#2 – WINE Did Jesus Drink Alcoholic Beverages?

Don Tarbet

           I’m still in a state of shock to learn that a once conservative Bible scholar would speak publicly in defense of drinking alcohol privately as long as he does not “abuse” such by getting intoxicated. I have a copy of his entire speech, and all of our correspondence on the subject. I wrote an article on “He sinned when he has taken the first drink” that was lifted from his writing, in which he preceded this statement that he would not. (http://www.selfpublishinginnovations.com/don-tarbet1.html)
          We agreed that the full correspondence would not be made public, though I besought him to do so, once it was completed, as I would love to see what I wrote set forth for examination, in contrast with what the Professor wrote to me. Near the end of our going back and forth on the issue, I presented ten (10) major points that I absolutely insisted he answer. He agreed that he would if I would first answer his argument about Jesus Himself being a user of wine. I responded, and he did not like my answer, so declared that the correspondence was over, and he would write me no more.
          Before getting into many of the arguments he presented, and my response to him, I shall deal in this article only the matter of Jesus’ own use of alcoholic beverages. I will not give full quotations from The Professor, but generally what he said, but will show the statements to anyone who doubts the accuracy of any point made.  In this writing, we shall consider only the accusation of Jesus being a “winebibber.”
          First, The Professor contends that Jesus indeed was a user of wine during His personal ministry. Luke 7:34 states, “The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!” The Professor says the inference is that Jesus acknowledged that He drank wine, or was a winebibber. My response is that does not follow. If Jesus did drink wine, it could have been the “unfermented” kind. Note that the Lord spoke of how these enemies would “say” John came eating and drinking, and then they would “say” he had a devil because He came eating and drinking. Was Jesus acknowledging that John was a “devil” because some would say such about him? Certainly not! One time some said to Jesus, “Thou hast a devil” (John 7:20) Were they right in saying such??

The word “winebibber” is found only 2 times in the Old Testament, and it is joined to the word “glutton” in some form. First, Deut. 21:20, which reads, “And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.” Second, Prov. 23:20, which reads, “Do not be with a heavy drinker of wine, or with the  gluttonous eaters of meat. For the heavy drinkers and the gluttonous will come to poverty.” Then, the New Testament uses them together Matt. 11:19 and Luke 7:34, which is the equivalent of the Old Testament term. So, IF Jesus was really a “winebibber” (heavy drinker of wine), then He was also a “glutton”. The word glutton does not refer to one who happens to eat a few bites too much once in awhile (as we so often use the word), but to one engaged in drunken  feasts, indulging and drinking. Note the following statement about the word “winebibber.”
            “From ‘oinnopotyes, of habitual wine-drinkers. The accusation was falsely brought against
Jesus of being a ‘gluttonous man and a winebibber,’ because unlike John, He ate and drank
with others.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, p. 3088)

            In essence, Jesus was rebuking the Jews on two counts. First, they were WRONG about John the Baptist in concluding he had a “devil” because he would NOT eat and drink. Second, they were wrong about Jesus, in accusing Him (Jesus) of being a glutton and a winebibber, for He was neither because He DID eat and drink in a normal way. John’s food was locusts and wild honey and he  did not get filled up with meat and alcohol like they obviously did. As a Nazarite he avoided anything that pertained to grapes—whether intoxicated or not. Jesus’ life was different. He did eat and drink in a normal way, but did not indulge in the sinful conduct of drunkenness feasts, so they falsely accused Him OF those things. Had He indulged as they likely did, they would have had no quarrel with Him.
            Enough said! Jesus was not a drinker of wine. How dare the Professor accuse Him of such. Obviously, the use of oinos in the word shows that it sometimes refers to intoxicated juice of the grape, as it does in this passage, but not always as we can observe. Our next writing will concentrate on the use of “wine” by Jesus when He was upon the cross.” Did Jesus “abuse” or even use alcoholic drink in His life?  The scripture does not so teach.
This article was Published on this site on 1-17-2019- Self Publishing Innovations – https://www.selfpublishinginnovations.com/don-tarbet1.html

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