The Fruit of the Vine — What Is It?

Question from a Site Viewer
Some catholic people that I was talking to mentioned the fact that while Jesus was on the cross he was given some wine vinegar when he mentioned that he was thirsty. Wouldn’t this make his statement false about not drinking the “fruit of the vine” until he could do so with them in heaven false? How does this figure into the whole thing?

I have to be honest and say that I am honestly leaning towards their view of this particular subject (as much as I do not necessarily feel like it is the truth of what God intended). Scripturally speaking, it’s a really tough call.

Tim’s Answer
Of course Jesus sipping the vinegar on the cross does not make His statement about the “fruit of the vine” false. If one of His statements is false, then He is not God. Jesus said that He would not drink of the “this fruit” (Matthew) “the fruit” (Mark) again until He drank it new with His disciples in His Father’s kingdom. That is what He said. It is a true statement. While Mark tells us that they offered Him sour wine or vinegar to drink and John tells us that He received it, the Greek word for sour wine is a different word than the Greek word for wine generally. Jesus would not have been drinking sour wine at the Passover and in His statement about not drinking of this fruit of the vine again was in the context of the Passover. No matter what argument the Catholics may raise, the statement of Jesus still exists. He viewed what He and the disciples drank as being the fruit of the vine. I follow His view. Jesus never changed wine to blood.

The argument for the wine becoming blood is based solely on Jesus’ statement that “this is my blood.” However, as previously stated, Jesus often used metaphors to drive home points. One must accept metaphors in Scripture or one becomes grotesque. For instance, if one tries to draw a picture of the woman in Song of Solomon based upon the direct statements made about her, one creates something quite opposed to beauty. I have seen attempts made. When Jesus says that He is the alpha and the omega, He is not saying that whenever you see an alpha or omega, you see Jesus. John tells us that Jesus is the Word. Should we then think that Jesus is some written or verbal expression? Jesus said that Lazarus slept. His disciples took His statement literally and thought that it was good for Lazarus to sleep. Jesus had to tell them that such was a figurative use of the word and actually Lazarus was dead. We must accept metaphors in Scripture. This does not negate a literal interpretation. It simply accepts that figurative language exists. The context of the passage and of all Scripture will dictate whether the use is figurative or not. The wine taken at communion does not taste like blood, does not look like blood, has no efficacy, cannot be taken into the Holy of Holies by us, does not dry as blood, and is not blood. The once for all passages of Hebrews requires a conclusion that the blood is not continually applied, even though some in the holiness movement seem to intimate as much. The 1 Corinthians 11 passage tells us that communion is a remembrance, it is not an literal re-enactment of Jesus’ death.

While there may be a superficial appeal to taking Jesus’ statements to mean that the wine becomes the blood and the bread becomes His flesh, the Scriptural problems with such view are almost too numerous to grasp, including a direct contradiction with the statement of Scripture that Christ’ sacrifice is not a continuing sacrifice, but a once for ever sacrifice.

The doctrine of transubstantiation is a late doctrine, accepted by the Catholic Church in 1215. There is little to support it as the early view of the church.


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