"…Let us watch and BE SOBER. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day BE SOBER…" (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8) Sober – Nepho: "to be free from the influence of intoxicants." (Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)
The Last Supper was after preparations for the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Things. No leaven was in the upper room! (See Exodus 12:15,19.) Unleavened bread, etc. has symbolic meaning at this feast. Yeast is absolutely excluded. But refusing alcoholic drinks always has practical benefits: so that you can distinguish between the holy and unholy (Leviticus 10:10).
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, the Septuagint also says both chole and oxos in Psalm 69:21. 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).
3. Later, near the end of the crucifixion: Jesus accepted plain vinegar (oxos) when He said, “I thirst”. 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.
“Basil Wilberforce was born in Winchester in 1841, the son of Samuel Wilberforce, the famous Church of England bishop and anti-Darwinian. Queen Victoria was one of Basil’s godparents. He trained for a career in the church and in 1871 became rector of St Mary’s Church in Southampton. While in Southampton he campaigned nationally and locally against the evils of alcoholic drink. As an alternative to the public house he founded a Church of England Young Men’s Association (YMA) in the town.“
Albert Basil Orme Wilberforce (b. 1841) was appointed canon residentiary of Westminster in 1894, chaplain of the House of Commons in 1896 and archdeacon of Westminster in 1900; he has published several volumes of sermons.
Caution with the vague term ‘wine’ in communion service
A minister today needs caution when using unfermented grape juice and simply calling it ‘wine’ during a communion service. Participants may become confused, unless it is specifically stated that it is not the fermented type. They may know the term ‘wine’ is variously understood by different Christians (more so than other terms). Whatever the meanings of ‘wine’ – the Holy Bible itself does not use this particular term ‘wine’ (oinos) in reference to the Lord’s Supper. In every case, the Gospels only say ‘the fruit of the vine’ or ‘the cup’ (Matt. 26:27-29; Mark 14:23-25; Luke 22:17-18,20). Continue reading “The advantages of unfermented grape juice for the Lord’s Supper”