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New Wine in Old Skins


   PART III: THE NEW AND THE OLD

           CHAPTER 17
 

Introduction
            New Wine in Old Skins is found in all three synoptic
         Gospels: Matthew 9:17; Mark 2:22; and Luke 5:37-38.
 
The Story
                         "Neither  do  men  pour new wine into old
                   wineskins.  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."    (Matthew    9:17,      New
                   International Version).

                   "And  no  one  pours  new  wine  into old
                   wineskins. If  he  does,  the  wine  will
                   burst  the  skins,  and both the wine and
                   the wineskins will be  ruined.    No,  he
                   pours new wine into new wineskins." (Mark
                   2:22, New International Version).

                       "And no  one  pours  new  wine  into  old
                   wineskins.  If he does, the new wine will
                   burst the skins, the wine  will  run  out
                   and  the  wineskins  will be ruined,  No,
                   new  wine  must  be poured into new wine-
                   skins.  (Luke 5:37-38, New  International
                   Version).
 

              In Jesus' day, there were no glass bottles  as  we  have
         today.  New  wine  (grape  juice)  was poured into wineskins.
         Wine skins were actually the skins of sheep  and  goats  that
         were  sewn  together  except at the neck, which served as the
         neck of the container.  The skins were filled, and  the  neck
         then sewn closed.

              Since there was no refrigeration, the grape juice  would
         ferment,  producing  alcohol  and carbon dioxide, which would
         cause the new skins to expand.  Old  skins  would  not  work,
         since  they  had  already  been  stretched and were no longer
         elastic.

                If  grape  juice  were  to  be put in old wineskins, the  expanding carbon dioxide
         would rupture the  wineskins.    The  wine  would  run  out  and be lost and the
         wineskins would be  ruined.  [CAMBRIDGE GREEK TESTAMENT FOR SCHOOLS
         AND  COLLEGES (Cambridge: University Press, 1906),  MATTHEW, by A. Carr, p.
         155]. [William Barclay,  DAILY STUDY BIBLE SERIES,    Vol.  2:  MATTHEW
         (Philadelphia:  Westminster    Press,  1958), p. 346  ff.].  [BEACON BIBLE
         COMMENTARY  (Kansas    City,  MO:  Beacon  Hill Press),  MATTHEW,  By Ralph
         Earle,  p. 101].

                                            
 

                               The Interpretation
 
             JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY ARE INCOMPATIBLE, BUT  NOT
         CONTRADICTORY.    Some truths are CULTURAL--these are limited
         to  a  culture  or  a  period  of  time.    Some  truths  are
         TRANSCULTURAL--these  may  be  carried  from  one  culture to
         another or from one time frame to another.  Some  truths  are
         SUPERCULTURAL--these  are  timeless  truths that apply to all
         time.  The supercultural  truths  of  Judaism  are  still  in
         effect in Christianity.  Some  transcultural truths are still
         in effect in Christianity.  Many of the  cultural  truths  of
         Judaism are not in effect in Christianity.

                An example of a cultural truth in  Judaism  that  is  no
         longer  in effect for Christianity is the sacrificial system.
         Jesus' sacrifice--his death on the cross--is for all time and
         does  away  with  the  Old Testament sacrificial system.  The
         sacrifice of animals in the Old Testament was a type  of  the
         real sacrifice of Jesus.

                An example of a transcultural truth in  Judaism  is  the
         family   stucture.  The husband is the administrative head of
         his wife.  This will  continue  in  all  cultures  until  the
         Dispensation  of  the  Fullness  of  the Ages.  (Of course it
         ceases to be in effect upon the death of the individual).  It
         is  God's  plan  for  all cultures of all time, regardless of
         whether people practice it or not.

              An  example  of a supercultural truth is the doctrine of
         the Imputed Righteousness of Christ.  One of the Names of God
         is  YAHWEH-TSIDKENU,  "The  LORD Our Righteousness" (Jeremiah
         23:6). The  Old  Testament  saints  were  made  righteous  or
         Justified by Faith, the same way people are justified  today.
         (See  Chapter  1,  "Justification,"  in my book, HOW TO RAISE
         YOUR SELF ESTEEM: PROVEN  BIBLICAL  PRINCIPLES).    God  will
         continue to be our righteousness throughout eternity.

               The  old  wineskin  of  Judaism could not contain the new
         truth and the new life that God gave us through Christ.   The
         new  wineskin  of  Christianity was needed to contain the new
         truth and new life.   Christianity  is  not  a  new  sect  of
         Judaism  (Carr,  CAMBRIDGE  GREEK  TESTAMENT  FOR SCHOOLS AND
         COLLEGES,  MATTHEW,  p. 155).  God instituted Christianity as
         the latest in the logical progression of his revelation. With
         the  further  revelation  of  the  Lord  comes  an increasing
         quality of life.

                              Central Truth
 
             THE NEW COVENANT HAS REPLACED THE OLD COVENANT.
 

                               Conclusion

            We  must proclaim the Good News of the New Covenant.  We
         must  be  careful to give God the glory due to him alone.  We  must also be
         careful  not  to  take  on  airs  of  "spiritual  superiority" and to  avoid spiritual
         pride, since there is no objective basis for it.  END.