Ellen G. White Writings

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The Bible Echo

September 4, 1899

Wine at the Marriage Feast

Death in the Cup—Wine Pure and Impure—Human and Divine Love—The Marriage Holy—Sharing Burdens—The Family of Earth and Heaven

The wine created by Christ at the marriage feast in Galilee was the best wine that those present had ever tasted. But it was entirely free from all fermentation. Christ Himself had forbidden the use of fermented drink, saying, “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 forever throughout your generations; and that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between clean and unclean, and that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.”

Fermented liquor confuses the senses and perverts the powers of the being. God is dishonoured when men have not sufficient respect for themselves to practice strict temperance. Fermented wine is not a natural production. The Lord never made it, and with its production He has nothing to do. Paul advised Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach's sake and oft infirmities, but he meant the unfermented juice of the grape. He did not advise Timothy to take what the Lord had prohibited.

The use of fermented wine caused Nadab and Abihu to confuse the sacred and the common, and death was their penalty. After this, severe restrictions were placed on those connected with the sacred service. They were prohibited, when they came before the Lord, from touching wine or using grapes in any way, that they might avoid the result of becoming familiar with fermented liquor. When food or drink which bewilders the brain is placed in the mouth, the destroyer sees his opportunity to enter and dethrone the reason.

Some who claim to be Christians feel at liberty to use intoxicating drink, and in this particular they claim to be in harmony with Christ. But Christ did not set the example they claim to imitate. Be assured that He did not make intoxicating wine on the occasion of His first miracle. He gave to those present a drink which it is safe to give to all humanity—the pure juice of the grape. Christ never placed a glass of fermented liquor to His lips or to the lips of His disciples. Drunkenness was rare in Palestine, but Christ looked down the ages, and saw in every generation what the use of wine would do for the users, therefore at this feast He set a right example.

Christ did not give publicity to His action, and at first only a few knew of the embarrassment of the governor. But after the new wine was brought in, great astonishment was expressed by the guests regarding its superiority over the wine first placed before them. The miracle became known, and the very work Christ desired to see done was accomplished. The faith of the disciples was confirmed. This miracle was to them a convincing testimony that their Master was the world's Redeemer.

Jesus did not touch the water in the jars. He simply looked upon it, and at once it became like wine fresh from the cluster. Only a few days before, Christ had refused to work a miracle to satisfy His hunger. He was weak and emaciated; for He had been without food for forty days and forty nights; but He would not command the stones to become bread to satisfy His appetite. To the suggestion of the enemy He answered, “It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Neither would He accept a challenge to imperil His life by casting Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple to prove that He was the Son of God. In answer to the challenge, He said, “It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” But on the occasion of the wedding feast He performed a miracle to show that marriage is not forbidden by God.

The divine love emanating from Christ never destroys human love, but includes it. By it human love is refined and purified, elevated and ennobled. Human love can never bear its precious fruit until it is united with the Divine nature, and trained to grow heavenward. Jesus wants to see happy marriages, happy firesides. The warmth of true friendship and the love that binds the hearts of husband and wife are a foretaste of heaven.

God has ordained that there should be perfect love and harmony between those who enter into the marriage relation. Let bride and bridegroom, in the presence of the heavenly universe, pledge themselves to love each other as God has ordained they should. Let no draught of unkindness chill the atmosphere of love which should surround them. The wife is to respect and reverence her husband, and the husband is to love and cherish his wife. As the priest of the household, the husband and father should bind his wife and children to his heart. The wife should feel that the large affections of her husband sustain her before her children are born, and after their birth he should co-operate with her in the management of the little ones, who should be wisely, tenderly, and lovingly educated.

The family relationship should be sanctifying in its influence. Christian homes, established and conducted in accordance with God's plan, are a wonderful help in forming Christian character. Families here should be a symbol of the great family above. Parents and children should unite in offering loving service to Him who alone can keep human love pure and noble.

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth it and cherisheth it; even as the Lord the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery.”

If this instruction had been heeded by those who enter into the marriage relation, the home life would be pure and elevated, garrisoned by holy love. God made from man a woman, to be a companion and helpmeet for him, to be one with him, to cheer, encourage, and bless him. And he, in his turn, is to be her strong helper.

All who enter the matrimonial life with a holy purpose, the husband to obtain the pure affections of a woman's heart, the wife to soften and improve her husband's character, and give it completeness, fulfil God's purpose for them. Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil its every specification. He came to pull down and destroy the works of oppression that the enemy had raised up everywhere. It was in perfect harmony with His character and work to make known the fact that marriage is a holy institution. He came not to destroy this institution, but to restore it to its original sanctity. He came to restore the moral image of God in man, and He began His work by sanctioning the marriage relation. Thus He who made the first holy pair, and who created for them a paradise, put His seal upon the institution first celebrated in Eden, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.

Mrs. E. G. White

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