New Wine Skins For New Wine
"The Earth belongs to HaShem and the Fullness Thereof."
By John of AllFaith © October 11, 2007
No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.
Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved. -- Matt 9:16,17
First understand that:
All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them.
-- Matt 13:34
Master Y'shua (Jesus) came to show (restore) a new way of worshiping the God of Israel. Over the years the religion we know as Christianity went through many significant changes to the point that today it bears little in common with its Jewish origins. I discuss this in some depth elsewhere on this site. Back in the first century however the only significant difference between Master Y'shua's teachings and those of Rabbinical (Pharisaical) Judaism was his rejection of the supremacy of the Oral Torah and his disciple's later decision to actively include the Noahides (as described in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles). Master Y'shua was a devout Jew in all respects who clearly had no interest in forming a new religion and who had practically no contact with non-Jews:
22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan [ie a Gentile] came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to dogs.
27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.
28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
Master Y'shua often complained about the rabbis' (Pharisees) placing the Oral Torah before the Written Torah. He taught, in a effect, "Its a new day! Forget about the binding traditions that restricted our (Jewish) ancestors to the traditions of the past! Renew your hearts! Pour the wine of the Spirit of God into clean hearts, into new skins. HaShem is alive and present right here and now! Stop looking backward to past rabbis! HaShem is here with us today! Wake up!"
This was the central message of most Hebrew prophets:
12 Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, HaShem sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard.
13 Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of HaShem your God; and HaShem will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.
This is made all the more clear at Mark 7 where we read:
5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Master Y'shua is here referring to the legalistic observance of the Oral Torah (ie to the Talmud, the Mishna, etc). Don't misunderstand, these are wonderful, spiritually enlightening resources, however like some other Jews (the Scribes, the Karaites and the Essenes for instance), Master Y'shua accepted only the Written Torah (the five books of Moses plus the Tanakh -- ie the so-called Old Testament) as inspired Scripture. He felt the Oral Torah should be viewed as enlightened reference works and commentaries, not as sacred texts binding on the Jewish people. Y'shua was more concerned with understanding the spirit of the Word than with the letter; with the heart rather than with external actions.
Master Y'shua felt those 'old skins of the legalistic Oral Torah' were keeping Rabbinical Jews from entering into what HaShem had for them. The Master felt that the Pharisees had in effect traded the idols of Baal and Ashteroth for the "idol" of the Oral Torah and its traditions. This view is similar to that held today by many Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist Jews.
This was Master Y'shua's primary complaint against the Jews of his day:
24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
Master Y'shua sought to reform Rabbinical Judaism into a more vibrant and spiritually present religion according to the insights HaShem had revealed to him. Had his reforms been accepted he would have held a place similar to Moses Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, Rambam). Instead, his reforms were rejected by his people and his Way was incorporated into a new non-Jewish, and in many cases anti-Jewish religious system.
Contrast his concerns for first century Judaism with Prophet Y'shua's description of what the Christian Church of these Last Days would become:
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
This is a vital issue that most of the Christian Church has yet to confront, but this is a topic for a different study. The Apostle Paul rebukes this same tendency among converts to the Way of Master Y'shua.
1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus the Anointed hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Paul argues that as with Father Abraham, it is faith that saves, not the legalistic observance of the 613 mitzvoth. The Apostle Paul felt his fellow Jews were trying to earn HaShem's blessings by scrupulously obeying the mitzvoth (Laws) while Master Y'shua stressed the importance of childlike faith in HaShem's love and mercy. Paul later expands on this teaching by explaining that this childlike faith must be maintained even as one develops into spiritual adulthood (I Cor 13:11).
What HaShem demands of His people is defined by Prophet Micah thusly:
6 Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
This was Master Y'shua's essential teaching and this wisdom needs to be understood and applied by pure hearts, in new wine skins.
And so my friends today, as much as within us is, let us all be open to what the Spirit of the Living One has for us and put away all superstitions and unfounded assumptions.