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LIFE > Life in the World > Drinkers of Wine > Symbolism of Wine > Prosperity


In the Scriptures wine speaks of the prosperity of Jacob, the third patriarch. When Isaac blessed Jacob, he said: “May God give you of the dew of heaven, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine (tirosh; see: Isaac and Jacob)” (Gen. 27:28). This terminology implies a blessing of prosperity. Jacob was to have “dew,” “fatness,” and “grain and wine.” Isaac invokes God to give his son “plenty” of wine; he was to be unusually blessed by the God of Abraham. The best and finest were to be part of Jacob’s future.

To have grain and wine was to be blessed; to have “plenty” of grain and wine was to enjoy the full favor and abundant blessings of God. To Esau, Isaac said that he had sustained Jacob “with grain and wine (tirosh)” (v. 37). Isaac’s blessing of Jacob was to find its fullest expression in the nation, the nation that bore his name.

Wine speaks of the prosperity of the nation of Israel. The blessing Jacob received from his father anticipated the blessing that God would give to the nation, for the nation came from the loins of Jacob. His sons became the tribes of the nation (actually, the two sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, replace Joseph and Levi, son of Jacob, among the twelve sons).

Shortly before his death on the east side of the Jordan, Moses addressed the nation saying: “Then Israel shall dwell in safety, the fountain of Jacob alone, in a land of grain and new wine” (Deut. 33:28). Moses predicts prosperity, grain, and wine for the nation. On the west side of the Jordan there would be protection and blessing. Israel would cross the Jordan and be given a new land, and they would then enjoy the land and its wine.

To His chosen people God promised and provided wine for them as a symbol of His favor. The “grain and new wine” of Jacob became the “grain and new wine” of the nation. Both were blessed with tirosh. The blessing and favor given to Jacob was given to the nation. The prosperity of Jacob is the prosperity of Israel, for Jacob is Israel (Gen. 32:28).

Wine also speaks of the prosperity that is still ahead, a time of superabundance at the last day, the eschatological day. In “the day of the Lord” that is coming, a day that speaks of the consummation (see: The Day of the Lord), the Lord “will be zealous for His land and pity His people”; the Lord says: “I will send you grain and new wine (tirosh) and oil, and you will be satisfied by them” (Joel 2:1, 18-19). The Lord, Joel affirms, will send the former and latter rain; and “the threshing floor shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine (tirosh) and oil” (v. 24). There will be plenty; note the words “full” and “overflow.” Because of the abundance of wheat, oil, and wine, God’s people “will be satisfied by them.”

In Chapter Three Joel predicts: “And it shall come to pass in that day that the mountain shall drip with new wine (asis), the hills shall flow with milk (v. 18). Note the words “drip” and “flow”; there will be blessing and prosperity. In the same manner in Amos, we read: “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘when the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine (asis), and all the hills shall flow with it’” (9:13). There will be blessing, fruitfulness, abundance, and prosperity. The hills will flow with sweet wine. The best is yet to be.

Isaiah speaks of a time when God will “create new heavens and a new earth” (65:17). In that day His people “shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit” (v. 21). God adds: “My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands” (v. 22). Isaiah also speaks of a time when the “Lord of hosts shall reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem” (24:23). And “the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces” and “will swallow up death forever” (25:8; see Rev. 21:4).

He continues: “And in this mountain the Lord of hosts will make a feast of choice pieces, a feast of wines on the lees (shemarim; ESV has “well-aged wine”), of fat things full of marrow, of well-refined wines on the lees (shemarim; ESV has “aged wine”)” (25:6). “Wine on the lees” translates shemarim, a word that appears five times in the Old Testament and is translated in the AV as “dregs,” “lees,” and “wine on the lees.” The word speaks of wine that has been left on the lees, that is, dregs or sediment left over from the fermentation process that deepen the color and strengthen the wine; in the NIV the translation is “aged wine” and the ESV it is “well-aged wine.”

There will be a “feast” of this kind of wine. “Choice pieces” literally means “fat things,” a reference to rich food and the best of meats. There will be prosperity, for the Lord Himself will prepare the feast of mature wine and the most delectable dishes. The abundance will be universal, because it will be “for all people.” Jew and Gentile will sit down together. All of God’s children will be at the table. Grace will have triumphed. And wine will be served!

A feast is made for laughter,
and wine makes merry.
Ecclesiastes 10:19

The days will come in which vines will grow,
each having ten thousand branches,
and in each branch ten thousand twigs,
and in each true twig ten thousand shoots,
and in each one of the shoots ten thousand clusters,
and on every one of the clusters ten thousand grapes,
and every grape when pressed will give two hundred gallons of wine.
And when any of the saints shall lay hold of a cluster,
another shall cry out: “I am a better cluster, take me; bless the Lord through me.”

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