Ancient Biblical Grape Juice and Wine Drinkers- Raisin Eaters and Teetotalers (Part 2)
There were anointed men of the Bible who took an oath; that they would not drink wine or eat or drink any of the products of a grapevine, including fresh grapes, raisins (dried grapes), grape seed, grape skins, or grape juice. This cult of Jews was called Nazirites, that included Aaron, the brother of Moses, his priest descendants; Samson, the Judge; and John the Baptist. The Scriptures suggest there were other temporary Nazirites, such as the Apostle, Paul, and others.
Moses gave special instructions to the Nazirites, who dedicated themselves to God in a very special way to refrain from the “taste of strong drink or wine or even fresh wine, grape juice, grapes or raisins! He may eat nothing that comes from grapevines, not even the seeds or skins!” Numbers 6:14
“Now the Lord instructed Aaron (brother of Moses) Never drink wine or strong drink when you go into the Tabernacle, lest you die, and this rule applies to your sons (priests) and all your descendants from generation to generation.” Leviticus 10:8
The mother of Samson was told by an Angel, you “must not eat grapes or raisins or drink any wine or beer” and she was commanded that her son, Samson, must not eat or drink any products of grapes for he was to be a Nazirite. John the Baptist was also a Nazirite and avoided wine & grape products. Judges 13:13
The Prophet, Jeremiah was sent by God to test the obedience of another cult, called Rechabites, with similar prohibitions of grapes and wine to further include, no planting of grape vineyards. It is suggested that these Rechabites, like the Nazirites, were cults of Jewish priests, who were nomads.
“I set cups and jugs of wine before them and invited them to have a drink, but they refused. No, they said we don't drink for Jonadab our father commanded that none of us should ever drink, neither we nor our children forever.” They were also told to plant no vineyards. Jeremiah 35:2
The advice of wine drinking, as given by the Apostle, Paul, to the Corinthians. Paul scorned the people, who at their celebration of communion turned the event into wild parties of eating and drinking wine. Paul said “I am told that everyone hastily gobbles all the food he can without waiting to share with others, so that one doesn't get enough and goes hungry while another has too much to drink and gets drunk...Can't you do your eating and drinking at home to avoid disgracing the church and shaming those who are poor and can bring no food?” 1 Corinthians 11:28
It appears that Paul suggested that Christians who drink wine should do it in the privacy of their homes to avoid irritating those who objected to wine drinking.
The Apostle Paul said, “The right thing to do is quit eating meat or drinking wine or doing anything else that offends your brother or makes him sin” Romans 14:21
The Apostle Paul said, “Don't drink too much wine for many evils lie along that path; be filled instead with the Holy Spirit, and controlled by him” Ephesians 5:18
The Apostle Paul said, “and there will be wrong doctrine, envy, murder, drunkenness, wild parties and all that sort of thing...will not inherit the kingdom of God” Galatians 5:21
The Old Testament gives several references of wine drinking, that led to drunkenness and led to drastic consequences:
“Noah became a farmer and planted a vineyard, and he made wine. One day he was drunk and lay naked in his tent...when Noah awoke in a drunken stupor,” cursed his youngest son, Ham, who had abused him. Genesis 9:20
“Lot's two daughters said “Come let's fill him (their father) with wine, and then we will sleep with him.” Both daughters became pregnant and produced the tribes of Moab and Ammon. Genesis 19:32-36
As a result of King David's behavior, he got Uriah drunk and David's sexual contact with Uriah's wife, Bathsheba, led to her pregnancy that led to the death of the baby, and King David had Uriah transferred to enemy front lines, where Uriah was killed in battle. Then King David took the widow of Uriah as his wife and Queen.
“So Uriah stayed around the palace, (King) David invited him for supper and got him drunk.” 2 Samuel 11:13
During the Babylonian captivity, King Belshazzar, who succeeded King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, was cursed by God for taking captured sacred cups from the temple in Jerusalem, after he and his “officers and wives and concubines have been drinking wine from them (sacred cups), while praising gods of silver, gold, brass, iron, wood, and stone.” That very night Belshazzar was killed by Darius the Mede. Daniel 5:23
The Old Testament presents a clear picture that the nation of Israel had become corrupted morally by many factors, including the drinking of wine and spirits.
“And it is not for Kings, O Lemuel, to drink wine and whiskey. For if they drink they may forget their duties and be unable to give justice to these oppressed. Hard liquor is for sick men at the brink of death, and wine for those in deep depression. Let them drink to forget their poverty and misery” Proverbs 31:4
“Wine gives false courage, hard liquor leads to brawls; What fools are to let it master them, making them reel drunkenly down the street!” Proverbs 20:1
“Who is the man with the bloodshot eyes and many wounds? It is the one that spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new mixtures. Don't let the sparkle and the smooth taste of strong wine deceive you. For in the end it bites you like a poisonous serpent; it stings like an adder. You will have hallucinations and have delirium tremens, and you will say foolish, silly things that would embarrass you to no end when sober. You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. And afterwards you will say, I didn't even know it when they beat me up. Let's go and have another drink.” Proverbs 23:29
The major Prophet, Isaiah, prophesied the coming terrors to Israel, as a result of the moral decay from many factors including drinking wine.
“Woe to those who are heroes when it comes to drinking and boast about the liquor they can hold.” Isaiah 5:22
“Woe to you who get up early in the morning to go on long drinking bouts that last till late at night – Woe to you drunken bums.” Isaiah 5:11
“All the joys of life will go: the grape harvest will fail, the wine will be gone, the merrymakers will sigh and mourn....No more are the joys of wine and song; strong drink turns bitter in the mouth.” Isaiah 24:7
The minor prophets of the Old Testament wrote vivid descriptions of Israel's decline into drunkenness from drinking wine of the grape from the vineyards.
“Wake up and weep, you drunkards, for all the grapes are ruined and all your wine is gone.” Joel 1:5
“They traded a young lad for a prostitute, and a little girl for wine enough to get drunk.” Joel 3:3
The prophet, Amos, cursed the Hebrews saying “You drink wine by the bucketful...caring nothing at all that your brothers need your help.” Amos 6:6
The major prophet, Jeremiah, warned all the nations of the world that gloomy fate awaited them, but the prophecy actually came back to be fulfilled against the Jews.
“For the Lord God said to me: Take from my hand this wine cup filled to the brim with my fury, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink from it. They shall drink from it and reel, crazed by the death blows I rain upon them.” Jeremiah 25:15
The prophet Jeremiah 5:10 outlined the ancient military strategy of destroying an enemy vineyard to disable dissenters. “Go down the rows of the vineyards and destroy them! But leave a scattered few to live. Strip the branches from each vine, for they are not the Lord's.”
Common tactics of ancient conquerers ordered the destruction of agricultural orchards and vineyards, thereby punishing victims and preventing the future resurgence of enemies. Babylonians conquered Israel, carrying them off into slavery and captivity for generations. Seventy years later, the Jews returned to a “desolate” Jerusalem, to replant their olive trees and grapevines in the vineyards. The Babylonian (Iraqi and Iranian) agricultural terrorism continued with the Greek and Roman empires; repeated in the 20th century in Palestine, when Israel destroyed 50000, mature olive trees at the Gaza Strip in Palestine. The historical peace and goodwill symbol of olive branches was destroyed.
The translation of the Scriptures in this article comes from The Living Bible