Sabbath 27/8/35/120

Dear Friends,

These last few weeks we have been approached by members of the other Churches of God totally disaffected by the practice of their churches eating out at restaurants on Sabbaths and Holy Days.  We addressed the issue in the Sabbath Message  It is a direct breach of the Fourth Commandment to go to a restaurant on a Sabbath, New Moon or Holy Day. The church is always together on Feasts and Holy Days and the catering of the church is set so that we all participate in the preparation and the service of food. No person is paid as the servant of another.  It is the case that some people have errors in their thinking about other issues also when they approach us. It has become obvious that some have calendar issues as well and we have noticed that some elements of the Church of God (SD) and the offshoots of the WCG system also have a strange view of the usage of wine in the Bible. They are somehow under the illusion that the consumption of alcohol is wrong and a member of the Churches of God should not drink alcohol.  Some come to us and conceal this view from us so that they can be accredited in CCG and continue among us hiding their views from us.  This happened with us in the Ukraine and we exposed them several times. They came in under different names and each time we exposed them and refused them entry.

The SDAs have this erroneous view that was inflicted upon them from the US and the erroneous view regarding alcohol permeated the Church of God (SD) also from the US. The late Sam Bacchiocchi wrote a preposterous article titled Wine in the Bible based on the absurd assumption that whenever the words for wine occurred in the Bible in a positive sense it was unfermented grape juice and whenever it was used in the negative sense it was fermented wine. This was so absurd and untrue that we produced the paper Wine in the Bible (No. 188) with the assistance of a senior rabbi and a scientist in the wine industry. At the time of Christ it was impossible to make grape juice and keep it from the grape harvest to the Passover. To suggest that was what Christ and the apostles drank at the Passover is absurd and shows a complete lack of knowledge of the process of making wine.  The name for grape juice in Hebrew is mishrat anavim which means the express juice of the grape and it is never used to refer to wine and the words used in the Bible and translated as wine are never used to refer to unfermented wine. There are various words to refer to the stages of the wine making process. All these words are explained in the text Wine in the Bible (No. 188) above.  It is important that each person in the church fully understands the words and the process so as to refute these reformed drunks and misdirected people. Often they refer to Herbert Armstrong in support of what they say. Here are the facts on Hebert Armstrong’s view of alcohol.  His personal assistants have told me personally that they were with him at nights when they played his card game Hearts.  He usually drank a brand of Rose. He drank severally. He would never have tolerated the anti-alcohol teaching in the WCG had people raised it.

Look at the logic of the NT.  Christ was accused of being a wine bibber and a drunkard.  Never did Christ refute the assertion that he drank alcohol. Never once was it asserted that he drank grape juice.  On more than one occasion he referred to the antiseptic properties of wine which can only refer to fermented wine. On the same note the Bible says a drunkard will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Christ himself as the Angel of the Presence stipulated in the Law of God at Deuteronomy 14:24-27 that if the way to the feast be too far for you to take your tithe you can turn it into money and go there and buy whatever you desire, either oxen or sheep or wine and strong drink. There is no doubt that God is telling us we are to spend our second tithe on food and alcohol as we chose.  So these people are telling us that God gives the elect people a direction through Christ to attend the feast and buy there whatever our hearts lust after and then it is suggested that Christ then declared that we cannot have wine because it is wrong.  What bizarre absurdity.  God is immutable and the Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Neither entity changes, and the Law of God does not change as it emanates from the nature of God himself.  The understanding of the text in Proverbs 31:4-5 refers to Kings and those in judgement.  None of the elohim is to drink before or while sitting in judgment on the people of God.

In the same way no priest of the elect is to conduct services and teach under the influence of alcohol. They are permitted to drink only after the services are completed. Moreover they are allocated the tithe of the wine so that they may drink.  It is not mishrat anavim that is being referred to as it was impossible to preserve it unfermented. To suggest that it was is absurd. In Bacchiocchi’s work he suggested that it could be preserved as grape juice under seal and cooled by water.  That is completely false and was only possible with recent vacuum seals and the grape juice commences to ferment immediately the seal is broken.

Now CCG does not care what a person drinks.  Except that they will drink some 5 mls or so of wine once a year at the Lord’s Supper or they will not be allowed in CCG.  What we will not tolerate is the self-righteous and false assertions that the Bible teaches that the consumption of alcohol is wrong thus implying that anyone that drinks alcohol is not righteous and is therefore sinning.  Whatsoever is not of faith is sin and sin is the transgression of the law of God.

If anyone becomes intoxicated in CCG they will be rebuked.  If they are so more than once or on a repetitive basis they will be reprimanded by the Council of Elders and may be controlled by being “placed on the dry” for a specified period. That has happened only once to my knowledge in the last twenty years.

A humorous incident occurred many years ago in the US when I spoke with an alcoholic about his problem.  I said: “So you were an alcoholic” and he said: “No I was a drunk.  Alcoholics have to attend all those lectures.”

What we will not tolerate is anyone making accusations against Christ and the apostles by suggesting that they did not drink and if they had they would be sinning, which is what these self-righteous people suggest by this false teaching. The Mormons carry it to the absurdity of condemning tea and coffee and we have seen that absurdity in the Churches of God also. However they drink these poisonous “soft drinks” without a thought.

If you cannot control your alcohol you are unfit to be in the kingdom of God. So also is it with a glutton or anyone unable to control him or herself. However, what is even worse, those that claim this false doctrine watch what the elect put down their throats in order to accuse them.  We have a hard enough life being accused by the world and the sons of Belial without putting up with it from within our own feasts and festivities.  Such people are not to be allowed in CCG or if they obtain entry by false pretences they are to be removed immediately they disclose themselves.

If you are an alcoholic control yourself.  If you cannot take a thimble full of wine at the Lord’s Supper the Holy Spirit is not working within you. We will help you through your problem as an alcoholic but we will not tolerate self-righteousness among us. Such ones have no understanding of the Holy Spirit and the Power and Grace of God. If you accuse one another repent and be reconciled to one another. There must not be conflict and accusation in the Household of God.

Wade Cox
Coordinator General