Jesus no drinker at Last Supper nor at Calvary

flat unleavened bread being cooked in oven with fire

“Seven days ye eat unleavened things; only—in the first day ye cause {seor} leaven to cease out of your houses; for any one eating anything {chametz/chometz} fermented from the first day till the seventh day, even that person hath been cut off from Israel.” (Exodus 12:15, Young’s Literal Translation)

The Last Supper was after preparations for the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Things. No leaven was in the upper room! (See Ex. 12:15,19.) Unleavened bread, etc. has symbolic meaning at this feast (1 Cor. 5:8). Yeast itself (שְׂאֹר seor in Hebrew) and everything leavened/fermented is absolutely excluded. But refusing alcoholic drinks always has practical benefits: so that you can distinguish between the holy and unholy (Lev. 10:10). Christians are expected to be sober perfectly, vigilant at all times, not only at certain times (Luke 21:34; 1 Pet. 1:13-17; 1 Pet. 5:8; 2 Tim. 4:5).

Let’s look at the Greek words at the Last Supper, at the beginning of the crucifixion, and finally at the end of the crucifixion:

1. At the Last Supper: none of the gospels use the word wine (oinos). He gave “the fruit of the vine” (gennematos tes ampelou) at the Last Supper (Matt. 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18).

2. At the beginning of the crucifixion: Jesus refused the vinegar (oxos) that was mixed with poison (chole) (Matt. 27:34). Like Matthew 27:34 (MT & TR), the Septuagint also says both chole and oxos in Ps. 69:21. The Hebrew of Ps. 69:21 says poison (rosh) for food and vinegar (chometz) for drink. Luke 23:36 says vinegar (oxos). Mark 15:23 says Jesus refused wine that had bitterness (oinos smurnizo) at the beginning of the crucifixion. Mark’s gospel does not later repeat the term “oinos smurnizo” – nor even wine (oinos).

At the beginning of the crucifixion, at Luke 23:36, the Majority Text (MT), Textus Receptus (TR) and Westcott-Hort (WH) texts say soldiers offered oxos (vinegar) to Jesus. At Matthew 27:34, the MT & TR say oxos (vinegar) mixed with chole (poison) and WH says oinos (wine) mixed with poison. Jesus rejected the poisonous drink! At Mark 15:23, the MT, TR & WH texts say oinos (wine) with smurnizo (bitterness) – what Jesus refused!

3. Later, near the end of the crucifixion: Jesus accepted plain vinegar (oxos) when He said, “I thirst.” (John 19:28) Here John only cites the final clause of Ps. 69:21 about vinegar for drink, but not the first clause about poison offered for food. John 19:29-30 says vinegar (oxos). Matt. 27:48 and Mark 15:36 also say vinegar (oxos) not wine (oinos). This time it was not mixed with poison. So this time He accepted plain vinegar.

For the verses near the end of the crucifixion, Matt. 27:48; Mark 15:36; John 19:29-30, the MT, TR & WH texts uniformly say oxos (vinegar). These verses do not say oinos (wine), nor chole (poison), nor smurnizo (bitterness).

It is misleading and unfortunate that the Contemporary English Version incorrectly puts “wine” when it should say “vinegar” in John 19:29-30. This is the plain vinegar that Jesus accepted near the end of the crucifixion. Unlike most versions, the CEV also puts “wine” in Luke 22:18 at the Last Supper where it should say “the fruit of the vine”. Even though the original Greek has no contradiction, the CEV misleads its reader to wrongly suppose Jesus broke His own word. Never!

Luke 22:18 CEV “I tell you that I will not drink any more wine until God’s kingdom comes.” [Note: gennematos tes ampelou – should say “the fruit of the vine”.]

John 19:30 CEV “After Jesus drank the wine, he said, ‘Everything is done!’ He bowed his head and died.” [Note: oxos – should say “vinegar”.]

Luke 22:18 WEB “For I tell you, I will not drink at all again from the fruit of the vine, until God’s Kingdom comes.”

John 19:30 WEB “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, ‘It is finished.’ He bowed his head, and gave up his spirit.”

“Purge out the old yeast, that you may be a new lump, even as you are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed in our place. Therefore let’s keep the feast, not with old yeast, neither with the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened … of sincerity and truth. I wrote to you in my letter to have no company with sexual sinners; yet not at all meaning with the sexual sinners of this world, or with the covetous and extortionists, or with idolaters; for then you would have to leave the world. But as it is, I wrote to you not to associate with anyone who is called a brother who is a sexual sinner, or covetous, or an idolater, or a slanderer, or a drunkard, or an extortionist. Don’t even eat with such a person.” (1 Cor. 5:7-11 WEB) [Note: the word bread (artos) is absent from verse 8 in the Greek text itself. This is why Young’s Literal Translations says “unleavened food of sincerity and truth” – not talking about bread only, but all unleavened things.]

P.S. Though wine (oinos) was sometimes intoxicating wine and sometimes non-intoxicating wine, none of the gospels use the word wine (oinos) at the Last Supper anyway. Moreover, at Corinth: when methuo is in a context where it contrasts with hunger (1 Cor. 11:21), in this case it merely indicates satisfaction.  Compare Jer. 31:25 where the Septuagint says methuo. “For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.” (Jer. 31:25) So in 1 Cor. 11:21, methuo is not intoxication because in this specific instance because is not here being contrasted to sobriety. Rather, in this instance it is being contrasted to hunger.

In any case, it seems rather bizarre for some people to finally resort to Paul’s rebuke of the Corinthians when they today demand we should use alcohol in a holy sacrament. Will the same people insist Jesus broke His own word in John 19:30 if they themselves suppose alcoholic wine were at the Last Supper too – where Jesus said: “the fruit of the vine”?

Plain vinegar is not called the fruit of the vine, and neither is intoxicating. But alcohol intoxicates, as it is a mocker (Prov. 20:1).

Jewish details on Passover and Calvary

“…I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; for comforters, but I found none. They also gave me gall for my food…” (Ps. 69:20-21) Gall (rosh in Hebrew) is a word used in the Old Testament. It sometimes describes the venom of snakes (Deut. 32:33; Job 20:16). Jesus refused the offer! (Matt. 27:34)

white spottless lamb sitting on ground
“…you were not redeemed with
corruptible things… but with the
precious blood of Christ,
as of a lamb without blemish
and without spot.”
(1 Peter 1:18-19)

Encyclopedia of World Cultures, 1996, Karaites, ‘Passover is a very central holiday for Egyptian Karaites because it serves as an allegory for their own historical exodus from Egypt. During the Passover seder, or meal, which is only held one night, the Karaites read from their own Haggadah that retells the story of the hasty departure of the Jews from Egypt in biblical times. Instead of wine, they drink a homemade grape juice from red, seedless raisins* because they say that the juice would not have had an opportunity to ferment, and they eat bitter herbs and lamb. During Passover week, Karaites refrain from eating leavened bread, anything derived from soaked grains, or food prepared outside of the home.’

Accidental fermentation was preventable. See: “Some ancient wines not even mildly intoxicating. Others were intoxicating.”

*The juice squeezed from semi-dried raisins or squeezed from fresh grapes was suitable for Kiddush and for the offerings in the Temple (See: Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Sabbath 29.17).

The New Covenant

“But he was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought our peace was on him; and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isa. 53:5) Christ’s blood is the blood of the New Covenant. To “cut off” means to make a spotless sacrificial covenant (or else to punish someone not fearing God by not taking His covenant seriously). See also Ex. 24:8; Ps. 50:5; Ps. 89:3; Isa. 55:3; Jer. 31:31; 32:40; 34:18; Dan. 9:26.

“Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks the Lord’s cup in a way unworthy of the Lord will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup.
For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy way eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he doesn’t discern the Lord’s body.” (1 Cor. 11:27-29)

Christ suffered once for sins, the Just for the unjust (1 Pet. 3:18). Meanwhile His merciless persecutors (Ps. 69:20) remained pitiless right until the moment of His death. Vinegar itself irritates the teeth (Prov. 10:26) and it increases the thirst. Shortly before dying, He endured this insulting vinegar as the final act of hostility by sinners against Himself. See Heb. 12:3. Chometz (vinegar) is the emblem of the malice from sinners, which He endured. But our feast is with unfermented things (non-chometz). So the emblem of sincerity and truth contrasts with of their opposite emblem “chometz” – leaven/ferment meaning their malice and wickedness against Christ, who is our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7-8).

“Thou dost not slaughter with a fermented thing the blood of My sacrifice; and the sacrifice of the feast of the passover doth not remain till morning” (Ex. 34:25 Young’s Literal Translation)

Fruit of the Vine – Greek and Hebrew

“Fruit of the vine” in Greek: gennematos tes ampelou

“Fruit of the vine” in Hebrew: pri hagafen

None of the gospels, nor any of the other books in the Bible, use the word oinos (wine) when talking about the Last Supper.

Passover – Word Forms

H6453, פֶּסַח, Pasach.

G3957 πάσχα, Pesach.

14th day of Abib or Nisan

The 14th day of Abib: the Hebrew year’s first month Abib was called Nisan after the exile. The date occurs in March or April.

1 thought on “Jesus no drinker at Last Supper nor at Calvary”

  1. Something worth mentioning that I’m sure you are already aware of is the priests were forbidden any type of wine or strong drink when they went into the tabernacle. Leviticus 10:9. And part of the Passover was for the priest to offer sacrifices at the tabernacle. So if wine were part of the Passover then the priest could not fulfill his duties. Therefore we see that wine would not be part of the Passover.
    Also, Yeast is what causes fermentation! So fermented grape juice would be “leavened”!

    I also wanted to thank you for all of the information on this site. It is extremely well put together and it has helped me in my own studies on this subject.

    It’s sad we live in a day where people who profess Christ think it’s acceptable to drink alcohol. If you have any information about your group I would be interested in learning more about you all.

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