What? We are not born again yet?
We realize that we might surprise many people when we say that we are not born again—that nobody is or ever has been born again, except for Jesus Christ, the firstborn of many brethren. True Christians, dead or alive, are God the Father’s sons and daughters and Christ’s brothers and sisters, but they are not born again yet. We will explain this further in this Q&A.
On September 7, 2021, God’s Church will celebrate the Feast of Trumpets. This day pictures many things, including the return of Jesus Christ and our resurrection or change to eternal life. It is then that we will enter the Kingdom or Family of God—when we inherit eternal life as God Beings—when we will become born again.
As we will show, the correct understanding of the born again question is of tremendous and vital importance; actually, it is an issue of salvation. If we do not comprehend the full meaning, we may be rejecting other aspects of the Truth of God. We speak from experience, as this has happened to many members of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) after the death of its late human leader, Herbert W. Armstrong, and we are sad to say that even today, a similar development is occurring in some of the splinter groups.
The WCG had understood and taught for many decades that we are not already born again. This precious Truth was subsequently lost, and with it the proper understanding of many other biblical doctrines. These doctrines include the fact that God IS a ruling Family; that He wants to reproduce Himself through man; that those who are called prior to Christ’s return can obtain God’s Holy Spirt as a down payment or guarantee for their ultimate salvation and entrance into God’s Kingdom when they will become born again. All of this understanding was being lost in WCG, which is now defunct, as Christ has removed their lampstand (Revelation 2:5); and He will fight against any unrepentant remnants with the sword of His mouth (Revelation 2:16); casting them into great tribulation (Revelation 2:22) and vomiting them out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16). But the same warning applies to true Christians today who might have begun to embrace false doctrines, including the wrong teaching on born again.
Here is how it happened in WCG (we describe this process in much more detail in our free booklet, “Are You Already Born Again?”):
After the wrong concept was introduced that we are already born again, we heard the terminology of a gospel about Christ, or that Christ was the gospel; rather than, as the Bible teaches, the gospel OF Christ and OF the Kingdom of God—the gospel or good news which Christ proclaimed on behalf of God the Father. At the same time, we were taught that the Kingdom had already arrived, that we were already in the Kingdom, and that Christ would only come to “inaugurate” the Kingdom and God’s government here on earth. This false teaching was adopted from the Catholic Church’s heresy, claiming that IT was the Kingdom of God.
As we were already born again, we were already in the Kingdom and therefore already saved. And since we were already saved, we were gradually taught that we didn’t have to grow anymore in Christ’s knowledge as how to keep the Law, since the Law, including the Ten Commandments and the statutes and judgments about God’s annual Holy Days, tithing and clean and unclean meat, were allegedly no longer in force and effect.
Then, we were told that it is incorrect to say that God IS a Family and therefore, God was not reproducing Himself. This then led to the ultimate change regarding the nature of God. God was no longer perceived as consisting of two Beings (God the Father and God the Son), but at first, as just ONE Being. We were taught the Greek Orthodox concept which had been adopted from pagan Greek philosophers that God, although one Person, represents Himself within a “threefold mode of being” or in three hypostases (as Father, Son and Holy Spirit). It was then reasoned that Jesus Christ was a created Being who did not exist prior to His human birth. We were even told that the Son was still in heaven (as one of the three hypostases), while Christ was here on earth, and that the Son remained alive when Christ, the physical Person, died.
Then, WCG proceeded to do what they had planned all along: To teach the false Roman Catholic and Protestant concept of God being one Person in three Persons—the false teaching of the Trinity, as it is commonly referred to, which had also been adopted from pagan philosophers. God had become a closed Trinity. Since He was no longer a Family, man could not become a part of that Family. It was taught that Christians would never become God’s real sons and daughters. Without the “born again” change, the subsequent changes could not have occurred.
Christ explained in clear and unambiguous language that true Christians are not born again yet. Before the floodgates of changes overtook and drowned the WCG, these passages, discussed below, were quoted as full proof (which “any child could see”) that we are not born again yet. After the heresy and apostasy had crept into WCG, the same author used and twisted the same Scriptures to “prove” for “any child to see” that we are already born again. It is obvious that he was no longer a “child” of God who was able to see.
Let US see now what Christ really said.
In John 3, Jesus Christ explained to Nicodemus that no human being could be IN the Kingdom of God, and that in order to enter God’s Kingdom or Family, one had to become a Spirit Being—a member of the God Family. Christ said 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 here 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 or inherit God’s Kingdom—the Family of God (compare 1 Corinthians 15:50). God is a Family, and no human being can see God—the Father and Jesus Christ—in Their glory and live (Exodus 33:18-20).
Christ told Nicodemus that we would become spirit, but not until we are born again. He explained that we would be invisible to the human eye, as God is invisible to the human eye. We would be like the wind that cannot be seen, although its power can be felt. Jesus Christ Himself became spirit—a Spirit Being—when He was born again; when He was resurrected—not before then.
In addition, the Church of God is oftentimes compared with a nation—the holy nation of God (1 Peter 2:9). The sixty-sixth chapter of the book of Isaiah confirms, too, that true Christians will be born again—in the resurrection to eternal life—“in one day,” or, as Paul said, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet” (1 Corinthians 15:52). Isaiah 66:8–9 states: “‘Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion [symbolic for the Church] was in labor, She gave birth to her children. Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?’ says the LORD. ‘Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?’ says your God.”
We will be born again at the time of our resurrection or change to immortal life—not before then.
Christ said that one must be born again—changed to Spirit—in order to be able to see the Kingdom of God and that the person who is born of the Spirit IS spirit. He also said that one cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless he is first born of water and the Spirit (verse 5). We cannot enter God’s Kingdom unless God’s Spirit dwells within us, and we cannot receive the Holy Spirit unless we are first properly baptized. Baptism, then, is a prerequisite to being born into the Kingdom through a resurrection or change to immortality.
The Greek word for “born, used by Jesus in John 3,” is “gennao.”
It is critical to note that the word “gennao,” as used in John 3, clearly refers to becoming born again at the time of our resurrection or change to immortal Spirit Beings. But it is also critical to note that the word “gennao” CAN refer to the time of our BEGETTAL with the Holy Spirit, and to the time from begettal to birth. It can describe the process of the entire “pregnancy,” lasting from conception until delivery. Since it is up to the translators to decide when to use “begotten” or “born,” no translation has been found to be completely accurate.
We read in the first chapter of Matthew that Mary was found with child of the Holy Spirit (v. 18). When Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant, he wanted to leave her. An angel appeared to him in a dream, saying, “…do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (vv. 20–21).
As the margin of the New King James Bible correctly points out, the literal meaning of the Greek word translated, “conceived,” is, in this case, “begotten.” The Greek word is “gennao.” Jesus was already (physically) begotten in Mary’s womb, but He was not yet born as a human being. This shows that the word “gennao” can mean “begotten,” and in this example, it can ONLY mean, “begotten.”
Due to incorrect or misleading translations, many have concluded that they are already born again. But true Christians who have received the Holy Spirit—only those—are BEGOTTEN children of God, but not yet BORN children of God. The fact that the word “gennao” can mean “begotten” and “born,” and that it also describes a process of growth from conception to birth, has been hidden from the world and, sadly, also from those who at one time knew the Truth and who have subsequently departed from it.
In cases where the initial begettal with the Holy Spirit or the process from begettal to birth is described, the Greek word “gennao” should not be translated as “born,” but as “begotten” or “conceived”—that is, begotten with the Holy Spirit as a down payment for the receipt of eternal life in the Kingdom or Family of God. As begotten children, we are already sons and daughters of God the Father, but we are not yet immortal or born again Spirit Beings—we cannot see the glorified Jesus Christ, as He is (note 1 John 3:1-2). As we saw from John 3, we are not yet spirit, but still flesh and blood human beings.
The Feast of Trumpets pictures the event when Christ returns; when we are entering the Kingdom and Family of God; when we, as begotten children of God, will become BORN again. What a marvelous revelation that is! Let’s make sure that we hold fast and don’t lose what we have, so that no one can take our crown of eternal life (Revelation 3:11).
Lead Writer: Norbert Link