Saturday, June 20, 2009

Jesus The First Born of The Dead..But You Are Not Born Again..YET

What is "Born Again?'

I would like to start this study by asking two questions. Then we will gather the bible evidence that we will need in order to answer those two questions, and then at the end of the study I want to ask two more questions. Between now and then, I hope that what we see from the bible will help you to answer those last two questions. Here are the questions:

What is regeneration? What is born again? I am sure that if you are like me, you have heard a number of different things that come from the religious system. All different kinds of doctrines, depending on which group you are a member of, or which "theological position" you take. But what we want, what we are looking for, is the BIBLE ANSWER. Not an interpretation. We don't need to make an interpretation, we need to come to a conclusion. Now you reach a conclusion by having the facts. And that is what we are looking for, BIBLE FACTS.

Most of us probably know that Paul, in his thirteen books, Romans thru Philemon, never uses the phrase "born again." Most of us know that Peter does. We also know that Paul refers to the "washing of regeneration," but Peter never does. Jesus Christ, on the other hand, uses BOTH the phrase "born again," and the word regeneration. The word, regeneration, only appears twice in your bible, and the phrase "born again," appears in only two places.

Now outside of that, there is NO bible use of these two terms at all. Anything other than the two uses of the terms, comes from man made doctrines and the religious system, not from the bible. And, as you know, entire "systems" of so-called "theology" are based on, and built around one, or both, of those terms.

You have the "regenerated before faith" religious system, which essentially says that mankind is so totally depraved that he is not even capable of believing anything unless he is FIRST regenerated, so that when God sends somebody to share the gospel with him, he can then believe it. He can't believe before he is FIRST regenerated. So to that group regeneration is a very selective and a very limited term, since, in their view, only certain people will ever be saved anyway, and everybody else has already been chosen to go to Hell. The extreme edge of that kind of thinking is called "Five Point Calvinism" and those who hold that view put everybody who doesn't hold that view into a class which they call Armenians. In other words, if you are not a Calvinist then you are an Armenian.

Their next step is to paint such a horrible picture of Armenians, which is what you are if you are not a Calvinist, that they hope to get you to choose Calvinism by default. But the fact is, to be a Calvinist you will have to learn almost an entire new theological language of non-biblical multi-syllable words. I never hear them preaching the gospel but mostly debating theological terms and the "doctrines of grace," as they say. I guess it's not too important for them to preach the gospel, since all Calvinists are predestined to be saved anyway, whether they want to or not, since none of them have any free will.

Another very large group never uses the word "regeneration." Instead they call themselves "born again" Christians. Millions of people, as a matter of fact, according to surveys, the majority of the population of the United States, claim to be "born again" Christians. Jimmy Carter, the former President, made it politically correct to be a "born again" Christian.

As far as documentation of the use of the term "born again," outside of theological studies by men such as those who wrote during the Reformation period, John Wesley and others, who talked of regeneration, the new birth and so on, the earliest published reference seems to be in a newspaper called the Reno Evening Gazette in October of 1913. It says that "Christian Science (that's the religion started by Mary Baker Eddy) gives a man the opportunity of being born again.” The first reference that specifically mentions "born again Christians" is the Decatur, Illinois, Evening Herald of December, 1928. It has a sentence that reads, "I knew I had the new desires that a born again Christian acquires."

Now, in my growing up years, I don't recall ever hearing the term "born again," or "born again Christian." I remember being in Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and Pentecostal churches but I just can't remember the use of the term. But by the 1960's the Ecumenical Movement, the evangelical renewal started, first in the United States and then around the world. There were the Jesus People and the Christian counterculture thing. Remember Charles Colson, the Watergate conspirator? He became a "born again" Christian and published a book in 1976, and the idea of "born again" became pretty much socially and politically correct. Former President Jimmy Carter, in a Playboy magazine interview, said he was "born again."

But what is REGENERATION? What is BORN AGAIN? Jesus Christ told Nicodemus in John chapter three that "Ye must be born again:" As a matter of fact he said that except a man be born again, he cannot SEE the Kingdom of God. So it looks like a lot of people wanted to SEE the Kingdom of God, because millions of people today say that they meet the requirements, that they are BORN AGAIN.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Now look closely at verse seven:

John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Did you notice the words "thee" and "ye?" They are there for a reason. The new translation salesmen want to convince you that they are "archaic" words. They are out of date. We don't use those old words of the Elizabethan English any more. They are hard words. They are antique words, they say. What you need is a new "easy to understand" version.

But those words are in the King James Bible for a reason. You see, the King James Bible was first published in 1611. Nearly two hundred years BEFORE 1611, people had already quit saying THEE and YE. The English speaking people of the world had already started saying YOU instead of THEE and YE. You can mean you, individually, or it can mean all of you, which is plural.. But not THEE and YE. Those words are very specific.

The Hebrew and the Greek languages, in which the bible was written, have very specific words to mean YOU, individually, or ALL OF YOU, meaning plural. The King James translators, in their dedicatory letter, which is sometimes printed in the front of King James Bibles, said that it had been their desire to make ONE MORE EXACT translation of the scriptures. That's what they did. So, they RETAINED the distinctive meanings of the words, YOU individually, or ALL OF YOU, plural.. And the distinctive Hebrew and Greek words are TRANSLATED into the English language for you to understand: THEE and YE.

In other words, in verse 7, the Lords "says unto thee," unto YOU Nicodemus. I am talking specifically and directly TO YOU. And then he says YE. In other words, a group of people, the whole groups, ALL OF YOU, which in the context is a reference to the whole house of Israel, the lost sheep of the house of Israel....YE must be born again. So in your King James Bible the 'T' words are singular, and the 'Y' words are plural. It's as simple as simple can be.

But we still have the question, or the questions, we started with. What is regeneration? What is born again? But I think we are going to find that they are one and the same thing. One with a much broader meaning than the other, but the same thing, and both related to the SAME EVENT. But first, I want to show you that we need to eliminate Peter's use of the word, because in 1 Peter, Peter is talking about a totally different thing than Jesus Christ is in John chapter three. So let's read a minute in 1 Peter:

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1 Peter 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

1 Peter 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Notice that Peter says "hath begotten us again." What is he begotten unto? Unto a lively hope he says, and he says that he is begotten UNTO that hope how? By the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. He says that the hope that he is begotten unto is an inheritance. It's reserved in heaven and that he, and those involved, are being kept by the power of God unto what? Unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Now follow closely here. IF God has begotten them again, I would suspect that again would have a BEFORE. In other words you could look around and find where God had BEGOTTEN them before. Now watch:

Exodus 4:21 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.

Exodus 4:22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:

Exodus 4:23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.

So, here in the book of Exodus is the first BEGETTING, and Peter says they have been BEGOTTEN AGAIN unto a lively hope. What was Israel's hope in the book of Exodus? It was inheritance, right? It was the Kingdom, was it not? It was a NATIONAL inheritance of the Kingdom. As in:

Genesis 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

Now remember what the Lord had told the leaders of the nation of Israel in Matthew 21. He had told them a parable out of the book of Isaiah. In effect he had caused them to condemn themselves, and then he said:

Matthew 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

Notice he is telling the leaders of the apostate Nation of Israel that the Kingdom would be taken from them. That it would be given to A NATION. Now who is that nation?

Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

So who is the LITTLE FLOCK? It is the US in 1 Peter: Look at it again:

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

How did their hope come about? What is it related to? The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Why, according to Peter, according to Peter's preaching, was Jesus Christ raised from the dead? It was to be the King in the Kingdom.

Acts 2:29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

Acts 2:30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

So you can see that Israel, the son of God, in Exodus chapter four, was BEGOTTEN. Actually it was the blood of the Passover. The Israelites coming through the blood, in other words, they came out of the house which they were in while the death angel PASSED OVER, they came out of the house and through the water of the Red Sea. It represents birth. They were begotten. The whole house of Israel in the book of Exodus was begotten. And Peter says that they, the people he writes to, are BEGOTTEN AGAIN unto the same lively hope, That hope was salvation from their enemies, including death, inheritance of the promised land, and the King and the Kingdom. In other words they are begotten again, they are BORN AGAIN as Peter uses the term in THIS application.

1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

He says by the word of God. Well, what was that word? It was the promises made unto the fathers:

Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

He was CONFIRMING the promises. What were the promises? Inheritance. Abraham was looking for a CITY that hath foundations, the bible says. Abraham believed in resurrection. So does Peter. And Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead. They now have a LIVELY HOPE. Their hope of the Kingdom of Heaven upon the earth. So this should give us some idea of what Peter was talking about when HE uses the term "born again." It's a reference to the "born again" nation of Israel. They are begotten again. In other words it's the "little flock" of called out believers from the apostate nation of Israel. It is a "born again" nation, looking for the King and the Kingdom to come. In other words, they are looking for the restitution of all things.

Acts 3:21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

That word, restitution, literally means RECONSTITUTION, and that's exactly what will happen at the second coming of Christ. We don't need to "proof text." In other words just because the word is the same you don't just go through the bible and pick out all the places where that word is used and make a doctrine from it. The word and the spelling of the word, and so on, might be the same. But the use of the word might NOT be the same. And in 1 Peter, he is NOT using the term "born again," in the same way the Lord used it in John chapter three. Now before we go to John chapter three, let's look at that other word: Regeneration. Jesus Christ uses the word once, and Paul uses it once. Paul says in Titus:

Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

Titus 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Titus 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

Now that word, SHED, means to pour forth, or to BESTOW. What was bestowed on us? Is the Holy Ghost bestowed UPON us? Do we have the anointing of the Holy Ghost as the Pentecostal Jews did in Acts chapter two? No, we don't. We don't have that anointing, that unction. The idea that Paul presents is that we are baptized BY the Spirit, not WITH. And we know from Ephesians that there is but ONE baptism.

Ephesians 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

So we know that the one baptism Paul is referring to is the baptism by the Spirit into the body of Christ, and not the baptism OF the Holy Ghost, as they say. In other words it is not the baptism WITH the Holy Ghost, which Jesus Christ performed in Acts chapter two. It says RENEWING of the Holy Ghost. How could somebody Paul just described as being foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another ever have HAD the Holy Ghost so that now we could be RENEWED with the Holy Ghost. We never had the Holy Ghost to begin with. How could we be renewed with it? That word renewing literally means renovation. Now I want you to think about something. When Christ died, where were all your sins?

2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

God was reconciling us, and he did it by NOT imputing our sins to us. If they were not imputed to us, then who were they imputed to? They were imputed to Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

So when Christ died, where were all your sins? They were on him. He was made to be sin for us. Now in order for God to raise him from the dead, he couldn't do it and then have the Lord ascend up into Heaven with our sin on him. So there had to be a renovation, a renewing. He says, by the washing of regeneration. He doesn't say that God shed forth on you A WASHING of regeneration, he says by THE WASHING of regeneration. So there is a WASHING involved. It positively means a bath, in other words a BAPTISM. Remember the Lord said that he had to be baptized?

Luke 12:50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!

So it was a baptism into death and it was YOUR DEATH that he died. He died in your behalf. So there he is, on the cross. He says "it is finished," and he bowed his head and died. And he was dead. He was dead for three days and three nights. His body was in the tomb and his soul went down into the lower parts of the earth, down into hell. Is that going to be the end of it? No! He was REGENERATED. THE washing of regeneration. Not just any washing but THE washing of what? Of REGENERATION. It happened in the work of the cross.

Paul refers to it as “the operation of God” in Collosians 2:11-12.

The word REGENERATION means REBIRTH. It means RENNOVATION. Now what does that sound like? Born again! There he is, he's dead. His body is in the tomb and his soul in Hell. Something has to happen. So, three days and three nights later, he is BORN AGAIN. The washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost happened. He had the Holy Ghost. You and I never had the Holy Ghost to be renewed with it. He did. He was the first BEGOTTEN from the dead. What is begotten? If a child is begotten, he is BORN. Now look at:

Acts 13:32 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,

Acts 13:33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

Paul says he was RAISED UP....AGAIN. This day have I begotten thee. What day was that? It was the day he was raised from the dead.

Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Let me show you A REGENERATION and then we will talk about THE REGENERATION. In Genesis, between verse one and verse two of Genesis chapter one, something catastrophic happened. Something occurred between the creation of Heaven and Earth in verse one to the condition we see in verse two. The earth, not the world, but the earth was without form and void. Peter mentions it briefly in 2 Peter:

2 Peter 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

2 Peter 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

Now the EARTH was flooded in Noah's day, but that's not what Peter is referring to here. World is not the same as earth. World is an orderly arrangement of things. The word is KOSMOS. That includes everything, including the inhabitants, if there were any. But the EARTH is a different thing. Earth means dirt. Terra firma. It means land, soil, things like that. The EARTH didn't perish in Noah's flood. The people perished. The flood took them all away. The earth was still there. It stayed wet for about a year but it was still there. And the dove brought back an olive leaf. The olive leaf was still there. It didn't perish. Neither did the earth. But the world that then was, in Genesis 1:1 PERISHED. Believers in Christ don't perish. They have everlasting life. Look at the REGENERATION in Genesis.

Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Genesis 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Genesis 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

Genesis 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

The evening and the morning were the first day. People talk about the "Jewish reckoning of time" Reckon where the Jews got it? Well, here's your pattern. So there is Day and Night and the evening and the morning are the first day. And then God makes a firmament and it divides the waters from the waters:

Genesis 1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

Now watch very carefully this THIRD DAY:

Genesis 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

Did you notice that the trees yeild fruit AFTER THEIR KIND. Notice the next verse.

Genesis 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Look at all the things that are coming forth and bringing forth and yielding fruit. Now what does that sound like to you? The EARTH BROUGT FORTH, notice that?

Genesis 1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

Now go to 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

1 Corinthians 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Genesis 1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

Now look at what Paul says further on down in 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 15:35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?

1 Corinthians 15:36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

1 Corinthians 15:37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:

1 Corinthians 15:38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

Go back to Genesis:

Genesis 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

So REGENERATION is REBIRTH, literally. It is RENNOVATION. It is RESTORATION. Look at Revelation:

Revelation 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Now I know that there are some who will ask “what does Paul mean in 1 Corinthians that he was born out of due time?” Actually that's not what Paul says

1 Corinthians 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

1 Corinthians 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

1 Corinthians 15:7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

1 Corinthians 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

So he says that he is AS OF one born out of due time. Not that he WAS born out of due time. Well, when is due time? The angels have an answer for that:

Acts 1:10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Nobody saw Jesus after they saw him ascend into heaven. And those two angels said that he would SO COME IN LIKE MANNER. In other words THAT'S when they would see him again. Now they knew that he had arrived in Heaven because of what happened in Acts Two:

Acts 2:33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

But Paul saw the Lord AFTER THAT. (Paul makes the statement, “Am I not an apostle, have I not seen the Lord?” To have seen the Lord AFTER His resurrection was a qualification of being an apostle.) But Peter and the Twelve did not SEE the Lord after that. It was not due time. The due time was told by Peter in Acts three:

Acts 3:21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

But, unknown to Peter, or to anyone, unknown to the Prophets of the bible or to anyone on the planet, the Lord made an unscheduled, unprophesied appearance TO PAUL on the Road to Damascus. Hence Paul said that he was AS OF, someone born out of due time. So what would due time be? It would be the time of restitution of all things. Restitution is reconstitution, and that would be the time of what? REGENERATION

Matthew 19:25 When his disciples heard it, (that is, that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, which is IMPOSSIBLE, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom) they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

It is IMPOSSIBLE for a man to save himself, he needs a Saviour.

Matthew 19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

Now watch closely:

Matthew 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

So there is THE REGENERATION. There it is and there is WHEN it is. When the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, and right now he is NOT sitting in the throne of his glory. He is sitting in the throne of HIS FATHER'S glory. He is NOT ruling and reigning, right now, on the throne of David. The throne of David is not, and never has been, in Heaven.

Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Now here is WHEN the Son of man will sit in HIS THRONE. This is WHEN THE REGENERATION IS:

Matthew 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

In other words, all of those Kingdom saints who “continued stedfastly” in (Peter’s) the apostles’ doctrine will be raised from the dead, born again, to enter the Kingdom. So we just simply don't have to worry about being regenerated, how to go about getting regenerated, whether we need to be regenerated before we can have faith or not or anything like that. The WASHING of regeneration happened to Jesus Christ, he was RENEWED with the Holy Ghost and it happened in HIS death, burial and resurrection IN YOUR BEHALF. What God has SHED FORTH on you is his kindness and love AND GRACE:

Titus 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

So the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost happened to Jesus Christ, in Jesus Christ, in death, burial and resurrection. THE REGENERATION then, is at the second coming of Christ. But here is where you and I fit in:

1 Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

Now think about it. We live in a body of flesh and blood. It is a VILE BODY according to Paul in Phillipians but we shall all be changed:

Philippians 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

So there is YOUR regeneration. There is YOUR new birth. And we haven't even made it to John chapter three.

John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

So he is a ruler of the Jews. In other words he is a member of the Jewish high court, the Sanhedrin, and he is a Pharisee. Now Pharisees are supposed to believe in resurrection:

John 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

So because of the signs, the Jews require a sign, because of all these Messianic signs that Nicodemus has seen, he believes.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Now don't worry about the Greek word. The word is anothen. It carries the idea of again, or from above. Greek words carry several different ideas in some cases. The meaning of a GREEK word is determined by the context in which it is used. But we are not reading Greek words. We are reading English words. There is NO WAY that you can learn what an English word means by looking at definitions of Greek words. You CAN look in the concordance and see the different usages of words. But the concordance doesn't have definitions of ENGLISH words. It is not meant for that purpose. There a lot of would-be theologians who are always trying to gain DEEEEEP understanding by going to the UNDERLYING Greek.

I am not an underlying Greek. I don't have to rely on underlying Greek. I can't just go and look up all the nuances of a Greek word and pick out a meaning that I like better than the one in the bible just because I would rather it say something different than what it does say. The word says AGAIN. It doesn't say "from above." It COULD say "from above" if that is what it meant, but since that is NOT what it means, it doesn't say that. It doesn't say "from above" it says AGAIN. To be BORN AGLAIN you would have to be BORN BEFORE.

Now the underlying Greek word for the word STUDY in 2 Timothy 2:15 also carries the idea of being diligent. It carries the idea of labor. But I can be diligent and I can also labor, or I could be diligent AND labor, both at the same time, and still not STUDY. You can't go to a Greek dictionary to find out the meaning of an English word. If you don't know the meaning of the English word STUDY, you will need to look it up in an English dictionary. A Greek dictionary won't give you the meaning of it. So he says BORN AGAIN.

John 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

Now that's a legitimate question. He is not confused. He is trying to understand, and the Lord is about to help him.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

If a man is not FIRST born of water, then he can't be BORN AGAIN. Born again means a second time. In order to be born again it says you would have to be born before. All men are born of water. Water is the natural way MEN are born. All flesh is BORN of water. All flesh, or scales, or feathers, come by water, the water of a NATURAL BIRTH. There is a natural BODY.

1 Corinthians 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

Angels DO NOT HAVE a natural body. Angels are not BORN of water. Men are. Angels cannot be BORN AGAIN. Only men can. Fish are born of water. But he didn't say anything about fish being born again. Birds with feathers are born of water, but he didn't say fish or birds, or scales or feathers, he said A MAN.

So think about it, if a MAN is born of water what is that? That is the FIRST BIRTH. If a man is born of water AND of the Spirit, what is that? That is BORN AGAIN.

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

The first half of verse five matches the first half of verse six, and the second half of verse five matches the second half of verse six. A man is born of water, he is born of the flesh. The actions of two individuals, a male and a female, result in a man being born of the flesh. But the second half of BOTH verses is that which is born of the CAPITAL “S”, SPIRIT. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. There is a NATURAL body and there is a SPIRITUAL body.

1 Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

1 Corinthians 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

That which was FIRST is the natural man, born of the flesh, and AFTERWARD, born again, that which is spiritual.

John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

There's that THEE and YE again. In other words, I say unto YOU Nicodemus, that YE, all of you, the whole house of Israel MUST BE BORN AGAIN. Do you realize that there was no RAPTURE for those people? They had no promise of a Rapture. They were WITNESSES. The word literally is MARTYR. They were given power. The power to suffer. They were given the power to ENDURE TO THE END. As it was for those in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the YE he is talking about in the verse, SO it will be for those in the Tribulation AFTER the Rapture of the church.

Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

The statement in John 3:16 that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish” is a reference to PERISHING in Hell. All of them expected to die and go down into Hell and be born again. But that is not a guarantee to you. In our case the Rapture could happen at any time, and we which are alive and remain, could be caught up in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, be changed, our vile body changed and not even experience death. We will have already died JUDICIALLY in Christ at the cross. But not so with those people. The YE that he is talking about in John chapter three is Israel. And the only way they can enter the Kingdom is through death. That's why he says in JOHN that YE must be born again. Paul doesn't say that. Paul says, "behold, I shew you a mystery, we shall not all die." They didn't have that hope of not dying. (The Rapture is an event which pertains to the body of Christ. It is an event that only Paul writes about.).

John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Now the resurrection of Jesus Christ is THE example of what he is talking about here. That's what Peter meant when he said he "hath begotten us again UNTO A LIVELY HOPE. Peter’s hope was the hope of resurrection to enter the Kingdom. Think about the wind blowing. You can't tell where it comes from and you can't tell where it goes. And we are not talking about weather forecasts. The weatherman predicts weather and sometimes he is right and sometimes he is wrong. That's not what the Lord is saying here. He is likening the wind to spirit. Breath is also likened to spirit in the bible. The Lord says it's like that. Look at the example here, after Christ was raised from the dead:

John 20:26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

You can't do that. A "born again" Christian cannot just suddenly STAND inside of a room where the doors are shut. And he didn't climb through a window!

Luke 24:13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.

Luke 24:14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.

Luke 24:15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

Now threescore furlongs is about the length of forty football fields. Open road in both directions and swooosh, there he is, walking along with them. A "born again" Christian can't do that.

Luke 24:30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.

Luke 24:31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.

Whooosh. And there he goes, vanished. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, but that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Look at the verse again:

John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

I can tell where you come from and I can tell where you go. In other words I can look down the road and I can see you coming. I can watch you come and I can watch you go. Well you couldn't watch him. He just vanished.

John 3:9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

John 3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

A master of Israel should know these things. Abraham believed in resurrection. God had promised him that his multiplied seed would be a great nation, and when the Lord told him to offer his son, his ONLY son, Isaac, on the alter, he got the knife and the wood and saddled the ass and off he went. I mean he BELIEVED that God was going to make his seed a great nation and if he offered Isaac on the alter then God MUST raise him from the dead. I know he believed that, watch:

Genesis 22:5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

Now this Nicodemus was a master of Israel, Abraham's seed. Supposedly he was operating on the basis of the promises made unto the fathers. Abraham believed in resurrection. So did Job:

Job 14:14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.

Did you notice that? MY CHANGE.

Job 19:25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

Job 19:26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

Now if worms are going to destroy this body, did Job believe in REGENERATION?

Look at what Daniel was told:

Daniel 12:13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.

So a master of Israel, believing in the promises, should know these things, the Lord said.

John 3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

John 3:11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

John 3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

So, there is a MAN who has ascended into Heaven. It's not David:

Acts 2:34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, THE LORD SAID UNTO MY LORD, SIT THOU ON MY RIGHT HAND,

So the Lord ascended into Heaven, and according to Peter, the Heaven was to receive him until the time of restitution of all things. Restitution is reconstitution. Now take a look at this word, the word begotten:

Psalms 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

When was He begotten? Obviously Jesus was begotten in resurrection. He was born again.

Acts 13:33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

Now just a couple of thoughts and we will close with the final two questions. Conversion is not born again. Jesus Christ didn't have to be converted. He is the sinless, virgin born, Son of God. So there is no way that you could say that Jesus was converted. He was not converted and he didn't have to get saved. Getting saved or getting converted is not born again. So the pattern of the new birth is Jesus Christ. He IS the firstborn, FROM the dead.

Romans 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

So he was declared to be the Son of God, how, and when? IN RESURRECTION!.

Psalms 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

FIRSTBORN is the first brought forth. It means the eldest. Birth means BROUGHT FORTH, by birth. The Greek word for FIRST BORN is PROTOTOKOS. And that is exactly what Christ is called:

Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Christ is referred to as MADE ALIVE:

1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

1 Corinthians 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

So every man WILL BE made alive, when? Afterward. In other words, AT HIS COMING. Now this is a reference to the second coming of Christ, but there are some members of the body of Christ who will be alive when that happens. The Rapture and the Second Coming are separated by a period of time of at least seven years (the tribulation period) so Paul says:

1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

So in Romans, Paul says:

Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Romans 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

Now what is the expectation of the sons of God. Resurrection! In our case that will be the Rapture of the church.

Romans 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

Romans 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

John 3:13 says that there is a MAN in Heaven. It also says that NO MAN hath ascended into heaven except that one man. It is a reference to the Son of man which came down from Heaven. So Jesus Christ is the firstborn, first to be BORN from the dead.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

So we have a “predetermined destination,” you could say. We are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. John says the same thing pertaining to Israel’s priesthood:

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

John is making a direct reference to what David said in the book of Psalms:

Psalms 17:15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

Now we started the study with two questions and we said we would end the study with two more questions. The questions at the beginning were: What is regeneration? What is born again? And I hope that all this at least gives you some food for thought. Now, here are the two closing questions:

WHEN is regeneration? WHEN is born again?
http://www.av-1611.com/What_is_Born_Again.htm

When the average Christian says they are Born Again, they really mean they are saved.
They just are confused by terminology. Jesus is currently the only one Born Again
by His Resurrection from the dead. When we are changed to a glorious body at the Rapture,
we will be Born Again too.
I Am Born Again

10.16.05

1 comment:

Brother Mark said...

For You bro...down under:
http://www.youtube.com/user/LiteralWord#p/c/55793076F3768271/0/qAwSAMJFsvo