Water into Wine

The transformation of water into wine at the Marriage at Cana or Wedding at Cana is the first Miracle of Jesus in the Gospel of John.

In the biblical account, Jesus and his disciples are invited to a wedding and when the wine runs out. Jesus turns water into wine by performing a miracle.

Jesus the Polygamyst: Marriage at Cana

Contrary to current mainstream Mormon belief, Mormon leader Orson Hyde taught that the Marriage at Cana was Jesus’ own wedding, that Jesus was a polygamist and that the sisters Mary Magdalene and Martha were among his wives. This teaching has never been accepted as part of official Mormon doctrine by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and is not held to be true by the overwhelming majority of Mormons today. Anti-Mormon critic Floyd McElveen argues against this hypothesis based on John 2:8-10 which states that the master of the ceremony at the feast (unaware of the miracle) congratulated “the bridegroom” for the wine, not Jesus and that John 2:2 states that: “Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding”, and one does not get invited to his own wedding.

  • On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
    (John 2:1-11)

This story highlights to my Baptist friends that Yeshua (Jesus Christ) did not turn the water into grape juice. The Master of the Feast clearly, said “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

Whether one wants to believe the Holy Bible for what it says (unlike most Baptists I know), the fact is that Noah and the Wedding Guests at Cana were drinking alcoholic beverages.

The Apostolic Fathers make very little reference to wine, but the earliest references from the Church Fathers make it clear that the early church used wine in their celebration of the Eucharist, often mixing it with water according to the prevailing custom. The Didache, an early Christian treatise which is generally accepted to be from the late 1st century, instructs Christians to give a portion of their wine in support of a true prophet or, if they have no prophet resident with them, to the poor.

Clement of Alexandria wrote in a chapter about drinking that he admires those who adopt an austere life and abstain from wine, and he suggests the young abstain from wine so as not to inflame their “wild impulses.” But he says taking a little wine as medicine or for pleasure after the day’s work is acceptable for those who are “moored by reason and time” such that they aren’t tempted by drunkenness, and he encourages mixing water in with the wine to inhibit inebriation. He also says wine [not grape juice] is an appropriate symbol of Jesus’ blood.

Cyprian rejects as “contrary to evangelical and apostolical discipline” the practice of some Gnostics, who used water instead of wine in the Eucharist. While still rejecting drunkenness, on the content of the cup he says, “The Holy Spirit also … makes mention of the Lord’s cup, and says, “Thy inebriating cup, how excellent it is!” [quoting a variation of Psalm 23:5 (in the Hebrew numbering)] Now the cup which inebriates is assuredly mingled with wine, for water cannot inebriate anybody.”

  • A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
    (Psalms 23:1-6 ESV)

Basil the Great likewise repudiated the views of some dualistic heretics who abhorred marriage, rejected wine, and called God’s creation “polluted” and who substituted water for wine in the Eucharist.

John Chrysostom in a homily on 1 Timothy 5:23 stresses moderation and adds that the biblical passage in question is useful for refuting heretics and immature Christians who say there should be no wine. He emphasizes the goodness of God’s creation and adjures: “Let there be no drunkenness; for wine is the work of God, but drunkenness is the work of the devil. Wine makes not drunkenness; but intemperance produces it. Do not accuse that which is the workmanship of God, but accuse the madness of a fellow mortal.”

The virtue of temperance passed from Greek philosophy into Christian ethics and became one of the four cardinal virtues under St. Ambrose and St. Augustine. Drunkenness, on the other hand, is considered a manifestation of gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins as compiled by Gregory the Great in the 6th century.

This article could be much more lengthy (and tedious) delving into the Middle Ages, Protestant Reformation, English Reformation, Colonial America, Methodism, and the Temporance Movement.

At the Last Supper, Jesus and the disciples shared a Kiddush of wine.

  • And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
    (Mark 14:23-25 ESV)

Likewise, Paul the Apostle counseled Timothy cobverning the use of wine for his stomach ands other ailments.

  • Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.
    (I Timothy 5:23)

The kiddish is recited over a full (brimming) large cup of wine. The wine symbolizes joy and the full cup symbolizes overflowing joy and bounty. On Shabbat there should be nothing missing from total physical and spiritual completion. Kiddush may be recited and drunk while  standing, sitting, or standing while reciting and sitting while drinking. There are a number of variations for holding the cup. Of particular note: place the cup in the palm of the right hand with the five fingers curled upward holding it. This symbolizes the five-petaled rose, the symbol of perfection, of longing for God (the petals reach upward), of the people of Israel.

The text of the kiddush can be found in the siddur. The first half is an account of the completion of creation on the seventh day (Genesis 1:31 and Genesis 2:1-3). The introductory phrase va-y’hi erev va-y’hi voker–“and there was evening and there was morning”–is said in a low tone. This allows the emphasis to fall on the first four words of kiddush: “yom ha-shishi. Va-y’khulu ha-shamayim (Friday), “the sixth day. The heaven and the earth were finished”the first letters of which form the Tetragrammaton, the holy four-letter Name of God.

After this we recite the blessing over the wine.

The second half of the kiddush recalls both the Creation and the Exodus from Egypt, the paradigm for all physical and spiritual redemptions and rebirths, and concludes with the blessing on the sanctification of the Shabbat. If wine is not available, the kiddush can be recited over the twin hallot [braided breads]. Simply substitute the blessing over the bread for the one over the wine.

Throughout the Torah, we are reminded of the great spiritual significance of wine in the life of a Jew. In fact, the Talmudic Rabbis saw fit to establish a special law with special regard to wine. Today, the vast majority of wines on the market are unfit for consumption by the kosher consumer. Throughout all the stages of wine production, the strictest Kosher supervision is required until the final stage of the actual bottling. There is, of course, the prohibition concerning wines which relates to the status of boiled wine. Kosher wine that has been cooked before contact with a non-Jew has occurred is exempted from the injunction. This prohibition stems from the historical perspective that boiled wine was considered “improper” to be offered as a libation to an idol (where wines were often offered by these idol worshiping nations). Such wine, (called “Yayin Nesach“), that had been offered to an idol was prohibited for Jewish use of any kind. This was a Torah-based prohibition. In addition, there is also a rabbinic prohibition which forbids drinking the ordinary wine of non-Jews in order to reduce social contact which could lead to assimilation and intermarriage. Such wine is called “Stam Yenam“. Therefore, if a non-Jew happened to come into contact with boiled wine, the wine is still permissible for an observant Jew to drink. Many kosher wines today bear the marking “Mevushal“, that indicates that they have been boiled. Extra caution must be taken with a kosher wine that has not been previously boiled (Mevushal), lest a non-Jew or Jew who is not Shomer Shabbos should come in contact with that bottle of wine (maid etc.). A closed bottle, even non-Mevushal wine, may be handled by a non-Jew. In its most basic state, wine is nothing more than fermented grape juice. The processing, aging and grape type used in each type of wine provide the countless variations of wines available on the market today. As we have stated, the basic initial ingredient in wine is the grape, which consists of water, sugar, acid and tannin. The most popular types of grapes used in kosher wines today are carignam, grenache and semillon. Today, the vineyards in Israel consist of over 40,000 acres and produce over 13 million gallons of wines per year. Currently, kosher wines are being produced in such places as Spain, Italy, New York, California, Israel and Italy. Besides the vital knowledge that the kosher consumer must have when purchasing wine for the enjoyment of the wine itself, it is also imperative for the kosher consumer to realize that often, wine and grape juice are used to flavor and color other food and beverage items (i.e. beer, pink lemonade, lite canned fruits, tropical drinks, cereals, etc.). Therefore, it is imperative for the kosher consumer to rely on competent Hashgachas when purchasing such complex items.

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Leviathan

Leviathan is a sea monster referred to in the Bible. The word has become synonymous with any large sea monster or creature. In literature (e.g., Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick) it refers to great whales, and in Modern Hebrew, it simply means whale.

Leviathan is mentioned several times in the Tanakh. Some passages of Scripture that reference Leviathan are describing an actual creature, some are poetic metaphors and some are prophetical metaphors.

Leviathan was written of as a metaphor for mourning in the Book of Job. It says, “Let those curse it who curse the day, who are ready to rouse up Leviathan” (Job 3:8 ESV). The King James translation says, “Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning” (Job 3:8 KJV). The Hebrew word used for “mourning” in the KJV is “livyathan” (לִוְיָתָן). The KJV actually translated this passage wrong.

In the Genesis account of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth, the creation of sea monsters is recorded. Genesis says, “So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:21 ESV). Leviathan is described extensively in the Book of Job.

“Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook or press down his tongue with a cord? Can you put a rope in his nose or pierce his jaw with a hook? Will he make many pleas to you? Will he speak to you soft words? Will he make a covenant with you to take him for your servant forever? Will you play with him as with a bird, or will you put him on a leash for your girls? Will traders bargain over him? Will they divide him up among the merchants? Can you fill his skin with harpoons or his head with fishing spears? Lay your hands on him; remember the battle–you will not do it again! Behold, the hope of a man is false; he is laid low even at the sight of him. No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up. Who then is he who can stand before me? Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine. “I will not keep silence concerning his limbs, or his mighty strength, or his goodly frame. Who can strip off his outer garment? Who would come near him with a bridle? Who can open the doors of his face? Around his teeth is terror. His back is made of rows of shields, shut up closely as with a seal. One is so near to another that no air can come between them. They are joined one to another; they clasp each other and cannot be separated. His sneezings flash forth light, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn. Out of his mouth go flaming torches; sparks of fire leap forth. Out of his nostrils comes forth smoke, as from a boiling pot and burning rushes. His breath kindles coals, and a flame comes forth from his mouth. In his neck abides strength, and terror dances before him. The folds of his flesh stick together, firmly cast on him and immovable. His heart is hard as a stone, hard as the lower millstone. When he raises himself up the mighty are afraid; at the crashing they are beside themselves. Though the sword reaches him, it does not avail, nor the spear, the dart, or the javelin. He counts iron as straw, and bronze as rotten wood. The arrow cannot make him flee; for him sling stones are turned to stubble. Clubs are counted as stubble; he laughs at the rattle of javelins. His underparts are like sharp potsherds; he spreads himself like a threshing sledge on the mire. He makes the deep boil like a pot; he makes the sea like a pot of ointment. Behind him he leaves a shining wake; one would think the deep to be white-haired. On earth there is not his like, a creature without fear. He sees everything that is high; he is king over all the sons of pride.”
(Job 41:1-34 ESV)

Some scholars think Leviathan as described in Job 41:1-34 is a crocodile. When reading this passage it is obvious that this is absurd. Leviathan appears to be a large fire breathing animal of some sort. Just as the bombardier beetle has an explosion producing mechanism, so the great sea dragon may have an explosive producing mechanism to enable it to be a real fire breathing dragon. Leviathan is also perhaps thought by some scholars to be an the extinct animal from the Plesiosauridae family.

Psalms 104 mentions Leviathan poetically as the Psalmist praises and magnifies God for His beautiful creation of the world. “Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great. There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it. These all look to you, to give them their food in due season” (Psalms 104:25-27 ESV).

Asaph authored a Psalm which appears to describe the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Chaldeans (Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar). This Psalm also appears to have a dual metaphor for Leviathan. This metaphor appears to describe an actual event that references Leviathan as a sea monster and a possible parallel prophecy of the head wound that the Antichrist will receive as described in the Book of Revelation.

Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.
(Psalms 74:13-14 KJV)

The Prophet Isaiah wrote used the name of Leviathan as a metaphor in Judeo-Christian eschatology. Isaiah’s metaphor of Leviathan is a reference to the coming Antichrist and confirms and reinforces the prophecies in the Book of Revelation.

In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.
(Isaiah 27:1 KJV)

The coming Antichrist is also pictured as coming from the sea and coming in the power of the dragon (Satan) in the Book of Revelation. The connections between Leviathan and the Antichrist are very obvious. Every comparison that we will make between Leviathan and Antichrist is also a comparison to Satan as he is the controlling force behind the Antichrist. There are also obvious connections to fallen angels, the Nephilim and the alien agenda or extraterrestrial deception.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
(Revelation 12:9 KJV)

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
(Revelation 13:1-4 KJV)

It would be fair to conclude that some passages in Scripture describe Leviathan as a dragon. Dragons were the symbol of ancient Babylon. Draco is a constellation in the far northern sky. Its name is Latin for dragon.

The Leviathan of the Middle Ages was used as an image of Satan. St. Thomas Aquinas described Leviathan as the demon of envy, first in punishing the corresponding sinners. Leviathan became associated with visual motif of the Hellmouth, a monstrous animal into whose mouth the damned disappear at the Last Judgement, found in Anglo-Saxon art from about ninth century, and later all over Europe.

In Satanism, according to the author of the Satanic Bible, Anton Szandor LaVey, Leviathan represents the element of Water and the direction of West. The element of Water in Satanism is associated with life and creation, and may be represented by a Chalice during ritual. In the Satanic Bible, Leviathan is listed as one of the Four Crown Princes of Hell. This association was inspired by the demonic hierarchy from the Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage. The Church of Satan uses the Hebrew letters at each of the points of the Sigil of Baphomet to represent Leviathan. Starting from the lowest point of the pentagram, and reading counter-clockwise, the word reads לִוְיָתָן. Translated, this is (LVIThN) Leviathan.

The fact that Leviathan is a real creature is beyond doubt and, as such, it is under God’s sovereign control. God uses Leviathan’s strength and power to illustrate to Job his weakness and frailty. God asks Job to consider how powerless he is against even the sea creatures God has created and to understand his position in the universe. God points out to Job that he could never pull Leviathan out of the water with a hook. Whatever its nature, leviathan is large and powerful enough to be subject only to the sovereign control of God Almighty.