Jesus drank wine

In elders quorum class yesterday, we had a discussion on the Word Wisdom. At one point, someone said he just tries to follow Jesus’s example, and since Jesus lived the Word of Wisdom, he would too.

I pointed out that Jesus drank wine. He countered by saying that it was “new wine”. I responded by saying that was a myth.

I mean for Pete’s sake. Why must we project our current practices on biblical figures? Seriously, why does it matter whether Jesus drank wine or not? The Word of Wisdom is a modern invention (very modern if you consider how long it’s been a requirement); it did not exist in Jesus’s time.

There is nothing wrong with accepting the fact that Jesus drank wine.

11 thoughts on “Jesus drank wine”

  1. Leviticus 10:9
    9 Do not drink awine nor bstrong cdrink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:

    From http://suite101.com/article/meaning-of-the-bread-and-cup-in-the-lords-supper-a402317 we read — Under the Law of Moses Jews were forbidden to use anything with yeast during Passover holiday (Exodus 12:14-19). Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, author of Wine in the Bible, devotes an entire chapter on “Jesus and Wine” and indicates that Jesus would never have consumed anything alcoholic. He writes that the cup, the memorial of Jesus’ blood, was not fermented wine but “unfermented and pure grape juice, a fitting emblem of Christ’s untainted blood shed for the remission of our sins.”

    The chapter mentioned above can be found at http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/books/wine_in_the_bible/4.html

    Does fermented wine contravene the Law of Moses? If so Jesus would Jesus have drank alcohol?

    I looked to see when grapes were harvested in ancient Israel and it seems to be summer. Therefore any grape juice drunk in the spring would likely be 8 – 10 months old.

    I am not opposed to the idea that Jesus drank wine but given the cultural context and practices of the time what do we mean by wine? How was it produced? Was there alcohol content? If so what percent?

    Do you have any evidence for your claim other than it seems to make sense that…

  2. The Law of Moses scripture you quoted above forbade wine in a very specific circumstance; it was not ubiquitous prohibition.

    Regarding the prohibition on yeast, that was only during Passover. The scripture specifically says that eating anything with yeast in it, so a pedantic argument could be made that fermented wine was not included since it is one drinks it, not eats it. Even if that argument was flimsy, the prohibition was only during Passover.

    Regardless, you do not need to add yeast to grape mush to ferment wine. It can ferment naturally by the yeast that is omnipresent in the air around us. I presume this yeast is not referred to in the scripture.

    Finally, if all wine referred to in the scriptures is unfermented, yeast-free grape juice, how was it stored?

  3. Once I was at a church function where we were served apple cider which had clearly fermented (many of us recognized the taste). A few commented, but we all just drank it. I don’t think God cared one bit.

  4. If Jesus did drink alcoholic wine then the prohibition against drinking alcohol must not be doctrinal, at least to my way of thinking, because doctrine do not change. It is interesting that the Word of Wisdom calls it a principle with a promise not by commandment or constraint.

    It also seems to be in In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days.

    It is hard to for me to think that there is anything wrong with wine when it fits so well into our symbolism and even the sacramental prayers in the Book of Mormon use the term wine. Wine is a much better symbol of blood than water.

    1. The question then, Anonymous, is whether the Word of Wisdom is doctrine. Is it doctrine in the same way that God loves us is doctrine or doctrine in the same way the Lehi had to sail to the promised was doctrine for the Lehites?

  5. In 1963 I attended a seminary class taught by Brother Kimball. (He was a direct descendant of Heber C. Kimball. This has little or nothing to do with what follows.)

    Brother Kimball spend one day explaining to my class that we should realize and understand that Jesus likely drank alcoholic wine and to think otherwise was not realistic, not should it affect our testimonies of the gospel of the 20th century. Brother Kimball reminded us that refrigeration as we knew it was recent innovation and grape juice would naturally ferment. He reminded us grapes and wine were a major staple of the middle east in the time of Jesus.

    In another lesson, Brother Kimball went to great length to explain and insure we clearly understood that the Word of Wisdom applied to “tea and coffee and no more.” Specifically Coke and Pepsi were not restricted by the Word of Wisdom. He had written short song we all learned. The main verse was “tea and coffee and not more.” The stressed that we didn’t drink tea and coffee because of caffeine.

    Brother Kimball taught us many other valuable lessons about the gospel and how to properly apply it to our lives. He wanted us to focus on the important and leave the trivial, and speculative alone so our energy would be applied to the significant and directing teachings of Jesus. He mentioned none of us were capable of living all the major principles perfectly while here on earth, so until we had achieved perfection with those, he encouraged us to leave the trivial and “made up” alone.

  6. Why must we project our current practices on biblical figures?

    Amen, Kim! We’re probably just overly comforted by the idea that important things never change.

  7. Jesus may have drank wine but it is my understanding that only the very wealthy could afford to do so. First Anonymous made some very good points.

  8. Jesus didn’t just drink wine, he was called a winebibber! Which meant he drank wine to excess. Which makes sense since Jesus gave the Gentile saints a word of wisdom that said to use wine only for the sacrament. And what are the instructions on how frequently we are to partake of the sacrament? “Often!

  9. Not only did Jesus drink wine he indulged in wine making.

    John 2:9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,

    10 And saith unto him, 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 wine until now.

    This seems to indicate that when the wedding guests were ‘well drunk’ – possibly slightly inebriated, they would be less likely to notice that the wine was not as good. The governor was asking the bridegroom why he served the best wine last.

    Why do we strain at gnats?

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