Jesus turned water into (John 2) ...

Grape juice
18% (12 votes)
Something with alcoholic content
74% (50 votes)
Unclear
9% (6 votes)
Total votes: 68
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There are 143 Comments

Jim's picture

three choices: grape juice, something with alcoholic content or unclear

Thanks

(Comment: Obviously one could believe that Christ made something with alcoholic content and still believe that abstinence is the best choice for a Christian)

Jay's picture

I haven't studied John 2 very carefully, but I don't know how you could exegete it correctly and come away with "grape juice". That being said, I don't think that the wine in John 2 was the equivalent of today's table wine or alcoholic content.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

T Howard's picture

If a pastor preaches through the book of John, does he need to spend time on whether the wine in John 2 was alcoholic or not? Or, is this a non-issue except for when the topic of wine/alcohol comes up?

Daniel's picture

Howard, just my take. I think, in a sermon, debating whether it was alcohol or grape juice detracts from the message of John 2. The difference between grape juice and wine is a natural chemical process. The difference between water and either wine or grape juice is astronomical. Actually, it is miraculous. To go from H2O to sugars, acid, and other chemicals by not adding a single thing is a miracle.

This is not to say there is not a point in trying to figure out what it was, but I think a message on John 2 is the wrong time. A SS lesson on alcohol in the Bible is a much better fit. And again, this is just my opinion.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I was going to go w/unclear but, upon some reflection, I can only say the text doesn't specify. But logic does.
Alcohol in wine is a product of fermentation and fermentation is a process of decay. Why would the Son of God make flawed wine when He could make perfect wine? That is, He was under no constraints to produce the desired taste by the usual process of aging--He made it out of water instantaneously.
So my argument is that He would have to have added entirely superfluous ingredients to make it alcoholic, ingredients known to be potentially harmful.
Just can't think of any reason why it would have alcohol. In what way would that have been useful?

I'd have to concur w/ T Howard though that preaching through John, the question never even crossed my mind. (But it does cross the minds of folks in the pews... it has come up more than once in Q & A sessions).

Daniel's picture

Aaron, I am just curious how you come to the conclusion that decay is bad, or that decay is flawed.
Thanks

Charlie's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
I was going to go w/unclear but, upon some reflection, I can only say the text doesn't specify. But logic does.
Alcohol in wine is a product of fermentation and fermentation is a process of decay. Why would the Son of God make flawed wine when He could make perfect wine? That is, He was under no constraints to produce the desired taste by the usual process of aging--He made it out of water instantaneously.
So my argument is that He would have to have added entirely superfluous ingredients to make it alcoholic, ingredients known to be potentially harmful.
Just can't think of any reason why it would have alcohol. In what way would that have been useful?

Aaron, it would be entirely unthinkable to any brewer that aged wine is flawed wine. Wine improves with age, thereby becoming more coveted and costly. If the master of the feast thought the wine was the best, he doubtless would have assumed that the wine was aged. Also, grape juice and wine taste entirely different. The presence of alcohol greatly affects the taste (and the feel). Jesus making grape juice that tastes like good wine would be just as much a contradiction as the Eucharistic wine becoming Christ's blood but still looking and tasting like wine.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I think you may have missed my meaning there.
He obviously had no need to age it to achieve a great taste (those who had it didn't think so) and certainly had no need to introduce toxicity either.
I don't think the logic is hard to follow here: if you can make wine out of water, you can make wine that tastes perfect without undesirable side effects.

Unless the goal is intoxication, wouldn't a better wine be one that tastes (and feels... I'm dubious about that, but wouldn't know) every bit as good but which cannot intoxicate? I can't see any reason why He'd make something inferior, especially since the text goes out of its way to point out that it really was unusually great stuff.

wbarkema's picture

Jay C wrote:
I haven't studied John 2 very carefully, but I don't know how you could exegete it correctly and come away with "grape juice". That being said, I don't think that the wine in John 2 was the equivalent of today's table wine or alcoholic content.

Just a quick question about this comment (which seems to be a common argument). Does it really matter whether the wine was weaker then than now? It seems apparent that one could get drunk off of the wine at that time. Does it matter that it took 6 glasses then as opposed to 3 glasses today (or whatever the appropriate amount of glasses is)?

Jay's picture

Yes, it does matter...especially when people see passages like I Tim. 5:23 and assume that Timothy was drinking what we would buy in a store.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Rachel L.'s picture

Quote:
Alcohol in wine is a product of fermentation and fermentation is a process of decay. Why would the Son of God make flawed wine when He could make perfect wine?

Perfect wine would be... well, perfect WINE. It seems quite un-Fundamental to use a more convoluted interpretation when the words can be read more clearly using basic interpretation -- even if the "how" and "why" are not clear to us.

Quote:
I can't see any reason why He'd make something inferior, especially since the text goes out of its way to point out that it really was unusually great stuff.

Again, I see convoluted interpretation to develop this conclusion.

I think that (in some ways) it would have been even more amazing to the wedding guests if Jesus had turned water into something that was "unusually great" wine but that actually WASN'T wine. I think it would have been noted in the text. Something along the lines of "Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have created a new beverage that tastes like wine, but with none of the drunkenness."

Mike Harding's picture

This is the first of seven miracles performed by Christ. The big idea of this miracle is in John 2:11 "He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him". Christ is the perfect prophet forecasted in Deut 13 and 18 revealed by miraculous signs that will testify to his true identity. Christ here is revealed to be the Creator, the master of Creation (John 1:1-3). He was full of glory that men cannot see (1:18). This sign pulls back the vale of humanity which hides his glory from our sight and we see the reality of who he is. This results in true faith vis-a-vis blind faith.

The setting of this miracle (2:1) took place during the week long festivity of the wedding, a supreme occasion of joy for those who often had difficulty and poverty life. No wine was more than a social embarrassment. It brought great shame and the bride could sue for damages. Mary requests Jesus' help. He responds literally, "What to you and to me" or why do you involve me, my time has not yet come. This latter phrase used six times in this gospel references his public declaration of Messiah. Mary needed a miracle and expressed faith in her Son, "Do whatever he tells you."

The six stone water jars which were used for ceremonial washings held between 120 and 180 gallons combined. The jars were filled with water perhaps implying the practice of diluted wine. Wine can mean alcoholic beverage or fresh unfermented juice. The master of the banquet makes the point that most present the best first and worst last. This is different, much different. These people after three days of banqueting were not drunk. Jesus would not have created 180 gallons of non-diluted fully aged wine and given it to those who already had too much to drink to make them more inebriated. One could just as easily assume that the wine was fresh since it was newly created. This wine would have a delightful, sweet taste, something unusual in the weddings of their day.

Pastor Mike Harding

Kirk Mellen's picture

I along with Aaron have often wondered about the fermentation process itself. If fermentation is actually "decay" and decay we assume to be part of the curse, would it be possible to have alcoholic beverages if there had been no fall in the Garden? And if there is any merit at all to that concept why is Aaron's statement about Jesus making this wine into something wonderful but non-alcoholic so strange?

Charlie's picture

Mike Harding wrote:

The six stone water jars which were used for ceremonial washings held between 120 and 180 gallons combined. The jars were filled with water perhaps implying the practice of diluted wine. Wine can mean alcoholic beverage or fresh unfermented juice.

I have great doubts that the word οινος was ever regularly used to indicate "unfermented" wine (grape juice). Every lexicon (BDAG, Louw-Nida, Friberg, UBS, Thayer, LSJ, Middle Liddell, Slater, Autenreith) says "wine," with BDAG, Louw-Nida, LSJ, and Friberg calling special attention to its fermented status. Louw-Nida explains that οινος means fermented wine unless combined with a modifier stating otherwise, such as νεος (new). In classical Greek there was the adjective απυρος (unfermented). LSJ and BDAG note that sometimes οινος was used as a generic term for other alcoholic drinks, such as barley beer. From that, it seems that the word may have become even more associated with alcohol than with grapes.

Furthermore, there was a word that specifically means "must," the unfermented juice of grapes - τρυξ. I notice, though, that even though there are a variety of linguistic options available to distinguish between unfermented and fermented grape beverages, the NT writers consistently use the one term that almost invariably points to a fermented drink.

Aaron, grape juice and wine taste and feel totally different, with much of that difference being the alcohol. I find it incompossible that there would be unfermented grape juice that tastes like aged (good) wine. It would be like saying water could taste like milk, yet still be pure H2O.

Also, I think that the word "decay" is prejudicial. I think there were bacteria and microorganisms operating in many ways before the fall. If Adam and Eve ate, the process of "decay" would have resulted in some compost, unless we believe that the belly button wasn't the only thing Adam lacked? The curse is concerned primarily with the termination of life of higher lifeforms. I see no reason to assume all pre-fall trees were evergreens and that all food was not excreted.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Daniel's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
I think you may have missed my meaning there.
He obviously had no need to age it to achieve a great taste (those who had it didn't think so) and certainly had no need to introduce toxicity either.
I don't think the logic is hard to follow here: if you can make wine out of water, you can make wine that tastes perfect without undesirable side effects.

Unless the goal is intoxication, wouldn't a better wine be one that tastes (and feels... I'm dubious about that, but wouldn't know) every bit as good but which cannot intoxicate? I can't see any reason why He'd make something inferior, especially since the text goes out of its way to point out that it really was unusually great stuff.


Aaron, part of what makes wine taste good is that which "can" cause undesirable side effects, alcohol. Of course there are other things that go into great tasting wine than just alcohol. I have had a few bottles of what I had thought was halfway decent wine, then I had half a glass of very nice wine (15$ for half glass). The difference was astronomical. So I think sure, Jesus could have made everything else about wine perfect yet left out the alcohol. Although, I think the people would have thought it was a completely different drink as I don't think you can so easily separate the taste of alcohol from the rest of which makes good wine. It would be like making a banana split without the banana. Of course, now we are not even talking about scripture, but about people's tastes etc.

Secondly, I don't think just because a person drinks wine that the goal is intoxication. Different wines go well with different types of food. And some food just tastes better with wine. (I don't think any drink besides wine would have gone well with the meal I had the 15$ glass of wine with. But of course that is just my opinion, not scriptural in the slightest.) Besides that, scripture talks about other uses of wine. To make the heart glad (Psa 104:15). Not sure how grape juice, no matter how good could make one glad. Also as a remedy (I Tim 5:23). I don't think Timothy was doing what we would do with modern medicine: taking out his measuring cup making sure to only take 2 tbsp every four hours. I have a feeling he was drinking it for every meal, and in between meals. In addition, I don't think he was going to the wine presses to get fresh wine so as not to get alcoholic wine.(have you ever gotten a fruit smoothie and let it sit for a bit. Within a short amount of time it starts to ferment) It was also to be used for the dying and the depressed. (Pro 31:6) It is hard to interpret this as anything but alcohol. So there are good goals in drinking alcohol.

With all that said, I think the goal was simply to be merry. And according to Psa 104:15, there would have been nothing wrong with drinking alcohol to be merry. And if merryness was the goal, I don't think Jesus made grape juice. I also don't think it necessitates the highest potency of alcohol either.

And also, you are assuming that alcoholic wine is inferior. Inferior to what? Alcoholic wine isn't grape juice, not even close. The chemical make up of wine has things about it that are different than grape juice, namely ethyl alcohol.(is that the correct alcohol?)

On a separate topic. I am not sure it is right to say that decay is a result of sin. I think it is more accurate to say death is the result of sin (Romans 5:12), and decay is a byproduct of death. For when Adam sinned things did not start decaying, they started dying. And once dead, they decayed. But the result of sin is death, not decay. On the other hand, I don't think decay necessitates death. Or at least death in the way we perceive, as we often think of death, in taking of a life, or something no longer being in existence. Obviously Adam and Eve ate. So whatever we want to call what happened when they cut the grapes from the vine, the natural process (?probably?) would have immediately started to take effect, decay.(of course we have no idea about this as scripture does not speak to it pre-fall, although I think it can be safe to assume, decay happened) I think Charlie did a better job furthering that thought above.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I'll try to explain myself once more I think then leave it alone.
First, I didn't say that a person who drinks is necessarily motivated by the goal of intoxication. I know too many of whom that's not the case.
I was trying to explain what would make the perfect wine.

Another angle.. The Story of Zip
Suppose we're talking about something else entirely... we're guests at an event in some strange cultural setting where they love to drink a beverage called zip. Everybody in that area drinks zip. In fact, there is really nothing else but zip to drink there. Problem is, when zip is exposed to sunlight, some of it's ingredients break down into a compound that makes everyone drowsy (so the parties get really, reaally boring there!). Zip isn't very zippy.
So you're invited to this event, and while you're there sipping zip and getting sleepy, a rumor spreads through the crowd that they are out of zip. Of course, everyone is disappointed because, even though it makes them sleepy, the stuff tastes marvelous... and there's nothing else to drink anyway.
But as you're thinking about leaving (can't stay if there's no zip), a guest steps up to the zip table and says "I'll take care of it."
Turns out he's a genius chemist who can make just about anything out of just about anything. So he makes the ideal zip out of ordinary water.

What are the properties of the ideal zip?
Easy. Tastes the same, feels the same, doesn't make you fall asleep.

Now some at the party were really hoping to fall asleep. So they were pretty bummed that the zip this guest made "didn't work." But the rest were just delighted that it tasted so fine and yet didn't knock them out (and since they didn't want to sleep anyway, they'd been going easy on the zip up to that point).

Of course, I can't say with certainty that Jesus made "the ideal wine" at Cana. I'm just pointing out that,

a. the ideal wine would not intoxicate ("ideal" unless intoxication is what you want!)
b. I can't think of any reason why Jesus wouldn't make the ideal wine. Still haven't heard one.

Obviously He can make it taste and feel any way He likes without it being damaging to the drinker. So why would He make it damaging? If you prefer, we could suppose that the ideal wine would contain "non intoxicating alcohol," but really--He can produce the desired taste any way He chooses. We're already tossing the laws of nature out the window to derive it from water!

(By the way, in answer to the idea that it's not "wine" unless it has all the usual ingredients... that's a bit of a strain. Mike Harding would know for sure from his research, but I'm pretty sure they called it "wine" from the moment it flowed out of the press... having not yet had the chance to ferment. Pretty sure it wasn't put in flasks or amphora labeled "not wine yet"!)

But I do think Mike Harding's Cana scenario is quite likely, maybe more likely than my "ideal wine" scenario.... that Jesus simply made "new" wine... which is very close to "ideal" since you'd need to imbibe fairly ridiculous quantities to get tipsy.[br ][br ]
One more point.... about wine making glad. Any good quality food and drink makes me glad and wine was as ordinary as Coke is to us. Coke makes me glad.
I think to suggest that an intoxicating affect is required for it to produce gladness is getting close to justifying drunkenness.

Mike Harding's picture

The key NT words for wine and strong drink are oinos, gleukos, and sikera. Sikera (strong drink) is used only once in the NT (Luke 1:15) for a grain-based alcohol or intoxicating beverage made from other sources of fruit. Oinos is used more than thirty times in the NT and usually refers to fermented drink. Gleukos (new wine or sweet wine) represented wine that was not fully aged or wine that had a higher sugar content (Wayne House, “Wine” in Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, vol. 1 [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988 ]). Professor A. C. Schultz points out that “Usually the new wine was left in the vat to undergo the first fermentation which took four to seven days. It was then drawn off… . The whole period of fermentation would last from two to four months when the wine would be ready for use (“Wine and Strong Drink,” in Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, 5:938).
In general, the OT and NT terms for wine referred to the fruit of the vine usually in some stage of fermentation. Exceptions could be “sweet new wine,” fresh wine from the harvest (Isa 16:10; John 2), and diluted wine.

Pastor Mike Harding

Gabe Franklin's picture

When I studied this a couple of years ago, I could not get over the statement that the master of the feast made in vs. 10. He states, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now." The term "drunk freely" comes from the Greek word which means "to be intoxicated." Therefore, we have to assume that the people at the feast had already drunk enough to have become intoxicated. The reason that I do not believe that this would have been intoxicating wine is that it does not make sense that Jesus would have provided something for the people at the feast to become further intoxicated.

Jay's picture

Gabe Franklin wrote:
The term "drunk freely" comes from the Greek word which means "to be intoxicated." Therefore, we have to assume that the people at the feast had already drunk enough to have become intoxicated.

Not necessarily. Word studies like this, especially when you're flowing between greek and english, are not be all, end all studies, as D.A. Carson attests in his excellent little book "Exegetical Fallacies". Just because two english words can come from one greek word [or even from another english word ] doesn't mean that they're necessarily similar or have similar meanings.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Greg Linscott's picture

Gotta love the alcohol threads... Smile

Just to react Aaron's point on fermentation and decay... what about when Jesus miraculously perpetuated bread? Are we assuming that the bread was unleavened? Otherwise, He would have been creating something that incorporated fermentation of some sort... wouldn't He?

While not saying it, you seem to be equating decay of vegetation with the curse of sin/death. Are you suggesting that fruits never spoiled before the Fall? Did leaves not wither and shrivel when detached from the tree? Were raisins impossible before the Fall? I'm not sure we can make that assessment with any degree of certainty.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Charlie's picture

Jay C wrote:
Gabe Franklin wrote:
The term "drunk freely" comes from the Greek word which means "to be intoxicated." Therefore, we have to assume that the people at the feast had already drunk enough to have become intoxicated.

Not necessarily. Word studies like this, especially when you're flowing between greek and english, are not be all, end all studies, as D.A. Carson attests in his excellent little book "Exegetical Fallacies". Just because two english words can come from one greek word [or even from another english word ] doesn't mean that they're necessarily similar or have similar meanings.

It appears Gabe misspoke slightly. The word in this passage actually is the verb μεθυσκω / μεθυσκομαι. The active means "to get [someone ] drunk." The passive, which occurs in this context, means "to become drunk" or "be drunk." At least in the NT, every other use of this word in the passive refers to intoxication.

My personal opinion is that the master of the feast is stating a general principle. This is what people do at weddings - get the guests drunk then bring out the cheap stuff when they can't tell the difference. In the first century, even in Israel, there were probably some weddings were drinking was excessive, and others where it was moderate. It could very well be that the wedding at Cana wasn't a "party crowd," so we're not talking about a bunch of plastered guests. The wedding master is surprised that they would save the best for last.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Daniel's picture

Jim, I agree. Although I think it may be used here in a more generic sense: going from something to another. Or a breaking down of something that is natural(an orange or an apple) into something that naturally happens (mold, the result of fermentation, etc). Something along those lines. Otherwise, nothing really decays, it all just goes through a naturally occurring chemical change.

(for the sake of me not getting confused, wine = alcoholic wine, grape juice = grape juice)
I know you said you aren't going to get involved any more Aaron, but I feel the need to say a few things. But don't feel obligated to respond.
1) The reason why I kept going back to Psa 104:15 is it is really is hard to interpret it as something other than wine. It doesn't make sense any other way. Otherwise, why not just say drink water. That makes me glad on a hot sunny day. I haven't looked at many commentaries for this, but I think most would agree that wine in Psa 104 is wine. But the fact is, wine does make one glad.
2) Why does ideal wine have to be grape juice? I fail to see this. How did you come to this conclusion? Is there a passage that says ideal wine is grape juice? In the same manner, there isn't one that says ideal wine is wine. But I think wine (according to Psa 104, and very well probably their custom of the day) is a much better fit. I am not saying that it necessarily had to be the highest possible % of alcohol, just that it was alcoholic.
3) I am not saying they did not call fresh squeezed grape juice wine(encompassing both alcoholic and grape juice). I know they did. What I am saying is there is a big difference between grape juice and wine, and alcohol is not the only difference. One thing that is different is there is less sugar. Second, there are flavors in wine that can never be in grape juice. They only come out during the fermentation process.
4) Finally regarding decay. There are things that we use on a daily basis as a result of decay. Take vinegar for example. Vinegar is the final product of fermentation. So I don't think attaching decay to a drink should make it a bad thing.

Jay's picture

Charlie wrote:
It appears Gabe misspoke slightly. The word in this passage actually is the verb μεθυσκω / μεθυσκομαι. The active means "to get [someone ] drunk." The passive, which occurs in this context, means "to become drunk" or "be drunk." At least in the NT, every other use of this word in the passive refers to intoxication.

My personal opinion is that the master of the feast is stating a general principle. This is what people do at weddings - get the guests drunk then bring out the cheap stuff when they can't tell the difference. In the first century, even in Israel, there were probably some weddings were drinking was excessive, and others where it was moderate. It could very well be that the wedding at Cana wasn't a "party crowd," so we're not talking about a bunch of plastered guests. The wedding master is surprised that they would save the best for last.


Good point - appreciate the clarification.

My bigger objection is to have Jesus creating alcohol for intoxication purposes, and I find that hard to swallow. [pun intended ]

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Gabe Franklin's picture

Jay C wrote:
Not necessarily. Word studies like this, especially when you're flowing between greek and english, are not be all, end all studies, as D.A. Carson attests in his excellent little book "Exegetical Fallacies". Just because two english words can come from one greek word [or even from another english word ] doesn't mean that they're necessarily similar or have similar meanings.

Maybe I am being stubborn, but I fail to see what you mean. I just read your last statement about five times and do not understand what you are talking about. I assume you are referring to my use of the term "drunk freely," but I do not know what you mean by the whole two English word from one Greek word thing. I took one Greek word and gave the definition of that one word.

Charlie wrote:
It appears Gabe misspoke slightly. The word in this passage actually is the verb μεθυσκω / μεθυσκομαι. The active means "to get [someone ] drunk." The passive, which occurs in this context, means "to become drunk" or "be drunk." At least in the NT, every other use of this word in the passive refers to intoxication.

I do not mean to become defensive, but I do not understand what you mean by stating that I misspoke slightly. I defined the word as "to be intoxicated," while you defined the word as "to become drunk" or "be drunk." Unless you are differentiating between "intoxicated" and "drunk," I see no difference. I am not implying that everyone was plastered, but how can we believe that Jesus providing intoxicating wine to people who had already been drinking would not have caused intoxication beyond moderation.

Charlie's picture

Gabe, when you said that the word "comes from" the word meaning "intoxicated," Jay C read that as meaning that the two words were etymologically related. I understood it when I read it, but generally we only say "comes from" when talking about etymology, and say "is a form of" when speaking about different inflections of a base lexeme.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Jay's picture

Charlie nailed it on the head. Thanks for clearing that up.

Let me illustrate, and then I'll drop the subject. Oida, in the greek, can be translated [depending on a host of factors ] as "know, understand, perceive, experience, learn, know how, be acquainted with, recognize, acknowledge, remember, or even pay attention to", according to my UBS 4 Greek New Testament. So you can't always translate Oida as "know", even though that is how it's commonly used.

I'm really going to have to buy a copy of http://www.amazon.com/Greek-Tutor-Biblical-Personal-Interactive/dp/15726... ]Greek Tutor one of these days :(.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Silverghost's picture

Gabe Franklin wrote:
When I studied this a couple of years ago, I could not get over the statement that the master of the feast made in vs. 10. He states, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now." The term "drunk freely" comes from the Greek word which means "to be intoxicated." Therefore, we have to assume that the people at the feast had already drunk enough to have become intoxicated. The reason that I do not believe that this would have been intoxicating wine is that it does not make sense that Jesus would have provided something for the people at the feast to become further intoxicated.
Thanks Gabe. Smile This is my problem with the notion that Jesus created alcoholic wine. God breathes "Woe" as He warns us in Habakkuk 2:15 that it is a condemnable act to give "his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also...," so I consider it a serious indictment to Christ, if he gave those who had "well drunk" additional intoxicating drink. The word methusthowsin means to become drunk, so Jesus would have committed sin. Yet, the One, who came from glory and who created all things, could certainly have created the very best tasting unfermented wine for the host. He must have done so, or would be subject to the "woe" of Scripture against Him. Why would it seem so incredulous, that the Creator could make unfermented, good tasting, wine out of water?

Open our eyes, Lord. Luke 24:31,32,45 KJV <·)}}}>< Silverghost °Ü°

Jay's picture

Silverghost, there is a monumental difference between making someone drunk in order to exploit them [the meaning of that verse in its' context ] and giving someone alcohol to drink.

Look at the chapter in it's entirety -

Quote:
Woe to the Chaldeans

6 Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, with scoffing and riddles for him, and say,

“Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own—
for how long?—
and loads himself with pledges!”
7 Will not your debtors suddenly arise,
and those awake who will make you tremble?
Then you will be spoil for them.
8 Because you have plundered many nations,
all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you,
for the blood of man and violence to the earth,
to cities and all who dwell in them.

9 “Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house,
to set his nest on high,
to be safe from the reach of harm!
10 You have devised shame for your house
by cutting off many peoples;
you have forfeited your life.
11 For the stone will cry out from the wall,
and the beam from the woodwork respond.

12 “Woe to him who builds a town with blood
and founds a city on iniquity!
13 Behold, is it not from the Lord of hosts
that peoples labor merely for fire,
and nations weary themselves for nothing?
14 For the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

15 “Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink—
you pour out your wrath and make them drunk,
in order to gaze at their nakedness!
16 You will have your fill of shame instead of glory.
Drink, yourself, and show your uncircumcision!
The cup in the Lord's right hand
will come around to you,
and utter shame will come upon your glory!
17 The violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you,
as will the destruction of the beasts that terrified them,
for the blood of man and violence to the earth,
to cities and all who dwell in them.

18 “What profit is an idol
when its maker has shaped it,
a metal image, a teacher of lies?
For its maker trusts in his own creation
when he makes speechless idols!
19 Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake;
to a silent stone, Arise!
Can this teach?
Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
and there is no breath at all in it.
20 But the Lord is in his holy temple;
let all the earth keep silence before him.”


The NLT version translates that verse well:
Quote:
“What sorrow awaits you who make your neighbors drunk!
You force your cup on them
so you can gloat over their shameful nakedness.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Silverghost's picture

Jay C wrote:
Silverghost, there is a monumental difference between making someone drunk in order to exploit them [the meaning of that verse in its' context ] and giving someone alcohol to drink.

Look at the chapter in it's entirety -

I have read the chapter many times Jay, and I am a stickler on context. However, are you saying thus, that the "woe" has nothing to do with giving intoxicating wine to those who had already "well drunk," as Jesus supposedly did? Inhibitions, such as becoming naked, ensue, as Habakkuk indicated the portrayer of evil desired. Would Jesus think this humorous? The Hebrew in v.15 for "puttest" is sawphakh, which has nothing to do with forcing, which I consider a poor translation in the NLT. It is literally "to scrape out," i.e., the dregs, to make your neighbor drunk. The picture is irrigating his mouth from your wineskin. The KJV translation "to put" is a perfectly fine rendering, putting your bottle in his mouth.

So Jesus, in your opinion, gave alcoholic wine to those who had considerably imbibed already? Subsequently, are you saying that Habakkuk's warning has no bearing on this scene in John 2? Seems that you miss the context at the wedding. In light of all that Jesus did, He being necessarily without sin, according to the Scriptures, is this not a rather messy picture that you paint of the Savior? You seem to sidestep the real issue of the sanctity of the Lord. Even we fallible Christians are to "abstain from all appearance of evil." He would need to be untainted with sin in order to pay for ours.

PS: Is it not rather condescending for you to quote the entire chapter, to make your point? Do you think that after 40+ years of ministry, I would not be familiar with what Habakkuk said?

Open our eyes, Lord. Luke 24:31,32,45 KJV <·)}}}>< Silverghost °Ü°

Daniel's picture

Silverghost. What Jay was getting at was not simply the giving to drink. The passage seems to indicate that the woe is to the one who gives his neighbor drink in order to see his nakedness. I think the in order to or the so that, or however the passage is said in English is important in the interpretation. It shows the intent of giving drink. If the passage is not interpreted with that phrase, it changes the interpretation drastically.

So the question is, if you give your neighbor drink not for the purpose of seeing his nakedness, does this passage apply? Perhaps the intent is simply to have a good time, or to be merry.

Silverghost's picture

Daniel wrote:
Jay, you beat me to it.
Dear Daniel, The Old Testament is to continue to help us, "written for our admonition." 1 Cor. 10:11. Does not Habakkuk's warning apply to today's drinking society? Should our Savior have been less than our example at Cana? The Scripture indicates that they had "well drunk" the existing wine. For the Savior to have provided intoxicating wine in addition, would entail the depraved manner of life depicted in Hab. 2. Why would the Creator God the Son not make the very best fresh wine for the wedding? Wink

Open our eyes, Lord. Luke 24:31,32,45 KJV <·)}}}>< Silverghost °Ü°

Bob Hayton's picture

Silverghost wrote:
Daniel wrote:
Jay, you beat me to it.
Dear Daniel, The Old Testament is to continue to help us, "written for our admonition." 1 Cor. 10:11. Does not Habakkuk's warning apply to today's drinking society? Should our Savior have been less than our example at Cana? The Scripture indicates that they had "well drunk" the existing wine. For the Savior to have provided intoxicating wine in addition, would entail the depraved manner of life depicted in Hab. 2. Why would the Creator God the Son not make the very best fresh wine for the wedding? Wink

Scripture doesn't say the had "well drunk" the existing wine. The master of the feast gave a general statement about life in general, when it comes to feast. In essence: "most people give good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, or are getting tipsy, bring out poorer wine, but this wine given out now (towards the middle or end of the feast) is extremely good wine." His statement doesn't have to be taken to mean they were drunk, and Jesus was helping them get more drunk.

The statement, using the phrase it does for "drink freely", and given what we know of wine vs. good wine, seems to point to the alcoholic nature of Jesus' wine. But Jesus supply of much wine, was his first sign miracle. It could as much point to Jesus having more than enough to meet any need, then that it points to Jesus wanting to get people drunk. Furthermore, how do we know the wedding feast didn't have another day to go? It was typical to have feasts last several days.

Jesus' supply of good alcoholic wine (which by the way was probably diluted to 4 parts water, 1 part wine, which would come to around a 4% alcoholic content, I'm told), is in keeping with texts such as Ps. 104:14-15, Is. 25:6-10, and others.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Silverghost's picture

Bob Hayton wrote:
[quote=Scripture doesn't say the had "well drunk" the existing wine. The master of the feast gave a general statement about life in general, when it comes to feast. In essence: "most people give good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, or are getting tipsy, bring out poorer wine, but this wine given out now (towards the middle or end of the feast) is extremely good wine." His statement doesn't have to be taken to mean they were drunk, and Jesus was helping them get more drunk.

The statement, using the phrase it does for "drink freely", and given what we know of wine vs. good wine, seems to point to the alcoholic nature of Jesus' wine. But Jesus supply of much wine, was his first sign miracle. It could as much point to Jesus having more than enough to meet any need, then that it points to Jesus wanting to get people drunk. Furthermore, how do we know the wedding feast didn't have another day to go? It was typical to have feasts last several days.

Jesus' supply of good alcoholic wine (which by the way was probably diluted to 4 parts water, 1 part wine, which would come to around a 4% alcoholic content, I'm told), is in keeping with texts such as Ps. 104:14-15, Is. 25:6-10, and others.

Dear Daniel, This is a bit lame. The statement, "but thou hast kept the good wine until now," indicates the passage of time where all the wine was consumed, and the indication was that they had "well drunk." The word methusthowsin means to become drunk. Your classification of "good wine" is Western thought pattern. This was not the costly vintage wine as we would classify as good wine. This was exquisite tasting wine, which the Creator of the universe had made. It was indeed a miracle. No participant got drunk upon it.

The Savior always did what was right, without taint of sin. Smile

Open our eyes, Lord. Luke 24:31,32,45 KJV <·)}}}>< Silverghost °Ü°

Daniel's picture

First off SGhost, that was not me who you quoted, but Brother Hayton.(are you related to a Dave Hayton?) Nevertheless, I would probably agree with him on this.
Second, the wine Jesus made did not necessarily have to be full potency wine. Or the max alcohol that they could have made. That, I think is reading into the passage. For all we know the %alcohol could have been 5%, which when diluted would have been hardly anything. I think the difference between the wine Jesus served and the wine they had was a matter of quality of the wine not the % of alcohol.(but that of course is not written in scripture, just my assumption)
Third, I believe we are reading into the passage if we are assuming they have been drinking sun up to sun down, glass after glass for multiple days straight. (key phrase being glass after glass) I am not read up on Jewish customs, specifically marriage ceremonies, but I don't think it would be proper to assume they were drinking glass after glass of wine. Either way, grape juice or wine, it would certainly give a tummy ache.(Have you tried drinking a few glasses of grape juice. Let me tell you, it is not good) So I think they were taking it in moderation either way.
Fourth, what does the phrase in Hab, that you may look on his nakedness, have to do with the rest of the passage?

Bob Hayton's picture

One other thought on all this: we have no idea how many guests were at the wedding feast? We do know that archeology is unearthing a much more Hellenized presence in Galilee than most originally thought. For all we know, the reason the groom ran out of wine was that a whole bunch of people showed up. Jesus brought his 12 disciples, and people could have been flocking to the feast, having heard Jesus was present. We know Jesus made a lot of wine, but how do we really know he made enough for everyone to have six more glasses?

And Daniel, yes I am. PM me if you want.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Silverghost's picture

Bob Hayton wrote:
[quote=Scripture doesn't say the had "well drunk" the existing wine. The master of the feast gave a general statement about life in general, when it comes to feast. In essence: "most people give good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, or are getting tipsy, bring out poorer wine, but this wine given out now (towards the middle or end of the feast) is extremely good wine." His statement doesn't have to be taken to mean they were drunk, and Jesus was helping them get more drunk.

The statement, using the phrase it does for "drink freely", and given what we know of wine vs. good wine, seems to point to the alcoholic nature of Jesus' wine. But Jesus supply of much wine, was his first sign miracle. It could as much point to Jesus having more than enough to meet any need, then that it points to Jesus wanting to get people drunk. Furthermore, how do we know the wedding feast didn't have another day to go? It was typical to have feasts last several days.

Jesus' supply of good alcoholic wine (which by the way was probably diluted to 4 parts water, 1 part wine, which would come to around a 4% alcoholic content, I'm told), is in keeping with texts such as Ps. 104:14-15, Is. 25:6-10, and others.

Dear Bob, This seems a bit lame. The statement, "but thou hast kept the good wine until now," indicates the passage of time where all the wine was consumed, and the indication was that they had "well drunk." In the Greek, the word methusthowsin means to have drank freely or to become drunk. Your classification of "good wine" is Western thought pattern. This was not the costly vintage wine as we would classify as good wine. This was exquisite tasting wine, which the Creator of the universe had made. It was indeed a miracle. No participant got drunk upon it.

The Savior always did what was right, without taint of sin. Smile

Open our eyes, Lord. Luke 24:31,32,45 KJV <·)}}}>< Silverghost °Ü°

Silverghost's picture

Daniel wrote:
First off SGhost, that was not me who you quoted, but Brother Hayton.(are you related to a Dave Hayton?) Nevertheless, I would probably agree with him on this.
Second, the wine Jesus made did not necessarily have to be full potency wine. Or the max alcohol that they could have made. That, I think is reading into the passage. For all we know the %alcohol could have been 5%, which when diluted would have been hardly anything. I think the difference between the wine Jesus served and the wine they had was a matter of quality of the wine not the % of alcohol.(but that of course is not written in scripture, just my assumption)
Third, I believe we are reading into the passage if we are assuming they have been drinking sun up to sun down, glass after glass for multiple days straight. (key phrase being glass after glass) I am not read up on Jewish customs, specifically marriage ceremonies, but I don't think it would be proper to assume they were drinking glass after glass of wine. Either way, grape juice or wine, it would certainly give a tummy ache.(Have you tried drinking a few glasses of grape juice. Let me tell you, it is not good) So I think they were taking it in moderation either way.
Fourth, what does the phrase in Hab, that you may look on his nakedness, have to do with the rest of the passage?
Dear Daniel, I apologize, in the rush of a few things, I found Bob had replied to my post to you, and I mistakenly made a reply to you. :~
Yet to answer your questions, as I had said of v.10, "well drunk." in the Greek is methusthowsin, which means to have drank freely or to become drunk. Customs are different in ancient Jewish society, but people did get drunk. Jesus came to the wedding, as He and His Mother were invited, so they were in the midst of the celebration. He knew exactly what was going on. Was He to allow His actions to make even one person further under intoxication?
That is the point of what Habakkuk was saying, viz., that drunkenness leads to losing inhibitions, and nakedness often occurs. In Habakkuk, it was due to wickedness, but the principle of losing inhibitions still was a potential at Cana. Should Christ have risked that? With His astute knowledge of man, I find it would be totally out of character for Christ, and undoubtedly would have disqualified Him from being our sin-bearer.
I hope that you forgive my mistaking Bob for you, and that this helps explain my position adequately. Smile

Open our eyes, Lord. Luke 24:31,32,45 KJV <·)}}}>< Silverghost °Ü°

Daniel's picture

Silverghost wrote:
Dear Daniel, I apologize, in the rush of a few things, I found Bob had replied to my post to you, and I mistakenly made a reply to you. :~
...
That is the point of what Habakkuk was saying, viz., that drunkenness leads to losing inhibitions, and nakedness often occurs. In Habakkuk, it was due to wickedness, but the principle of losing inhibitions still was a potential at Cana. Should Christ have risked that? With His astute knowledge of man, I find it would be totally out of character for Christ, and undoubtedly would have disqualified Him from being our sin-bearer.
I hope that you forgive my mistaking Bob for you, and that this helps explain my position adequately. Smile
That's fine. I really didn't care that you mistook me for Bob. Just thought I would let you know.
As far as the Hab passage. I suppose that is where we will disagree. I don't view it as the effect of drinking(although it can be an effect), but the purpose of the one sharing the drink. Even with today's wine, you would have to drink a whole lot to get completely drunk, and especially to get the point of removing clothes. I know. I have been on some work trips where they drink a ton, but nothing like that happens. (luckily I just volunteer to be DD)

Also, the potential for something to happen does not cause sin, sinning causes sin. So just because there was the potential for people to get drunk, that does not equal sin. And again, I don't think they were downing glass after glass of wine. That would just be painful for you stomach consuming that much liquid, whether grape juice or wine. Then you add that they probably diluted it. We are (probably) talking well below 2% alcohol, which is hardly any. So you would have to be downing quite a few glasses to get drunk. Which again, being drunk would probably be the least of your worries.

Silverghost's picture

Bob Hayton wrote:
One other thought on all this: we have no idea how many guests were at the wedding feast? We do know that archeology is unearthing a much more Hellenized presence in Galilee than most originally thought. For all we know, the reason the groom ran out of wine was that a whole bunch of people showed up. Jesus brought his 12 disciples, and people could have been flocking to the feast, having heard Jesus was present. We know Jesus made a lot of wine, but how do we really know he made enough for everyone to have six more glasses?
Dear Bob, Facts being important, not speculation, Jesus, His Mother, and His disciples were called to the wedding. The text says nothing of unexpected numbers showing up. There weren't crowds following Jesus as of yet, for He had not quite yet begun His ministry, as He indicated to His Mother, and He had not done any miracles until then. We also can see that the governor or toastmaster of the feast had indicated that the guests had "well drunk." As I had indicated above, the Greek means that they had drank freely or had become drunk. At least there was a fair amount of alcohol in their system. It becomes very strained to say that Jesus gave them more alcohol at this juncture. Sad

Open our eyes, Lord. Luke 24:31,32,45 KJV <·)}}}>< Silverghost °Ü°

Brian Jo's picture

Let's say that the guests were indeed drunk out of their minds.
1) Would they have noticed the difference in quality in Jesus' wine?
2) If Jesus' wine was in fact alcoholic but non-intoxicating, would the already drunk people have even known? Surely they would have assumed it was alcoholic, because they would not have been able to prove otherwise if they were already drunk. It seems that "abstaining from all appearance of evil" won't even work here.

Bob Hayton's picture

Silverghost wrote:
Bob Hayton wrote:
One other thought on all this: we have no idea how many guests were at the wedding feast? We do know that archeology is unearthing a much more Hellenized presence in Galilee than most originally thought. For all we know, the reason the groom ran out of wine was that a whole bunch of people showed up. Jesus brought his 12 disciples, and people could have been flocking to the feast, having heard Jesus was present. We know Jesus made a lot of wine, but how do we really know he made enough for everyone to have six more glasses?
Dear Bob, Facts being important, not speculation, Jesus, His Mother, and His disciples were called to the wedding. The text says nothing of unexpected numbers showing up. There weren't crowds following Jesus as of yet, for He had not quite yet begun His ministry, as He indicated to His Mother, and He had not done any miracles until then. We also can see that the governor or toastmaster of the feast had indicated that the guests had "well drunk." As I had indicated above, the Greek means that they had drank freely or had become drunk. At least there was a fair amount of alcohol in their system. It becomes very strained to say that Jesus gave them more alcohol at this juncture. Sad

We'll have to agree to disagree here. You haven't convinced me.

1) on Hab. 2:15 the text says "Woe" to those who give their neighbor drink, so that they will become drunk, in order so that they can look on their nakedness. All these conjunctions are important. They qualify the Woe phrase. It isn't Woe to people who give their neighbor drink. It's Woe to people who do that in order to get them drunk, in order to gaze on their nakedness. That extreme wickedness is in view.

2) on John 2. The steward said "most of the time, when guests have drunk freely, poor wine is given". Then he says "but you saved the best wine until now". The steward's statement is a general truth, which the groom's actions (actually Christ's providing the wine) contradict. The steward is not stating that the guests at this feast have gotten drunk. He is saying that toward the end of the feast, poorer wine is usually given. Have some drunk freely by this point? Possibly, but the statement of the steward is not a direct description of that feast. Furthermore, we don't know how many guests were at the feast, or how long the feast lasted. So, there are enough variables here to allow for a different conclusion than yours -- that we aren't supposed to be clued off by the steward's use of the term "drunk freely", as to the alcoholic nature of the wine.

3) You argue from a set of assumptions about the feast and an understanding that Jesus wouldn't encourage sin. The assumptions are not fool proof and absolutely clear, so the conclusion is in doubt. Add to this the context of a steward of a feast, at a feast, where we know historically people drank wine, and where Scripture connects wine drinking and feast-activities... in this setting, the steward commends the quality of the wine, this points to it being alcoholic. We can all see the steward's point if indeed alcoholic drink is in view. If so, after the feast has progressed and the intoxicating effects of wine are beginning to occur, the taste of the wine is noticed less and matters less. But if we're talking Welch's, than the steward's statements don't make sense. On top of this there are the lexical arguments that oinos never refers to unfermented wine, and Jesus later is accused of being a winebibber, in contrast to John the Baptist who was rightly noted as being an abstainer. Surely the charges are bogus, but the element of truth could very easily be that Jesus did drink alcoholic wine, but not to the point of drunkenness.

At the end of the day a wider context for one's theological thoughts on the topic informs my views of John 2, and yours I'm sure. Thanks for the discussion. Sorry to take this off track by continuing this particular exchange which seems to be stagnating.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Daniel's picture

SGhost, in regards to the Greek word drunk. How does that fit with the rest of the passage? Jesus' wine is being compared to the wine that the host would have set forth at the beginning. And since it was alcoholic, would not that make Jesus' wine alcoholic also?

a=wine given at the beginning of the wedding(alcoholic since they were drunk or getting drunk, whether to the point of condemnation by scripture or not, I don't know that.)
b=inferior wine. I don't think inferior would mean non-alcoholic, but rather the quality of the wine. Perhaps pressed from un/over-ripe grapes. Or from a bad vineyard. Or perhaps not enough alcohol, or fermented too long to the point of becoming vinegar-ish.
c=Jesus wine

The master of the feast says that Jesus' wine was actually the good wine. In other words: c=a. If that is the case, then Jesus' wine would have been the premium(not necessarily most alcohol content, but best tasting. So it could be 5% or 12% or anywhere in between, or some other %, but definitely alcoholic) wine.

Silverghost's picture

Daniel wrote:
That's fine. I really didn't care that you mistook me for Bob. Just thought I would let you know.
As far as the Hab passage. I suppose that is where we will disagree. I don't view it as the effect of drinking(although it can be an effect), but the purpose of the one sharing the drink. Even with today's wine, you would have to drink a whole lot to get completely drunk, and especially to get the point of removing clothes. I know. I have been on some work trips where they drink a ton, but nothing like that happens. (luckily I just volunteer to be DD)

Also, the potential for something to happen does not cause sin, sinning causes sin. So just because there was the potential for people to get drunk, that does not equal sin. And again, I don't think they were downing glass after glass of wine. That would just be painful for you stomach consuming that much liquid, whether grape juice or wine. Then you add that they probably diluted it. We are (probably) talking well below 2% alcohol, which is hardly any. So you would have to be downing quite a few glasses to get drunk. Which again, being drunk would probably be the least of your worries.

Dear Daniel, Lust brings forth sin. The problem is that with one or two drinks, some lose their inhibitions, which I'm sure that you have seen. It may not issue in taking off clothes, but it has occurred. With a lighter wine of those days, it may not have been as drastic, but the text tells us that the guests had "well drunk" the wine. As I have indicated, the Greek means that they had drank freely or had become drunk. It remains very problematic to have Jesus contributing more alcoholic drink. He certainly was cognizant of the potential for drunkenness.

Open our eyes, Lord. Luke 24:31,32,45 KJV <·)}}}>< Silverghost °Ü°

Silverghost's picture

Brian Jo wrote:
Let's say that the guests were indeed drunk out of their minds.
1) Would they have noticed the difference in quality in Jesus' wine?
2) If Jesus' wine was in fact alcoholic but non-intoxicating, would the already drunk people have even known? Surely they would have assumed it was alcoholic, because they would not have been able to prove otherwise if they were already drunk. It seems that "abstaining from all appearance of evil" won't even work here.
The text doesn't say that they were raging drunk. But they had imbibed sufficient amounts. It seems that there is a tendency here to excuse any level of inebriation. Drunkenness is a sin.

Open our eyes, Lord. Luke 24:31,32,45 KJV <·)}}}>< Silverghost °Ü°

Silverghost's picture

Bob Hayton wrote:
Sad We'll have to agree to disagree here. You haven't convinced me.

1) on Hab. 2:15 the text says "Woe" to those who give their neighbor drink, so that they will become drunk, in order so that they can look on their nakedness. All these conjunctions are important. They qualify the Woe phrase. It isn't Woe to people who give their neighbor drink. It's Woe to people who do that in order to get them drunk, in order to gaze on their nakedness. That extreme wickedness is in view.

2) on John 2. The steward said "most of the time, when guests have drunk freely, poor wine is given". Then he says "but you saved the best wine until now". The steward's statement is a general truth, which the groom's actions (actually Christ's providing the wine) contradict. The steward is not stating that the guests at this feast have gotten drunk. He is saying that toward the end of the feast, poorer wine is usually given. Have some drunk freely by this point? Possibly, but the statement of the steward is not a direct description of that feast. Furthermore, we don't know how many guests were at the feast, or how long the feast lasted. So, there are enough variables here to allow for a different conclusion than yours -- that we aren't supposed to be clued off by the steward's use of the term "drunk freely", as to the alcoholic nature of the wine.

3) You argue from a set of assumptions about the feast and an understanding that Jesus wouldn't encourage sin. The assumptions are not fool proof and absolutely clear, so the conclusion is in doubt. Add to this the context of a steward of a feast, at a feast, where we know historically people drank wine, and where Scripture connects wine drinking and feast-activities... in this setting, the steward commends the quality of the wine, this points to it being alcoholic. We can all see the steward's point if indeed alcoholic drink is in view. If so, after the feast has progressed and the intoxicating effects of wine are beginning to occur, the taste of the wine is noticed less and matters less. But if we're talking Welch's, than the steward's statements don't make sense. On top of this there are the lexical arguments that oinos never refers to unfermented wine, and Jesus later is accused of being a winebibber, in contrast to John the Baptist who was rightly noted as being an abstainer. Surely the charges are bogus, but the element of truth could very easily be that Jesus did drink alcoholic wine, but not to the point of drunkenness.

At the end of the day a wider context for one's theological thoughts on the topic informs my views of John 2, and yours I'm sure. Thanks for the discussion. Sorry to take this off track by continuing this particular exchange which seems to be stagnating.

Dear Bob, I fully realize the part of wickedness in Hab. 2. Yet, the Scripture is written for our admonition and our learning. We should see the danger of alcohol, as I'm sure Jesus was cognizant.
The statement of the toastmaster was more than "most of the time," but pas, which is "every" man, which was a shock to him. His statement, "but thou hast kept the good wine until now," indicates that the current condition was that the guests had drank freely already. How much more would it take to go too far? :~
As you talk of assumptions, Bob, it should be quite clear that Jesus wouldn't encourage drunkenness, not just an assumption. Then to say that the steward's commending of the quality of the wine points to it being alcoholic, is an assumption on your part. In our day, we have made non-alcoholic "wine." Are we saying that the Creator of the universe could not have made the most exquisite tasting fresh wine, without it being alcoholic? It was, after all, a miracle! Cool
Young's Analytical Concordance has oinos as wine or grape juice. The discussion of Christ of putting "new wine" into wineskins illustrates the word being used for grape juice. A wine press makes grape juice first. As far as Jesus taking a little wine, it undoubtedly, and most often was alcoholic, but He was never drunk, else He had sinned. Yet, that is not the question here.
We certainly don't need artificially induced alcoholic beverages today, which is what most who argue for the Cana example wish to excuse.

Open our eyes, Lord. Luke 24:31,32,45 KJV <·)}}}>< Silverghost °Ü°

Silverghost's picture

Daniel wrote:
SGhost, in regards to the Greek word drunk. How does that fit with the rest of the passage? Jesus' wine is being compared to the wine that the host would have set forth at the beginning. And since it was alcoholic, would not that make Jesus' wine alcoholic also?
Not necessarily, Daniel. He is Creator God, and can produce the finest tasting new wine. It was, after all, a miracle! Cool

Daniel wrote:
a=wine given at the beginning of the wedding(alcoholic since they were drunk or getting drunk, whether to the point of condemnation by scripture or not, I don't know that.)
b=inferior wine. I don't think inferior would mean non-alcoholic, but rather the quality of the wine. Perhaps pressed from un/over-ripe grapes. Or from a bad vineyard. Or perhaps not enough alcohol, or fermented too long to the point of becoming vinegar-ish.
c=Jesus wine
Yes! This is the stuff in question! He created it out of water. :bigsmile:

Daniel wrote:
The master of the feast says that Jesus' wine was actually the good wine. In other words: c=a.
This is not even true about wines today...Chardonnay is not the same as Burgundy, though each may be the quality which is considered "good" by some wine tasters. What Jesus created certainly pleased the toastmaster, but it doesn't automatically make it alcoholic. Wink

Daniel wrote:
If that is the case, then Jesus' wine would have been the premium(not necessarily most alcohol content, but best tasting. So it could be 5% or 12% or anywhere in between, or some other %, but definitely alcoholic) wine.
An unwarranted conclusion...it was a miracle! Bleah

Open our eyes, Lord. Luke 24:31,32,45 KJV <·)}}}>< Silverghost °Ü°

Bob Hayton's picture

Silverghost wrote:
Young's Analytical Concordance has oinos as wine or grape juice. The discussion of Christ of putting "new wine" into wineskins illustrates the word being used for grape juice. A wine press makes grape juice first. As far as Jesus taking a little wine, it undoubtedly, and most often was alcoholic, but He was never drunk, else He had sinned. Yet, that is not the question here.
We certainly don't need artificially induced alcoholic beverages today, which is what most who argue for the Cana example wish to excuse.

Young's Analytical Concordance, doesn't trump the major Greek lexicons, such as BDAG. The only reason new skins were needed for "new wine" is that the fermentation process would explode old skins which were brittle. Wine is in view. The term "new wine" often refers to alcoholic wine, from the most recent harvest. The press would have grapes sit for days before it would be pressed, so there would already be fermentation happening to some degree. I forget the passage, but in Hosea I think, it says, wine and new wine can take away the senses.

I don't condone drunkenness. I don't think Christ was facilitating it or encouraging it. I do think alcoholic wine is in view in John 2. I'm bowing out of the John 2 discussion now. If you are interested in interacting with my biblically based position on moderation as opposed to abstinence, feel free to interact with this comment in another post: http://sharperiron.org/forum/thread-what-does-scripture-say-about-use-of...

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Jay's picture

Silverghost wrote:
Jay C wrote:
Silverghost, there is a monumental difference between making someone drunk in order to exploit them [the meaning of that verse in its' context ] and giving someone alcohol to drink.
I have read the chapter many times Jay, and I am a stickler on context. However, are you saying thus, that the "woe" has nothing to do with giving intoxicating wine to those who had already "well drunk," as Jesus supposedly did? Inhibitions, such as becoming naked, ensue, as Habakkuk indicated the portrayer of evil desired. Would Jesus think this humorous? The Hebrew in v.15 for "puttest" is sawphakh, which has nothing to do with forcing, which I consider a poor translation in the NLT. It is literally "to scrape out," i.e., the dregs, to make your neighbor drunk. The picture is irrigating his mouth from your wineskin. The KJV translation "to put" is a perfectly fine rendering, putting your bottle in his mouth.

So Jesus, in your opinion, gave alcoholic wine to those who had considerably imbibed already? Subsequently, are you saying that Habakkuk's warning has no bearing on this scene in John 2? Seems that you miss the context at the wedding. In light of all that Jesus did, He being necessarily without sin, according to the Scriptures, is this not a rather messy picture that you paint of the Savior? You seem to sidestep the real issue of the sanctity of the Lord. Even we fallible Christians are to "abstain from all appearance of evil." He would need to be untainted with sin in order to pay for ours.

PS: Is it not rather condescending for you to quote the entire chapter, to make your point? Do you think that after 40+ years of ministry, I would not be familiar with what Habakkuk said?


Silverghost,

No, it's not condescending for me to quote the entire chapter when you take it out of its context in order to make it say what you want [which, by the way, you seem to have done twice now - once in this thread and http://sharperiron.org/forum/thread-what-does-scripture-say-about-use-of... ]once on another thread ].

Furthermore, if the Hebrew term really means 'to scrape out the dregs' in order "to put your bottle to his mouth" [or to make your neighbor drunk ] that would indicate that my exegesis was correct...that God is angry with the Caldeans who exploited the needy and destitute for their own selfish ends. If you want to preach against drunkenness, there are tons of other passages to use, including Proverbs and Ephesians.

Furthermore, at least one commentary indicates that your position is incorrect.

Albert Barnes wrote:
When men have well drunk - This word does not of necessity mean that they were intoxicated, though it is usually employed in that sense. It may mean when they have drunk sufficient, or to satiety; or have drunk so much as to produce hilarity, and to destroy the keenness of their taste, so that they could not readily distinguish the good from that which was worse. But this cannot be adduced in favor of drunkenness, even if it means to be intoxicated; for,

1. It is not said of those who were present "at that feast," but of what GENERALLY occurred. For anything that appears, at that feast all were perfectly temperate and sober.

2. It is not the saying of Jesus that is here recorded, but of the governor of the feast, who is declaring what usually occurred as a fact.

3. There is not any expression of opinion in regard to its "propriety," or in approval of it, even by that governor.

4. It does not appear that our Saviour even heard the observation.

5. Still less is there any evidence that he approved such a state of things, or that he designed that it should take place here. Further, the word translated "well drunk" cannot be shown to mean intoxication; but it MAY mean when they had drunk as much as they judged proper or as they desired. then the other was presented. It is clear that neither our Saviour, nor the sacred writer, nor the speaker here expresses any approval of intemperance, nor is there the least evidence that anything of the kind occurred here. It is not proof that WE approve of intemperance when we mention, as this man did, what occurs usually among men at feasts.

Is worse - Is of an inferior quality.

The good wine - This shows that this had all the qualities of real wine. We should not be deceived by the phrase "good wine." WE often use the phrase to denote that it is good in proportion to its strength and its power to intoxicate; but no such sense is to be attached to the word here. Pliny, Plutarch, and Horace describe wine as "good," or mention that as "the best wine," which was harmless or "innocent" - poculo vini "innocentis." The most useful wine - "utilissimum vinum" - was that which had little strength; and the most wholesome wine - "saluberrimum vinum" - was that which had not been adulterated by "the addition of anything to the 'must' or juice." Pliny expressly says that a good wine was one that was destitute of spirit (lib. iv. c. 13). It should not be assumed, therefore, that the "good wine" was "stronger" than the other: it is rather to be presumed that it was milder...

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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