Wine or Grape Juice in the Supper???

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by The Biblicist, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    After I graduated from College, I had been accepted at the University of Kentucky for their M.A. program in Ancient languages. The term did not begin until fall and it was summer. I had always been a grape juice advocate and my standby book was Patton's book "Bible Wines and the Laws of Fermentation." During the Summer I started researching the classical Greek references in Pattons' book. To my amazement, not a single reference was correct. What I mean by "correct" is that they were jerked out of context and in context what Patton said simply was not true. For example, Patten quotes Homer in the Odyssey where the Cyclops asked for more "sweet black wine" as a proof text that it had to grape juice because it was "sweet." However, it is that "sweet black wine" that intoxicated the cyclops so much that they were able to poke out his eye.

    If you are a grape juice man and are really up on your stuff, I would like to conduct a friendly discussion with you concerning those things you think prove that the drink in the Lord's Supper was not wine. Yes, and I am very familiar with the extra-Biblical phrases "unfermented wine" versus "fermented wine."
     
  2. annsni

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    In our church we use grape juice partly because of tradition and also understanding that we have a number of former alcoholics in our congregation and so we feel it best to use the juice. I honestly don't feel that using wine is wrong though and if a church uses that, it is Biblically sound to do so. :)
     
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  3. Smyth

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    There's not room for even a little doubt, Jesus drank alcohol. And, alcohol was used for the Lord's Supper. The Apostles were accused of drinking "sweet wine" and Peter took it as a serious charge of consuming alcohol. Paul complained about people in church abusing Communion wine and getting drunk.

    All the wine in the Bible is alcohol. I don't think ancient people even had the concept of grape juice as a drink. "Drink of this fruit of the vine" is a figure of speech for wine, not grape juice. There's nothing in that phase to even cause one to favor the interpretation of grape juice.

    Grape juice would start going bad the day the grapes are picked. Extracting the juice from the grapes accelerates spoilage. Efforts to preserve grape juice have to begin almost immediately. And, that method in ancient times is fermentation. They didn't make jelly out of juice to preserve it. They didn't water it down to drink it.
     
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  4. The Biblicist

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    Have you ever read A.M. Wilson's Book "Wines of the Bible"? It is a hard book to get hold of, but Wilson was a Classical Greek Scholar who was a self-confessed "teetotaler" but when the "Bible Temperance Commentary" was published along with some other articles by those embracing the new theory of "unfermented" wine, Wilson read them and was outraged by the dishonesty. I was reading Spurgeon when he gave a quote from Wilson. The only place that would loan it out through the inter-library loan system was Ambassador College in Pasadena California. I got their permission to photocopy it and the photocopies remained in my study for 34 years. In 2014 I arduously reset the type and then posted it on our website. Since that time, another gentleman wrote me and claimed he finished writing something more up to date than Wilson but I lost his address.

    However, I am more interested in the Biblical defense provided by those who embrace Grape Juice. I agree with your post and the historical facts will back up what you said. thank you.
     
  5. The Biblicist

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    Ann, the whole purpose of a symbol is to convey the truth it was designed to convey. If one tampers with the form of the symbol they tamper with the truth it was designed to convey. If they pervert the symbol by changing it, they pervert the truth it was designed to convey.

    For example, baptism is a visible symbol that identifies one with the "likeness" of the death burial and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 6:3-5) as Paul says one is "buried" with Christ in baptism. If you change the form from the historical meaning of baptisma which means to dip, plunge, immerse to pouring or sprinkling, the the truth it was designed to convey is perverted and in this case the gospel is denied by completey eradicating it from the administration.

    The same thing is true with the Lord's Supper. For example, the bread is to be "unleavened" (1 Cor. 5:6-8) which symbolizes the sinlessness of Christ which is the whole basis for his qualification to redeem us. The liquid element in the Supper represents Christ's blood and its cleansing and redeeming power from sin. Grape juice if poured into a open wound would cause infection. However, wine was a common antespetic for cleansing a wound.

    When Jesus observed the Supper, he commanded his discples to go prepare the passover. Meaning, the regular elements used in the Jewish Passover were what Christ used to institute the Supper. When I was in college there was a seminary close by where several Jewish Rabbi's were attending (and I used their library for research and became friends with the librarian). One Jewish Rabbi was earning his doctrine degree. I asked him if the Jews ever used grape juice in the Passover. He looked at me in amazement and started laughing and then said, "you Christians are something else, we have never used anything but red wine in the passover and still today we use red wine." He directed me to the Mishnah where the traditional observance of the passover is described and how it was divided into four portions with each portion opened with drinking a cup of wine mixed with three parts water. Each cup had a special name. The name of the third division where the third cup was drank was called the "cup of blessing" and it accompanied a prayer that asked for God's blessing over that cup as "the fruit of the vine."

    Wine has a clear symbol in scriptures - joy and cleansing and is an appropriate symbol of the blood of Christ that cleanses us from the defilement of sin. On the other hand, if you poured grapejuice into an open wound it would infect it, rather than cleanse it. Just some thoughts.
     
  6. Jerome

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    Sigh.

    Gen. 40:11
    Pharaoh's cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand.
     
  7. The Biblicist

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    Very good! Yes, this text clearly seems to support they drank fresh pressed grape juice. BTW I was agreeing with Smyth's overall historical assessment as that was my assessment when I checked the historical facts behind the myth of "unfermented wine."

    Well Jerome, is it your position that grape juice is the proper element for the Lord's Supper? If so, then I would simply like to get your Bible based reasons for taking that position. I don't hold this as a issue of fellowship. I have good friends, professors, pastors and churches I fellowship with that take that position. This is strictly a friendly exchange on my part, so don't get tensed up.
     
  8. The Biblicist

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    I did my research 30 years ago and quite frankly I am little rusty on the points of debate. I would just like to read your Biblical based reasons for embracing grape juice over wine.
     
  9. Smyth

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    It was a dream. No one drank from the cup in the dream. In a dream, alcoholic wine would come directly and immediately from grapes. But, this dream says nothing about what came out of the grapes.

    The symbol of the dream is the that guy who had the dream would get his job back filling Pharaoh's cup with alcohol. You think the king of Egypt drank grape juice? This verse doesn't show he drank grape juice.

    The fact that you have to resort to the symbols in a dream shows how indefensible the wine = grape juice argument is.
     
  10. Smyth

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    No, a dream by an out-of-work cup-bearer squeezing grapes into a cup doesn't show that anyone drank grape juice. If there was an account of a person actually squeezing grapes into a cub, that would be a different story, especially if the story called the squeezings "wine".

    Is this the book, or at least a version of the book. I can just look at the quotes and tell they're out of context because they don't really say what Patton is presenting them as saying.

    Here's that one. I haven't read it, but if I get some time...
     
  11. The Biblicist

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    That is the point isn't it? Nowhere is the drink in the cup called "wine" even if the dream represents a reality? Why do you think admitting it may be fresh grape juice gives any real support for the unfermented wine theory?

    However, you may have a point. The dream presents an accelerated process. The vine instantly produced grapes, therefore, the fermentation process may have just as instantly occurred from the grapes being pressed into the cup. In fact, the accelerated process makes more sense to me.
     
    #11 The Biblicist, Aug 19, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
  12. The Biblicist

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    I have to agree with Symth on this point. In the dream everything is accelerated. The vine buds, blossoms and brings forth grapes. Hence, the natural processes that would occur over a long period of time are presented as taking place instantly. Likewise, the processes of natural fermentation would be just as equally presented instantly from pressing the grapes into the cup and handing it Pharaoh as though the fermentation process occurred instantly.
     
  13. OnlyaSinner

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    This is strictly a friendly exchange on my part, so don't get tensed up.

    Kinda hard not to tense up when an earlier post clearly infers that using grape juice perverts [God's] truth. Seems way too heavy an inference about what liquid is used at the Lord's Table. I wonder if churches which use wine dilute it with water, as was apparently the practice in Jesus' day. Whether yes or no, I don't see any "perversion."

    And the "instant fermentation" of Pharaoh's cup is clearly an argument from silence, as is the inference that no one drank unfermented grape juice. I'm sure the folks pressing the grapes got thirsty and took a nip of the fresh product. (Also an argument from silence.)
     
  14. Jerome

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    Huh?

    From the Nazirite rule (Num. 6:3):

    "neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins."
     
  15. Smyth

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    The KJV reads "liquor of grapes". As the word liquor/juice appears only once in the Bible, it's hard to tell from context what it means. But, let's assume it means grape juice, it still doesn't help you. The verse is just stressing the imperative of the followers of the Nazarite vow to stay away from all things grape (for symbolic reasons, if there's no alcohol involved, as fasting from alcohol is the real point). It doesn't mean that drinking grape juice was something anyone did in Bible times. God said this, so it doesn't necessarily reflect any cultural positions of Israelites, such as having a concept of drinking grape juice.

    Everyone in the Bible knew about the existence of grape juice, that thing that came directly from grapes but before fermentation. But, to the Hebrews, grape juice would have been like cookie dough. Sure, you can eat it, but the only people who are going to be around it are people baking cookies, and even they don't think of cookie dough itself as a food dish.

    If this is the Bible's word for grape juice, your case is lost. Out of so many, many instances of wine being referred to in the Bible, there's only one mention of grape juice --- and, we're not told anyone actually drank it. The Bible can refer to grape juice, apart from wine, leaving wine as the Bible's word for alcohol.

    The whole argument by people who oppose drinking is completely asinine and unbiblical (therefor unchristian). Even if Welch's grape juice was available on store shelves in Bible times, Jesus still drank alcohol. Even if the Hebrews watered down their wine, wine could still get people drunk. The claim I make of ancient people not having a concept of drinking grape juice is just an illustration of how completely and deeply in denial of reality those who say wine the Bible was just grape juice.
     
  16. Smyth

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    Baptists believe in baptism by submersion, not sprinkling, because that's how it was done in the Bible. So, why don't Baptists agree on wine for Communion, for the same reason? For one, so many Baptists in the 20th-century were in denial that wine is alcohol. And, even now as more Baptists realize wine really is wine, they still hold a begrudging attitude toward wine.

    No, they didn't water-down the wine in the Bible. The only mention of watered-down wine in the Bible was a curse by God upon Judah. Watering down wine is not a practice today by churches that use wine, that I've ever heard.

    It is not an argument from silence. It was a dream. It is the nature of dreams that the wine-making process would be skipped (and, cup wasn't drank from, in this dream). The dream is also explained as being symbolic, rather than a literal account of any event. And, what is is symbolic of? Of a man getting his job back of, in all certainty, putting alcohol into the King's cup.

    Of course, whine-makers took sips of fresh juice. That doesn't make drinking grape juice as a regular drink a thing.
     
  17. Sapper Woody

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    As this isn't a debate on whether Jesus drank alcohol or not, but rather strictly whether alcohol was used at the supper, I'll chime in with a little note.

    The best defense I've heard of using juice instead of alcohol for the supper was that the Jews were not allowed to eat any leven (yeast) at all during the Passover. This means that the juice would have had to be fresh and unfermented, or they would have been drinking leaven.

    And since Jesus had them prepare for the Passover (as an alcohol proponent pointed out earlier), they would have used fresh and unleavened juice.

    Now, this is not a mountain I'm willing to die on, but that's the best explanation I've heard before.

    Sent from my QTAQZ3 using Tapatalk
     
  18. rsr

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    They were (are) not allowed to eat leavened (chametz) food during Passover; in fact they were to make sure that there was none in the house at all. However, chametz only refers to foods made from particular grains, not to wine.
     
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  19. The Biblicist

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    The Nazirite ritual was matter of type. Wine symbolizes joy and gladness in the Bible but the nazirite was a type of Christ with regard to a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. I believe that is why the Nazeiite was forbidden wine.
     
  20. The Biblicist

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    Hi woody, been a while. RSR has it right, it was grains and food stuff where the prohibition of leaven occurs.

    Let me give you the strongest argument that Jesus did use wine in the Lord's Supper. In Matthew 26:12-16 the disciples were told to make ready the Passover. So the Lord used the materials the Jews of that day for the passover. I have talked to Jewish rabbi's and they told me that the Jews have never ever used grape juice in the passover but always red wine. The Mishnah records the earliest account of how jews observed the passover and they divided the passover into four part, each beginning with a prayer and a cup of wine that was mixed with three parts water. The the third cup was called "the cup of blessing" and in the prayer for the wine they were to drink they called it "the fruit of the vine."

    I have never read or heard of any grape juice advocate who could respond to this historical fact. Do you have a response to that? Does anyone have a response to that?
     

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