Today, we look at a passage that is often misunderstood because it is taken out of context. Mark 2: 21-22 reads: And no man places a new patch onto an old garment and sews it, or else the new patch be taken away from the old and the tear becomes larger. And no man puts new wine into old wineskins or else the wine burst the wineskins, and the wineskins are destroyed and the wine is poured out. Rather, they put new wine into new wineskins. We must remember that Yeshua is a Jewish rabbi talking to Jewish listeners. The old garment is Judaism; the new patch is the coming Kingdom of Elohim through Yeshua. The point to be noticed is that Yeshua does not want the old garment destroyed. The first part of His teaching is that the old garment, i.e. Judaism, must not be destroyed. He is saying that the new patch is not to replace the garment. Think about it; have you ever seen a patch that covered a coat? No, the patch would be part of the garment. The new patch, i.e. the coming Kingdom will take place within Judaism.
However, the second part of the teaching explains that the new wine, i.e. the coming Kingdom of Elohim, cannot be put within the old wineskins of Judaism as it existed in the first century. Judaism in the first century were composed primarily four groups: Sadducees, Pharisees, Zealots, and the Essenes. The Sadducees controlled the Temple and were the rich and the elite. They were in partnership with Roman oppression to enable them to continue to control the Temple and the profit that came with it. The Pharisees had allowed the traditions of men to dominate the teachings of Torah to create an unfair burden on the people. The Zealots wanted a military commander to win a war with Rome and remove them from Palestine. The Essenes were a separatist movement that had withdrawn from the other three groups and believed that only they had the truth. The old wineskin of Judaism was not the vehicle for the new Kingdom. The new Kingdom would have the Torah of Elohim written on the heart of man and not tablets of stone. This is the promise of Jeremiah 31, the Renewed Covenant.
Yeshua was teaching His disciples that repentance was the path to receive the new Kingdom. His intent was not to destroy Judaism; instead, He sought to bring a Kingdom to a people that had torn down their house to receive the new one. That was the new wineskin. Which do you reside in?
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