The following is an explanation of the two parables about new and old cloth and new and old wineskins, spoken of in Luke 5:27-39.
Luke 5:27-39 And after that He went out, and noticed a tax-gatherer named Levi, sitting in the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me.” 28 And he left everything behind, and rose and began to follow Him. 29 And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax-gatherers and other people who were reclining at the table with them. 30 And the Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax-gatherers and sinners?” 31 And Yeshua answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32 “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” 33 And they said to Him, “The disciples of John often fast and offer prayers; the disciples of the Pharisees also do the same; but Yours eat and drink.” 34 And Yeshua said to them, “You cannot make the attendants of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? 35 “But the days will come; and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.” 36 And He was also telling them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. 37 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. 38 “But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39 “And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’”
You must picture Yeshua sitting with tax collectors and simple people having a feast. Tax collectors were the lowest form of human to Jewish people in those days.
In this parable you will see Pharisees that decided to intrude and ask Yeshua some questions about why He was with these low life people. It was against their custom to fellowship with such peons. Yeshua uses the parable to teach both His disciples and the Pharisees. The basic teaching is about repentance, and becoming righteous.
The new cloth garment (verse 36) is referring to someone who is unschooled, new to a teaching. They are clean white, brand new. The garment they are putting on is the teaching itself. The old garment is referring to someone who is very learned or schooled, a person who is already wrapped in a train of thoughts. They already have their teaching and this is what they believe. They are wearing it. If you ever go into Jewish communities you will see that all the various Hassidic groups wear certain clothing, or wear it in a specific manner to separate themselves from others. They go out in the garment of their teaching. This tradition goes all the way back to before the time of Messiah. It may be the shape of the men's beards, or the tilt of the hat, or how long their payos (ear locks) are, whether their tzitzit are inside their jacket or outside, how they comb their beard, etc. By the clothes they wear you can tell what Hassidic group they follow. You know how Orthodox or Hassidic they are based on what they look like. Yeshua was very familiar with this reality about the various Pharisees of old.
The piece, or patch of garment is symbolic of the teaching itself. You can’t take the piece off the new teaching and ad it to old stuck in a rut type teaching. You can’t take from it and ad it to the old teaching, the garment you already have, and are comfortable with. You have to put a whole new garment on. The bottom line is Yeshua needed people who were unlearned, not stuck in old ruts, to share His new teaching with. People willing to put on a new garment. That didn’t mean He chose stupid people to teach to. There were no such things as illiterate Jewish people in those days. Even today, generally speaking, you will find most Jewish people involved in the more prestigious occupations like lawyers and doctors where excessive education is required. The Pharisees made sure all Jews could read and write well. The Pharisees were in fact the first group to insist that woman were included in education. They felt this was necessary because the mother was the first one to teach a child. It was a given in the Jewish community of old. She needed to be well educated in order for the child to be smart.
Wine skins were usually goat skins in days of old. These new skins had a specific protein in them that allowed them o swell with the fermentation taking place when new wine was poured in them. Without this protein the skins would burst. As the wine fermented the alcohol would destroy this collagen protein so by the time the wine was ripe the skin was ready to burst if not drunk right away. It was a symbiotic type relationship between the wine and the skin. That is why after a wine skin was empty it was of no more value as a wine skins, the protein was all used up. If wine was put in one of these old skins it would not be able to expand with the new wine and would simply explode because of the continued fermentation process. Job 32:18-19 “For I am full of words; The spirit within me constrains me. “Behold, my belly is like un vented wine, Like new wineskins it is about to burst.”
The new teaching is like the new wine in the skin. The person grows with the new teaching and it ferments within him, ripening to a point where it is most desirable. The new wineskin can accommodate the new moving (growing/moving of the holy spirit) inside the individual. The old wine skin is symbolic of someone who is set in his ways, not willing to expand and grow with the new wine (teaching). This person simply can’t and won’t accept anything new, like the new wine (teaching). Why, because if you try and mix the new wine in the old skin it will burst. Both the wine and the wine skin will be lost in the process. You cannot mix them. Both of these parable represent individuals who can accept the new teaching and expand along with it, and those who can’t receive the teaching. There has to be a willingness to make a change, you cannot force people.
Yeshua’s teaching was not compatible with the old Rabbinical teaching of the Pharisees.
John 3:1-12 "Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 this man came to Him by night, and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Yeshua answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Yeshua answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Yeshua answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not understand these things? 11 “Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and you do not receive our witness. 12 “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
Nicodemus was a perfect example of a teacher (old garment) that was great among his people, yet was unaware of the new teaching about being “born again”, verse three. Yeshua explained to him that he needed to be born again from above. He needed to take off his old garment and put a new one on. Nicodemus asks “how can I put on this new garment”? I am a teacher of the people in Israel, I can’t abandon what I know. Nicodemus was a classic example of an old wine skin, old cloth.
Born again means starting over, repenting of ones past and starting over. Nicodemus got the message, we just don’t know if he listened to it and was born again. It is hard for self-righteous people to abandon what they have learned. In order to be “born again” we must relearn everything that we have been naively taught. There are very few people willing to do that, especially older folks. It’s hard to get out of our ruts, but a rut is a grave with the ends cut out. That’s what the “Flee Babylon” verse in Rev. 18:4 is talking about. We must flee from our past heathen ways and put on a new wine skin, be willing to expand with the fermenting holy spirit in us, expanding our knowledge and ripening us to be perfected aged beautiful wine.
Paul tells us more about this concept in the following verses.
1Cor. 1:25-31 Because the foolishness of Yah is wiser than men, and the weakness of Yah is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but Yah has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and Yah has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, 29 that no man should boast before Yah. 30 But by His doing you are in Messiah Yeshua, who became to us wisdom from Yah, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Col. 3:9-10 “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him”
Eph. 4:17-24 “This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Messiah in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Yeshua, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
Yeshua was teaching that in order to receive and hold onto His teachings and not be destroyed by them, we have to change. We have to be born from above. We have to be dressed in new garments. We have to be given new proper teaching and be willing to expand our minds to the correct teaching of that truth that expands with the Living growing Word of our bible. If we try to put the teachings of Messiah into something He did not intend it simply won’t work. It is not compatible. Yeshua picked those disciples because they were able to be moulded and directed directly by His mouth and His hand. Yeshua didn’t have to worry about people stuck in their ways when He chose the tax collectors and fisherman. He knew they were clean vessels willing to take on the new wine of His perfect teaching and able to expand with this new born again teaching. That's why Yeshua chose that motley crew, that’s why He has chosen us, because He knows He can form us, use us. He knows we won’t explode under the pressure of His Spirit building inside of us, growing and maturing in the Word of Yah. When it’s time for us to be poured out we will be ready.
The resistance of denial of the truth in the SUNday type churches today is very unfortunate. Many pastors today know that what is being taught in the Messianic movement is correct, but if they taught it they would be out of a job. They know that christians are afraid of change, just like all other people. Change scares many people. Many are simply afraid of the changes that would have to take place in their life if they actually decided to follow the Living Yah. For this reason billions of pro-claimed christians will never find out what’s it’s truly like to have a personal relationship with the Holy One of Israel and to know peace. Are you a stiff necked old vessel or a new vessel prepared for the true Living Word to ferment inside of you? Is that explosive process (fire/fermentation) going on inside or is the fire out? Yah is looking for those who are willing to be new wineskins, ready to be filled with His Spirit, willing to mature and become perfected fruit of the vine.