Living merrily ever after

  • Question 107 – from ER and BR, United Kingdom

    ER: Is there wine in heaven?
    BR: If so, is it alcoholic, as some people say that ‘wine’ in the Bible was merely grape juice?

    While the Bible is never fully clear on the subject of what ‘heaven’ is like, there are references to eating and drinking. In Luke chapter 22, verse 18, Jesus is reported as saying of a cup of wine that “I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Whether this is a reference to his appearances after the resurrection, or in heaven is hard to know. However as he was predicting his death, it would seem that he expected to drink wine at some point after death.

    “Wine” mentioned in the Bible was alcoholic, although it would have no doubt varied in strength. Archeological evidence of the time has revealed alcoholic wine stored in amphorae (clay jars). Evidence of cultivated vineyards has been found dating back beyond 3000BC, although there is little evidence to support the story in Genesis regarding Noah planting the first vineyard after the flood (Genesis chapter 9, verses 20-27) and becoming intoxicated shortly afterwards!

    Drunkenness is frequently regarded as sinful by Biblical writers, in both the Old and New Testaments. While there was other ‘strong drink’ besides wine (mentioned both in the Bible and again discovered during archeological excavations), it is likely that wine was the common cause for drunkenness. In Acts chapter 2, the apostles are specifically accused of ‘having too much wine’ when they speak in tongues following the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (see verse 13). So wine was certainly regarded as a likely cause of drunkenness in Biblical times and wasn’t just grape juice.

    Thanks for your questions ER and BR.

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