1. Grape juice will not ferment when
the air is completely excluded.
2. By boiling down the juice, or, in
other words, evaporating the water, the substance becomes a syrup, which if
very thick, will not ferment.
3. If the juice is filtered and
deprived of its gluten or ferment (any substance or agent producing
fermentation, as enzymes, yeast, certain bacteria) the production of alcohol
will be impossible.
4. The direct and inevitable
fermentation of the sweet juices in hot climates with the temperature above
75 will be the acetous (vinegar).
How long have people known how to preserve the juices sweet?
1. ISEB says it was impossible to know
about this in Bible times.
2. In the Dictionary of the Bible;
Augustine Calmet, born 1672 says, “The ancients possessed the secret of
preserving wines sweet throughout the whole year.”
3. Herman Boerhave, born 1668, in his
Elements of chemistry says, “By boiling, the juice of the richest grapes
loses all its aptitude for fermentation, and may afterwards be preserved for
years without undergoing any further change.”
4. Horace, born 65 B.C. says, “There is
no wine sweeter to drink than Lesbian; that it was like nectar and more
resembled ambrosia than wine; that it was perfectly harmless, and would
not produce intoxication” -- Anti-Bacchus pg. 220.
5. The Mishna states that the Jews were
in the habit of using boiled wine. Kitto, Vol. 2, Pg 477.
The ancients used them and called them “wine.”
1. Pliny who lived A.D. 23-79 says,
“Some Roman wines were as thick as honey.” He also said, “Albanian wine was
very sweet or luscious and that it took third rank among all wines.
2. Aristotle, 385 - 322 B.C. says of
sweet wine that it would not intoxicate.
3. We cannot imagine that Pliny,
Columella, Varro and Cato and others were either cooks or writers of
cook books, but they gave with minute care the recipes for making sweet wine
which would remain so during the year and the processes were such as to
a. This is well
documented in “Wines of the Bible.” I don’t know why ISEB would make such a
statement unless the authors were not privy to the statements that we have
given you and these are only a few of the many.
What about John 2:1-10?
(Quotations from Barnes Commentary)
1. (verse 10) This is customary or it
is generally done, saving the worst till last.
2. “Well drunk” does not of necessity
mean that they were intoxicated though it is usually employed in that
sense. It may mean that when they had drunk sufficient (the state of being,
to satisfy the appetite or desire of, to fill or gratify beyond natural
desire) or to have drunk so much as to produce hilarity and to destroy the
keenness of their taste, so that they could not readily distinguish the good
from that which was worse.
3. But this is not said of those who
were present at that feast, but of what generally occurred. For anything
that appears at that feast all were perfectly temperate and sober.
4. It is not the saying of Jesus that is
here recorded, but of the governor of the feast, who is declaring what
naturally occurred as a fact.
5. There is not any expression of
opinion in regard to its propriety, or in approval of it, even by the
6. It does not appear that our Savior
even heard the observation.
7. Still less is there any evidence that
He approved such a state of things, or that He designed that it should take
8. The word translated “well drunk”
cannot be shown to mean intoxication, but it may mean when they had drunk
as much as they judged proper or as they desired.
9. It is clear that neither our Saviour
nor John nor the governor of the feast here expresses approval of
intemperance, nor is there the least evidence that anything of the kind
10. What did he mean by “good wine?”
a. Some have felt that it
is good in proportion to its strength and its power to intoxicate, but no
such sense is to be attached to the word here.
b. Pliny, Plutarch and
Horace, describe wine as good or mention that the best wine was that which
is harmless or innocent. Pliny expressly says that a “a good wine” was
one destitute of spirit.
c. It should not be
assumed, there-fore, that the “good wine” was stronger than the other; it is
rather to be presumed that it was milder.
d. The wine referred to
here was doubtless such as was commonly drunk in Palestine. That was the
pure juice of the grape. It was not brandied wine, nor drugged wine,
not wine compounded of various substances as the wine of our day. The
common wine drunk in Palestine was the simple juice of the grape.
e. We use the word wine now
to denote the kind of liquid which passes under that name in this country
always containing a considerable portion of alcohol -- not only the alcohol
produced by fermentation, but alcohol added to keep it or to make it
f. We have no right to take
that sense of the word and go with it to the interpretation of the
Scriptures. We should endeavor to place ourselves in the exact
circumstances of those times, ascertain precisely what idea the word would
convey to those who used it then and apply that sense to the word in the
interpretation of the Bible. There is not the slightest evidence that
the word so used would have conveyed any idea, but that of the pure juice of
the grape, nor the slightest circumstance mentioned in this account that
would not be fully met by such a supposition.
g. No man should
adduce this instance in favor of drinking wine unless he can prove that the
wine made in the “water pots” of Cana was just like the wine which he
proposes to drink.
h. Some say that the
Savior’s example here may be always pleaded, just as it was, but it is
a matter of obvious and simple justice that we should find out what the
example was before we plead it.
i. This was a miracle.
It is all about Jesus furnishing a large quantity of wine for the newly
married pair and about His benevolence in doing it is wholly gratuitous.
It was the changing the substance of water into wine.
j. Jesus “ate with
sinners,” but He never endorsed or encouraged sin.