Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Weekend of Prayer and Fasting and Guest Post from Kay Marshall Strom

Salvation Army Sponsors
4th Annual International Weekend of
Prayer and Fasting
for Victims of Sexual Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery

September 25-27th concerned individuals across the world will join in prayer and fasting for the victims of sex trafficking and modern day slavery. In an effort to raise funds and awareness for this project, the Salvation Army is raising hands and hearts together in a special weekend dedicated to praying and fasting for the social injustices forced upon many individuals in our world today. For more information about this important project and other organizations partnering with The Salvation Army, go to the Salvation Army homepage.

For years, author Kay Marshall Strom has visited countries where human trafficking and modern day slavery run rampant. Her recent fiction release, The Call of Zulina, draws attention to the historical issues of slavery, that unfortunately continue today across the world and even in the United States of America. Through her diligence and commitment to help resolve inhumane issues revolving around slavery and trafficking Strom has become an expert in the field.

Stolen Identity
by Kay Marshall Strom

Enormous eyes in a bony-thin face, and a baggy green dress that dragged the ground. Because of all the cast-off children at the village school in India, the raggedy girl stood closest to our translator, he gently asked her, "What is your name?"

The girl stared.

"Your name. What is it?" the translator asked again.

The girl whispered her answer: "I have no name."

A child with no name. A little girl abandoned so young she could not even remember what her parents had called her. She grew up begging at the train platform, snatching up the scraps harried passengers dropped, watching other children picked off by traffickers. Now that she was seven or eight--perhaps even a scrawny nine--the traffickers had come for her. But the girl screamed and kicked and clawed so ferociously that someone called the police. Someone with clout, evidently, because the police came and pulled her away from the traffickers. Somebody in the crowd suggested that instead of putting the child in jail, the police might take her to the village school, which they did. They dropped her at the door and left.

Human trafficking, especially sex trafficking, is rampant around the world. We think of it as an eastern European problem, or Indian or Nepalese or Thai. It is. But it's also a Western problem. The U.S. State Department estimates between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the Untied States each year, but concede that the real number is far higher. According to the U.S. Justice Department's head of the new human trafficking unit, there is now at least one case of trafficking in every state.

The little girl with no name was fortunate that someone responded to her screaming pleas. What would you do if you heard a child shriek for help? Of course, if she were a trafficking victim in this country, she wouldn't likely scream or kick. She would probably shrink away in terror, or act submissively. You might see wounds--cuts, bruises, burns. Perhaps what would catch your attention would be the constant work: babysitting, cooking, washing dishes, scrubbing floors--never just being a child. Or maybe you couldn't say exactly what was wrong--only that something about the child's situation made you profoundly uneasy.

Please, please, if you suspect a person is being trafficked, call 911 and report it. Yes, it is okay. Yes, even it you are mistaken. In fact, eighteen states require citizens to report possible child abuse or neglect of any kind.

In the 1700s, Quakers led the fight against the African slave trade. In 1885, the Salvation Army took up the abolition banner, and since then it has led the fight against a different kind of slavery. More and more, 21st century abolitionists are followers of Christ determined to see slavery of all kinds ended in our day.

Oh yes... Before I left the school in India, I asked if we might give the little girl a name. She is now Grace.

About the Author:

Author Kay Marshall Strom has two great loves: writing and helping others achieve their own writing potential. Kay has written thirty-six published books including Daughters of Hope: Stories of Witness and Courage in the Face of Persecution and In the Presence of the Poor. She's also authored numerous magazine articles, and two screenplays. While mostly a nonfiction writer, the first book of her historical novel trilogy Grace in Africa has met with acclaim. Kay speaks at seminars, retreats, writers' conferences, and special events throughout the country and around the world. She is in wide demand as an instructor and keynote speaker at major writing conferences. She also enjoys speaking aboard cruise ships in exchange for exotic cruise destinations.

Schedule Kay for an interview or request her book for review by contacting Kathy Carlton Willis Communications at WillisWay@aol.com or call 956-642-6319.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Should Christians Drink? Wine in the Bible

There are many arguments among Christians about the use of alcohol. Some believe in total abstinence while others believe that alcohol can be used moderately. So what does the Bible say about the use of alcohol? One thing is certain, nothing has snapped more wedding rings, caused more violence in the home, crime, sickness and death.

As when we approach any study of a particular subject we must be careful not to build a doctrine on the basis of one or two scriptures. We have to look at all that God says on any one thing and take the sum of all the parts. We must also look at the context in which it is used.

In William Patton's book, Bible Wines, pg. 46 we quote: It should be constantly borne in mind that the Authorized Version was translated when the drinking usages were well-nigh universal. The translators, with the most honest purpose, faithfully according to their ability, rendered into English the original scriptures, but were nevertheless unintentionally and unconsciously influenced by the philosophy and usages of their day. We would not distrust, much less weaken, confidence in the Word of God. We should, however remind the reader that ONLY THE ORIGNAL TEXT IS INSPIRED; that no translation, much less no mere human interpretation, is ultimate authority.

The confusion is that on one hand God gives the wine as a blessing and also calls it a curse. How can something be both a blessing and a curse? Does this mean that one can drink in moderation? As long as we partake of a little then it's okay? So why doesn't the Bible say how much we can drink?

The wine that is a blessing
Isa 65:8 Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine (tirosh) is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all.

The Hebrew word for harvested grape juice is tirosh and should be translated in every one of its 38 Old Testament occurrences as either fresh grape juice or harvested grape juice. The Authorized Version translated as 'wine' or 'new wine' are both misleading translations. The new wine that is a blessing was the product of the land in its natural state, the grape and its juice. It is unfermented.

Isa 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Here God is giving milk and wine, both are blessings and nutritious. Both the milk and the wine (grape juice) are good for you.

Would the Lord give us something meant to be a blessing in the form of an intoxicating beverage? The Lord's Prayer: Mat 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

The Temperance Bible Commentary by F. R. Lees and D. Burns pg. 24 "Tirosh is not wine at all, but the fruit of the vineyard in its natural condition."

Was fermented wine used at the Lord's Supper?
On the night of His betrayal, when celebrating the Passover with His disciples, Matthew 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
The wine represents the blood atonement at the Lord's Supper. It was the symbol of His shed blood for our sins. The bread representing His body was unleavened bread. All leaven and fermentation is excluded from the Passover for seven days, it is forbidden.

Psa 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Would the Lord allow a fermented wine to be used as the symbol of His atoning blood, He who saw no corruption? "Fermentation is to them always a symbol of "corruption."

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Heb. seor (Ex. 12:15, 19; 13:7; Lev. 2:11), the remnant of dough from the preceding baking which had fermented and become acid. (2.) Heb. hamets, properly "ferment." In Num. 6:3, "vinegar of wine" is more correctly "fermented wine." In Ex. 13:7, the proper rendering would be, "Unfermented things [Heb. matstsoth] shall be consumed during the seven days; and there shall not be seen with thee fermented things [hamets], and there shall not be seen with thee leavened mass [seor] in all thy borders." The chemical definition of ferment or yeast is "a substance in a state of putrefaction, the atoms of which are in a continual motion."
Fruit of the vine:
(2.) The fruit of the vine, "vintage-fruit" (Heb. tirosh); grapes, whether moist or dried.

Josephus calls the freshly squeezed grape juice the "fruit of the vine."

Pro 20:1 Wine (yayin) is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
Notice that the quantity consumed is not mentioned only that wine in itself is a mocker.

The problem lies in the word wine, which can mean either fermented or unfermented grape juice.

In Wine The Biblical Imperative: Total Abstinence by Robert P. Teachout he writes: Not only have contemporary Bible scholars failed to consult the older reference works which would refute their superficial conclusion; they have also neglected to do adequate research in the primary sources themselves. Instead of making a person search through the classical Greek and Latin writings to see (for example) how oinos and vinum were used by the ancient authors they have simply assumed that the modern lexicons are correct. It is initially important to recognize that lexicons are, ideally based on such primary research. However, lexicons are inerrant. If the research on which they are based is not thorough, or if it is biased, then important information is omitted. Thus, an adequate investigation f the meaning of any word especially if the meaning is disputed) must include actually studying it in the context in which it occurred in the original literature rather than simply assuming that the modern lexicons have done a thorough job of presenting the evidence. The difficulty of doing such primary research should make those who take an opposing position more careful about being dogmatic concerning matters, which they themselves are unwilling or unable to thoroughly investigate. (Pg. 40-41)

Mertereologica by Aristotlerefers to a sweet grape beverage (glukus), which Though called wine [oinos], it has not the effect of wine, for it does taste like wine and does not intoxicate like ordinary wine. (388.b.9-13)

Definitions of "Wine"
oinos- grape juice or wine
gleukos- fresh grape juice
oxos - vinegar
tirosh- harvest grape juice
shekar- wine or strong drink, (Hebrew) to drink copiously
yayin- grape juice, wine

Kitto's Cyclopaedia, article Wine: "Yakin in Bible use is a very general term, including every species of wine made from grapes (oinos ampelinos), though in latter ages it became extended in its application to wine made from other substances."

Did Jesus use alcohol? Some say that the new wine that Jesus made was alcohol in His first miracle at the wedding at Cana. John 2:1 - 11

Now we know that Jesus is our High Priest who makes intercession for our sins and the priest is forbidden to drink fermented drink.

Heb 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. We also know that the Lord forbids the priests to drink alcohol.

Lev 10:8 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, 9 Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: Can Jesus break His own rule? Jesus is our High Priest. Jesus made new wine. New wine is pure grape juice. It has not been allowed to ferment. The Lord would not further the act of making an intoxicating wine to people who were presumed to be already drunk!

1Ti 3:8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

Tit 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

Do you not also know that when you accept Jesus as your personal Savior you become part of the royal priesthood?

1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;

1Pe 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

Jesus was accused.
Mat 11:19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

The scripture says Jesus came eating and drinking, not that He came drinking alcohol, just eating and drinking. He befriended those who needed Him. There were those who would have liked to destroy the reputation of our Savior.

Mat 9:12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

John too was accused of being of the devil. Luk 7:33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.

We are to bring glory to God!
1Co 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit…

But the Bible says a little wine is good for us.
Did Paul tell Timothy to drink a fermented wine for his stomach?

1Ti 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine (oinos) for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.
Earlier in the same Epistle Paul states: Tit 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

Grape juice was used for medicinal purposes during Bible times. Athenaeus (AD 280) makes the suggestion to use unfermented grape juice for stomach disorders.

Is this contradiction? No. Pure grape juice is known to be beneficial for our health. Onios- The juice of the grape in all conditions.

Problem verse
Deuteronomy 14:22-26 contains an ordinance stating that those who live a long distance from the sanctuary can use part of their tithe money on their annual journey to the sanctuary as follows:
And spend the money for whatever you desire, oxen, or sheep, or wine (Yayin) or strong drink, (shekar) whatever your appetite craves; and you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household. Deut. 14:26 (RSV)
The phrase "strong drink" is from the word shekar. Shekar was condemned by Solomon as "raging" (Prov. 20:1), and Isaiah pronounces a woe upon those who "follow after strong drink [shekar]" (Isa. 5:11). Strong drink was also forbidden for the priests (Lev. 10:9-11) and Nazarites (Num. 6:2-4; Jud. 13:3-5). Would God condemn the use of "strong drink" in one place in the Bible, and yet approve of it in another place?
Like 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 Isa. 24:9. Shekar is defined by The Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopedia as: Sweet Wine or Syrup.
Shatter, luscious, saccharine drink or sweet syrup especially sugar or honey of dates or of the palm-tree
Date or Palm Wine in its fresh and unfermented state.
Our English words "sugar" and "cider" derive from the word 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.

Robert P Teachout Wine The Biblical Imperative pg. 66 reads: The Hebrew verb, which is, related etymologically, shakar, means to 'drink deeply' rather than 'to become drunk,' as many lexicons imply. (Note especially Song of So 5:1). The idea of drunkenness so often associated with both the noun and the verb is dependent upon the context (and the beverage that is imbibed), then, and not an innate meaning of the word, despite the simplistic rendering of Hebrew lexicons. The two words yayin and shekar together give the one idea in Deu 14:26 of 'satisfying grape juice' (a anendiadys). The context demands this understanding, since it specifically indicates that the beverage was to be imbibed' before the Lord over what He has provided, one would have to be sober. Since God had explicitly denied intoxicants (on pain of death-Lev 10:9 to the priests serving in His presence, it would be totally out of character for God to command the use of these intoxicants by the worshippers in one of their infrequent appearances before him, especially when they were in the company of those priests.

But I need a few drinks to help me relax. It makes me happy.
Our happiness is in Christ. He is our joy!

Eph 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

Mat 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Alcohol can have a great cost.
We see the first recorded incident of drunkenness and immoral behavior and the result of a curse being placed on Canaan:
Gen 9:20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: 21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. 24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. 25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. Gen 9:26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
The result of Lot's drinking was incest. Gen 19: 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 33 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 35 And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.

Drinking causes a lack of concern for others:
Amos 6:6 That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.

Drinking causes shame and humiliation:
Hab 2:15 Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness! 16 Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD's right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory.

Exo 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
Seventy-five percent of the children of alcoholics either become drinkers themselves or become codependents.

Hos 4:11 Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.

Luk 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Luk 12:45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; 46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

1Co 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

When is it all right to drink?
Pro 31:6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Give to those who are dying or in great pain.

Parents, when you drink you are teaching your children to drink.
They are learning from you. They are not learning coping skills. It does not teach them to control themselves. Did you know that 90% of those on death row came from homes where alcohol and drug abuse was a prominent part of their lives? Your attitude toward alcohol and drugs directly affects how your children will view them. If you need to have a few drinks to cope with stress then you are teaching your child this is how to deal with stress. Think about it parents. Remember your children are a gift from God and they are on loan to you. Your job is to lead them to Christ and how to walk in His ways. You are responsible for their welfare.

There are many warnings about the use of alcohol in the Bible.
Pro 21:17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.

Pro 23:20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
Pro 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

Pro 23:29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? 30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. 31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright (fermented wine). 32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. 33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. 34 Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. 35 They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.

Isa 5:11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!

Isa 5:22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:

Isa 28:7 But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.

Rom 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

Rom 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

Many Christians justify their drinking because they believe they have God's approval because the word wine is used in the Bible. Being drunk is clearly condemned as sin.

Gal 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

1Th 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

1Co 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. God clearly tells the Christian not to even associate with one who claims to be a Christian and they drink.

The word "wine" is also used to denote God's wrath or judgment
Easton's Bible Dictionary
1) wine 2) metaph. fiery wine of God's wrath
The "treading of the wine-press" is emblematic of
divine judgment (Isa. 63:2; Lam. 1:15; Rev. 14:19, 20).
Also see Revelation 14:8& 10; 16:19; 18:3.

We have by no means covered all that is available on the wines of the Bible. I can only encourage you to study for yourself and pray for understanding. We must each stand before the Lord and ask Him what He would have us to do.

For those who use to justify drinking in the Bible because they believe that there was no way to keep the grape juice from fermenting during Bible times I suggest you read The Laws of Fermentation by William Patton.

Suggested study materials:
Kitto's Cyclopaedia
Bible Wines by William Patton
Wine The Biblical Imperative by Robert P. Teachout
The Jewish Encyclopedia
Dr. William Smith Dictionary of the Bible Wine in the Ancient World by Charles Seltman
The Temperance Bible Commentary by F. R. Lees and D. Burns
Antiquities of the Jews William Whiton's translation
The Laws of Fermentation by William Patton
Language Helps
A Concordance of the Ugaritic Literature by Richard E. Whitaker
The Englishman's Greek Concordance of the New Testament.
The Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament
The Septuagint intertestament translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek

Heavenly Father, Help us to be more like You. Give us understanding of Your Word. Help us to be overcomers so we might spend eternity with You. Amen

Read Revelation 2, 3 to see what overcomers inherit!