Grapes, along with the wine and raisins that are made from them, are mentioned throughout The Bible, all the way from Genesis to Revelation. Along with The Olive Tree and The Fig Tree, grape vines were often used as symbols of the fertility of the Promised Land of Israel.
- Noah (see The Flood) is the first recorded human to grow grapes (Genesis 9:20). In a temporary lapse of his otherwise highly righteous character (Genesis 6:9), he is also the first recorded human to become drunk (some believe that it was not intentional, but that he had simply misjudged the alcohol content), from the wine that he made from his vineyard (Genesis 9:21).
- Existing vineyards awaited the Israelites when they crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land. The scouts sent out by Moses returned from the Valley of Eshcol with huge clusters of grapes (Numbers 13:23).
- Raisins, which are simply dried grapes, were widely used, often stored or carried as pressed cakes e.g. 1 Samuel 25:18 and 30:12, 2 Samuel 16:1, 1 Chronicles 12:40.
- A drink offering of wine was presented (see Levites) with the daily sacrifice (Exodus 29:40-41), with the offering of the firstfruits (Leviticus 23:13), and with various other sacrifices (Numbers 15:5,7,10). Wine was used at the Passover, and Jesus Christ used it with unleavened bread at "The Last Supper" as symbols of His body and blood. (Matthew 26:26-29). He then said that, "I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." (Matthew 26:29 RSV) (see The Kingdom of God)
- The first recorded miracle of Jesus Christ (see Miracles Of Jesus Christ), as encouraged by His mother Mary, was the turning of water into wine at a wedding in Cana in Galilee. (John 2:1-11)
- Jesus Christ used the grape vine in His teachings about the church:
"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in Me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples." (John 15:1-8 RSV)
Fact Finder: While the apostles did not prohibit very modest alcohol consumption for those to whom it was not a problem (1 Timothy 5:23), are Christians to refrain from drunkenness?
Luke 21:34, Romans 13:13, Ephesians 5:18, 1 Timothy 3:8, Titus 1:7