"fruit of the vine" mean?
was reading a booklet put out by one of the "Churches of God", and noticed that they use grape juice for their
Lord's Supper service.
Since most Christian churches
use wine, this raises the question of what should we use for this most
Wine or grape juice?
the booklet, the reason they use grape juice seems to be that Jesus
just referred to the drink He shared with the disciples during the Last Supper, as "the fruit of the vine", and did not
specifically state that the drink was "fermented" grape juice (wine).
26:27-29 NET. And after taking the cup and giving thanks, he
it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you,
this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for
many for the forgiveness of sins. (29) I tell you,
on I will not drink of this fruit of
until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."
did Jesus mean by the expression "fruit of the vine"?
Every one who studies the Bible needs to be aware of
"figures of speech", because the people who "wrote" the Bible use them frequently.
is profitable to remind ourselves of some of the words from the second
and fourth paragraph of Appendix 6 of the Companion Bible.
""Figure of speech"" relates to the form in which the words are used. It
consists in the fact that a word or words are used out of their
ordinary sense, or place, or manner, for the purpose of attracting our
attention to what is thus said. .... ."
but for the sake of emphasis. They can never, therefore be ignored.
Ignorance of Figures of speech has lead to the grossest errors, which
have been caused either from taking literally what is figurative, or
from taking figurative what is literal."
Companion Bible identifies "fruit of the vine" as a "Peristasis" or
when a description is used instead of the name.
example of when Jesus used a Peristasis is found in Matthew.
26:64 NET. Jesus said to him, "You have said it yourself. But
tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand
and coming on the clouds of heaven."
the Power" is a description or a circumlocution (WebWord - an indirect way of expressing something) for God the Father (see
First Edition Net Bible). The fact that Christ will return at God's
right-hand is prophesied in the Psalms.
Psa 110:1 NET. Here
is the LORD's [God]
proclamation to my lord [Christ]:
"Sit down at my
right hand until I make your enemies your footstool!"
- we know from what the Companion Bible has to say that a point is
being emphasized by the phrase "fruit of the vine" - now we have to do
some work to find out why.
It can either mean
grape juice, or it can mean grape juice that has been allowed
ferment - yeast turning the natural sugar into alcohol.
Jesus drank alcoholic drinks.
Luk 7:33-34 NET.
For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking
and you say, 'He has a demon!' (34) The Son of Man
has come eating and drinking, and you say, 'Look at him,
a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors
Jews of His day took the fact that Jesus drank wine, to the extreme, in
an attempt to paint Jesus in a poor light. I have no doubt that Jesus
never got "drunk", but from this verse it is obvious that He did drink alcohol
Corinthians, when they were celebrating (some of it in a wrong way) the
Lord's Supper, also had wine present.
1Co 11:20-21 NET.
Now when you come together at the same place, you are not really eating
(21) For when it is time to eat, everyone proceeds with his
own supper. One is hungry and another becomes drunk.
the above two verses allow for wine to be involved at the Last Supper,
we still need further proof for what Jesus was trying to emphasize for
we want to buy some grape juice today, we basically have three options
(I am ignoring frozen, and canned grape juice as it is not very common).
temperature: The grape juice for sale at room temperature has a seal on
the top, and has been heat treated to kill all the bacteria - including
yeast - in the juice. Once the seal has been broken it needs to be
stored in a refrigerator. Clearly heat treated grape juice was not
something available in Jesus's day.
By keeping grape juice cold, you can delay the growth of
and yeast for a few weeks. The law in Australia is that it must be kept
at 5 C (41 F) or below. Again, as best as we know, those sort of cold
temperatures were not available in Jesus's day.
If you buy some bunches of grapes and crush them, then filter out the
juice, you will have fresh grape juice to suit your need.
we should remember that fresh grape juice left at room temperature will
be fermenting (producing gas bubbles of carbon dioxide, and some alcohol)
within 24 hours.
If Jesus did in fact use fresh
grape juice at
the Last Supper, then the only means available almost 2000 years ago, was by crushing some
grapes - and no more than a few hours before drinking it.
problem that solves the question.
We need to understand a bit
about the Biblical calendar.
Feast of Tabernacles (or Feast of Ingathering) was to be kept after the Summer
produce had been gathered in, and after the "turn of the year" (Ex
23:16) - a Hebrew way of saying after the Autumn equinox.
ensure that this always happens, the Biblical new year can not start
until after the Spring equinox. To put it another way, the time we
should keep the Lord's Supper will always fall in the end of March or
the beginning of April.
The point I am trying to
make is:- the
time between the bunches of grapes being taken off the vine (late
September?) and Jesus needing some to crush for fresh grape juice (late
March?), is about six months apart.
How do you keep
bunches of grapes fresh enough to crush for juice, for six months
The simple answer is - you
you try and keep the grapes in dry conditions they will turn into
raisins, and if you try to keep the grapes in a moist condition, they
will get mildew and rot.
With no fresh
grapes available to turn into juice, it is obvious that Jesus is
pointing us to "wine" as the "fruit of the vine".
is my blood"
26:27-28 NET. And after taking the cup and giving thanks, he
it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you,
(28) for this is
the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many for the
forgiveness of sins.
Red wine fits much
better as a type of Jesus's blood.
has healing properties (Luke 10:34, 1 Tim 5:23), and will keep for a long time.
Grape juice spoils very quickly. Red wine also has the red colour of Blood.
(2:9) records that Jesus's first public miracle was turning water into
wine - and lots of it - so He was not adverse to having wine available.
Not obvious, but
there if you are willing to look.
was in the cup that Jesus gave to His disciples at His Last Supper, is
not spelled out in a straight forward way, but understanding God's Holy
Day calendar allows us to come to the right conclusion.
cup that we use during the Lord's Supper Memorial, if we are going to follow Jesus's example, should contain red
Was a Jewish tradition involved?
Bible does not tell us so we can not be sure, but apparently the
tradition in Christ's day for a man and a woman to marry, was that the
man and his father went to the "bride to be's" home and negotiated the
"bride price" with her parents. If that was successful (in Christ's
case - His blood) then the "husband to be" would offer the "bride to
be" a glass of wine. If she drank from it, she was saying "yes" to the
marriage proposal. She would then hand the glass back to her "husband
to be", and he would drink from it to seal the contract.
asked the disciples to drink from the cup (and hence accepted His
marriage proposal), but when the glass came back, He may have not
sealed the contract at that time, because He said He would not drink of
"the fruit of the vine" any more until the Kingdom. This leaves the
number in the "bride of Christ" open till the First resurrection has
taken place, and additional people will then also be offered to drink
from the cup before Christ seals the contract.
Since the wine we
drink is only a type of what Christ may well yet offer us in the
future, it is fine to have small individual glasses/cups, that are much
more hygienic than a common cup.
Bob Orchard Feb
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