The Bible says that God gave wine to make men glad (Psalm 104:15). Why have some people turned this blessing of God into a curse? The answer is that many people do not follow God’s instructions.
A blessing of wine was prophesied as a heritage to the chosen people in Genesis 27:28: “May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness — an abundance of grain and new wine [tirosh].” The Hebrew word tirosh, meaning “new wine,” is used in 38 places in the Old Testament. People sometimes conclude that this word means grape juice, or fresh-pressed juice of the vine. However, Hosea 4:11 states: “Old wine [yayin] and new wine [tirosh] take away their understanding.” Grape juice could not have this effect. Tirosh is an intoxicating wine if used in excess.
New Testament instruction
John the Baptist did not drink wine (oinos in the Greek) or any other form of alcohol because it was prophesied that he wouldn’t (Luke 1:15). However, Jesus Christ did drink oinos (wine) (Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34). Jesus did not preach against the use of wine; instead he did like most other Jews of his day. He drank wine in moderation. In ancient times it was normally diluted with water for drinking, and was one of the principal beverages at that time — as it is today.
Jesus’ first miracle was to change water into wine (oinos). Some people who preach total abstinence claim that this miracle was to turn water into grape juice. Imagine if you can a Jewish wedding banquet where everyone drank only grape juice! (The ancients did not have refrigeration or any other method of preventing grape juice from fermenting.) On this occasion, Christ turned six jars of 20 or 30 gallons each into wine (oinos). This was no small miracle. This wine was of the finest quality — “You have saved the best till now” (John 2:10). At wedding feasts, the hosts normally started with the best wine, and they would bring out lesser-quality wines later.
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Nowhere is there anything about rich or poor.