On this page...
- Christian and Christianity
- Born of water
- Born of Spirit
- The kingdom of God
- The Book of Life
- Eternal Life
There are many words and phrases associated with so-called modern Christianity, such as joining a church, altar calls, the prayer of salvation, becoming a Christian, having a change of heart, getting baptized, being born again, going to heaven, etc. Where did all these phrases come from and are they interchangeable (do they all mean the same thing)?
The Gospel of John, chapter 3, verses 1 through 21 records a conversation between Maryah Yeshu Meshika (our LORD Jesus Christ) and a local religious leader named Nicodemus who had come to speak with Him one night. Much of mainstream Christianity has interpreted and propagandized this passage to infer that God is offering a sort of premier, no-cost membership in the Club of Heaven and mankind is welcome to exercise his free will and join up... or not.
According to the teachings of popular Christian figures, one might think God exists primarily to see to it that club members are stupidly happy and all are leading fulfilled, upwardly-mobile lives, pursuing marvelous careers, living in beautiful houses, having large savings accounts, driving the latest cars, wearing the latest fashions, occupying themselves with meaningful hobbies and staying continuously entertained as they each discover God’s wonderful plan for their respective, narcissistic lives. If you think this sounds at all similar to that covetous and lustful pursuit of the legendary “American Dream”, your suspicions would be well-grounded. After all, we are told, Christians are the children of the King and they deserve the very best life the world has to offer. While some non-club members may have much more of all those things that the King’s kids are said to be deserving of, Christians know that the lives of non-members remain largely unfulfilled - unless they join the club, of course. Honorary memberships are available. For a small donation.
The various sects and/or denominations within Christianity may differ in their respective requirements for club membership, but most appear to agree that the label of born again is applicable to bona fide members, even if they disagree regarding what, exactly, the label actually means. For many, the phrase born again is a quaint expression that indicates one has joined the Christian religion. For most, the phrase indicates something more significant has occurred, or is occurring, or will (hopefully) occur one day, and implies that one may have had a sincere change of heart, mind or direction in life. Reading this passage as a modern Christian, one might wonder if Jesus, in His conversation with Nicodemus, didn’t know how to say things such as change of heart, change of mind, become a Christian, become a member, join our church, or even go to heaven, and was forced to use the overly dramatic, yet purely figurative phrase born again.
Of course, this is nonsense. Let me help clarify: Jesus did not tell Nicodemus that people need to change their minds, or have a change of heart, or become a Christian, or join a church. What He said was:
If a person is not born again, it is impossible for that one to see the Kingdom of God.
Christian and Christianity
While we are at it, were you aware that the word Christianity never appears in the Bible, not once, not anywhere? In fact, the word Christian appears only three (3) times:
And when he had found him, he brought him with him to Antioch. And a whole year they met together in the church, and instructed many people. From that time forth, the disciples were first called Christians, at Antioch.
King Agrippa said to him: Almost, thou persuadest me to become a Christian.
But if he suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on account of this name.
Antioch, Syria may have been the cultural center and bridge between the Aramaic speaking world of Syria, Judea, Asia Minor, Persia, Assyria, Babylon and the Greek and Latin speaking Western Roman Empire. Followers of the Messiah were first called כרסטינא (Kristyane) in Antioch. Today, the English word Christian may refer to one of many definitions, not the least of which being associated with one of the world’s leading, respectable religions. When it was first used, however, it clearly meant only one thing: Kristyane (Aramaic), or the Greek Χριστιανός (Christianos), was apparently a rather derogatory label meaning, “little Christs / little annoited ones!”
As you re-read all three (3) verses, above, if you will simply replace the word Christian with little Christs, curling your lip a bit and kind of snarling as you you say it, you may get a little closer to conveying the original intent behind the word. I am not suggesting it is a bad thing to be called a little Christ, or a Christian. I am saying that those who did the name calling certainly meant it to be a bad thing. It was most certainly not a respectable title. More to the point, the followers of the risen Messiah did not refer to one another as little Christs. The king said to Paul, “You are so convincing: I almost want to be one of these little Christs!” (I imagine he then chuckled, glanced over at Festus and added, “but we all know that isn’t happening!” And then they shared a belly laugh, together). Shimeon Kaypha (Peter) had said, “... don’t be ashamed of being name-called ‘a little Christ’. Glorify God because of this name!”
Please note that our LORD Jesus never referred to Himself as a Christian. None of His disciples referred to Him as a Christian. They never called one another Christians. And, just in case you were not already aware, Jesus most certainly did not start a new religion called Christianity! For more on this topic, see my article titled, “The House of God”
Whether one belongs to the religion of Christianity or not, or considers himself to be a Christian or not, is of no consequence. However, whether one is born again or not is of eternal consequence!
Nicodemus, a Pharisee and leader of the Judeans, visited Jesus one night. He told the Master:
We know that you are a teacher sent from God, for no man is able to do these miracles that you are doing unless God were with him.
Nicodemus stated that Jesus’s ability to perform these miracles, these signs, was proof that He was sent from God. “We know” might better be interpreted as “some of us know”. Why? Nicodemus was not speaking for all Judeans; he couldn’t be, as his contemporaries would later accuse Jesus of having a demon in him, having Beelzebub in him or casting out demons/devils by Beelzebub the Prince of demons/devils, the Chief demon/devil. “We”, as used by Nicodemus, was not all inclusive.
Significantly, Nicodemus told Jesus he knew that Jesus was from God, and God was with Him, to which Jesus responded,
Timeless truth I am telling you: If a person is not born again, it is impossible for that one to see the Kingdom of God.
What? What did that have to do with what Nicodemus had just said?
Notice how Jesus didn’t thank Nicodemus for giving Him such a nice compliment. Jesus didn’t praise Nicodemus for his devotion to years of religious study which gave him the intellectual knowledge necessary to make good decisions, such as properly distinguishing between true and false teachers. Nor did He commend the man for being so faithfully devoted to keeping the law of Moses, such that he had become righteous and holy enough over time to be able to have a casual conversation with the Son of God. Instead, Jesus revealed what it was that allowed Nicodemus to recognize that Jesus’s ability to perform miracles was of God, while others could not. Jesus explained to Nicodemus that, without a second birth, no man could see, behold, or perceive what Nicodemus perceived.
Timeless truth* I am telling you: If a person is not born from (1) water and (2) The Spirit, it is impossible that he shall enter the Kingdom of God. That which is (1) born from flesh is flesh, and that which is (2) born from The Spirit is Spirit.
* – אמין אמין Pronounced “ah-meeyn, ah-meeyn”. This expression is transliterated into English as amen, amen and more popularly translated as verily, verily or truly, truly. Spoken by the Living God, it indicates that which was, is and ever shall be. It refers to that which is eternal, outside of the constraints of time. Timeless truth is that which is eternally true, regardless of so-called dispensations. Timeless truth carries eternal consequence.
This simple, straightforward, yet utterly profound passage is comprised of but two sentences. Contained within these two sentences we also find the Master's full explanation and meaning:
- Being born from water is equivalent to being born of/from flesh
- Born from The Spirit is a separate birth; Spirit birth is not flesh birth
Jesus clearly contrasted flesh with Spirit. He explained that what comes from (is born of) flesh is (remains) flesh. That is all it is. That is all it ever will be.
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God...
What comes from flesh is NOT Spirit. It does not become Spirit some day – It does not grow or evolve into Spirit, not even with years of practice and/or study.
What comes from (is born of) Spirit is Spirit!
For a natural (soul-ish) man does not receive Spiritual things, for they are madness to him, and he is not able to know, for they are known by Spirit.
NOTE: Within some Christian circles, as well as many New Age groups, you may hear the phrase Spiritual Rebirth used to indicate the distinction between non-members and so-called “enlightened” members. This particular use of words demonstrates ignorance of both the Holy Scriptures and the Kingdom of God. While, technically, the word re-birth might suffice as a (weak, conditional) synonym for born again, the trendy phrase Spiritual Rebirth is never found to exist in the Scriptures. Furthermore, there is no such notion of a Spirit being reborn. Before you get huffy, read on to gain insight into precisely what Jesus was saying to Nicodemus. For even more on this topic, see my article titled, “The Origin of Man”
Born of water
The phrase born again is used in most Christian circles to refer to a state or condition achieved through a rather wide variety of membership rituals that may involve one or more of the following: pamphlets on “How to become a Christian,” invitations to “Come to my church,” so-called Evangelism Crusades, threats of “You’re going to Hell!,” re-dedication ceremonies, altar calls, repeat-after-me instant access prayers, baptisms, etc.
In the Peshitta, the Aramaic word we translate is born is מתילד (metil-led), and is a passive verb. Whenever the word is used it is clearly referring to something that has happened to a person. It never (Did you know that never means: Never?) refers to something a person does or will do. The passive verb is born is an action that is performed upon a person. It is not an action performed by a person. Consider your role in being born the first time, from your mother’s womb... You were born. It happened to you. The idea that you had some say in the matter is entirely ludicrous! Your mother gave birth to you. The active verb meaning to give birth (to bear, to beget, to produce) is an entirely different word: אולד (awled). Giving birth was your mother’s role, not your’s.
The Aramaic word(s) we translate as again is מן־דריש (min d’reesh), and literally means “from the top”, from the beginning, from the origin. Think: from the start. Thus, in part, we have the Messiah telling Nicodemus,
If an already born person is not born all over again...
There must be another birth, a second birth, a new birth. Nicodemus obviously understood Jesus to be saying that in order to be born again one would have had to have been born the first time. This is confirmed by his question, “How can an adult re-enter the womb to be born again?” He was not rebutting Jesus’s strange choice of words. He was not arguing with Jesus. This was Nicodemus’s intellectual attempt to understand and reconcile the phrase “born again”. Nicodemus got this part right: there must be another birth, a second birth which implies a first birth.
What confused him was just how this was to be accomplished and what role, if any, was Nicodemus to play? If Jesus was suggesting a man needed to duplicate his first birth, how could it be possible, especially seeing as how he had no say in it the first time?
You may recall the story of Angel Gabriel who entered Maryam’s (Mary's) presence to inform her she was about to conceive and give birth to a son who would be called The Son of The Highest (see Luke 1:26-38).
Mary didn’t argue with Gabriel. But she did ask, “How will this be, for no man has known me?” She didn’t understand how God would accomplish this, as she was a virgin. She happened to be engaged to a man, but would not have sexual intercourse with him until they were married. Her question to the Angel confirms that she understood Gabriel to be speaking of an imminent event, not of some day in the future (at least 9 months from whenever she and Joseph would first have intercourse) when Mary would naturally get pregnant and have a child, and it would all be perfectly explainable. Gabriel told her that nothing is difficult for God. In response, clearly not understanding how it would be made possible, Mary incredulously accepted the Truth and responded with, “As a mere handmaid of God let it be done to me according to your word.”
Wow, what a woman! That behavior is not common.
Jesus was revealing Timeless (eternal) Truth to Nicodemus: To even see the Kingdom of God, a person must have already been born again! Nicodemus blew right past that revelation from the Master, as he got hung up on the whole birthing process.
Perhaps you know someone who, like Nicodemus, is still trying to determine their role in the new birth process?
Even more confounding, Jesus revealed that the new and separate birth He was referring to is not a repeat of one's water birth - this is NOT reincarnation. Jesus unveiled Timeless (eternal) Truth when He clarified the meaning of the phrase “born again”, declaring that in order to enter the kingdom of God a person must have been born BOTH of water AND of Spirit. If you are still stuck on the whole "How do I birth myself? How do I get born again?" part, and are completely confused by the the whole flesh/Spirit thing, you are in good company: that is where we find Nicodemus.
Question: What does “born of water” mean? What is the significance of water birth?
Hint: It has nothing to do with being born in a bathtub or a pond. And it has nothing to do with being baptized, be that by full immersion in water or having been lightly sprinkled with a few droplets of special water as an infant.
Answer: Water birth is the first criteria for seeing and entering the Kingdom of God. Being born of woman, being born from flesh, is being born out of water – “My water broke... The baby is coming!”
You may wonder, “If water birth simply means to be born of woman, then everyone qualifies. Why would Jesus make that which is already common to all a condition for entry into God’s Kingdom?”
Firstly, we are assured that being born of water is synonymous with being born of flesh, because Jesus said it was. For the most part, water birth has been common to all; however, were you aware that neither adam nor Eve had a water birth? Adam was formed of the dust of the Earth, and Eve was formed of adam. Consider adam’s end: God said to adam, “From dust you came. To dust you will return.” He did not say, “From dust you came, but you shall be with me in Paradise.” God gave adam 930 years of life before the man returned to dust. Adam did not enter the Kingdom of God.
Are you aware of ongoing efforts to reproduce life outside of water birth? Are you aware of so-called synthetic wombs? If not, you may have some learning ahead of you.
Jesus told Nicodemus that in order to see the Kingdom of God one must BE born again. Jesus did NOT tell Nicodemus that in order to see the Kingdom of God one must BECOME born again, or GET born again. Jesus said, "Be", not become. Be, not get. (As a reminder, the “again” part (of born again), the second birth, is of Spirit.)
To have a second birth, one must have had a first birth. To be born “again”, one had to be born the first time.
Born of Spirit
Do not be surprised that I said to you that you must be born again. The Spirit breathes where he will, and you hear his voice, but you do not know from where he comes and where he goes; thus is everyone who is born from The Spirit.
(For KJV readers:) In the English translations of the Scriptures, the words Spirit, breath, and wind are typically derived from the same word in the original language(s). This is due to the fact that in these languages one word can translate into any one of three words in English. This is more true for Hebrew and Aramaic, but also can be true for Greek:
- Hebrew - רוּחַ (Ruach)
- Aramaic - רוחא (Rookah)
- Greek - πνεῦμα (Pneuma)
By contrast, the words Spirit, breath, and wind do not all have the same meaning in English. Look at two translations of this popular passage:
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.
The Spirit breathes where He will, and you hear His voice, but you do not know from where He comes and where He goes; thus is everyone who is born from The Spirit.
- KJV - It, the wind, blows
- FCAB - He, the Spirit, breathes
When attempting to translate these words into English, recognize the considerable difference between these two translations:
- An amorphous, random breeze blowing in a given locale on a given day
- The Spirit of the Living God intentionally breathing life into a person
Which do you think Jesus was referring to when He was teaching Nicodemus about the Kingdom of God and being born a second time; being born of the Spirit?
There is a nonsensical interpretation of the verse above (John 3:8) commonly presented in religious circles that goes something like this:
A gentle wind blows, surely not a tempest, gale or hurricane. It has a mind of its own and does whatever it wants. You can hear it (so perhaps it’s not so gentle, after all) but you can’t see it. And you have no idea where it originated from or what its destination will be. Jesus was saying that is precisely what it is like to become a Christian!
As I said, this is nonsensical. In truth, Jesus told Nicodemus that God alone gives life and you have no say in the matter! You do not control Him. Just as you didn't choose to be born from the water in your mother's womb, let alone dictate the time and the place, you certainly don't choose to be born of Spirit. The Spirit breathes where He will!
Nicodemus was only familiar with the first birth, a water birth, which had prompted him to ask:
How can an old man be born (again)? Is it not impossible for him again to enter his mother's womb a second time and be born?
Jesus did NOT correct Nicodemus regarding his understanding of equating being born of water with coming from his mother's womb. He had clearly understood the Master to say that a second actual birth is required in order to even see God's Kingdom, let alone enter into it. What he demonstrated in his question was his utter lack of knowledge regarding the things of the Spirit. He was so rattled by this teaching he exclaimed:
How can these things be?
Jesus then said to Nicodemus,
You are the Teacher of Israel and you do not (already) know these things?
If you are not already aware, let me point out that Jesus did not exhort Nicodemus to "go get born again." He did not provide the man with "How To" instructions! He did not tell Nicodemus to bow his head and repeat the sinner's prayer.
Was Jesus somehow missing an opportunity to "lead this soul to Christ"? Wasn't that what Jesus was teaching? Wasn't His message to convince people they were all going to Hell unless they made a decision to become a Christian?
Not on your life!
Organizational or club membership does not constitute Spirit birth. Striving to keep the Law does not constitute Spirit birth. A lifetime of religious service or right living does not constitute Spirit birth. Being baptized does not constitute Spirit birth. Changing your mind or heart does not constitute Spirit birth. Becoming a Christian does not constitute Spirit birth. Waiting until you die for the resurrection of the dead does not constitute Spirit birth.
Question: What is Spirit birth?
Hint: Being born again, born of sprit, is not figurative speech.
Answer: The Spirit breathes where He will - The seed of God is birthed within.
...that your souls would be sanctified in obedience to the truth and that they be filled with love without partiality, that you would be loving one another from a pure and perfect heart, as persons who have been born again, not from fallible seed, but that which is infallible, by the living word of God which stands for eternity. Because all flesh is grass and all its beauty as the blossom of the field; the grass withers and the blossom fades. And the word of our God stands for eternities...
Everyone having been born of God does not sin, because His seed is in him, and he is powerless to sin, because he has been born of God.
There are two distinct births of consequence presented by our LORD:
- Born of the flesh, from water (from your mother's womb, born of the seed of adam)
- Born of the Spirit (born of the seed of God)
When thinking about two births, think about two wombs: one filled with water and another filled with The Spirit.
With all this talk of birth - a water birth, then a Spirit birth - Jesus matter-of-factly described the TRUTH of God's intent to Nicodemus; that being CHILDREN. God's own children, born of His Spirit, born to see, enter and dwell in His kingdom in eternity. A kingdom, mind you, into which temporal, non-eternal flesh and blood CANNOT enter.
This is about two separate births. A man of flesh who has already been born once, via water, is informed that he has also been born a second time, of Spirit. That is what allowed him to perceive, to see, the things of God. In Nicodemus's case (and for many others, as well) this may be news - good news, but news. This explains why he has come to the Master, and NO ONE ELSE is with him. It explains why he recognized who Jesus was ("Whom do you say that I am?").
Nicodemus wasn't on the outside, looking in. Rather, he was on the inside, clueless as to what had happened. Jesus expected Nicodemus to know these things, and chided him for not knowing.
Up to this point, most of mankind has been born of water. Clearly, all have NOT been born of Spirit. And yet, just as with Nicodemus, many have been born of Spirit and remain as clueless as he was.
The kingdom of God
When asked, "Who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter told Jesus, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God." Jesus explained to Peter that "flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father..."
Paul, writing to the Galatians, explained how upon being apprehended by the Living God he did not immediately consult with flesh and blood: "I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was..."
Paul told the Ephesians "...our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the Spiritual forces of evil..."
The author of the book of Hebrews wrote regarding the prophetic inheritance of Jesus, "And again he says, 'Here am I, and the children God has given me.'" He went on to explain, "Since the children have flesh and blood, he (Jesus) too shared in their humanity..."
To the point, Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "...that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable."
Jesus had told Nicodemus that, unless a man is born of water AND Spirit, it is IMPOSSIBLE for him to enter the Kingdom of God. Flesh and blood, that which comprises the physical life of a man, is perishable; it is not eternal.
Jesus brought incredibly good news to mankind, proclaiming the existence of a realm He referred to as the kingdom of God. No less than 69 verses directly use this phrase, with 54 of those verses being found in the four (4) gospels.
Question: What is the kingdom of God?
Hint: It isn't "Heaven." And it had nothing to do with the Roman province of Judea. And, while it may come as a surprise to many, the kingdom of God is most certainly not the United States of America.
Answer: See below...
The kingdom of God is NOT a kingdom of men. It is NOT inherited by flesh and blood. And yet it can be inherited; it can be entered into.
Paul explained to the brothers in Rome that, while he is 100% confident that NO food is to be considered "defiled" in the presence of Jesus, the Living God, it is imperative that we never introduce a stumbling block in front of our weaker brethren. For those who would remain enslaved to the idea of one food being pure, while another is impure, this is an issue for them alone. They are not permitted to teach or promote their own weakness. Nor are those who walk by faith permitted to force the weak to exercise their liberty in the Messiah. To walk by faith is to walk in love; the love of God. The governing understanding is:
For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but the righteousness, and the peace, and the joy in the Spirit of holiness.
The rookah d'qudsha, or Spirit of holiness, has been translated into English as the Holy Spirit for several hundred years. The word "holy" is sometimes translated as "set apart", consecrated, and even sanctified. The meaning of the word holiness has taken on something of a life of its own and resulted in some fairly strange teachings in our time. But the TRUTH is quite straightforward:
God is Spirit (rookah).
Those who worship Him must do so in Spirit (rookah).
Those who are born of Spirit (rookah) are born of God, Who is Spirit (rookah).
The seed of God, Who is Spirit (rookah), is what is planted in those who are born of God. God's seed accounts for what is "born" in the second birth, a new birth. This seed is Spirit (rookah), just as God (Whose seed it is) is Spirit (rookah).
If you can hear it: there is only one (1) Spirit:
But whoever cleaves to our Lord becomes one Spirit with Him.
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body...and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
...for through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
...keep the harmony of the Spirit in the bonds of peace, ...in one body and one Spirit as when you were called in one hope...
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ; so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one Spirit...
Spirit (rookah) is quite distinct from flesh and blood. This distinction is what the word "holy" (qudsha) refers to. This Spirit has much power available:
For God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power...
Another translation reads:
The Spirit God has given us does not make us fearful, but powerful...
To the believers struggling in Corinth, Paul had written:
Some of you have become arrogant, boisterous, as if I were not coming to you. But, if the Lord is willing, I will come to you very soon and then I will know not the words of these arrogant people, but what power they have. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power.
The kingdom of God is not about flesh and blood. It isn't about flowery speeches or long-winded sermons. It isn't about banquet meals or diet restrictions. It isn't about fear.
The kingdom of God is God's righteousness, God's peace, God's joy - experienced in the one Spirit that is God and which has been birthed within those who are His. The kingdom of God, His righteousness, peace and joy IN THE Spirit, is demonstrated PHYSICALLY in power.
The Book of Life
The Scriptures contain eight (8) verses that refer to the Book of Life and the names of those it does or does not contain. Two (2) verses refer to those whose names are written in the Book of Life. Two (2) verses reference the blotting out of names. One (1) verse tells us the dead are judged by what was written in the Book of Life. Three (3) verses speak of those whose names are NOT written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
Four (4) actions are associated with the Lamb's Book of Life:
- Names are written in - Philippians 4:3, Revelation 21:27
- Names are blotted out / not blotted out - Psalm 69:28, Revelation 3:5
- Dead are judged by what was written - Revelation 20:12
- Names are NOT written in - Revelation 13:8, Revelation 17:8, Revelation 20:15
Question: Whose names are blotted out?
Answer: The enemies of God, including those who do not overcome - Psalm 69: Revelation 3:5
Question: When is a person's name entered into the Book of Life?
Answer: From the foundation of the world - Revelation 13:8, Revelation 17:8
Question: Who are the people NOT written in?
Answer: (Read on...)
And all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.
And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Did you realize those whose names are NOT written in the Lamb's Book of Life are the very ones who worship the beast? These verses refer to the generation of people who experience the fulfillment of the prophecies just prior to the return of the King. Among that generation we find those whose names are not written in the Book of Life. But we also find those who do not receive the mark of the Beast, those who overcome, those who are alive and remain at his coming.
If a name that had been written in the Book of Life was subsequently blotted out of the Book of Life, then it could be said of that name that it was not found in the Book of Life, and this understanding can readily explain Revelation 20:15.
But both Revelation 13:8 and Revelation 17:8 speak of those whose names were never written in, never entered in the first place. Their names weren't blotted out. Their names weren't erased. They were never written in.
(Consider Jesus's words to Nicodemus regarding the first criteria for entrance into the kingdom of God, the requirement of being born of water.)
As enticing as it might be to believe, the Lamb's Book of Life is not a listing of mostly pleasant, religious, church-going people throughout the last two thousand years with the addition of the names of a handful of wealthy donors who purchased an entry in the Book (along with an engraved brass plaque). It did not begin as an empty book into which God added names as people became club members.
This Book contains the names and deeds of all those born of water AND the Spirit. The requirement of being born of water would exclude adam and Eve, as well as any who have been, are or would yet be spawned outside of water, "his mother's womb" (laboratories? synthetic wombs?). The requirement of being born of the Spirit would further restrict the names in the Book.
Do you now perceive the significance of Jesus's words to Nicodemus, when He said:
If a person is not born from water and The Spirit, it is impossible that he shall enter the Kingdom of God.
If you are not born of water AND The Spirit, you cannot even see / perceive the Kingdom of God, let alone enter into it!
If you can see His Kingdom, it is because God has birthed you: not just once - of water. But again - of Spirit. Now you may enter into His kingdom, which is righteousness, peace and joy in the Spirit.
For we do not rejoice in those things that are seen, but in these things that are unseen. For things seen are time related, but those things that are unseen are eternal.
In short: time is a construct, a created linear structure in which man dwells and for which the sun, moon and stars (lights in the firmament) have been given as instruments of measurement. That which is constrained by time, or time-related, is not eternal. That which is eternal is not constrained by time, nor is it measurable by time.
Eternal life is not immortal life, per se, at least not as it is generally perceived and presented by men. Immortality is typically equated with having a beginning, yet never aging. It is not even necessarily equated with never dying. But we know that immortality is contrasted with mortality, or that which perishes and is subject to death. Paul explained to the Corinthians that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Flesh and blood is equated with corruptibility, destructibility, and mortality. Immortality is something we do not currently possess, but will, one day. We will be transformed at the last trumpet:
For this destructible is going to wear indestructibility and this mortal shall wear immortality. Whenever this destructible puts on indestructibility and this mortal, immortality, then that word which is written shall come to pass, "Death is swallowed up by victory."
Eternal life is Spirit life, life outside of time, having no beginning and no ending. Eternal life is something we do currently possess, those who are born of Spirit.
Concerning the hope of eternal life, which The True God promised before the times of the world.
So that every person who believes in him shall not be lost, but shall have eternal life.
Question: What was the purpose of His crucifixion, according to Jesus?
Answer: That every person who believes in Him is not lost, but possesses Eternal Life.
At the time of the conversation Jesus was having with Nicodemus, a detail remained in order to secure eternal life for God's children, those born of His Spirit. Jesus would handle this detail, shortly. He described it to Nicodemus this way:
Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, thus The Son of Man is going to be lifted up, so that every person who believes in him shall not be lost, but shall have eternal life.
By the way: it was not a live, hissing snake coiled around a staff that Moses lifted up, that which would later come to be adopted as the universal symbol of the witchcraft and sorcery of so-called modern healthcare. Read the passages for yourself:
And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
He (Hezekiah) removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.
Jesus came to die as the sacrifice for the sins of many (their names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life), and was lifted up for all to gaze upon. Why was this necessary?
For all have sinned... Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3: 9, Romans 3:23, Romans 5:12, Galatians 3:22
There is none righteous... Psalm 14:3, Romans 3:10
The wages of sin is death... Romans 6:23
He that is dead is freed from sin... Romans 6:7
The One died in the place of every person; so then every person died with him ... 2Corinthians 5:14
I was co-crucified with Christ... Galatians 2:20
Your life is hidden with Christ in God... Colossians 3:3
Jesus concluded His conversation with Nicodemus by explaining the following to him:
For God loved the world in this way: so much that he would give up his Son, The Only One, so that everyone who trusts in him shall not be lost, but he shall have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world that he would condemn the world, but that he would give life to the world by him. Whoever believes in him is not judged, and whoever does not believe is judged already, because he does not believe in The Name of The Only Begotten Son of God. This is the judgment: The Light has come into the world and the children of men loved the darkness more than The Light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does what is hateful, hates The Light and does not come to The Light, lest his works should be convicted. But he who does The Truth comes to The Light, so that his works may be revealed, that they are performed by God.
John, who recorded these things, later put it this way in his letter:
And this is the testimony: God has given us Eternal Life, and that life is in his Son. Everyone who lays hold of The Son lays hold also of The Life, and everyone who does not lay hold of The Son of God does not have The Life in him. These things I have written to you that you will know that you have Eternal Life, you who believe in the name of The Son of God.
In this article I have addressed the incredible work of being Born Again through topics such as Christian and Christianity, Nicodemus, Born of water, Born of Spirit, The kingdom of God, The Book of Life, and Eternal Life. If you thought this whole born again thing sounded rather exclusive, then you heard rightly. Do not ignore the TRUTH of the Word of God in order to cater to fleshly notions of human rights, American freedom, free will, equality, and fairness. Have you not read:
The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil.
In any generation, the only people screaming about how unfair it sounds, that God would select a people for Himself, in lieu of it being a free-for-all party where we each control our own destiny, are the rebellious and disobedient. Let this sink in: The wicked, those standing outside, couldn't care less! While calling them out may occasionally get you killed, it is not because they think God is being unfair to them.
The children who call Him Father because His seed is in them are not to be preoccupied with wanting to win arguments, or with needing to prove they are right and others are wrong. They must never arrogantly assume that they are somehow responsible for the birthing of another child of God. That role is reserved for God, alone.
We each have our role to play, so play that role and learn to be content. It is God who has written the script, not you. The Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world. That played out on the world stage 2000 years ago. Learn to walk with the Master and be preoccupied with Him. Listen for His voice and follow Him. He has replaced your heart of stone with a soft heart. His love is a fruit of the seed of the Spirit born within you. He told you to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And to love your neighbor, even your enemy, as yourself. So do that. Because now you can. (see Matthew 22:37-39, Mark 12:33, Luke 10:27)
Grace and Peace be with you,