Nazarene Space

I would like to comment about Mt. 9:14-17

Here I will take issue with David Stern's Jewish New Testament Commentary on Mt. 9:16 and 9:17.

On this material David Stern is dead wrong!

His identification of "old coat" = "Judaism" and "unshrunk cloth" as
"messianic faith" is completely unfounded and has absolutely no basis in the text. It is
merely an echo of the wildly inaccurate *eisogesis* of the text made by
replacement theology Christians.

The same is true of his identification of "new wine" = "messianic fath" and
"oldwineskins" = "traditional Judaism" in verse 17.

Stern has done the best to adapt the EISOGESIS of Replacement Theology
Christian commentators to somehow be fitted into his theology (and it does
not work).

There is no need. The text here has NOTHING to do with this EISOGESIS.

Let us apply the seventh rule of Hillel and read the text in context:

I will use a modified KJV reading:

Then came to him the talmidim of Yochanan, saying,
Why do we and the Pharisees fast often,
but your talmidim fast not?

That establishes the subject. The topic is not Judaism vs. Messianic faith
or Judaism vs, Christianity. The subject is why Yeshua's talmidim are not

And Yeshua said to them,

Can the children of the bridechamber mourn,
as long as the bride groom is with them?
but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them,
and then they shall fast.

No man puts a piece of new cloth onto an old garment,
for that which is put in to fill it up takes from the garment,
and the rent is made worse.

Neither do men put new wine into old wineskins;
else the wineskins burst, and the wine runs out,
and the wineskins perish
but they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.

Notice the poetic parallelism. (If you are taking the Hermeneutcs class
this will make a lot more sense to you).

Notice that their are three sets of lines and that each begins with a
parallel statement:

Can the children of the bridechamber mourn,
as long as the bride groom is with them?...

No man puts a piece of new cloth onto an old garment,...

Neither do men put new wine into old wineskins;...

Yeshua is answering the question posed to him "why do not youe talmidim fast?"

He replies that they do not because the bridegroom is still with them, but
that they will fast later when he is gone.

Yeshua does not say that fasting (an observance of the Torah) has been
abolished, to the contrary he indicates that it will be time to fast when
he is gone.

Then he gives two illustrations of things that are inappropriate but become
appropriate later.

Thus the identification is:

new piece of cloth = new wine = fasting

old garment = old wineskin = Messiah present with us

The identification of the Messiah with the wineskin is also in keeping with
a similar allegory found in the Mishnah (m.Avot 4:20) in which a teacher of
Torah is likened to a wineskin:

...He who learns from children-- what is he like?
he who eats sour grapes and drinks new wine.

And he who learns from old men-- what is he like?
he who eats ripe grapes and drinks old wine.

You can have a new wineskin full of old wine,
and an old wineskin which has not even new wine in it.

Now Yeshua claimed that his teaching was older than himself (Yochanan 7:16)
This ties into the traditional understanding of a teacher as a wineskin and
his teaching as wine. Yeshua's teaching was here with us while he was here
and thus it was not a time to fast but to drink the wine and rejoice.

In fact the teaching here indicates that his talmidim would be fasting (an
observance of Jewish Law) after he left.

Is this work worthy of your support? What other ministry provides this kind of teaching?

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James Trimm

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James Trimm
Worldwide Nazarene Assembly of Elohim

Views: 122

Comment by Kennie Cagle on August 24, 2008 at 8:10pm
Very well put, a tov teaching. I read David Stern's comments just recently and wondered where he was coming from with his comments. Todah rabah for clarifiying this for me.
Comment by Barzillai dov Ganya on August 30, 2008 at 6:45pm
Shalom, do you have a link to this David Stern's work?
Comment by Brock on July 10, 2009 at 1:24pm
"new piece of cloth = new wine = fasting

old garment = old wineskin = Messiah present with us" I agree well put. It has more substance than just telling people wine firments and the skin exspands or that new cloth shrinks and would deform a host of older cloth!

"If you are taking the Hermeneutcs class
this will make a lot more sense to you and in fact you will see a modified
version of this as today's class"
Where can I listen in on this "class"???
Comment by Shawn on July 20, 2009 at 3:34pm
Just a thought, but in addition to what is stated above, could this also be refering to the generation. If the generation is wicked (old man, old wine skin, fleshly basar) they cannot receive of the new wine - refined and mystical teachings of the Torah through mashiach. The teachings of mashiach must be passed to "babes" new skins. This is why Yeshua chose men who were uneducated so to speak. The orthodox teach that when Mashiach comes he will likely be rejected by current highly educated orthodox, atleast for a time. And that he would be received by common Jews (israelites). It is similar to the old saying you cant teach an old dog new tricks. If your brain cant handle the reality of the Torah and its mystical interpretations (kabbalah) then your and old dog who just dont want to learn new tricks. If however you are willing to submit to the Torah and its mystical interpretations (likely due to a lack of in depth indoctrination or pure humility) then you are a new puppy ready to learn all the tricks your master wants you to learn.


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