Men are drunken on the wine of Babylon the Great, and will soon drink of "the wine of the wrath of God" (Rev. 14:10), when "he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" (Rev. 19:15). The days of old wine are passing. The new vintage is coming in, soon to be set in fullness on the table for true men. Men of this world prefer old wine to the new. Men of this world reject the new wine of Jesus Christ. Christian, which will you be drinking "the old wine, or the new" when Jesus comes again?
by Jerry Gentry
"And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim" (Joel 3:18).
"But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom" (Matt. 26:29).
What is this "new wine" that Jesus promised He will drink in the kingdom? What is the "new wine" prophesied to come so long ago? Is it grape juice? Fermented wine? Is it entirely something else? Whatever this "new wine" is, we know that it is extraordinary beyond imagination, because Jesus will have waited some 2000 years before drinking "it new with you in my Father's kingdom."
Wine has travelled with God's people since time immemorial. When Noah and his family came off the ark, Noah sacrificed to God and gave thanks. Soon he planted a vineyard, made wine, drank the beverage and got drunk.
"And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him" (Gen 9:24).
"And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren" (v. 25).
"And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant" (v. 26). Such were the results and effects of Noah's drunkenness with the wine he had made through fermentation.
What was this wine on which Noah got drunk? Was it the "new wine," Jesus spoke of much later, or was it old wine men love so much? Obviously, it was alcoholic wine, no doubt about it.
Jesus performed a great miracle in Galilee, His very first recorded divine act. He changed water into good wine.
"And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there" (Joh 2:1).
"And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage" (v. 2).
"And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine" (v. 3).
"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come" (v. 4).
"His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it" (v. 5).
"And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece" (v. 6).
"Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim" (v. 7).
"And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it" (v. 8).
"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" (v. 9).
"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" (v. 10).
"This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him" (v. 11).
Notice how belief or faith followed "the good wine" which "manifested forth his glory." And Jesus made this good wine, not from grapes, but from water. Yet this was "good wine," much better than what had been served earlier, according to "the ruler of the feast."
What kind of wine was this good wine made new by Jesus? What kind of wine do you drink? Is your wine made from grapes or water? It would certainly be safe to say that today, all wines are made from grapes. Turning water into wine is not something witnessed in our time. Yet can we learn the lesson today of the miracle of new wine, so good, yet made from water?
Jesus turned water into good wine. But before he performed this great miracle, he warned even His own mother, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come." What is the meaning of this language? What is the connection between the hour of Jesus' trial, which was yet to come, and turning water into good wine.
Wine making was connected with great joy in ancient Israel: "And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely" (Lev. 26:5). Wise King Solomon taught: "So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine" (Prov. 3:10).
The Preacher taught: "Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works" (Eccl. 9:7). New wine was intended to be a blessing. "Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all" (Isa. 65:80). In contrast with the new wine, the vintage old wine of this world almost always leads to drunkenness and debauchery.
"For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies" (Rev. 18:3).
Divine judgments were poured out when Israel broke covenant with God. The result was devastating. "The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merryhearted do sigh" (Isa. 24:7).
"And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting: the treaders shall tread out no wine in their presses; I have made their vintage shouting to cease" (Isa. 16:10).
To the foolish women in Israel, Isaiah warns: "Many days and years shall ye be troubled, ye careless women: for the vintage shall fail, the gathering shall not come" (Isa. 32:10).
Finally, the prophet Joel warns: "Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth" (Joel 1:5).
"The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth" (v. 10).
What is the meaning of this new wine? Christian, if you had the power to turn water into wine, would you make new wine or old? Learn today the great lesson of the new wine. Learn the difference between old wine and the new. Learn why Jesus has waited now almost two thousand years, in joyous anticipation of a great wedding feast, where He will drink with the wise virgins the new vintage "fruit of the vine, . . . [in] that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God" (Mark 14:25).
Learn the answer to the riddle: New wine for old. Learn how the old wine of this world represents the reprobation of carnal man without God. Learn how the new wine represents "the strait gate" and the "narrow. . . way" that leads unto life. Learn that being filled with old wine is a certain ticket to eternal death and everlasting flames of hell for the unrepentant sinner. And rejoice in the "new wine" of Jesus Christ, his great truth of salvation history. Learn the great lesson that these two wines never blend, are never found in the same bottles. For surely the "new wine" of Jesus Christ will burst and destroy the old, as surely as the old wine of Babylon has destroyed all of unsaved mankind through drunkenness and riotous living.
The Bible teaches: "Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
Are you a wise virgin? Are you a worthy vessel? Will you drink the new wine of Jesus Christ, at the wedding feast in the Kingdom of God? Are you a vessel pliable and soft, trusting and yielded to the Master? Then you are a vessel that holds the new wine of Jesus Christ, the wine made from the "washing of water by the word" (Eph. 5:26). As Christians, we are admonished: "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18).
The Bible teaches that God has made two kinds of vessels in this world. "Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?" (Rom. 9:21). Which kind of vessel are you, Christian? Are you a vessel of dishonour, like the Pharisee, who thanked God that he was not like other men, a sinner? Or are you a vessel of honour, humble like the lowly publican, whose only plea was, "God be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13).
Just how can you know personally if you are ready to drink the "new wine" of Jesus Christ in His soon coming kingdom? The key is given us in the apostle Paul' instruction to young Timothy.
"But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour" (2Ti 2:20).
Clearly, we see how there are both old and new wineskins, or vessels, in the church of God. How do you line up as an individual? Are you a vessel "to honour," or "to dishonour?" Christian, learn today how to tell the difference, as least for yourself. Here is that key:
"If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work" (v. 21). Exactly what must a "vessel of honour" be purged from? Hear the instruction to wise vessels of honour, direct from the pen of the apostle Paul:
"Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2Ti 2:22).
"But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes" (v. 23).
"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient" (v. 24).
"In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth" (v. 25).
"And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will" (v. 26).
Are you ready for the "new wine?" Yes? Then look at your life, Christian. You will "flee youthful lusts." You will "follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace." You will avoid "foolish and unlearned questions."
You will "not strive; but be gentle unto all men."
Yes, it is "new wine [that] must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved" (Luke 5:38). Will you be a "new bottle," a vessel of honor, "meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work." To hold that precious "new wine" of God's holy word? Or are you hard and stiff, with little flexibility, easily cracked? Do you harbor a resistant spirit to the authorities God has placed over you? Are you calloused in your own selfish pursuits, like an old wineskin that bursts in the presence of new wine, because all suppleness is gone?
Or do you regularly give way "in lowliness of mind? [Do you]. . . each esteem other better than themselves" (Phil. 2:3)?
"And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles" (Mark 2:22).
Will you hear the message of the "new wine" today? Yes? Then you are among a tiny remnant of Israel.
"Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit" (Micah 7:1).
"The floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her" (Hosea 9:2). No question, the new wine of Jesus Christ has failed in our time. There is little "give," little yieldedness, in national politics, even in religion. Every man does that which is right in his own eyes. All are hardened in their own self justification. No one, but a tiny remnant, esteems others better than themselves. No one, but a tiny remnant, follows Jesus Christ in truth, and drinks from His new wine, yielded to His Holy Word, as Jesus Himself yielded to His father's will.
"There is a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone" (Isa. 24:11). Yes, largely the really good wine of Jesus Christ, that new wine symbolized by the good wine He made from water alone, has been abandoned by most, in favor of the old wine of the fermentation of Babylon. Politicians are drunken with it. Churches stagger under the influence of old worldly wine, as hardened, inflexible vessels set in denominational traditions outside the word of God. Yes, the old wine rules this world, even most churches. But the new wine of Jesus is soon coming in all fullness to stay. Then there will be no more old wine of Babylon, whereby men waste their lives in a drunken stupor of lust and depravity.
Christian, hear the message of the new wine. As a vessel of honor, filled with the Spirit of God and His holy word, let yieldedness and flexibility rule your vessel. Be filled with the new wine of Jesus Christ! Serve Him in faithfulness as a vessel unto honor, fit for the Master's use.