Water to Wine and a Question

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Puritan Board Freshman
My dad was an alcoholic before becomming a Christian. After he was saved he took a vow to abstain from alcoholic beverages with the exception of communion or as medically prescribed.

After I left home, or should I say as soon as I left home, I started drinking. I, too, became an alcoholic. After the Lord delivered me from that bondage I totally abstained from the use of alcoholic beverages for over five years, influenced by typical American fundamentalist arguments.

After I returned to drinking, I never drank to becoming intoxicated. I found, though, that it is weak Christians and not unbelievers, that have a problem with alcohol usage. I think, too, much of this is a result of propagandizing by Alcoholics Anonymous. At any rate, alcohol usage -- while allowable -- is not necessary. Therefore, in order to keep the unity of the faith and an element of peace as well as to not hinder the work of the Gospel, I find it expedient to not indulge in what I consider a legitimate activity.



Puritan Board Freshman
OH oh.

Here I have some Cyser fermenting as we speak.

I used to drink while I was young and in the service. I started to develope a strong disliking to the effects of alchohol. If I even thinkg I may get a buzz I start chugging water or sodas. I love the taste of a good brewed beer. I hate wine. But love a good home mead.

About teh "wedding and the wine subject". I am sure in those days it was much the same as today for parties. The good stuff is brought out first. When the guests were all good and buzzed they bring out the cheaper stuff. Most people who were already sloshed wont notice. The few who appreciate a drink but not drunkeness will notice what is brought out after a bit.

They did mention that the wine Jesus made was thought to be the better wine. Something most folks dont serve after the party was on its way. If the first serving is usually the best wine, it must induce a type of buzz in order to make the lesser wine go un noticed.

James Ashworth

Inactive User
Is it the same?

I just wanna point out...I do not claim to have exausted this issue in my mind. Personally Ive never had an aversion to drink and in my young, foolish, unregenerate days, I drank purely for the purpose of getting drunk with "friends". I can remember back then having to hold me nose with some of the drinks because i hated the taste so much!
And of course every experience ended with being sick and feeling horrible the next day. Trying to drink again after that? It was like trying to eat something you'd got food-poisoning from - no matter how much you try to eat it, you cant forget the bad experience!

Therefore, before I even read into the pros and cons of drinking as a christian, I'd made a choice not to drink. For two reasons: One cos I couldnt take it pyhsically and wasnt gonna keep trying and trying and trying with the hope that at some point - like all men - I'd start to like it! and two because there were christian friends around me that COULD NOT control themselves when it came to drinking; It became there crutch whenever they were going through hard times, instead of Christ. NO WAY am I gonna drink around them!!

I heard this message one day and I thought they were fair points to be made. I dont feel John MacArthur is consciously trying to shroud my thinking on the subject in any way - anyone that does, i'd be very dissappointed in. Im aware that John MacArthur (like all men) does not have all the answers and may sometimes miss the point. With that in mind, I'd appreicate someone explaining where hes going wrong on the subject.
Ive listen to the message again and tried to keep up with him to type it out (the guy talks so fast!!). Sorry, if there are spelling mistakes!
Give it a read and tell me what you think! :readit:


"The wine consumed then was not necessarily the same we have today"

The most common word in the NT is 'oinos' - It is a word that simply refers the juice of grapes. It is a very general word, it is used very commonly and is the normal NT word for wine. The OT equivilant for 'oinos' is 'Yayin' which is used 141 times in the OT testament. The root for the word Yayin is to "bubble up or boil up". 'Yayin' is refering to wine which is mixed...not with other wine but usually with water.
'Glukos' means "new wine" (Acts 2:13). Its that fresh new wine. The OT equivilant is 'Tirosh' which also means 'new wine'.
Another word in the OT is 'Shakar' which means 'strong drink', which means unmixed. NT equivilent is 'Sikera' which was also unmixed, straight wine.

Some of the wine of the bible times was absolutely unintoxicating. It was not fermented.
Professor Samuel Lee of Cambridge uni says this: That 'Yayin' or 'oinos' "does not refer only to intoxicating liquor made by fermentation, but more so to a thick, unintoxicating syrup or jam produced by boiling to make it storable." (Remember what the root of 'yayin' was?) Which indicates that it was very common for them to take the wine that came out of the grape and then boil it, which would cause the evaporation of all the liquid, the loss of fermentation capacity when the liquid departs and they would have a storable kind of paste, which they would put in jars. There were times and places when they wanted to definately illimnate any alcoholic or fermentation capability. ...Its not simple enough to just say they drank alcoholic beverage because they had no refridgeration...they got around that this way!
This fruit jelly, they would often squeeze onto bread also. If they wanted to drink it, they would squeeze some of the paste into something and mix it - according to Pline the Roman Historian - with up to 20 parts of water.
This was the most common way of storing wine because it was not as bulky as the liquid wine would be.
You cannot defend wine drinking today on the bases that they drank wine then, unless you can prove that you're drinking the same thing they were drinking. If you cant do that, you gotta leave that argument alone and say "Well, I can drink wine..." for another reason. But that one isnt gonna work unless its the same!

They not only had this paste but they also stored it in liquid from time to time, and liquid would ferment. They used to keep the liquid form of wine (which would be used in a daily bases) in large jugs called omforay. From the omforay they would draw out the wine - pure wine, unmixed with water - and pour it into craters and there in the crater they would mix it with water. So, from the craters to the kilets, which is the cup. They never served wine from the omforay to the kilets without going through the crater. In other words they didnt serve wine not mixed with water.

So, they either drank wine which had no intoxication or was so mixed with water that its alcoholic content was minimal.

- Beer has 4% alcohol
- Wine 9-11% (thats the range of alcohol it produces no matter how long it hangs around)
- Brandy 15-20%
- Liquor has 40%-50%

"In a most important reference (Pesahim 108b) it is stated that the four cups every Jew was to drink during the Passover ritual were to be mixed in a ratio of three parts water to one part wine." Robert H. Stein: 'Wine-Drinking In New Testament Times'

If we took the lowest mixture level 3to1, the product would be an alcoholic level of about 2.25-2.75% - something has to be 3.2% alcohol to be classified as an alcoholic beverage!
In order for you to get drunk on wine mixed with 3 parts of water you'd have to stay there all day.
They would look upon what we drink today as barbarian!


....He then goes on to make his other 7 points.

I was simply pointing out that alcohol beverages of bible times is not necessarily (the word I originally missed out - sorry) the same as we have today. There are obviously other arguments but I only wanted to mention this one in light of the original question.

Found this quote from that Robert Stein report:
"It is harmful to drink wine alone, or again, to drink water alone, while wine mixed with water is sweet and delicious and enhances one's enjoyment" (II Maccabees 15:39 - around 60 BC).

Maybe that could be what psalm 104:15 is meaning?
I mean, a bun or a sausage alone doesnt gladden the heart half as much as when they're put together eh? :chef:



Puritan Board Junior
The only time I drink anymore is if I'm out at a restaurant, and I'll order a beer--usually only if I'm at Old Chicago, and a thin-crust is on the way.

James Ashworth

Inactive User
[quote:a172793f99][i:a172793f99]Originally posted by A_Wild_Boar[/i:a172793f99]
Never thought I would see the Apocrypha quoted here. [/quote:a172793f99]

You mean its the first time? :help:
Im only suggesting that as a possible understanding of the attitude at the time toward wine. It obviously was a wonderful thing to have a nice glass of watered-down wine!


Puritan Board Freshman
[quote:5ec89c9354][i:5ec89c9354]Originally posted by James Ashworth[/i:5ec89c9354]
[quote:5ec89c9354][i:5ec89c9354]Originally posted by A_Wild_Boar[/i:5ec89c9354]
Never thought I would see the Apocrypha quoted here. [/quote:5ec89c9354]

You mean its the first time? :help:
Im only suggesting that as a possible understanding of the attitude at the time toward wine. It obviously was a wonderful thing to have a nice glass of watered-down wine! [/quote:5ec89c9354]

Yuck watered down just prolongs the agony of the taste. Ok I am not much of a grape wine drinker.

I wonder why folks brought out the "good" wine at first during feasts and weddings , then later served the "not good" wine. I just figured it was because the guests were too buzzed to notice. I am proably wrong and am in no way promoting drunkeness. If I ever even start to feel what may be the beginning of a buzz I stop the drinking and pray.

One beer or glass or mead is the limit for me.

[Edited on 3-31-2004 by A_Wild_Boar]

[Edited on 3-31-2004 by A_Wild_Boar]

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Excellent quote. I did get out my trusty apocrypha and check! I also checked the talmud.

I dont believe the issue is whether or not wine was diluted. I think all will agree that this is factual. There is no indication within the confines of scripture to support such a claim though. Hence, what was Gods intent on the subject? The idea that is hammered home is "drunkeness is sin". The scriptures do support the idea that wine and [i:210839f22f]strong drink[/i:210839f22f] can cause drunkeness. This is what we can and are responsible to hold to.

Jesus himself explained that the Pharisees saw him as a "drunkard"............

[Edited on 3-31-2004 by Scott Bushey]


Puritan Board Freshman
I'm not worried about whether the wine is unbiblical or not, I'm wondering what we think Jesus did.

How big were wedding feasts? I mean, obviously pretty big, but how much wine does it take to get one toasted?

I'm guessing that's in a 2 day period (if we assume the feast took four days).

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Mat 11:19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

And of course the Lords supper example.......


Puritan Board Freshman
Since we are talking about wine.

Proverbs 31: 4-7

"4It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Nor for princes intoxicating drink;
5Lest they drink and forget the law,
And pervert the justice of all the afflicted.
6Give strong drink to him who is perishing,
And wine to those who are bitter of heart.
7Let him drink and forget his poverty,
And remember his misery no more.

I noticed wine for those of a bitter heart. Is this possibly a reference to the myth of having a glass of wine a day being good for your heart?


Puritan Board Freshman
Scott and Phillip, I tried to reply no less than 3 times last evening but it just wouldn't take. (And today I can't access my e-mail.)
I have no idea why it isn't the "orthodox view" that Jesus took a Nazirite vow in Matt 26:29 and Mark 14:25. It has all the markings of a Nazirite vow (see Numbers 6) and is a better explanation of His refusal to sip the "sour wine mingled with gall" than the painkiller explanation, which has no Scriptural backing and is pure speculation. Nazirite vows could be entered into for a specified amount of time. Jesus specified the time.
Also, if Jesus was indeed partaking of a seder with the disciples in the upper room, he would have refused that particular cup of wine. It was the 3rd cup, or the "cup of redemption." The Redeemer didn't need redemption. He blessed that cup and passed it on.
If you can prove to me otherwise from the Scriptures, I will humbly recant. God knows it wouldn't be the first time I've done so!
And by-the-by, partying (which includes drinking) is a Scriptural mandate. Don't even get me started.....


Puritan Board Senior
[quote:6458d57b1a]the "sour wine mingled with gall" than the painkiller explanation, which has no Scriptural backing and is pure speculation[/quote:6458d57b1a]

Speculation? Really?

Here are a few notes that illustrate the point that this is not mere specualtion on my part :

Matthew 27:34
they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink

Mark 15:23
Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it.

John MacArthur in his study Bible notes on Matthew 27:34 and Mark 15:23:

[quote:6458d57b1a]"Gall refers to something bitter, but Mark 15:23 identifies it as myrhh, a narcotic (it would sedate the victim and deaden the pain). The Jews had a custom, based on Proverbs 31:6, of administering a pain-deadening medication mixed with wine to victims of crucifixion in order to deaden the pain."

"The Romans allowed this drink to be administered to vistoms of crucifixion to keep them from struggling while being crucified."[/quote:6458d57b1a]

Also John Gill says of these verses:

[quote:6458d57b1a]They gave him vinegar to drink,.... It was a custom with the Jews when "a man went out to be executed, to give him to drink a grain of frankincense in a cup of wine, that his understanding might be disturbed, as it is said, Proverbs 31:6. "Give strong drink to him that is ready to perish, and wine to those that be of heavy hearts." The design of it was to intoxicate their heads, that they might not be sensible of their pain and misery.

and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink: because he would make use of no means either to prolong his life, or discompose his mind; and that it might appear he knew what he did, and that he was not afraid nor unwilling to die; though he thought fit to taste of it in a superficial way, to show he did not despise nor resent their offer; and that he was really athirst, and ready to drink a more disagreeable potion than that.[/quote:6458d57b1a]

From Eaton's Bible Dictionary under Myrrh or Gall:

[quote:6458d57b1a]It was a custom of the Jews to give those who were condemned to death by crucifixion "wine mingled with myrrh" to produce insensibility. This drugged wine was probably partaken of by the two malefactors, but when the Roman soldiers pressed it upon Jesus "he received it not".

The drink offered to our Lord was vinegar (made of light wine rendered acid, the common drink of Roman soldiers) "mingled with gall," or, according to Mark (15:23), "mingled with myrrh;" both expressions meaning the same thing, namely, that the vinegar was made bitter by the infusion of wormwood or some other bitter substance, usually given, according to a merciful custom, as an anodyne to those who were crucified, to render them insensible to pain. Our Lord, knowing this, refuses to drink it. He would take nothing to cloud his faculties or blunt the pain of dying. He chooses to suffer every element of woe in the bitter cup of agony given him by the Father.[/quote:6458d57b1a]

There are others like this. It is not speculation, but a proven fact that Jesus was offered pain killer while on the cross and refused to take it.

So what really needs to happen is that we need to explain why Jesus said He would not take of the fruit of the vine until He will "drink it new in the kingdom of God."

I cannot find anyone who says that this is the result of a Nazarite vow. I have never heard that Jesus took such a vow.

Here are a few notes exaplining what Jesus meant when He said He would not drink any more until He drank new wine in the kingdom (Matthew 26:29 and Luke 22:15-16):

Gill -

[quote:6458d57b1a]The design of this expression is to show, that his stay would be very short: the cup he had just drank of, was the last he should drink with them: he should drink no more wine at the passover; he had kept the last, and which now of right was to cease. The allusion is to an usage at the passover, when after the fourth cup, they tasted of nothing else all that night, except water; and so Christ declares, that he would drink no more, not only that night, but never after.

For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof,.... Of the passover, and which now, with the rest of the ceremonial law, was to be abolished:

until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God; signifying, not that he should eat of it in the kingdom of God, where it would be fulfilled; seeing the passover was never more to take place, neither in the Gospel dispensation, nor in the heavenly glory; both which may be meant by the kingdom of God; but that he should never eat more of it in this ceremonial way, since it would have its accomplishment in each of those states: and it has been already fulfilled under the Gospel dispensation, which is often meant by the kingdom of God; in himself, who is the passover sacrificed for us, 1 Corinthians 5:7 for the passover lamb was a type of Christ, and he is the sum and substance of that shadow, and the fulfilling end of that type; it had its accomplishment in him; of which See Gill on "1Co 5:7" and it will also be fulfilled in the kingdom of heaven, or eternal glory, when there will be a perfect deliverance of the saints from sin, Satan, and the world; which the deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt was typical of, commemorated in the passover; and therefore then will be sung the song of Moses, and the Lamb; and then will Christ, and his true followers, eat and drink together in his Father's kingdom, and spend an endless eternity in never fading joys and pleasures.[/quote:6458d57b1a]

Matthew Henry writes about this:

[quote:6458d57b1a]First, He takes leave of such communion; I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, that is, now that I am no more in the world (John xvii. 11); I have had enough of it, and am glad to think of leaving it, glad to think that this is the last meal. Farewell this fruit of the vine, this passover-cup, this sacramental wine. Dying saints take their leave of sacraments, and the other ordinances of communion which they enjoy in this world, with comfort, for the joy and glory they enter into supercede them all; when the sun rises, farewell the candles.

Secondly, He assures them of a happy meeting again at last. It is a long, but not an everlasting, farewell; until that day when I drink it new with you. 1. Some understand it of the interviews he had with them after his resurrection, which was the first step of his exaltation into the kingdom of his Father; and though during those forty days he did not converse with them so constantly as he had done, yet he did eat and drink with them (Acts x. 41), which, as it confirmed their faith, so doubtless it greatly comforted their hearts, for they were overjoyed at it, Luke xxiv. 41. 2. Others understand it of the joys and glories of the future state, which the saints shall partake of in everlasting communion with the Lord Jesus, represented here by the pleasures of a banquet of wine. That will be the kingdom of his Father, for unto him shall the kingdom be then delivered up; the wine of consolation (Jer. xvi. 7) will there be always new, never flat or sour, as wine with long keeping; never nauseous or unpleasant, as wine to those that have drank much; but ever fresh. Christ will himself partake of those pleasures; it was the joy set before him, which he had in his eye, and all his faithful friends and followers shall partake with him.

How Christ in it takes his leave of all passovers, thereby signifying his abrogating all the ordinances of the ceremonial law, of which that of the passover was one of the earliest and one of the most eminent (v. 16): "I will not any more eat thereof, nor shall it by any more celebrated by my disciples, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God." (1.) It was fulfilled when Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us, 1 Cor. v. 7. And therefore that type and shadow was laid aside, because now in the kingdom of God the substance was come, which superseded it. (2.) It was fulfilled in the Lord's supper, an ordinance of the gospel kingdom, in which the passover had its accomplishment, and which the disciples, after the pouring out of the Spirit, did frequently celebrate, as we find Acts ii. 42, 46. They ate of it, and Christ might be said to eat with them, because of the spiritual communion they had with him in that ordinance. He is said to sup with them and they with him, Rev. iii. 20. But, (3.) The complete accomplishment of that commemoration of liberty will be in the kingdom of glory, when all God's spiritual Israel shall be released from the bondage of death and sin, and be put in possession of the land of promise. What he had said of his eating of the paschal lamb, he repeats concerning his drinking of the passover wine, the cup of blessing, or of thanksgiving, in which all the company pledged the Master of the feast, at the close of the passover supper. This cup he took, according to the custom, and gave thanks for the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, and the preservation of their first-born, and then said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves, v. 17. This is not said afterwards of the sacramental cup, which being probably of much more weight and value, being the New Testament in his blood, he might give into every one's hand, to teach them to make a particular application of it to their own souls; but, as for the paschal cup which is to be abolished, it is enough to say, "Take it, and divide it among yourselves, do what you will with it, for we shall have no more occasion for it, v. 18. I will not drink of the fruit of the vine any more, I will not have it any more drank of, till the kingdom of God shall come, till the Spirit be poured out, and then you shall in the Lord's supper commemorate a much more glorious redemption, of which both the deliverance out of Egypt and the passover commemoration of it were types and figures. The kingdom of God is now so near being set up that you will not need to eat or drink any more till it comes." Christ dying next day opened it. As Christ with a great deal of pleasure took leave of all the legal feasts (which fell of course with the passover) for the evangelical ones, both spiritual and sacramental; so may good Christians, when they are called to remove from the church militant to that which is triumphant, cheerfully exchange even their spiritual repasts, much more their sacramental ones, for the eternal feast.

So his statement about not drinking the cup or eating the Passover refers to the fulfillment of the feast. This was the last legitimate Jewish Passover, because now the Lamb had come and was that very night going to be betrayed and then slain! He would not drink or eat of the meal because He was going to die. And then He would usher in the Kingdom with His resurrection, the reality of the promise, type and shadow of the Old Testament.

So it has nothing to do with any Nazarite vow and everything to do with Jesus fulfilling the Passover as the spotless Lamb.


[Edited on 4-1-04 by pastorway]

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Melissa writes:
"I have no idea why it isn't the "orthodox view"

Get out any commentary, research any biblical historian and you will find the "orthodox" view on the issue. You will not find anywhere that Christ took a nazarite vow or that he was a Nazarite........The orthodox view is that which we have been suggesting. There really is no speculating on the subject.


Puritan Board Freshman
MacArthur states:

"Some of the wine of the bible times was absolutely unintoxicating. It was not fermented."

This statement borders somewhere between ludicrous and patently false. Grape juice is a relatively modern invention. If grapes were pressed (and not boiled) fermentation would occur quickly and naturally. It took refrigeration to make grape juice a reality. It's been my experience that natural grape juice (i.e., not pasturized) will start producing alcohol within a day or two without refrigeration, particularly when the weather is warm.

Those that follow that line of thinking would change the Bible to read: Be not drunk with grape juice, but be filled with the Spirit.


Puritan Board Freshman
[quote:4a88c76009][i:4a88c76009]Originally posted by raderag[/i:4a88c76009]
[quote:4a88c76009][i:4a88c76009]Originally posted by Jenson[/i:4a88c76009]
For the sakes of dear Christian brothers and sisters considering the issue of drinking, hear some advice from an old-time evangelist, Billy Sunday. I know he wasn't Reformed, Calvinistic, etc... but was Arminian (probably Pelagian), and put the invitation system to good use. However, I respect him as a Christian brother whom the Lord used to good effect...

I am just curious. When did reformed believers start believing Pelagians where Bretheren? Are Arians next? [/quote:4a88c76009]

Amen, Brother Brett!!!
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