Being Born Again
Being born again into the Kingdom of God is a two-step process. The first step is to be born as a human being:
Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)
Man is the only animal which can ever enter the Kingdom of God. So the first step to becoming a member of the Kingdom of God is to be born as a man or woman and not some other animal. However, man cannot enter the Kingdom of God in his present flesh and blood body:
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (I Corinthians 15:50)
The Bible describes only two types of beings, physical and spiritual:
There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (I Corinthians 15:44)
There are two body types, physical and spiritual and they are different. Each of these body types requires a different birth:
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:6)
The scriptures state that man must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. What type of birth must this be? There are only two body types, physical and spiritual, and man is born initially as a physical flesh and blood body. But flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God! Therefore, for man to enter the Kingdom of God he must abandon his physical body and be born again as the only remaining body type -- a spiritual body! It is so logically simple! Man must be born again as a spirit to enter the Kingdom of God!
The Bible never states that men are born of the flesh and the spirit combined, nor does it state men are born of the flesh and the soul combined! Anything born of the flesh is flesh. Man is flesh! Anything born of the Spirit is spirit. The product of any birth is identical to the type of birth which created that product. Flesh births produce flesh bodies. Spiritual births produce spiritual bodies. Man, under Satan's influence, has great difficulty accepting this logically simple truth!
God originally created all angels which would be needed. These angels had no means of reproduction. If all angels needed were produced originally and each would live for eternity, then there would never be any reason to reproduce more! Then a third of the angels rebelled! Heaven, we have a problem! Replacements are now being produced in a two-step process.
The first step is a physical birth which gains one entry into the kingdom of man. Step two is a spiritual birth into the Kingdom of God. If men accept Jesus as their Savior their names are written into the book of life and they become heirs to eternal life. They were born initially as physical bodies and will be born again as spiritual bodies upon the return of Jesus:
And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me... (Revelation 22:12)
Nicodemus did not understand how someone could be born again. Therefore, he specifically asked that question:
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? (John 3:4)
Jesus gives him a straightforward answer. This is the definition of being born again:
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. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (John 3:5-7)
Jesus states no man can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born a second time. The first and obvious birth is a physical process involving water. We are composed of approximately 70% water and carried in water in the womb. All humans who have been born since the creation of Adam and Eve have been born of water. This first birth gets us into the animal kingdom as Homo sapiens, or man. Although man is a living breathing animal, he was created in the image of God and is the only animal capable of being born again as a spirit.
Some might confuse the phrase "born of water" as meaning we must be baptized to enter the Kingdom of God. Thus the tradition of baptizing babies was created. However, it should be obvious to anyone that to enter the Kingdom of God, one must first be born as a human being, or born of water. No other members of the animal kingdom may gain eternal life, as the process involves making a cognitive choice. The primary mode of operation of the other animals is instinctive, not making choices. Man is like the other animals in that all are flesh and return to dust:
For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20)
Man is different from the other animals in that he has freedom of choice, knows good from evil at some point, and has the opportunity to become immortal and live forever. In fact, the main choice man must make is between death and eternal life:
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life... (Deuteronomy 30:19)
The second birth, that of being born again, is clearly defined as a spiritual birth. The Kingdom of God is composed exclusively of eternal spiritual beings. At present, this includes only God and the angels. Man's goal is to gain membership in the Kingdom of God. Our goal is not to avoid burning in hellfire for eternity. It is a positive goal to attain something wonderful, not a negative goal to avoid something terrible.
Why is Satan fighting desperately to derail God's plan? The answer is obvious. God's plan is creating the spiritual bodies which will replace Satan and his rebellious angels! These future spirits will be the enemies of Satan. Jesus gives some characteristics of those born again spiritual bodies:
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John 3:8)
Approximately 50% of United States citizens claim to be "born again Christians." With a 2007 population of three hundred million that would be one hundred and fifty million confused and mislead Christians. Does the above verse describe 50% of United States citizens? Are they spirits or ghosts that come and go invisibly as the wind? Also note that when referring to those to be born again of the Spirit, Jesus does not refer to them as men. He says, "so is every one that is born of the Spirit." Men do not have spiritual bodies! Once born of the Spirit, you no longer need your physical body. Being subject to physical laws, a physical body is a hindrance in the spiritual world. One cannot move as the wind with an attached physical body. These would be handicapped spirits.
Nicodemus asked for additional explanation concerning spiritual rebirth:
Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? (John 3:9)
Jesus refuses to answer his question directly. His reply is that Nicodemus would not understand heavenly matters:
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? (John 3:11-12)
Jesus and the apostles have been teaching earthly matters and the Pharisees have not understood. If they cannot understand earthly teachings which are of their world, why should it be expected that they would understand heavenly matters of a different world? Therefore, Jesus does not answer His question. Sadly, this remains the situation two thousand years later. Man in general still does not understand the process of being born again!
The New Testament is a will. What one gains by becoming an heir under the will is one item: eternal life. Does this make any sense that the one thing we inherit is eternal spiritual life? We do not inherit new cars, cabin cruisers, ships, planes, vacation homes in every city on earth, seventy-two virgins, physical beauty, good physical health, etc. Why? Humans will cease to exist after the age of man ends. No possessions mentioned above will be needed in the spiritual world. Therefore, the one thing we inherit is a spiritual body as a member of the Kingdom of God. Any other item you can imagine has value only in the kingdom of man, which will pass away with man. One becomes an heir to eternal life by believing in Jesus.
These heirs will receive eternal life and membership in the Kingdom of God. One must be born again as a spirit to have everlasting life as only spiritual life lasts forever. Flesh degrades and dies. The names of humans who fail to become heirs under the New Testament are not written in the book of life. Consequently, they are never born again as spirits and will perish. They are resurrected as physical bodies and may suffer the second death described in Revelation:
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
Most of these have lived and died on earth long ago as physical beings. They will be resurrected as physical beings again at the second resurrection since they were not Christians. Therefore, if cast into the lake of fire they will die a second time. Hence the term "second death." The second death is final and eternal. There is no Third Testament to restore one's life after the second death. The New Testament saves believers from the second death:
He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (Revelation 2:11)
The act of being born again and a comparison of natural versus spiritual bodies is found in First Corinthians:
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (I Corinthians 15:44-50)
The first man Adam was made a living soul, or being, because he was part of the animal kingdom. That is, the first body any human has is that of a living, breathing being. The last Adam will be made a quickening spirit since he will live in the Kingdom of God. That is, the last body any former human can have will be an eternal spiritual body. Notice that "Adam" is identified as a "man" only when he is made as a living soul or being. When "made a quickening spirit" the entity is called only Adam. This is significant because at this point, Adam is no longer a man, or human being. The last Adam is made a quickening spirit which lives forever. Of course, any human's name can be substituted in the place of Adam. Flesh and blood, such as man, cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. Thus one must be born again as a spirit.
Consider this sentence from the above verses, "Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual." The answer is that once spiritual bodies are created, it's a done deal! They cannot be terminated. They are immortal! Therefore, that which is natural comes first, a human body. That human being may or may not inherit a spiritual body based on his choice regarding Jesus. God does not desire to create more immortal rebels! Jesus does not want workers who do not want Him!
These verses also negate the myth that men are born as an immortal soul living within a physical body. It specifically states that they are separate, and come in two stages. The natural body comes first and is then followed by the spiritual body:
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. (I Corinthians 15:46)
The natural body comes first and the spiritual body comes last. They are different and are never merged together at anytime in the scriptures! All men are born as natural or physical flesh and blood bodies, and those who believe in Jesus will be born again as spiritual bodies when Jesus returns!
If Jesus Christ himself informed mankind they did not possess a spiritual body or soul at birth, would He be believed? Apparently not, since Jesus basically made that statement in the book of Luke. Jesus was resurrected from the tomb as a human and ascended to heaven as a spirit shortly afterward. When He appeared to His disciples after being raised from the dead, they initially thought they were seeing a spirit or ghost:
But they were terrified and affrightened, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. (Luke 24:37-39)
Jesus Christ states that "a spirit hath not flesh and bones." This negates the nonsense that man is a soul housed within a physical body. Jesus states that they do not mix! Jesus Christ was never flesh and spirit at the same time. He was resurrected into a physical world as a physical body containing flesh and bones and a need to eat food:
And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of a honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. (Luke 24:42-43)
This was after His resurrection that He ate food. He took on His spiritual body shortly afterward as He ascended into the spiritual Kingdom of Heaven:
And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. (Luke 24:51)
The 50% of Americans who mistakenly believe they are born again Christians believe they became so when they accepted Jesus and were saved. They believe all mankind is born as a spirit living within a flesh and blood body, and point to Genesis for this erroneous belief:
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)
The Hebrew word translated here in the King James Bible as "soul" is the same word used to describe the other animals which were created. That Hebrew word is nephesh. Nephesh is correctly translated as "a breathing creature or being." In the majority of the other versions of the Bible it is translated correctly. For example, in the New International Version of The Holy Bible:
And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)
Tragically, the word "soul" used in the King James translation of the scriptures has become synonymous with eternal life. But the King James Version does not define man as a soul living within a physical body! Although the King James translation of the scriptures erroneously translates "nephesh" as soul and not a "breathing being," it did translate it as one item and not two. Are our physical bodies so obvious to us that God felt it unnecessary to mention them? Therefore, God only mentioned the "immortal portion" of man, his "soul?" In actuality, God did take note of man's physical body. When translated correctly, nephesh means "a creature or being that breathes." Does this fit into the context of Genesis 2:7? Note that man did not become "living" until after God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life:
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)
The only other body type, a spiritual body, has no requirement to breathe. This verse describes man's creation as one item that breathes (nephesh). Only physical bodies need to breathe. Therefore, man is a singular physical body. All creatures described in the original scriptures as a nephesh, including man and the other animals, are mortal physical beings, because they all breathe. When they stop breathing, they die.
This poor translation enhances the belief in Satan's lie that; "Ye shall not surely die." Since those believing the immortal soul myth assume they already possess the quickening spirit described above in First Corinthians, they are forced to incorrectly interpret the Bible's definition of being born again as another physical birth. That is, their physical body is raised incorruptible and merged with their already existent spiritual "soul." After all, their physical body is what is down there in the grave, so it is what is resurrected. But our dead bodies are not simply buried, they are "sown" like seeds:
It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body... (I Corinthians 15:44)
A sown seed does not produce the same old plant that produced it. It sprouts and becomes something new. In this particular case, sown Christian bodies sprout and become new spiritual bodies. "It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." If these sown Christian bodies are raised again as physical bodies and merged with the "souls" which have been "waiting in heaven," then these new combination natural and spiritual bodies are never equal unto the angels as the Bible states:
...for they are equal unto the angels... (Luke 20:36)
They would be spirits which are handicapped by a physical body. Why can't these spirits that men are born with leave their physical body homes, since spirits are not restrained by physical laws? This erroneous belief does however, allow nonbelievers to suffer pain in hellfire for eternity since their resurrected physical bodies are incorruptible. How does this belief fit with, "God is love?" It doesn't! This is actually Satan's work. It drives people away from the church and salvation. Logical people cannot conceive how God can be love while allowing the majority of humanity to burn in hellfire for eternity. Thus the basic premise of today's Christianity is flawed and people stay away from the churches. In the end times, knowledge shall increase:
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. (Daniel 12:4)
This increase in knowledge in the end times will initially cause a decrease in church attendance. According to an article published in the April 13, 2002 Houston Chronicle, although 90% of Americans claim to believe in God, in two major studies the number of people who say they do not belong to a religion has doubled over the last decade.
A visiting pastor at the church I was attending made the statement that the church has lost the young generation, and he wondered why. The reason the churches have lost the young generation is that they are more intelligent than previous generations (knowledge shall be increased). They see the problems and question the old "fear of God" myths which parents and pastors preach to them. But parents and pastors do not have the answers to their questions. This has occurred in conjunction with the rapid decline of the family unit. Therefore, the inclination to "believe" blindly to please mommy and daddy has drastically declined.
Older generations rarely questioned their pastors. Pastors were admired and respected. If they said the Bible states such and such, we believed them without question. Today's youth are more intelligent, more questioning, and see the obvious flaws. Consider a statement from the "Louisville Crusade" which was quoted in Chapter 2, and a list of possible questions and answers concerning that quote:
||You have a body, but living inside of you is your spirit or soul.
And when a person dies, what happens? The soul lives on."
|Question:||Where does the soul go when the body dies?|
||If the person was a Christian, the soul goes immediately to be
with God in heaven. Otherwise, the soul goes to hell to suffer
||So what if the soul goes to hell? It's a spirit which feels no pain.
The fire cannot hurt it.
||Ah, but an incorruptible physical body which cannot be destroyed
is merged with the soul at the resurrection when Jesus returns.
This is called the bodily resurrection doctrine. Then those souls
in hell can feel pain but never die.
||If God designed a system such as that, then explain the verse,
"God is love."
|Answer:||Oh, God did not design that, the Devil did.|
|Question:||Then God is not omnipotent? He is not all powerful?|
This can continue almost forever, as one error leads to another. However, the final answer is often one of the following; "There are a lot of things that man simply cannot understand," or "Only God knows," or "Believe it because I say it's true." Are these answers the truth?
Why would God create man and not give man answers to the most basic questions regarding his existence? Of course, God did give man the answers. They are in our user's manual, the scriptures. Our Holy Bible is a translation of the Holy Scriptures. The answers are there, but we must seek them out. However, that requires a little effort and reasoning. Alas, man is lazy. Let someone tell us what the Bible states. We will even pay and reward them very well. Those who tell us what the Bible states desire to please us and make their job easy. Thus, they tell us what we are predisposed to believe. Satan thus deceives us through our clergy.
The more intelligent young people do not buy into it anymore if their questions cannot be answered, and the questions cannot be answered because the teachings are based on a myth. That myth was created when the serpent instilled in humans the lie that, "Ye shall not surely die." "Believe it because I say it's true," is no longer accepted as people are becoming more intelligent. They sense there is something after death (remember that 90% of Americans profess a belief in God), and they seek answers, but the answers elude them. The true answers do not lie in today's churches; they are sealed in a book:
And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. (Isaiah 29:11-12)
That book is the Bible. Are the words of the Bible sealed? To this day, very few people truly understand the Bible. However, in the end times, the words of this book will be opened:
And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. (Isaiah 29:18)
"In that day" indicates the end times. One sign of the end times is that the gospel must first be preached in the entire world before the end of this age, the age of man, occurs:
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14)
And the gospel must first be published among all nations. (Mark 13:10)
Gospel means the good news of Christ and His teachings in the scriptures. Part of this good news is not that most humans will suffer in hellfire for eternity! This would definitely not be good news. Therefore, most churches do not even publish the true gospel! The "great commission" commands Christians to spread the gospel among all nations:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)
However, even with satellites and television, will we ever spread the true gospel among all nations and fulfill the great commission? Obviously not, since God has to send an angel to fulfill this prophecy before the end of this age can occur:
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. (Revelation 14:6)
Certainly by this time, shortly before the Second Coming of Christ, the Bible will have been unsealed so that the nations will better understand what the angel has to say. When the words of the Bible are unsealed and people are taught the true message of the scriptures, church attendance should explode! This immortal soul myth which causes harm to the churches, and enslaves believers through fear and worry, will be brought into the light of day during the end times:
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)
That simple truth is that humans are born as physical beings. They can become heirs to the Kingdom of God through a belief in Jesus. They enter the Kingdom of God when born again as spiritual beings. When does this occur?
Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:51-52)
For Christians, it will occur at the Second Coming of Christ when the archangel Michael blows his trumpet. Paul wrote First Corinthians to the church at Corinth, so "we" refers to Christians. The dead "shall be raised incorruptible," refers to dead and buried Christians who shall be born again as spirits. The only incorruptible body is a spiritual body. "We shall all be changed," means all Christians will be changed into spirits, those still alive on earth and those dead and buried. The "mystery that not all will sleep," refers to Christians who will be living on the earth when Christ returns. They will be born again as spirits immediately and meet Jesus in the air. This is also mentioned in Matthew:
Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. (Matthew 16:28)
Jesus obviously did not mean those he was talking to. "There be some standing here," indicates there will be Christians standing on the earth which will not taste of death till they see Jesus coming in His kingdom.
So eternal life is a gift or reward, not something mankind possesses when he is born. We become heirs to this reward under the New Testament by believing in Jesus, and we receive the reward upon Jesus' Second Coming when we shall be born again as spiritual beings. Nonbelievers perish in the second death and that is the end of them forever. This is not to say that something wonderfully spiritual does not occur when one believes in Jesus and is baptized. However, this emotional feeling should not be confused with the process of being born again. Being born again is a real event, not simply some emotion.
I was baptized in a small church in New Orleans, Louisiana, when I was nine years old. I will never forget the experience. Something physical happened. Time seemed to slow down and there was a long period of strange quiet and total peace and serenity. Later, I monitored other baptisms, and all immersions required about three seconds. I asked my mother if mine took longer and she said no. To this day, I know that something happened. Perhaps it was the Holy Spirit entering me, emotions, or perhaps I became the new person described in the Bible:
Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (II Corinthians 5:17)
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: (Romans 6:4-5)
Although I would drift away and commit an almost infinite number of sins in the future, I was a new creature in Christ that night. It could not be denied that something happened the night I was baptized, but I was not born again. I had not as yet died the first time. I certainly was not dead to sin. Sin and I had a long future ahead.
Many others have had similar, real experiences when they were saved or baptized. My favorite is the story of John Newton who captained a slave ship transporting slaves from Africa. One night the ship was caught in a violent, seemingly endless storm. Sails, rigging, and spars were ripping and falling to the decks, as screams rose up from the cargo. When all seemed lost, John Newton fell on his knees and pleaded with God to save them. Almost instantly the storm passed and the sea was still!
John Newton abandoned the slave business and joined the ministry, becoming an ordained Anglican Church minister at the age of thirty-nine. In 1779, he wrote the following regarding his experiences. To this day, these verses remain the most popular Christian hymn ever written:
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come
'Twas grace that brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home
When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we first begun
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