Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Judges 9:13 and Alcohol

But the vine said to them, ‘Should I cease my new wine, which cheers both God and men, and go to sway over trees?’ -Judges 9:13

Judges 9:13 is often brought up with the contention that it shows God is pleased with alcohol, that alcohol is intended by God to cheer the heart of God and man.

A closer look reveals a number of problems with this view.

1. In the Bible, as much as some wish and assume, wine is not synonymous with alcohol. Sometimes wine refers to an alcoholic drink, sometimes it does not. In Bible times they had no word for “alcohol,” so they described it by its effects. For example, Proverbs 23:29-35 (Significantly, after describing this kind of alcoholic wine, it then says not to even look at it!).

Judges 9:13 is talking about wine, it is not necessarily talking about alcohol.

2. The word for wine used in this verse is the Hebrew word tirosh. Tirosh usually means new wine, just pressed wine, unfermented wine, nonalcoholic wine.

Some even contend tirosh always meant unfermented wine. Two Jewish Encyclopedias take this position. For example, The Jewish Encyclopedia states,

“‘Tirosh’ includes all kinds of sweet juices and must, and does not include fermented wine (Tosef., Ned. iv. 3).”

By the way, this also shows the ancient Jews knew much more than they are often given credit about making and preserving all kinds of nonalcoholic drinks.

3. Notice in this verse the vine says, “My wine.”

What kind of wine does a vine possess? Wine in the grapes, the pure blood of the grape, unfermented wine, nonalcoholic wine, or grape juice.

This is reminiscent of Isaiah 65:8, another clear biblical reference to nonalcoholic wine.

As the new wine is found in the cluster. -Isaiah 65:8 (Notice the English translations that use the word “wine” for this obviously nonalcoholic grape cluster.)

4. “which cheers both God and men.” A number of Christian social drinkers have claimed this has to be alcohol, since it “cheers” both God and man. Some have actually claimed this shows even God enjoys getting a little tipsy.

There are several problems with this view.

1. God condemns drunkenness and it is unlikely He is saying it’s alright to get a little drunk. As Jerry Vines has said, “Moderate drinking is moderate intoxication.” God would not violate His own commandments.

There are now government TV commercials warning, “Buzzed driving is drunk driving.”

2. Isn’t it possible to have a drug-free cheerfulness? My heart has often been glad (cheered), without drugs being involved.

3. The harvest, and the huge amount of work that went into saving the harvest, when completed gave great cause to be cheerful, to rejoice.

4. They craved sweet things, and a good glass of sweet wine would bring joy. They had no cane sugar; their only sources of sweetness were from fruit and honey. I’ve had Pinot Noir unfermented wine; it cheers my heart every time.

5. It is sacrilegious to present God as getting even a little drunk.

6. If God ever did get a little drunk, can you imagine the trouble we would be in?

Rather than commending alcohol, Judges 9:13 does just the opposite. It shows a great example of one of the many Bible verses that speak of nonalcoholic wine.

(More on this issue in Ancient Wine and the Bible.)

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, February 18, AD 2014.

Ancient Wine Production and the Bible
Deuteronomy 14:26 - Does it Commend Alcohol?
More Articles in lower right margin. 


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentines Day - The Bible on Love

But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. -1 John 3:17-18 NKJV

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. -1 John 4:9

1. Different kinds of love in the Greek language
Eros - erotic / sensual kind of love

Phileo - friendship kind of love

Agape - highest form of love

2. Another way of distinguishing love
1. I love you if…

2. I love you because…

3. I love you period.

3. Love is spelled COMMITMENT.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. -John 15:13

4. True love between a married couple allows no one or no thing to come between them.
Your spouse is the most important person in the world to you. 

More important than parents, relatives, friends. More important than your children. Doesn’t mean neglect children, but love your spouse. Most important thing a man can do for his kids is to love their mother. See what Jesus said about marriage - Mark 10:6-9.

5. We are to love God will all our hearts, and our neighbor as ourselves. Matthew 22:37-39; John 13:34; Philippians 1:9

More info at: FocusOnTheFamily.com

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, February 12, AD 2014.

More Articles in lower right margin. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Obituary - Pastor Frank Biles

Dr. Franklin McCoy Biles was born August 24, 1940 in Fort Pierce, Florida, to John Lindsey and Mattie Lou Jordan Biles. He passed away January 29, 2014. 

He served in the US Army National Guard, US Navy, and USAF Reserve Chaplain, LT. COL. for a total of 36 years. Dr. Biles received his Bachelor of Science from University of Houston in 1968, Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1971 and Doctorate in Ministry from Biola Talbot Seminary in 1988. He was a pastor for 49 years, serving 9 churches in Texas and retired after serving 20 years at Eastside Baptist Church in Baytown.

Dr. Biles is survived by his wife of 49 years, Sandra Kay Schmidt Biles (Sandy); his sons and daughters-in-law: Daniel Franklin and Mandy Morrison Biles of Corpus Christi, TX, Andrew (Andy) Coy and Kathryn McLean Biles of Channelview, TX, and Stephen Paul and Jamie Chitwood Biles of Victoria, TX; eight grandchildren, Christopher Biles, Britny Biles, Tyler Biles, Bethany Biles, Jonathan (JD) Biles, Jacob Biles, Benjamin Biles and Grant Biles; three brothers, John L Biles, James E Biles and R Tommy Biles and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Betsy Hamilton.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Samaritan's Purse in Frank's name at PO Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607 or www.samaritanspurse.org and go to tab “Support.”

Frank Biles’ funeral service was at Navarre Funeral Home, Baytown, TX on February 4, 2014 led by Pastor Bill Yowell. Burial at Houston National V. A. Cemetery, 10410 Veteran’s Memorial Dr., Houston TX. Among the songs sung at the funeral were God Hath Not Promised, At The Cross, and Victory In Jesus. A number of preachers attended the service.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, February 10, AD 2014.

Other Articles in lower right margin.