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When "Born Again" Means "Conceived Again"
by Wayne Blank
"Ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise"
Physically, there is no difference between the most righteous person and the most evil person (although righteous people do tend to live healthier lifestyles). Both are still completely mortal human, all subject to the grave:
"All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath." (Ecclesiastes 9:2 KJV)
The difference is what awaits them, whether eternal life for the righteous, or oblivion for the unrepentant wicked. But neither has received their due, yet:
"These all died [see What Happens When You Die?] in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." (Hebrews 11:13 KJV)
"And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith The Lord of hosts." (Malachi 4:3 KJV) (see also Planet On Fire!)
There is however a spiritual difference between the righteous and the wicked; the righteous have been "sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise" which has conceived a potential new life within them, a life which may be "born again" if (as in if they don't fall away from the Truth) they are resurrected as spirit, as Jesus Christ explained to Nicodemus:
"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."
The New Testament was written mostly in Greek, and then translated into the many languages of the world. The Greek word pronounced gen-aw-oh is often translated as "born," but the original Greek word has a much broader literal meaning - it covers the entire process from conception to birth. Unlike (in certain areas of) the modern world, in ancient times there was no absurd debate about "when life begins" - in God's eyes, it begins at conception (see When Does "Life" Begin?).
Gen-aw-oh translated as "born"
"Now when Jesus was born [i.e. the Greek gen-aw-oh] in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." (Matthew 2:1-2 KJV)
Gen-aw-oh translated as "conceived"
"But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived [i.e. again, the Greek gen-aw-oh] in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:20-21 RSV)
When "Born Again" Actually Means "Conceived Again"
There are a number of verses in English-language Bibles that, although technically correct (keeping in mind that the original Greek word of the Scriptures meant the process from conception to birth) should have specifically been translated as conceived (i.e. growing in knowledge of the Truth and developing righteous character while awaiting birth), rather than born. Some examples:
"But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become [i.e. in the future] the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born [i.e. gen-aw-oh, conceived], not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13 KJV)
Fact Finder: Why will some be resurrected to spirit, and some as physical again?