Saturday, March 31, 2018

Can Wine Be Used For Holy Communion?

Should We Use Only Grape Juice For Holy Communion?

Question: For holy communion, should only grapes juice be given?

Answer: Greetings in Jesus wonderful name!

The most important and the only two Biblical sacraments of the Church are Baptism and Holy Communion.

We learn about the Holy Communion from the last supper in the upper room which Jesus took along with His disciples, in which He instructed them to likewise continue in the tradition of the Passover in remembrance of Him and did not give any timeline to have it which means we can do it as often as possible to release our faith in the blood of Jesus which forgives our sins and the sacrificial body of Jesus which was broken for our healing of our spirit, soul and body.

Luke the first hand and the first historian of the Church says in his Gospel beautifully,
" 7 Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. 8 And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.” 9 So they said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare?” 10 And He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. 11 Then you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ 12 Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.” 13 So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover. 14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you." (Luke 22:7-20)

Thus we come to know from the above Scriptures that Jesus Instituted the Lord’s Holy Supper in the upper room with His twelve apostolic disciples among whom one was the betrayer which was Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus for meager money of 30 pieces of silver, and got himself self-condemned by the voice of Satan speaking within him to hang himself and die for having betrayed innocent blood (Matt 27:3-5).

What do the Passover tradition which was instituted by God through Moses when he went to Egypt and delivered the nation of Israel from the clutches of the bondage of slavery reveal, let us see first? In
Exodus 12:1-51, we see the instruction God had given Moses and Aaron on which the whole festival of Passover is totally based upon, on the Gregorian calendar [the one you might have on your wall] the year was 1528 BC. Thus Jews celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in ancient Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible, especially in the Book of Exodus, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.

The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a slaughtered spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord knew to pass over the first-born in these homes
(Exo 12:11-13). However once the first Passover was over in Egypt, and once Israel was in the wilderness and the tabernacle was in operation, a change was made in those two original requirements (Deut 16:2–6). Passover lambs were to be sacrificed at the door of the tabernacle and no longer in the homes of the Jews. No longer, therefore, could blood be smeared on doorways.

When the Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise
[leaven]. In commemoration, for the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason Passover was called the feast of unleavened bread in the Torah or Old Testament. Thus matzo [flat unleavened bread] is eaten during Passover and it is a tradition of the festival holiday.

The biblical commandments concerning the Passover
[and the Feast of Unleavened Bread] stress the importance of remembering:

(i) And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt; and thou shalt observe and do these statutes 
(Deut 16:12).

Exo 12:14 commands, in reference to God's sparing of the firstborn from the Tenth Plague: And this day shall be unto you for a memorial, and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.

Exodus 13:3 repeats the command to remember: Remember this day, in which you came out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, for by strength the hand of the LORD brought you out from this place.

Coming to the New Testament fulfillment of the Old Testament Passover, Paul the apostle instructs us to keep the Passover spiritually by saying,
"Remove the old yeast [of sin that tries to influence and nullify the power of new man in Christ Jesus] so that you may be a new batch of dough, since you don't actually have the yeast [of sin nature within the new nature of Christ which directs you in your new man since you were born again]. Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed." (1 Cor 5:7).

So we come to understand that the word New Covenant was first used in the whole of Bible on the day when Jesus fulfilled the Biblical Passover by partaking in it in the upper room, and from then onward He Himself became the fulfillment of it in reality through the death and resurrection of his own life on earth. With great desire the Lord Jesus wanted to partake in the last Passover of the entire Bible before it could get fulfilled through His very own life.
"With the precious blood of Christ," God considered Jesus the Christ "as a lamb without blemish or spot" and sacrificed him on the day of the real Passover which was the day Christ died on Calvary tree (1 Peter 1:19). Jesus is the one and only person qualified in human history to be called One “without blemish” because His life was completely free from sin (Hebrews 4:15). In the Scriptural Book of Revelation, John the apostle who saw Jesus Christ as beloved friend and elder Brother in real life of flesh when he was with Him on earth, now sees Jesus as “a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6). Hence Jesus was crucified during the time that the Passover was observed because He was the real passover Lamb who was prepared before the foundation of the world by God for this purpose (Mark 14:12; John 12:27–36; Revelation 5:9; Revelation 5:12; Revelation 13:8; Isaiah 53:7; Eph 1:4).

The Bible reveals that when believers get born again by believing the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior of their life, the sacrificial blood of Christ gets applied supernaturally to their hearts and they thus escape eternal death
(Hebrews 9:12, 14), just as the Passover lamb’s applied blood caused the “destroyer” to pass over each household, Christ’s applied blood causes God’s judgment to pass over sinners and gives life to believers (Romans 6:23).

Therefore the death of Christ marks our release from the slavery of sin
(Romans 8:2). As the first Passover was to be held in remembrance as an annual feast, so Christians are to memorialize and commemorate the Lord’s death in communion until He returns (1 Corinthians 11:26). The main communion elements used in the celebration of Holy Communion is the bread and the wine.

Jesus spoke about the
"fruit of the vine" which He distributed among his disciples symbolically representing the blood of Jesus which will be shed for the forgiveness of all their sins, and a "piece of bread" dipped in wine symbolically representing the broken body of Jesus (John 13:26-27, 30).

To answer your specific question, 'For holy communion, should only grapes juice be given?,' we should again ask ourselves the question, What did Jesus use when he instituted the communion at the Passover? As to the nature of the fruit of the vine, employed during the Passover supper, the New Testament
(Matthew 26:26-29, etc.) itself is not explicit in its definition of the expression.

We know that, many Israelites used to drink that for all festivals
(Ps 104:15; Eccl 10:19; Deut 14:26). If drinking alcoholic beverages is a sin, God could not have authorized the Israelites to drink and be merry before the Lord by using it (Deut 14:24-26). If God did not want man to get merry he would not have created wine to have a fermentation effect which produces certain percentage of alcohol in it (Eccl 9:7). So it is not wrong to drink fermented drinks or wine, but it is absolutely wrong to get drunk with wine and get out of control (Pro 31:4-7; Eccl 10:17).

Jesus made the best quality wine which was his first miraculous ministry sign in the marriage of Cana of Galilee just from plain water
(John 2:1-12). In fact in John 2:9-10 it is called ‘wine’ (oinos) and ‘good wine’ (kalon oinon). These are the same words used for fermented wine elsewhere in the New Testament. It is a poor argument to say that Jesus created wine without fermentation when the Scripture suggests otherwise, even God gave wisdom to create a knife for the benefit of man, but some people use the same knife to kill others and shed their blood. Was God involved in sin by giving wisdom to man in creating the knife. By no means, the God who has given wisdom for man to create knife has also given him a conscience which clearly speaks within him, not to kill a fellow human being who are all created in the image of God just like himself (Gen 9:6; Rom 2:14-16). Who is to be blamed for killing another man? The murderer who killed another human, God has nothing to do with the killing of a human whom he actually loves and have set a law not to kill. So when a person gets drunk with the same wine Jesus created for man's good, who is to blame? The person who gets drunk without control by using the wine Jesus created is the one who should be blamed for it. Because of human free choice that God has given to choose the good or the bad, to do the right or the wrong, to love or hate, etc are all choices humans make, the one who makes the good choice will reap the good fruit in his life, the one who makes the wrong choices will reap the bad fruit of evil consequences in his life and living.

As for proof, in John 2 the Bible says wine, not juice. The primary dictionary definition of wine is “the fermented juice of grapes, made in many varieties, such as red, white, sweet, dry, still, and sparkling, for use as a beverage, in cooking, in religious rites, etc., and usually having an alcoholic content of 14 percent or less.” The Greek word John used appears 32 times in the New Testament and is translated wine every time. For example Paul the apostle wrote the command,
"Be not drunk with wine [oinos]," (Ephesians 5:18) obviously refers to alcoholic wine. On the two occasions when the Bible refers to wine that hasn’t had time to ferment, it always adds the prefix “new”.

So according to the Word of God, to drink wine is not wrong and sin, but to get drunk and be out of one's own control is absolutely wrong and sinful
(Pro 23:29-35). In the New Testament, God gives a better alternative than the natural wine to drink, it is the spiritual wine of being filled with the Holy Spirit within our body so that the effect of His joy unspeakable and peace unfathomable, continues to linger literally over our spirit, soul, mind and body, that it continues to linger on and on to never dissipate as long as we continue to pray, sing and tune in to His Spirit utterances of divine direction and order from heaven. Even the "new wine" when drunk in excess must have had the effect of being drunk rip-roaring, as we see the people who did not understand the phenomenon of being filled with the Holy Spirit said of the apostles and disciples who were loudly speaking in tongues (Acts 2:5-6, 13).

We also come to know of the bad effects of being drunk, where a great man of God like Noah who became a farmer and cultivated vine, lost control of taking in the limited amount of wine to become rip roaring drunk, thus the first mention of wine in Scripture is connected with drunkenness, sin, shame, and a curse
(Gen 9:29-25), then after this the intoxicating wine was a factor in the incest that led to the pregnancies of Lots' daughters (Gen 19:31-38), all who succumbed to strong drink in the Bible, had a hell on earth to pay for because of lack of self-control over it. Thus the Scripture warns of the negative effect of being drunk in many places of the Bible, to discourage people from inviting sorrow and curses in to their lives and families (Num 6:3; Pro 23:29-30; Isa 5:22; Rom 13:13; Jud 13:4, AMP). Remember, even in the Apostolic Bible Church days in the first century where some were hungry and others were drunk as each one irreverently took the Lord's Supper for the worse and not for the better life that Jesus promised (1 Cor 11:17-22, 30; John 10:10), these were judged by God and rebuked by apostle Paul that such things should not happen within the Church premises. If they really want to eat and drink and make merry, let them do it in their own homes where none will restrain them, but when it comes to the Church, the divine apostolic and Biblical order of the Word and the Spirit should be maintained within.

It is not a sin to use wine for a communion serving as it has been used in the Passover serving of the Israelites for centuries together even until Christ came to fulfill the Passover in reality. If both grape juice and wine are available, grape juice, I think, would be the wiser choice for the communion. It would avoid the appearance of evil
(1 Thess 5:22), perhaps be less offensive [for an occasion of stumbling], and not be an avenue to temptation in some [(i.e.) who might have a weakness for strong drink] (Rom 14:21, 22-23). So the question, 'Should We Use Only Grape Juice For Holy Communion?,' can be answered clearly by saying, there is no law to say that only Grape juice should be used in Holy Communion, but rather we apply the law of love to answer that it would be better to use grape juice, when both wine and grape juice are available to serve communion. At the same time if you go to a home where they serve you wine and bread, it would be better to take it reverently and remember the blood and broken body of Jesus which makes us possible to live in liberty and victory over sin, sickness and death (1 Cor 11:23-26, 27-34), and thankfully with all praise take part in the communion that is served to us. It is the law of love that wins in the end in the New Covenant of Jesus Christ, and it does have the last laugh always without fail (Gal 5:14; Rom 13:8-9, 10; 14:21).

Much Blessings...


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