STRONG WINE AND POWERFUL BLOOD
By Wayne Camp
"It is a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in mount Sinai for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD. And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering. And the other lamb shalt thou offer at even: as the meat offering of the morning, and as the drink offering thereof, thou shalt offer it, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD" (Numbers 28:6-8).
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7)
It may come as a surprise to some of our readers, but God specified strong wine to be used in at least one of the sacrifices as a drink offering. And, this was not an occasional sacrifice; it was the daily sacrifice. This was the continual burnt offering which was a sweet savor to the Lord. This offering was to be made twice a day every day at morning and at evening. One lamb was to be offered in the morning and another in the evening. There was also a meat offering made of flour and oil. Each time an offering was made, one-fourth of one hin of strong wine was to be poured out as a drink offering before the Lord. A hin equaled five quarts. A fourth of that would be one quart and one cup, or about five cups of strong wine. Five cups of wine and one lamb were offered in the morning and five cups strong wine and one lamb were offered in the evening, every day, seven days per week, except on the Sabbath day the offerings were doubledtwo lambs and ten cups of wine in the morning and two lambs and ten cups of wine in the evening. "It is a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in mount Sinai for a sweet savor, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD. And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering. And the other lamb shalt thou offer at even: as the meat offering of the morning, and as the drink offering thereof, thou shalt offer it, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the LORD" (Num. 28:6-8).
Now, I would remind all of us that all these sacrifices and offerings pointed to our Lord Jesus Christ. Did this drink offering of strong wine that was offered twice daily point to our Savior? He said in the Messianic Psalm, "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels" (Psa. 22:14). Isaiah wrote, ". . . he hath poured out his soul unto death" (Isa. 53:12). We should also remember that this offering in which this strong wine was poured out before God was a sweet savor sacrifice. When Jesus offered up himself his sacrifice was a sweet savor to God. "Christ . . . hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour" (Eph. 5:2). He poured out his blood before God as a sweet savor offering, just as this strong wine was poured out as part of a sweet savor offering. This was a drink offering and he said of his blood, "My blood is drink indeed" (Jn. 6:55). He also said, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you."
The blood of Christ is represented in the drink offering of strong wine, and points to the mighty power in his blood, its mighty cleansing power, its mighty propitiating, satisfying, and pleasing power. New and weak wine would not do! It must be strong to represent the powerful blood. Grape juice would have been rejected by God because it would be a weak and beggarly figure of our Saviors precious and powerful blood.
Surely no one will argue that the strong wine poured out morning and evening before the Lord as a drink offering was grape juice. Strong wine suggests wine that has reached its peak or strength by aging. As Jesus said, "No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better" (Lu. 5:39). It is strongest and has reached the peak of taste and bouquet. That is the kind of wine that was required for the continual burnt offering made twice daily.
The Hebrew word is SHEKAR which means "that which satiates, that which pleases." It pleased the Lord to bruise the Lord Jesus Christ and to pour out his blood. He was pleased and satisfied with the blood of Christ. He was propitiated through the blood shedding of Jesus Christ. So, this SHEKAR, this strong wine which was poured out as part of a sweet savor sacrifice, a drink offering symbolizing and pointing forward to the precious blood of Christ which would propitiate God, was real, alcohol-containing wine. It was wine containing enough alcohol that it was called "strong wine."
Commenting on this, John Gill said that this wine was "old choice wine, old wine being reckoned best, see Luke 5:39, and though this wine was poured out on the altar, and not properly drank by any, yet it was to be the strongest, best, and choicest that could be got, as it was reasonable it should; since it was poured out as a libation or drink-offering to the Lord, which was his way of drinking it, as the burning of the sacrifice was his way of eating that; all which was typical of the sufferings, sacrifice, and bloodshed of Christ, which are well-pleasing and acceptable to the Lord."
Matthew Henry writes, "the wine to be poured out in the drink-offering is ordered to be strong wine (v-7), the richest and most generous and best bodied wine they could get. Though it was to be poured out upon the altar, and not drunk (they therefore might be ready to think the worst would serve to be so thrown away), yet God requires the strongest, to teach us to serve God with the best we have. The wine must be strong (says Ainsworth) because it was a figure of the blood of Christ, the memorial of which is still left to the church in wine, and of the blood of the martyrs, which was poured out as a drink-offering upon the sacrifice and service of our faith Phil. 2:7."
Why strong wine and not grape juice or new wine? That which represents the precious powerful blood of the sinless Son of God must not be a weak and beggarly element, it must be the best, fullest bodied wine available.
The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ has the infinite power to cleanse from sin.
"The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I Jn. 5:7). "Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood" (Rev. 1:5). The more filth, the more cleansing power is needed to get it clean. We gage the amount and type of cleanser by the amount and type of filth to be cleansed. Oh, how filthy must be our sins since only the blood of Christ could cleanse them. "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isa. 1:18). Only in the precious powerful blood of Christ could this be possible.
And what will have the power to purge your conscience from dead works and make you a fit and clean vessel to serve the living God? "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Heb. 9:14). How precious is that flow that makes us white as snow. Nothing but the blood of Jesus will do that. "And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7:14). Only the strongest, fullest bodied best wine could represent the precious, powerful, cleansing blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. God commanded strong wine.
When the Samaritan found the Jew who had been beaten and robbed and left wounded and bleeding by the side of the road, he "went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him" (Lu. 10:34). What did the man use? Did he lay sliced olives and sliced grapes on the wound? Did he put olive juice and grape juice on the wound? No! That would have caused further infection. Both are laden with bacteria. The grape juice would be laden with yeast which would cause further infection. The man poured in oil to soothe and comfort and wine to cleanse and disinfect. Only wine would cleanse. Have you ever heard of anyone using grape juice to cleanse a wound, or anything else for that matter? It has no cleansing power. Wine does have cleansing power and was often used in past times for that very purpose. Only the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse from sin. The Lord did not command that grape juice be used in the sweet savor offering made every day, twice per day. He commanded strong wine for only it could represent the cleansing power of the blood of Christ.
"Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood" (Rom. 3:25). Infinite holiness had been offended. Gods holy law had been broken. Holy, infinitely perfect justice cried out for satisfaction. The blood of a billion bulls and goats could never satisfy, propitiate, and satiate the wrath of God. The blood of righteous Job or faithful Abraham could not satisfy, could not propitiate. It must be the blood of Jesus Christ! That alone would satisfy.
Is it any wonder then that God commanded strong wine for this drink offering. The Hebrew word is SHEKAR which means "that which satiates, that which pleases." The pleasure of the Lord prospered in the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ. It pleased the Lord to bruise him and pour out his blood on Golgothas brow. He saw all that transpired there and was infinitely satisfied. He was propitiated, satisfied. Only SHEKAR, strong wine could be used in the daily sacrifice to represent the satisfying, propitiating blood of our Savior.
The blood of Jesus Christ has sin-remitting power.
To remit means "to put away, to pardon, to send away." The blood of Jesus Christ is the only thing that can remit our sins. "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God" (Romans 3:25). "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Mat. 26:28). Twice daily, every day the drink-offering and the slain lamb was to be offered up before God. The drink offering of strong wine was to be poured out upon the altar. Two times daily they saw a picture of the powerful blood of Christ to remit sins in the strong wine that was offered. His blood can separate our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission" (Heb. 9:22). Twice daily every day they saw in a figure the absolute necessity of the shedding of the powerful blood of Christ. When did they see this figure of the blood of Christ. They saw it in the blood of the lamb sacrificed and they saw it in the strong wine which was poured upon the altar.
The blood of Jesus Christ our Lord has justifying power
"Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him" (Rom. 5:9). Not one sinner could ever be justified before God without the blood of Jesus Christ. We are justified by his blood! Many Jews thought themselves justified because they were the seed of Abraham according to the flesh. But the law was given that every mouth might be stopped and all become guilty before God. There is none righteous. And, under the law, men were shown in every possible way their need of justification and the means of that justification. Every time the drink offering was poured out it was a declaration in a figure that some means must and would be provided for the justification of sinners. It was a message to Jews that they too needed justification. What has the power to justify sinners? The blood of the sinless Son of God is the only ground for our justification. Since every condemned sinner that has been or will be justified must be justified on the grounds of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, that blood must be infinitely powerful. Only strong wine was to be used to show its justifying power.
The blood of Christ has reconciling power
"And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven" (Col. 1:20). God was at enmity with man because of his sins. Man is at enmity with God because of his depraved nature. Something must be done to remove that enmity and bring the elect and God together in reconciliation and peace. The grounds upon which God could peacefully and graciously deal with sinners is the blood of Jesus Christ. His blood had the infinite power to make peace. This peace-making power of the blood of Christ was portrayed every morning and every evening to the Israelite when the sweet-savor offering was made. One way it was portrayed was in the strong wine that was poured out as a drink offering before God.
The blood of Christ has redeeming power
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Pet 1:18-19). Ah, the awful depths of the bondage we are in by nature. Slaves to sin with no way to redeem ourselves. And, the elect number into the millions and morean innumerable multitude. Yet, some way must be found to redeem this enslaved innumerable multitude. What power there must be in that which redeems such sinners! But, it has been found. "We have redemption through his blood" (Eph. 1:7).
Such redemption it is! It is eternal redemption! "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Heb. 9:12). One day we shall sing in his presence and for his glory, ". . . thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Rev. 5:9).
What shall be used in the twice daily sweet-savor sacrifice to portray this powerful redeeming blood of Christ. The blood of the spotless lamb was used but it did not necessarily manifest power. What did manifest power was the strong wine of the drink offering.
The blood of Christ has purchasing power
". . . the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28). Jesus did not pay a small price for his church. He loved it and gave himself for it. He purchased it with his own blood.
Now, grape juice is relatively inexpensive. If it had been used in the drink offering it would not have portrayed a great price to be paid for the church. But, what of the strong wine that was used in the drink offering. As Matthew Henry said, this wine was to be "the richest and most generous and best bodied wine they could get." Or as John Gill said, "It was to be the strongest, best, and choicest that could be got." It must represent in a figure the mighty purchasing power of the blood of Christ. Could mere grape juice do that? No! It must be the strongest, choicest, best, richest and most generous wine they could get. Only such would portray the purchasing power of the blood of Christ.
The blood of Christ has life-giving power
"Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him"(John 6:53-56). It is obvious that if there is no blood of Christ for you there is no life for you. Eternal life is granted on the ground of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. John said, He that hath the Son hath life and he that hath not the Son hath not life. In the same vein Jesus said in essence, "He that has drunk my blood has life and he that has not drunk my blood has not life." Spiritually, one drinks the blood of Christ by believing on him as Savior. The life-giving power of the blood of Christ is portrayed in the strong wine of the drink offering.
The blood of Christ has sin-forgiving power
It is on the basis of the powerful blood of Christ that God forgives sin. There can be no forgiveness of sin for you without the shed blood of our dear Savior. Paul so clearly sets this forth in his letter to the church at Ephesus. "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Eph. 1:7). Not only does Paul say we are redeemed by the blood of Christ, he says we have the forgiveness of sins through that same blood. This sin forgiving power of the blood was symbolized in the drink offering of the strong, full-bodied wine which God commanded.
The blood of Christ has sanctifying power
"Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate." (Heb. 13:12). He sanctified his people with his own blood. To sanctify has to do with holiness. The word comes from the same word as does holy. Christ sanctified his people with his blood. How was the Israelite, before Christ came, to portray in a drink offering the sanctifying power of his blood?
Leaven is a type of sin and heresy. Grape juice is abundant with leaven, or yeast. "In fermentation the alcoholic content reaches an amount so high that even the yeast cells cannot tolerate it, thus the yeast cells are destroyed by the power they create. The concentration of the alcohol that will destroy yeast cells is roughly 7 to 14%. Wines with a higher alcohol content have been fortified with an extra alcohol over and above what was created by their own yeast population" (Emp. Mine, RWC) (Folk Wines, by Jagendorph). "When fermentation is complete and the dead yeast cells and other agents settle to the bottom, the wine is then racked. This involves drawing the wine off and leaving the sediment which is called lees. Through repeated racking, every trace of leavening is removed from the wine and it is unleavened" (Emp. Mine, RWC) (Wine Making At Home, Homer Hardwick, Pp. 8-14). "The grapes are crushed and the grape must is allowed to ferment in vats, usually after the addition of sulfur dioxide to suppress wild yeast and organisms other than the true wine yeast. The wine is racked off to separate it from the lees or sediments of yeast, acids and other matter" (Encyclopedia Britannica). It is obvious from these expert sources that grapes have their own leaven or "true wine making yeast." In the drink offering, that which portrays the blood of Christ must not be laden with leaven which is a type of sin and heresy. It must be portrayed by something that is free of leaven and as Hardwick shows, this only happens through fermentation and racking. The blood of Christ must be represented by something that is both free of anything that corrupts and is very powerful. Grape juice could never meet the requirement so God commanded in his holy law the use of strong wine. He did not call for grape juice; he did not call for new wine. He called for the best, the choicest, the strongest, the fullest bodied naturally fermented wine. Only that could be used to represent the sanctifying power of the blood of Jesus Christ.
The blood of Jesus Christ has overcoming power
"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death" (Rev. 12:11). What a marvelous proclamation! "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb!" Just as Israel overcame Egypt and were delivered from death on their first born and from the bondage of Egypt by the blood of the Passover lamb, even so, the blood of our Passover Lamb is how we overcome sin, Satan, and the world. That overcoming power of the blood of the Son of God is seen in the strong wine of the sweet-savor offering.
"And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel" (Hebrews 12:24). His blood is "the blood of the everlasting covenant" (Heb. 13:20). The great, eternal, covenant of redemption and grace entered into by the three co-equal, co-eternal, and co-existent Persons of the Godhead was sealed and its blessings are ours because of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the blood of the everlasting covenant. Powerful blood! Powerful blood that could only be symbolized with the strong wine which God commanded in the sweet-savor offering. Every day, morning and evening, this drink offering was poured out before the Lord as part of the sweet-savor, pleasing, satisfying offering.
Every day, twice a day, the Israelites who looked forward by faith, saw the powerful blood of the Son of God portrayed in that strong wine. No wonder he commanded the best, the choicest, the strongest, the most precious wine for it portrayed the blood of his beloved Son incarnate.
Every day, twice a day, the Israelites who looked forward by faith, saw the powerful blood of the Son of God portrayed in that strong wine. No wonder he commanded the best, the choicest, the strongest, the most precious wine to be used in the daily sacrifices for it portrayed the blood of his beloved Son incarnate.
I would call this wonderful blood to your attention. Without it you are condemned, unsanctified, unclean, unjustified, and the covenant of grace is unsealed.
"Oh precious is the flow . . . . . . . . .
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Last updated on Friday, March 04, 2011