The Biblical Wineskin Parable Refutes Jubilee 99 Works

Music is a Work of Human Merit: The Bible parable about wineskins meant that you must put new boiled wine (juice) into a new bag or sterilized jar and seal it against air and leaven. This will preserve the juice as a food product and also keep the skin from blowing up. If this is right then the wineskin gospel is built on alcohol and no wonder water was excluded, some thought, from Jubilee 97. Attempting to create spirituality or bring the worshiper into the presence of God is the oldest form of ceremonial legalism appealing to the outward flesh.

Matthew records other events which are directly related to the parable in Luke. Therefore, we will follow his account. Two out-of-context verses are unnaturally taken out and reincarnated or "fermented" into the code word for a new "wine in new wineskins" gospel, worship and kingdom. This violence to the words of Jesus Christ is, in fact, one of the hidden messages of this parable as it is illustrated by raising the dead girl (church etc).

Jesus began (Mat 9:15) by denouncing the Pharisees and others for fasting --usually for show --when there was no natural reason for fasting. Fasting is not an act of worship: it is something you do not do when sad or busy praying. Jesus then explained by two examples.

First, Jesus spoke the parable of raw, new cloth which is unnaturally attached to old cloth. In the Luke account one might tear up a perfectly good garment (church) in order to patch up an ancient one. When the patch shrinks it "takes from the garment." Therefore, new "denomination forming" usually destroys itself as well as the old which it had to rend to get material for the new.

Second, Jesus spoke the parable of new wine (juice) which is "unshrunk" or unconcentrated and then placed in an old bottle or wineskin. The juice "taketh old yeast from" the old bottle, begins to ferment and blows up the skin and spills the now-fermenting juice.

Matthew then ties the ruler and the musicians (just minstrels) directly to this "wineskin" parable. Jesus does not need the old wineskin music which was leaven adopted by the Jews from the nations. He did this by ejecting the musical minstrels who were reenacting an "old wineskin" symbol of resurrection and fertility through the use of unnatural music. The music crowd did not leave without mocking and murmuring which again has a musical connection.

Implicitly Jesus taught that if we are popular and applauded or affirmed or followed like a pied piper we can be fairly sure that we are not one of those "despised and rejected by men."

As the Pharisees practiced a wine-and music-induced worship to the exclusion of the Word, Jeremiah spoke of music as the unnatural and feminine art used by those who could not repent --

"This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come; send for the most skillful of them. Jer 9:17

This artificial emotion induced by music was as old as Babylon and was known by Jeremiah who said:

Let them come quickly and wail over us till our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids. Jer 9:18

If you cannot get the worship to bubble, and the audience returns Sunday evening then send for the wailing or "jubilating celebrative" women minstrels. The Bible clearly warns against a wineskin and musical worship team:

"those who charge Jesus with manufacturing intoxicants are "eager to mar, if by any means they could, the image of a perfect Holiness, which offends and rebukes them." (Lenski quoting Trench)

"This is one of the most misunderstood, and misrepresented passages in the whole of the Gospels...The misunderstanding has arisen from imposing upon the ancient Greek text, and ancient Jewish habits of food and drink, and relying entirely upon the modern and Northern European conception, that the word 'wine' always means intoxicating liquor." Quoted by J. L. Kachelman, Jr. (unpublished paper)

"The Jews do not, in their feasts for sacred purposes, including the marriage feast, ever use any kind of fermented drinks..." (Dr. S. M. Issacs, a Jewish rabbi of the last century, quoted by Patton, p. 83).

Before looking at "the rest of the story" from which the proof-texts are lifted, it is important to understand that there are many ancient "paradigms" circulating out there. These are identical to many ancient formulas for getting a "fizz" out of worship which Christ never put in it.

The New Unshrunk Patch on an Old Garment

How can we substitute fermenting wine for the Bible as the Word of God which is always compared to food and water? The pattern is simply taken without authority right out of the mouth of Jesus. This New Wineskins pattern for the gospel and the kingdom is really refuted with a parallel statement about patching clothes.

For instance, Moses warned that God knew what He was saying and therefore Israel must not "veer off" either to the right or left. After they fell into their "wineskin" and music worship of Apis, Moses said --

Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. Deu 30:11

He denied that they had to ascend to heaven or cross the sea (ancient Babylonian and Egyptian musical rituals). Nor must an expert be trained to explain it to the simple --

No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. Deu 30:14

Paul quotes this in Romans 10 to the Jews who could not understand God's word and sought to establish their own. If the gospel is "beyond your reach" as it has been revealed then perhaps you are busy building new structures rather than submitting as a "stone" in the temple or body of Christ which has no seats for pride.

In another way, Jesus warned against anything which "Shrinks" the gospel or "expands" the gospel. Of the shrinking, the NIV says --

"No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Mat 9:16

The KJV makes the "cloth" and the "wine" hang together. It notes that the new cloth just fills the patch as the wine just fills the bottle. When it shrinks it "taketh from the garment" as the wine takes yeast from the bottle. That is, the patch "implodes" the garment while the "wine" explodes the bottle. New "leaven" does this.

The "Unshrunk" Juice or New Wine in a New Wineskin

If you put "unshrunk" or un-fumigated juice into an old skin, it will begin to ferment because of the old leaven in the wineskin. The juice "taketh leaven away from the skin" and begins to ferment. It will be spoiled and the skin will explode. The juice spoils itself and the skin by fermenting and it is lost and the skin is useless. The object was to put pure juice in a pure skin and it would keep all year.

By analogy, by trying to add the Canaanite influence of wine and music to the Old Covenant the church is paganized and the Old Covenant loses its value. That primary teaching value was that wine, women and song are the three ingredients of paganism.

The KJV uses the word "bottles" but the new "wineskin" gets its magical code word from the NIV. Of the wineskins Jesus said --

Neither do men pour new wine (pure) into old wineskins (containing yeast). If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved." Mat 9:17

Jesus knew that if you put fermenting wine in a new, sealed skin it will burst. He knew that if you use an old, sealed skin it will burst. Therefore, Jesus was saying that the skin was sealed. If we were to use this as a model of the gospel we would conclude that the juice was pure when it went into a ceremonially-pure "vessel of clay" and we dare not disturb it or we will add leaven.

The idea of preserving the fresh fruit of the vine was symbolic of Christ putting the juice into a sterilized container which no human has the right to "take out and inspect" or "open up to denominationalism" or break down the walls of the skin. To preserve the juice is to obey the once-for-all delivered Words of Christ which He said "are spirit and life" (Jn 6:63).

New Wine in a New Wineskin to Preserve - Not Ferment

To Preserve is:

Suntereo (g4933) soon-tay-reh'-o; from 4862 and 5083; to keep closely together, i.e. (by impl.) to conserve (from ruin); ment. to remember (and obey): - keep, observe, preserve.

By putting new, fumigated or boiled wine (complete and sanctified gospel) into a new, sealed skin Jesus knew that the goal was to keep the wine (gospel) from fermenting.

Our moms washed the new fabric by boiling it in lye water. It shrank and did not pull away from the old garment. In the same way "moms," then and now, boiled the juice to kill the yeasts and concentrate the sugar content so that it was preserved and did not ferment. Can't we see this lady even now as she "rewove" old or new cloth while she shrunk the juice to preserve it?

By winter fire-light, shaping with keen blade
The torches to a point; his wife the while,
Her tedious labour soothing with a song,
Speeds the shrill comb along the warp, or else
With Vulcan's aid boils the sweet must-juice down,
And skims with leaves the quivering cauldron's wave. (Vergil, Georgics 1:370).
And rose-leaves dried, or must to thickness boiled
By a fierce fire, or juice of raisin-grapes
From Psithian vine, and with its bitter smell Vergil Georgics 4.347

"Superior honey comes from fresh comb, and from young shoots; the red honey is inferior, and owes its inferiority to the comb in which it is deposited, just as wine is apt to be spoiled by its cask; consequently, one should have it looked to and dried. Aristotle History of Animals 626b.1

The Bible, history and common sense are agreed. The best wine was "shrunken" wine which was aged to oxidize the impurities and even reduce remaining alcohol --

The Lacedaemonians (Spartans) used to boil their wines upon the fire until the fifth part was consumed; then after four years were expired began to drink them." (Grecian Archaeology, Vol. 2, Pg 364, Potter)

The failure to grasp the Bibles teaching of Jesus about the wineskin may be a sign that the church is already in a deep sleep. In fact, many have heard the sermons and already believe that better wine is more intoxicating wine. This, in turn, fuels a lot of "worship improvement" discussions. Campbell (and Paul) note that the dead symbols have the power to bypass the rational part of the brain and cause even intelligent people to fall into a virtual ecstasy over the "wisdom" of the person who flashes the dead symbol. This happens until the brain kicks in!

"The ancients filtered their wines repeatedly before they could have fermented, and thus the (leaven) which nourish the strength of the wine being taken away, they rendered the wine itself more liquid, weaker, lighter, and more PLEASANT to drink." (Delphian commentary on Horace, Book 1, Ode 17).

The ancient goal was to prevent fermentation because this would surely lead to the wine spoiling in most cases. If, however, the wine in the sealed skin began to ferment (bubble with excitement) they took it out and fumigated it with sulfur or by boiling to utterly destroy the elements which created the wine-destroying excitement. If our churches as "wineskins" are in danger from a "fermenting gospel" then perhaps we need to imitate these wise people and "fumigate" the gospel and remove the leaven.

By taking the "wine" out of the skin Jesus provided and "breaking down the walls" to outside leaven, it is easy to see why musical worship teams and other compromises are made. No one wants to compromise their principles in order to fellowship churches of Christ. However, weak and immature members of the churches of Christ always have to accommodate to other groups. This is the God-explained result of breaking down the walls.

By putting the new wine in the ceremonially pure jars at Cana Jesus could produce something which a new bride could consume without harming her new child. Later, it is noted that the new "wine" which Jesus brought as He fulfilled Passover would be uncontaminated by leaven: no leaven, no alcohol. Lenski notes that it would remain pure and unchanging --

"Sour old wine is an abomination, praise it as a man will; the sweet new wine of Jesus remains sweet forever, it is changeless in its purity and excellence, beyond the praise of even those who realize this" (Lenski, Commentary on Luke, p. 320).

Almost by definition, wine could not be sweet and still fermenting without eventually losing its sweetness. However, "fermenting" worship always goes down smoothly. It gets them back, applauds the effort and gets the new temple built. But in the end, it "floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee."

The juice was pure when it went into the jars. The ancients watched their wine and when it began to ferment they did not look for a bigger skin. They took the wine out, boiled or fumigated it to stop the "bubbling" and and fumigated the old. The fermentation would destroy a primary food crop as a giddy, effete worship necessarily replaces the "ensnared" Word which we couldn't understand anyway?

No sealed wineskin can contain fermenting wine

Just ask Elihu who proved that spirit fills the human skin rather than the wineskin --

For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me; Job 32:18

inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst. Job 32:19

I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply. Job 32:20

The spirit God put into people was not a little person. Rather, the spirit--as the New Testament confirms--was the mental disposition of God delivered in words which "are spirit and life" (Jn 6:63).

Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Pr.1:23

That you turn your spirit against God, And let such words go out of your mouth? Job15:13

To whom have you uttered words? And whose spirit came from you? Job 26:4

For I am full of words; The spirit within me compels me. Job 32:18

Those who find their gospel beginning to "bubble" should know that foreign "leaven" has crept in. They will never find a wineskin big enough for such a gospel. If they leave it "unsealed" so that all kinds of "yeasts" (doctrines) can come in its sweetness will turn to wine, then vinegar and then rot.

The new, and exciting, bubbly worship service will grow old, there will be less and less Biblical preaching and more and more little morally plays and effeminate dances. As in Amos 8, the people will travel over land and sea -- from this new group to that new group, from California to Nashville -- and they will try to find the word but because they want it bubbly, they will never find it. In the end, they will hunger and thirst for the Word, perhaps in a "set on seven hills."

Kenneth Sublett

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