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Blog - The Parable of the Wine Bottles

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The following blog is over 14 years old at the time of this post. I wrote it on September 23, 2005 in Mosul, Iraq five months after I was baptized. I have left it unchanged. I hope you enjoy it. - Pastor Wagner

The Parable of the Wine Bottles

"37) And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. 38) But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. 39) No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better." Luke 5:37-39

Some have observed that in the days of Jesus' earthly ministry, wine was evidently made by putting grape juice into wine skins for it to ferment and become wine. Wine is produced when the yeast in grape juice eats the sugar and produces alcohol as the byproduct. During this process the wine expanded and stretched the wine skin. If new wine was put into an old wine skin, it would break the old wine skin when it was fermenting. This is the physical explanation of the parable.

This parable has spiritual implications also. Until the days of John the Baptist, Israel was under the law, the Old Testament religion. Since that time the Kingdom of God has been preached, which is the New Testament church (Luke 16:16). The religion of God was reformed by Jesus Christ at His first coming (Heb 9:10). The New Testament church could be said to be the "new wine" while the Old Testament form of religion is the "old bottle." Just as new wine cannot be put into old bottles, the N.T. church cannot be put in or subject to O.T. ordinances. Although few, if any, churches these days have animal sacrifices as part of their worship service, most of them have carried over one or more of the ordinances from the O.T. religion, in a sense putting new wine into old bottles.

Many people today believe that they earn eternal salvation by keeping the works of the law in one form or another. The Bible clearly teaches the contrary, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Gal 2:16). Eternal salvation is by grace alone, without works (Rom 11:5-6, Eph 2:8-9). Works are anything a person does. Belief is a work (John 6:29, Acts 16:30-31, Heb 4:11 c/w Heb 4:3), faith is a work and a weighty matter of the law (1 Thes 1:3, Matt 23:23), and repentance is a work (Matt 12:41 c/w Jonah 3:10). Eternal life is not based on anything a man does such as believe, have faith, or repent (Rom 9:16). It is only based on God's election of saints unto Christ's saving work on the cross (Matt 1:21, John 6:37-39, Rom 9:11-13, Eph 1:3-12, 1 Thes 1:4-5, 2 Tim 1:9, Titus 3:5, 1 Pet 1:2, Heb 1:3, Heb 10:14). Making works of the law necessary for eternal salvation is putting "new wine into old bottles."

Another way churches like to "putteth new wine into old bottles" is accompany their singing (which singing we are commanded to do, Col 3:16), with musical instruments that we are not once commanded to do in the N.T. Just because the "old bottle" had musical instruments in its worship service does not mean that they should be carried over into the N.T. church. Where the Bible is silent on a subject, it is silent. We are not to add to or diminish ought from God's commandments, a principle of both Testaments (Deut 4:2, 12:32 c/w Matt 28:19-20, 1Cor 11:2). King Saul got into lots of trouble with God for adding something to God's commandment, even though he thought he was doing something that would please God (1 Sam 15:3,15, 20-23).

Many people nowadays believe that a church building is holy or sacred. Most people usually refer to a church building as "the church." In the O.T. (the "old bottle") the temple was a holy and sacred building. The temple was destroyed in 70 AD and never physically rebuilt. The temple in the N.T. is spiritual in nature. N.T. saints, born again church members, are THE temple of God, not some church building (1 Cor 3:16, 2 Cor 6:16). Jesus' body is THE temple (John 2:19-21), and therefore His people are also THE temple because they are IN Him (Eph 1:4). Regarding a church building as holy and referring to the building as a church, rather than the people that church is made of, is putting "new wine into old bottles."

The O.T. religion was full of holy days such as the passover. The N.T. does not command God's people to observe any "holy days" or religious holidays such as Christmas or Easter. God never commanded us to celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th just after the winter solstice, or to celebrate Jesus' death around the time of the spring equinox. These "holy days" were not ever commanded by God; they were dreamed up by Constantine and his spiritual heirs who merged Roman paganism and Catholic "Christianity" together. Remember, we are not to add to or diminish ought from the commandments of God (Deut 4:2, 12:32 c/w Matt 28:19-20, 1Cor 11:2) and God punishes His people for adding to His commandments even when they sincerely feel they are making Him happy by adding to His commandments (1 Sam 15:3,15, 20-23). Jeroboam created his own religion and one of the things he "devised of his own heart" (1King 12:33) was a holy day that God never commanded him to make (1King 12:32-33). God punished Jeroboam severely for his sin (1King 14:9-10). Religious holy days were done away with when the New Testament replaced the Old Testament. If a New Testament gospel church does not do as the world and celebrate "holy days" such as Christmas and Easter, the world will judge them and call them a cult. Remember what Paul told the Colossians, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days" (Col 2:16). Incorporating religious holidays into the N.T. church, especially when God did not command us to, is putting "new wine into old bottles."

Jesus told us that the new wine must be put into new bottles in order for it to be preserved. The last verse of the parable now comes into effect. "No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better." Are you willing to follow Jesus' commandments and only Jesus' commandments and give up the "old wine" and "desireth new"? Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).


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