Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
May 25, 1998
Last Updated :
April 11, 2009
Jesus Christ Is Born In The Flesh And Comes Into The World, Transformation And Resurrection, Redeemable Coupons And The Gift Of Faith, Begotten At The Resurrection, Born Of Water And Of The Spirit, Defining "Beloved" And The "Beloved Son"
How does one come into the world as John states? It is through natural childbirth, through being begotten. Thus again we see that these are actually synonymous terms. What is truly amazing to me, is that only a few verses before the one I have just quoted, John tells us the exact same thing, albeit in slightly different words. Notice what he says:
"Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."
1 John 4:2-3, KJV
Some of us have read these verses many times before; but how many of us have truly understood exactly what John is saying in them? We read the above verses and we say to ourselves rather nonchalantly, "Oh yes; of course I believe that Jesus came in the flesh", but do we fully understand what we are confessing when we say this? Until this very minute, I must admit that I never did; and it is for this reason that I am so excited and amazed by this truth! I have no doubt that this is another one of those Heavenly revelations with which the Lord likes to surprise me. He does it all the time, and I just thank Him and praise Him for it!
So exactly what is John saying here? In fact, what are WE claiming when we say that we believe in these verses? Quite simply, when we confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, we are in fact saying that He is "the only begotten Son of God"! We are saying that He is the ONLY one that God has ever sent from the Spiritual Realm, to be born in human flesh! This is one of the main points that John is making from the beginning of his Gospel, to the last chapter of his final Epistle. He wants us to know with all surety that Jesus Christ is "the only begotten Son of God", the ONLY son of God ever to come down to the Earth and inhabit human flesh!
Exactly why is John so concerned about getting this message across to us, even more so that the other writers of the Gospels and the Epistles? It is because, as the previous verses also reveal, from his time until now, the spirit of antichrist has deceived many people into believing to the contrary; or else it has deceived them into totally misunderstanding what is truly meant by this phrase. They have been tricked into believing, even by well-meaning religionists, that the term "the only begotten Son of God" means that Jesus is the only Son of God, which is the furthest thing from the truth! As we saw earlier in this series, this denial of the Divinity of Jesus Christ was the very same accusation laid against Jesus by the unbelieving Jewish Elders. They thoroughly denied that Jesus was the begotten Son of God. They vehemently refused to accept that He had come down from God to take upon Himself the form of lowly human flesh. Thus, as John states, they were antichrist!
Another reason why John apparently emphasized this in his writings, is because the Lord gave him a glimpse of the future in which he saw the final fruit of this evil deception which has been perpetrated by the Jews for almost two thousand years now. John knew, as did Paul and others, that a time would come when belief in Jesus Christ as "the only begotten Son of God", would become so doubted, so questioned and so suppressed, that people would become willing to accept the deceptive false messiahs of Satan himself! They would actually believe that the false apostles, false prophets, and false christs which would arise, would be new manifestations of Jesus Christ in the flesh. It is for this reason that John stressed over and over again that Jesus is "the ONLY begotten Son of God". He is the ONLY one sent by God to take upon Himself the form of a man. Jesus Himself was fully aware that this day would come; and that is why He left us with this sobering admonition:
"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
Matthew 24:24, KJV
As I have pointed out in a number of my Endtime and New Age articles, that time has already begun! We have already seen this prophecy fulfilled a number of times in our current day by evil men who have made the proud boast of being a new "Son of God" in the flesh. These workers of darkness have the audacity to not just claim to be a prophet of God, but rather to say that they are the latest manifestation of Jesus Christ Himself! They include such evildoers as Sun Myung Moon of the so-called Unification Church, or Moonies, Marshall Applewhite, the deceased leader of the Heaven's Gate UFO cult, Lord Maitreya Buddha, and a number of other oriental mystics, teachers and so-called "holy" men. However, I believe that we are currently only experiencing the very edge of a dark cloud of deceit which will soon cover the face of the Earth. Jesus said that these false christs would show "great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect". Personally, I am not aware of any great verifiable feats being done by any of the aforementioned men; however that could change in the future.
Of course, in God's pre-ordained time, the Ultimate Evil will be revealed in the form of the Jewish Antichrist; for it is with this people that the rebellion began, and it is also with them that it will end. Because they refused, rejected and killed the true "only begotten Son of God", they have set themselves up for the greatest delusion of all time. As I explain in such articles as "Who Hindered the Antichrist?", this false christ will possess such satanic power, that he will convince many, particularly the unbelieving Jews, that he is in fact God Almighty! Because of the lying wonders he will perform, the Jews will claim him as their "messiah", or as the Orthodox Jews refer to him, "Moshiach ben David", Messiah, the son of David:
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, KJV
Why is this going to occur? Because they have rejected the one and only true Son of God who has ever come in the flesh; Jesus Christ Himself. It is for this very reason that, as John wrote, they are antichrist. Here are a few more verses which also confirm that Jesus Christ is God's true Son who was born, or begotten, in the flesh:
"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:"
Romans 8:3, KJV
"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."
1 Timothy 3:16, KJV
As we have now seen, in some cases, the word "begotten" is used to refer to the process of human childbirth. This is the case when Paul speaks of Isaac being the only begotten son of Abraham by his wife Sarah. This is also the case with Jesus being "the only begotten Son of God". The primary difference is that Isaac was conceived by human means involving two Earthly parents. In other words, he was the fruit of two people who consciously engaged in the act of sex. He was also the result of God's blessing upon their lives, and their own free human will and desire to obtain an heir. In discussing the difference between physical and spiritual birth, John mentions this act of human will in the very same verses I spoke about earlier from the first chapter of his Gospel:
"Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
John 1:13, KJV
On the other hand, Jesus Christ was the result of the Spirit of God intervening in Mary's womb, in order to bring forth, or beget through natural childbirth, the Son of God in the flesh. Thus, Isaac and Jesus were both unique, and one of a kind as defined by the word "monogenes". Isaac was the only son of Abraham and Sarah; and Jesus was the only Son of God born in human flesh by a work of the Spirit. It is for this very same reason that in the Biblical genealogies, we see the word "begat" being used over and over again. Thus, while some religionists argue that "the only begotten Son of God" means that Jesus is the only Son that God has, it is evident that they do not fully understand the meaning of this term.
However, as I have already stated, this subject isn't quite that simple; for you see, based upon my studies, it has become evident to me that this is not the full meaning of the term "only begotten". Furthermore, the word "begotten" isn't always referring to natural childbirth. Allow me to explain. Just as we were begotten, or born in the flesh, we have also been begotten, or born, a second time of the Spirit, because of our acceptance of Jesus Christ. It is because of this that, possibly in the near future, many will experience a Resurrection from the dead, just like Jesus Christ. This is the entire hope of our current faith. It is something that we cling to in earnest expectation, awaiting the gift of adoption to come:
"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it."
Romans 8:18-25, KJV
The "earnest expectation" and the "manifestation of the sons of God" that Paul is referring to is our very own glorious transformation which will occur at the time of the Lord's Second Coming and the Resurrection of the Dead; when we all will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the Last Trump. Some have the erroneous impression that we already are the Sons and Daughters of God, but technically speaking, this is not the case; for as Paul says above, we are "waiting for the adoption". Right now it is still a matter of faith as we have not yet acquired the purchased gift which has been bought for us by the precious Blood of Jesus Christ:
"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
Ephesians 1:13-14, KJV
A perfect example of what Paul is talking about can be found in the redeemable coupons that one often finds in cereal boxes, or in catalogs, or in or on the containers of other food products. Each coupon is worth a certain value, and it entitles you to a discount on the product stated when you take that coupon to the grocery store. In other words, because of the arrangement made between the issuer of the coupon, and certain businesses, that coupon acts as a type of promissory note. You are being promised by the issuer that if you take the coupon to the right place, you will get a discount on their product. So, as Paul states, you have the "earnest expectation" that the next time that you go to your local grocery store, you will be able to obtain the "purchased possession"; that is, the special discount.
In like manner, as was evidenced by our study of the Book of Hebrews in part two of this series, a very Special Arrangement has already been made between God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul tells us in several of his Epistles, Jesus performed His part of the Divine Agreement when He made the Ultimate Sacrifice and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. It is for this very reason, that He can now offer us the free gift of Eternal Life:
"And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
Philippians 2:8, KJV
". . . the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Romans 6:23b, KJV
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Ephesians 2:8-9, KJV
Despite this wonderful Arrangement and Opportunity, there is a problem. While many people in the world already possess their Redeemable Coupon, they don't believe that it is really worth anything. In fact, they have accused the Issuer of the Coupon of being a liar. They don't have the faith, or the confidence, from the Greek word "hupostasis", to believe that if they unconditionally accept what is written on the Coupon, and present it when they make their next purchase, that they will receive what has been freely offered to them. It is for this very reason that the Issuer of this particular Redeemable Coupon is very displeased with them. Let me again remind you of a verse I shared in part one of this series:
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
Hebrews 11:6, KJV
Of course, I am sure that you have already understood that in this example I have shared, the Coupon is the Bible; and the words written on the Coupon are the many Precious Promises concerning Eternal Life which are found within its holy pages. Thus, because these people have rejected these Promises, and have hardened their hearts to the truth, they won't settle for anything less that hard physical evidence before they will believe. Well, they can make their foolish demands all they want, but it won't be until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ that our "earnest expectation" will be fully manifested, that is, revealed, before a shocked and unbelieving world; and they will all finally see that we truly are the born-again Sons and Daughters of God. They may laugh at our "invisible Friend" and our "invisible faith" now, but the time is coming when we will have the last laugh when we are revealed in our purchased possession, that is, in our new and glorified bodies:
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not."
1 John 3:1, KJV
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
1 Corinthians 15:51-52, KJV
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"
John 1:12, KJV
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
1 John 3:2, KJV
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
Romans 8:14, KJV
"That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;"
Philippians 2:15, KJV
Notice that in the previous set of verses, John specifically says "the power to become the sons of God". Even though he is probably writing after-the-fact, that is, after Jesus has already returned to Heaven, John still indicates that it is something which is yet to happen in the future. Thus again we see that we will actually become the Sons and Daughters of God, that we will be adopted into God's Household, at the time of the Resurrection when we are all transformed, and not before. To continue then, another Greek word translated in the New Testament as "begotten", is the word "gennao", which is pronounced ghen-nah'-o. While like the previous words, its primary meaning is to be born after the flesh; that is, through natural childbirth, in the examples found in the New Testament, it appears to be primarily used in a metaphorical sense to denote this second birth when we are actually raised from the dead and/or changed at the Lord's Second Coming. Following is the definition found in the Greek lexicon:
----- Begin Quote -----
1) of men who fathered children
1a) to be born
1b) to be begotten
1b1) of women giving birth to children
2a) to engender, cause to arise, excite
2b) in a Jewish sense, of one who brings others over to his way of life, to convert someone
2c) of God making Christ his son
2d) of God making men his sons through faith in Christ's work
----- End Of Quote -----
Consider the following example where this Greek word "gennao" is used. As you will see, it is used to refer not to our physical birth, but rather to our rebirth at the time of our Resurrection or bodily change. This is evident by the fact that the Apostle Paul uses the term "in that he hath raised up Jesus again", and then he explains that this is what is meant by the word "begotten" in Psalm Two:
"God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee."
Acts 13:33, KJV
In other words, Paul is saying that when David speaks of Jesus being "begotten", he is not talking about Jesus being born or created in the Heavenly Realm at the beginning of the Creation; neither is he referring to His physical birth in Bethlehem; but rather, David is speaking of the moment when Jesus rose from the dead and became the Firstfruits, or the Firstborn, of the Resurrection. This is what David means by "begotten", and nothing else, as Paul makes perfectly clear by the previous verse. To simplify this even further, let us remove some of the extraneous words so that you can clearly see Paul's main message: "he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm". Exactly where does Paul say that David is speaking about God having raised Jesus from the dead in the second Psalm? In the phrase "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee". In other words, Jesus was raised up again, He was born again at His Resurrection. This is when Paul says He was "begotten". Additional verses in the New Testament where the Greek word "gennao" is translated as "begotten", and is used to denote spiritual rebirth and/or bodily change at the moment of Resurrection, are the following:
"For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel."
1 Corinthians 4:15, KJV
"I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:"
Philemon 1:10, KJV
"For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?"
Hebrews 1:5, KJV
"So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee."
Hebrews 5:5, KJV
"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him . . . We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not."
1 John 5:1, 18, KJV
Similar to the previous verses which use the Greek verb "gennao", in Peter's first Epistle, he again shows us that the words "begat" and "begotten" are normally used to refer to our physical birth. This is why he says "hath begotten us again" to show that he is talking about a second birth after the first physical birth. The word used here is "anagennao", pronounced an-ag-en-nah'-o, which means to produce again, to be born again, or to be born anew:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,"
1 Peter 1:3, KJV
In the opening verses of John chapter three, we find the story of Jesus's conversation with a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus. While some legalistic religionists have argued that Jesus was referring to water baptism when He mentions being born of water, I honestly do not believe that this is what He meant. In my view, Jesus was talking about being born the first time through human conception and childbirth. In other words, I believe that He was referring to the amniotic sac which is full of a watery liquid called amniotic fluid. In God's ordained time, this sac, or "water bag" as it is also commonly known, bursts, and the child passes through the birth canal, or cervix and vagina, to enter the outside world. It is right after this that Jesus speaks of being begotten, or born, a second time through spiritual rebirth; that is, being born of the Spirit; precisely as we saw in the previous verses:
"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye 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 3:3-8, KJV
Notice that Jesus is making a clear connection between the two phrases "born of water" and "born of the flesh" to show that they mean one and the same thing. He then makes a similar connection between the two phrases "and of the Spirit" and "born of the Spirit", showing that these also are referring to the same thing. Despite these very obvious connections, some Christians today still hold to their erroneous understanding of these passages in order to justify their doctrine of making water baptism a necessary part of Salvation. I discuss this topic more fully in the in-depth series entitled "Roman Catholicism, Water Baptism and the Holy Trinity". One final Greek word which is metaphorically used to denote this spiritual rebirth, and which is translated as "begat", is the word "apokueo" which is pronounced ap-ok-oo-eh'-o. While it is normally used to imply physical childbirth, here we see it being used in connection with the word "firstfruits". As we have already seen, Jesus is the Firstfruits of the Resurrection, and we will one day follow in His footsteps:
"Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
James 1:18, KJV
Thus far we have seen that Jesus is truly unique, or "a single of a kind", in two very special ways. First, He is "the only begotten Son of God" due to the fact that He was willing to be born, or begotten, by human means; and second, as Paul says, He is the "first begotten of the dead" as well; that is, He is the Firstfruits of the Resurrection. The second act would not have been possible without the first. Jesus was begotten of the flesh, and He was begotten of the Spirit, just as we are too, by faith, when we accept Him. It is because of the very fact that He was willing to leave His Heavenly Abode and make this double Sacrifice for us, that we are told in the Gospels that He is the beloved Son of His Father:
"And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Matthew 3:17, KJV
"While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him."
Matthew 17:5, KJV
"Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him."
Luke 20:13, KJV
The fact that Jesus is beloved of His Father points to an inevitable truth which will be difficult for some to accept. This English word "beloved" is derived from the Greek word "agapetos", pronounced ag-ap-ay-tos', which means beloved, esteemed, dear, favorite, or worthy of love. Do you see the implication here? If not, allow me to make it clearer for you. To be beloved, esteemed or the favorite implies a degree of comparison. This is clearly brought out in the Old Testament. Consider the following examples where the word "beloved" is used. In all cases, it is being used to show a comparison, to show a different degree of love between two or more people:
"If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated: Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn:"
Deuteronomy 21:15-16, KJV
As can be seen, in this first example, "beloved" is used to show a degree of comparison between two women. In other words, as its New Testament meaning reveals, "beloved" is used to show who is one's favorite in terms of being loved. We find another very clear example in the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors. Consider the following verses:
"Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him."
Genesis 37:3-4, KJV
Please go to part five for the continuation of this series.
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