Did Jesus Make and Drink Alcoholic Wine?
Bruce Lackey (1930-1988) taught at Tennessee Temple (Chattanooga, Tennessee) for nineteen years and was Dean of the Bible School from 1965 until the early 1980s. He pastored the Lakewood Baptist Church of Chattanooga for eight years, and pastored two other churches before that. During the last few years of his life, he traveled as a Bible conference speaker and authored several books. He was an accomplished musician, a highly gifted Bible teacher, and a diligent scholar who was proficient in the Greek language. Dr. Lackey, who was deeply respected and beloved by the “preacher boys” at Temple, defended the Received Text and the King James Bible as the preserved and perfect Word of God.
The following article entitled, “Did Jesus Make Alcoholic Wine?” was written by the late Dr. Lackey. Dr. Lackey did not believe that Jesus made and drank alcoholic wine; nor did he believe that the Bible endorses the moderate use of alcoholic beverages. However, the Bible is easily understood on this subject, if one has an open mind to receive what the Lord God teaches on this subject. This article is an excellent example of how the Bible is often misused and misinterpreted on this important issue.
DID JESUS MAKE ALCOHOLIC WINE?
SOME INTRODUCTORY BIBLE FACTS ABOUT WINE
1. The word wine in the Bible is a generic term; sometimes it means grape juice; sometimes it means alcoholic beverages. The following verses prove that the word “wine” can mean fresh grape juice, the fruit of the vine: De. 11:14; 2 Ch. 31:5; Ne. 13:15; Pr. 3:10; Is. 16:10; 65:8; 1 Ti. 5:23.
Biblical Response: Dr. Lackey states that the word “wine” in the Bible is a generic term and may sometimes mean grape juice. However, if you look up the word “wine” in the Oxford English Dictionary, the standard dictionary of the English language, you will see that the word is not generic at all. The word “wine” always refers to alcoholic beverages, never to non-alcoholic beverages. “Wine” in the Bible refers to “the fermented juice of the grape used as a beverage.” The word “wine” never refers to grape juice. Our King James Bible translators knew what grape juice was, and they knew what wine was. They chose the word “wine” throughout the Bible because they intended the established, commonly understood meaning of the word.
The verses that Dr. Lackey cites as proof that the word “wine” can mean fresh grape juice do not prove this point at all. In each instance, the word “wine” means the fermented juice of the grape. How do we know this? Because the English word “wine” never means grape juice. Just grab any English dictionary.
2. The context will always show when “wine” refers to alcoholic beverages. In such cases, God discusses the bad effects of it and warns against it. An example would be Gen. 9, Noah’s experience after the Flood. Verse 21, “and he drank of the wine, and was drunken,” clearly refers to alcoholic beverage. Prov. 20:1 speaks of the same thing when it warns us, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Alcoholic wine is deceptive; but how? In the very way that people are advocating today, by saying that drinking a little bit will not hurt. Everyone admits that drinking too much is bad; even the liquor companies tell us not to drive and drink, but they insist that a small amount is all right. However, that is the very thing that is deceptive. Who knows how little to drink? Experts tell us that each person is different. It takes an ounce to affect one, while more is necessary for another. The same person will react to alcohol differently, depending on the amount of food he has had, among other things. So, the idea that “a little bit won’t hurt” is deceptive, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise!
Biblical Response: Dr. Lackey goes on to state that the context of Scripture will always show when a usage of the word “wine” means alcoholic wine. No, as we have already proved, the word “wine” always means “the fermented juice of the grape used as a beverage.” No one with any meaningful knowledge of the English language ever calls grape juice wine. The two beverages are very different.
Wine by itself is not deceptive. Neither is wine a mocker or strong drink raging by itself. As this verse indicates (Prov 20:1), wine is only deceptive when it is used excessively and causes a man to disgrace himself or fall into a drunken rage. However, if wine is drunk in moderation, a man will not be mocked or shamed by his conduct, nor will he fall into a rage. The moderate man will be able to consciously enjoy the goodness of God; he will not be deceived by wine or strong drink in any way.
See the commentary on Proverbs 20:1.
Prov. 23:30-31 refers to alcoholic wine, because it tells us in the previous verse that those who drink it have woe, sorrow, contentions, babbling, wounds without cause, and redness of eyes. What a graphic description of those who “tarry long” at alcoholism. Verses 32-35 continue the same description; context always makes it clear when alcohol is meant.
Biblical Response: Dr. Lackey is correct that this passage refers to alcoholic wine since all the passages in the Bible that refer to wine are referring to alcoholic wine. Please note that the description of drinking in Proverbs 23:29-35 is only of those that “tarry long at the wine.” The listed characteristics of excessive drinking are never present with moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages.
3. Scripture warns against the drinking of alcoholic wine. The Bible is consistent on this, both in the Old and New Testaments. The two previously quoted passages, Pr. 20:1 and 23:29-35, are good examples of scriptural warnings against consuming alcohol. Pr. 23:32 says “at the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” Verse 33 shows that it will cause one to look at strange women (that is, not one’s wife) and to say perverse things, or things which he would not say if he were sober. Verse 34 predicts that it will cause death, such as drowning, or loneliness, such as lying upon the top of a mast. Verse 35 warns against numbness (“they have beaten me and I felt it not”) and “addiction (“when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again”).
Biblical Response: We agree with Dr. Lackey that Scripture does warn strongly against the EXCESSIVE drinking of wine. But nowhere in Scripture is the drinking of wine ever prohibited. Indeed, the Bible promotes and commends the drinking of wine AND strong drink! Lev 10:9 proves beyond argument that the entire nation of Israel in the O.T. drank wine and strong drink. Notice that this verse is a prohibition for Aaron and the priests not to drink wine or strong drink when they were performing their priestly duties. They clearly drank when they were not performing their priestly duties. Num 6:3 is a prohibition against drinking for the man who had taken a vow of a nazarite. After the vow is fulfilled, he is free to drink wine and strong drink again (Num 6:20). Notice that the best of the wine was to be given to the Levites and priests (Num 18:12). God even ordained a special time of feasting which included wine and strong drink for everyone in Israel on certain occasions before the LORD (Deut 14:26). These verses prove conclusively that God not only allowed, but also commended the drinking of wine AND strong drink in the Bible. Why does Dr. Lackey ignore these verses? And even if one holds to the ridiculous proposition that wine may mean grape juice, the strong drink of the above passages can mean nothing but strong ALCOHOLIC drinks. God commends the drinking of alcoholic beverages in the Bible.
Proverbs 20:1, 23:29-35 are not, as Dr. Lackey states, prohibitions against drinking any alcoholic beverage for this would contradict the clear commendation of the Law of Moses for such beverages. These statements in Proverbs are clearly prohibiting the drinking of alcoholic beverages to excess or drunkenness.
Prov. 31:4-5 teaches, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.” The danger is obvious.
Biblical Response: In like manner, Proverbs 31:4-5 is not prohibiting kings from drinking entirely. Rather this passage is prohibiting kings from drinking so much that “they drink and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.” Only excessive drinking will make a king pervert judgment.
By the way, Prov. 31:6,7 give us the only legitimate use of alcoholic wine in Scripture. “Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.” This would be using it as an anesthetic; a painkiller. But this is not for everyone; he says in v. 6, “unto him that is ready to perish.” Of course, they did not have all the painkillers that we have today. In our time, it would not be necessary to do this. We have many anesthetics available for those who are dying. Then, about the only thing available to the average person would have been some kind of alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant; it is not a stimulant, as some think. After several drinks, one gets dizzy; then he will pass out. So this passage teaches that alcoholic beverage would be only for the person who is ready to die; there would be no hope for his life. All that would be possible would be to ease his pain and help him forget his misery.
Biblical Response: Proverbs 31:6-7 is not the only legitimate use of alcoholic drinks in the Bible. As we have seen above, the Law of Moses commended the drinking of alcoholic drinks for the priests and for feasting Jews before the LORD.
Another passage is Isa. 5:11. “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!” Obviously this is alcoholic, because it inflames. Why does he say, “Woe unto them”? Verse 12 answers, “…they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands.” Everyone knows that when one gives himself to the drinking of alcoholic beverage, he will not be more spiritual, more desirous of learning the Word of God. To the contrary, it causes a person to ignore the Lord. Verses 13-14 reveal two other serious results: people go into captivity (become slaves to something or someone) and Hell enlarges itself! The drinking of alcoholic wine has caused Hell to be enlarged! God does not want anyone to go to Hell; He has given the greatest, dearest gift that He possibly could, to rescue sinners from it. He never made Hell for people. The Lord Jesus Christ said that Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels (Mt. 25:41). However, because of evil alcohol, Hell has had an enlargement campaign. Here, then, is a clear warning against drinking alcohol, because God does not want anyone to go to Hell.
Biblical Response: Here again in Isaiah 5:11, the prohibition is NOT for all alcoholic beverages in general, but rather for the excessive use and continual pursuit of alcoholic drinks that leads to drunkenness and addiction. Only those that are drunk are inflamed with wine. Only those who drink to excess disregard the work of the Lord. If a man drinks in moderation he will not be inflamed with wine and he will not disregard the work of the Lord.
Isa. 28:7,8 continues the warning. “But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.”
Biblical Response: Again, this passage does not prohibit the general drinking of alcoholic beverages. This passage does not contradict the clear teaching of Moses as pointed out above. Isaiah 28:7-8 is referring to those who are “swallowed up of wine,” those who are drinking to excess and drunkenness, and are thereby “out of the way.”
What a tragic thing, that even in the days of Isaiah, the priests and prophets were engaged in the drinking of alcoholic wine! Thus we see that the problem of preachers recommending alcohol is not new. Six hundred years before Christ, demon alcohol had worked its way into religion.
Biblical Response: The tragedy in Isaiah’s time was not the general drinking of alcoholic wine, but the excessive drinking of alcoholic wine and strong drink so that drunkenness resulted. Dr. Lackey is unable to separate between drinking alcoholic beverages in moderation and drinking to excess and drunkenness.
4. The making of alcoholic beverages is not a strictly natural process. Years ago I took for granted that if you took the juice of a grape and let it alone, not refrigerating it, it would automatically, in time, turn into alcoholic wine. There are several reasons why this is not true. It takes more than time to make wine. Sometimes people try to defend its use by saying that it must be good because God made it. But, the fact is, God did not make it. Man has learned how to make alcoholic liquors through processes that he has invented. Wine-makers know that one must have the correct amount of water, sugar, and temperature to make wine. Keeping grape juice in a refrigerator would prevent if from fermenting, because the temperature is not right. Likewise, hot, tropical temperature would prevent fermentation.
Biblical Response: The making of bread is, like wine, a process that man must develop. Bread does not come naturally from the field. Man must process the grain and develop the bread just like he processes the grapes to develop wine. Neither process is natural. But just because man may eat too much bread and become a glutton does not prove that God condemns the eating of bread because it is not derived from an entirely natural process. So too for wine. Just because a man may drink to excess and become drunk does not mean that God condemns all drinking since wine does not come from an entirely natural process. The “naturalness” of wine does not prove anything with respect to whether God approves it or condemns it for the same arguments can be made concerning bread. The key is what saith the LORD. And we have already shown from Scripture that the LORD God clearly commended the moderate use of alcoholic beverages.
In ancient days, before we had refrigeration and vacuum-sealing ability, people learned to preserve the juice of the grape without turning it into alcoholic wine. Many people boiled it down into thick syrup. By doing so, they could preserve it for long periods of time. When they got ready to drink it, they would simply add the water to the consistency desired, in much the same way that we take frozen concentrates and add water. In Bible days, contrary to what many believe, it was not necessary for everyone to drink alcoholic wine as a table beverage.
Biblical Response: The Bible tells us plainly that God gave wine to man even as he gave bread to man. Read Psalm 104:14-15. This verse states that God is the one who gives man food out of the earth; “and wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.” Neither wine nor oil nor bread comes naturally to man from the field. Man must process each harvest in order to develop the end product. However, as the Bible clearly states, God is the one who is giving these beneficial products to man from the earth. Wine is most definitely a good gift from the great God of heaven for man’s pleasurable use and enjoyment.
I recommend the book entitled Bible Wines and the Laws of Fermentation by William Patton (Challenge Press, Emmaus, PA). More than a hundred years ago, this preacher was the only one in his town who believed in total abstinence. He saw that it was necessary to make an extensive study to see what scripture taught. This book is the result of that labor and is the very best thing I have read on the subject.
[Editor: Natural processes alone will produce fermentation under certain conditions, but these natural processes, if unaided by man, rapidly move to a vinegar state. The alcoholic beverages industry is very much a man-made thing.]
Now we come to the longest point in this entire study, but one which is most important, chiefly because so many insist that Jesus made and drank alcoholic wine.
TEN PROOFS THAT JESUS DID NOT MAKE OR DRINK ALCOHOLIC WINE:
THE FIRST REASON IS BECAUSE OF HIS HOLY NATURE.
In Heb. 7:26, we read that the Lord Jesus is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” No doubt, the Saviour, being God in the flesh, had an air of holiness about Himself that could be seen by even the most casual observer. For instance, the profane soldiers, who were sent to arrest Him, gave as their reason for returning without Him, that “never a man spake like this man.” (John 7:46) The words of Jesus were different; He, no doubt, had a very holy appearance, character, and speech.
Biblical Response: The Lord Jesus Christ was indeed “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” But the Law of Moses clearly commends the drinking of alcoholic beverages as seen above. Jesus was a Jew and would have understood from Scripture that wine was a gift from God to men. He would certainly have drunk alcoholic beverages. At the same time, we can be certain that Jesus would have never misused alcohol. He would never have drunk to excess or become drunk. Being a priest after the order of Melchisedec, Jesus drank wine as he did (Gen 14:18).
Why is this so important? Consider this illustration. The word “cider” may mean an alcoholic beverage, or plain apple juice. Suppose we lived during the 1920s, prohibition days, and were approached by two people offering us a drink of cider. One of the persons, we knew to be one of the holiest men in town, faithful to the house of God, separated from the world, diligent in prayers, always witnessing to others; the other was a known liquor dealer. If each one offered us a drink of “his very own cider,” we would assume that the holy person’s was no more than apple juice, but there would be no doubt about our opinion regarding the liquor dealer’s cider! Obviously, the character of a person influences what that one does.
Biblical Response: We know also that Jesus drank alcoholic beverages because he explicitly said he did. First, note that John the Baptist was a Nazarite for life and was expressly prohibited from drinking any wine or strong drink because of the Nazarite vows (Luke 1:15). Now look at Luke 7:33-34 to see what Jesus said about John and what he said about himself. Jesus acknowledges in verse 33 that John did not drink wine. However, in verse 34 Jesus clearly acknowledges that he DID drink wine, the very thing that John did not drink. Here we have in unmistakable language from our Lord Jesus himself that he drank the same wine that John did not drink due to his vows.
Since the Lord Jesus Christ was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” we may safely assume that He would not make that which is called in Scripture a mocker and deceiver of man, causing untold misery.
Biblical Response: Wine is called a mocker and deceiver of man in Scripture only when it has been used excessively. Wine only deceives and mocks a man when he is drunk. The moderate use of alcoholic beverages does not mock or deceive men.
A SECOND REASON IS THAT HE WOULD NOT CONTRADICT SCRIPTURE. In Mt. 5:17- 18, Christ made this clear, saying, “Think not that I am come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Therefore, Christ could not have contradicted Hab. 2:15, “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!”
Biblical Response: Yes, Jesus would never have made any one drunk with wine or strong drink. Hab 2:15 pronounces woe upon those who make their neighbor drunk in order to take advantage of them. Jesus, of course, would never have done anything like that. However, Jesus did turn water to wine at the marriage feast in Cana. While he miraculously provided wine for many of the guests at the feast, he did not make anyone drunk in order to take advantage of him. Jesus provided wine for this feast to show his power as the Son of God and so that the festivities would not be brought to a premature end due to a lack of wine.
Certainly, Jesus knew that this verse was in the Bible; He was well-acquainted with Scripture, since it is His Word and was written about Him. He did not come to violate Scripture, but to fulfill it. He could not have done so, if He had made alcoholic wine and had given it to his neighbor.
Some people object to the use of this verse by saying that it would apply only to one who would give his neighbor drink for the purpose of looking on his nakedness. But we must remember: when one gives his neighbor something which will make him drunk, he is putting himself in the very class of those who do so in order to look on their nakedness. And since the Scripture commands us to “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Th. 5:22), we can be sure that the Lord Jesus would not have done something that would have been associated with such an evil practice as that described in Hab. 2:15. For the same reason, no Christian should be engaged in the selling of alcoholic beverage.
Biblical Response: Dr. Lackey seems to think that giving a person a drink of wine is the same as making them drunk. This is not true. A person can drink wine or strong drink in moderation and never get drunk in a lifetime of drinking. Dr. Lackey is finding it difficult to distinguish between drinking in moderation and getting drunk. The Bible makes this distinction clear from cover to cover.
THE THIRD REASON IS THAT LEV. 10:9-11 COMMANDS THE PRIEST OF GOD NOT TO DRINK WINE OR STRONG DRINK. “Do not drink wine nor strong drink .. that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; and that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statues which the Lord hath spoken…” Now, since Heb. 2:17 calls Christ “a merciful and faithful high priest,” we would expect Him to obey all Scriptures pertaining to that office. If He had made or drunk alcoholic wine, He would have disobeyed these verses and would have been disqualified from teaching the children of Israel the statues of the Lord.
Biblical Response: Here Dr. Lackey omits the most important words in Lev 10:9. The entire verse applies to Aaron and the priests and reads like this: “Do not drink wine or strong drink, 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 key words that Dr. Lackey intentionally omitted have been underlined. This verse does not prohibit all drinking for the priests. It merely prohibited them from drinking when they were in the tabernacle fulfilling their priestly duties. When not functioning as priests, they were free to drink wine or strong drink just like any other Israelite. When the entire verse is properly considered, this passage clearly supports just the opposite of what Dr. Lackey is trying to prove. The priests drank the best wine (Num 18:12), and Melchisedec drank wine (Gen 14:18).
THE FOURTH REASON IS FOUND IN A PASSAGE WHICH WE HAVE ALREADY CONSIDERED: PR. 31:4-5 PROHIBITS KINGS AND PRINCES FROM DRINKING ALCOHOLIC WINE OR ANY OTHER STRONG DRINK. IF THEY HAD DONE SO, THEIR JUDGMENT WOULD HAVE BEEN PERVERTED. It was necessary for Christ to obey these verses also, since He was Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6) and King of Kings (Rev. 19:16). In Mt. 27:11, He admitted to being the King of the Jews. He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt, to fulfill Zec. 9:9, which prophesied that Israel’s king would enter the city in just that way. Undoubtedly, He was king, and as such, would have had to obey Prov. 31:4-5.
Biblical Response: Again, Proverbs 31:4-5 is a warning to kings and those in authority not to drink to excess and thereby forget the law and pervert judgment. Used in moderation, wine and strong drink will not cause one to forget the law and pervert judgment. Because the text is focusing on forgetting the law and perverting judgment, we can know that the drinking in question in the passage is excessive drinking, drinking until one is drunk. Furthermore, the passage continues by commending and encouraging the use of wine and strong drink for those who are discouraged or in pain (Pr 31:6-7).
REASON FIVE IS THAT CHRIST DID NOT COME TO MOCK OR DECEIVE PEOPLE, yet Prov. 20:1 says that wine does both. Rather than coming to mock or deceive he came to save!
Biblical Response: Wine and strong drink only deceive when they are drunk to excess. Wine only mocks and strong drink only rages when it is drunk excessively by foolish men who lose their inhibitions and do and say stupid things. When the Lord Jesus drank wine, he always used moderation and self-control.
REASON SIX IS THAT HE DID NOT COME TO SEND PEOPLE TO HELL. We have already seen that Isa. 5:11-14 teaches that Hell had to be enlarged because of the drinking of alcoholic beverage. Christ did not come to send people to Hell; listen to Jn. 3:17: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
Biblical Response: We have earlier pointed out that Isaiah 5:11 is pronouncing woe upon those who drink wine continuously and excessively until they are inflamed by wine. This passage is not a prohibition against the moderate use of alcoholic beverages. Jesus came drinking the very wine and strong drink that John was prohibited from drinking due to his vow.
REASON SEVEN IS THAT CHRIST DID NOT COME TO CAST A STUMBLINGBLOCK BEFORE ANYONE; yet, Rom. 14:21 teaches that a person who gives another alcoholic wine does just that. “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” Everyone who has studied the problem of alcoholism has learned that some people cannot handle any amount of alcohol, while others may drink one or two “social” drinks and stop. Experts do not know why this is true; various theories have been propounded, but nothing has been proved to be true regarding every person. Some say it is chemical; others insist that it must be psychological. The fact is, we do not know for certain. In any given group of people, there would be several potential alcoholics. What a shame it would be for a person, who is a potential slave to it, to get his first taste at the Lord’s Table in church, then proceed down the road of misery to an alcoholic’s grave!
Biblical Response: Romans 14:21 teaches that a Christian is responsible to protect the weak consciences of other Christian brethren. This might mean that in certain company a Christian might not be able to eat meat offered to idols or to drink alcoholic beverages. However, when at home, a Christian would not need to be concerned because the weak brother would not be there to be offended. This passage is not a general prohibition against all drinking but a prohibition against drinking when it might cause a weak brother to stumble in his conscience.
I certainly would not want my children to get their first taste of alcohol at the family meal; nor would I want them to get it at church. One or more of them could well be potential alcoholics. As evidence that this is possible, we should consider that some denominations which serve alcoholic wine in their religious services also operate homes for alcoholic priests!
Biblical Response: If Dr. Lackey is persuaded that he should not drink wine or strong drink, he is welcome to that opinion and choice. However, he should refrain from trying to use the Bible to support an argument that the Bible clearly does not support.
But we can be absolutely sure that Christ did not come to cause others to stumble!
THE EIGHTH REASON IS THAT THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT THAT WINE OF JOHN 2 BE ALCOHOLIC. Many insist that it was alcoholic, on the basis of John 2:10, which says, “Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse; but thou hast kept the good wine until now.” They would say that, in those days, it was common to serve the best alcoholic wine at first, saving the worst until later, when men’s tastes have been dulled by much drinking. But the point is just the opposite here! These people could definitely recognize that the wine which Jesus made was much better than what they had been served at first. This could not have been possible if they were already well on their way to becoming intoxicated! The fact is, neither the wine which they had at first, nor that which Christ made, was alcoholic.
Biblical Response: First, we know that the wine of John chapter 2 is alcoholic because the English word “wine” only means alcoholic. There is no other kind of wine. Grape juice is not wine! And wine is not grape juice. Secondly, Jesus said in Luke 7:34 that he drank wine, so why would he not miraculously provide some wine for a needy wedding feast. Thirdly, contrary to what Dr. Lackey has suggested, the guests at the wedding feast in Cana did not recognize that the best wine had been kept until last. Only the governor of the feast recognized this fact. John 2:10 is strong proof by itself that Jesus provided true alcoholic wine for the Cana marriage feast. Since Jesus was a son of Solomon, and since he inspired Solomon to write Ecclesiastes, he would have known that grape juice was no beverage for a feast (Eccl 10:19).
REASON NINE IS THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WOULD NOT HAVE GOTTEN GLORY FROM MAKING DRUNK PEOPLE DRUNKER. Verse 11 is most important when it states that, by this miracle, Jesus “manifested forth his glory.” Verse 10 indicates that the people had drunk quite a bit of whatever kind of wine they were drinking. If it had been alcoholic, they would have been intoxicated, or nearly so. Had Christ made alcoholic wine, He would have made drunk people drunker, or almost-drunk people completely drunk! Such a deed would certainly not have manifested any glory to Him!
Biblical Response: NINE: John chapter 2 does not give any indication whatsoever that most of the guests attending the marriage feast were drunk or almost drunk like Dr. Lackey speculates. What we do know with certainty is that the English word “wine” only refers to the fermented juice of the grape used as a beverage and that Jesus clearly acknowledges in Luke 7:34 that he did drink alcoholic beverages. Therefore we can know with certainty that Jesus miraculously provided the very finest wine for the marriage feast at Cana, not grape juice.
THE TENTH REASON IS THAT MAKING DRUNK PEOPLE DRUNKER WOULD NOT HAVE CAUSED HIS DISCIPLES TO BELIEVE MORE STRONGLY ON HIM, yet verse 11 says that, as a result of what He did in turning the water into wine, “his disciples believed on him.” Jn. 1:41 shows that they had already believed on Him as Messiah; this was a deepening of their faith and a proof that they had not been wrong. Would making drunk people drunker inspire such faith? The opposite would be likely! They were not looking for a Messiah who would pass out free booze! Thus, because of the description of this miracle and its result, we can not conclude otherwise than that this wine was non-alcoholic.
Biblical Response: Another text in the New Testament that clearly indicates that early Christians used alcoholic beverages is found in I Cor 11. In this passage we learn that many of the Christians at Corinth were getting drunk at the Lord’s table. But the Apostle Paul does not rebuke them for using wine instead of grape juice. He rather only rebukes them for getting drunk and ignoring those who didn’t have any wine to drink. This proves that Paul did not have any problem with drinking wine, but drunkenness at the Lord’s Table was a serious offence to Jesus Christ.
Another important text is Eph 5:18, which reads, “be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit.” Notice that this verse is not a prohibition against drinking. This verse merely prohibits drinking so much that one becomes drunk.
Notice also I Tim 3:3,8 where pastors and deacons were not to be given to wine or much wine. Again, this is in no way a prohibition against all drinking, even for pastors and deacons. They are to avoid being given to wine, that is, they are not to be drinking excessively or often. Pastors should not be given to wine. Deacons with less restriction are not to be given to much wine. Other members could drink as much as they desired short of drunkenness.