Yes! Jesus’ Wine Was Alcoholic!

Yes! Jesus’ Wine Was Alcoholic! October 10, 2015

Wine in the New Testament is alcoholic. Period. Historical revisionists, that are also Mormon, are prone to overlay Joseph Smith’s 1833 revelation—the Word of Wisdom—over first century life and biblical texts. Well, the Word of Wisdom was not applicable to the first century so please stop it. The ancients had their own eating code situated in the Law of Moses and fermented wine was not problematic under that code. Rather than forbidden, wine was essential to daily life and a beautiful metaphor for life, the Holy Spirit, and the miracle of resurrection from the dead. If, when we encounter wine in ancient scripture, we are dealing with some version of old school Welches, the literary uses of wine, which are many, melt quickly into near meaningless babblings.

Wine was critical to hydration and drunkenness was problematic. Therefore, drinking it undiluted is the path to becoming a wine bibber. So the wine was mixed with water to a ratio of about 3 parts water to one part wine. Wine with the water made the water safer.
Metaphorically, wine was symbolic of life, the Holy Spirit, and resurrection. In order to make wine you plucked the grapes—you kill them. Then you crushed them with your bare feet. Once the juices were in a leather bag, they immediately began to ferment. The juices “expanded” and appeared to be alive. Wines are drunk at first-century weddings (see John 2) because the couple entering into the wedding contract are interested in life emerging from their bonds.
Wine is also symbolic of resurrection for similar reasons. Once the grape “dies”, the ancients had no reason to think it would come back to “life.” But it did. This is what happens at the resurrection. It is nothing shy of miraculous but this is God’s promise as part of His redemptive powers. God creates grapes and the processes that create fermented juices—mortals cannot make this happen. Similarly, only God can make resurrection a possibility.
Wine is also symbolic of the Holy Spirit. When you drink fermented juices you feel warm and uninhibited. You will do things that you would not normally do and you will go places that you would not normally go. One need look no further than a fast and testimony meeting. Over and over again, people that walk to the pulpit to share their witness use the language of a person under the influence of alcoholic drinks. For example, they commonly say, “I don’t know what I’m doing at this pulpit. I did not want to bear my testimony today but before I knew it I was walking up the aisle and here I am.” Or, “I have no idea what I’m going to say but here it goes.” When one finishes bearing testimony it is not uncommon to hear them say, “I said some things up there that I didn’t expect. Actually, I learned some things that I didn’t know before I bore my testimony.” People describing a loosened tongue and are uninhibited are some of the reasons that wine is symbolic of the influence of the Holy Ghost.
Taken together, fermented wine is absolutely essential in the ancient world at a variety of levels literally and figuratively. And yes, it is alcoholic. Read the biblical text accordingly.
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