WINE FOR COMMUNION -NO
The use of fermented wine for the communion service has been a common practice in some churches. Alcoholism among the clergy has been one misfortunate result of this unscriptural custom. How many of the people developed a taste for wine we cannot know. As we shall see, the Scriptures are careful to avoid the use of the word wine in connection with the Lord’s Supper.
Oinos never used in communion
The Greek word for wine is oinos. When this word is used in the N.T., it does not distinguish fresh wine from fermented wine. Of course when it is accompanied with an adjective, as new (neon -Lk.5:38) wine, or old (palaion -Lk.5:39), a distinction is made. But otherwise one could not know if it were fresh or fermented. oinos is used of the “wine of the wrath of God,” (Rev.14:10) which seems to be in a bad sense. Now if Jesus or Paul spoke of using oinos in the Lord’s Supper, one would not know which wine was meant.
It is carefully noted that the Holy Spirit, in superintending the writing of Scripture, saw to it that oinos never was used in connection with the communion service. It is the fruit of the vine (Mat.26:29; Mk.14:25; Lk.22:18) or the cup (Mat.26: 27; Mk.14:23; Lk.22:17,20; I Cor.10:16,21; 11:25-28) that is used in this connection.
Fresh or fermented
Was the communion cup to contain fresh or fermented juice?
Some O.T. examples may give us direction in this matter. 1. Priests not to drink wine (yayin), Lev.10:8,9, And the Lord spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine (yayin) nor strong drink (shekar), thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:
The O.T. has 2 words for wine. Yayin -c.141t and Tirosh -c.42t. The strong drink evidently refers to strong drinks other than that from grapes. It was Yayin that made Noah drunken (Ge.9:21). So yayin is spoken of with bad results generally in the contexts. Tirosh is good, as “a land of corn and wine” (Deu.33:28; Isa.36:17), though it can be taken in excess. Aaron and his sons, the priests, were not to take this strong wine (yayin). So in Jud.13:7 Samson’s mother was told to drink no yayin nor strong drink, for the sake of the Nazarite that was to be conceived in her. 2. Leaven forbidden at the time of the Passover, Ex.12:8,15. Leaven is from the Hebrew hames. Now leaven is symbolic of evil consistently throughout the Bible. (Mat.13:33 no exception.) Most of the O.T. offerings must not have leaven. The peace offering has leaven, as a picture of the one who has peace with God even though he still has sin, made possible by the Savior who became a sin offering for us. In the N.T. the Passover is celebrated immediately before the Lord’s Supper. The Passover foreshadows the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Since leaven is forbidden in the Passover, and throughout the Feast of Unleavened Bread that follows it, and the Lord’s Supper follows upon the Passover celebration (Lk.22:14-20), it would only be consistent that the cup of the new testament be without leaven. Christ offered himself without spot to God (Heb.9:14). It is this “fruit of the vine” that Christ will drink “new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Mat.26:29). The wine (yayin) is associated with leaven, or vinegar, in Nu.6:3 where the Nazarite “shall drink no vinegar of wine . . .” Vinegar is translated from the same Heb. stem as leaven.
The fermented wine, as vinegar, or with leaven, would not suit the symbolic picture of the Passover. And because of its evil representation, and so not being drunken by the priests, we believe fermented wine could not be referred to as the “fruit of the vine” or the “cup,” the terms used in connection with the communion.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED IN THE 1990 ISSUE OF THE SCRIPTURE SEMANTICS HAND PASSAGES COMMENTARY, #1, AND WAS WRITTEN BY R.C. AVERITT. THIS MATERIAL HAS BEEN COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR RESEARCH AND STUDY PURPOSES ONLY.