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Saturday, December 1 2012

Born Of The Spirit

Nicodemus was a Pharisee (see also The Origin Of The Essenes, Sadducees And Pharisees) and a member of the Sanhedrin at the time of the coming of the Messiah. Nicodemus was however among those who not only did not oppose the Christ, but became an active believer in Him. It was to Nicodemus that two of the most well-known (but least understood) teachings of the Messiah were given - being "born again" and the famous "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" of John 3:16.

Nicodemus attempted to stop the conspiracy against the Christ when it first began.

Pharisees and Herodians

"7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

7:40 Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.

7:41 Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? 7:42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? 7:43 So there was a division among the people because of him. 7:44 And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.

7:45 Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?

7:46 The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.

7:47 Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? 7:48 Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? 7:49 But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.

7:50 Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) 7:51 Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?

7:52 They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet." (John 7:37-52 KJV)

The above-quoted statement by the Pharisees that "for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet" shows that some of them did not themselves know the Scriptures. Numerous prophecies describe the Prophet-Messiah coming out of Galilee, including Isaiah 9:1-2 ("9:1 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. 9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined"), as quoted in Matthew 4:13-17 KJV (see also The Prophet Of Galilee):

The Holy Scriptures

"4:13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 4:14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,

4:15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:13-17 KJV)

After the Messiah was Crucified by the Roman military (see also Legions Of Men And Angels), Nicodemus, along with Joseph of Arimathaea, placed the body of the Son of God in the Tomb (see Why Observe The True Sabbath? to understand what day of the week it actually was that Christ was crucified, and then resurrected exactly three days and three nights later).

"19:38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews [i.e. see Annas And Caiaphas], besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. 19:39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 19:40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 19:41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 19:42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand." (John 19:38-42 KJV)

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life"

Millions of people are familiar with the terms "born again" and "John 3:16," but relatively few truly understand what the Messiah was saying because most have never actually read the setting, or the context, of the teachings. It occurred at the time of Passover; the Christ had just-then expelled the money-changers from the Temple (see Who Has A Spirit Of Confrontation?), and made a statement that was later used against Him at His "trial" i.e. "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."

Nicodemus

"2:13 And the Jews' passover was at hand [see The First Christian Church and The Firstborn Of Passover], and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, 2:14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 2:15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; 2:16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.

2:17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

2:18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?

2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

2:20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 2:21 But he spake of the temple of his body. 2:22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 2:24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 2:25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man." (John 2:13-25 KJV)

Then, after all of that, Nicodemus "same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him."

"3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him." (John 3:1-2 KJV)

The Son of God first replied with the "born again" teaching that spoke of the future resurrection / change to actual spirit life in the Kingdom of God (see When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin for the first resurrection and The Eighth Day: What Does It Mean? for the second resurrection).

Happy Day

"3:3 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.

3:4 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?

3:5 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. 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 3:8 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)

It was then, in answer to Nicodemus' question about being "born again" that the Messiah stated the famous John 3:16 verse that speaks of salvation for the truly repentant (see the Fact Finder question below). Consider very carefully the verses immediately following John 3:16 that describe how the unrepentant are not going to be saved, but are going to be condemned.

"3:9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?" (John 3:9 KJV)

"3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 3:11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?], but have eternal life.

3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved [see Do You Want A Servant Or A Serpent?]. 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." (John 3:10-21 KJV)

Fact Finder: When will humanity be "born again"?
See The Harvest Prophecies


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This Day In History, December 1

1135: King Henry I of England died.

1145: Pope Eugene III proclaimed the Second Crusade (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy). It was undertaken by King Louis VII of France and Emperor Conrad III from 1147 to 1149 (see also Emperors and Popes).

1553: The Imperial Chamber at Speyer outlawed Albert (Albrecht) II, and he sought asylum in France.

1640: In a nationalist revolution, Spanish garrisons were driven out of Portugal. Two weeks later, the Duke of Braganca was crowned as John IV.

1742: Empress Elizabeth ordered all Jews out of Russia.

1821: The Dominican Republic declared independence from Spain.

1822: Dom Pedro became the first emperor of Brazil.

1906: The Cinema Omnia Pathe, considered to be the world's first cinema, opened in Paris.

1918: The Danish Parliament passed an act granting independence to Iceland.

1918: The union of Transylvania and Romania was declared.

1918: Alexander I proclaimed the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

1925: In Switzerland, the Pact of Locarno was signed by France, Belgium, Germany, Britain and Italy. Although it guaranteed peace and inviolable frontiers in Europe, the signers were involved in World War Two less than 15 years later (listen also to our Sermon The European World Wars).

1959: 12 countries signed a treaty to make Antarctica a scientific preserve with no territorial claims.

1973: David Ben-Gurion (born in Poland as David Gruen), present-day Israel's (ses Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel Of Judah) first Prime Minister, died at age 87 (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Balfour Declaration).

1989: Mikhail Gorbachev became the first Soviet leader to visit the Vatican and meet the Pope.

1990: Workers digging the English Channel tunnel broke through the last section, opening Britain to the continent for the first time since the Ice Age.





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Copyright © Wayne Blank