simpler process than the preservation of fermented wine. The "Good wine" mentioned to the Cana's wedding should have been a not alcoholic wine because in the Old Testament times and especially in the Jews people the best wines were those whose alcoholic potency had been removed by boiling or filtration and also since such beverages could be kept unfermented the whole year. In the Talmud it is written that drinking to the accompaniment of musical instruments on weddings was forbidden. Rabbi S.M. Isaac editor of the Jewish Messenger wrote:"The Jews do not, in their feasts for sacred purposes, including the marriage feast, ever use any kind of fermented drinks, they employ the fruit of the vine, that is, fresh grapes as the symbol of benediction. Fermentation is to them always a symbol of corruption. Matthew 26:30

Matthew 26:29
29 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.

Matthew 26:30
30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

see here they drunk and sung!

Moral consistency demands that Christ could not have miraculously produced about 150 gallons of alcoholic wine for men and women and children without becoming morally responsible for their drunkenness. This is supported by the very adjective used to describe it, namely Kalos, which denotes that which is morally excellent, instead of agathos, which means simply good.


Fermenting new wine? This popular interpretation is very imaginative, anyone familiar with the pressure (my father was a seller of wine) caused by gas producing fermentation knows that no bottle can withstand the pressure of fermenting new wine. Alexander B. Bruce pointed out:" Jesus was not thinking at all of fermented, intoxicating wine, but of "must" a non- intoxicating beverage, which could be kept safely in new leather bottles, but not in old skins which had previously contained ordinary wine, because particles of albuminoid matter adhering to the skin would set up fermentation and develop gas with an enormous pressure." The only "New wine" which could be stored safely in new wineskins was unfermented must, after it had been filtered or boiled. Columella, the renowned Roman agriculturist who was contemporary of the apostles, attests that a "new wine-jar" was used to preserve fresh must unfermented:" That must may remain always sweet as though it were fresh, do as follows. Before the grape skins are put under the press, take from the vat some of the freshest possible must and put it in a new wine-jar then daub it over and cover it carefully with pitch, that thus no water may be able to get in." Columella on agriculture 12, 29

Have you ever heard about the law of fermentation?

The Mosaic Law required the exclusion of all FERMENTED ARTICLES during the Passover feast exodus 12:15   13:6-7

Jesus knew about these kind of thing s Matthew 16:6   16:12 The symbolism for the blood cannot be represented by fermented wine, which stands in the scriptures for human depravity and divine indignation.

Jewish and Christian historical testimonies support the use of unfermented wine at Passover/ Lord's Supper. Louis Ginzberg 1873-1941 :"We have thus proven on the basis of the main passages both of the Babylonian Talmud and that of Jerusalem that unfermented wine may be used (optionally) for Kiddush and other religious ceremonies outside of the Temple" The Jewish encyclopedia commenting on the time of the Last Supper:"According to the synoptic Gospels, it would appear that on the Thursday evening of the last week of his life Jesus with his disciples entered Jerusalem in order to eat Passover meal with them in the sacred city; if so, the wafer and the wine of the mass of the communion service then instituted by Him as a memorial would be the unleavened bread and the unfermented wine of the Seder service."

The custom of using unfermented wine at Passover has survived through the centuries not only among some Jews, but also certain Christian groups and churches. For example, in the apocryphal Acts and Martyrdom of St. Matthew the Apostle, which circulated in the third century, a heavenly voice instructs the local Bishop Plato, saying:"Read the Gospel and bring as an offering the holy bread; and having pressed three clusters from the vine into a cup, communicate with me, as the Lord Jesus showed us how to offer up when He rose from the dead on the third day." This is a clear testimony of the use of freshly pressed grape juice in the Lord's supper. The practice of pressing preserved grapes directly into the communion cup is attested by councils, popes and theologians, including Thomas Aquinas 1225- 1274

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 10:27  

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