This is for those of you who desire more insight into the meaning of “gennethe anothen,” something that is inaccurately translated as “born again” in many Bibles. Thanks to Stephen Jones for his shared insight on this subject. – D
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“That is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been made manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:26-27)
The truth is, brothers, that much about the work of creation’s redemption has been largely hidden from the world and even from most believers throughout history, for God has not seen fit to reveal His plan all at once, even to those who love Him. The Revelation of Jesus Christ is a progressive revelation. The truths themselves have been revealed from the beginning, but God did not give men an immediate understanding of what was being revealed. For this reason, the truths were hidden on tablets and in books, so that at the proper time their meanings could be understood by future generations. This is why we are exhorted by the Lord Jesus to keep our hearts tender and open as little children before Him, so that we may be able to receive fresh revelation from the Spirit.
There is a mystery that has been hidden even from many saints in past ages and generations, brothers, but which has now been made manifest to the saints, yet many today do not comprehend just what it means. That mystery is “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” and I am going to show you just how that relates to being “born again.”
I guess the first place to start is with John 3:3, where Jesus says to Nicodemus…
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
The term “born again” as it is rendered in the NASB translation here (and also the KJV) is not very accurate. The original Greek words that have been translated as “born again” are the words “gennethe anothen,” and are more accurately translated as “begotten from above.” This is very important for us to know if we are to gain insight into the many scriptures that relate to the birthing of Christ from within a people.
The Greek word “gennethe” is from the root word “gennao” and actually means “begat” or “begotten.” Whenever this word is used of the father it means to beget or engender; and when it is used of the mother it means to bring forth into the world or give “birth.” Men engender; women give birth. And so, where we read verses like Matthew 1:2 that says,” Abraham begat Isaac, it is apparent that he did not actually give birth to Isaac, but that He engendered him in the womb of Sarah, who later gave birth.
In Matthew 1:20, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and explained to him concerning Mary’s pregnancy;
“For that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”
The Greek word translated as conceived is “gennethen” from “gennao.” It is apparent that Jesus had not yet been born yet, but that the angel was referring to conception rather than birthing. The Holy Spirit had acted as the Father to beget, or engender an embryo within Mary.
So what does all of this mean to us? It means that much of what is taught today about being “born again” is not entirely accurate. It shows that when the Spirit of God indwells us, we are begotten from above; we are not yet fully born. To be fully born, or “born again,” is to give birth to Christ in a manner of fullness – having been fully conformed into Christ’s image. The fact is, at spiritual regeneration the spiritual embryo (which is Christ IN us) has not yet taken full shape. So the teaching that Christians are then “born again” is erroneous, and has caused many to think that they have arrived at the final goal of life on the earth, and that there is little else to do but to wait for a rapture or to die and go to heaven. Meanwhile, the only real purpose that these Christians seem to have on the earth is to witness to others and to support their local church.
These religious mindsets need to be challenged if we are to come into understanding of the stages of development that one must pass through in order to arrive at the final destination, which is bringing forth the FULLNESS of Christ in a people – the manchild of Rev. 12 – the corporate son — the one who can “bear the full load” — THAT which all of creation GROANS FOR! — MATURE Sons of God! (Romans 8).
Please … ask the Lord if what I say here is so … and then, just listen to what HE has to say to you.