DID JESUS PARTAKE OF OR MAKE ALCOHOLIC WINE?
1) FERMENTATION IS A SYMBOL OF CONTAMINATION, I.E. SIN, WHICH THE SINLESS GOD MAN DID NOT EVER PARTAKE OF
[2 Cor 5:21]:
"God made Him [Jesus Christ, (v. 20)] Who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."
[Compare 1 Cor 5:6-8]:
(v. 6) "Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast [sin] works through the whole batch of dough?
(v. 7) Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast - as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed [for sins].
(v. 8) Therefore let us keep the Festival [of unleavened bread], not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth."
Note that since the fermentation process of yeast (leaven) is in the same category process as that which makes alcoholic beverage and since our Lord is portrayed in Scripture as holy, harmless, undefiled and sinless then He cannot be associated with the consumption of such substances as result from fermentation, either directly or indirectly.
2) OUR LORD COULD NOT HAVE PUT PEOPLE IN A POSITION TO SIN BY GETTING THEM DRUNK
(v. 15) "Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin til they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies.
(v. 16) You will be filled with shame instead of glory. Now it is your turn! Drink and be exposed! The cup from the LORD's right hand is coming around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory."
3) ABSTAIN FROM THE APPEARANCE OF EVIL
[1 Thes 5:22]:
"Avoid every kind of evil"
Our Lord and all men are to avoid the appearance of evil. So being associated with a scenario which involved excessive drinking of an alcoholic drink was to be avoided. Therefore, since our Lord was sinless, the scenario at Cana did not involve alcoholic wine.
4) THE PRIEST OF GOD IS NOT TO DRINK ALCOHOLIC DRINK
(v. 8) "Then the LORD said to Aaron,
(v. 9) 'You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the Tent of Meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.
(v. 10) You must distiniguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean,
(v. 11) and you must teach the Israelites all the decrees the LORD has given them through Moses.' "
Since this is a "lasting ordinance for the generations to come" specificially commanded of Israelite priests and since our Lord at the time of His 3 year ministry was a priest and an Israelite then this must apply to Him:
[Compare Heb 2:17]:
"For this reason He [Jesus Christ, (v. 10)] had to be made like His brothers [humanity] in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people."
5) RULERS, KINGS AND PRINCES ARE PROHIBITED FROM DRINKING ALCOHOLIC DRINK
(v. 4) "It is not for kings, O Lemuel - not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer,
(v. 5) lest they drink and forget what the Law decrees, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights."
And our Lord qualifies as a King, Prince and Ruler:
"For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given. And the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Might God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
"Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
'Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns [referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, (v. 4)]"
Note: to reign means to be a Ruler .
"Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked Him, 'Are you the King of the Jews?'
'Yes, it is as you say,' Jesus replied."
"Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
6) SINCE ALCOHOLIC DRINK TENDS TO PRODUCE MOCKING AND DECEPTIVE BEHAVIOR IN SOME, OUR LORD COULD NOT HAVE BEEN INVOLVED THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF IT'S CONSUMPTION
"Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise."
7) OUR LORD COULD NOT BE ASSOCIATED WITH ALCOHOLIC DRINK BECAUSE EXCESSIVE USE OF IT LEADS TO PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH ALONG WITH LOSS OF FELLOWSHIP AND LACK OF RESPECT FOR GOD
(v. 11) "Woe to those who rise early in the moring to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine,
(v. 12) They have harps and lyres at their banquets, tambourines and flutes and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the LORD, no respect for the work of His hands.
(v. 13) Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding; their masses will be parched with thirst.
(v. 14) Therefore the grave enlarges its appetite and opens its mouth without limit; into it will descend their nobles and masses with all their brawlers and revelers."
8) BEING ASSOCIATED WITH ALCOHOLIC DRINK WOULD HAVE PUT OUR LORD IN THE POSITION OF BEING A STUMBLING BLOCK TO OTHERS
"It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall."
9) THE WATER TO WINE MIRACLE DOES NOT REQUIRE THAT THE WINE BE ALCOHOLIC
Note that this does not imply that the wine first served or later served at the particular wedding feast at Cana was alcoholic, nor that the guests got inebriated. The Greek verb "methusthOsin" which is aorist, subjunctive mood, (= "may"), merely presents the case that at past weddings, after the guests so freely consumed the wine first served that it made them drunk, then they were served inferior wine, implying that they did not notice the difference in the quality because their drunken senses were dulled. Furthermore, the word "oinon" = "wine" is not necessarily alcoholic wine as this term is used for non-alcoholic also. The Greek noun "oinon" is a generic term for beverage obtained from grapes. Objectors point to Jn 1:10 to support their conclusion that "oinon" must be alcoholic because they would say one ordinarily served the best wine first and as the guests become more inebriated they would 'break out' the lesser quality, cheaper wine when men's tastes have been dulled by much drinking.
(Jn 2:9 NKJV) "When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made [lit., had become] wine, and did not know [from] where it came from [lit., is] (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom.
(Jn 2:10 NKJV) And he said to him, 'Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, [lit., they may have gotten drunk] then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!' "
But consider that the master of the feast implied that he and the people at the wedding at Cana where our Lord performed His first miracle of turning water into wine were able to recognize that this wine served later was much better than was served at first. Therefore they could not have been inebriated since that would have dulled their senses and they would not have been able to distinguish the difference! So the wine served at the wedding at Cana, unlike at some weddings of the past, must have been non alcoholic.
In view of the content of Jn 2:11, which says, "This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him," one must conclude that our LORD would not have gotten glory had He made drunk people drunker by providing more alcoholic wine to drink. Notice that the guests of the wedding had already consumed all of the wine originally provided. Had the beverage been alcoholic wine, which is questionable due to the presence of the LORD there, then many of the guests would have been inebriated. So if the wine that our Lord created from water had been alcoholic then it would have made the already intoxicated guests even drunker. Such an undertaking would have brought disgrace to our Lord not glory!
Furthermore, the disciples would not have been given a good reason to believe on Jesus Christ if His miracle contributed to the sinful behavior of drunkeness, (Jn 1:41).
[Compare Isa 65:8]:
'''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,' So I will act on behalf of My servants in order not to destroy all of them." '''
So in Isa 65:8 we have grapes still hanging on the vine which contain wine = grape juice.
[Compare Pr 3:9-10]:
(v. 9) "Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;
(v. 10) then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine."
Note that new wine = freshly squeezed grape juice which is non alcoholic
FURTHER COMMENTS: NOT ALL WINE IS ALCOHOLIC
[Comments from: http://www.themoorings.org/life/separation/drinking/drink2.html]:
"Moderationists, resting on modern lexical authorities, assert that yayin always refers to the fermented juice of grapes. But unless founded on evidence, the opinion of a so-called lexical authority carries no more weight than anyone else's opinion. What in fact is the evidence that yayin refers only to alcoholic wine? It must be admitted that alcoholic wine is the meaning of yayin in some texts. Surely the yayin which humbled Noah was fermented...
....Yet from these facts we may not leap to the conclusion that yayin is a term for alcoholic wine only. It is also possible that yayin is simply a generic term for any drink derived from grapes. In Genesis 49:11, yayin is used in parallel with the expression "blood of grapes."
"He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest brach; He will wash His garments in wine, His robes in the blood of grapes."
Notice that "wine" = "yayin" is parallel to the phrase "blood of grapes" = non fermented grape juice.
The Ugaritic cognate to yayin is used in parallel with much the same expression (1).
The care taken by the author of Proverbs 23:31-32 to identify the dangerous kind of wine suggests that the term yayin in itself was insufficient to denote alcoholic wine:
(v. 31) "Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!
(v. 32) In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper."
We of the modern world make a sharp distinction between grape juice and wine because we recognize that the intoxicating agency in wine is wholly missing from grape juice. But the ancients understood neither that the intoxicating agency is a single substance, alcohol, nor that grape juice is free of this agency. Plutarch records an interesting discussion among guests at a dinner party as to why new sweet wine is less intoxicating than old wine. One guest suggested that the cloying sweetness of the new wine prevents anyone from drinking enough to be intoxicated (2). In protest against the assertion that yayin can be used of either fermented or unfermented wine, moderationists make uninformed claims like the following: "Unfermented grape juice is a very difficult thing to keep without the aid of modern antiseptic precautions, and its preservation in the warm and not overcleanly conditions of ancient Palestine was impossible" (3).
In fact, it takes no more ingenuity to prevent fermentation of grape juice than to prevent vinegarization of fermented wine.
THE ANCIENTS KNEW AT LEAST FIVE METHODS OF MAKING NON ALCOHOLIC WINE
The ancients knew at least five methods of making nonalcoholic wine. Vinous fermentation (fermentation yielding alcoholic wine) proceeds only if the concentration of grape sugar within the must (the unfermented juice) falls within a certain range. Fermentation can be prevented by boiling the must until the sugar concentration exceeds the maximum permitting fermentation. That this method of preserving grape juice was known to the ancients is attested by Pliny (4), Columella (5), Virgil (6), and others (7). Must reduced to a fraction (perhaps a half or a third) of its original volume was commonly known as defrutum (8). Grape juice with enough sweetness to remain unfermented can be made just by pressing dried grapes. Pliny refers to a wine, called raisin-wine, that was made from grapes dried to half their weight (9). Polybius states that passum, a raisin-wine, was the staple drink of Roman women, who, at least in the early days of the Republic, were forbidden to drink ordinary wine (10). Vinous fermentation occurs only within a certain temperature range, the lower limit being about 45°F. 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. The benefit of keeping the wine still was that the yeast bodies responsible for fermentation settled to the bottom. This third method of making nonalcoholic wine is described by no less than three Latin writersCato (11), Columella (12), and Pliny (13). Salt retards fermentation. According to Columella, "Some peopleand indeed almost all the Greekspreserve must with salt or sea-water" (14). The boiling point of alcohol is lower than the boiling point of water. Therefore, 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 (15). The moderationist position takes advantage of our pride in being modern, a pride that leads us to underestimate the technological skill of the ancients. Furthermore, as we have seen and will see again, it takes advantage of the decline in classical learning. Yet, to all the evidence that the ancients were well aware of ways to preserve grape juice, the moderationist might retort, "Yes, but reference to these methods by Latin authors does not mean that these methods were widely known and employed in ancient Palestine." Of course not, but several lines of evidence establish the probability that unfermented wine was a common article among the people of Israel. The Mishnah itself indicates that the Jews were familiar with boiled (inspissated) wines (16). During the last several centuries, foreign travelers and residents in the Middle East have reported that boiling down fresh grape juice to the consistency of molasses is a common practice among the native peoples (17). The syrupy juice so produced, called dibbs, lasts unfermented for a period of years. Dibbs is highly prized as a drink both in concentrated form and when mixed with water. The peoples of the Middle East also make fermented wine, but traditionally have used only a small portion of their grapes for this purpose. Henry Homes, American missionary to Constantinople, wrote in 1848 that of the sixteen different products of grape farming in Asia Minor, fermented wine is the least important (18). Before Western influences began to refashion the culture of the Middle East, the Palestinian Arabs and other Middle Eastern peoples clung tenaciously to the ways of their forefathers. Change was barely distinguishable even over a period of centuries. The culture in existence during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is therefore a window to the distant past. It is likely that just as boiled wines were common among Palestinians of the pre-modern era, so they were common among the Jews of antiquity. We need not maintain that such wines were predominant. It is enough to maintain that the ancient Jews knew how to make them. We are now ready to consider the texts that put wine (yayin) in a favorable light. I submit that all these texts use yayin in a generic sense, embracing both the fermented and unfermented juice of the grape. Neither the gladdened heart of Psalm 104:15 nor the merry heart of Ecclesiastes 9:7 alludes to intoxication. In the latter text, drinking wine with a merry heart is parallel to eating bread with joy. The idea is that God intends us to enjoy the nourishment He provides. In the former text, the effect of wine upon the heart is conceived as a real benefit, comparable to the inner strength derived from bread. Therefore, what the text means by gladness cannot be the unwholesome giddiness and detachment caused by an intoxicant, but the soul refreshment afforded by a cool, sweet beverage. It is a sign of our roots in a corrupt culture that we should, in our interpretation of this text, imagine that gladdening of the heart is a specific benefit of alcoholic wine. Alcoholic wine is an acquired taste, relished only by those who learn to discount the tartness and to tolerate the alcohol. The taste of grape juice brings gladness and pleasure to every drinker. Yet we must acknowledge that in these texts, the Lord is speaking not only of unfermented juice, but of alcoholic wine as well, for even alcoholic wine has food value. He wants the people of Israel to look upon all food, including the fermented juice of the grape, as a blessing from His hand.
(1) Robert P. Teachout, Wine, The Biblical Imperative: Total Abstinence, revised (n.p., 1986), 19.
(2) Plutarch Symposiacs 3.7.655F (Loeb ed.).
(3) Burton Scott Easton, "Wine," in The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, revised ed., ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1955), 5:3086.
(4|) Pliny Natural History 14.11.80 (Loeb ed.).
(5) Columella On Agriculture 12.21.1 (Loeb ed.).
(6) Virgil Georgic 1.295 (Great Books of the Western World ed.).
(7) William Patton, Bible Wines or The Laws of Fermentation (repr., Little Rock, Ark.: Challenge Press, n.d.), 24.
(8) Pliny Natural History 14.11.80; Columella On Agriculture 12.21.1. Pliny Natural History 14.11.81-82.
(9) Polybius Histories 6 (the relevant passage missing from extant manuscripts), quoted in Athenaeus The Deipnosophists 10.440e-f (Loeb ed.).
(10) Cato On Agriculture 120.1 (Loeb ed.).
(11) Columella On Agriculture 12.29.1.
(12) Pliny Natural History 14.11.83.
(13) Columella On Agriculture 12.25.1.
(14) Pliny Natural History 14.19.100.
(15) Mishnah, Terumoth 2.6, 11.1.
(16) Patton, 25-29. Ibid., 28."
10) OUR LORD WOULD NOT HAVE GOTTEN GLORY AS IT SAYS IN JN 2:11 IF HE HAD MADE DRUNK PEOPLE DRUNKER
(v. 10) "and said, 'Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved these best till now.'
(v. 11) This, the first of His miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed His glory, and His disciples put their faith in Him."
Notice that verse 11 indicates that our Lord "revealed His glory" via the performance of the miracle of turning water into wine. And notice that the guests of the wedding had already consumed quite a bit of the wine which was previously served. This may be considered as true since Jewish weddings went on for hours and hours and typically there was much consumption of beverages over that time. Had the beverage been alcoholic wine then many of the guests would have been inebriated. So if the wine that our Lord created from water had been alcoholic then it would have made the already intoxicated guests even drunker. Such an undertaking would have brought disgrace to our Lord not glory!
11) THE DISCIPLES WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GIVEN A GOOD REASON TO BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IF HIS MIRACLE CONTRIBUTED TO THE SINFUL BEHAVIOR OF DRUNKENESS
(v. 11) This, the first of His miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed His glory, and His disciples put their faith in Him."
Would the disciples' faith increase from when they trusted in Him as Messiah, (Jn 1:41), if our Lord was responsible for making people drunk at a party?
12) OUR LORD HAD TO LEAD A PERFECTLY SINLESS LIFE WHICH RULES OUT ANY ASSOCIATION DIRECT OR INDIRECT WITH SIN, OTHERWISE HE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN OUR SAVIOR - NO ONE HAS ATTESTED TO SUCH SIN IN OUR LORD'S LIFE
If our Lord had sinned just once He would have disqualified Himself as our Savior and died in His own sins:
"The wages of sin is death"
So if our Lord did drink any alcoholic beverage or was associated with such given that He was not to touch or be involved with such in any way as previously pointed out then there would have been many witnesses against Him testifying to this violation. But none have become evident throughout history. This is especially true of His trial at which time Pilate stated:
"I find no fault in this man."
13) THE BIBLE WHICH OUR LORD STRICTLY OBEYED COMMANDS ONE NOT TO BE AROUND PEOPLE WHO ARE DRINKING ALCOHOLIC DRINKS
[Compare Pr 23:20]:
"Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat,"
FURTHER NOTES ON WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT ALCOHOLIC DRINK FROM THE FOLLOWING WEBSITE:
WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT ALCOHOLIC DRINK
The most important argument raised by moderationists (Christians who approve moderation in drinking) is that the Bible never forbids the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Many spokesmen for total abstinence have attempted to refute this argument, but their cause would be better served by an honest admission that no text in either the Old or the New Testament may be construed as an absolute prohibition of alcoholic drink. The closest to such a prohibition is Proverbs 23:31-32, already discussed. Yet this text merely says, "Look not thou upon the wine." A reader searching for the Lord's will might take this text to mean, "Do not look longingly, with an eye of desire, upon alcoholic wine." In other words, do not develop a taste for the kind of wine that produces intoxication. The reader might surmise that whether he is permitted to drink depends on his motive. Drinking wine is all right if he is using it like any other beverage, as a means of satisfying thirst, but wrong if he is seeking the effects of intoxication. The implication he might draw is that he can take wine in moderation but not in excess, to the point of drunkenness. In defense of drinking in moderation, he might point out that the evils enumerated in Proverbs 23:29-35 are all associated with excessive drinking. Moreover, he might cite those texts where Paul seemingly takes some drinking for granted among the believers he addresses. For example, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess" (Eph. 5:18). "Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given ["devoted"] to much wine" (1 Tim. 3:8). But although moderationists are correct in asserting that Scripture never bans drinking, they are quite incorrect in asserting that Scripture encourages drinking. In fact, Scripture nowhere encourages drinking, even in moderation. The texts that moderationists cite in defense of their view fall in five categories.
OLD TESTAMENT TEXTS RECOMMENDING WINE
SEVERAL TEXTS CLEARLY SPEAK OF WINE AS A DIVINE BLESSING
(v. 14) "He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate - bringing forth food from the earth:
(v. 15) wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart."
(v. 7) "Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do."
The question here is what these texts mean by the term "wine" (yayin).'''