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Homer A. Gay

“Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.” This is the reading of the 24th and 25thverses of the 23rd chapter of Matthew, which introduces our study of “The Inside of the Cup.” Now we are familiar with the study of the “Cups Question,” and it isn’t necessary to talk along that line. But we want to talk on the “Inside of the Cup”;—that is, the thing that the cup contains. We all understand that in the communion service of the Lord, which we observe on the First Day of each week, there is something that we drink. That that we drink in that communion service is that which I am interested in at this time;—that is, the inside of the cup.

We do not understand that the passage of scripture read from the 23rd chapter of Matthew applies to the communion cup, but it does teach us a lesson that the contents of the cup can be an important thing;—that there is more than just a cup;—that there is something on the inside as well as the outside, Now in a study of this that we drink in the Lord’s Supper we take up what is generally called the “Wine Question.” In the present-day usage of the word “wine,” we usually think of it as an intoxicating wine,—as a wine that is sold and drunk by those who want to become intoxicated, or that want something with some “kick” about it. In debating this question at different times, (at least when they debate with me), those who believe in intoxicating wine in the communion service would define that intoxicating wine as “wine that will make one drunk.” Well, that is what we understand by “intoxicating wine.” Now all wine is not intoxicating as we shall show, but we are interested in the study of that which the Lord introduced in His Supper.

In Matthew 26:29, Mark 14:25 and Luke 22:18, the Lord calls this drink “this fruit of the vine” when He says, “I will drink no more of this fruit of the vine until I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Now there is a drink there,—there is something to be drunk,—and that is the fruit of the vine. In I Cor. 10:16 the Apostle Paul said, “The Cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?” Now that is a cup of blessing. We can understand that. Even the little folk can understand language like that;—when we talk of a cup of water, of a cup of sugar, or a cup of flour. In this He said, “The cup of blessing which we bless.” If we want to know more about that, we can turn to Isaiah 65;8. Here we read, “Thus saith the Lord, as the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it. . .” Now then, we learn there is a blessing in the new wine. But that new wine is that which is found in the cluster. Certainly we understand that to be the juice of the grape. But we would like to study a little further along this line.The Savior teaches concerning that, that there is a vine, and there is a fruit that is borne in that vine;—that is, by having contact in that vine. Now we know that the Lord recognized that fact in the very beginning. Back in the early days of the creation, in the 1st chapter of Genesis and verse 12 we are told that God created every tree and every herb bearing seed, whose seed was in itself, and was for fruit (Gen. 2:16). God said to the man whom He created, “Of all of the fruit of the trees of the garden thou mayest freely eat.” Now tome there is a familiar passage of Scripture that certainly has something to do with the thought that we are discussing. The trees that God made include the vine tree (Eze. 15:6) which we understand as the grape-vine. Now that tree produces a fruit, and God told man he may freely eat of that which he created. Of course, we understand that to mean both eating and drinking. God says, “Yea, drink abundantly, 0 beloved” (Song of Solomon 5:1). Jesus says, “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit” (Matt 7-17-18). Also in Matt. 12:33 He says, “Either make the tree good and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for a tree is known by his fruit.” Let us keep in mind that THETREE IS KNOWN BY ITS FRUIT, and NOT that the FRUIT is known by the TREE. To, argue that fermented wine is the “fruit of the vine’ just because some part of it was produced by the vine would be the same asto argue that every sectarian church .is of God,—just because they take some of the Bible.God never did produce,—God never did make a tree or vine that would produce WITHIN ITSELF an intoxicating drink. God has always condemned and discouraged the idea of intoxication and drinking strong drink. That is a dark picture,—a picture of evil and wickedness all the way through the Bible. God has ALWAYS condemned man in engaging, in that. And yet of the tree that God created He said to the man, “Of that fruit you may freely eat.” In the 15th chapter of John the Saviour teaches us concerning the vine, its branches, and its fruit. We would like to study the vine and its branches as taught by the Savior in relation to the subject with which we are dealing. Jesus said in the 15th chapter of John, beginning with verse 1, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” This is the reading, at length, of the first 8 verses of the 15th chapter of John. We note this because we want to get the lesson that the Savior teaches here,—that the Savior teaches thoroughly;—that is, the relationship between the vine, its branches, and its fruit. Jesus said, “I am the TRUE vine.” Here is a vine now that is TRUE today. It is not mixed with anything else, and He is bringing out the thought in that. We all know something about the grape vine and the fruit it produces,—and we under-stand that the fruit is borne by the branches. Now Jesus said, “I am the vine, and ye are the branches.” We can understand that when we talk about you and me, but Jesus said further, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” We conclude that the fruit that we bear when we are connected with the Lord will be clean, pure and wholesome. When we see the picture that is drawn here of the grapevine, and the branches growing from the stem of the vine, and the clusters of grapes on the branches, we see in this the picture of Christ, the true vine, of you and me as Christians, and the fruit that we bear. Jesus would take that grapevine to illustrate the lesson that He would have us to get. We want to grasp the lesson that Jesus teaches of the grapevine that He understood fully. And the people to whom He was speaking understood because Jesus was living and teaching in the greatest grape-growing country in- the world;—and they all understood, as we understand, that while that branch had connections with the vine it would produce fruit. And the fruit that it would produce while in contact with the vine is the FRUIT OF THE VINE. Now that is the kind of fruit that Isaiah talked about in Isaiah65:8 when he said that new wine was found in the cluster. Now then, the drink that the vine produced(the juice of the grape, the fruit of the vine) was created by God for food for man. And the juice that is in the grape is likened unto good fruit that you and I as Christians produce. Now Jesus would reason that so long as we hold contact with Him we can bear good fruit. But if we cut ourselves off from Him,—if we separate ourselves from Him and go independently, we get out of Christ, out of the Way, and drift out in the world; then no more do we bear good fruit. Jesus said, “No more can ye bear good fruit except ye abide in the vine.” We can understand, as they’ could, that if we take the branch, and sever it from the vine, no more fruit is borne there. Good fruit is borne ONLY SO LONG ASIT HAS CONTACT WITH THE VINE. Well, if we separate ourselves from Christ, leave Him, go beyond the things that are written, and get out and do the things that are wicked and sinful out there, that is NOT good fruit. We cannot charge that up to the Lord and say the Lord is the cause of our doing those things because those things are evil,—they are bad; and so it is true of the fruit of the vine.

The juice of the grape, the drink element that God produces, is good and pure. Jesus said, “Now ye are clean through the words that I have spoken unto you.” Now that which God does is good, very good;—He said it was! I remember receiving a letter just the other day from a man contending for fermented wine, in which he called the fruit of the vine “that ungodly unwholesome grape juice.” Now I wouldn’t say that about that which the vine produces. God made that. But when we take that and sever it from the vine, any resulting product which is different from that which is produced by the vine WHILE MAINTAINING ITS CONTACTWITH THE VINE is a product of our own manufacture. We, as individuals, work on that. We no longer have that good, wholesome fruit that God produces. We take that and make it into other things. No more can we say that God made an intoxicating drink because He made the fruit of the vine than we can accuse the Lord of being responsible for a member of the church when that member gets out in sin and wickedness and does those things that are sinful and wrong and claims that God is giving him the authority to do those things. If we can keep in mind the illustrations that Jesus gives us here concerning the vine and its branches, and the fruit that is produced by this vine through the branches AS THEY HOLD CONTACT WITH THE VINE, then we can understand the meaning of the expression “fruit of the vine,”—the drink that is wholesome, the drink that is good, that that God said man may freely eat of that which is produced while in contact with the vine; in other words, the juice of the grape.

The advocates of intoxicating wine in the communion like to quote, “wine that cheers God and man,” and seem to try to show that both God and man need a little “snort” of alcohol now and then to cheer them up. Why cannot people be honest with themselves and with God? Notice Judges 9:13. “And the vine said unto them, should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?” Notice that the VINE said, “MY wine.” What kind of wine does the .vine produce? “New wine, that is found inthe cluster . .” (Isaiah 65:8). God created this vine, and He rejoices in its fruit, and there is a blessing in it for man.

God says, “My soul desireth the first ripe fruits”(Micah 7:1). Some men say, “No, you have to wait for it to ferment!” Such are pictured in Isaiah 5:11-12,”Woe unto them . And the harp, and the viol, and the tabret, and the pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: But they regard not the work of the Lord, neither con-sider the operation of His hands.” Who could think to IMPROVE on the “operation of God’s hands?” He makes the juice of the grape. Again, in Isaiah 62:8-9 He shows that “strangers shall not drink thy wine, . . but they that gathered it ‘shall drink it in. the court of His Holi-ness,” and this “wine” is that that is treaded out, and which will dye one’s garments (see Isaiah 63:1-3). Yet the sons of Aaron were not to drink wine (Lev. 14:9),—but in Numbers 18:31 these same priests were to “eat it in every place.” Thus, the drunkard’s wine is for-bidden, but the wine which God makes, the juice of the grape, is to be used everywhere.

God made the grapevine to bear fruit for mankind. Now we take the juice of the grape (what we call grape juice), and recognize that almost at first sight. We can recognize it as soon as we taste of it. THE TREE IS KNOWN BY ITS FRUIT. We know this to be grape juice; this is what the grapevine produced. But if we distill that—if we take that and make it into intoxicating liquor, then we cannot tell by tasting of it (so I’m told) whether it is made of grapes, or dates, or other fruits. We can tell that it is a fruit drink, and, of course, if we drink enough of it, it will make us drunk. But we cannot tell by the taste of it whether it came from the palm tree, or from the grapevine, or some other fruit tree. Not so when we taste of the fruit that the tree produces because the “tree is known by its fruit.”

Another point we want to keep in mind, Jesus said in Mark 4:26-28 that you sow the seed, and while you sleep, it grows. It puts forth the leaf (the blade), then the stalk, then the full-grown ear,—that is, the ripe fruit. “Man knoweth not how it grows.” That is a point that will be well for us all to remember. That that God does we do not know how it is done. We plant the seed, and there it is. It comes up, and it grows. First, there is just the blade, then there is the stalk, and then there is the full-grown ear (the ripe fruit), and Jesus says that man does not know how it is produced. Man does not know how the fruit of the vine is produced. We know it is there. We go out there to the grapevine and there we see the clusters of luscious grapes. We know they are there. They grow there on the vine,—but how did they do that? We don’t know. Now when the juice of the grape is taken and fermented, is made into intoxicating wine,—MAN KNOWS HOWTO DO THAT. They have recipes for making that just like they have recipes for making pie, apple cider, or anything else. Man KNOWS how that is made: he KNOWS HOW INTOXICATING WINE IS MADE. You can get the recipe for making the stuff. Man knows how to make that. But man does not know how to MAKE that that God makes. Why, there, it seems to me, is an argument that is worthy of our consideration. The drink that God produces, man knows not how that is made. We can’t understand nor realize how it is that the grapevine grows right up out of rocky soil, and there right by the side of it bitter weeds will grow. Out of the same soil and climatic conditions the grape-vine will grow and produce the nice, luscious fruit of the vine. We do not know how it does that. But we know that this occurs because God does that, and “man knows not how.” Man knows how to take that juice of the grape that God has made and manipulate it into an intoxicating drink. Man knows how to do that, and is able to tell me how to do it.

We notice the corn that is planted in the ground. Here it grows. It is first just the blade, then the stalk, and then there is a full-grown ear of corn out there. But man takes that, and out of that corn he makes what is called “corn whiskey.” Over in Kentucky I heard one man ask another how his corn crop was, and he said it wasn’t much good. He said he doubted if he would “make more than 10 gallons to the acre.” They just measured it by the gallons,—how much whiskey it would make. Now, man knows how to do that. He knows how to take that corn, distill it, and make corn whiskey. Well, would we say that the stalk of corn made the whiskey???? Would we say this corn whiskey was the “fruit of the corn stalk?” Now the fruit of the vine, the juice of the grape, is that that God created. God made that. He caused it to grow and bear its fruit, but man doesn’t know .how it, s done. Man doesn’t know how that process is carried out. He doesn’t know why you can plant two seeds side by side,—that you can plant the corn here and the grapevine right over there:, the corn stalk will grow up and produce an ear of corn (maybe 2 or 3 ears), while the grapevine will produce the nice, luscious grapes. Now I maintain that if we try to argue that intoxicating wine is the “fruit of the vine,” we would have to make the same argument that CORN WHISKEY is the “fruit of the corn.” Now God didn’t make either one. Man manufactures that out of the things, which. God has made. God made the corn; man makes the whiskey; God made the grape juice; man makes the fermented wine.

But as we study this question, which to me is an interesting study, it may be well to go over into Genesis about the 40th chapter and read a little bit over there right along this line. In the 40th chapter of Genesis, beginning with verse 9, we read, “And the chief butler …”(it might be well to remember that the butler and the cup-bearer meant about one and the same thing in that day. Nehemiah was the king’s cup-bearer, and he was the king’s butler,) “And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph,” (You remember, they were both in prison) “and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me; and in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes.” Now there is something that the butler saw in his dream that we can all understand. Now that is the way the thing happened, that is the way it grows, and man doesn’t know how, but in the dream the butler saw this take place. “And it shot forth and brought forth ripe grapes: and Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.” Now there we see how the juice of the grape is produced,—how the drink is produced. The wine is pressed into the cup,—not intoxicating wine, certainly, in this case, because here are the ripe grapes in his dream. The butler takes the grapes in his hand. Pharaoh’s cup was in his other hand. He pressed the grapes into Pharaoh’s cup and gives the cup into Pharaoh’s hand. He was the king’s cup-bearer, bearing him “wine.” This we believe to be that fruit of the vine, the new wine which we have read about in Isaiah 65:8 wherein he said “the new wine was found in the cluster: Destroy it not, because there is a blessing in it.” There is a blessing in that new wine that is found in the cluster. Now then, we can learn from this that back in the earliest days man knew what to do with the fruits that God produced. He realized that God produced for him a drink here that is the fruit of the vine. But this fruit of the vine is called “wine” (“oinos” in the Greek,—giving that “ine” sound that comes from “vine”). But “oinos” is that that the vine produces;—that is, the juice of the grape. Now the Hebrew “yayin” means just the same thing, “grape juice,” that that the vine produces, and both of them are translated by the English word “wine.”

In Haggai 1:11 the Lord said, “And I called for a drought upon the land, upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine.” Now we understand that if he were talking about intoxicating wine, which had already been distilled and bottled up, the drought wouldn’t hurt that. But a drought will hurt it in production out there,—the grapes would dry up out there on the vine. Haggai said, “I called for a drought upon the corn, and upon the new wine.” Again in Joel 1:10 we read, “The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up.” Now this “wine” is the fruit of the vine, of which man may FREELY DRINK. Good created it for man to use freely. It is good for babies. It is good for invalids. It is good for food. God created it for that very purpose.

It is a shame that erroneous doctrines have crept in among religious people, among those who have gotten an idea into their heads and refuse to give it up because, mainly, as Brother H. C. Harper said onetime, “the wish is father to the thought,” —because they want the thing. They have contended that intoxicating wine must be the drink that is served in the communion service; —that it must be fermented, intoxicating wine before it will do for the communion service. Were it not for the fact that this idea has crept in in some places, and a few of our brethren down through the ages have believed that, have taught that, and are teaching it today, we would not need to discuss this subject. Micah 2:11 says, “If a man walking in the spirit of falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.” Also please read Micah 3:11-12 and consider.

You know, it is easy for people to understand the Truth of God if we would just read it and believe it, but because false teachers come along teaching and advocating false doctrine, —things not taught in the Word of God, —then sometimes we must UNDO the false teaching that is done. And the best time in the world to undo that false teaching is before it gets its foothold. You know the old saying is “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” We must be ready to oppose any false doctrine that might come our way, —and the best time to do that teaching is before the false teaching gets in among the people. Because of that, then, we will study the “fermented” side of the question for just a little while.

In Young’s Analytical Concordance, page 596, we find some definitions of words. Young says the Hebrew word for “leavened” is “chamets,” and he de-fines it “anything leavened or fermented” coming from the Hebrew word `chamets’.”  “Sour” or “soured” comes from the Hebrew word “seor,” which also means leaven. The idea is that “leaven” and “ferment” mean one and the same thing. But in. the Greek leaven is from the word “zume,” which means “to ferment.” Leavened is from the Greek “zumbo,” and is the word that is used in Matt 13:33, where Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took, .and hid in three measures of meal (or flour) till the whole was leavened.” We notice now the difference between “leaven” and “leavened”: The woman took the “leaven” and mixed it in with the flour until the whole was “leavened,” —UNTIL it became leaven-ed. We notice first the mixing. The leaven is mixed with the meal, BUT IT ISN’T LEAVENED YET. “Until” is an adverb of time, and it takes time for leaven to work as all the womenfolk know who make bread,—the different recipes for making rolls and letting them rise. We can all understand the meaning of that, —that it takes time for that to happen. In I Cor. 5:8 we read, “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wicked-ness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

Now those who contend for fermented wine argue that the leaven is in the grape juice, and you have to let it “work” out. But friends, that same leaven is in the tomato juice. Shall we let it “work” out before itis fit to drink? If tomato juice went through that same process that they insist the fruit of the vine must go through, we would say it was “SPOILED.” We wouldn’t even let the children or anyone else drink it; —but it goes through the same process that the fruit of the vine goes through when they ferment it .Now then, “ferment” and “leaven” mean one and the same thing. But the Lord’s Supper was instituted during the days of UNLEAVENED bread; —not only unleavened bread, but they must put ALL LEAVEN out of their houses. Now that would include a leavened drink. It would include anything that would cause anything to become leavened. They must put it out of their houses. Now if leaven and ferment mean the same thing, (and certainly they do if language means anything), well, then, anything that was leavened or fermented would have to be put out of their houses. THE LORD INSTITUTED THE LORD’SSUPPER IN A MAN’S HOUSE (Matt. 26:18). So they could not have any such thing as leaven in that house. They couldn’t have it -there according to the law of God, —hence nothing leavened could have been in the Lord’s Supper.

It will help us in our study of this question to see what the Lord considers as being leavened. In Exodus the 12th chapter we begin reading at verse 34, “And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.” Notice that they had their dough. Most of the womenfolk have had experience with their sourdough bread, you know, —putting apiece back and keeping it. The leaven is in their dough, but hasn’t risen yet. The people took the dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.” And the children of Israel did according to the law of Moses, and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them, such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians. -And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth,” about 600,000 on foot that were men, beside children. And mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought out of Egypt, for IT WAS NOT LEAVENED; because they were thrust out of Egypt and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.” (Exodus 12:36-39). Now we understand from this that the Lord understood that it would take time for that dough to ferment, —that it took time for it to become leavened, —even though the leaven was in that dough. They bound it up and took it with them because they were thrust out of there. After they made the journey over there they baked UNLEAVENED CAKES of that dough that they brought with them out of Egypt, because, as we read, “they could not tarry.” They were thrust out of there, and it takes time for anything to ferment. Now if it takes time for dough to thus ferment and become leavened, then it takes time for the fruit of the vine to ferment and become leavened or fermented. And so the idea that the germ that causes fermentation gets into the grape juice when it is exposed to the air and it is then leavened is not true, it certainly is not according to the Bible. The Bible doesn’t teach such a thing as that. It does teach that there could be leaven in the dough and still it would not be leavened because it wasn’t aged, it was not yet leavened.

Again, in Exodus 22:29 the Lord said, “Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors.” Now if they had to offer fermented, intoxicating liquor, they would have to “delay” before they could offer the liquor. “Liquor” means just “li-quid,” not as we generally understand the expression today, liquor as being whiskey, —something to make people drunk. But the Lord said, “Delay not to offer the first of thy ripe fruits and thy liquors.” So it wouldn’t have time to ferment. It takes time for both bread (dough) and grape juice to ferment. But the Lord said, “DON’T DELAY.” Man says, “Delay, —give it time; — wait until it ferments.” Here is what some of the brethren down in Louisiana a few years ago did. A brother who was insisting on fermented wine in the communion service told the brethren to “just gather your grapes and squeeze the juice out of them, and let it set in an open crock for a certain time,—possibly 5 or 6 weeks.” “Then,” he said, “it would come out good wine, . . the best wine.” Well, they tried it. They strained it off, —but it didn’t make wine. It made VINEGAR as strong as you ever saw in your life. It would skin your throat. They couldn’t drink it. They had to throw it away and got to the PRIEST and get some liquor from him (some intoxicating wine) in order to have their communion. But the Lord doesn’t want it delayed. He said, “Delay NOT to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and thy liquors.”

Now “leavened,” “soured” and “fermented” all mean the same thing. They are used interchangeably. Now we think of leavened bread as what we used to call “light bread” in Texas. That which is leavened, you know, is light bread. We have common expressions in different places. Words mean something. Over in Tennessee, for instance, you ask for the “bread,” and they will pass you the CORNBREAD. Now, if you want “biscuits,” you ask for biscuits;” and if you want light bread, you call for “loaf” bread. Well, we just speak of all of it as “bread.” In the North, “bread” is our “light bread,” and cornbread and biscuits are just a “sideline” with them. Now we understand that there are three words, and that they mean three different things. According to the different expressions used where we live, we would have different under-standing of them. And that is true, now, of using the words leavened, soured and fermented. If we make bread, and we have the yeast in that bread, we would say that we had “leavened” bread. But if we take the juice of tomatoes and let it sour, we would say that it is “soured.” But the same germ works on it that works on the bread. Tomato juice is soured. We take the fruit of the vine, the juice of the grape. The same germ works on it, and we call it “fermented,”—but it just “soured,” too. That’s what has happened to it. It is leavened. The same thing has happened to all three of them. It means the same thing.

We might go into a little more detailed study about that;—not that I know so much about it, but I have studied it. Now this is all caused by a little germ that comes from the OUTSIDE, they tell me. That germ has a jawbreaker name, —it is “saccharomyces cerevisiae.” They say it is a tiny germ not seen by the human eye, and it enters from WITHOUT, not from within. That is the reason the grape juice does not spoil, sour or ferment while it is in the grapes;—the very same reason that milk does not sour when it is in the cow’s udder. But this germ of the air is that which enters from without. When the skin of the grape is broken, then the germ enters. I had an interesting interview with a noted man, a man called Dr. Baine. He was one of the greatest men they had in Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. Some of us preachers went and talked to Dr. Baine about this, and I give from memory as best I can some of the explanations that he gave us. He was a pharmacist, and he knew, I think, what he was talking about. He said with regards to the juice of the grape that “when the air strikes the juice of the grape then the little germ enters. Now this little germ fights for Nature. It fights to return everything back to Nature. That is the germ that is after humans, —it is after everything. That is the germ that causes your milk to sour. That is the germ that causes your meat to spoil. That is the germ that causes grape juice to ferment. And so we talked to him about when it was leavened. And he said, “Not until this germ had done its work.” And he gave us this same Scripture that I quoted a while ago, where Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until all were leavened; —TILL UNTIL, all were leavened.” And so he said, “This germ entering the juice of the grape will begin to work. Whatever sugar there is in it, it begins to work to make alcohol out of that sugar. And when it has completed this job, it becomes what we call FERMENTED WINE, IN-TOXICATING WINE. But this little germ isn’t through, —it has just finished ONE job. If you let it set out there in an open vessel, the little germ goes right to work again on the remainder of FOOD that is left. It goes to work on that and will form what we call a ‘mother,’ —you know, a scum that will rise up-on it. And then it goes to work and eats up that mother, and when it has completed that work it is VINEGAR now. BUT IT ISN’T THROUGH YET. The little germ is still working. When people talk about grape juice being ‘fully fermented’ they do not know what they are talking about. They say, ‘Leave it alone, —let it fully ferment.’ That little germ will go to work and form another ‘mother’ (scum that will gather). The little germ keeps working on that until it eats up all the food that there. is in it, and then returns it back to WATER. It is NOW ‘fully fermented.’ That germ is on its way, then, after something else.” It is ready just to be poured out. The germ has done its work. It will return that back to water if left alone. Now that is what the germ will do. It causes it to ferment. In a study of the Bible on the subject under consideration I find that there are thirteen words in the Hebrew, Aramaic, and. Greek that are translated “wine” in our English Bible. These thirteen words are translated “wine” because the produce comes from the vine. It is interesting to note that NOT ONE OF THESEWORDS is used in connection with the Lord’s Supper. All of the thirteen words which are used refer to wine in its various forms. If we had time to go into that, we could show, generally speaking, they refer to it as a syrup, or as a jelly, or as an innocent drink, a healthful drink that they drank, —not intoxicating drinks at all. Very, ‘very few times does it refer to intoxicating liquor, but when it does it is always carries with it a condemnation for drinking it when it is fermented; that is, when it is intoxicating. But, as we said, not one of these words is used with reference to the Lord’s Supper. Jesus seemingly, in His wisdom simply left ALL out of those words, —skipped over all of those words and took up a word that NEVER HAS BEEN TRANSLATED “WINE,” either in classical Greek or in sacred writings. He used the word “gennema.” It means “the produce of men, plants or animals.” It seems that the Lord realized that there might be a disagreement over that some time, and so in order to stop that disagreement He just skipped over all of those 13 words and used a word that is NEVER translated “wine.” He used the word “gennema,” which means the direct produce. Now then, there is no vine that PRODUCES an intoxicating drink. And the Lord knew that.

Somebody says, “They didn’t know how to keep the fruit of the vine back in that day without it fermenting.” I noticed in one of the religious papers the other day that one of the sisters said she didn’t know there was such a thing as grape, juice until 1919. Well, of course, there are some people over in the hills, maybe, that don’t know the war is over, but that doesn’t mean that everybody is that ignorant. The Lord knew how to preserve that fruit of the vine without it becoming intoxicating: In Matt. 9:17, Jesus says, “No man puts new wine into old bottles.” The new wine, as we have seen, is that that is found in the cluster. No man puts new wine into old bottles or else the bottles are broken and the wine is spilled, but, He said, “We put new wine into new bottles and both are preserved.” Jesus said that both the bottle and the “new wine” will be preserved. The idea that some folks have, that the grape juice was allowed to ferment, make fermented, intoxicating wine,-in those skin bottles is absurd. In the process of fermentation, we are told by the ones who make fermented wine for sale, pressure is generated to as high as 500 pounds per square inch. Talk about a skin bottle holding it, it would take a PROPANE TANK! They had a way of preserving the fruit of the vine in an’ unfermented state. In a little book titled, “Bible and Wine,” which I consider to be one of the best I have seen along this line, we notice the following: “S. Robinson, missionary at. Damascus, when writing on the food of the country, says, “The fruit of the vine is a substantial part of the people’s food from August to December’. The fruit of the vine is pre-served in a substance as thick as honey, and is called “Dibs.”

“Pliny, who lived in the Apostolic age, says, ‘The first of the artificial wines has wine for its basis; itis called ADYNAMON (i.e., without strength), and is made in the following manner: twoney sextarii of white MUST be boiled down with half that quantity of water until the amount of water is lost by evaporation. This beverage is given to invalids (stomach wine that Timothy was advised to take a little of) to whom it is apprehended that WINE (i.e., fermented wine) may prove injurious.” (Book 14: ch. 19).

“Sir James Miller, Professor at Edinburg, Surgeon to Queen Victoria, said to an extensive wine grower on the Moselle:, ‘Have you any unfermented wine-juice of the grape?’ “And. received for reply: tuns, ten yearsold’

“The juice of the grape has been preserved in an unfermented state in all grape-growing countries, and in some for 3,000 years, and it has been called ‘wine’.  It is called ‘wine’ by nearly all the great travelers and in ancient and modern dictionaries. It is sometimes called ‘new’ or ‘sweet wine’ in the Bible.” 

A short time ago I met a missionary who is laboring in Syria, and said, ‘Do the natives preserve their grape-juice in an unfermented state and use is as drink and food?’ And the answer: was, ‘Yes; they do; it is thick and very sweet, and is in common use in villages in Syria. They make us ‘presents of it, and. we eat it with porridge and drink it mixed with milk, also use it as you use golden syrup with bread.’ Here we have the same custom continued to our day, referred to by the prophet Isaiah (55:1), where he says, ‘Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.’ I have drunk some of this myself, and it is a delightful drink. It is simply the Greek GLUKOS, or the Latin MUSTUM or DEFRUTUM, mixed with milk” (The Bible and Wine, pages 30-31).

From this we surely should learn that in our Lord’s time they knew how to preserve and use their grape juice in an unfermented state. “In our Lord’s time, there was always an ample supply of the pure ‘fruit of the vine’, which was preserved in an unfermented state” (Bible and Wine, page 19). 

From this same book (pages 22 and 23) we notice the pharmaceutical analysis of the juice of the grape BEFORE and AFTER fermentation:

Before                                         After

1.Gluten                               1. Alcohol

2.Gum                                  2. Acetic Acid

3.Aroma                               3. OEnanthic Ether


                                              5.Succinic Acid

                                              6. Glycerine

                                              7. Boquet

4. Albumen                          8. Albumen

5.Tannin                               9. Sugar

6.Tartaric Acid                     10. Tannin

7.Potash                               11. Tartaric Acid

8.Malic Acid                        12. Potash

9.Lime                                  13. Malic Acid

10.Sulphur                            14. Lime

11.Phosphorus                      15. Sulphur

                                             16. Phosphorus

In his explanation he shows that the first three (3) properties on the left side are wholly destroyed in the process of fermentation, and that thus the food value of the grape is destroyed. And that out of these three substances (gluten, gum, and aroma) there are SEVEN foreign substances (alcohol, acetic acid, OEnanthic ether, extractive, succinic acid, glycerine, and boquet) which are MANUFACTURED, NONE OF WHICH ARE FOUND IN THE ORIGINAL GRAPE. He then concludes, “Thus it will be seen that by a triple process of destruction, addition, and abstraction-the result of fermentation – GRAPE JUICE LOSES ALL OF THE ESSENTIAL QUALITIES OF THE FRUIT OF THE VINE.  Thus it is demonstrated that ALCOHOLIC WINE is not the FRUIT OF THE VINE.

Some brethren try to tell me that they had fermented wine at the Passover. They say they had four cups of it, and that these cups held approximately three pints all told. Now listen: For thirteen men (Christ and the Apostles) to have drunk three pints of INTOXICATING WINE at one sitting, every one of them would have been .too drunk to hit the ground with his hat. Shame! Shame! Shame on a theory that would accuse our blessed Lord and Master and His Apostles of any such a thing!  I remember quite well the last time I tasted that kind of stuff. It was in the Communion, down in Arkansas, and, gentlemen, that was STRONG. It would raise your hair up on your head. I -told the brethren there and then that three drops of that stuff would make a mouse fight a lion; and that if the good Lord would forgive me for that day, I would never touch the stuff again,—and I am keeping that promise.

When it gets to where when they uncork the wine bottle, the whole meeting house smells like a saloon when after the Communion, smelling ones breath, you can’t tell whether he has been to worship or to the saloon,—brethren, there is when and where I take out.

The road of “strong drink” is the longest, roughest, and most dangerous road ever travelled by man. It is travelled by murderers, and rapists; by cut-throats, and robbers; it is a jagged treacherous road from which very few weary travelers return. There are so many hard things said about intoxicating wine in the Bible that it seems to me that they should want to shun it. Solomon says, “Wine is a mocker; and strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Prov.20:1). But, again, “Look not on the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things”(Prov. 23:31).

Over this road of strong drink hover in endless procession, the vultures of character, – like boney-fingered ghosts, coming ever closer and closer to, grasp the throats of its innocent victims. There is not one happy, contented home along all of its stretches. It is marked with tears and sleepless nights; with the cries of hungry children; with the sad waffling of broken-hearted wives and mothers; with heart-rending regrets.

I have lived long enough to see the results of strong drink. I have known a happy Christian family to start drinking home-brew “for their stomach’s sake,” and seen them wind up in the booze business,—in shame, separation, and disgrace. I have known of Christians starting in with FERMENTED WINE in their communion services, and winding up in the strong drink business, and with houses of ill-fame. Please! Oh, please do not try to tell me that a drink that will cause men to whip their wives, and starve their children; that will break up homes; that will encourage murder, rape and prostitution;—that a drink like that should be placed on the Lord’s table, there to represent or stand for the innocent blood of the sinless Son of God. No! No! A thousand times NO!—not until we have a different Lord, and a different Bible. TELL ME WHY people will contend for something on the Lord’s table that they keep hid from their CHILDREN AT HOME! It is the same soul-destroying, God-dishonoring stuff in the Communion Cup as when peddled in a fruit jar in aback alley.

The Twentieth Century Translation renders Matt.26:29 thus: “I will drink no more of the juice of the grape.” Moffatt translates it, “I will not drink any more of the produce of the vine.”

The drink on the Lord’s table should be what the vine produces,—not what man manufactures.

Grape juice is the FRUIT OF THE VINE; fermented wine is a manufactured product.

May God help us to “hold fast to that which is good” and to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.”  I certainly hate for anyone who claims to be a brother of mine to cast his or her lot with the breweries, distillers, and booze-guzzlers;-there is a higher and a nobler road for us to travel.

If this should be my last, I truly hope that it gets into print in time to save some dear soul from the downward road of strong drink.

[This is from a tract entitled The Inside Of The Cup by Homer Gay published back in the 1960s]

 Recommended articles:

Introducing the Church of Christ – Ronny Wade

God’s Sevenfold Unity – Jerry Cutter

Repentance – J. W. McGarvey


The Ancient Faith website is a thematic collection of scholarly yet simple Bible essays and sermons, many of which were composed by Restoration preachers such as J.W. McGarvey, Moses Lard, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Campbell. These courageous men of faith through hours of Bible investigation studied themselves out of denominationalism, asking for “the old paths” (Jer. 6:16) and seeking to return to “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). We hope you will join with these men in their fervent plea to restore “the ancient order,” “the ancient gospel” or, as it was sometimes called, “the ancient faith.”