What’s Your Story? How did you come to know Jesus Christ? That is your testimony, and every Christian has one. Some stories be more radical than others, but every testimony is significant. Perhaps you have heard the testimony of some person who came from an extreme background tell of how they were delivered from drugs or alcoholism. They were a gang member or a prostitute. They served time in prison. I received an e-mail from a man who came to Christ at our crusade in 1991. He writes: “On that divine Thursday evening in 1991, God took this lost, suicidal, hardened, 15-year-old member of the Crips and radically transformed me. My life was instantly revolutionized, and I’ve never been the same since. Next month, I will celebrate 23 years in the Lord. By God’s grace I’ve had the privilege of ministering His Word all around the world. Had I not gone to the Harvest Crusade that evening, I’m confident that I would now either be dead or in prison!” What an amazing testimony! However, his testimony is no better than yours. Just different. When I was a young Christian, I remember a girl telling me she was going to go back into the world because she wanted a “more dramatic testimony.” She never came back. Listen, not everyone’s story may be dramatic, but everyone’s conversion is drastic, because when you get down to it, God essentially does the same thing for all of us at conversion: We were all separated from Him by sin. We were all going to hell. We all come to salvation through the cross. And now we are headed for heaven. Everyone’s story is legit. Why? Because we all essentially start from the same place and we all experience dramatic change at the hand of God. And no matter how different their circumstances may be from yours, those who listen to your testimony can recognize that they too are sinners and need change—they can see a part of their story in yours. When you share your faith with others, one of the best tools in your evangelistic toolbox is your personal testimony. But it should always be a bridge to share the gospel. Your story points them to the greatest story ever told: the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, what’s your story? By Pastor/Evangelist Greg Laurie
The afflictions of serious Christians are designed for the trial of their faith. God’s design in afflicting his people is their probation, not their destruction; their advantage, not their ruin: a trial, as the word signifies, is an experiment or search made upon a man, by some affliction, to prove the value and strength of his faith. This trial is made upon faith principally, rather than any other grace, because the trial of this is, in effect, the trial of all that is good in us
6 Rejoice in this, even though for a little while you may have to experience grief in various trials. 7 Even gold is tested for genuineness by fire. The purpose of these trials is so that your trust’s genuineness, which is far more valuable than perishable gold, will be judged worthy of praise, glory and honor at the revealing of Yeshua the Messiah.
8 Without having seen him, you love him. Without seeing him now, but trusting in him, you continue to be full of joy that is glorious beyond words. 9 And you are receiving what your trust is aiming at, namely, your deliverance. 1 Peter 1:6-9
The apostle grants they were in great affliction, and propounds several things in mitigation of their sorrows. 1. Every sound Christian has always something wherein he may greatly rejoice. Great rejoicing contains more than an inward placid serenity of mind or sensation of comfort; it will show itself in the countenance and conduct, but especially in praise and gratitude. 2. The chief joy of a good Christian arises from things spiritual and heavenly, from his relation to God and to heaven. In these every sound Christian greatly rejoices; his joy arises from his treasure, which consists of matters of great value, and the title to them is sure. 3. The best Christians, those who have reason greatly to rejoice, may yet be in great heaviness through manifold temptations. All sorts of adversities are temptations, or trials of faith, patience, and constancy. These seldom go singly, but are manifold, and come from different quarters, the effect of all which is great heaviness. As men, we are subject to sorrows, personal and domestic. As Christians, our duty to God obliges us to frequent sorrow: and our compassion towards the miserable, the dishonour done to God, the calamities of his church, and the destruction of mankind, from their own folly and from divine vengeance, raise, in a generous and pious mind, almost continual sorrow. I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart, Romans 9:2. 4. The afflictions and sorrows of good people are but for a little while, they are but for a season; though they may be smart, they are but short. Life itself is but for a little while, and the sorrows of it cannot survive it; the shortness of any affliction does much abate the heaviness of it. 5. Great heaviness is often necessary to a Christian’s good: If need be, you are in heaviness. God does not afflict his people willingly, but acts with judgment, in proportion to our needs. There is a conveniency and fitness, nay, an absolute necessity in the case, for so the expression signifies: it must be; therefore no man should be moved by these afflictions. For yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto, 1 Thessalonians 3:3. These troubles, that lie heavy, never come upon us but when we have need, and never stay any longer than needs must.
5 Behave wisely toward outsiders, making full use of every opportunity — 6 let your conversation always be gracious and interesting, so that you will know how to respond to any particular individual. Colossians 4:5-6 CJB
A friend once urged me to try a new drink at my local coffeehouse rather than the hot chocolate I usually order. When the barista cracked some sea salt on top of a mug of caramel hot cocoa and its mounds of whipped cream, I’ll admit, I was skeptical. But I trusted my friend’s advice and tried it and … Oh. My. Word. Who would’ve thought?
On the periodic table of elements (which I haven’t looked at since high school) it’s sodium chloride — NaCl. Salt is the number one flavor enhancer in the world and used in numerous cultures. In fact, over a quarter billion pounds of salt are produced each year.
Diners put a dash of salt on their casseroles, sprinkle it on piping hot potatoes and add a pinch or two to a bowl of soup. Salt is even added to sweet things to intensify their sweetness, thus the deliciousness overload of the salted caramel hot cocoa. My father always puts it on his slices of melon. And have you ever tasted dark chocolate with sea salt? Heavenly.
One time I forgot to add salt to a mint brownie recipe. When I tasted a bite, there was plenty of mint and cocoa powder, the two main flavors of the dish, but somehow it just didn’t taste right. Even though the recipe called for only half a teaspoon, omitting the salt ruined the normally delicious treat. It takes only a little salt to coax out the wonderful flavor of other things around it.
In Colossians 4 we see our speech should be seasoned with salt and gracious. And we’re told to know how to give the right answer to everyone. Might it mean that we should ask ourselves if we are bringing out sweetness in both our choice of words and in our conversations with others — especially online conversations where we not only start a conversation but often give answers?
In the Sermon on the Mount, at one point, Jesus states: “You are salt for the Land. But if salt becomes tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except being thrown out for people to trample on.” Matthew 5:13 CJB
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. – C.S. Lewis
1) Jesus claimed to be God – John 8:24 8:56-59 10:30-33
2) Jesus created all things – John 1:3; Col 1:15-17
3) Jesus is before all things – Colossians 1:17
4) Jesus is eternal – John 1:1, 14 8:58
5) Jesus is honored the same as the Father – John 5:23
6) Jesus is prayed to – Acts 7:55-60
7) Jesus is worshipped – Matthew 2:2, 11; 14:33; John 9:35-38; Hebrews 1:6
8) Jesus is called God – John 1:1, 14; 20:28; Colossians 2:9; Titus 2:13
9) Jesus is omnipresent – Matthew 28:20
10 Jesus is with us always – Matthew 28:20
11) Jesus is our only mediator between God and ourselves – 1 Timothy 2:5
12) Jesus is the guarantee of a better covenant – Hebrews 7:22 8:6
13) Jesus said, “I AM the Bread of Life” – John 6:35, 41, 48, 51
14) Jesus said, “I AM the Door” – John 10:7, 9
15) Jesus said, “I AM the Good Shepherd” – John 10:11, 14
16) Jesus said, “I AM the Way the Truth and The Life” – John 14:6
17) Jesus said, “I AM the Light of the world” – John 8:12; 9:5; 12:46; Luke 2:32
18) Jesus said, “I AM the True Vine” – John 15:1, 5
19) Jesus said, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life” – John 11:25
20) Jesus said, “I AM the First and the Last” – Revelation 1:17; 2:8 22:13
21) Jesus always lives to make intercession for us – Hebrews 7:25
22) Jesus cleanses from sin – 1 John 1:9
23) Jesus discloses Himself to us – John 14:21
24) Jesus draws all men to Himself – John 12:32
25) Jesus forgives sins – Matt 9:1-7; Luke 5:20 7:48
26) Jesus gives eternal life – John 10:28 5:40
27) Jesus gives joy – John 15:11
28) Jesus gives peace – John 14:27
29) Jesus has authority – Matthew 28:18; John 5:26-27; 17:2 3:35
30) Jesus judges – John 5:22, 27
31) Jesus knows all men – John 16:30
32) Jesus opens the mind to understand scripture – Luke 24:45
33) Jesus received honor and glory from the Father – 2 Peter 1:17
34) Jesus resurrects – John 5:39; 6:40, 44, 54 11:25-26
35) Jesus reveals grace and truth – John 1:1,; John 6:45
36) Jesus reveals the Father – Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22
37) Jesus saves forever – Matthew 18:11; John 10:28; Hebrews 7:25
38) Jesus bears witness of Himself – John 8:18 14:6
39) Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself – John 5:36 10:25
40) The Father bears witness of Jesus – John 5:37; 8:18; 1 John 5:9
41) The Holy Spirit bears witness of Jesus – John 15:26
42) The multitudes bear witness of Jesus – John 12:17
43) The Prophets bear witness of Jesus – Acts 10:43
44) The Scriptures bear witness of Jesus – John 5:39
45) The Father will honor us if we serve Jesus – John 12:26; Colossians 3:24
46) The Father wants us to fellowship with Jesus – 1 Corinthians 1:9
47) The Father tells us to listen to Jesus – Luke 9:35; Matthew 17:5
48) The Father tells us to come to Jesus – John 6:45
49) The Father draws us to Jesus – John 6:44
50) Everyone who’s heard & learned from the Father comes to Jesus – John 6:45
51) The Law leads us to Christ – Galatians 3:24
52) Jesus is the Rock – 1 Corinthians 10:4
53) Jesus is the Savior – John 4:42; 1 John 4:14
54) Jesus is King – Matthew 2:1-6; Luke 23:3
55) In Jesus are the treasures of wisdom and knowledge – Colossians 2:2-3
56) In Jesus we have been made complete – Colossians 2:10
57) Jesus indwells us – Colossians 1:27
58) Jesus sanctifies – Hebrews 2:11
59) Jesus loves – Ephesians 5:25
60) We come to Jesus – John 5:50; 6:35, 37, 45, 65; 7:37;
61) We sin against Jesus – 1 Corinthians 8:12
62) We receive Jesus – John 1:12; Colossians 2:6
63) Jesus makes many righteous – Romans 5:19
64) Jesus is the image of the invisible God – Hebrews 1:3
65) Jesus sends the Holy Spirit – John 15:26
66) Jesus abides forever – Hebrews 7:24
67) Jesus offered up Himself – Hebrews 7:27 9:14
68) Jesus offered one sacrifice for sins for all time – Hebrews 10:12
69) The Son of God has given us understanding – 1 John 5:20
70) Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith – Hebrews 12:2
71) Jesus is the Apostle and High Priest of our confession – Hebrews 1:3
72) Jesus is preparing a place for us in heaven – John 14:1-4
73) Jesus cleanses us from our sins by His blood – Revelation 1:5; Romans 5:9
74) Jesus is the Light of the world – Romans 9:5
75) Jesus has explained the Father – John 1:18
76) Jesus was crucified because of weakness – 2 Corinthians 13:4
77) Jesus has overcome the world – John 16:33
78) Truth is in Jesus – Ephesians 4:21
79) The fruit of righteousness comes through Jesus Christ – Philippians 1:11
80) Jesus delivers us from the wrath to come – 1 Thessalonians 1:10
81) Disciples bear witness of Jesus Christ – John 15:27
82) Jesus died and rose again – 1 Thessalonians 4:14
83) The Christian dead have fallen asleep in Jesus – 1 Thessalonians 4:15
84) Jesus died for us – 1 Thessalonians 5:10
85) Jesus tasted death for everyone – Hebrews 2:9
86) Jesus rendered the devil powerless – Hebrews 2:14
87) Jesus is able to save completely – Hebrews 7:25
88) Jesus was a ransom for many and to serve – Matthew 20:28
89) Jesus came to be a high priest – Hebrews 2:17
90) Jesus came to save – John 3:17; Luke 19:10
91) Jesus came to preach the kingdom of God – Luke 4:43
92) Jesus came to bring division – Luke 12:51
93) Jesus came to do the will of the Father – John 6:38
94) Jesus came to give the Father’s words – John 17:8
95) Jesus came to testify to the truth – John 18:37
96) Jesus came to die and destroy Satan’s power – Hebrews 2:14
97) Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets – Matthew 5:17
98) Jesus came to give life – John 10:10, 28
99) Jesus came to taste death for everyone – Hebrews 2:9
100) Jesus came to proclaim freedom for believers – Luke 4:18
Over thirty years ago I was involved with Menconi Ministries, an organization founded on keeping parents involved in their children’s lives. The purpose was to aid parents and grandparents in connecting communicating with their children and grandchildren so they could instill family values and lead them to Jesus. One of these ways was to be informed as to the music these children were listening to and to share with them the dangers of the modern day musicians. As most of you know, Lucifier, (Satan) was the Worship leader in Heaven. He is now the worship leader of the Earth. Not of Christ Jesus, but to himself. This is a perfect example:
There are many symbolisms and occult references that stand out in the music culture today. From historical artifacts, to the music artists today, it seems the occult world has never really gone away, but in fact has become more flagrant and blatant. The problem is that many are unaware of the meanings behind what many consider to be just artistic entertainment that appeals to the senses with no real hidden meanings, or agendas behind them. There are many artists that promote their music through occult influence. The evidence that will be provided will show striking similarities with occult ideologies that are synonymous with many artists in the music industry.
Kanye West is a popular musical artist who promotes music and imagery with deep occult meaning, which is rooted in Freemasonry. The pictures presented will parallel historical pictures from ancient cultures to recent ones. There are too many similarities for it to be just coincidence. The music culture has aligned itself with something much more than just poetic lyrics and sounds, but is progressing into something much bigger that is symbolic of the veil that is thinning between the physical and spiritual realm. It is important to be aware of the occult agenda that is manifesting in greater force these days.
The representation of the pillars behind Kanye West are ubiquitous with many cultures as an entrance, or gateway which holds the key to power and enlightenment. Kanye West is pictured at the gateway as the chosen one to represent the hidden rulers of the world that reside behind him.
The ancient Egyptian god, or deity known as Horus was considered to be the Sky god, which represented the symbol of the single seeing eye. The one eye is the most well known in occult symbolism as the all-seeing-eye; the Great Seal of the United States originates from Horus
The symbolism of Horus is very important in Freemasonry. The path of the initiate, through the Masonic degrees, is described as the process by which the Eye of Horus is opened.
The pillared gateway is for the exclusive illuminated ones. Kanye West is wearing a Horus pendant, which has importance and significant meaning not only in ancient Egyptian culture, but in Freemasonry as well.
The horned females next to Kanye represent two goddesses ofancient Egypt, Isis and Hathor. Isis was the goddess of nature, magic, and motherhood. Hathor was the goddess of music, dance, and fertility. They are known as the protectors of the dead as they journey into the afterlife.
In the occult, the initiate symbolically dies and is reborn. Kanye West is standing under the sword of Damocales as part of a Masonic ritual to obtain the 33rd degree. The rite happens in public; the more there are witnesses, the more power is given. In a metaphorical sense, Kanye West kills off his former self and is reborn to receive power right in front of the eyes of the public audience.
1. He was betrayed by His disciple Judas. Jesus’ pain was not just physical. Can you imagine the sorrow He felt when one of His own trusted friends became the ultimate traitor? We aren’t exactly sure how to calculate the modern value of 30 pieces of silver, but many scholars suggest about $950. All the pain Jesus endured on Good Friday began the night before, when Judas took blood money to have his Master arrested.
Think about it: There’s a bit of Judas in all of us, and we all betrayed Jesus to get our own way. Yet He chose to forgive us!
2. He was abandoned by His other followers. We often focus on Peter’s denial of Jesus. But the Scriptures remind us that all of Jesus’ disciples “left Him and fled” after His arrest (Mark 14:50, NASB). Jesus had to suffer alone. All the men He had taught and invested in for three and a half years abandoned Him in His hour of need.
Think about it: Jesus paid it all. He accomplished His work of redemption without our help. But He forgave us for our denials!
3. He carried the burden of the sins of the world. Jesus’ greatest agony didn’t start on the cross. It began at Gethsemane, where God laid on His Son the sins of the world. Jesus agonized so intensely in those moments that He sweat drops of blood (Luke 22:44). Scholars say He probably developed a condition known as hematidrosis, in which blood is emitted through the sweat glands because of intense stress.
Think about it: Your sin was transferred to Jesus’ account, and He bore the punishment you deserved!
4. He was falsely accused and rejected by Jewish leaders. Can you imagine the heartache Jesus experienced when the very people He was sent to save spat in His face, blindfolded Him, cursed Him and accused Him of blasphemy? The Sanhedrin set up a kangaroo court and sentenced the Son of God to death.
Think about it: Jesus did not open His mouth in self-defense when He was falsely accused. Now, when Satan accuses you, Jesus argues your case and declares you not guilty!
5. He was mocked and abused by Roman guards. After Pilate caved into pressure from the Jews, Roman soldiers flogged Jesus with a whip, drove a crown of thorns into His scalp, beat His head with sticks and mockingly pretended to worship Him. The flogging alone—which would have involved leather cords with pieces of lead or bone attached—would have drained much of Jesus’ blood.
Think about it: Jesus could have called on angels to stop His torture—but He chose to endure the pain because He loved us!
6. He was crucified between two thieves. We cannot even fathom the pain of crucifixion. Metal spikes were driven into Jesus’ hands and feet, and He had to slide His mangled body up against the wood of the cross in order to catch His breath. And because it was the habit of Romans to crucify criminals naked, Jesus endured the ultimate shame. What’s more, He hung on that crude cross next to two men who had been convicted of crimes—while He was completely innocent.
Think about it: We should have been on death row, not Jesus. But He took our place!
7. His body was pierced with a spear. Even after Jesus took His last breath, a soldier jabbed a spear up through the chest cavity—most likely to make sure Jesus was dead. John tells us that blood and water spilled out (John 19:34), evidence that the spear pierced the pericardium, the sac around the heart. Jesus’ heart was literally broken for us.
Think about it: Just as Adam’s side was opened to bring forth the first woman, Jesus’ side was opened to bring forth the church. His piercing produced a fountain of life for us!
8. He tasted death for all. This is the most horrible reality of the cross. Christ did not die metaphorically or symbolically. He died literally. The Son of God, who had never sinned—and who was least deserving of death—died so we could have life. His heart stopped beating, He stopped breathing and His spirit left Him. First Peter 3:18 says: “For Christ also died for sins once and for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God.”
Think about it: Because Jesus died in our place, we no longer have to die. Eternal life is His free gift to us!
This Easter season, ponder the steps the Savior took from Gethsemane to Golgotha. Look at His nail-pierced hands and feet. Take a careful survey of His wondrous cross, and thank Him for hanging there six hours for you.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1 CJB
In Hebrew: In the beginning…
Tav Yod Shin Aleph Resh Bet
Bet (House or Tent)
Resh (Head-First or Highest Person)
Aleph (Ox or bull, the first, the Ultimate Strength, God)
Shin (Teeth-To Destroy, To Consume)
Yod (Arm, Hand-My Hand, My Effort, My Work)
Tav (A Cross- the Mark, the Covenant)
Bet-Resh (Ben) = Son of
Bar in Aramaic = Son of
The Son of God will be destroyed (killed) by His own effort or Hands on a cross.
But he was wounded because of our crimes,
crushed because of our sins;
the disciplining that makes us whole fell on him,
and by his bruises* we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 CJB (700 BC)
Everyone living on earth will worship it except those whose names are written in the Book of Life belonging to the Lamb slaughtered before the world was founded. Revelation 13:8
In Hebrew: Created…
Bara (to Create)
Bet-Resh (Son of ) in Aramaic (Bar)
All things were created by the Son of God.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing made had being.
John 1:1-3 CJB
He is the visible image of the invisible God. He is supreme over all creation, 16 because in connection with him were created all things — in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, lordships, rulers or authorities — they have all been created through him and for him. Colossians 1:15b-16 CJB
Preach the word [as an official messenger]; be ready when the time is right and even when it is not [keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportunity seems favorable or unfavorable, whether convenient or inconvenient, whether welcome or unwelcome]; correct [those who err in doctrine or behavior], warn [those who sin], exhort and encourage [those who are growing toward spiritual maturity], with inexhaustible patience and [faithful] teaching.
2 Timothy 4:2 AMP
When it seems the anointing has run completely dry.
When it seems heaven has forgotten you’re alive.
When you feel uninspired. Tired. When you’ve been fired.
When your faith shows no results.
When your obedience has not paid off.
When your prayers seem like wasted breath.
When your bones feel dead–and so does the Word.
Persist. Jesus is on His way. Your anointing has not run dry. Heaven has nor forgotten you’re alive. You have not believed for nothing. The results of your faith will soon sprout from that fallow ground. Just a little more rain. Just a little more thunder. Your obedience will pay off. You have not wasted a single breath on prayer. There is still life in your bones and, child of God, there is still life in His Word. Persist!
According to Paul Harvey, tests show that after drinking three bottles of beer, there is an average of 13 percent net memory loss. After taking only small quantities of alcohol, trained typists were tested and their errors increased 40 percent. Only one ounce of alcohol increases the time required to make a decision by nearly 10 percent; hinders muscular reaction by 17 percent; increases errors due to lack of attention by 35 percent.
Is it biblically permissible for a Christian to drink alcohol? If so, how much?
This controversial subject has evoked many passionate opinions among Christians. Why? Is God’s Word silent or in any way unclear about alcohol?
I submit that the Bible is in no way ambiguous when it speaks on alcohol and how it relates to God’s followers. I hope the following study will assist you in forming your own biblically based conclusions on this important subject.
Two Opposing Camps
Among Christians, there are two primary camps of thought on this sensitive topic. The first group argues that Jesus Himself drank wine, and since a Christian is a follower of Christ, how can it be forbidden? And generally, they add with a moderate air: “but even so, drinking should not be done to excess.”
Then there is the other position: Alcohol is an addictive and destructive drug that no sincere Christian should use to any degree.
Of course, between these two diametrically opposed poles, there are countless variations of opinions. In fairness, I will state from the beginning that I am firmly in the unfermented camp! I believe that scriptural references to Jesus’ use of wine are of the grape juice variety.
What Is Alcohol?
Let’s begin with a definition. There are many forms of this compound called alcohol. However, there is no mistaking that all of them are classified as poisons—toxins to the human body. The alcohol found in beverages such as beer, wine, and brandy is ethanol (C2H5OH), a clear, highly flammable liquid that has a burning taste and a characteristic odor.
What happens when one consumes this type of alcohol? Well, death usually occurs if the concentration of ethanol in the bloodstream exceeds about five percent! But even for those who use it sparingly, immediate behavioral changes, impairment of vision and unconsciousness can occur at lower concentrations. That’s interesting, isn’t it? That’s exactly the same effect that other illicit drugs such as heroin, and even marijuana, have on those who use those substances. I doubt there are any Christian churches that would ordain the use of these drugs in even a casual social setting—or even to “calm the nerves” before bedtime. Is there any reason that alcohol should not be included in this list of drugs to avoid?
Two Types of Wine-Biblically Speaking
The word “wine” in the Bible sometimes refers to the new—or fresh juice of the grape; other times it is used to describe the aged or fermented product containing the drug alcohol. The translators never used the term “grape juice.” In the Hebrew text, the writers use different words to distinguish between the two. The word tîyrôsh is used for new unfermented wine, and yayin is generally used for fermented wine. However, in the New Testament, only one Greek word is used to describe both fermented and fresh grape juice: oinis . But this shouldn’t be a problem. By simply understanding the context of the word in a passage, the appropriate meaning will usually surface. So unless the passage says old or new wine (as in Matthew 9:17, Mark 2:22, and in Luke 5:37–39: “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new [fermenting] wine will [expand and] burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39 And no one, after drinking old wine, wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is fine”), the context will often tell us what kind of grape juice is being described. Note: A skin was a bag made from the skin of an animal. New wine was always put in a new bag so that the bag would stretch as the wine continued to ferment, and then the bag would harden. An old bag would burst if new wine was put in it. Obviously, the new wine would be the fresh unfermented kind.
Additionally, from the Old Testament, in Isaiah 65:8, we read,
“This is what the Lord says,
“As the new wine is found in the cluster,
And one says, ‘Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing and benefit in it,’
So I will do for the sake of My servants
In order not to destroy all of them.”
It is clear in both these passages that the new wine is simply grape juice.
Clarifying Confusing Verses
The whole of Scripture is clearly and adamantly against the consumption of alcohol, but human nature will look upon any textual ambiguity as a “loophole” to justify drinking alcohol.
An example of this reasoning is the wedding in Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine. “And when the headwaiter tasted the water which had turned into wine, not knowing where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew) he called the bridegroom, 10 and said to him, “Everyone else serves his best wine first, and when people have drunk (or have become intoxicated) freely, then he serves that which is not so good; but you have kept back the good wine until now!’” (John 2:9,10). Those who support the intake of alcohol suggest this must have been alcoholic wine—after all, it was a wedding, and every wedding has wine—right? But let’s pause to consider the implications. There were six pots for Jesus to fill, and each of those would hold 20 to 30 gallons. That’s up to 180 gallons of beverage!
Are we to believe that Jesus made 180 gallons of a destructive drug—enough to get every guest drunk and launch this new marriage with slurring lips and staggering feet? Indeed, He would have been acting against His own Word! Examples: Habakkuk 2:15 “Woe (judgment is coming) to you who make your neighbors drink,
Who mix in your venom to make them drunk
So that you may look at their nakedness!”; Luke 12:46: the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut (a hyperbole for severe punishment short of execution) him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers.
Ephesians 5:18: Do not get drunk with wine, for that is wickedness (corruption, stupidity), but be filled with the [Holy] Spirit and constantly guided by Him).
If we approach this passage relying on the whole of Scripture, we must surely come to the conclusion that Jesus made unfermented wine—and the governor of the feast complimented the groom on its pure quality. (John 2:4, 6, 10: Jesus said to her, “4[Dear] woman, what is that to you and to Me? My time [to act and to be revealed] has not yet come. 6Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification (ceremonial washing), containing twenty or thirty gallons each. 10and said to him, “Everyone else serves his best wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then he serves that which is not so good; but you have kept back the good wine until now.
Whatever the Heart/Soul Desires
There are additional passages of Scripture that at first glance might lead a person to think drinking a little fermented wine in moderation might be biblically condoned. In the next few sections, we will address some of the verses that are sometimes construed to condone fermented wine, when in fact they do nothing of the sort.
“ You may spend the money for anything your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or [other] strong drink, or anything else you want. You shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household.” Deuteronomy 14:26. The phrase “strong drink” is translated from the word shekar. A Shekar is condemned by Solomon as a “brawler” (Wine is a mocker, strong drink a riotous brawler; And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise. Proverbs 20:1). And Isaiah pronounces a woe upon those who “run after strong drink(shekar)” (Woe (judgment is coming) to those who rise early in the morning to pursue intoxicating drink, Who stay up late in the night till wine inflames them! Isaiah 5:11). Strong drink was also prohibited from the priests “(This prohibition may imply that intoxication precipitated the irreverent behavior that resulted in the death of Aaron’s two older sons)Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you come into the Tent of Meeting, so that you will not die—it is a permanent statute throughout your generations— 10 and to make a distinction and recognize a difference between the holy (sacred) and the common (profane), and between the [ceremonially] unclean and the clean;11 and you are to teach the Israelites all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them through (Lit by the hand of) Moses.” Leviticus 10:9–11, and Nazarites as stated in Numbers 6:2–4: Say to the sons of Israel, ‘When a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, that is, one separated and dedicated to the Lord, 3 he shall abstain from wine and strong drink; he shall drink no vinegar, whether made from wine or strong drink, nor shall he drink any grape juice nor eat fresh or dried grapes. 4 All (Lit All the days of his consecration and so throughout) the time of his separation he shall not eat anything produced from the grapevine, from the seeds even to the skins and in Judges 13:3–5: 3 And the Angel (“Angel” has been capitalized here to reflect the likelihood that it is God appearing in a visible form (see v 22 and note Gen 16:7) of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are infertile and have no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son. 4 Therefore, be careful not to drink wine or [any other] intoxicating drink, and do not eat anything [ceremonially] unclean. 5 For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite (The rules and regulations for a Nazirite are stated in Numbers 6:2-21. Ordinarily a person would take the vow of a Nazirite for a limited period of time as a voluntary act of dedication to God, but Samson’s was a special, divinely-ordained case) [dedicated] to God from birth; and he shall begin to rescue Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”
So how could God so clearly condemn the use of “strong drink” in one place in the Bible, and yet approve of it in another place? Like the word yayin (“wine”), shekar is a generic term that could refer to either an alcoholic beverage, as noted above, or to a sweet, unfermented drink as is indicated in Isaiah 24:9: They do not drink wine with a song; Strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.
Shekar is defined by the Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopedia as: “Sweet Wine or Syrup. Shechar, luscious, saccharin drink or sweet syrup, especially sugar or honey of dates or of the palm-tree” or “Date or Palm Wine in its fresh and unfermented state.” In fact, “sugar” and “cider” are derivatives from shekar. Therefore, since shekar could mean either a sweet unfermented drink or an intoxicating drink, we must interpret the word according to the context of the verse. Would God encourage the use of tithe money to purchase a beverage that causes intoxication, health problems and diminishing of moral capacities? The only reasonable conclusion is that this verse is referring to the sweet palm-wine beverage in its fresh and unfermented state.
The Last Supper
Many argue that if Jesus partook of wine at the Last Supper, and even employed it as a symbol of His purifying blood, then how can drinking a little wine, even just casually, be erroneous? Indeed, the very seeds of the New Testament were watered with wine from the Last Supper. There is no arguing that Jesus used wine at the Last Supper, but it is a mistake to assume that the wine was of the fermented variety.
“28 for this is My blood of the [new and better] covenant, which [ratifies the agreement and] is being poured out for many [as a substitutionary atonement: By laying his hands on the head of the sacrifice the one offering the sacrifice identified himself with it and through its death it became an atonement or covering for his sin. Because the unblemished sacrifice “covered” his sin, it placed the one offering the sacrifice in a right relationship with God, just as later under the new covenant the perfection and sacrifice of Christ would cover (atone for) the imperfection and sin of those who identified with Him and accepted Him as Savior] for the forgiveness of sins.29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26:28–29. Indeed, here Jesus uses the new wine as a symbol of His new covenant with His people. Jesus also calls wine the “fruit of the vine.” However, after wine goes through the process of fermentation, it is no more the fruit of the vine than yogurt is the fruit of a cow.
Furthermore, we also know that the Passover meal was to be free from all forms of leaven ( Seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses; whoever eats what is leavened shall be cut off and excluded from [the atonement made for] the congregation of Israel, whether a stranger or native-born. Exodus 12:19). Fermentation is the identical process of leavening! If the bread was to be free from leaven, which is a type of sin, then we can be sure that the wine, a symbol of Jesus blood, used at the Last Supper would also be free from the poison of alcohol. The perfect, sinless blood of Jesus would never be symbolized by corrupt and putrefying old wine.
Jesus compared His pure teachings to wholesome new wine (Nor is new wine put into old [a]wineskins [that have lost their elasticity]; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the [fermenting] wine spills and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, so both are preserved. Matthew 9:17). Indeed, all corrupted doctrines are likened to the fermented wine of Babylon! Babylon was identified as a place “with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication” (she (Lit Babylon) with whom the kings of the earth have committed acts (figurative reference to cult worship practices and idolatry) of immorality, and the inhabitants of the earth have become intoxicated with the wine of her immorality. Revelation 17:2).
When Jesus hung parched on the cross, Roman soldiers offered him fermented wine mingled with myrrh. But as soon as Jesus tasted it and recognized it was fermented, He refused it. If Jesus refused this beverage even as His body was tormented with extraordinary thirst, why would He have drank wine normally (they offered Him wine mixed with gall (myrrh, a bitter-tasting narcotic) to drink; but after tasting it, He refused to drink it Matthew 27:34)? And more to the point, why then should we?
The Most Deadly Substance on Earth
Abraham Lincoln said, “Drink is a cancer in human society, eating out its vitals and threatening its destruction.” So much devastation is caused by alcohol in our community, on the roads and in homes, that this is hardly a bold or surprising statement. Indeed, even if the Bible were silent on the subject, the object lessons of devastation from a thousand years of history would still be crystal clear. But the scriptures say plenty.
Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause? Whose eyes are red and dim?
30 Those who linger long over wine, Those who go to taste mixed wine.
31 Do not look at wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the glass,
When it goes down smoothly.
32 At the last it bites like a serpent And stings like a viper.
33 Your [drunken] eyes will see strange thingsAnd your mind will utter perverse things [untrue things, twisted things].
34 And you will be [as unsteady] as one who lies down in the middle of the sea, And [as vulnerable to disaster] as one who lies down on the top of a ship’s mast, saying,
35 “They struck me, but I was not hurt! They beat me, but I did not feel it!
When will I wake up? I will seek more wine.” (Proverb 23:29–35).
Is it a wonder that with a nation consumed by the false merriment of alcohol, it encourages consumption even to our youngest? There is strong evidence supporting widespread alcohol use and the surge of crime committed by young adults—and even children. (Did you know there are 3.3 million problem drinkers in America’s high schools alone?)
Today, they still teach “moderation” with alcohol, but history has shown that moderation with an addictive drug is impossible.
According to Zig Ziglar, authorities know that approximately one in sixteen people who ever take a social drink will become an alcoholic! Would you even step one foot on an airplane if you knew there was a one in 16 chance that it would crash and end your life? (Actually, the odds for a commercial airliner crashing are closer to one in a million—but even with those odds some people will not fly. Yet many of these same people will take a drink!)
Consider this other well-known fact: In the next 24 hours, alcohol will be responsible for nearly half of all…
- … the homicides.
- …the people who will die on the highway.
- …the people who will be admitted to the hospital.
- …the people who will be incarcerated in jail or prison.
- …the people who will be arrested for domestic violence.
- …the people who will be born with birth defects.
In addition, alcohol deserves a mention for being responsible for a quarter of all suicides.
It’s clear enough from these appalling statistics that any clear-thinking citizen, especially a Christian, would feel profound conviction to avoid a drug that accounts for a veritable tidal wave of misery to every culture it touches. If we truly love our brother and God, how can we defend drinking alcohol in any degree? Paul said he would neither eat flesh or drink wine or do anything that caused offense to a brother: “It is good [to do the right thing and] not eat meat or drink wine, or do anything that offends your brother and weakens him spiritually” Romans 14:21).
With so many alcoholics struggling to be saved from their addictions, we must never cause them to stumble again by being even slightly inconsistent in our example.
So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; and purify your [unfaithful] hearts, you double-minded [people]. James 4:7-8
Put simply: It lowers a Christian’s resolve to resist temptation. Why would any Christian want to make it easier for the devil to snare them? Many men and women have awaken after a night baptized by a few glasses of wine or bottles of beer to discover they have violated the Seventh Commandment and forever scarred their lives and reputations.
“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” John 8:36
While I am NOT an expert in any of these areas, I have experienced many of them. By the grace of God I am an overcomer. It is a daily struggle but I trust in Him to get me through one day at a time. He has brought me through so much in my 58 years of life; He can and will do same for you if you will allow Him.
As a child, I led a normal life with the exception that I felt closer to my dad than my mom. At the age of 13 I discovered that my mom was not my birth mother. Truly it did not matter, as she always loved me as her own. My only regret is that my parents had not been honest with my step-brother (I call him brother to this day) and I sooner.
When I was a baby, 1-1/2 years old, my biological mother left my two half-brothers and I with my dad to be with another man. Granted I was too small to remember, but my half-brothers were older. After approximated six weeks following her departure, my dad took my two half-brothers to their maternal grandmother’s house a short distance away from where we lived. We were not to see one another until I was 19 years old.
My mom, the one who raised me, married my dad when I was 4 years old. She brought with her my brother with whom I was raised. We had a fairly normal life. We were a happy family. About two weeks before my 13th birthday I was caught shoplifting at our local mall. I had been shoplifting for close to two years by this time. Honestly, I was glad that I was caught. I knew right from wrong and it ate me up inside. You see God has created all of us with the need to worship. Who or what we choose to worship is our choice. Praise and worship seems to be universal. Have you ever heard of an explorer finding a new tribe or culture that doesn’t worship? Worship is a natural instinct and a basic need for every person. A simple definition of worship is to regard with great devotion or to honor as a divine being. Take a second to think about what you are most devoted to in this life and ask yourself, “Is it worthy of my devotion; do I worship a divine being?”
We don’t all worship the same God, but everyone worships something or someone. Since we all worship, we should question the reason for this desire. The most logical conclusion is that we were created by a higher being for the very purpose of worship. Addiction is a worship problem.
The ongoing quest of man is to find answers to the fundamental questions of human origin, human nature, and human destiny. There is one book that has the answers to all these questions, including our questions about worship. The Bible is the wonderful and mysterious book that God has chosen as a way to communicate with us. God loves you and will not force you to love Him back. That’s genuine love.
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17.
In the weeks to follow I will be sharing more of my journey thus far with you in hopes that God will touch your life and lead you to a relationship with Him. He never promises that we won’t go through trials and suffering, but if you are truly a child of God, He promises to get you through it. Jesus teaches us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. I implore you to give Him chance. You will NEVER regret it.
Please feel free to contact me through this website, confidentially of course. I have added a ‘contact me’ page for this purpose. I do not have all the answers, but I will do my best to get you any help you might need throughout this journey we call life. Blessings to you all.