“Among social drinkers alcohol, even in small amounts, causes shrinkage of the frontal lobes.” (“Results of Computerised Tomography, Psychometric Testing and Dietary Studies in Social Drinkers” Medical Journal of Australia, Sept 17, 1983 pp 264-269)
“Psychological testing of social drinkers shows that mental abilities and intellectual performance were significantly impaired.” (“Alcohol Use and Cognitive Loss among Employed Men and Women” American Journal of Public Health, May 1983 pp 521-526)
“And when it comes to alcohol, there is no evidence of a safe amount. Cancer risk increases from the first drink. This is in contrast to heart disease, where a small amount (one to two standard drinks) of alcohol taken regularly is thought to lower risk.” World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer : a Global Perspective. 2007, Washington DC: World Cancer Research Fund.
What does the BIBLE say?
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"Wine” at the Lord’s Supper was not referred to by the word for wine (Greek: Oinos) but the words “fruit of the vine” are used, indicating the pure unfermented juice of the grape:
“This is My blood of the covenant, which is to be shed on behalf of many. Truly I say to you, I shall never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in the kingdom of God." Mark 14:25
In the Old Testament the word for wine is generally “Yayin”. This designates the juice of the grape in all its forms—unfermented through to fermented, though it is usually used when referring to fully aged wine containing alcohol. The usual word for unfermented wine is “Tirosh”. It is frequently translated as “new wine”, which is freshly pressed grape juice. “Oinos” is the word used in the New Testament generally for wine, and refers to both unfermented and fermented wine, depending on the context.
The expression “strong drink” signifies a sweet drink usually fermented and generally made from sources other than grapes (barley, millet or wheat). It does not refer to distilled liquors as distillation was unknown to the Israelites. (Patton, pp 57,58,62)
Fermented wine: The Scriptures condemn alcoholic wine because it brings violence, misery and destruction:
"Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long over WINE, those who go to taste mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup. When it goes down smoothly, at the last it bites like a serpent and stings like a viper.” Prov. 23:29-32
Unfermented wine: The Bible speaks favourably of unfermented wine or juice, and recommends it as a great blessing.
“Now may God give you … an abundance of NEW WINE.” Genesis 27:28
“He will also bless …your NEW WINE and your oil” Deut.7:13
“Thus says the Lord: As the NEW WINE is found in the cluster, and one says: do not destroy it, for there is benefit in it …Isa. 65:8
Did the ancient cultures know how to preserve grape juice? Can we assume that all “wine” in Bible times was alcoholic?
Ancient cultures knew at least five ways to preserve juice:
(1) Boiling the must until the sugar concentration exceeds the maximum permitting fermentation.
(2) Grape juice with enough sweetness to remain unfermented can be made just by pressing dried grapes.
(3) The ancients knew that if a cooled wine was allowed to sit undisturbed, the clear juice poured off from the sediment would remain unfermented for about a year.
(4) Salt retards fermentation. According to Columella, "Some people—and indeed almost all the Greeks—preserve must with salt or sea-water".
(5) By bringing fermented wine to the boiling point of water, the alcohol is driven off. According to Pliny, the ancients made a drink called adynamon (weak wine) by adding water to wine and boiling the mixture until the quantity was considerably reduced. This drink was a favorite preparation for the sick and invalid.
They also knew how to preserve fruit, so that juice could be pressed from it at any time:
(1) Fruit was partly dried, then vinegar and boiled must poured on top, with some salt.
(2) Fruit was arranged in an earthernware vessel treated with pitch then filled with raisin-wine or must boiled-down to one-third of its original volume, so that all the fruit was submerged; then covered and plastered up.
(3) Instead of boiled-down must, some people used honey-water or bee’s wax-water for preserving fruits. The submersion of fruit in liquid honey was viewed as one of the safest methods of preservation.
(4) Another method used was to place the fruit in a barrel between layers of sawdust and when the barrel was full, its lid was carefully sealed with thick clay.
(5) Another method consisted of "dabbing the fruit, when it is fresh, thickly with well-kneaded potter’s clay, and when the clay has dried, hanging it up in a cool place; then, when it is required for use, the fruit should be plunged in water and the clay dissolved. This process keeps the fruit as fresh as if it had only just been picked."
(6) Several methods were used for preserving grapes fresh. One of them consisted in cutting the grapes with lengthy branches and sealing the cut with pitch. The grapes were then placed in vessels filled with dry chaff. "In order that the grapes may remain green for as much as a year,"
(7) "Some people, after the same method, preserve green grapes in dry sawdust of poplar-wood or fir; others cover up the grapes, which they have picked from the vines when they were not too ripe, in dry flower of gypsum. Others, when they have picked a bunch, cut off with shears any defective grapes in it, and then hang it up in the granary where there is wheat stored below them. But this method causes the grapes to become shrivelled and almost as sweet as raisins."
(8) Pliny says, "Some grapes will last all through the winter if the clusters are hung by a string from the ceiling, and others will keep merely in their own natural vigor by being stood in earthenware jars with casks put over them, and packed round with fermenting grape-skins."
The fact that the ancients knew several methods for preserving grapes fresh until the following vintage suggests that unfermented grape juice could be produced at any time of the year simply by squeezing grapes into a cup. This practice is confirmed both in rabbinical and Christian literature.
…AND OTHER SUBSTANCES:
Caffeine has been shown to contribute to increased blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, increased gastric secretions, and peptic ulcers. It has been implicated in heart disease, diabetes, and cancers of the colon, bladder and pancreas.
Tobacco increases the risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure and circulatory diseases. It brings an increase of deaths related to lung cancer and other diseases. It is associated with cancers of the larynx, mouth, throat, bladder, kidney and pancreas.
Any good result of using these substances can be obtained from other sources. Why take the bad effects in along with the good? A medication with as many bad side effects as these substances have would very quickly be pulled from the shelves!
From these verses, it is evident that we have a responsibility not only to our bodies, but to the earth we live in:
"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." 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.” Revelation 11:18