In previous Q&As, we discussed the nature of God—that God is a ruling and governing Family—the “Kingdom of God”—consisting of two Spirit beings, the Father and the Son. We also learned that the Holy Spirit is not God or a Person, but the power of God, emanating from both the Father and the Son. Please see for further information:
“Did Jesus Exist Prior to His Human Birth?”
In this Q&A, we want to explain the fact that God is a GROWING Family. He wants to enlarge His Family by bringing many sons and daughters into His Family. When God gives His Holy Spirit to His followers, they become BEGOTTEN members of His Family. Those who are called to salvation in this day and age will be BORN into His Family—thereby becoming Spirit beings and full-fledged God beings—at the time of Christ’s return.
We need to begin our discussion on the destiny of man by briefly addressing first the “born again” question.
Most professing Christians and even some members of the true Church of God are confused about this vital question of “being born again.” They sincerely believe that they are already born again today. But they are sincerely wrong. The Bible does not teach this. Our free booklet, “Are You Already Born Again?”, explains in much detail from the Bible WHEN true Christians become “born again.” For space limitations, we can only quote a few excerpts from this booklet, but we strongly recommend that you read or re-read it in its entirety:
“In John 3, Jesus Christ explained… that no human being could be IN the Kingdom of God, and that in order to enter God’s Kingdom, one had to become a Spirit being—a member of the God Family… Jesus answered Nicodemus in John 3:3, 5–6, 8: ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God… Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit… The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit’…
“Christ could not possibly have spoken about a ‘born again’ experience in this physical life. Notice it again: One who is born of the Spirit IS spirit. He is like the wind which cannot be seen but can be felt—like a powerful hurricane or tornado. Christ also said that unless one is born again, he could not see nor enter the Kingdom of God. In other words, as long as someone is flesh and blood—not spirit—he cannot see or enter God’s Kingdom…
“Although we will be born again at the time of our resurrection or our change to immortality, something else must happen first so that we CAN become born again. The Bible describes this prior event as spiritual conception or ‘begettal.’ Simply put, before we can be born again, we must be begotten again—a spiritual begettal. This spiritual begettal takes place at the time of our baptism, after repentance, and after coming to an understanding of, and belief in, Christ’s sacrifice and the gospel of the Kingdom of God. At the time of baptism we then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, through the laying on of hands, as a down payment—a guarantee (Ephesians 1:14; 2 Corinthians 5:5)— of our ultimate new birth at our resurrection to spirit…
“With the receipt of God’s Spirit, we acquire God’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), but there is still another step in the process. Just as an embryo must grow and develop, we must also grow spiritually and develop the fruit of the Spirit—the actual character of God. God considers those who have received His Spirit as being His children (2 Corinthians 6:17–18). Finally, Spirit-begotten children become SEPARATE SPIRIT BEINGS upon being born again—at their resurrection and change to immortality…
“Notice Luke 20:35–36: ‘But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, BEING SONS OF THE RESURRECTION.’ We will be born-again children of God when we have been resurrected—not before then. Christ calls us the ‘sons of the resurrection’ for a reason!”
Many claim, erroneously, that the Greek word, translated “born,” refers to a BIRTH prior to Christ’s return. However, they are mistaken. The Greek word is “gennao” and means, “born” or “begotten”—depending on the context—and it can even describe the process from “begotten” to “being born”—the process of the entire “pregnancy,” lasting from conception until delivery. It is strictly the translator’s choice to use the word “born” or “begotten,” when translating the Greek word, “gennao,” but when the word “birth” is used for and applied to the “pregnancy” prior to the actual time of the “delivery,” then the translator made the wrong choice. In every such case, the expressions for “begotten” should have been used.
What will actually happen to true Spirit-BEGOTTEN Christians, when they will be BORN AGAIN or BORN ANEW at the time of Christ’s return? What is their destiny? Why was man created in the first place, and why were Christians begotten with the Holy Spirit?
Please note the following quotes from chapter 8 of our free booklet, “The Mysteries of the Bible”:
“1 John 3:1–2 tells us: ‘Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.’
“God’s Word says that we will be LIKE Him. Many translations… state that we will be ‘equal with Him.’ To most people, the very concept that we can be ‘like’ or ‘equal with’ God is a great mystery! But Colossians 1:15 explains to us that Christ ‘is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.’ The Greek word for ‘image’ is ‘eikon.’ It means, ‘likeness, representation, profile.’ Christ said that he who sees Him sees the Father.
“As Christ is the image of God the Father, so we are to become the image of Christ. Romans 8:29 says: ‘For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.’… Paul elaborates further on the fantastic future change of man in 2 Corinthians 3:18: ‘But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord’…
“We will actually become God, that is, a God being—a full and total image of God the Father and Jesus Christ, much like a physical child is often recognized as being an image of his or her parents. Those who are called and chosen in this day and age are already [begotten] children of God, awaiting their change to a full Spirit being at the return of Christ.”
Our free booklet, “The Gospel of the Kingdom of God,” explains in much more detail what is in store for true Christians at the time of Christ’s return:
“Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 15:50: ‘Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.’ Are you still human? If so, you cannot inherit the Kingdom of God as you are. So then, how can we enter the Kingdom?… Paul explains in verses 51 and 52: ‘Behold, I tell you a mystery…we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.’ That is, how we can enter the Kingdom of God. Our human bodies need to be changed. But changed to what?
“Verses 42-49: ‘So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body…(verse 47) The first man [Adam] was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man [Jesus Christ] is the Lord from heaven…(verse 49) And as we have borne the image of the man of dust [human], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man [spirit].’
“… the Bible is very clear that whoever is in the Kingdom of God must actually be God. We must become God beings, sharing in Christ’s glory, the firstborn of many brethren. That is indeed a mystery that only very few understand today—that God is a Family, consisting presently of God the Father and the Son Jesus Christ, but that God is enlarging His Family. We are already called His children, but we have not been glorified yet. And when we are glorified at the time of our resurrection to eternal life, we will be entering the Kingdom of God, as literal God beings, as glorified sons and daughters of God, made immortal… God the Father tells Jesus Christ in Genesis 1:26, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.’ God is a Family, and when He created man, He began His awesome work of adding to His Family…That we are to become members of the God Family, or God beings, is clearly taught…
“In Psalm 17:15, we read about man’s potential: ‘As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.’ David understood that we will look like God when we are resurrected. Also [Philippians] 3:20-21: ‘For our citizenship is in heaven… [Our names are written in heaven, where God is. We belong to Him, we are His children. We belong to a different country, a heavenly government, which will come down to this earth when Christ returns.]…from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body.’ We already read that we shall bear the image of Christ, we will look like He does, in His glorified state.
“But more than that—we will actually BE GOD BEINGS…Those of you who are familiar with us know that we have been preaching this truth for a long time. Herbert W. Armstrong, the late human leader of the Church of God in the 20th century, wrote a book entitled, ‘Mystery of the Ages.’ On page 170, he wrote: ‘Consider why God created mankind in the first place. God is reproducing Himself through man. He is creating in Man God’s own perfect holy and righteous spiritual character. And that, in turn, is purposed to restore the government of God over all the earth. And further, to create BILLIONS OF GOD BEINGS …’
“This knowledge that it is man’s potential to become God has also been understood by several Christian authors over the centuries. In her book, ‘A History of God,’ former Catholic nun Karen Armstrong [not related to Herbert Armstrong], quotes several early professing Christian writers who believed and taught this truth. She writes on page 98: ‘Clement [of Alexandria, ca. 150-215 A.D.] also believed that Jesus was God… If Christians imitated Christ, they too would become deified: divine, incorruptible and impassable. Indeed, Christ had been the divine logos, who had become man, “so that you might learn from a man how to become God.”’
“She also quotes, on page 129, Maximus the Confessor, who lived from ca. 580-662, as saying, ‘The word was made flesh in order that “the whole human being would become God, deified by the grace of God become man.”’
“Theophilus (A.D. 115-181) wrote: ‘A man, by keeping the directions of God, may receive from Him immortality…and become God.’
“Further, the most recent Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, which was published in 1994 under the auspices of Pope John Paul II, states that the official Catholic position is, that man is to become God. Now this might not be very well known even among Catholics, but here are some quotes from the Catechism: “…For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods”’(pp. 128-129, Section 460. The last quote is attributed to Thomas of Aquinas.).”
The Bible reveals that God IS a Family, and that man has the potential to enter the God Family—the Kingdom of God—as born again members and Spirit beings. It is man’s potential to become God—to become, in that sense, “equal” with God. This is a great mystery which has been hidden from the overwhelming majority of non-Christians and professing Christians alike, but from time to time, certain aspects of this knowledge were understood and communicated.
Today, the true Church of God is preaching and proclaiming this tremendous understanding in all the world as a witness to all nations. True converted Christians, who are still alive at the time of Christ’s return, will be changed from physical beings to immortal God beings. They will become born-again members of the very Family of God. The same is true for those who died in Christ and who will be resurrected from the dead, when Christ returns. They will also enter the Family of God as immortal God beings at that time.
Those who have lived and died before Christ’s return, without ever having had an opportunity to accept Christ as their personal Savior and to receive the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, will be given such an opportunity at a later time—during the Second Resurrection or the “Great White Throne Judgment” period (compare Revelation 20:11-12). At that time, they can also fulfill their potential—if they make the right choice—to become immortal God beings in the Family of God. THAT IS why God created all of mankind—to become GOD–born-again members of the FAMILY OF GOD.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link