Did Yahshua drink alcohol and wine?
Alcohol leads to brain damage, violence in the home, violence on the streets, depression, child and spouse abuse, divorce, rape, robberies, murders, sickness and death. So did Yahshua drink it and did Yahshua teach that we can drink it, even in moderation?
I have been made forcibly aware of this trend by Christians, and shockingly even some people who claim to love Yahweh, who claim they are not “dry” and that they have alcohol in their homes and they justify it by falsely claiming that Yahshua drank alcohol. A major factor which has contributed to the significant increase in the consumption of alcoholic beverages on the part of Christians in general, is the prevailing false assumption that the Bible teaches moderation, not total abstinence. Many people have told me things such as, “I do not believe that the Bible teaches teetotalism, because Yahshua drank wine. Yahshua turned water into wine at a wedding feast, Yahshua taught it’s OK to have some alcohol.” But did He really teach this? Let’s find out.
If, as many Christians believe, Yahshua made fermented wine at the wedding of Cana, commended it in the parables of the new wine skins and the old wine, admitted to have used it in the description of His lifestyle (“eating and drinking”) and commanded it to be used until the end of time at the institution of the Yahshua’s Supper, then there can hardly be anything intrinsically wrong with a moderate drinking of alcoholic beverages. Simply stated, “If wine was good enough for Yahshua, it is good enough for me!” But is this what Yahshua really taught and did? Well actually Yahshua did not and I will show that in the following.
THE WEDDING OF CANA
Many Christians believe that the “good wine” Yahshua made at Cana (John 2:10) was “good” because of its high alcoholic content. This belief rests on three major false assumptions. First, it is assumed that the Jews did not know how to prevent the fermentation of grape juice; and since the season of the wedding was just before Spring Passover (cf. John 2:13), that is, six months after the grape harvest, the wine used at Cana had ample time to ferment.
Second, it is assumed that the description given by the master of the banquet to the wine provided by Yahshua as “the good wine” means a high-quality alcoholic wine. Third, it is assumed that the expression “well drunk” (John 2:10) used by the master of the banquet indicates that the guests were intoxicated because they had been drinking fermented wine. Consequently, the wine Yahshua made must also have been fermented.
The first assumption is discredited by numerous testimonies from the Roman world of New Testament times describing various methods for preserving grape juice. The preservation of grape juice unfermented (unfermented means non-alcoholic) was in some ways a simpler process than the preservation of fermented wine. Thus, the possibility existed of supplying unfermented grape juice at the wedding of Cana near the Passover season, since such a beverage could be kept unfermented throughout the year.
“The Good Wine.” The second assumption that the wine Yahshua provided was pronounced “the good wine” (John 2:10) by the master of the banquet because it was high in alcoholic content, is based on the taste of twentieth-century drinkers who define the goodness of wine largely in proportion to its alcoholic strength. But this was not true in the Roman world of New Testament times where the best wines were those whose alcoholic potency had been removed by boiling or filtration.
Pliny, for example, says that “wines are most beneficial (utilissimum) when all their potency has been removed by the strainer.”1 Similarly, Plutarch points out that wine is “much more pleasant to drink” when it “neither inflames the brain nor infests the mind or passions”2 because its strength has been removed through frequent filtering.
The Talmud indicates that drinking to the accompaniment of musical instruments on festive occasions such as a wedding was forbidden.3 The latter is confirmed by later testimonies of rabbis. For example, Rabbi S. M. Isaac, an eminent nineteenth-century rabbi and editor of The Jewish Messenger, says: “The Jews do not, in their feasts for sacred purposes, including the marriage feast, ever use any kind of fermented drinks. In their oblations and libations, both private and public, they employ the fruit of the vine – that is, fresh grapes – unfermented grape-juice, and raisins, as the symbol of benediction. Fermentation is to them always a symbol of corruption.”4 Though Rabbi Isaac’s statement is not quite accurate, since Jewish sources are not unanimous on the kind of wine to be used at sacred festivals, it still does indicate that some Jews used unfermented wine at wedding feasts.
“Well Drunk.” The third assumption that the expression “well drunk” (John 2:10) indicates that the wedding guest were intoxicated and thus “the good wine” provided by Yahshua must also have been intoxicating, misinterprets and misapplies the comment of the master of the banquet, and overlooks the broader usage of the verb. The comment in question was not made in reference to that particular wedding party, but to the general practice among those who hold feasts: “Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine . . .” (John 2:10, RSV). This remark forms part of the stock in trade of a hired banquet master, rather than an actual description of the state of intoxication at a particular party.
Another important consideration is the fact that the Greek verb methusko, translated by some “well drunk,” can also mean “to drink freely,” as rendered by the RSV, without any implication of intoxication. In his article on this verb in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Herbert Preisker observes that “Methuskomai is used with no ethical or religious judgment in John 2:10 in connection with the rule that the poorer wine is served only when the guests have drunk well.”5
Moral Implications. The verb methusko in John 2:10 is used in the sense of satiation. It refers simply to the large quantity of wine generally consumed at a feast, without any reference to intoxicating effects. Those who wish to insist that the wine used at the feast was alcoholic and that Yahshua also provided alcoholic wine, though of a better quality, are driven to the conclusion that Yahshua provided a large additional quantity of intoxicating wine so that the wedding party could continue its reckless indulgence. Such a conclusion destroys the moral integrity of Yahshua’s character.
Moral consistency demands that Yahshua could not have miraculously produced between 120 and 180 gallons of intoxicating wine for the use of men, women and children gathered at the Cana’s wedding feast, without becoming morally responsible for their intoxication. Scriptural and moral consistency requires that “the good wine” produced by Yahshua was fresh, unfermented grape juice. This is supported by the very adjective used to describe it, namely kalos, which denotes that which is morally excellent, instead of agathos, which means simply good.6
NEW WINE IN NEW WINESKINS
Yahshua’s statement that “new wine must be put into fresh wineskins” (Luke 5:38; Matt 9:17; Mark 2:22), is seen by moderationists as an indication that Yahshua commended the moderate use of alcoholic wine. This view rests on the assumption that the phrase “new wine” denotes wine freshly pressed, but already in a state of active fermentation. Such wine, it is said, could only be placed in new wineskins because old skins would burst under pressure.
Fermenting New Wine? This popular interpretation is very imaginative but not factual. Anyone familiar with the pressure caused by gas-producing fermentation knows that no bottle, whether of skin or glass, can withstand the pressure of fermenting new wine. As Alexander B. Bruce points out, “Yahshua was not thinking at all of fermented, intoxicating wine, but of ‘must,’ a non-intoxicating beverage, which could be kept safely in new leather bottles, but not in old skins which had previously contained ordinary wine, because particles of albuminoid matter adhering to the skin would set up fermentation and develop gas with an enormous pressure.”7
The only “new wine” which could be stored safely in new wineskins was unfermented must, after it had been filtered or boiled. Columella, the renowned Roman agriculturist who was a contemporary of the apostles, attests that a “new wine-jar” was used to preserve fresh must unfermented: “That must may remain always sweet as though it were fresh, do as follows. Before the grape-skins are put under the press, take from the vat some of the freshest possible must and put it in a new wine-jar [amphoram novam], then daub it over and cover it carefully with pitch, that thus no water may be able to get in.”8
Symbolic Meaning. This interpretation is further confirmed by the symbolic meaning of Yahshua’s saying. The imagery of new wine in new wineskins is an object lesson in regeneration. As aptly explained by Ernest Gordon, “The old wineskins, with their alcoholic lees, represented the Pharisees’ corrupt nature. The new wine of the Gospel could not be put into them. They would ferment it. ‘I came not to call the self-righteous but repentant sinners.’ The latter by their conversion become new vessels, able to retain the new wine without spoiling it (Mark 2:15-17, 22). So, by comparing intoxicating wine with degenerate Pharisaism, Yahshua clearly intimated what his opinion of intoxicating wine was.”9
“It is well to notice,” Ernest Gordon continues, “how in this casual illustration, he [Yahshua] identifies wine altogether with unfermented wine. Fermented wine is given no recognition. It could be put into any kind of wineskin, however sorry and corrupt. But new wine is like new cloth which is too good to be used in patching rags. It is a thing clean and wholesome, demanding a clean container. The natural way in which this illustration is used suggests at least a general, matter-of-fact understanding among his Jewish hearers that the real fruit of the vine, the good wine, was unfermented.”10
IS OLD WINE BETTER?
In Luke Yahshua’s saying about new wine in fresh wineskins is followed by a similar and yet different statement: “And no one after drinking old wine desires new; for he says, ‘The old is good'” (Luke 5:39). Though this statement is not found in the other Gospels, it forms an integral part of the narrative. Moderationists attach fundamental importance to this statement because it contains, in their view, Yahshua’s outspoken commendation of alcoholic wine. Kenneth L. Gentry, for example, speaks of “the well-nigh universal prevalence of men to prefer old (fermented) wine over new (pre- or unfermented) wine. The Yahshua himself makes reference to this assessment among men in Luke 5:39: ‘And no one, after drinking old wine, wishes for new; for he says, The old is good enough.'”11
Meaning of “New Wine.” The phrase “new wine – oinos neos” is used in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament), to translate both fermented wine as in Job 32:19 and unfermented grape juice as in Isaiah 49:26. In the latter it translates the Hebrew asis which designates unfermented grape juice.
In the passage under consideration it is legitimate to infer that “new wine” has the same meaning in the whole passage, because it is used consecutively without any intimation of change of meaning. The metaphors in both sayings are used without confusion or contradiction. This means that if the “new wine” of verse 38 is, as shown earlier, unfermented grape juice, the same must be true of the “new wine” of verse 39.
Meaning of “Old Wine.” Before discussing whether or not Yahshua expressed a judgment on the superior quality of “old wine” over “new wine,” it is important to determine whether the “old wine” spoken of is fermented or unfermented. From the viewpoint of quality, age “improves” the flavor not only of fermented wine but also of unfermented grape juice. Though no chemical change occurs, grape juice acquires a finer flavor by being kept, as its fine and subtle particles separate from the albuminous matter and other sedimentations. Thus, the “old wine” esteemed good could refer to grape juice preserved and improved by age.
The context, however, favors the meaning of fermented wine, since Yahshua uses the metaphor of the “old wine” to represent the old forms of religion and the “new wine” the new form of religious life He taught and inaugurated. In this context, fermented old wine better represents the corrupted forms of the old Pharisaic religion.
Is “Old Wine” Better? In the light of this conclusion, it remains to be determined if Yahshua by this saying is expressing a value judgment on the superiority of “old [fermented] wine” over “new [unfermented] wine.” A careful reading of the text indicates that the one who says “The old is good” is not Yahshua but anyone who has been drinking “old wine.” In other words, Yahshua is not uttering His own opinion, but the opinion of those who have acquired a taste for the old wine. He says simply that anyone who has acquired a taste for old wine does not care for new. We know this to be the case. Drinking alcoholic beverages begets an appetite for stimulants and not for alcohol-free juices.
Yahshua’s saying does not represent His approval of the superiority of old, fermented wine. Several commentators emphasize this point. In his Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, Norval Geldenhuys says: “The point at issue here has nothing to do with the comparative merits of old and new wine, but refers to the predilection for old wine in the case of those who are accustomed to drink it.”12
R. C. H. Lenski states the same truth most concisely: “It is not Yahshua who calls the old wine ‘good enough,’ but he that drank it. A lot of old wine is decidedly bad because it has not been prepared properly; age is one thing, excellence with age quite another.”13
The Context of the “Old Wine.” The view that old, fermented wine is better than new wine, would be false even if everyone on earth believed it! And in the passage we are considering it is contradicted by the context in which it occurs and by the whole purpose of the illustration. In the immediate context Yahshua uses the same word (palaios) of old garments, which He obviously did not esteem as better than new ones. The statement about “old wine” seems to contradict the preceding one about “old garment,” but the contradiction disappears when one understands the purpose of the illustration.
The purpose of the illustration is not to praise the superiority of old wine but to warn against an over-estimation of the old forms of religiosity promoted by the Pharisees. Such religiosity consisted, as verse 33 indicates, in the fulfillment of such external ascetic practices as frequent fasting and public prayer. To justify the fact that His disciples did not adhere to such external forms of religiosity, Yahshua used four illustrations: wedding guests do not fast in the presence of the bridegroom (vv. 34-35); new cloth is not used to patch an old garment (v. 36); new wine is not placed in old wineskins (vv. 37-38); new wine is not liked by those accustomed to drink the old (v. 39).
The common purpose of all the four illustrations is to help people accustomed to the old forms of religion, and unacquainted with the new form of religious life taught by Yahshua, to recognize that the old seems good only so long as one is not accustomed to the new, which in and of itself is better. In this context, the old fermented wine seems good only to those who do not know the better new wine.
WAS YAHSHUA GLUTTON AND A DRUNKARD?
More than nineteen centuries ago Yahshua was accused of being “a glutton and a drunkard” because He came “eating and drinking” (Luke 7:33-34: Matt 11:19). Moderationists find in Yahshua’ description of His own lifestyle as “eating and drinking” (Matt 11:19; Luke 7:34) an unmistakable proof that He openly admitted having used alcoholic wine. Moreover, it is argued, Yahshua must have drunk alcoholic wine for His critics to accuse Him of being a “drunkard.”
Social Lifestyle. This interpretation ignores several important considerations. The phrase “eating and drinking” is used idiomatically to describe the difference between the social lifestyle of Yahshua and that of John the Baptist. John came “eating no bread and drinking no wine” (Luke 7:33), that is to say, he lived a lifestyle of full social isolation, while Yahshua came “eating and drinking,” that is to say, He lived a lifestyle of free social association.
No Mention of “Wine.” A significant point often overlooked is that Yahshua did not mention “wine” in describing His own lifestyle. While of John the Baptist Yahshua said that he came “eating no bread and drinking no wine,” of Himself He simply said: “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking.” If Yahshua had wanted it to be known that, contrary to John the Baptist He was a wine-drinker, then He could have repeated the word “wine” for the sake of emphasis and clarity.
By refusing to specify what kinds of food or drink He consumed, Yahshua may well have wished to deprive His critics of any basis for their charge of gluttony and drunkenness. The omission of “bread” and “wine” in the second statement (Matthew omits them in both statements) could well have been intended to expose the senselessness of the charge. In other words, Yahshua appears to have said, “My critics accuse me of being a glutton and drunkard, just because I do not take meals alone but eat often in the presence of other people. I eat socially. But my critics actually do not know what I eat.”
Even assuming that His critics actually saw Yahshua drinking something, they would have readily accused Him of being a drunkard, even if they saw Him drinking grape juice, or water, for that matter. On the day of Pentecost critics charged the apostles with being drunk on grape-juice (gleukos – Acts 2:13). This goes to show that no matter what Yahshua drank, His unscrupulous critics would have maligned Him as a drunkard.
Critics’ Accusation Unsafe. To infer that Yahshua must have drunk wine because His critics accused Him of being a “drunkard” means to accept as truth the word of Yahshua’s enemies. On two other occasions his critics accused Yahshua, saying: “You have a demon” (John 7:20; 8:48). If we believe that Yahshua must have drunk some alcoholic wine because His critics accused Him of being a drunkard, then we must also believe that He had an evil spirit because His critics accused Him of having a demon. The absurdity of such reasoning shows that using critics’ accusations is not safe grounds for defining Biblical teachings.
Yahshua answered the baseless charge of His critics, saying: “Yet wisdom is justified by all her children” (Luke 7:35). Textual evidence is divided between “children” and “works,” but the meaning of this cryptic statement remains the same, namely, that wisdom is to be judged by its results. The wisdom of Yahweh is vindicated by the works of goodness to which it gives birth. Thus, to infer on the basis of the aspersions of His critics that Yahshua drank wine shows a complete lack of wisdom. The results of His life of self-denial speak for themselves.
THE COMMUNION WINE
Fundamental importance is attached to the “wine” of the Last Supper because Yahshua not only used it, but even commanded it to be used until the end of time as a memorial of His redeeming blood (Matt 26:28-29; Mark 14:24-25). It is widely believed that the wine of the Last Supper was alcoholic for two main reasons: (1) the phrase “fruit of the vine” is a figurative expression which was used as the funtional equivalent of fermented wine, and (2) the Jews supposedly used only fermented wine at the Passover. This belief is discredited by several important considerations.
“The Fruit of the Vine.” The language of the Last Supper is significant. In all the synoptic gospels Yahshua calls the contents of the cup “the fruit of the vine” (Matt 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18). The noun “fruit” (gennema) denotes that which is produced in a natural state, just as it is gathered. Fermented wine is not the natural “fruit of the vine” but the unnatural fruit of fermentation and decay. The Jewish historian Josephus, who was a contemporary of the apostles, explicitly calls the three clusters of grapes freshly squeezed in a cup by Pharaoh’s cupbearer as “the fruit of the vine.”14 This establishes unequivocally that the phrase was used to designate the sweet, unfermented juice of the grape.
“All” to Drink the Cup. If the contents of the cup were alcoholic wine, Yahshua could hardly have said: “Drink of it, all of you” (Matt 26:27; cf. Mark 14:23; Luke 22:17), especially in view of the fact that a typical Passover cup of wine contained not just a sip of wine, but about three-quarters of a pint.15 Yahshua could hardly have commanded “all” of His followers to drink the cup, if its content were alcoholic wine. There are some to whom alcohol in any form is very harmful. Young children who participate at the Yahshua’s table should certaintly not touch wine. There are those to whom the simple taste or smell of alcohol awakens in them a dormant or conquered craving for alcohol. Could Yahshua, who taught us to pray “Lead us not into temptation,” have made His memorial table a place of irresistible temptation for some and of danger for all? The wine of the Yahshua’s Supper can never be taken freely and festally as long as it is alcoholic and intoxicating.
The Law of Fermentation. Further support for the unfermented nature of the Communion wine is provided by the Mosaic law which required the exclusion of all fermented articles during the Passover feast (Ex 12:15; 13:6, 7). Yahshua understood the meaning of the letter and spirit of the Mosaic law regarding “unfermented things,” as indicated by His warning against “the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matt 16:6). “Leaven” for Yahshua represented corrupt nature and teachings, as the disciples later understood (Matt 16:12). The consistency and beauty of the blood symbolism cannot be fittingly represented by fermented wine, which stands in the Scripture for human depravity and divine indignation.
We cannot conceive of Yahshua bending over to bless in grateful prayer a cup containing alcoholic wine which the Scripture warns us not to look at (Prov 23:31). A cup that intoxicates is a cup of cursing and not “the cup of blessing” (1 Cor 10:16); it is “the cup of demons” and not “the cup of the Yahshua” (1 Cor 10:21); it is a cup that cannot fittingly symbolize the incorruptible and “precious blood of Yahshua” (1 Peter 1:18-19). This gives us reason to believe that the cup He “blessed” and gave to His disciples did not contain any “fermented thing” prohibited by Scripture.
Historical Testimonies. Jewish and Christian historical testimonies support the use of unfermented wine at Passover/Yahshua’s Supper. Louis Ginzberg (1873-1941), a distinguished Talmudic scholar who for almost forty years was chairman of the Department of Talmudic and Rabbinic Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, provides what is perhaps the most exhaustive analysis of the Talmudic references regarding the use of wine in Jewish religious ceremonies. He concludes his investigation by saying: “We have thus proven on the basis of the main passages both of the Babylonian Talmud and that of Jerusalem that unfermented wine may be used lekatehillah [optionally] for Kiddush [the consecration of a festival by means of a cup of wine] and other religious ceremonies outside the temple.”16
Ginzberg’s conclusion is confirmed by The Jewish Encyclopedia. Commenting on the time of the Last Supper, it says: “According to the synoptic Gospels, it would appear that on the Thursday evening of the last week of his life Yahshua with his disciples entered Jerusalem in order to eat the Passover meal with them in the sacred city; if so, the wafer and the wine of the mass or the communion service then instituted by him as a memorial would be the unleavened bread and the unfermented wine of the Seder service.”17
The custom of using unfermented wine at Passover has survived through the centuries not only among some Jews, but also among certain Yahshuaian groups and churches. For example, in the apocryphal Acts and Martyrdom of St. Matthew the Apostle, which circulated in the third century, a heavenly voice instructs the local Bishop Plato, saying: “Read the Gospel and bring as an offering the holy bread; and having pressed three clusters from the vine into a cup, communicate with me, as the Yahshua Yahshua showed us how to offer up when He rose from the dead on the third day.”18 This is a clear testimony of the use of freshly pressed grape juice in the celebration of the Yahshua’s Supper.
The practice of pressing preserved grapes directly into the communion cup is attested by councils, popes and theologians, including Thomas Aquinas (A. D.1225-1274).19 The use of unfermented wine is well-documented especially among such Eastern Churches as the Abyssinian Church, the Nestorian Church of Western Asia, the Christians of St. Thomas in India, the Coptic monasteries in Egypt, and the Christians of St. John in Persia, all of which celebrated the Yahshua’s Supper with unfermented wine made either with fresh or dried grapes.20
In the light of the foregoing considerations we conclude that “the fruit of the vine” that Yahshua commanded to be used as a memorial of His redeeming blood was not alcohol (fermented), which in the Scripture represents human corruption and divine indignation, but unfermented (non-alcohol) and pure grape juice, a fitting emblem of Yahshua’s untainted blood shed for the remission of our sins.
The claim that Yahshua used and sanctioned the use of alcoholic beverages rest on unfounded assumptions, ignorance, lack of knowledge, devoid of textual, contextual and historical support. The evidence I have submitted indicates that Yahshua abstained from all intoxicating substances and gave no sanction to His followers to use them. So when Christians claim they drink alcohol because Yahshua did it and because Yahshua gave permission to do so, they are not truly following what Yahshua taught.
May we follow the example of Yahshua by abstaining from any substance that intoxicate our body and impairs our mind. Even the slightest amount of alcohol can negatively affect an individual and as Christians we should not promote or encourage the consumption of alcohol, because as I mentioned earlier, alcohol leads to brain damage, violence in the home, violence on the streets, depression, child and spouse abuse, divorce, rape, robberies, murders, sickness and death.
I myself used to drink alcohol. Yet one day when I came to Yahshua by faith and was born again and saved, I immediately was deeply convicted and encouraged to stop drinking alcohol along with all my other sins of sleeping around with many different women, taking drugs and living a criminal lifestyle. So if Yahweh approves of alcohol, why would Yahweh convict me of stop drinking alcohol all together? The answer is very clear to me, because it’s not in Yahweh’s will that any of us poison our minds and bodies with this drug, and alcohol is a drug. That’s like telling someone that it’s OK to take cocaine or heroin in moderation. The best way is Yahweh’s way, to totally abstain from all types of drugs, alcohol included.
Note: A thank you to Dr. Samuele Bacchiocch for his contribution to this article. Samuele sadly has passed away. R.I.P my brother, see you at the resurrection.
Yeremyah & Michaiyah (Yahweh’s House Ministries)
1. Pliny, Natural History 23, 24, trans. W. H. S. Jones, The Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1961).
2. Plutarch, Symposiac 8, 7.
3. See Sotah 48a; also Mishna Sotah 9, 11.
4. Cited in William Patton, Bible Wines. Laws of Fermentation (Oklahoma City, n. d.), p. 83. Emphasis supplied.
5. Herbert Preisker, “Methe, Methuo, Methuskomai,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel (Grand Rapids, 1967), vol. 4, p. 547, emphasis supplied.
6. “It must be observed,” notes Leon C. Field, “that the adjective used to describe the wine made by Yahshua is not agathos, good, simply, but kalos, that which is morally excellent or befitting. The term is suggestive of Theophrastus’ characterization of unintoxicating wine as moral (ethikos) wine” (Oinos: A Discussion of the Bible Wine Question [New York, 1883], p. 57).
7. Alexander Balman Bruce, The Synoptic Gospels in The Expositor’s Greek Testament (Grand Rapids, 1956), p. 500.
8. Columella, On Agriculture 12, 29.
9. Ernest Gordon, Yahshua, the Apostles and Wine. An Exegetical Study (Philadelphia, 1947), p. 20.
10. Ibid., p. 21.
11. Kenneth L. Gentry, The Yahshuaian and Alcoholic Beverages (Grand Rapids, 1986), p. 54.
12. Norval Geldenhuys, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, 1983), p. 198.
13. R. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Luke’s Gospel (Columbus, Ohio, 1953), p. 320.
14. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 2, 5, 2.
15. According to J. B. Lightfoot, each of the four Passover cups contained “not less that the fourth part of a quarter of a hin, besides what water was mingled with it” (The Temple-Service and the Prospect of the Temple [London, 1833], p. 151). A hin contained twelve English pints, so that the four cups would amount to three-quarters of a pint each.
16. Louis Ginzberg, “A Response to the Question Whether Unfermented Wine May Be Used in Jewish Ceremonies,” American Jewish Year Book 1923, p. 414.
17. The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1904 edition, s. v. “Yahshua,” vol. 5, p. 165.
18. Acts and Martyrdom of St. Matthew the Apostle, eds. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, 1978), vol. 8, pp. 532-533.
19. For references and discussion, see Wine in the Bible, pp. 168-169.
20. Information about these churches is provided by G. W. Samson, The Divine Law as to Wines (New York, 1880), pp, 205-217. See also Leon C. Field, Oinos: A Discussion of the Bible Wine Question (New York, 1883), pp. 91-94; Frederic R. Lees and Dawson Burns, The Temperance Bible-Commentary (London, 1894), pp. 280-282.