The Sword of the Spirit
Chief Teacher Maria vonAnderseck - Second 8th Week Ministries
The Wine Maker
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” (John 15:1)
I am sure that you have noticed how Jesus’ teachings are taken from the land and everyday life to teach us the miracle of faith, the kingdom of God, and to express to us God’s profound love towards us. The farmer that plants the seed and with patience waits for the harvest, the parable of the 10 virgins, the widow’s mite, the unjust steward.
Deep lessons of faith are learned from the words of our Lord. But nowhere is the mystery of faith explained so eloquently and with such rich meaning as when Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” (John 15:1)
This is often explained to mean that the church is the vineyard and that God is trying to tell us that He is the wise and watchful husbandman that cares for the church. Yes, God is wise. Yes, God is watchful. Yes, God cares for the church. But is there another reason why God selected the vine to speak of His involvement as the husbandman?
Yes, there is. And it is this deep meaning I want to get at today. When God assigned Himself the role of the husbandman of the vineyard He was identifying Himself as the Wine Maker. Did you know that the dream and desire of every true winemaker is to produce a new wine that has never been tasted before? The drive behind the winemaker’s intense labor is that when his wine is tasted, it is a wine that is distinctly his, a wine that speaks of his character, so that when a person tastes the wine, he tastes what the winemaker has labored so intently to place into the wine.
So, God, telling us that He is the husbandman of the vineyard, is saying He is the Wine Maker. This clarifies His role. Once you see that, a whole new understanding opens up. There are some well known established facts about winemaking and wine tasting that allow us to see this wonderful mystery of Christ that God wants to unfold, but nothing brings this out better than the 2009 film “A Heavenly Vintage”, starring Jérémie Renier and Gaspard Ulliel.
If you’ve seen the movie, ignore the darker elements of the film and focus on what is being said about winemaking and the winemaker and you will hear the voice of God, speaking a message that will utterly enlighten and surprise you. What I’m going to do is quote from the film and then make application to our faith in the true Jesus Christ.
The film is set in the early 1800s and is about a pheasant winemaker named Sobran who wishes to make a wine that is distinctly his own. An angel appears to him (we’ll get into that meaning later) and brings to his attention what he needs to do to make an excellent wine. What Sobran learns has been known to winemakers for ages because God placed a message in the process of winemaking that He would use later when speaking to us of Jesus Christ and His plan of salvation. The film beautifully brings out these details that I want to bring share with you.
The Taste of the Wine
As stated, central to the efforts of every winemaker is the taste of the wine. Characters in the film repeatedly sip wine and are asked, "What do you taste?" Some have criticized the film in this regard, saying that they found the repetition of the question to be boring. The question was thought to be trivial, but I found it fascinating. Each time I heard the question asked I experienced it as if God was asking of me the question, What do you taste?
God of course, is not speaking of tasting wine, but of tasting Jesus Christ in the knowledge of His covenant. I could see the central point the Spirit of the Lord was bringing out, that we are to taste of Christ in His knowledge, that we are to partake of Him, and how He is the NEW WINE of the New Covenant. When Jesus spoke of “eating His flesh and drinking His blood,” He meant we were to “taste” Him in our faith, the true Christ. (John 6:48-56, Psalm 34:8, Matthew 26:26-28). And I want to get into all that and talk about how elaborately God provided these details for us to understand our faith. Let’s go back to the film.
The Taste of the Wine is Central to the Wine Maker
In the film, Sobran is told that you can taste in the wine the winemakers character, toil, risk, devotion, and the place the winemaker lives. He is told that you can taste these things in the wine, but it begins with the soil.
Sobran learns that monks prepare the soil for winemaking by first tasting the dirt every few paces to find the taste they want in the wine. Sobran experiences this for himself. He tastes the soil every few paces and takes note that some dirt tastes of metals like copper and some tastes of chalk. He is told that to make a good wine, the winemaker needs to think of the taste he wants and then add that to the earth.
The angel explains to Sobran, “You want to make a great wine. Not like the others. A wine that is yours. A wine that’s never been tasted.” He goes on to say, “You don’t need rich soil. Not for grapes. Poor soil means minerals. Stone. Taste. Flavor. But the plant will have to fight for it. Struggle for what it needs. And it’s that effort and yours that will show in the character of the wine.
We can see here how the Lord is unfolding to our understanding how He also does the same thing. He provides the necessary elements to the soil in the garden of our hearts. These necessary elements are the 12 Foundation Stones: (1) Grace, (2) Faith, (3) Righteousness, (4) Justification, (5) Sanctification, (6) Holiness, (7) Peace, (8) Rest, (9) Charity, (10) Truth, (11) Regeneration, and (12) the Renewing of the Mind. These 12 stones are all about Jesus Christ and how to build faith in His image.
Just as the husbandman takes from the land qualities to imbue the wine to reflect his character and labor, and place where he lives, so our Father, the husbandman of our souls, took these qualities of Christ to impart His character into the wine of the covenant, that we may taste of Him and heavenly things as we apply our faith to His knowledge. We are tasting of the new life of Christ in the wine of His covenant knowledge.
If I were to ask you, What do you taste in the knowledge of Christ? How would you reply? Do you taste Him as you offer sacrifices of prophecy? Do you taste Him as you go through your cycles of growth, reflecting on Him? What do you taste?
What Do You Taste?
It is often very difficult for a Christian to describe or explain the taste of Jesus Christ. When asked, What do you taste? most are very vague. What do you mean? How do we taste Jesus? We get some help again from the movie. In the film, the Baroness who owns the vast estate, and its vineyards upon which Sobran lives and works, strikes a deal with him. She agrees to his methods if he will agree to teach her everything he knows about making a great wine.
This is where the question, “What do you taste” really comes into play and something wonderful happens to her understanding. Sobran blindfolds the Baroness and has her sip a glass of wine he created and asks her to describe to him what she tastes. As she delicately holds the glass and takes a sip of wine, you can see that it is extraordinarily difficult for her to describe the taste. She finally says that it tastes fruity.
Sobran, impatiently points out that, “Anyone can learn to taste fruit. Think about the taste. Deny your intellect and tell me what you taste!” Exasperated, the Baroness removes the blindfold and says, “I don’t know.” And as she looks into the wineglass, seemingly looking for answers, her teacher responds, “Your eyes won’t help you.”
The Baroness sinks to defeat saying, “I don’t know how to explain it.” The winemaker moves the wine glass out of reach and replaces the blindfold, sits down and places his hand into hers. He says, “Tell me what you feel.”
The Baroness begins to describe the winemakers hand. “Bones, skin,” she says. “What sort of skin?” the winemaker asks. The Baroness slowly moves her hands over the winemaker’s and says, “Course, but smooth also. There’s dirt under your nails.” “What else?” the winemaker prods. “Heat, inflammation, a little pain. Effort. Sweat. Tenderness.” She now gently takes in the scent of his hand and says, “Smoke, chestnut, cherries. Dirt and sweat.”
As the Baroness is able to put words to the touch and scent of his hand, she also tastes the winemaker’s finger and says, “Sour and sweet also.” She is now able to put words to her experience. The winemaker then sets the wine glass in front of the Baroness and asks her to taste the wine again. He says, “Tell me what you taste.”
Still blindfolded, she says with delight, “It’s the same! Sweat, smoke, and cherries. Dirt, desperation. I taste YOU!” She takes off the blindfold and look at the winemaker and says again. . . “I taste you.” Although the film critics didn’t seem to get this point either, it is of extraordinary significance to us. The symbolism God created in the wine was for us to understand that by the knowledge of the wine of the New Covenant we taste Him, the Wine Maker. The knowledge of Jesus Christ, as the wine, reflects the place (heaven), the person (Jesus), and the things the Wine Maker added to the soil to create the taste (faith, righteousness, holiness).
This is the unique characteristic of the vine to draw from the ground the flavor for the wine. Can you now see why God created the vine as He did and why Jesus says, “I am the Vine, and My Father is the Wine Maker.” He is meaning, You will draw from the knowledge I place in the covenant to taste Me.
Can you Taste Jesus in the Wine of the Covenant?
It is often difficult for believer to explain what they taste in the covenant knowledge. They may say, “God is good, or Jesus loves me.” And the Wine Maker would respond as the winemaker in the film, “Anyone can taste that I am good and that Jesus loves you because I put it in you to know this.” Think about the Elements of the Gospel. Can you taste grace? How would you describe that taste? Can you taste righteousness? How would you describe that taste?
You taste Jesus in your reflections and in your cycle of growth and your spiritual sacrifices of prophecy. You can taste the patience and longsuffering of God, the way in which He replaces aspiration with grace and the principle with truth. The way in which He dissolves the confidence of this world so that only our confidence of grace remains.
You can taste God in the way in which He mixes grace with suffering in the chalice of our communion with Him. He daily challenges the thinking patterns of the world to help us draw from His well of knowledge to put to shame the wisdom of this world. The cleansing, purging, and scourging are necessary for us to gain His perspective. You can taste the way in which He uses the ashes of our suffering to reveal the beauty of Christ. Later in the film, God brings this out to our attention when Sobran says that the vine needs everything it can get to survive, even its own ash. God is preaching to us Jesus Christ.
You Can’t Force a Wine
I also like this quote from the film, “Making wine is not a rational business. The thought behind it, the time it takes. You can’t force a wine any more than you can a child. You have seasons that are disasters. And then all of a sudden, a miracle. A taste that’s many things at once. Was there joy here? You can taste it in the wine.”
Many want to confess the “abundant life” in Christ because the “Bible says so”. They confess that they are the conquerors, the overcomers, the blessed ones because the “Bible says so”. They confess that God gave them a newly created human spirit and all they have to do is stand in what God says about that because the “Bible says so”. That is forcing the wine.
They’re not tasting what God put into Jesus. The soil of their hearts have not been prepared with the 12 foundation stones. They’re wanting to taste something new and extraordinary, but not willing to allow God to place into their hearts the taste He desires to place into the wine that they drink for their spiritual communion with Him.
It takes time to pray in the Spirit. It takes time to allow the process of your growth cycles to mature you. It takes time to labor with the grace of God to gain God’s perspective. When in covenant with God you can associate with the taste that is many things at once. We taste the joy our Father experiences at watching us gain His perspective. When we say that the wine of the covenant is sweet we’re drawing from the painstaking detail in creating in us the virtues of Christ. I’d like you to exercise yourself with this. Try to describe the taste of Jesus Christ as you experience Him. How would you describe that taste?
The Identity of the Angel In the Film
You can imagine the shock Sobran receives when the angel who has been his companion and advisor reveals that he is not an angel from heaven, but a fallen angel. Sobran runs from the scene horrified. He feels betrayed and confused.
Now, just because fallen angels hijack the symbolism of wine making does not change the truth about the symbolism God placed in the vine and the winemaker by which we see Christ’s work of salvation. What the hijacking does for us is give us a good view of what it means to drink from the wine of the false knowledge of this world, for in one scene, after a year of personal loss and devastation, Sobran tastes his wine and says that he tastes bitterness and sorrow and utter grief. He is describing the winemaker isn’t he? Which is himself.
This scene so clearly spoke to me about what is tasted in the vine of false knowledge and how we can discern what kingdom is manifesting by the knowledge that is present. Satan’s vine of knowledge is not the true vine, it is the false vine. This is why Jesus said that He is the “true” Vine. If there is a true vine there is a false vine. If there is true knowledge there is false knowledge. In the film, “A Heavenly Vintage”, the fallen angel tells Sobran that the vines he gave him came from his garden. Well, the garden of a fallen angel is not the garden of our Lord.
We are to be spiritual wine tasters, a cultured connoisseur. One that is experienced in the taste of wine can separate wine by location, age of the wine, the manner in which it was fermented, and the owner or winemaker. God wants you to do the same. He wants you to be able to taste the difference between the wine of false knowledge and the wine that comes from the Vine of Jesus Christ.
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Chief Teacher Maria vonAnderseck
Maria vonAnderseck serves the Body of Christ as a confirmed Teacher in the government of God. She is co-founder of Second 8th Week Ministries, IDCCST® Christian Education Curriculum author, co-author of the book Breaking the Anti-Christ: The Blueprint of Deception and soon to be released book The God-Code: The Secret of Life. She is a regular contributor to the Prophetic Path and teaches Leadership and Body Ministry. She is co-founder of Apostles Today Network of the Second 8th Week®, ministering the grace of God to those seeking to build upon the true foundation of Jesus Christ. As God brings the church into a new era, Chief Teacher Maria is here to help guide your faith into the new work of the Spirit, pray for you, and answer your questions.
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