What Does It Mean to ‘Be Born Again’?

heart_beatingThis is my take on the words of being ‘born again’,   the words used in the writings of John the Disciple found in chapter three of the Holy Bible.

Here is the paraphrased story:  There was a man of the Pharisee sect, Nicodemus, a prominent leader among the Jews.  In our day, someone from the Pharisee sect would be like a ruler of a council on what it is to be or perhaps the proper way to be a follower of the God of Israel.  He was considered an authority on this subject. Some believe Nicodemus to be a prominent member of the Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish judicial and administrative council in the first century. However, we do not know for certain because it is not written.  In any case, Nicodemus was a seeker of the God of Israel and recognized that Yahushua (Jesus) was the Messiah.

Late one night he visited Yahushua and said, “Rabbi, we all know you’re a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren’t in on it.”

Yahushua said, “You’re absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born again, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom.”

“How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again.   What are you saying with this ‘born again’ talk?”

Yahushua said, “Let me say it again.  Don’t be surprised or astonished at My telling you that you must all be born again.  The wind blows (breathes) where it wants; and though you hear its sound, yet do not see from where it comes or where it goes.  You only see the results of what the wind does.  That’s the way it is with everyone who is born again by the Spirit of God.

Nicodemus asked, “What do you mean by this? How does this happen?”

Jesus said, “You’re a respected teacher of Israel and you don’t know these basics? Listen carefully. I’m speaking sober truth to you.  We testify to what we have seen; and yet you reject and refuse our evidence and do not receive our witness.  If I have told you earthly things, and you don’t believe Me, how will you believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?  Instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions. If I tell you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you don’t believe Me, what use is there in telling you of things you can’t see, the things of God?

English: Jesus, on the left, instructing Nicod...

English: Jesus, on the left, instructing Nicodemus, on the right (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At this point one might pause and ask a question. If Nicodemus was a ruler of the people of Israel and knew so much that he was a teacher to the Jews, why didn’t he know what it meant to be born again?

Other Pharisees said in the scriptures at one point that there weren’t any prophets from Galilee. If they had known the Old Testament scriptures as well as they professed, as they existed up to that time,  why didn’t they know that Jonah, Nahum and Malachi were all from Galilee.  ~ John 7:52

Like most of the clergy of today, if they are not filled with the Spirit of Truth, they can only teach the truth as they know it.  Knowledge is a gift from our Creator. Often times,  man will tell you what they want you to hear just to get their way so we have to be very careful what we hear and accept at face value.

The Pharisees that studied the Law only told people what they wanted them to know from what they understood of it.   The problem was,  they added to it,  things that were not there and this caused the people’s to live beyond what is required in the Law.  This may be why Nicodemus did not know anything about the Spirit of Truth.  All too often, folks believe what they are told or taught and do not seek out the answers for themselves.

I do not want to fault Nicodemus in this way because I honestly think that their conversation was just a misunderstanding of words and in all probability, Yahushua was really trying to help Nicodemus understand.  I do not believe that He was trying to confuse Nicodemus. It was evident to Yahushua that Nicodemus had missed a large portion of the basics and He was trying to help Nicodemus understand in only the way that Nicodemus could.

It is very hard for folks to understand something of the truth when they have been taught lies or been taught from people who are ‘not’ filled with the Spirit of truth. The truth is so transforming that it is almost like having to delete a computer and start a fresh with a whole new motherboard.  We have to un-load everything that we have been taught and start from the beginning, allowing the Holy Spirit to teach us what the Holy Spirit wants us to know.

I can not stress enough how important it is for each individual to read and study on their own, asking the Spirit to reveal what ever it is the Spirit wants to reveal and ask for wisdom and understanding. The reason why this is so vital is because each human being will one day stand alone before the Final Judge.

In the text, we know by Nicodemus’ own confession that the Pharisees had been discussing the fact that Yahushua must have come from God. –  The same (Nicodemus) 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.” ~ KJV

Yahushua went on to explain more to Nicodemus that night but because I want to focus on the topic of being ‘born again’, I stopped here.  Many people, even folks who consider themselves Christians, do not understand what it means to be ‘born again’. Ergo the reason for this writing is to try to help people to understand.

Being ‘born again’ might be said and properly understood as born from above or a new creation.  If you will notice, Nicodemus realized that Yahushua was a teacher ‘come from God’ as is written in verse 2 from the King James Bible:

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.

Nicodemus was at least partially convinced that Yahushua was a teacher sent from Elohim,  our Creator.  But what was it that convinced him?  Nicodemus was interested in the miracles that Yahushua had done because as far as Nicodemus was concerned, he didn’t think Yahushua could have done them unless ‘God was with Him’ in some way and this was what Nicodemus was questioning.  Nicodemus saw something in Yahushua that intrigued him to the point that he sought Him out to ask Him about it.

English: Henry_Ossawa_Tanner_-_Nicodemus_comin...

English: Henry_Ossawa_Tanner_-_Nicodemus_coming_to_Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yahushua was talking about a process of conversion. The process is a spiritual transformation that occurs in a believer’s life when an individual no longer continues to live the way that they used to (Old nature), indulging in the world’s pleasures and sins, but now reflects the very image of Yahweh in thought and action. (New nature)2nd Corinthians 5:17 says it this way:   Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  This was how the Apostle Paul taught about the experience of being born again.

It’s kind of like being the rock at Horeb during the time of Moses that was smacked and water came out of it so the people could drink of it. The rock was changed from having been smacked and the waters gushed out. Before that… it was just a rock.  Likewise, until we are changed and filled with the spirit, we are just your average Joe on the street and are useless to Our Creator.

While baptism (immersion in water) is connected with ritual cleansing of the body, it is the Holy Spirit that gives power for turning from sin so that the body by the power of the Spirit can begin to live a holy life.  Once a person is filled with  the Spirit of Truth,  this is when the circumcision of the heart begins. Both are aspects of the purification process.

Mark 1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

This scripture reveals to us that water symbolizes repentance.

Peter taught that being born again meant that person was no longer of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever.  This means that the person is not changed on their own or by anything from the earth.  The person is changed by the ’word’ of God.   The ‘word’  has the power to transform a life but if one does not read the word, how can they be transformed?  The Spirit of Truth enlightens the understanding of the written word to the one who seeks to understand it.

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

It is the word that becomes revealed to us by the Spirit of Truth that begins to create the new person when we accept what it is being taught. When we obey the word that we are being taught, we are being cloaked in Yahushua’s robe of righteousness.  We begin to walk in the prescribed way that our Creator expects of those He calls.

As far as I know, Nicodemus may not have been baptized prior to his conversation on the night that he met with Yahushua.  (?)  What Yahushua was explaining to Nicodemus was that every human is born of flesh and remain flesh until they have been born of the Spirit. They are still flesh but no longer live according to the flesh and its desires because they are following the lead of the Holy Spirit. A physical being remains in the physical, even if it is educated, reformed, or religious like Nicodemus was.

Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter Hashem’s kingdom. When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.

Jesus and Nicodemus, Crijn Hendricksz, 1616–1645.

Jesus and Nicodemus, Crijn Hendricksz, 1616–1645. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like Yahushua said, we can’t see the wind but we can see the results of it when it moves. Likewise we cannot see the Spirit but we can see the results of one who is filled with the Spirit. It is this power that lives with-in us that we do not see even though we know that somehow we are different.

In my case, I cannot tell you the exact day that the Spirit came into me but I know the difference that began to take place because I could not only feel and see a different person, I could read the scriptures and understand what I was reading because the Spirit was revealing it to me. I now had an ear to hear and eyes to see. I could not deny the existence of a new wind that began to blow in and through me. Not only that but I recognized early on that this new change that had come over me was a permanent change of my mind and my heart.

My physical body began to take on changes in small ways but what I finally concluded was that the Spirit was doing a new work in me starting from the inside out.  I began to dress and act like the woman who He created me to be.  Before that I was just a farm girl who talked and acted like a farm guy.  I used to chew on my fingernails, had a potty mouth and used to berate people just for the fun of it.  What was happening to me after I was filled with His Spirit was like I had new wine in a new wine skin.

This ‘change’ that came over me, happened eight years ago and I am still being changed.  Even things that I thought a year ago are not the way that I see them now because I am in a constant state of being born from above.  The Creator is living on this earth… through me and everyone else who has His Spirit.  HOWEVER… I am still a human and I still make mistakes and miss the target now and then because I am still living in a body made up of the components of human flesh.

It doesn’t surprise me that your average Joe doesn’t understand what it means to be born again.  The words ‘born again’ in the Greek are in a sense misleading.  This is because the folks who translated the original Hebrew writings of the Apostle John into the Greek of what it reads today (Born <gennao> again ) would have perhaps forgotten that Yahushua spoke in the Aramaic tongue,  but John himself would have translated into Hebrew.  Often time’s words in Hebrew and Aramaic have dual meanings. For instance in the Greek, ‘born again’ might mean born from above and born a second time.  However,  the Aramaic word for “from above” does not also mean “second time”.

“Born again” starts with being begotten from above.  “Born” is the Greek word gennao and in Yahushua’s teaching means the entire birth process – from the beginning at begotten to the ending at birth. Gennao is used in Matthew 1:20, where Joseph is told by the angel that Mary’s conception (gennao , begetting) is by the Holy Spirit. The word again” is ‘anothen’ and means: 1) from above, from a higher place; of things which come from heaven or Yahweh; 2) from the first, from the beginning.

This is how we know what Nicodemus came seeking. He wanted to know how the Spirit of the Creator  got inside of Yahushua and how He came to be able to perform the miracles that He did. Nicodemus recognized after seeing Yahushua perform the miracles that he lacked something and he wanted to know what that something was.

I know from my own life experience that prior to my conversion I was lost in the dark.   There is a big difference between those who have the kingdom of Elohim in their hearts and those who don’t.  The difference is like night and day.  Nevertheless, when the Spirit comes upon you, it isn’t that easy to explain either.  What I can testify to is that there is clearly a difference.

I am not one bit the same person now that I was eight years ago. I do not belong to any established organized church,  nor do I adhere to any doctrine other than what is written in scripture.  Over these last eight years I have studied the Bible and all that I have learned I have applied to my life.  It is the inspired pattern written in the scriptures that I live my life by. It isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t popular because the truth is convicting.  Being under conviction by the Holy Spirit requires a response. It requires that I repent of or turn away from whatever it is that the Holy Spirit is convicting me about.

The problem for Nicodemus was that he kept asking how? How could this be? He was still holding on to all that he had been taught throughout his years instead of just taking Yahushua’s word at faith value. This is why Yahushua checked Nicodemus’s by asking him, “You are Israel’s teacher, and do you not understand these things?”

Most all Jews felt that they were entitled to all the privileges of Elohim since they were born a Jew. Notice though that Yahushua did not say that Jews must be born again, He said except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of Yah, meaning all mankind.

Just because Nicodemus did not comprehend the doctrine, didn’t mean it wasn’t always there. It was just that Nicodemus’s eyes and ears had not been opened for the understanding until he sought out Yahushua to ask Him. Nicodemus lacked a spiritual life and Yahushua knew it. Nicodemus obviously did not have the kingdom of our LORD living inside of him and we know this because Yahushua points this out to Nicodemus when He asks him, “You are Israel’s teacher, and do you not understand these things?”

The miracle of the new birth was foreshadowed in the Old Testament record: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”  This information was not yet fully revealed to Nicodemus by the Spirit of Elohim.  Once Yahushua explained to Nicodemus that a new birth is just the beginning of many good things to come, we can almost see the lights come on inside of his brain.

Genesis 41:38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?

Exodus 31:3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,

Numbers 11:29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!

Deuteronomy 30: 1- 10 “Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you,  and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul,  that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you.  If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you.  Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.

And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your
descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your
soul, that you may live.

“Also the Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. And you will again obey the voice of the Lord and do all His commandments which I command you today.  The Lord your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the Lord will again rejoice over you for
good as He rejoiced over your fathers,  if you obey the voice of the Lord your
God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of
the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all
your soul.”

Judges 6:34 But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him.

Judges 14:6 And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.

1st Samuel 10:6 And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.

1st Samuel 10:10 And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.

1st Samuel 16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

2nd Kings 2:9 ¶ And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said,  I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.

Job 27:3 All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;

Isaiah 61:1 ¶ The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

Psalm 87:5-7 And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her. The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah. As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.

Later on in scripture, we do know that Nicodemus may have accepted the knowledge of being born from above by the Spirit because of the way he cared for the body of Yahushua regarding His burial.

John 19:39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

We always have to remember that no one comes to Yah unless he or she is drawn to Him. Nicodemus was not drawn until on this night with Yahushua when Nicodemus sought Him out.

I am confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in me will perform it until the day of the return of Yahushua Ha-Mashiach / Jesus, The Christ.  The sanctifying work of the Spirit is a continuing activity that awaits its final completion.  The Spirit of Truth will manifest fully upon those at the resurrection of the redeemed.

For now,  just like it was during the time of the Old Testament; is the same as it is now, and the same as it was when Yahushua said it Himself,  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Jesus said:   “Marvel not that I said unto thee, You must be born again. 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.”   ~ John 3:7-8

The Spirit of  Truth is fully active and readily available to those in whom the Spirit dwells.  The Spirit of Truth moves when it needs to,  just like the wind.


About eudoranachand

A Spirit filled disciple who continually seeks His kingdom and His righteousness.
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7 Responses to What Does It Mean to ‘Be Born Again’?

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