Was the wine used at the Last Supper alcoholic?

Was it unfermented grape juice, or would it be wine with alcohol content?

Clarify Share Report Asked December 08 2015 Mini John Adamson

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
In characterizing the hypocritical judgment employed by the scribes and Pharisees in their opposition to Jesus, Jesus Himself said in Luke 7:33-34, "For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’" Even though the charge of drunkenness made by the scribes and Pharisees was not true, this clearly implies to me that Jesus and the apostles were at least known to drink fermented wine in moderation (including at the Last Supper), as would have been the custom at that time.

That Jesus had no objection in principle to the consumption of wine is also indicated to me by his first miracle of turning water into fermented wine (as described by the master of the wedding feast in John 2:10), and not just grape juice.

Also, when the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost (just fifty days after the Last Supper), and the apostles were speaking in different languages, those who derided them explained what was happening by saying that the apostles were full of new wine (Acts 2:13) (that is, that they were drunk). But Peter, at the beginning of his sermon to the people, said in Acts 2:15, "These men are not drunken, as you suppose, seeing it is only the third hour of the day." If the apostles never partook of alcoholic or fermented wine, or if they had regarded any consumption of it as sinful as a result of Jesus' teaching or example, it would have been more logical for Peter to say, "These men are not drunken, as you suppose, since drinking fermented wine is forbidden to them." Instead, he appealed to the fact that it was too early in the day for someone to be drunk in order to refute the mockers' claims. 

I would also refer anyone interested in this question to the response on this website that S. Michael Houdmann of the GotQuestions?.org web ministry gave to the related question (which appears on the right side of this page), "Did Jesus drink wine/alcohol?"

December 08 2015 8 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Aurel Gheorghe
Before assuming too much, let’s see what the word of God tells us. 

The bread used for Passover was unleavened bread (Exodus 12:19; Matthew 26:14), symbolizing Christ’s sinless body. On the other hand leavened bread, containing yeast, symbolizes sinfulness (Mark 8:15; Galatians 5:9). Fermentation is the identical process of leavening. If the bread was to be free from leaven (sin), then we can safely assume that the wine, a symbol of Jesus blood, used at the Last Supper was also unfermented. The perfect, sinless blood of Jesus would never be symbolized by corrupt and putrefying old wine.

The word “wine” in the Bible sometimes refers to fresh grape juice; other times it is used to describe fermented alcoholic products. In Hebrew, the word tîyrôsh is used for new unfermented wine, and yayin is generally used for fermented wine, although there were exceptions (Isaiah 16:10). 

In the New Testament, only one Greek word is used to describe both fermented and fresh grape juice: oinis. So unless the passage says old or new wine (Luke 5:37-39), the context should tell us what kind of wine is being described. 

In Matthew 26:28-29 Jesus uses the new, unfermented wine as a symbol of His new covenant with His people. Christ also calls wine the “fruit of the vine.” However, after wine goes through the process of fermentation, it is no more the fruit of the vine than cheese is the fruit of a cow.

Jesus compared His pure teachings to wholesome new wine (Matthew 9:17) and all corrupted doctrines are likened to the fermented wine of Babylon. (Revelation 17:2). 

It is hard to imagine that Christ, hours before He was going to be arrested, mistreated and later crucified as an atoning sacrifice for the entire humanity, He was drinking intoxicating wine with the disciples. 

Finally, it is even harder to imagine that Christ, who in His own Scripture unambiguously condemned the use of alcoholic wine will partake of this dangerous and highly addictive drug called alcohol (Numbers 6:2-4; Daniel 1:8; Judges 13:3-5; Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 23:29-35; Isaiah 5:11; Isaiah 24:9; Romans 14:21; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Peter 5:8).

December 26 2015 13 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Edwin Danny Reaid
Self-discipline is essentially the same as self-control and one of the fruits of the spirit: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

In Timothy we see that even for an overseer he is to be self-controlled in other words (self-disciplined). He is not to be a drunkard and this is not to say he should not partake of wine. "Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” 1 Timothy 3:2-5 

Wine is a fermented beverage and not grape juice. We have to be careful not to make scripture say something that is not there. The main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things. Wine at the Last Supper was an alcoholic beverage and to say something different would be to read into scripture something that is not stated.

February 12 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Paul Hall
Here is the simple proof that Jesus drank wine at the last supper. Grapes ripen in the middle east in August. The last supper was in April and there was no refrigeration at that time, so it would have been impossible for Jesus to drink grape juice at the last supper.

March 12 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Jim spence
The wine drunk in those days was generally diluted by water 3:1 wine. Plutarch testifies to this. So maybe 2 -3% alcohol by content at most

May 18 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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