This lesson endeavors to put to rest the debate that has raged over whether the wine spoken of in the Bible was fermented or not. The answer to this is very important. Does the Bible condemn alcohol in any form or does it not? The importance of this lesson demanded that I go a total of four lessons. Please consider each of them prayerfully and humbly, I’m sure it will be worth your time.
The Need For Truth
In the year 1820 an American pastor by the name of William Patton set out on a journey to find the truth about alcohol as far as the scriptures of the Bible were concerned. All around him there was drunkenness and crime directly associated with its’ use. He assembled a sermon on the subject and preached it on September 17, 1820. The result of that sermon caused much uproar and even personal threats to him by the sellers of alcohol. He then gathered a number of his minister friends who went into the city of New York (where he pastored) and viewed the situation first hand. What they saw shook them and motivated him to see first-hand if the Bible truly condones the use of alcohol even in moderate quantities. What he found will be the subject of this study. I trust that you too are a seeker of truth as he was.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ John 8:32 (KJV)
Truth is not a shaky thing that can be easily overturned or proved incorrect, but it is something that when examined closely will show its’ truths for all to see. It doesn’t need to be propped up with hearsay or helped along, but truth stands alone by itself with only the need for an honest heart to listen to it. When it finds that honest heart great and exciting things happen because there is more to truth than knowledge, there is experience. The truth, on the subject of Bible Wines can and will set every honest hearted person free from the chains of darkness. I pray that you will approach this study with an honest heart and that it will be a catalyst of great change for the better.
The question that needs to be asked and answered is, “Does the Bible condone the use of alcohol as something that God has given to man for his benefit?” It is obvious that the Bible speaks of wine and that in an alcoholic way, but when the Bible uses the term wine does it always mean alcoholic wine?
The word wine in the Bible is the Hebrew word “yayin”. The advocates of fermented or intoxicating wine only, often state their position this way, “When the word is the same, the thing is the same; if, therefore, wine means intoxicating when applied to the case of Noah and Lot, it must have meant the same when used by David in the Psalm or when Jesus turned the water to wine in John chapter 2.”
In looking at this we need to view some counter-statements on this subject. Studious and learned men have made these quotes for our consideration. Dr. Ure says, “Juice when newly expressed, and before it has begun to ferment, is called must, and in common language New wine.” Chambers Cyclopedia states, “Sweet wine is that which has not yet worked or fermented.”
It is obvious that there are two kinds of wine referred to in the Bible. One is fermented and the other non-fermented. I refer you to the book “Bible Wines” for many more quotes on this fact. This fact can also be proved by the laws of fermentation as we will see. In the next lesson we will see that the laws of fermentation made the best wines to be unfermented and the hurtful wine to be fermented. This concludes lesson one. Make sure that you have answered all of the questions for your certificate of completion. May God bless you as you seek for the truth.
The Laws of Fermentation
The laws of fermentation are fixed facts, always operating in the same way, and requiring the same conditions everywhere. The facts are:
1. There must be sugar and yeast present.
2. The temperature should not be below 50 degrees or above 70 or 75 degrees.
3. The juice must be of a certain consistence. For example, too much sugar, too little sugar, too thick, too thin, too much water, too little water, etc.
4. The quantity of yeast must be well regulated.
When we look at these laws we understand that fermentation into alcohol is not a natural thing but is man-made. Dr. Pereira has said, “Grape juice does not ferment in the grapes itself,..” In Bible lands, the temperature is very hot during the time that grapes are harvested. Heat is an essential element in the production of large quantities of sugar. It is a well-established fact that in hot climates where the sugar content is high, the fermentation process cannot proceed on its’ own but the opposite will be a rotting of the fruit.
A Mohammedan traveler in A.D. 850 stated that “palm wine, if drunk fresh, is sweet like honey; but if kept it turns to vinegar.” Being the hot climate that it is, Palestine has the ability to produce tremendous crops of grapes. It has been stated that “in Palestine, even at the present day, the clusters of the vine grow to the weight of twelve pounds…” “Clusters weighing from twenty to forty pounds are still seen in various parts of Syria.” Because of the hot climate and the sweet grapes, chemical science prohibits the fermentation of its harvest.
There are at least four ways that fermentation can be prevented.
1. Grape juice will not ferment when the air is completely excluded.
2. By boiling down the juice it will not ferment.
3. If the juice is filtered to remove the yeast it will be impossible for it to ferment.
- By lowering the temperature to 45 degrees.
Did the Ancients Preserve the Juices Sweet?
It is a well known fact that the ancient people used boiling as away to preserve their grape juice sweet. Please note that when juice is fermented it is no longer sweet because the sugar is totally used up in the fermentation process.
It is well known that boiling was used to preserve the grape juice.
Archbishop Potter states, “The Lacedaemonians used to boil their wines upon the fire till the fifth part was consumed…” Others have made similar comments to prove that boiling was a common way to preserve the wine (grape juice) from fermenting. When juice is made thick it can never be made into an alcoholic beverage. Aristotle said , “The wine of Arcadia was so thick that it was necessary to scrape it from the skin bottles in which it was contained..” We have already seen that grape juice called wine in the Bible when made too thick will not ferment. This in itself is proof that all references to wine in the scripture is not fermented wine but can also be grape juice in its’ sweet state.
Conclusion of Lesson 1
A Study from the book “Bible Wines” by Rev. William Patton