Question 135:

How can you describe something that contains alcohol as the blood of God? Does God make drunk?


Answer: In the Bible wine appears as the image of the joy of life and as a blessing; God Himself gives the wine that gladdens the heart of men (cf. Ps 104:15; Gen 27:28; Am 9:13). However, its dangers are also pointed out (Gen 9:21; Proverbs 20:1; 23:20; 31:4ff; Is 5:11; 28:7; Hos 4:11). Priests were forbidden to drink wine while carrying out their duties. John the Baptist avoided wine (Lk 1:15), whereas Jesus drank wine (Mt 11:29) and in Cana He changed water into wine (Jn 2:1ff.). Wine and vine become Messianic symbols (Gen 49:11; Mk 14:25). At the last meal before His death (the Last Supper) Jesus said, while handing the cup to His disciples: Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Mt 26:27f.). Since in biblical understanding body and blood are understood as the extremities of sacrifice, bringing together bread and wine at the celebration of the Eucharist truly and potently symbolises Christ’s sacrificial death. This symbolism is further underscored by the expression sacrificed when offering the bread and poured out when offering the wine. All of this displays the Eucharistic celebration as a cultic sacrifice in which Christ gives Himself back to the Father and, at the same time, talks to His disciples in the Holy Spirit. This meal in the form of bread and wine is also the seal of the new covenant.

Paul advised Timothy to drink a little wine for health reasons (1 Tim 5:23), but warned the bishops and deacons against excessive wine consumption (1 Tim 3:3.8; Tit 1:17). Also other references in the New Testament warn against the dangers of unrestrained wine consumption (Eph 5:18; 1 Pet 4:3; Tit 2:3).


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