Friday, October 28, 2022

New Wine In Old Skin

Here we are once again and October 31st will soon be here! Just around the corner. Halloween – that strangest of strange “holy day” holiday that this world celebrates yearly! Again, for this year, I remind our brethren around the world – like our dear friends in Brussels, Belgium; Riga, Latvia; Beersheba, Israel; and here in the States that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ expects His followers to be completely committed to His Way of life – for He says to us, ’ If you love [‘if you are loyal’ it can also mean] Me, keep My commandments’ – John 14:15. And for those proclaiming to be Christian and are continuing to celebrate Halloween every year – they ARE NOT completely committed to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who also states emphatically when He was the LORD of the Old Testament, cf. – “Thus says the LORD: ‘Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven [speaking concerning the likes of a horoscope], For the Gentiles are dismayed at them. 3) For the customs of the peoples are futile; …’” – Jeremiah 10:2, 3.

Are you seriously thinking about making some changes in your life – the way you live!?

If you’ve read our articles or listened to our sermons you’ve begun to learn some of God’s glorious and amazing Truth – for we teach the living Word of God, the Truth of God, and the ultimate Plan of God. You have come to see and realize that there is a lot of empty – what our Lord GOD calls ‘futile’ – traditions that have infiltrated into what is known in this world as “Christianity” – and since I just received a message from one of our friends arguing that the name God only be written as YHWH, Judaism too has a tremendous amount of empty or ‘futile’ traditions! The greater majority of Christ Jesus’ teachings are ignored or are ignorant of.

Have you ever read our Lord Jesus’ amazing words which He spoke to those in His day that thought they were all that and a bag of chips –

“ … ‘you have made the commandment [the ‘command’ Greek entolē, – NU-Text reads word] of God of no effect by your tradition. 7) Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8) ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9) And IN VAIN THEY WORSHIP ME, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’ – Matthew 15:6, 7-9.

So, perhaps you have finally decided that it’s time to make a change in your life! This year you are NOT GOING TO KEEP HALLOWEEN! Of course, it can’t be with just Halloween. This awesome decision to love Christ Jesus and keep His commandments will mean that you MUST change every aspect of your life. Some aspects are small, others are large, but still, others are ginormous! The largest and most difficult one to change is to begin keeping and remembering the true holy day every week – Sabbath – especially here in the Western nations. This world in large part with its Christianity changed this glorious rest day from what we call Saturday to Sunday – the day of the sun. But, since it’s that time of the year again, let’s focus on Halloween.

What is so terrible about Halloween!? After all, as my wife tells me, ‘It’s for the children!’ Halloween, of course, is NOT a Christian holy day. It never has been nor ever will be!

Glaring Facts

Research any reputable encyclopædia and discover that it does not shy away from the fact that Halloween is of the origin of Samhain.
“Halloween had its origins in the festival of Samhain among the Celts of ancient Britain and Ireland. On the day corresponding to November 1 on contemporary calendars, the new year was believed to begin. That date was considered the beginning of the winter period, the date on which the herds were returned from pasture and land tenures were renewed. During the Samhain festival, the souls of those who had died were believed to journey to the other world. People set bonfires on hilltops for relighting their hearth fires for the winter and to frighten away evil spirits, and they sometimes wore masks and other disguises to avoid being recognized by the ghosts thought to be present. It was in those ways that beings such as witches, hobgoblins, fairies, and demons came to be associated with the day. The period was also thought to be favorable for divination on matters such as marriage, health, and death. When the Romans conquered the Celts in the 1st century A.D., they added their own festivals of Feralia, commemorating the passing of the dead, and of Pomona, the goddess of the harvest.” 1
So, the modern Western version of Halloween has been spreading like wildfire around the globe. Yet, it is certainly NOT Christian.

The very ‘god of this age’ (2 Corinthians 4:4) Satan the Devil has been successfully spreading this holiday and getting it endorsed by many cultures and even religions around the world.

Again – so you’ve decided once and for all not to keep Halloween this year!

Well, it isn’t going to be easy! Halloween has become so ingrained in our culture. I remember when I was a youth going to school and not celebrating with the rest of my classmates in all the Halloween parties and celebrations – and being ostracized! No bobbing for apples. What will your teacher think!? No trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. No twelve-foot-tall giant skeleton with animated LCD eyes!? You’ll certainly have to keep changing the channel on your television when the classic 1978 Halloween movie is on!

I do remember the very first and only time that I had gone trick-or-treating in my neighborhood in Lakeland, Florida – I was six years old, and it was 1975! I got bit by a dog!

We read in our Bible where the Lord GOD warns the children of Israel –

“Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16) lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female, 17) the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18) the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth. 19) And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven [outer space], and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the LORD your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage. 20) But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day. ... 23) Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a carved image IN THE FORM OF ANYTHING which the LORD your God has forbidden you. 24) For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God” – Deuteronomy 4:15-24.

The LORD God says that it is futile, a pagan custom, and a clear case of the worship of ‘principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this age, the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places’ – cf. Romans 8:37-39; Colossians 2:15; Ephesians 6:12. Yet, at only six years old, all I knew was that I was being ostracized by my peers for not keeping Halloween! All our neighbors had Halloween decorations galore around their houses – ours was void of all that.

Our Lord and Savior knew this would happen. He explained to His disciples that we would indeed miss some aspects of our old way of life. And that even though we will learn a great many glorious and wonderful truths from Him, we would still look back at nostalgia from time to time.

When our Lord Jesus Christ began His public ministry, immediately He came into conflict with what I have called those that thought of themselves as all of that and a bag of chips. Religious sects who prided themselves on the way they kept the Old Covenant laws. In fact, they had become so fanatical in their self-righteous attempts to be ‘perfect’ that they added some 613 commandments to their Mosaic Law - called mitzvot in Hebrew. They thus made the keeping of the LORD God’s Ten Commandments a burden.

Our Lord Jesus the Christ came to bring God the Father’s Message – the Word, Truth, and Plan of the redemption of all mankind – John 12:49. First to the Jew and then to the Gentile. He, of course, not only understood the letter of the Law, but He also understood the spirit of the Law. He NEVER broke any of Father God’s commandments (John 10:30) in any way – to these religious sects He was an outright heretic! And God forbid, here He was enjoying a simple meal with tax collectors (whom these religious sects viewed as traitors, evil, greedy, and corrupt people – who charged far more than what they believed they owed)! It was just too much for them to handle! And not only did our Lord Jesus do this “blasphemous act” in their view, but He also fasted like they believed He shouldn’t! Their tradition was that they fast twice a week religiously. They equated their fasting to righteousness. And they certainly didn’t have any love for our Lord Jesus Christ’s cousin John the Baptist either. Yet, our Lord Jesus along with His disciples didn’t appear to them to fast at all. Why!?

Our Lord Jesus has explained to us that fasting is a private way to get closer to God. Notice –

“ … ‘Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35) But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days’ – Luke 5:34-35.

While the Word (John 1:1), the Lord God, the very One who would become flesh and dwell among us – who was God in the flesh, was with His disciples, there was no need to privately fast. However, when our Lord and Savior was taken away, His disciples as well as all of us brethren will certainly need to fast privately to get ever-closer to God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ – privately fasting on occasion. And I continue to use the word “private” – because it is a very personal act, one that seems to be done principally in private outside of view from others – cf. Matthew 6:16-18. Again, another reason why we contend that the word “afflict” in Leviticus 23:27 in regard to the Day of Atonement should be translated as humble.

“Then He spoke a parable to them: ‘No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old’ – Luke 5:36.

Certainly, no new, unshrunk, unfaded, cloth should be used on old cloth. That’s just seamstressing 101!

The second parable here may not make a whole lot of sense to most in this 21st century -

’ And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. 38) But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved’ – Luke 5:37-38.

Even though in the first-century Roman era glass became much more common – and one of the first types of vessels to be made using a blowing technique is the small, elongated bottle that we call the “tear bottle” – our Lord Jesus Christ used the analogy of a wineskin. Wine needs to be stored in the most air-tight way possible to preserve its quality and flavor. The storage containers of ancient wine were varied in both design and size in the first-century world. Canaanite jars, known better by their Greek name amphorae, were a popular choice. Pithos is the general name for huge, ancient jars found in the Mediterranean region. And, wineskins – they were a way to take your wine on the go. These were made from leather sewn together into a bag, often a goatskin and the seams were sealed with resin. Wineskins came in various sizes, would be tied shut at the neck, and usually, they would have a strap to hang the bag for storage or on the shoulder for travel. 2

New wine that has not yet finished fermenting gives off a gas that will expand the skin. A new wineskin has some give and will allow for this expansion. And even though when the old skin becomes empty and hardens it is then softened by soaking and treating it with oil it may not expand enough – and may indeed burst. But, why did our Lord Jesus use the analogy of wineskins – why tell the people that!? Well, our Lord Jesus Christ’s mission was not to give the multitude helpful hints on how to store new wine. He was using this analogy to teach an aspect of true Christian living.

Longing For That Old Skin

When you first began learning about God’s living word it was a totally new experience – and when you first began to understand His living word you were completely elated! It is unlike anything you have ever known!

Sadly, what most want to do is to try and fit this new TRUTH into our old way of life. To go back into our old skin. But once we are converted brethren as the Apostle Paul tells us, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new” – 2 Corinthians 5:17. It’s only natural to long for days gone by, it’s difficult to change, and certainly no one likes to admit that they have been wrong. Our old way of life is familiar to us, comfortable, and we want to hang onto that old way as much as possible.

What about you!? Perhaps you have fond memories of you and your wife cuddling underneath a Christmas tree!? The great fun you experienced at Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights!? What about the memory of that moving feeling you experienced when those beautiful Christmas carolers strolled along your neighborhood block singing!? The living TRUTH OF GOD comes smashing into long-inherited religious ideas and ideals. His living truth certainly challenges long-held and comfortable beliefs.

This ‘new creation’ – even though it is right – oftentimes seems like an unwelcome intruder, and you might even find yourself resenting it.

Our Lord Jesus Christ comforts us, brethren when He says, ’ And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better’ – Luke 5:39. He knew that it would be difficult at times brethren. And He is here for us!

If you are beginning to truly understand what it means to be a true Christian, then you must realize that it is going to be demanding at times. We cannot have it both ways. Minister Guy LaMar often says – you cannot hold hands with God while still trying to hold hands with the Devil. You cannot continue to keep and observe this world’s “holy day” holidays and its customs and still expect the glorious blessings of our mighty and powerful God.

’ But why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and DO NOT do the things which I say? 47) Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings AND DOES THEM, I will show you whom he is like: 48) He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the Rock’ – Luke 6:46-48.

As I’ve said before, let us not compromise with “Babylon the great” let us continue to “come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues” – Revelation 18:4. The LORD our God expects complete commitment and He demands that we come out of this Babylon of confusion that is so much of the religions of this world.

God is with us, brethren. □


1) Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Halloween". Encyclopedia Britannica, 22 Oct. 2022, Accessed 27 October 2022.
2) Hamel, K.D., Winemaking in First Century Israel, 24 March 2021, Retrieved 27 Oct. 2022.

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