On several occasions recently I have had people say things about Jesus that cannot be supported in Scriptures concerning wine. Two of the statements are the basis for this article:
- "Jesus drank wine so it must be okay."
- "Jesus turned the water into wine so it must be okay."
We are admonished to "rightly divide the Word of Truth" (2 Tim. 2:15) and we are warned about those who "are unlearned and unstable, wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction." (2 Peter 3:16) Verse 17 warns also, "beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness." 2 Peter 2:13 gives warnings about false prophets, false teachers, who teach damnable heresies. Verse 3 tells us, "And through covetousness shall they with feigned (fabricated) words make merchandise of you." Verse 18 states, "For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that are clean escaped from them who live in error." 2 Peter 1:20 states, "Knowing this first, that no prophesy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation." That simply means we cannot take one verse and teach a doctrine that many other verses will not support. Look at 1 Cor. 2:13 which states, "Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."
Here is my point: To say Jesus turned water into (alcoholic) wine or Jesus drank (alcoholic) wine, without the support of the whole body of Scripture is making a private interpretation of Scripture to fit one's own desires. Jesus neither made nor drank alcoholic wine.
Watch these verses for example and I will continue the subject next week:
- Nehemiah 13:15 says, "In those days saw I in Judah some, treading wine presses."
- Proverbs 3:10: "Thy presses shall burst out with new wine."
- Isaiah 16:10: "The treaders shall tread out no wine in their presses."
- Isaiah 65:8: "As the new wine is found in the cluster..."
Is it not obvious that wine here is not alcoholic? You do not get alcoholic wine out of a winepress! What about the wine in the cluster? No alcohol there. The context will guide us in understanding if it is juice of the grape or fermented wine.
As I pointed out last time, the context will give us guidance in knowing if it is alcoholic wine or non-alcoholic wine. Paul told Timothy in 1 Tim. 5:23 to "drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities." Alcohol is the last thing a person needs for stomach problems and most doctors will warn against all alcoholic beverages. So what if a doctor prescribes alcoholic wine? He doesn't believe or understand the Scriptures. In Genesis 9:20, "Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:" Verse 21 tells us, "And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent." The result was shame and failure. In Genesis 19:32-38 Lot's two daughters conspired in verse 32, "come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father." Verse 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." On the next night in verse 34, he lay with the younger and in verse 36, they are both pregnant by their father! Proverbs 20:1 states, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." Proverbs 23:29-35 describes those deceived by wine. "Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth (pain and poison) like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, (imagination perverted) and thine heart shall utter perverse things. (speech perverted) 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.(dizziness) They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; (beaten without knowing why) they have beaten me, and I felt it not: (numbness) when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again." (bondage) The first drink is the foot in the door and this leads to bondage and dependence. Each drink creates stronger desires and leads to a stronghold of Satan. "Whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."
In light of this description, Why would anyone want to justify drinking alcoholic wine for any reason, stomach or otherwise?
I ended part 2 with a question: "Why would anyone try to justify drinking alcoholic wine for any reason, especially when we have such a description of the consequences given us in the Word?" If you did not read part two, please look up Proverbs 23:29-35 and read. I also pointed to chapter 20:1: "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."
If the plain statement of Scriptures is not enough, consider these thoughts:
The wine of the communion service is a picture of the Blood of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 26:26-30 Jesus has his last communion service with the disciples. In verse 27, He "took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it." Then in verse 28 He explains it to be a type of His Blood, "which is shed for the remission of sins." Then in verse 29 He states, "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."
First of all, the "fruit of the vine" is not alcoholic wine. A winepress does not yield alcoholic wine. The type is destroyed if you take the juice through a process to ferment it and make it alcoholic. Jesus was "Bruised for our iniquities." (Isaiah 53:5) When Jesus was crucified for our sins, His pure Blood was shed. The crushing and bruising of the grape to yield grape juice is a perfect type of His "Shed Blood". To take the wine through fermentation destroys the pure type given by the Perfect word of God. Take His word literally! It is the "fruit of the vine."
Jesus would neither make nor drink alcoholic wine. To do so would definitely cheapen the type and violate the Scriptures. "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." "Woe to him that giveth his neighbor to drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and maketh him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!" Prov 20:1, Hab. 2:15. Why in the name of honesty would Jesus use a type of rebellion, deception and mockery to symbolize His shed Blood? He would not!
Jesus did not drink or make alcoholic wine. Here are some Biblical reasons put forth from Scripture by my Bible School Professor, Dr. Bruce Lackey:
- Because of Christ's Holy nature. Hebrews 7:26 states Jesus is "Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners," Because of His Holy nature, Jesus would never drink or give drink that would make one act unholy.
- Because Jesus would never contradict Scriptures. Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. Christ would never have contradicted Habakkuk 2:15 by giving anyone alcoholic wine to drink.
- Because Lev. 10:9-11 forbids the priest of God, "Do not drink wine nor strong drink... that ye may put a difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean..." In Hebrews 2:17, Christ is "a merciful and faithful high priest."
- Because Proverbs 31:4-5 prohibits kings and princes from drinking alcoholic wine or any other strong drink. It will pervert judgement. Christ obeyed these verses since He is "Prince of peace" Isaiah 9:6, and "King of Kings" Revelation 19:16
- Because Christ did not come to mock or deceive people. Proverbs 20:1 states wine both mocks and deceives. He would not make or drink that which mocks and deceives.
- Because Jesus did not come to send people to hell. Yet Isaiah 5:11-14 teaches that hell was enlarged because of the drinking of alcoholic beverage.
- Because Jesus would never cast a stumblingblock before anyone. Romans 14:21 teaches that a person who gives another person alcoholic wine does just that. "It is good neither to eat flesh, nor drink wine, nor anything thereby thy bother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak." 1 Cor. 8:1-13 will shed light on this subject. Friend, while you may be able to take a drink and not become a drunkard, the person you give drink to may not. While you may be able to take one drink socially, your child or friend may not. How can you know? You can't know, therefore total abstinence is the only answer to not becoming a stumblingblock to someone else. Isn't it sad that some Churches that serve alcoholic wine in their religious services have to also operate homes for alcoholic priests? You can be absolutely sure that Jesus would never make or drink alcoholic wine and cause someone else to stumble.
- John 2:10 states, "every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse; but thou hast kept the good until now." To take the position that they did this so as not to recognize the bad wine after becoming intoxicated perverts the truth here. The opposite is true: If they had well drunk up to that point, they could not recognize the best wine at the last. That line of reasoning would lead us to believe they could not recognize the best at last when they had "well drunk". The reason they could recognize the best at the last is because they were not intoxicated!
- In John 2:11, "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory." It is absurd to think Jesus could get glory to Himself by making drunk men drunker! By the way, they knew how to dehydrate the grape juice to a paste and use later by adding water. Therefore the argument that it must be alcoholic wine because of the season will not hold.
- Also in John 2:11, "and His disciples believed on Him." would be very confusing. Are we to believe that making drunk men drunker would cause His disciples to believe? Again, it is absurd to believe that Jesus, The Word, would violate so many Scriptures to deepen their faith.
Look at 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and notice: "... be not deceived: neither fornicators, not idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, not covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." This does not mean that you will go to hell for being a drunk. It means that a person not willing to repent and turn to Christ from these things will go to hell. That is why verse 11 says, "And such were some of you: but ye are washed (in the Blood), but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." See 2 Cor. 5:17. Why would anyone want to justify such a binding, blinding habit that has the potential of damning a soul to hell?
I ended part 5 by pointing out 1 Cor. 6:9-11. Notice again, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" Then we are given a list of lifestyles that fit in with the description of unrighteousness: fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners. Now it must be noticed that verse 11 states, "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God."
When a person realizes their sinful condition, repents and believes the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they are washed from their sins and are made new creatures in Christ. Revelation 1:5 states, "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood." Col 1:20-22 states, "And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in His sight."
I have witnessed to many people over these many years in the ministry who thought they had to quit drinking to get saved and therefore did not get saved because they did not want to turn from their drunkenness. Actually they were right to a point. A person must be willing to repent, turning from their sinful way and turning to God for salvation through Christ. The truth is, when a person wants to be saved, they will be willing to turn from sin to Christ and become a new creature. My dad was a drunkard all my life. My mother died when I was 10 and my dad continued a drunkard. He gave me and my two sisters up to be raised by Grandmother, Uncle and Aunt. Alcohol robbed me of my dad. He lived to regret it but could not forget it. I still loved him and at the age of 71, he got saved. He died at the age of 73 and I preached his funeral. I fully believe that if someone had taken the time to teach my dad total abstinence when he was a boy of 12, (when he started drinking) I would have had a different life. I wouldn't think of his staggering, slobbering, and slurring when I think of him. No matter how much I loved him, those memories cannot be erased. "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." Proverbs 20:1