THE NEW WINE
Dearest ones, in times past you have been drinking a wonderful old wine. For nearly two thousand years you have looked to Jesus as your Shepherd while seeing yourselves as sheep-followers. The age of the fish which Jesus inaugurated has provided you with a wonderful wine, a sacrament which you shared at the table with our Lord. You drank, and you saw Him on the cross as the Savior and Lord before whom your knees gave way.
Now, at the end of the age which He inaugurated, a new age will soon dawn, and a new wine is offered. You will step forth to follow a water-carrier with new recognition of your real identities. Yes, it is Jesus who walks before us as Lord, but no longer as a deity separate from us. No, it is we who share His divinity. We are members of the same body. It is our body of Israelite members who make up the body of Christ. With Jesus as our Head, we are all one as the Christ, the anointed offspring of God.
It is a new vision for your minds, that you are a member of Christ, and that Jesus is not someone who stands separate from you, someone in the distance to whom you pray. Finally, Jesus' prayer is being answered. On the evening of His betrayal, He prayed a great prayer to the Father to grant that just as He is one with the Father that we might be one with Him/Them. No longer shall you look to Him at a distance, but you shall realize yourselves as one in Him, united, as the BODY OF CHRIST. You are offspring of the Father, anointed (Christed) by His Spirit, as His beloved child.
Yes, beloved ones, here is the new wine, a drink of higher spirit content, a drink to fill your hearts and minds with ecstasy beyond what you have heretofore imagined. We are making progress in our climb from the depths of apostasy at the time of Noe (who began the age of the bull) to the time of Abraam who began the age of the lamb by instituting a religion around that symbol. It was during that age of Aries (lamb) that we were placed under a contract with God which demanded fulfillment of His Law. God was beckoning His children closer toward Him. The Law didn't accomplish the whole task, but it was a real start, and it revealed to us just what we must do to perfect ourselves. At the end of Aries, God's Lamb paid the penalty for Israel's breach of contract, and He began the age of the fish by insuring a new contract with God in which the penalty for law-breaking is removed and in which God instills in our hearts and minds a Godly INSTINCT to make Righteousness the primary focus of our lives. Jesus came as the fisherman, fishing for His elect ones. Now, at the end of Pisces, we look back on an age during which we venerated Jesus as our Lord very much like He was an icon that sat on our altar, and before whom we bowed in adoration. We tried to obey God's laws and we gathered in churches to worship. Churches set down doctrinal beliefs and we committed ourselves to them. We sang and prayed and gave offerings. We got emotional and found methods of feeling ecstasy. We did what we could in order to be better Christians. We followed the recipe. We followed a formula that promised us salvation. We did better than our ancestors in the previous ages, and many of us arrived at the end of this age with powerful convictions of God's love and promise. Now, the old wineskin is about empty, and a new wine is at hand.
What is the new wine? It is the personal realization of your own MEMBERSHIP IN CHRIST, as the heir who inherits the kingdom, to be the steward and developer of the kingdom of God in the age to come. But we have no recipe or guidebook for the new task! The Old Covenant gave us God's rules for life. The New Covenant gave us freedom and God's love along with stories about Jesus' life and the disciples' work. The Bible was something physical we could hold in hand, study, and turn to for reassurance and guidance. It was a good vintage, that wine of Pisces, but now that wineskin is empty and we look to a new age of the water-carrier. Where is the book for it? Well, there isn't any! We will find the New Covenant fulfilled in ourselves as our instincts and God's Spirit lead us to a yet higher spiritual level of relationship with our Father. No longer shall you pray to Jesus in the distance, or on the cross, imploring His assistance with your life. You might ask what happens to the "Church." The Church is the old wineskin and can not participate in your spiritual realization. You will realize that as a participant in the Christ, yourself, you are responsible for expressing the Father's will. It is you who must listen within your heart and mind to the indwelling Spirit and follow the guidance you find there. There are no more guideposts to a God in the distance. Even your homesickness must give way to the realization that you have arrived, that you must take up the task of being the heir to the kingdom. You are a steward of the vineyard, and more than just a caretaker; you are a son and a prince of the Almighty King. You were destined for the job. You were guided and disciplined and nurtured and tried with fires. You were smelted and purified and molded into one of God's Princes. No longer can you evade that responsibility by looking to a distant cross, but with Jesus you must step forth and claim your destiny and help to found a new spiritual kingdom.
It's a new wine! Your spiritual destiny is not something you can place into the old wineskin of the traditional religion you practiced. The practicing is over. Time to do it for real! Repentance, apologies, groveling, and praying won't help you to continue to stay one step removed from being the Prince. As a Prince, you will stand upright and tall; you will walk boldly, with confidence. You will represent your Father, the King, as a supervisor of His vineyard, the Kingdom of God. Be not afraid. Do not play the modesty card. Do not grovel or walk with stooped shoulders. Step forth boldly, knowing that you are part of the body of God's anointed offspring, the Christ, and that you are not alone. You represent the King, and you will do so with love and with justice, without rancor, and without haughty arrogance.
Jesus, when explaining things to his disciples which He would not tell to the masses, said to them: "If you fast, you will give rise to sin for yourselves; and if you pray, you will be condemned; and if you give alms, you will do harm to your spirits." That is from verse 14 in the Gospel of Thomas. You see, He was giving them spiritual advice, prompting them to let go of traditional religious practices in order to be free and to grow in Spirit, preparing them for a future destiny in the Kingdom of God, after this age of Pisces has passed.
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no longer. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having been prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, 'Behold the tabernacle of God is with Men, and He will tabernacle with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be their God. And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, nor grief, nor crying, nor pain, because the former things passed away." (Revelation 21). Dearest fellow members of Christ, it is within His children that God dwells; it is within you. You are His temple. We are the holy city of New Jerusalem. The city is not a geographical place, but is the people of God, just as Israel has never been a place, but is a family of people. Do you see yourself in the new light? Do you see yourself in that splendor which John described in the last two chapters of Revelation? You are a member of Israel, a holy child of the Father, a Prince of God, an anointed child for whom the kingdom of God has been prepared. The new wine is too powerful to place in the old wineskin of traditional religion. No more pages of Biblical text, rather your new fountain is the living Spirit of God within you. There you shall drink and be fulfilled.
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