Report From The Tower
The bible contains more than two hundred references to wine. It goes without saying that wine was integral to life as it was lived by the Jews during the thousands of years of bible times. Jewish religion came by revelation from God and the drink offering of wine was a central feature of temple worship. It is important!
Early on, wine was utilized by the prophets as a prophetic token. Isaiah spoke about it with reference to joy and merriment. The judgement of God would arise to strike the vineyard and its' produce. This is easily communicated as almost anyone can identify with and connect with these images of celebration as it connects to the drinking of wine. The prophets also hinted at deeper things and by the time we are finished reading the prophecies of Joel, we cannot help but notice that wine is now being referenced symbolically and spiritually as alluding to the anointing of God as it flows through our lives. God wants to flow in us and through us. He wants us to be changed in a good way just as wine changes a man in ways that are not always good.
God in Joel displayed a time in the future when an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh would occur. The connection is forever settled after we finish reading Joel chapter two. God will send the new wine and as He does so, we will be filled with the Holy Spirit; we will prophesy and dream dreams. Young men are going to have visions as the Holy Spirit is poured out like wine. Have we then not been prepared for the parable Jesus teaches in Matthew 21 where God the Father is presented as a householder (vineyard owner) who travels to a far country and who leaves the tending of the vineyard to servants. He then later sends his son whom the servants kill for his inheritance.
Paul admonished the Ephesians with regard to wine and drunkenness and we are also upbraided in like manner here in Eph_5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.
So, the connection is very strong that, among other things, wine is used throughout the bible as a symbol of the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. We are going to consider the aspect of the prophecies about the new wine as they were given to us by Jesus. Does it have implications for us today? Are any prophetic aspects left to be still fulfilled?
Luk 5:37 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. Luk 5:38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.
Jesus taught in parables and many of them He clearly explained to His disciples. This parable is one that is left for us to sort out with the help of the Holy Spirit. What exactly is represented by the new wine and the new wine bottles?
The Greek words are different ones used where we find "new" wine and "new" bottles. The latter one is perhaps better translated as the NAS renders it: "fresh wine skins". We are clearly talking about alcoholic wine here as the fermentation process is alluded to as we see reference to the potential for bursting of the wine bottles. These bottles hold the wine and they must be fresh. If we imagine leather as the bottle material, it must be supple, not dry or already cracking.
The preceding verses to these parables do appear to relate to the parables that follow, as each parallel reference to this story in two other gospels of Matthew 9 and Mark 2 makes reference to the story about the eating and drinking habits of the disciples. What can we discern from the immediately preceding verses?
Luk 5:17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. Luk 5:18 And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. Luk 5:19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. Luk 5:20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. Luk 5:21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? Luk 5:22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Luk 5:23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? Luk 5:24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. Luk 5:25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. Luk 5:26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. Luk 5:27 And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. Luk 5:28 And he left all, rose up, and followed him. Luk 5:29 And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. Luk 5:30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? Luk 5:31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. Luk 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Luk 5:33 And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink? Luk 5:34 And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? Luk 5:35 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. Luk 5:36 And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.
Clearly, these events all happened on the very same day.
We find present on this day the miracles of God. We find faith. We find revelation in the actions of the men who showed their faith by tearing through a roof to lower their sick friend to Jesus. We find God's power on display through Jesus. We find such power displayed even in the face of unbelieving scribes and pharisees. We find grace and forgiveness. All of these wonderful things can, I believe, be signified by the new wine of the parable.
What then is the wine skin? Let us look for an old, cracked piece of leather that has no ability to stretch or to be changed. It cannot tolerate anything new. What fits this image? Jewish religion for one thing. We see religious pharisees who are quick to judge Jesus' words as blasphemy. We see them focused on traditions; bothered by the eating habits of the disciples of Jesus after they have just witnessed a notable miracle. All of these things can, I believe, be signified by the old, cracked wine bottles or skins.
A prophecy, revealed from God to man, is an example or type of the new wine. Let us consider this revelation from Daniel. An unbelieving King named Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and desperately wanted an interpretation of it. He had forgotten the dream though. He therefore required all prophets and diviners to not only tell him the meaning of the dream but they had to find out what the dream was on their own. The Chaldean diviners were without hope in the matter and the King determined that all his diviners would be put to death. Daniel was arrested, asked for extra time and inquired of God. God gave Daniel the dream and the interpretation.
Dan 2:31 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. Dan 2:32 This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, Dan 2:33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Dan 2:34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Dan 2:35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. Dan 2:36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Dan 2:37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. Dan 2:38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. Dan 2:39 And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. Dan 2:40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. Dan 2:41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. Dan 2:42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. Dan 2:43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. Dan 2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Dan 2:45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure. Dan 2:46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. Dan 2:47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret. Dan 2:48 Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. Dan 2:49 Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.
This was a true prophecy and what a blessing. The lives of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were all spared because God graciously gave an awesome prophetic revelation to Daniel. Yes, it was a true prophecy, but it was given to one who was not a lover of the truth. When new wine is poured into an old wine skin, we will see the result. It produces death. Consider the results of Daniel's true revelation. Nebuchadnezzar took the prophecy and built a huge statue, just like the one Daniel saw in the vision: a huge IDOL. Then, he required everyone to fall down and worship it. All who would not worship would be put to death. Some of the same Jews who had been helped by the revelation were now being put in danger because it had been poured into the old wineskin of Nebuchadnezzar.
Dan 3:12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Dan 3:13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. Dan 3:14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Dan 3:15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? Dan 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. Dan 3:17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. Dan 3:18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Dan 3:19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
These three men were then thrown into the furnace and received another miracle: a supernatural deliverance. God saved their lives once again. Finally, this led to the conversion of Nebuchadnezzar.
Dan 3:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. Dan 3:27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. Dan 3:28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Dan 3:29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. Dan 3:30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.
Let us return to consider another scripture that has to do with new wine. Jesus taught about it through a miracle that we have displayed in John 2: the first miracle Jesus performed was to miraculously convert six water pots that contained about sixty gallons of water into new wine. The mother of Jesus went to Him to inform Him that the banquet had run out of wine. They were bankrupt of all wine of every type! They had even run out of cheap wine.
Joh 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: Joh 2:2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. Joh 2:3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Joh 2:4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. Joh 2:5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. Joh 2:6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Joh 2:7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. Joh 2:8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. Joh 2:9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, Joh 2:10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. Joh 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
We note that the wine that men regard as good (the old, more costly wine) had been presented first as it says in verse 10. Then, cheaper wine was usually brought out once the guests had become a bit inebriated and their taste palates had been dulled by the effect of the alcohol. The governor of the feast (symbolically God the Father) made this observation to the bridegroom (symbolically Jesus). The governor also noted that the new wine, brought forth last, was even better than the old, costly wine that had been brought forth first. This is how men assess the value of wine.
Luk 5:39 No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.
Men will always place more value on their costly old wine stored down in the wine cellar in their old bottles. They will always prefer it to the new. They will cling to their old time religion as Stephen told the Jews in Acts 7 when he said that they do always resist the Holy Spirit. But this is not the way it is with God.
Consider this John 2 parable as a prophecy of timing. The new wine is miraculously provided at the end of the banquet, which happened on a symbolic third day, denoting spiritually the 2,000 years that have passed since Jesus walked the Earth. The Jewish religion was bankrupt of wine for 400 years when Jesus arrived on the scene. No notable writing prophet had arisen since Malachi departed from the scene. Just as it was before, so it shall be again, and it is so again today. Christian religion is now bankrupt of wine. You can hear the mother of Jesus and her voice of concern bellowing out down through the ages to us about our banquets today: "THEY HAVE NO WINE"! So, this first miracle performed by Jesus was done with the intent to deliver a prophetic message. Jesus foresaw that His church would be OUT OF WINE after two thousand years! Are we without hope? No, Jesus is about to provide the new wine.
There is new wine coming to us. When it does arrive, it will be what the bible refers to as "the fulness of the gentiles". This phase does not refer to a quantity of gentile christian believers but to their quality. We have not yet seen the FULNESS of the gentiles to the extent that we have not yet seen a body of believers who have done more and greater miracles than even Jesus did. There is yet a gentile christian believer who must come forth to fulfill the scriptures. Jesus said that we would do greater miracles in His name than even He did and this had not yet happened.
Rom 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. Rom 11:23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. Rom 11:24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? Rom 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. Rom 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: Rom 11:27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
We know that when this fulness of the gentiles comes upon the Earth, that the result will be the conversion of literal Israel. All Israel will be saved. The Jacobite Jews will be converted. This will be done with all signs, wonders and miracles to fulfill Micah 7:14-15. Their fulness will be an astounding thing.
Rom 11:7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded Rom 11:8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. Rom 11:9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: Rom 11:10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. Rom 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Rom 11:12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
Mic 7:14 Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old. Mic 7:15 According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I shew unto him marvellous things. Mic 7:16 The nations shall see and be confounded at all their might: they shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf. Mic 7:17 They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth: they shall be afraid of the LORD our God, and shall fear because of thee.
There is a season of the Lord that has been set apart for the bringing in of the new wine.
Psa 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Psa 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The gospel came forth originally to twelve disciples and before long, seventy two were sent out. One hundred twenty gathered in an upper room, were filled with the Holy Spirit and five thousand were converted at the first preaching of Peter. 99.9% of these were Jews: true, literal descendants of Israel. Up to seven years passed and only one church existed: that one in Jerusalem. The millions of Israel rejected their messiah, but a small group of Jewish thousands carried the gospel to the gentile world. So, it shall be again, only in the reverse.
Just now, the christian church is bankrupt of wine. There is so very little of revelation, miracles and the power of God. So you think that you have new wine, eh? You don't...not yet. Like me, you may have had a few of those little wine tasting cups of it. Are you doing greater works than Jesus did? If not, you do not have it yet. But, are you craving a good, full cup of it? A small remnant of gentile christian believers will be filled with the new wine very soon, and they will go forth to the Jews. This FULNESS of the gentiles will go forth doing great exploits. Jews need SIGNS to be converted and signs they will receive.
This is the plan of God. This will go forth with the power of God. Rachel's day is at hand. Lord, I want to be in that number you pick to go forth to carry the word of your power to the literal descendants of Israel.
Stephen L. Bening
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