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Wine or Grape Juice?

Matt. 26:26   Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and wafter blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the* covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Is the Lord’s Supper entirely commemorative? The Mormons serve water with their bread. I assume they see it as a total commemoration. Would it be illicit to offer and receive the sacrament in the wrong order: the cup and then the bread? When Jesus mentions, ‘fruit of the vine, He is referring to an old testament phrase that had it’s origin in the Passover. When the Rabbi’s use it, they are referring to alcoholic wine as well. It cannot be confused with anything other than Alcoholic wine.

Kyle Butt writes:

“In light of the fact that there are many different “fruits of the vine,” how are we to understand the New Testament phrase, “the fruit of the vine,” that Jesus used during the Last Supper just before His death. Is it possible to identify which “fruit of the vine” was used to produce the drink of the last Supper? And if so, how does the identification of that specific fruit affect the observation of the Lord’s Supper today?

The phrase “the fruit of the vine” is used in only three places in the New Testament:

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:27-29).

Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many. Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God” (Mark 14:23-25).

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes” (Luke 22:17-18).

In order to identify the specific “fruit of the vine” referred to by Jesus, we must analyze the words of the phrase in light of how the first-century audience would have understood them. The Greek word translated “vine” in these three instances is ampelos. Arndt, et al., define the term as “vine, or grapevine” (1979, p. 46). In virtually every instance in the Bible when the term is used, it refers to a grapevine. For instance, in James 3:12 several Bible translations render the word ampelos as “grapevine.” The New King James version reads: “Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?”. In Revelation 14:18, we read: “And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, ‘Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.’” Notice that the term “vine” is used, then modified by the phrase “for her grapes…,” obviously referring to a grapevine.

Another Greek term relevant to this discussion is ampelōn, deriving from the same word as ampelos. Arndt, et al., give as its almost universal meaning, “vineyard” (p. 47). References in the New Testament using the term to denote a vineyard filled with grapes include Matthew 21:33-41, Mark 12:1-11, and Luke 20:9-16. In fact, the only reference in the New Testament where the term might mean anything other than a vineyard of grapes is Luke 13:6, where the term could possibly mean “orchard” (Arndt, et al., p. 47), specifically an orchard of figs. Since figs, however, are never referred to as the “fruit of the vine,” nor would a fig tree be classified as a vine, then this possible exception to the term “vineyard” has no bearing on the definition of the “fruit of the vine.”

Indeed, the terms “vine” and “vineyard” are so universally associated with grapes and wine made from grapes, that William Smith, under the entry for the word “vine,” wrote: “The vines of Palestine were celebrated both for luxuriant growth and for the immense clusters of grapes which they produced” (1870, 4:3446, emp. added). In Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W.E. Vine included the following statement with his definition of “wine”: “In instituting the Lord’s Supper He [Jesus—KB] speaks of the contents of the cup as the ‘fruit of the vine.’ So Mark 14:25” (1997, p. 1232). In The Expositor’s Greek Testament, A.B. Bruce summarized Jesus’ statement in Matthew 26:29 in the following words: “It is the last time I shall drink paschal…wine with you. I am to die at this Passover” (2002, 1:312).”

The Talmud shows that wine was used:

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/txt/bib/Talmud/Talmud04.html

Compare wine and grape juice to the festival of Purim:

http://www.kashrut.com/articles/alcohol/

Following the same vein of thought as when we consider grape juice during the Lord’s Supper, would it be wrong to use Cognac or Brandy in the supper as both are wine products? One of the issues related to morphology of the elements is that if we allow for small distinct changes, we again, open the door fully for other changes. How could we tell the charismatics that they cannot use AC/DC songs in worship and using Brandy in their Supper if we have also proposed a change? The same mentality we use when we utilize non alcoholic juice gives them warrant to use Brandy. The argument is self defeating. The same way we use non inspired lyrics gives them the same right as well.

Would it have been alright for the Israelites to use just any animal in the Passover feast? All animals had blood that could have been shed, right? Presumptions got Nadab and Abihu killed. God is specific in what he commands and prescribes.

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